The Roundup

Sep 14, 2018

The letter

California U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is not pleased: She wants the FBI to look into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh


From the LAT's JENNIFER HABBERKORN: "A letter reportedly alleging a decades-old incident involving Brett Kavanaugh has been referred to the FBI for review — the latest blow in the partisan and bitter battle over President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court."


"The letter originally was given to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She declined to release it publicly, and its details remain unclear."


“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Feinstein said in a statement. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”


READ MORE about the letterBitter Senate fight to confirm Kavanaugh plunges deeper into chaos over letter -- SEUNG MIN KIM and ELISE VIEBECK, Washington Post


Gov. Brown and Michael Bloomberg join forces at the climate change summit in San Francisco


From Capital Public Radio's EZRA DAVID ROMERO: "California Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg want the United States to double its current greenhouse-gas emission reductions."


"They issued their call on Thursday at Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco."


"The Trump administration has vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement."


“That’s a major assault on the well-being of the people of California, and America, and the world. It borders not only on insanity, but criminality,” Brown said.

But the “America’s Pledge” report issued by Brown and Bloomberg says the nation can — and should — meet the agreement’s goal, anyway: a 26 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025."


READ MORE on climate change: Brown signs array of bills to protect planet from climate change -- Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER; At Jerry Brown's climate summit, a lot of drama and a measure of momentum -- LAT's EVAN HALPER


Meanwhile, down in Southern California, San Diego's Catholic diocese adds eight priests to list of sexual predators


From the Union-Tribune's PETER ROWE and KRISTINA DAVIS: "The clerical sexual abuse scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church hit home Thursday, as the Diocese of San Diego added eight priests to the list of those believed to have molested children."


“This is a response to the terrible moment we are in,” said Bishop Robert McElroy, citing a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report that found 1,000 children had been molested by Pittsburgh area priests there, and the resignation of Theodore McCarrick, who is accused of sexually assaulting altar boys, seminarians and priests."


“The cascade of emotions that this causes the survivors of the abuse as well as other people in the pews, has caused a tumult of anger, grief, upset, incomprehension, disillusionment,” McElroy said."


READ MORE on priest abuse: San Jose diocese to investigate handling of priest abuse, name names  -- JOHN WOOLFOLK, San Jose Mercury News


Obamacare small-business exchange insurance premiums to rise 4.6 percent


From the Chronicle's CATHARINE HO: "Health insurance premiums for 5,700 small businesses in California — which employ roughly 47,000 workers — will go up 4.6 percent in 2019, Covered California announced Thursday."


"The increase applies to the small slice of California companies and workers that get their health insurance from Covered California for Small Business, the exchange created under the Affordable Care Act where companies with 100 or fewer workers can buy health plans for their employees."


"Most of the state’s small businesses buy health insurance directly from insurance companies or from other exchanges including Cal Choice. But the creation of California’s small-business exchange gave employers more choices of health plans to pick from and improved competition in the small group market, said Mark Herbert, California director of Small Business Majority, an advocacy group that backed the ACA."


Riverside County keeps details about public fraud away from public


From JEFF HORSEMAN in the Press Enterprise: "Since 2009, Riverside County employees who see waste, fraud or other on-the-job malfeasance have been able to call a hotline or file an online report anonymously."


"What’s also undisclosed is what waste, fraud, and abuse is uncovered through those reports to “Fraud Hotline 24/7!” The county isn’t sharing that information with the public."


"On Sept. 5, the county denied a California Public Records Act request from the Press-Enterprise to look at past hotline information, saying disclosing such records would discourage employees from reporting bad behavior. The specific request was to see reports, correspondence and other paperwork related to completed investigations connected to hotline tips."


Finally, on a note of sadness, it's time to say goodbye to the Beetle: VW Is halting production of Its iconic vehicle


From Bloomberg's GABRIELLE COPPOLA, CHRISTOPH RAUWALD and KEITH NAUGHTON: "Volkswagen AG is ending worldwide production of its iconic Beetle, the model once so popular in North America that it prompted the German automaker to build its first factory on the continent in the 1960s. The last one will roll off the line from the company’s factory in the state of Puebla, Mexico, in July 2019."


"VW had been pulling the Beetle from select markets as part of a broader effort by the German giant to rein in its bloated product range, which spans more than 300 different vehicles and variants, including heavy trucks, motorbikes and passenger cars. Cutting back on product complexity is one of the key ways the company is trimming costs and getting leaner in the wake of its diesel emissions scandal."


"On Friday, Handelsblatt reported VW also plans to halt production for a week next month of the Golf at its huge factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. The model’s woes include more complex emission tests and plans to replace the current version of the hatchback."




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