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Updating . .   

Widespread cheating by instructors, cadets alleged at California’s fire training academy -- For more than an hour in August 2014, Shannon Browne sat with investigators at CHP’s Valley Division office in Sacramento, at first hesitant, then growing more confident as she laid out her concerns. Instructors were manipulating scores on tests at Cal Fire’s firefighting academy in Ione, she told the officers. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee -- 11/29/15

Donors to state tax board candidates bypass contribution limits -- Two days after California's elected tax board gave SpaceX exemptions worth millions of dollars last year, the Hawthorne rocket company donated $7,500, at the request of board President Jerome Horton, to a nonprofit group founded by his wife. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/29/15

Nuclear crossroad: California reactors face uncertain future -- - Six years ago, the company that owns California's last operating nuclear power plant announced it would seek an extended lifespan for its aging reactors. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. envisioned Diablo Canyon as a linchpin in the state's green energy future, with its low-carbon electricity illuminating homes to nearly midcentury. Michael R. Blood Associated Press -- 11/29/15

Research: Major fault near reactors links to 2nd crack -- he Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and earthquake faults have been uneasy neighbors for decades. Even before the twin reactors produced a single watt of electricity, the plant had to be retrofitted after a submerged fault was discovered 3 miles offshore during construction. Michael R. Blood Associated Press -- 11/29/15

Los Angeles Neighborhoods Tackle Homelessness on Their Own -- Formed last year, the Pacific Palisades task force underscores the growing focus on homelessness in Los Angeles, as outdoor encampments spread from downtown’s Skid Row area into residential neighborhoods, creating a political crisis in the U.S.’s second-most-populous city after New York. Alejandro Lazo in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 11/29/15

Sam Dodge has San Francisco government’s hardest job: fixing homelessness -- We’ll give Sam Dodge this, he’s a brave, brave man. Directing the mayor’s Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement office (HOPE) sounds like a lovely job, but it may be the hardest one in City Hall. Heather Knight in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/29/15

Fortune struck for these Syrian migrants, but can they make it in California? -- Just after sundown, a woman peeks into Room 209. Fouad Wawieh and his family appraise her warily. Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/29/15

McSwain: Coming to terms with Chargers L.A. stadium bid -- Wednesday might deliver a wake-up call to San Diego’s long Chargers stadium nightmare. The NFL’s 32 owners will meet in Dallas to discuss, among other topics, which team or teams can move into the lucrative Los Angeles market. It’s the league’s last regularly scheduled such meeting until March. Dan McSwain in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 11/29/15

Google, Facebook in race to build high-altitude aircraft -- Its visionary founder is in prison. Its most heralded invention crash-landed in the New Mexico desert this spring. Titan Aerospace, bought by Google last year, is experiencing some turbulence on its way to the stratosphere. Matt O'Brien in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 11/29/15

Fans, friends, family bid farewell to 'Rembrandt' of cars George Barris -- It was one part funeral procession, one part classic car show – a gleaming parade of vintage, frequently tricked out automobiles with standout paint jobs and painstaking detail work. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/29/15

L.A. considers suspending trash pickup when heavy rainfall is forecast -- When a sudden, powerful storm pummeled Boyle Heights in October, one poorly placed mattress wreaked havoc on the neighborhood. Los Angeles officials say the mattress was blocking a catch basin, which subsequently caused flooding that damaged a basement and several vehicles. Matt Stevens in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/29/15

Metro, responding to critics, puts $104-million Northridge track build on hold -- $104-million proposal to add a second track to a key railroad line through Northridge has been stalled since summer because of opposition from nearby residents who fear the new rails will pass dangerously close to homes. Dan Weikel in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/29/15

What happened to California regulators' vows to make steam injections safer? -- On the morning of the day he died, David Taylor and his crew were looking for a "chimney" — a fissure in the earth where steam and oil periodically spurted into the air in an oil field west of Bakersfield. Julie Cart in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/29/15

Banks: Developer's offer doesn't add up for mobile home holdouts -- The Grand View Development company has spent more than a year trying to clear out the residents of a mobile home park in Culver City to make way for upscale apartments. But Ischar Zuker won't leave. Sandy Banks in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/29/15

Willie Brown: Donald Trump gets what he wants: a stage -- The terrorist attacks in Paris, the growing threat of the Islamic State, the downing of a Russian fighter jet by the Turks — they’re giving Donald Trump a whole new stage for his presidential circus act. It’s a stage strangely suited to him, despite his misrepresentation of the facts. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/29/15

Gov. Jerry Brown marches California climate agenda to Paris -- When Gov. Jerry Brown lands in Paris next week for international talks on climate, he’ll be preaching the need for action — and not to solve a hypothetical or future problem but something immediate. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/28/15

