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California legislators want final say on utility bill increases following PG&E’s bankruptcy filing -- California lawmakers would carve out a key role for themselves in the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. under a proposal introduced Friday in the Legislature. Taryn Luna in the Los Angeles Times$ J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/22/19

Amid chaos, the fate of California’s high-speed rail project becomes a shared burden -- Three times in California’s modern era, a governor has found himself stuck trying to rework the plans of a predecessor who hoped to make high-speed rail a reality. Twice, that predecessor was named Jerry Brown. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/22/19

Oakland school strike: Teachers picket, classrooms empty and no end in sight -- Across Oakland, thin trickles of students crossed their striking teachers’ picket lines on Thursday and gathered in libraries, auditoriums and cafeterias, where administrators let them watch public TV and gave them other “enrichment activities.” Ashley McBride, Kimberly Veklerov and Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/22/19

‘Build the Wall’ dinner at Claim Jumper: California Tea Party fights GOP ‘establishment’ -- Tea Party Republicans are getting tired of the California GOP. Coming off a devastating performance in the midterms, some Republicans in California are calling for a full embrace of President Donald Trump, even at a time when the president has contributed to historic Democratic victories across the state. Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/22/19

In some Bay Area cities, making $200,000 a year means you’re middle class -- Middle class incomes in some Bay Area cities are among the fastest growing in the country, but the definition of middle class in the region is reaching staggering levels. Leonardo Castañeda in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/22/19

California charter schools facing new oversight under fast track legislation -- At the urging of Gov. Gavin Newsom, a bill that will require charter schools to be more accountable and transparent is making its way swiftly through the legislature and may be the first of several bills seeking to tighten oversight of charter schools. Diana Lambert EdSource -- 2/22/19

 

California Policy & Politics This Morning  

PG&E says splitting utility would improve wildfire safety, but there’s a downside --Driven into bankruptcy by runaway wildfire claims, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says splitting the utility in two would increase customer safety but raises the possibility of higher rates. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/22/19

California Republicans hope their next leader can make them relevant again -- The California Republican Party has never been less relevant. It has no statewide elected officials. It’s a super-minority in the Legislature. Only 1 in 4 registered voters belongs to it. And the state’s entire GOP House delegation can fit in a minivan. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/22/19

California GOP’s next leader needs to raise money — fast -- There’s at least one thing California Republicans can still agree on: To recover from brutal midterm election losses, they need to raise a lot more money. Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/22/19

Critical choice for California GOP: Which door—if any—leads to revival? -- This political convention has the distinct feel of an intervention. As California Republican delegates descend on Sacramento this weekend to elect a new party chair, rally what’s left of the troops and talk Election 2020, many will be pondering—and likely fiercely debating—a much bigger question: What now? Ben Christopher Calmatters -- 2/22/19

Key Leadership Posts Remain Unfilled Six Weeks After California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Inauguration -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom campaigned on promises to build a single-payer health care system and 3.5 million new homes. But more than six weeks into his administration — and 15 weeks after his election — he has yet to appoint the cabinet secretaries or department heads who will lead those ambitious initiatives. Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 2/22/19

Preparing to draw lines for Election 2022 -- One election is a fading memory and another is year away. What better time to prepare for the vote in 2022? That’s what California State Auditor Elaine Howle is doing. Dan Morain Calmatters -- 2/22/19

Liccardo under fire over previously undisclosed downtown condo property near Google development -- The condo, owned by his wife, raises questions about votes on Google’s downtown development. Thy Vo in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/22/19

Political Breakdown: Sam Liccardo on His Early California Roots, Bringing Google to San Jose, and High-Speed Rail -- President Trump jumps into the controversy over California's high-speed rail system, and Marisa and Scott preview the weekend's California Republican convention. Link here -- 2/22/19

National Enquirer’s biggest investors include California taxpayers and state workers -- The National Enquirer has been one of President Trump’s most controversial allies, delivering scathing coverage of his opponents to supermarket checkout lines and funneling $150,000 to one of his alleged mistresses to buy her silence. So it will probably come as a surprise to many California state employees and taxpayers to learn they were helping fund those efforts. Matt Pearce in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/22/19

Kamala Harris’ call-them-out Twitter strategy -- When it comes to online conspiracy theories, Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign follows the old mantra: Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Tal Kopan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/22/19

