The Roundup

Dec 6, 2017

California drought scenario

California climate study shows worsening drought


Tribune Washington Bureau's EVAN HALPER: "California could be hit with significantly more dangerous and more frequent droughts in the near future as changes in weather patterns triggered by global warming block rainfall from reaching the state, according to new research led by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory."


"Using complex new modeling, the scientists have found that rapidly melting Arctic sea ice now threatens to diminish precipitation over California by as much as 15 percent within 20 to 30 years. Such a change would have profound economic effects in a state where the most recent drought drained several billion dollars out of the economy, severely stressed infrastructure and highlighted how even the state most proactively confronting global warming is not prepared for its fallout."


"The latest study adds a worrying dimension to the challenge California is already facing in adapting to climate change, and shifts focus to melting polar ice that only recently has been discovered to have such a direct, potentially dramatic impact on the West Coast. Though climate scientists generally agree that the increased temperatures already resulting from climate change have seriously exacerbated drought in California, there has been debate over whether global warming would affect the amount of precipitation that comes to California."


Speaking of the environment, Gov.  Brown's environmental record is a mixed  bag.


From Capitol Weekly's JESSICA HICE: "In recent years, Gov. Jerry Brown has signed groundbreaking legislation establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America, and he has been praised globally for his environmentalism and his efforts to curb global warming."


"But at home – and elsewhere — he faces opposition to some of his environmental policies."


"During the U.S. Climate Action Pavilion in Bonn, Germany, on Nov. 11, Gov. Brown presented America’s Pledge report detailing how U.S. cities, states and businesses will take action on climate targets it set forth in the Paris Agreement."


READ MORE related to Environment: NASA satellite captures raging Southern California fires from space -- LA Times' JESSICA PEREZSouthern California wildfires burn homes, close freeways as thousands evacuated -- The Chronicle's STEVE RUBENSTEIN/SOPHIE HAIGNEY/PETER FIMRITE/JILL TUCKER; Cal Fire: Thomas Fire in Ventura County "mirroring" North Bay Tubbs Fire -- The Chronicle's SOPHIE HAIGNEY; Santa Ana winds roar through Southern California whipping fires on destructive path -- LA Times' LAURA J NELSON/MATT HAMILTON/ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN; Rye fire spreads to 5,000 acres triggers evacuations and gridlock in Santa Clarita -- LA Times' MELISSA ETEHAD/LAURA J. NELSONRed flag warnings extended as fire danger persists in Southern California -- City News Service


The case of the secret sonic weapon attacking diplomats in Havana, Cuba has taken a strange new twist: Doctors have now identified brain abnormalities in the victims. 


AP's JOSH LEDERMAN: "Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the hearing, vision, balance and memory damage, The Associated Press has learned."


"It’s the most specific finding to date about physical damage, showing that whatever it was that harmed the Americans, it led to perceptible changes in their brains. The finding is also one of several factors fueling growing skepticism that some kind of sonic weapon was involved."


"Medical testing has revealed the embassy workers developed changes to the white matter tracts that let different parts of the brain communicate, several U.S. officials said, describing a growing consensus held by university and government physicians researching the attacks. White matter acts like information highways between brain cells."


'Holy crap': Experts find tax plan riddled with glitches; some provisions could be easily gamed according to tax lawyers.


Politico's BRIAN FALER: "Republicans’ tax-rewrite plans are riddled with bugs, loopholes and other potential problems that could plague lawmakers long after their legislation is signed into law."


"Some of the provisions could be easily gamed, tax lawyers say. Their plans to cut taxes on “pass-through” businesses in particular could open broad avenues for tax avoidance."


"Others would have unintended results, like a last-minute decision by the Senate to keep the alternative minimum tax, which was designed to make sure wealthy people and corporations don't escape taxes altogether. For many businesses, that would nullify the value of a hugely popular break for research and development expenses."


READ MORE related to Death & Taxes: Senate Republicans made a $289 billion mistake in the handwritten tax bill they passed at 2AM. Go figure. -- Slate's JORDAN WEISSMANNTax overhaul brings out protesters in Roseville -- Sacramento Bee's RENEE C. BYERThat sales tax you pay on your meal? Some restaurants keep it, using illegal 'zappers' -- McClatchy DC's STUART LEAVENWORTH; How to tell when deficits are bad -- National Review's JONAH GOLDBERG


Conservative student group accuses UC of denying free speech


The Chronicle's NANETTE ASIMOV: "A group of conservative students at UC Berkeley, frustrated that administrators have so far denied them the privileges of a recognized student organization, has asked a federal judge to intervene in the campus dispute."