Dave Jones grabbing up endorsements, money in early weeks of AG campaign -- The election is three years away, but Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones’ campaign for attorney general already has amassed tens of thousands of dollars and locked up dozens of endorsements. Jim Miller in the Sacramento Bee -- 11/28/15

Project to drain largest reservoir in Santa Clara County a year behind schedule -- Seismic safety concerns are already restricting the amount of water that can be stored in Anderson Reservoir, and now the discovery of new "trace faults" near the dam have further stalled a $193 million project to strengthen it. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 11/27/15

Sacramento court workers consider strike as labor talks push on -- Sacramento Superior Court’s technical employees are threatening to walk off the job in December after months of contract talks without a deal. Darrell Smith in the Sacramento Bee -- 11/28/15

Poland won't extradite Roman Polanski to the U.S., ending four-decade legal saga -- In January 1978, Roman Polanski bought the last seat on a British Airways flight to London and never came back. Doug Smith, Sarah Parvini and Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/28/15

Mort Sahl, father of political comedy, still has the stage -- Those who are near him — friends and strangers — seem poised to catch him if he falls. A jazz pianist keeps playing, the slow journey continuing, until the comic stops and turns to the crowd. “I hope you don’t mind. I’m faking this limp so I don’t have to go to Syria,” he says. Peter Hartlaub in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/28/15

Contra Costa's lowest-paid workers still looking for raise -- After a year of giving raises to all stripes of county employees from probation officers to nurses, Contra Costa is still struggling to come to terms with its lowest-paid unionized workforce. Matthew Artz in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 11/28/15

Oakland muralist's death by law enforcement gun spurs talk about weapon security -- The revelation this week that a federal immigration agent's gun was used to kill Oakland muralist Antonio Ramos in September adds to a running tally of high-profile Bay Area cases from the past year where a law enforcement firearm was stolen from a vehicle. Robert Salonga in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 11/28/15

‘Black lives matter’ protest targets San Diego shoppers -- About 75 people marched to a downtown San Diego mall on Black Friday, chanting “black lives matter” and urging more attention be placed on race relations than shopping. Marchers, some with placards calling for an end to police brutality, lay down in an intersection for several minutes as police halted motorists. Pauline Repard in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 11/28/15

Fort Bragg Restaurants Serve on Paper Plates to Conserve Water -- Today, and for the last six weeks, tables here are set with paper napkins and plastic forks. And $23 crab omelets are served on paper plates. Metlin says they stashed their dishes and silverware to save water from dishwashing, after the city declared a Stage 3 water emergency. April Dembosky KQED -- 11/28/15


L.A. County backs plan to ensure Internet access for seniors and the poor -- Recognizing how essential the Internet is for people looking for jobs and social services, the Board of Supervisors voted this week to push for affordable high-speed Internet access for Los Angeles County seniors, low-income residents and people with disabilities. Matt Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/27/15

How LSD Microdosing Became the Hot New Business Trip -- Let's call him "Ken." Ken is 25, has a master's degree from Stanford and works for a tech startup in San Francisco, doing a little bit of everything: hardware and software design, sales and business development. Recently, he has discovered a new way to enhance his productivity and creativity, and it's not Five Hour Energy or meditation. Andrew Leonard Rolling Stone -- 11/27/15

Gavin Newsom Talks His Three Big Issues For 2016 -- Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was the first candidate to declare that he will run to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown — and while the election isn’t until 2018, it already seems Newsom is everywhere. Marisa Lagos KQED -- 11/27/15

El Niño could be a boon or a blow to California vineyards -- Across California's wine regions, growers are hoping a tenuous cover crop and ample straw will keep their nutrient-rich topsoil in place through what may be the first very wet winter in more than four years. Geoffrey Mohan in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/27/15

More California farmland could vanish as water shortages loom beyond drought -- His almond trees have turned a ghostly gray, and his grapevines are shriveling. After two years without water, Garrett Rajkovich’s farm in western Fresno County is dying. It might never be farmed again. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 11/26/15

Farm recalls produce used in Costco salad linked to E. coli -- Taylor Farms Pacific Inc. of Tracy, California, has recalled a mix of diced celery and onion used in Costco chicken salad and other foods containing celery "out of an abundance of caution," the FDA said in a statement. Olga R. Rodriguez Associated Press -- 11/26/15

Parents Ready for Some Love From Silicon Valley Companies -- Silicon Valley is beginning to admit it isn’t just for young people anymore. Claire Cain Miller in the New York Times$ -- 11/27/15

35 inmates participate in Thanksgiving hunger strike -- More than 30 inmates at two Orange County jails held a hunger strike to protest against the housing of immigrants. Authorities confirmed Thursday that 21 inmates at the Musick Jail near Irvine and 14 at the Theo Lacy Jail in Orange took part. Sean Emery in the Orange County Register -- 11/27/15

