The Roundup

May 22, 2018

Prison guards offered big raise

On his way out, Gov. Jerry Brown offers prison guards a big raise


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "California's state correctional officers would get their biggest raise since the recession if they approve a tentative agreement for a one-year contract their union struck with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration this month.""The deal includes a 5 percent general wage increase that would take effect on July 1, 2019."


"The California Correctional Peace Officer Association's previous contract netted its members a cumulative 9.3 percent wage increase over three years. Their final wage increase under the agreement comes on July 1."


Supreme Court arbitration ruling could slow #MeToo movement


The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI: "As more employees feel empowered by the #MeToo movement to discuss workplace sexual harassment claims in public, some experts worry that Monday’s Supreme Court ruling could undermine that effort."


"Under the 5-4 ruling, employers can limit workers’ ability to band together in court to pursue redress for labor violations. The practice, known as forced arbitration, means workers can be contractually obligated to solve disputes out of court and individually, rather than in a class-action suit in front of a jury."


Xavier Becerra illegally filmed ads in state courts, election foe says


The Chronicle's Melody Gutierrez: "Political ads showing state Attorney General Xavier Becerra in staged scenes inside the California Supreme Court building in Sacramento were illegally filmed, his election rival Dave Jones said in complaints filed Monday."


"Jones, the state insurance commissioner, said Becerra skirted a state law barring public resources from being used by a politician for personal gain when he filmed election ads inside the state Supreme Court and state Third District Court of Appeal."


California appeals to save assisted death law


Sacramento Bee's TARYN LUNA: "California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed an appeal on Monday to a court ruling that overturned the state's controversial assisted suicide law."


"Nearly two years after the law took effect, a judge in Riverside County ruled last week that the Legislature improperly passed the bill during a special session on health care funding."


"Becerra argued in court documents that the reversal "contradicts both the deference owed the Legislature and an earlier finding by the same court that the act was within the scope of the special session," called to improve the efficiency of the health care system and improve health in California. He said laws enacted during a special session can be broadly germane to the subject matter."


'Mayor Libby Schaaf Act' could imprison officials who disclose ICE sweeps


The Chronicle STAFF: "Immigration hard-liners’ anger toward Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for her warning about a federal sweep for undocumented migrants in Northern California led an Iowa congressman to propose criminal penalties Monday for officials who talk about such operations in advance."


"Republican Rep. Steve King introduced the “Mayor Libby Schaaf Act of 2018,” which would ban officials from “the purposeful broadcast ... of information relating to any imminent action by a federal law enforcement officer or agent.” Violations could result in up to five years in prison."


Ad Watch: Schubert's ad claims against challenger are 'iffy'


Sacramento Bee's DARRELL SMITH: "Accusations of courtroom misdeeds against DA candidate Noah Phillips are front and center in a new ad from Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert that aired recently."


"The 30-second spot, paid for by Schubert’s campaign, carries the ominous web address “” and includes foreboding music and grainy black-and-white photos of the campaign challenger and the murder defendant at the center of the ad’s claims. Phillips is a deputy DA and principal criminal attorney in the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office."


California lawsuit to protect abortion services suggested


Sacramento Bee's ANGELA HART: "California's top cop hinted last week that the state will file another lawsuit against the federal government, potentially taking on the Trump administration over its plan to strip funding for Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide abortions."


"At issue is funding for family planning and abortion services through the Title X program, expected to cost $260 million. President Donald Trump announced last week that the federal government would impose new rules barring health care clinics from receiving funds if they provide abortion services or referrals."


"The Trump-Pence administration is yet again attempting to interfere in a woman's health care decisions...this proposed rule is reckless and threatens women's access to critical health care," state Attorney General Xavier Becerrasaid in a statement. "At the California Department of Justice, we stand ready to take action to defend the rule of law and protect women from the Trump-Pence administration's dangerous attacks on their health care."


'He really loves the job': Could SF interim Mayor Mark Farrell return?


The Chronicle's HEATHER KNIGHT: "Back in January, shortly after being named San Francisco’s interim mayor after the unexpected death of Mayor Ed Lee, Mark Farrell told The Chronicle’s editorial board his upcoming six months in office would be the end of his political career."


"“This is it,” he said then. “Ask my wife."


Legislators try again to ban Cow Palace gun shows


The Chronicle's KEVIN FAGAN: "A pair of local legislators will make yet another run at banning gun shows at the Cow Palace — and they say growing American revulsion at mass shootings, particularly at high schools, puts momentum in their favor."