California attorney general says police transparency law should apply to older incidents -- A landmark new police transparency law should apply to internal investigations of officer shootings and misconduct cases that occurred before this year, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra argues in a new court document. Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/22/19

Taylor: California bill seeks to update outdated 1872 law on when police can shoot -- Three days before Willie McCoy, a young black man, was fatally shot on Feb. 9 by six officers from the Vallejo Police Department, a bill that would update a law that astoundingly hasn’t been changed in almost 150 years was introduced in the Assembly. Otis R. Taylor Jr. in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/22/19

Southern California doctors arrested in opioid prescription crackdown -- A yearlong investigation by federal drug agents has resulted in criminal charges against several physicians and other healthcare providers accused of writing bogus prescriptions or selling painkillers and other drugs on the black market. Joel Rubin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/22/19

Physician sues lab for not releasing blood results of residents near 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak -- A Porter Ranch physician has filed a lawsuit against a clinical laboratory a few months after launching a study that examines levels of cancer-causing chemicals in the blood of many residents who live near the site of the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak. Olga Grigoryants in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 2/22/19

Big Pharma companies sue CalPERS, state prisons to block disclosure of drug prices -- CalPERS could be on the hook for attorneys’ fees after a Los Angeles County judge ruled that pharmaceutical companies don’t have to publicly disclose plans to raise drug prices, according to information CalPERS’ legal office is presenting to its Board of Administration this week. Wes Venteicher in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/22/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

H-1B spouse work ban pushed ahead by Homeland Security -- A planned employment ban for an estimated 100,000 spouses of H-1B visa holders has moved ahead with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sending the proposed new rule to the Office of Management and Budget. Ethan Baron in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/22/19

San Francisco Mayor London Breed forms group to keep Warriors’ Chase Center opening on track -- While Golden State Warriors fans fixate on this year’s playoff run, San Francisco Mayor London Breed is looking ahead to next season — the first the NBA team will play in the brand-new Chase Center arena in Mission Bay. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/22/19

Tesla’s Model 3 loses Consumer Reports’ recommendation -- Tesla picked up a flat tire Thursday after Consumer Reports said that it would no longer recommend the company’s Model 3 sedan due to numerous owner complaints about the electric car’s reliability. Shares in the electric car maker fell almost 4 percent. Rex Crum in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/22/19

This Fortune 500 healthcare company just landed in Sacramento, and promises 2,000 new jobs -- Four years ago, then-Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the city established what they called an Innovation and Growth Fund. The goal: Compete for new businesses with higher wage jobs by offering cash and other incentives. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/22/19

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

Berkeley’s sugary soda consumption plummeted after tax, study says -- Berkeley residents cut their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by half in the three years after passing a soda tax in 2014, according to a UC Berkeley study that is among the first to document a long-term change in drinking habits from a citywide levy. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/22/19

To shore up Obamacare in California, Newsom wants to try an individual mandate -- Newsom and his legislative allies say they want the state-level mandate to work the same way as the federal one. The goal is to encourage enough healthy people to buy coverage to offset costs from those who need expensive care. Sophia Bollag, Michael Finch II and Sammy Caiola, The USC Center for Health Journalism Collaborative -- 2/22/19

Transit  

What happens if Trump takes back high-speed rail funds? -- If the railroad authority makes good on its threat to withdraw the $929 million, the authority will need to craft a plan for how to keep construction on schedule to meet its 2022 deadline or otherwise find money elsewhere to fill the funding gap. Erin Baldassari in the East Bay Times -- 2/22/19

Cannabis 

Cannabis Leaders Say California's Recreational Pot Market Faltering -- Leaders in the cannabis industry say California’s recreational marijuana market is not working. On Thursday, a group of them sent Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration a list of recommendations on how to fix it. Katie Orr KQED -- 2/22/19

Immigration, Border, Deportation 

Access to attorneys may be additional challenge for asylum seekers 'remaining in Mexico' -- Many of the asylum seekers returned to Tijuana to wait for their U.S. immigration court cases under a recent Trump administration policy may face those hearings without lawyers to help them. Kate Morrissey in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/22/19

San Diego Judge Considers Expanding Migrant Family Reunification Case -- A federal judge in San Diego plans to rule within the next few days on whether to expand a family separation case at the U.S.-Mexico border to include potentially thousands more migrant children who may need to be reunified. Jean Guerrero KPBS Kristina Davis in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/22/19