Walters: Troubles continue for courts -- There’s nothing more fundamental to a well-functioning society than an efficient, fair court system to resolve civil disputes and criminal cases. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 11/27/15

Trump denies mocking journalist who has disability, demands an apology -- A day after he was widely rebuked for mocking a reporter with a physical disability, business mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump on Thursday denied that he had done so and accused the reporter of “using his disability to grandstand.” Jose A. DelReal in the Washington Post -- 11/27/15

Outrage Mounts Over Trump’s Ridicule of Reporter's Ailment -- While most Americans are elbow-deep in Thanksgiving stuffing, Donald Trump is hip-deep in recriminations after mocking the disability of a New York Times reporter who failed to corroborate the Republican presidential candidate's claim that Muslims in New Jersey cheered the toppling of the World Trade Center. Kathy Kiely Bloomberg Politics -- 11/27/15

San Diego homeless population climbs to fourth highest in the U.S. -- The homeless population in San Diego city and county is now the fourth largest in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nearly 48% of those without housing are sleeping on the streets. Lauryn Schroeder in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

A New Earthquake-Proof Calaveras Dam -- Since July 2010, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been hard at work on one of the biggest engineering projects in the nation, the Hetch Hetchy Water System Improvement Program. At a cost of nearly five billion dollars, the program will seismically upgrade and replace aging infrastructure that brings water from Hetchy Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park, 167 miles away, to the Bay Area. Sheraz Sadiq KQED -- 11/26/15

Unknown bike messenger 'hero' as homeless woman delivers baby on street -- An unidentified bike messenger came to the rescue moments after a homeless woman gave birth to a baby at Market and Sixth streets in San Francisco, a witness said. "He was a hell of a hero," Ayrron Comini said in an interview. "Nobody else stepped up, but he did. He literally took the shirt off his back and took care of that baby." Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/26/15

Bicyclist in Carson hit by L.A. sheriff's patrol car, flies into windshield -- Soon after 6:30 p.m., the bicyclist was pedaling from a strip mall in the 23500 block of Avalon Boulevard onto an open section of the road when a sheriff's cruiser heading south struck him, said sheriff's Lt. Arthur Escamillas. Matt Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Theft of wheelchair from girl without legs met with outpouring of support -- Santa Ana police are trying to track down a special wheelchair used by a 4-year-old girl born without legs that was stolen from outside her home last weekend. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Projects stall after feds allow fish farming in open ocean -- Some 90 percent of seafood consumed by Americans is imported - a fact that the Obama administration vowed to start turning around by expanding fish and shellfish farms into federal waters. Yet nearly two years since the first permit was issued, the United States still has no offshore farms. Julie Watson Associated Press -- 11/26/15

Dick Cheney to Return to Capitol — in Stone -- The cost of the bust, crafted by sculptor William Behrends of Tryon, N.C., is being kept quiet until the contract is finalized sometime next week. But Rules and Administration Committee staff told Roll Call the cost will be consistent with others in the collection, noting Dan Quayle’s bust cost approximately $50,000. Matthew Fleming Roll Call -- 11/27/15

Greenhut: Price for pot freedom is a higher tax bill -- The state’s cannabis industry is learning that its expanding freedoms may come with a stiff price tag. Steven Greenhut in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 11/27/15

California Policy & Politics This Morning   

Native Americans mark Thanksgiving with mixed feelings, and a meal on L.A.'s skid row -- Michael Reifel was 10 years old when his parents' complicated relationship with Thanksgiving started trickling into conversations during the holiday feast. They were grateful for what they had, they would say, "but at the expense of our land." Sarah Parvini in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Bullet train faces new scrutiny after release of report predicting higher costs -- The Los Angeles to San Francisco bullet train is headed for new federal and state scrutiny following disclosure that the project's lead contractor forecast significant cost increases that were not made public. Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

In welcoming Syrian refugees, Rep. Norma Torres sees a bit of herself -- The stories she heard from the Kanjou and Wawieh families, about fleeing the violence of Syria and journeying through Lebanon and Egypt before arriving in Pomona, were familiar. Torres came from war-torn Guatemala to live with an uncle in Los Angeleswhen she was five years old. Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Feinstein turns to Obama to protect California desert -- Standing in 97-degree heat before a rowdy crowd of nearly 1,000 people last month at the Whitewater Preserve north of Palm Springs, Sen. Dianne Feinstein made clear that she will do whatever is necessary to protect California desert. Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/26/15

Skelton: Despite California's budget surplus, unions eye tax hikes -- Here is one thing for California to be thankful for: The state treasury is overflowing with tax money. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Walters: State still owes one huge debt -- When Jerry Brown returned to the governorship in 2011, he pledged to clean up the state’s finances and pay off a “wall of debt.” Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 11/26/15

