Rep. Duncan Hunter to plead guilty in campaign finance scandal, leave Congress
LA Times's MORGAN COOK/JEFF MCDONALD: "After years of denials and claims that he was the target of a political witch hunt, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) is scheduled to appear in federal court Tuesday morning to plead guilty in a sweeping campaign finance investigation."
"The announcement was posted on the U.S. District Court docket Monday morning, then KUSI aired an interview with Hunter in which he said he would plead guilty to one of the 60 criminal charges against him. He suggested that he is likely to spend time in custody."
"The plea I accepted is misuse of my own campaign funds, of which I pled guilty to only one count,” Hunter told the station. “I think it’s important that people know that I did make mistakes. I did not properly monitor or account for my campaign money. I justify my plea with the understanding that I am responsible for my own campaign and my own campaign money."
‘The storm door is open,’ Bay Area weather officials warn
From the Chronicle's ALEJANDRO SERRANO: "On-and-off rain for the better part of a week is expected to continue Tuesday and Wednesday in the Bay Area, but a larger storm will likely swamp the region starting Thursday, officials said."
"A weather system from the Northwest and coast is expected to bring rain to areas that have not been affected as much by the recent storm, such as San Jose and Redwood City, according to the National Weather Service."
“The storm door is open and it will remain open,” said Matt Mehle, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “People should be watching the weather and watching the forecast that we send out.”
PG&E inspections of equipment that sparked deadly Camp fire were flawed, state regs say
LA Times's HAILEY BRANSON-POTTS: "State regulators said Pacific Gas & Electric failed to adequately inspect and maintain aging power lines that started last year’s devastating Camp fire, which obliterated the town of Paradise and killed 86 people."
"In a 696-page report filed last week, investigators with the California Public Utilities Commission cited PG&E for violating a dozen state safety rules and regulations."
"PG&E “failed to maintain an effective inspection and maintenance program to identify and correct hazardous conditions on its transmission lines,” the report says."
American computer expert arrested after speaking in North Korea about cryptocurrency
LA Times's JOEL RUBIN: "Can an American’s comments about cryptocurrency violate his country’s sanctions against North Korea?"
"That question is at the heart of a criminal case against Virgil Griffith, a rabble-rousing computer scientist who federal authorities say ran afoul of U.S. laws meant to isolate and punish the rogue state when he gave a talk this year at a technology conference in Pyongyang."
"Griffith, 36, was taken into custody by FBI agents Thursday at Los Angeles International Airport and faces a charge of conspiring to violate the International Economic Powers Act, the legal backbone for sanctions against North Korea, according to a statement released by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which is pursuing the case."
Govt union says it may sue Newsom admin over late raises
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "A union that represents California government attorneys and administrative judges is considering filing a lawsuit over delayed pay raises, according to a note from union leaders to members."
"The California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges, and Hearing Officers in State Employment has been waiting on its raise since at least Sept. 13, when the Legislature approved the increase, according to the note. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the legislation Oct. 13."
"In the past, salary increases took an average of a month to process, the union’s board of directors said in the Nov. 26 note."
Newsom heads to Iowa to boost Harris' presidential campaign
Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "Gov. Gavin Newsom will spend two days in Iowa campaigning for Kamala Harris later this month to help the California senator’s flagging presidential run."
"As she’s fallen in the polls, Harris has trained her sights on Iowa and has been campaigning heavily there to shore up support ahead of the state’s primary caucus on Feb. 3."
"Newsom will help kick off a canvassing event for Harris in the Des Moines area on Saturday, Dec. 14. Later that day he’ll also speak about the senator’s record on LGBT rights and will attend a Harris campaign party at a private home in Des Moines. The following day, he’ll visit canvass event in Cedar Rapids and will attend a climate action-themed party for her at a home in Coralville."
State GOP signs onto recall campaigns against Newsom to boost fundraising efforts
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "The California Republican Party is endorsing two long-shot efforts to force Gov. Gavin Newsom out of office, but won’t throw its money behind the proposals."
"Jessica Patterson, chairwoman of the CA GOP, on Monday verified a fundraising email the state party sent to its supporters on Saturday highlighting its board of directors’ vote to “support both current efforts to recall Governor Gavin Newsom."