Trump plan fails to cut immigration court backlog, as caseload soars more than 26% -- The Trump administration's controversial plan to shrink the ballooning backlog of immigration cases by pushing judges to hear more cases has failed, according to the latest data, with the average wait for an immigration hearing now more than two years. Molly O'Toole in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/22/19

Judge decides that twin son of binational gay couple entitled to birthright U.S. citizenship -- A federal judge decided Thursday that a twin son of a binational gay couple, who was denied U.S. citizenship because he does not share a blood relationship with his American father, has been a U.S. citizen since birth. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/22/19

Man who shot at Napa County deputy had been deported three times, authorities say -- A man who opened fire on a Napa County sheriff’s deputy standing outside his car window during a traffic stop was in the U.S. illegally and had been deported three times, authorities said. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/22/19

ACLU asks judge to order Trump administration to determine how many children were separated from their parents at border -- The American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge on Thursday to order the Trump administration to account for all migrant children who were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, after a government watchdog reported that officials might have split “thousands” more children from their families than they had previously disclosed. Maria Sacchetti and Tony Perry in the Washington Post$ -- 2/22/19

Education 

Oakland teachers strike for better pay, many students stay away from class -- Teachers demanding better pay started a strike Thursday that’s expected to continue Friday and possibly longer, forming picket lines at dozens of Oakland public schools, which few students crossed to attend classes held by fill-in educators and administrators. Ali Tadayon, David DeBolt, Angela Ruggiero, Annie Sciacca and Joseph Geha in the East Bay Times -- 2/22/19

Teachers’ strike fueled by Bay Area housing crisis: ‘They can't afford Oakland’ -- California’s housing crisis collided with its school funding crisis Thursday, as Oakland teachers went on strike for smaller classes, more nurses and counselors in the schools and wages that will allow them to live in the increasingly expensive San Francisco Bay Area. Maria L. La Ganga and Anita Chabria in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/22/19

This Semester Sacramento State Students Can Take A Driverless Shuttle To Class -- The university is the first in the state to have a driverless shuttle after winning a Sacramento-area competition put on by Arizona-based Local Motors, which produces the vehicles. Randol White Capital Public Radio -- 2/22/19

Oakland school rebuild means construction disruption to angry neighbors -- For months, Sandra Montgomery has watched from her backyard in Oakland as construction workers demolish and rebuild Glenview Elementary School. Close to “ground zero,” her house is consistently enveloped by a cloud of dust from construction. Sarah Ravani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/22/19

Also . . . 

State Senate Republicans ask for review of ‘sanctuary’ laws in Newman cop killing -- State Senate Republicans are asking the Attorney General’s Office to determine whether local and state law enforcement agencies were prevented by California’s so-called “sanctuary state” laws from communicating with federal immigration officials in regards to the fatal shooting of Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh. Rosalio Ahumada in the Modesto Bee$ -- 2/22/19

Vallejo police who killed Willie McCoy will return to duty next week -- The six Vallejo police officers who shot 20-year-old Willie McCoy in the drive-through of a Taco Bell restaurant are all expected to be back on full duty by next week, department spokesman Sgt. Jeff Tai confirmed Thursday to this newspaper. John Glidden, Nate Gartrell in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/22/19

Snow in Orange County? Check out these 10 photos -- Michele Cardon in the Orange County Register -- 2/22/19

POTUS 45  

Hogan rips RNC for shielding Trump from primary challenge -- Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday he expects to make a springtime trip to New Hampshire as he weighs a 2020 challenge to Donald Trump — and accused the Republican National Committee of going to extraordinary lengths to shield the president from a potentially draining primary. Alex Isenstadt Politico -- 2/22/19

 

-- Thursday Updates 

IRS worker in San Francisco illegally leaked records of Trump fixer Michael Cohen, prosecutors say -- A San Francisco Internal Revenue Service analyst illegally accessed the financial records of Michael Cohen — President Trump’s former fixer — and leaked them to a Southern California attorney, who then passed on the documents to reporters for bombshell reports that revealed Cohen had set up an illegal shell company, federal prosecutors said Thursday. Gwendolyn Wu in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/21/19

