"Up to 43 people remain unaccounted for following Tuesday's massive mudflow, though officials said that number is highly fluid."
"Earlier Thursday, officials placed the number of missing at eight. They increased that number after authorities combed through social media posts and message boards at evacuation shelters. Others who were found, or identified among the dead, were crossed off."
Amid rains and mudslides, drought concern remains
From Capitol Weekly's JESSICA HICE: "Despite the fierce rains and deadly mudslides that have struck California, water officials are concerned about the possibility of a renewed drought."
"But they caution that is too early to tell."
"Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, measured snowpack levels with a team last week in the bare Phillips Station area of the Sierra Nevadas, about 90 miles east of Sacramento. He didn’t find much."
READ MORE related to Environment: -- Pot farms pose new threat to Spotted Owl habitat -- Bee's RYAN SABALOW, DALE KASLER; Surveying the devastation in Montecito from the air -- LA Times' MELISSA ETEHAD; Fire, mudflows, evacuations and deaths: Maps show how Montecito has been hit -- LA Times' GRAPHICS DEPT; California has a new wind-speed record: 199 mph -- The Chronicle's AMY GRAFF; California fire-threat map not quite done but close, regulators say -- The Chronicle's DAVID R. BAKER; Rescuers 'searching for a miracle' in California mudslides -- AP's CHRISTOPHER WEBER/BRIAN MELLEY; Roads closed, evacuations in place across LA area as rain triggers mudslides -- Daily News' OLGA GRIGORYANTS; Prius' wild ride down churning river of mud in Burbank is caught on video -- Daily News' STEVEN ROSENBERG
Shutdown ordered for Californias's last remaining nuclear power plant -- Diablo Canyon
From the Mercury News' GEORGE AVALOS: "State regulators gave final approval Thursday to a plan to shutter the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, a decision that also clears the way for higher monthly power bills for PG&E customers."
"The state Public Utilities Commission’s decision to close Diablo Canyon would mark the end of more than a half-century of nuclear power generation in the state and could serve as a blueprint for closing other U.S. nuclear facilities."
“The plant is no longer economic, and the owner, PG&E, has asked to close it down,” PUC President Michael Picker said Thursday.
BP to pay California $102 million to settle claim it overcharged the state for natural gas
LA Times' PATRICK MCGREEVY: "BP Energy Co. has agreed to pay $102 million to California to settle claims that it overcharged the state for natural gas purchased over a decade ending in August 2012, Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra announced Thursday."
"The settlement of a lawsuit against the firm includes substantial penalties, but Becerra would not say how much the state was actually overcharged on natural gas used by the state and local governments to heat classrooms and public offices."
"Cheating the state of California is not a good business strategy,” Becerra told reporters at his Sacramento office. “The last thing that any of us needs is to be ripped off by a company that does business with your great state and your government."
READ MORE related to Economy: California's last nuclear plant to close after unanimous vote by regulators -- The Chronicle's DAVID R. BAKER; Walmart closes dozens of Sam's Club locations, including in City of Industry, Stanton -- Daily News JOSH CAIN
Sex misconduct allegations change tone of Capitol event
From AP's KATHLEEN RONAYNE: "An annual party to kick-off California's new legislative year took a new tone Thursday night in the wake of sexual misconduct revelations at the Capitol."
"Rather than the traditional remarks from legislative leaders, lobbyist Paula Treat took the microphone to kick off the party at a downtown Sacramento bar with a reminder of changed sensitivity around such events."
"We want it to be a safe and fun event," said Treat, who has spoken out about harassment she experienced during her career as a California lobbyist. "I want to thank all of the strong women in this room who I hope one day will not be afraid to say if something is going wrong."
White house slams Schiff, Feinstein over 'gross oversteps' in Russia investigations
Daily News' RYAN CARTER: "During a sometimes tense briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders on Thursday accused Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank and Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-California, of unduly influencing the ongoing investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election."
"The allegation came on the heels of Feinstein’s release of a transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s closed-door August interview with an official from the political opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The company commissioned a dossier that disclosed details of allegations about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia."
"Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, released the transcript of Glenn Simpson’s interview over the objections of the committee’s Republican chairman, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley."
READ MORE related to KremlinGate: Trump accuses FBI agent of 'treason' -- WSJ's REBECCA BALLHAUS
California is sitting on a surplus, but don't expect a refund to taxpayers
CALMATTERS' JUDY LIN: "It should be said that California’s resistance began before there was a resistance."
"When Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his last budget Wednesday, it bookended eight years of a progressive march to reduce greenhouse gases, expand health care, grant more rights to undocumented immigrants and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Along the way, blue state voters have assented by passing temporary taxes on the rich—not once, but twice. The top marginal income tax rate is now 13.3 percent, the highest state income tax rate in the country."
"In short, policies that are now labeled acts of resistance to President Donald Trump were alive and ascendant in California long before he won the White House. But the contrasts have become much more stark. Instead of cutting taxes, the Democratic governor and his party’s legislative leaders have passed a gas tax to help pay for aging infrastructure. Instead of trying to shift government out of the healthcare marketplace, California is looking for a way to fund single-payer health care, including coverage for undocumented immigrants. Instead of criminalizing pot, the state is looking forward to collecting taxes on marijuana sales."'
Social media fury follows video of dazed woman put out in cold by Baltimore hospital
WaPo's JOHN WOODROW COX/THERESA VARGAS/JUSTIN WM MOYER: "The man hurried up the Baltimore sidewalk with a camera in his hand as four black-clad hospital security guards walked toward him, then past him. One of them was pushing an empty wheelchair."
"So wait, y’all just going to leave this lady out here with no clothes on?” said Imamu Baraka, referring to a dazed woman wearing only a thin hospital gown whom they had left alone at a bus stop Tuesday night in mid-30s temperatures. Her face appeared bloody, her eyes empty."
"It was the latest incident of “patient dumping,” which has sparked outrage around the country — and one that, according to an expert, probably violated a 1986 federal law that mandates hospitals release those in their care into a safe environment."
READ MORE related to Housing & Homelessness: SF gets an extra $9M from feds to fight homelessness this year -- The Chronicle's KEVIN FAGAN; Tenant activists, landlords clash over rent control bill in Sacramento -- The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZ; How much will your community get for homeless from $187 million in federal grants? -- Daily News' ELIZABETH CHOU; Southern California assisted living homes cited for paying workers below $3 an hour -- Daily News' MARGOT ROOSEVELT
Trump complains about allowing immigrants from 'shithole' countries
LA Times' LISA MASCARO: "As he rejected a bipartisan compromise to resolve the standoff over so-called Dreamers, President Trump asked participants in an Oval Office meeting Thursday why the United States should accept immigrants from "shithole countries" in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, according to two people briefed on the meeting."
"What do we want Haitians here for?" the president asked, according to the people briefed. "Why do we want all these people from Africa here? Why do we want all these people from shithole countries?"
"The president added: "We should have people from places like Norway."