"The endorsement reflects enthusiasm among a vocal base of Republicans who want to oust Newsom less than a year since he took office, and it gives more attention to a pair of recall efforts carried by former Southern California GOP congressional candidates."
Leader of LA's top homeless agency quits after a 'long five years,' rising public anger
LA Times's DOUG SMITH/BENJAMIN ORESKES: "In a major change for the team tasked with addressing rising homelessness in the region, Peter Lynn announced Monday that he is stepping down as head of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority."
"Chief Program Officer Heidi Marston will fill in as interim director during a national search for a replacement when Lynn officially leaves at the end of this month."
"Boy, these have felt like some long five years,” he said in an interview last week. “I mean I have really enjoyed this, this role and this gig and I have also felt quite a lot of wear and tear from it."
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How text messages from Kaiser put 11K+ Californians on road to food, better health
Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "In the last three months, the health care team at Kaiser Permanente used text messaging to sign up more than 11,000 of its neediest California members for a government program that will give them up to $200 a month for groceries."
"Known as CalFresh, California’s supplemental nutrition program has one of the lowest enrollment levels of any such program in the nation. Yet in Sacramento County alone, 14 percent of roughly 1.5 million residents are food insecure, according to River City Food Bank."
"If you burrow down to the neighborhood level, you might find that percentage is even greater, according to a news release from the food bank. In Arden Arcade, for instance, one in five of the 92,000 people living there are food insecure, it says."
City, sheriff targeted black and Latino renters for illegal convictions, feds allege
LA Times's MAURA DOLAN/RICHARD WINTON: "The U.S. Department of Justice sued the city of Hesperia and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Monday, charging they discriminated against African Americans and Latinos through wrongful evictions."
"The lawsuit cited a 2016 Hesperia rental ordinance that required landlords to evict tenants identified by the Sheriff’s Department as having committed transgressions on or near the property. The suit said the city passed the law to target Latino and African American tenants, many of whom were disproportionately evicted."
"Hesperia, a Mojave Desert city of just under 100,000 people, passed the ordinance at a time when its African American and Latino populations were growing."
Car burglaries in some California cities are at crisis levels. Prosecutors say their hands are tied
LA Times's PATRICK MCGREEVY: "An epidemic of car burglaries in San Francisco over the last few years has led one Democratic lawmaker to propose plugging a loophole in state law that allows some break-ins to go unpunished, but the Legislature has balked at prosecutors’ requests to make obtaining convictions easier."
"The proposal, which would eliminate a requirement that prosecutors prove a car’s doors were locked at the time of a break-in, has been shelved two years in a row in legislative committees. Lawmakers struggling with prison crowding and public pressure to enact criminal justice reform have been reluctant to do anything to put more people behind bars."
"But local officials and the legislator behind the bill say the legislation is needed to help chip away at a statewide car burglary problem that they believe has reached crisis levels in some cities."
Wait times are dropping at the DMV. How you can avoid getting stuck in line
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "Newly released data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles show the state making a huge dent in the wait times customers are experiencing across the state."
"In a report sent to state lawmakers last month, the DMV showed it has cut delays nearly in half. As of September, customers across the state without an appointment waited an average of 38 minutes, which represents a 48 percent decrease from the average time of 73 minutes customers experienced at the same time last year."
"According to the DMV, the drop stems from a substantial decline in the amount of time customers spend waiting just to get a number, as well as “increased staffing and season shifts in customer volume."
Congress pushes ahead with Trump impeachment inquiry
AP: "The House is plunging into a landmark impeachment week, with Democrats who once hoped to sway Republicans now facing the prospect of an ever-hardening partisan split over the question of removing President Trump from office."
"Lawmakers were getting their first look at the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report Monday night behind closed doors. The findings are expected to forcefully make the Democrats’ case that Trump engaged in what the panel’s chairman, Adam B. Schiff, calls impeachable “wrongdoing and misconduct” in pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democrats and Joe Biden while withholding military aid to the ally."
"For Republicans offering an early rebuttal ahead of the report’s public release, the proceedings are simply a “hoax,” with Trump insisting he did nothing wrong and his GOP allies in line behind him. Trump tweeted his daily complaints about it all and then added a suggestive, if impractical, question: “Can we go to Supreme Court to stop?"
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