Trump administration begins effort to strip work permits for immigrant spouses -- After nearly two years of delays, the Trump administration is moving ahead with its plan to stop granting work permits to the spouses of many high-skilled visa holders, an effort that could jeopardize tens of thousands of immigrants families in California alone. Tal Kopan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/21/19

Snow comes to L.A., with powder in Malibu, Pasadena, West Hollywood -- It was that kind of day in some parts of Southern California, which saw snow level plunge to extremely low levels and creating a winter wonderland, at least for a minutes. Snow fell in Malibu, Pasadena, West Hollywood, Northridge, San Bernardino and Thousand Oaks and other unexpected places. Hannah Fry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/21/19

Can Gavin Newsom put California high-speed rail back on track? It may be up to Trump -- It’s survived cost overruns, lengthy delays and a public scolding from the new governor. Now California’s controversial high-speed rail project faces what may be its toughest test yet: presidential opposition. Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/21/19

Trump’s plan to take back $2.5 billion in California’s high-speed rail funding ‘unprecedented’ -- The Trump administration’s decision to cancel a $929-million grant to California’s troubled high-speed rail project and claw back $2.5 billion in funds already spent has thrust the federal government into uncharted legal territory and poses an existential threat to the state’s largest investment ever. Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/21/19

Trump's War on California -- It's undoubtedly a blue-state bastion. But far from being a socialist hellhole, the Golden State is thriving after years of malaise. Michael Grunwald Politico -- 2/21/19

Trump’s EPA halts talks with Gavin Newsom administration on clean cars, climate change -- The Trump administration Thursday broke off negotiations with California over limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars, blaming state officials for failing to offer “a productive alternative” to the White House’s plans. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ Timothy Puko and Alex Leary in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 2/21/19

Oakland teachers go on strike, demand pay raises -- Teachers in Oakland, California, went on strike Thursday, part of an ongoing national wave of discontent by educators over classroom conditions, pay and other issues. Recent walkouts have taken place in West Virginia, Los Angeles and Denver. Jocelyn Gecker and Olga R. Rodriguez Associated Press Ali Tadayon, Jon Kawamoto, Joseph Geha, Annie Sciacca and Angela Ruggiero in the East Bay Times Ashley McBride in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/21/19

2020 Democrats Embrace Race-Conscious Policies, Including Reparations -- Last week, Senator Kamala Harris of California agreed with a radio host’s recent suggestion that government reparations for black Americans were necessary to address the legacies of slavery and discrimination. Ms. Harris later affirmed that support in a statement to The Times. Astead W. Herndon in the New York Times$ -- 2/21/19

California Democrats to Congress: Don’t bulldoze our privacy law -- Congressional efforts to pass a national data privacy law could face a major obstacle: California's powerful bloc of House Democrats. Cristiano Lima and John Hendel Politico -- 2/21/19

Facebook decided which users are interested in Nazis — and let advertisers target them directly -- Facebook makes money by charging advertisers to reach just the right audience for their message — even when that audience is made up of people interested in the perpetrators of the Holocaust or explicitly neo-Nazi music. Sam Dean in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/21/19

Embattled California DMV gets its third director in just 32 days -- The California Department of Motor Vehicles has gone through two directors in just over a month. The latest leadership shake-up came on Jan. 30, when acting director Kathleen Webb replaced acting director Bill Davidson, who had replaced permanent director Jean Shiomoto on Dec. 31, 2018. Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/21/19

You kill it, you grill it? New California bill would let drivers legally eat roadkill -- You’re driving down the road at night when, out of nowhere, a deer jumps in front of your car. It doesn’t survive. It’d be a shame to let all that meat go to waste, right? That’s the thinking behind Senate Bill 395, sponsored by Sen. Bob J. Archuleta, D-Montebello. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/21/19

Vallejo officer in Willie McCoy shooting killed another man in 2018 -- A Vallejo police officer involved in the Feb. 9 fatal shooting of Willie McCoy also shot and killed another man nearly a year earlier, according to public records. Gwendolyn Wu in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/21/19

Law center says 83 hate groups in California; US level highest in 2 decades -- The number of hate groups in the United States, particularly white nationalist groups, rose in 2018 for the fourth consecutive year, according to a report released Wednesday Feb. 20 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights watchdog group. Deepa Bharath in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/21/19

California 17-year-olds would get the vote under pair of state bills -- More high school students could be headed to the polls under a pair of bills that would clear the way for California 17-year-olds to vote. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/21/19