Sentencing postponed again in CalPERS bribery case -- Fred Buenrostro, who pleaded guilty in July 2014 to accepting bribes, was supposed to be sentenced Dec. 10 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 11/26/15

Pass rate for summer California bar exam hits historic low: under 47% -- For the second year in a row, the percentage of people who successfully took the summer California bar exam fell to a historic low, with less than 47% passing, according to state statistics. Jason Song in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Child dies 10 years after violent shaking; babysitter charged with murder -- A man who is serving eight years in prison for drugs and theft could face decades more behind bars if Orange County prosecutors can prove his girlfriend's daughter died because he violently shook her a decade ago, authorities said Wednesday. Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Jerry Brown has stern words, flash drives for Republicans challenging climate rules -- Continuing to lambaste climate change skeptics as he prepares to attend a global climate summit in Paris, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday chided the attorneys general of Texas and West Virginia for seeking to convey to world leaders their opposition to new federal emissions rules. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee Chris Jennewein Times of San Diego -- 11/26/15

Super PACs for candidates can enrich consultants -- Before he entered the race for the White House, Ben Carson signed on to a campaign to raise money to fight Obamacare. When Juanita McMillon saw his name, she was eager to get out her checkbook. Joseph Tanfani and Maloy Moore in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Gun used to kill Oakland muralist traced to ICE agents’ car -- A federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer’s gun — stolen from his rental car in San Francisco — was used 16 days later in the Oakland slaying of a popular muralist, authorities confirmed Wednesday. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/26/15

California demands fixes for 16,000 more VW cars -- California air quality regulators on Wednesday demanded a recall of up to 16,000 additional Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesels as the Volkswagen emissions scandal widened. Associated Press -- 11/26/15

Moreno Valley leaders OK initiatives in favor of 40-million-square-foot warehouse project -- Moreno Valley city leaders on Tuesday voted to adopt measures that would help insulate a 40-million-square-foot warehouse project from environmental legal challenges. Paloma Esquivel in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

L.A. County supervisors choose Mitch Katz to head health agency -- Los Angeles County supervisors have officially announced that Dr. Mitch Katz, who heads the county hospital system, will run a new health super-agency that contains the hospital system and the departments of mental health and public health. Abby Sewell in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Billionaire Sumner Redstone unable to make decisions, says lawsuit by ex-girlfriend -- bitter battle to control the fortune of ailing billionaire Sumner Redstone escalated Wednesday when the media mogul's ex-girlfriend filed a lawsuit alleging that he is mentally impaired and unable to make decisions. Meg James in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Abcarian: The inevitable legalization of pot sets off a new California Gold Rush -- Robert Gaither is a 39-year-old former salesman, a teddy bear of a guy with a full brown beard that makes him look a little like a mountain man. Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions      

New deal with Madera County brings Chukchansi hotel-casino closer to reopening -- Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, closed almost 14 months, is a step closer to reopening – potentially as soon as three or four weeks – after the tribe and Madera County supervisors approved a change in their agreement to improve public safety. Marc Benjamin in the Fresno Bee -- 11/26/15

California tourism groups worried about changes to visa program -- The head of a group representing California tourism organizations says she is concerned that the state’s more than $117-billion annual tourism industry could be hurt by a plan to change a visa program following the Paris terror attacks. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15


Cellphones make a comeback in the classroom, with teachers' support -- Farinas wanted to flip the script: Rather than reprimanding her students for using their phones, she wanted to put them to work as a learning tool. She is among a growing number of teachers who are instructing students to use their phones to conduct research, listen to music, calculate math problems or photograph assignments. Daniela Gerson in the Los Angeles Times -- 11/26/15


California road suddenly buckles creating roadway mess -- A stretch of road suddenly buckled last week in Santa Clarita, Calif. Within a period of only three hours Vasquez Canyon Road became undriveable with hills and massive cracks. The upheaval of soil also disrupted power lines that are now leaning haphazardly over the roadway. Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/25/


Obstacles imperil budget deal -- Congressional leaders face several hurdles to getting a budget deal done by the Dec. 11 deadline, including a fight over health funding that is holding up the omnibus spending package. There’s also a battle brewing over dozens of policy riders aimed at Wall Street and environmental regulations that Republicans insist should be included in the legislation but Democrats warn could lead to a government shutdown. Alexander Bolton The Hill -- 11/26/15

Lagging behind Clinton in 2016 bid, Sanders boosts staff, spending -- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is boosting the size of his campaign staff and increasing state budgets in his challenge against the frontrunner for the party's nomination, Hillary Clinton. Erin McPike Reuters -- 11/26/15