Rough & Tumble ®
A Snapshot of California Public Policy and Politics


Updating . . .

Kevin McCarthy to resign from Congress at end of December -- Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Wednesday he will step down from Congress at the end of the year, leaving the House GOP with an even slimmer majority until a special election to fill his seat can be held. Juliegrace Brufke Axios Erin B. Logan in the Los Angeles Times$ Shira Stein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Michael R. Blood Associated Press Kristina Peterson in the Wall Street Journal$ Mariana Alfaro, Jacqueline Alemany, Leigh Ann Caldwell in the Washington Post$ -- 12/6/23

Who will replace Bakersfield Republican Kevin McCarthy in Congress? Here are possible candidates -- McCarthy, 58, has had the good fortune of representing one of the most conservative congressional districts in a state dominated by Democrats. Former President Trump won the district by a near 2-to-1 margin over President Biden in 2020. So whoever voters pick might stick around for a while. Phil Willon, Mackenzie Mays in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

Kevin McCarthy isn’t the only Californian who is miserable in Congress -- Why do a soul-crushing job with a 3,000-mile commute when you could do literally anything else? Californians who’ve left Congress say they don’t miss it at all. Cameron Joseph in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

Norman Lear, Whose Comedies Changed the Face of TV, Is Dead at 101 -- As the producer of “All in the Family” and many other shows, Mr. Lear showed that it was possible to be topical, funny and immensely popular. Richard Severo, Peter Keepnews in the New York Times$ Louis Bayard in the Washington Post$ -- 12/6/23

Planned Parenthood sues Fontana, citing Proposition 1 protection of abortion access -- In his 30 years of leading Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, Jon Dunn said he never had to resort to legal action to get a new facility built — until now. Jeremy Childs in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

This former presidential candidate will head S.F.-based Latino Community Foundation -- Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, a 2020 presidential candidate, will head the nation’s largest Latino-serving foundation starting in 2024, the foundation announced Wednesday. Aldo Toledo, Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23

How well is your legislator representing you? -- With few strict rules on what California lawmakers must do, politics, policy priorities and personal preferences determine how much they follow the wishes of voters who put them into office. Sameea Kamal CalMatters -- 12/6/23

Will Steve Garvey leave the dugout? -- The Los Angeles Dodgers legend has done little to get his GOP Senate bid off the ground. Lara Korte Politico -- 12/6/23

California cities tackle Israel-Hamas war: Taking a stand or inflaming divisions? -- Debate rages as California city councils take a stand on the Israel-Hamas war. As some champion the resolutions, others say they fan the flames of hate. Andrew J. Campa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

Oakland Educators Plan Unauthorized Teach-in Supporting Palestinians -- The district opposes the event, and some Jewish groups raised concerns about what they saw as bias. Dana Goldstein in the New York Times$ -- 12/6/23


Sacramento State faculty set to strike. Here’s what students, campus community should know -- Sacramento State is next up on the list, with the rolling strike scheduled to reach California’s capital city Thursday. Maya Miller in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/6/23

Health care workers to picket Sutter psychiatric hospital. Here’s why, and what the company says -- Dozens of health care workers will launch a one-day strike Wednesday against the Sutter Center for Psychiatry in Sacramento, even though the company has said it will bar some of them from returning to work on Thursday and Friday. Cathie Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/6/23


Feds calls for sweeping changes in SoCal shipping after huge oil spill -- The NTSB, after a review of the 2021 Orange County oil spill, is pushing for changes in how container ships are anchored off Southern California as well as new safety measures. Grace Toohey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23


L.A. County aims to collect billions more gallons of local water by 2045 -- Over the next two decades, Los Angeles County will collect billions more gallons in water from local sources, especially storm and reclaimed water, shifting from its reliance on other region’s water supplies as the effects of climate change make such efforts less reliable and more expensive. Jaclyn Cosgrove in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23


To save on their mortgages, Bay Area buyers are increasing their down payments -- As interest rates climb, Silicon Valley buyers are putting down an average of 25%. Kate Talerico in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/6/23


Southern California Edison drones – and AI – help mitigate wildfire risk -- Espinosa calls the drones “the Cadillac of tools for getting the job done,” as they can perform about three times as many inspections on a given day. Hunter Lee in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 12/6/23


With ‘conversion switch’ devices, machine guns return to U.S. streets -- A small square block enables guns to fire continuously, and a similar device can be placed inside rifles such as the AR-15 Tom Jackman in the Washington Post$ -- 12/6/23


Google Updates Bard Chatbot With ‘Gemini’ A.I. as It Chases ChatGPT -- After more than eight months of research and development, Google has unveiled its most powerful A.I. so far. But only parts of it are widely available. Cade Metz, Nico Grant in the New York Times$ -- 12/6/23