"The cavernous, state-owned exhibition hall in Daly City hosts five gun shows a year, the most recent in April, but those shows have drawn a growing number of protesters as gun massacres proliferated throughout the nation. State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is now proposing legislation that would ban the sales of guns or ammunition at the hall, beginning in 2020."                                                                                                                                                                           


Five things to know about water bonds on upcoming California ballots


Water Deeply's MATT WEISER: "CALIFORNIANS THIS YEAR will vote on not one but two water bond measures totaling $13 billion. Given that the state still hasn’t spent all of the $7.5 billion from the Proposition 1 water bond passed in 2014, it raises a crucial question: Does California really need another $13 billion in water bonds?"


"As of December 2017, the state had allocated only about $1 billion from Proposition 1. About half of the total money available from the bond is dedicated to new water storage under a complicated new process that funds only the “public benefits” of such projects. The first dribble of money from that pot is expected to be awarded later this year."


"With all that money still coming, why two more water bonds? Here are answers to some basic questions about the ballot measures that may help illuminate the situation."


Midnight today is the deadline to register to vote in California's June Primary


OC Register's JORDAN GRAHAM: "If you want to register to vote in California’s June 5 primary election, you’ll have to act quickly."


"The deadline for online registration is at 11:59 p.m. tonight, Monday, May 21."


"Primary voters will pick two candidates to advance to November’s general election in the races for governorsenator, and several competitive congressional districts, which could sway the national balance of partisan power, among other contests. They’ll also vote in some local elections."


Pension fund's CFO 'no longer works' for CalPERS after hiring review


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "CalPERS is recruiting a new chief financial officer a month after a financial blog reported that Charles Asubonten exaggerated his recent work history in his application to work for the giant pension fund."


"Asubonten was scheduled to make presentations as chief financial officer at last week's public meeting of the California Public Employees' Retirement System Board of Administration. He did not make those public appearances."


"CalPERS spokesman Wayne Davis said on Monday that Asubonten no longer works for CalPERS."


Community college funding: Put students first


CASSANDRA JENNINGS/PAMELA HAYNES in Capitol Weekly: "A certain (now disgraced) writer-producer-director is credited with saying, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”


"That would be nice, right? But for many of us, this just doesn’t hold true."


"Showing up to a job interview doesn’t get us 80 percent of the way to the job."


If Oakland wants to keep fighting coal at terminal, it's going to be expensive


The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS: "Oakland’s failed fight to keep coal shipments from passing through its waterfront cost the city more than $3.1 million in outside legal bills, according to records provided by the city attorney’s office."


"The coal fight stemmed from a 2013 agreement between the city and local developer Phil Tagami allowing him to build a $250 million shipping terminal on the old Oakland Army Base next to the port."


Newsprint tariffs hit newspapers hard


The Chronicle's JOHN DIAZ: "“Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel,” the saying goes. Yet the Trump administration is picking a fight with American newspapers over something they buy at even greater cost and quantity: newsprint."


"The administration recently slapped tariffs and anti-dumping penalties on imported Canadian paper, resulting in newsprint price increases of up to 30 percent in the United States. I will give President Trump the benefit of the doubt here and assume this is not another attack on the free press from the man who has called journalists “enemies of the American people” and has alternately threatened to jail them, revoke their credentials and use government powers to undermine their owners’ business interests."


Frustrated SF Supervisor Ronen wants affordable housing projects sped up


The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA/JK DINEEN: "The speed with which affordable housing projects are approved in San Francisco has increased in recent years, especially since 2017 when Planning Director John Rahaim issued a directive that developments with more than 30 percent below-market-rate units be given priority."


"But as Supervisor Hillary Ronen has discovered, a fast approval doesn’t necessarily translate to a rapid construction start."


SF mayor convenes summit to address high affordable-housing building costs


The Chronicle's JK DINEEN: "A mix of escalating construction costs and changes to the federal tax code is hampering San Francisco’s ability to finance and build affordable housing. And the situation may only get worse even as the housing crisis forces thousands of families to flee to less-expensive cities."


"That was the message from city housing officials Monday at a special “cost summit” convened by Mayor Mark Farrell. The group — about 50 nonprofit developers, architects, labor leaders and contractors — was asked to spend the next two months coming up with solutions for tackling the city’s spiraling housing construction costs."


Huge pop-up homeless shelters are planned for the Sacramento neighborhoods


Sacramento bee's RYAN LILLIS/CYNTHIA HUBERT: "A controversial homeless shelter in North Sacramento will remain open for at least three more months - and its replacement may be coming to an empty lot near you."


"Mayor Darrell Steinberg said Monday the city plans to open a massive tent-like structure on city-owned property by September that will shelter up to 200 homeless individuals. Steinberg said he eventually wants to house 600 people in three of the shelters, which are based on the "Sprung structure" model that has been credited with helping to reduce the homeless population in San Diego."