"The students want the judge to force the campus to rescind its decision that the Young Americans for Liberty, a local chapter of a national group, is so similar to the Cal Libertarians, an existing student group, that the newcomers can’t be formally recognized until both of them discuss the possibility of merging."


"On Monday, the students responded by suing UC President Janet Napolitano, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, and other campus officials in U.S. District Court in Oakland."


California schools fail to teach children to read or write, suit says


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "California has broken its promise to millions of schoolchildren with an education system that is failing to teach students to read or write, advocates charged Tuesday in a lawsuit seeking a statewide right of “access to literacy."


"The suit was filed on behalf of current and former elementary school students and their families in two districts in Los Angeles and Stockton, and a charter school in Los Angeles County. The lead plaintiff is a 7-year-old second-grader who can’t spell words like “need” and “help,” lawyers said."


"They said students in one charter school class couldn’t read their social studies lesson and had to listen to an audio version. Some Stockton students “start crying when asked to read out loud in class,” the lawsuit said. And one student said his brother didn’t learn to read until he was held in juvenile hall at age 16."


Planning commissioner Christine Johnson looks likely to run in SF's District Six


The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "Planning Commissioner Christine Johnson said Tuesday she is strongly considering a bid to succeed Supervisor Jane Kim next year, a move that could edge out pro-development candidate Sonja Traussand test progressive Matt Haney ."


"Johnson has long been seen as a moderate contender to represent District Six, which spreads from the Tenderloin to Mission Bay, and includes rapidly developing South of Market. She deflected questions about her candidacy during an interview in July, but has since taken steps to position herself for a run."


"In the past few months, Johnson has met several times with Kim and other supervisors. She left her job as director of the urban think tank SPUR on Dec. 1."


SF supervisors OK cannabis dispensary in Sunset District -- Tang votes no


The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "San Francisco’s Sunset District is on track to get its first cannabis dispensary, after the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to quash two appeals from irate neighbors."


"The 10-1 vote was viewed by many as a test for David Ho, a City Hall power broker who became a partner in the Barbary Coast cannabis shop that applied to open at 2161 Irving St."


"Ho served as an emissary to a skeptical community of mostly older Chinese residents who blocked another Sunset dispensary from opening in October."


In Alabama, Bannon decries GOP leaders as Roy Moore battles rival amid molestation allegations


LA Times' MICHAEL FINNEGAN: "Republican Roy Moore’s Democratic rival in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race said Tuesday that he worked as a prosecutor “to ensure that men who hurt little girls should go to jail” and not to Congress."


"Democrat Doug Jones’ attack came as Moore, who denies accusations that he sexually abused teenage girls, sought to capitalize on President Trump’s renewed embrace of his candidacy."


"Jones stressed his experience as a former U.S. attorney as he attacked Moore on Tuesday at a campaign stop in Birmingham."


ATF finally starts review on bump stock authority 2 months after Vegas shooting


McClatchy DC's KATE IRBY: "Two months after a shooter in Las Vegas killed 58 people and injured hundreds more, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Tuesday that it has just started reviewing whether it has the authority to ban bump stocks, used by the shooter to make his guns behave like automatic weapons."


"After the mass murder, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress began calling for additional regulation of the devices. When the National Rifle Association weighed in saying it opposed new legislation, but only would support regulatory measures by ATF, lawmakers called on ATF officials to determine whether the agency had the authority to regulate bump stocks without congressional action."


"Months later, ATF has announced it is starting that process – the day before ATF’s Acting Director Thomas E. Brandon is testifying in front of a Senate committee hearing that was previously postponed."


READ MORE related to Gun ViolenceNew charges for man acquitted of pier shooting -- AP; San Francisco DA on jury's not guilty verdict in Kate Steinle case: 'We may disagree but we respect their work' -- LA Times' ANDREA CASTILLO


Conyers resigns from Congress amid harassment allegations


AP's COREY WILLIAMS/RICHARD LARDNER: "Democratic Rep. John Conyers resigned from Congress on Tuesday after a nearly 53-year career, becoming the first Capitol Hill politician to lose his job in the torrent of sexual misconduct allegations sweeping through the nation's workplaces."


