The Roundup

May 16, 2018

It's in the mail

When voters cast their ballots for the June 5 primary election, most of them will be mailing them in.


From Capitol Weekly's JESSICA HICE: "With California voters turning increasingly to the mail box to cast their ballots, five counties have set up an expanded vote-by-mail system for this year’s elections."


"Sacramento, Madera, Napa, Nevada and San Mateo are swapping out more than 500 neighborhood polling places and replacing them with nearly 80 high-tech “vote centers” as part of the 2016 Voter’s Choice Act, which aims to improve voter participation, at least in part, by making it easier to cast ballots."


"Voting by mail is not new.During 50 years of California primary elections, vote-by-mail rose from less than 2% of the total vote in 1966 to a high of nearly 70% in  2014, the state elections officer reported."


Riverside judge overturns California's doctor-assisted suicide law


SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA in the Union Tribune: "Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia said Tuesday that the California Legislature violated the law by passing the End of Life Option Act during a special session dedicated to healthcare issues, according to the plaintiffs in the case as well as advocates for the law."


“We’re very happy with the decision today,” said Alexandra Snyder, head of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit. “We will now wait and see what the attorney general does.”


"In a statement emailed to The Times, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said: “We strongly disagree with this ruling and the state is seeking expedited review in the Court of Appeal.”


California's high-speed rail project is pressing ahead, despite uncertainties about sustained funding.


From the AP's KATHLEEN RONAYNE: " The board tasked with overseeing California’s ambitious high-speed rail project approved a new business plan Tuesday and pledged to keep pushing forward even as the plan faces stark financial challenges."


“We are going to deliver high-speed rail for the people of California,” board chairman Dan Richards said."


"At stake is a plan to build a high-speed train between Los Angeles and San Francisco by 2033 at an estimated price tag of $77 billion. A fresh business plan is required every two years, and the 2018 plan is the first under Brian Kelly, the new chief executive of the California High-Speed Rail Authority."


Legendary newsie Frank McCulloch has died at the age of 98.


The Chronicle's SETH RUBENSTEIN reports: "Newsman Frank McCulloch, who was bald, blunt and beloved, wrote stories, ran newsrooms, challenged presidents and got late-night phone calls from Howard Hughes."


"He asked hard questions. He was rarely satisfied with the answers. And he made sure that the reporters who worked for him were every bit as skeptical as he was."


"His skeptical voice as a Vietnam War correspondent helped shape the public’s understanding of the conflict that tore the nation apart half a century ago."


The California State University plans a big lobbying effort to get more dollars out of Sacramento.


From JOY RESMOVITS in the LA Times: "In the final weeks of budget negotiations in Sacramento, Cal State officials plan an all-out lobbying push. They say they're racing against the clock to prevent harmful cuts by shaking more money out of state coffers."


"The university system's leaders say they're still trying to rebound from recession-era cuts while they try to accommodate more students. And even though the state has tried to make up funding in recent years, Cal State's needs have grown and the money isn't keeping up."


"Cal State asked for a $263-million boost in ongoing funding. Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to give the system $92 million of that, as well a one-time $100 million to catch up on deferred facilities maintenance."


READ MORE related to education: Will one-time cash infusion fix crumbling UJC classrooms? -- CALmatters' FELICIA MELLO; 14-year-old boy charged with attempted murder for shooting at Palmdale school -- BRITTNY MEJIA, LA Times


Becerra is the target at California attorney general candidates debate


KEVIN MODESTI in the Press Enterprise: "Debating his three election opponents for the first time, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra took criticism from all sides during a candidates forum Tuesday that featured sharp clashes over the state’s fight with the Trump administration and disagreements about the very purpose of the powerful office."


"“I feel like Goldilocks. I’m too hot, I’m too cold,” Becerra said during one series of exchanges with fellow Democrat Dave Jones as well as Republicans Steven Bailey and Eric Early. “I think I’m just right.”


"Put on by the BizFed Institute with sponsorship by the Southern California News Group, and moderated by SCNG Opinion editor Scott Kaufman, the 70-minute debate kept returning to the question of whether Becerra focuses too much on battling President Trump on policies that clash with California’s on immigration law enforcement, environmental policies and health care."


READ MORE on politics: Democrats mock Democratic proposals to try to weaken a GOP House candidate -- Chronicle's JOE GARAFOLI; Delaine Eastin runs ad showing other gubernatorial contenders agreeing with her -- SEEMA MEHTA, LAT; Attorney for man in middle of alleged 'secret deal' hit with State Bar ban -- Sacramento Bee's DARRELL SMITH


Fresno, Stanislaus sheriffs to attend anti-sanctuary state meeting with Trump


EMILY CADEI in the Modesto Bee: "Two leading Central Valley law enforcement officials are heading to Washington D.C. for a meeting on immigration with President Trump Wednesday."


"According to a White House official, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims are among the 15 local California officials invited to meet with Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for what has been billed to participants as a "strategy session" for opposing California's sanctuary state policies. Both Mims and Christianson have been publicly critical of California’s immigration policies, which restrict certain types of cooperation with federal immigration officials."


On Wednesday, President Trump will meet with California leaders and public officials who oppose California's illegal and unconstitutional sanctuary policies that release criminal illegal aliens into public communities," the White House official said in a statement to reporters. "They will discuss shared efforts to end the nullification of federal law and restore community safety.”


Next step for California in sports betting debate: Cash in


From BRYCE MILLER in the U-T: "The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a 26-year-old federal ban on sports wagering Monday is a sure-fire lottery ticket. So, cash it.


"New Jersey’s effort to prop up struggling Atlantic City casinos by successfully fighting the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act can be everyone’s gain, including and particularly in California."


“People can bet, one way or another,” said George Belch, a San Diego State marketing professor who helped launch the university’s sports management program. “They’re using offshore accounts. They’re using bookies. So the thinking of many is, the states might as well get a piece of the revenue pie.”


Tesla Model 3 production issues targeted in Morgan Stanley downgrade: report


From ETHAN BARON in the Mercury News: "Tesla’s much-hyped hope to bring electric vehicles to the masses suffered another blow, as production problems with the company’s purported entry-level car led to a downgrade from a Morgan Stanley analyst."


"The Palo Alto electric car maker has been taking a barrage of flak over Model 3 delays and other production issues. Now, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas has launched a missile at Tesla over issues with the sedan, versions of which are eventually to sell for $35,000."


“We are making material reductions to our earnings estimates to reflect lingering manufacturing issues with the Model 3,” Jonas said in a Tuesday note to clients, according to a new report."


Climate Change Is Making Droughts Worse In The Western US


From KPBS' LUKE RUNYAN: "new study from NASA reinforces the idea that droughts are getting worse and could become more frequent in the Western U.S.

The culprit is human-caused climate change."


"Droughts aren’t just about precipitation, said NASA scientist and the study’s co-author Benjamin Cook. They’re also about the timing of snowmelt and the wetness of soil, both of which are upended by a warming climate."


"In a landmark 2014 study from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientists could not say with confidence that climate change was affecting droughts around the world. Since that report was published, the picture has become clearer, Cook said."


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