"The mayor has not identified sites for the pop-up shelters, but said he was "not ruling anything out."


Sacramento to discuss part in Kaiser's $200M investment to fight homelessness 


Sacramento Bee's MOLLY SULLIVAN: "Kaiser Permanente, the Oakland-based nonprofit health care provider, announced Friday a $200 million investment in affordable and supportive housing to prevent homelessness nationwide."


"The specific projects and amount to be invested in the Sacramento region are still to be determined, a Kaiser Permanente spokesman said. Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he will meet with Kaiser officials later this week to discuss the plan."


"The initial focus will be to fund programs that prevent displacement and homelessness in low- and middle-income households, the company said in a news release."


ATF's investigation into Pasadena police officers began with a gun seized at a crime scene


SCNG's JASON HENRY/HAYLEY MUNGUIA: "A gun purchased by a Pasadena police officer turned up at a crime scene less than three years later and launched a federal investigation into illegal weapon sales throughout Southern California, according to newly released emails."


"Now-retired Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez was notified in November 2016 by a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives official in Los Angeles that one of his officers was linked to a gun recovered by another police department. Though the email is marked confidential, city officials released it this week through a public records request."


"As discussed, it appears one of your officers has been engaged in the business of dealing firearms without a license in violation of federal and California firearm laws,” wrote Eric Harden, the former agent in charge of the ATF office in Los Angeles. “Additionally, an ATF trace indicates the officer was the original purchaser of a firearm recovered by a neighboring police department with a short time to crime (time from original purchase to recovery). Hence, ATF is conducting an investigation of alleged unlicensed firearms dealing."


1 year in, BART's police chief optimistic about 'downward trend' in crime, drug use


The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY: "Walking through the stream of daily commuters in San Francisco’s bustling Powell Station, BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas looked around the bright corridors Monday with cautious optimism."


"Exactly one year has passed since he was sworn in as chief of the Bay Area’s biggest regional transportation agency, and he’s been busy tackling issues ranging from robberies, assaults and overt drug abuse to chronic fare evaders."


Measure 3 seks to ease traffic congestion by raising Bay Area bridge tolls


The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN: "BART’s packed, Interstate 80 and Highway 101 are backed up day and night, it takes forever to get in and out of Silicon Valley, and places like the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, which few ever figured to be traffic trouble spots, have become hellish."


"The Bay Area’s fragile transportation network is reaching a breaking point. A BART train that breaks down in the wrong place will send delays shuddering through the entire system. A big crash on one freeway or bridge will lead to hours of backups that radiate through the region."


'Staycation,' anyone? how rising gas prices are putting a chill on summer travel plans 


Sacramento Bee's KELLEN BROWNING: "As gas prices continue to rise nationwide – with California leading the way, at $3.71 per gallon – Americans are planning fewer and shorter road trips this summer, a recent survey found."


"Currently $2.93 per gallon on average in the U.S., gas prices are expected to rise to $2.95 by Memorial Day – 50 cents more than last year. The 2018 summer travel survey for"


", a gas price tracker, found drivers plan to cut costs and avoid gas guzzling by limiting road trips."


"Fifty-eight percent of GasBuddy's survey respondents said they will take a road trip this summer, down from 82 percent last year. Thirty-nine percent said high gas prices would impact their travel plans, 20 percent more than in 2017."


First Folsom elementary in over a decade will have enhanced security and innovative class spaces


Sacramento Bee's DIANA LAMBERT: "Folsom Unified plans to build its first new school in more than a decade to serve students in Folsom Ranch, the planned community being built south of Highway 50 in Folsom."


"The 3,300-acre Folsom Ranch project will contain nearly 11,000 homes and apartments, two fire stations, a police station and 82 acres of office and commercial buildings. It will be built out over 25 to 30 years."


"The new school will be a single two-story building that will accommodate 668 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The two-story building will allow the district to build on a smaller footprint and will enhance security and collaboration at the school, according to district officials."


Azusa school board members informally agree they don't need to close campuses


SGV Tribune's CHRISTOPHER YEE: "While the Azusa Unified school board could still decide to close campuses, board members informally agreed last week that there may no longer be a need to close any campuses."


"Faced with declining enrollment and a projected multimillion-dollar budget shortfall, in March the board had tasked a committee to determine whether any campuses might be considered “surplus” and thus be eligible for closing. At an April 27 meeting, the committee recommended shutteringSierra High, a continuation school, and its associated adult education school in Glendora, Mountain View Elementary in Azusa and Magnolia Elementary in Azusa."


"At its meeting May 15, the school board opted to table a decision to accept the recommendations to deem the properties surplus and consider them for sale or lease because the committee’s report was only made available the morning of the meeting."


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