"The 88-year-old civil rights leader and longest-serving member of the House announced what he referred to as his "retirement" on Detroit talk radio, while continuing to deny he groped or sexually harassed women who worked for him."


"My legacy can't be compromised or diminished in any way by what we're going through now," said the congressman, who called into the radio show from the hospital where he was taken last week after complaining of lightheadedness. "This, too, shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children."


US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital


WaPo's DAVID NAKAMURA/LOVEDAY MORRIS/ANNE GEARAN: "President Donald Trump on Wednesday plans to upend decades of U.S. policy by formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordering the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to that city, senior aides said, a decision that could derail the White House's peace efforts and spark regional unrest."


"Trump will make his pronouncement in a midday speech after months of deliberation within his administration and consultations with governments in the Middle East. But in a sign of the complexities of such a shift, White House aides emphasized that Trump will sign another six-month waiver maintaining the embassy's current location in Tel Aviv because the process of moving it will take at least three or four years."


"Without the waiver, which has been signed by every U.S. president for more than two decades, crucial State Department funding to the embassy would be cut off."


READ MORE related to International: Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move embassy from Tel Aviv, officials say -- LA Times' BRIAN BENNETT; A young corruption investigator is killed in Afghanistan. Why didn't his U.S.-trained agency do more to protect him? -- LA Times' SHASHANK BENGALI


Mozilla, Yahoo sue each other over search deal


The Chronicle's WENDY LEE: "Mozilla on Tuesday sued Yahoo for breaching a 2014 contract, seeking a payout that could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars."


"The dispute centers around a deal in which Yahoo agreed to pay Mozilla, a Mountain View company best known for its Firefox Web browser, to provide searches within Firefox. Yahoo’s websites were acquired by Verizon in June, which prompted Mozilla to terminate its agreement with Yahoo and make Google its default search engine instead. The agreement required Yahoo to continue paying Mozilla $375 million a year through 2019 even if it dropped it as a search partner, according to tech news site Recode, which obtained a copy of the contract."


"The terms of our contract are clear and our post-termination rights under our contract with Yahoo should continue to be enforced,” Mozilla said in a statement."


Christmas Grinch avoided: State finding jobs for workers who feared layoffs


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "State government won’t be the Grinch to a small group of workers it scared last week with notices that had some of them fearing for their jobs."


"The Department of General Services on Dec. 1 published a letter announcing its intent to close an office that let state workers use state-owned cars during the workday."


"The program has grown less popular, and was not used often enough for the state to continue running it, according to the notice."


This Sacramento bridge closure will cut off a popular river crossing this winter and spring


Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "The historic Jibboom Street Bridge downtown will be closed for major repairs this winter and much of spring, county officials said this week."


"The span, which connects Sacramento’s central city with Discovery Park and south Natomas, will close on Sunday, Dec. 10, and is expected to remain inaccessible through May."


"The bridge, built in 1931, spans the American River a few yards east of its confluence with the Sacramento River, north of downtown."


Sacramento makes its pitch for a Major League Soccer team against three other cities


Sacramento Bee's RYAN LILLIS: "Sacramento Republic FC founder Warren Smith was the brunt of a few jokes in town in 2013 – months before his startup soccer club had even played a match – when he set a bold goal: land a Major League Soccer franchise for Sacramento."


"Four years later, that goal is on the cusp of reality."


"The ownership group representing Republic FC will be joined by Mayor Darrell Steinberg and former Mayor Kevin Johnson here on Wednesday to make its final presentation to MLS owners tasked with recommending two expansion cities for the nation’s top professional soccer league."


She went to 'Hell & Back' with Gordon Ramsay -- but she's now rejecting his menu changes


Sacramento Bee's ED FLETCHER: "Over the weekend, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay led a team of people in a mad-dash, 24-hour makeover of the menu and look at Sacramento soul food restaurant Sandra Dee’s Bar-B-Que & Seafood."


"It was part of his new unscripted Fox show, “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell & Back,” which minces no words about the tribulations of a former must-visit destination for soul food aficionados."


"The restaurant has been struggling,” said Sandra Dee, who opened the establishment in Alkali Flat 19 years ago."

The Roundup is compiled by Associate Editor Geoff Howard. Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email him at

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