Lawsuit intensifies spotlight on free speech controversies at UC Berkeley -- Long revered as the birthplace of the free speech movement in the '60s, UC Berkeley now finds itself at the center of a fractious debate about First Amendment protections and religious intolerance amid the unfolding tragedy in the Middle East. Karen D'Souza EdSource -- 12/6/23


L.A. police search for additional cases tied to killings of homeless men -- Authorities across Southern California are reviewing other cases to determine whether a man charged with killing three homeless men and a Los Angeles County employee might be responsible for more slayings, officials said. Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23


Abcarian: Is one $6-billion payout enough punishment for the family that brought us the opioid crisis? -- The Supreme Court will decide whether bankruptcy court can protect the disgraced Sackler family from further lawsuits. Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

‘We failed her.’ Santa Clara County social workers publicly rebuke boss, agency over handling of high-risk kids like baby Phoenix -- In an extraordinary show of force, Santa Clara County social workers spoke out against their own agency Tuesday during a county Board of Supervisors meeting, criticizing leaders for “family preservation” practices that left Phoenix Castro in the care of her father despite drug problems and other red flags that led to the three-month-old San Jose baby’s death. Julia Prodis Sulek, Scooty Nickerson in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/6/23


California Policy and Politics Wednesday

Gavin Newsom won't hold in-person tree lighting, citing protests -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom opted to make the Capitol’s annual tree-lighting ceremony virtual amid safety concerns over protests, his office said Tuesday, prompting harsh criticism from the organizers of a pro-Palestinian rally. Sophia Bollag in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Lara Korte Politico Sophia Bollag -- 12/6/23

Hundreds pack S.F. City Hall as supervisor introduces resolution calling for cease-fire in Israel-Hamas war -- Supervisor Dean Preston introduced the resolution Tuesday. It calls for a cease-fire in Gaza, the release of all hostages and condemns antisemitism and Islamophobia. Aldo Toledo in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23

SoCal to Vegas in two hours? High-speed rail comes closer to reality with $3-billion award -- A high-speed rail project between the Inland Empire and Las Vegas landed a $3-billion federal grant that sets it on track to be open by 2028, in time for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, officials said Tuesday. Rachel Uranga in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

Biden administration pledges $6 billion to a pair of high-speed electric rail routes in the US West -- U.S. senators from California and Nevada said the federal government will give $3 billion for a planned privately-owned route between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area plus another $3.1 billion for an initial segment of California’s publicly-funded effort to eventually connect Los Angeles and San Francisco. Ken Ritter, Adam Beam Associated Press -- 12/6/23

Alameda supe: A's are leaving, Fisher owes $45 million for Coliseum purchase -- John Fisher is about to get some bad news. In the next day or two, the owner of the Oakland Athletics will be getting a phone call from Alameda County Counsel Donna Ziegler. Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23

Leaked document offers glimpse into how Amazon amasses influence in the Inland Empire -- A leaked document shows how Amazon cultivates support from nonprofits and politicians in its fight against environmental regulations and labor organizers in the Inland Empire. Samantha Masunaga, Sam Dean in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

Redondo Beach high school closed after 2nd student brings loaded firearm onto campus -- A 10th-grader was arrested Tuesday after bringing a loaded firearm onto the campus of a Redondo Beach high school, officials say. The same thing happened Monday. Jeremy Childs in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

L.A.’s rodeo ban stirs a cultural backlash. The city still moves to crack down — with these exceptions -- The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban rodeos in the city despite opposition by some in L.A.’s Latino equestrian community, who painted the crackdown as an attack on their culture. Susanne Rust, Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

After Times investigation, L.A. County seeks to add kennels, review policies at animal shelters -- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is seeking to add kennels to the Palmdale Animal Care Center and make them more accessible to visitors following a Times investigation into rising dog euthanasia rates in the Antelope Valley. Alene Tchekmedyian, Alexandra E. Petri in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

GM’s Cruise robotaxi service faces fine in alleged cover-up of San Francisco accident’s severity -- California regulators are alleging a San Francisco robotaxi service owned by General Motors covered up the severity of an accident involving one of its driverless cars, raising the specter they may add a fine to the recent suspension of its California license. Michael Liedtke Associated Press -- 12/6/23

Walters: Successful reading skills upgrade offers a lesson for California politicians -- A new study found that spending $53 million on upgrading the reading skills of third graders had a positive effect. It’s a lesson that politicians should heed. Dan Walters CalMatters -- 12/6/23

McCarthy and Johnson are both conservative Christians. Only one is on the ‘front lines of the culture war’ -- The transition of House speakership from McCarthy, a proud but subdued Christian, to Johnson, a fervently devout evangelical, highlights the religious right’s dominance of the evangelical GOP coalition. Faith E. Pinho in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

Biden is bringing unprecedented diversity to the federal bench, new report says -- Of the 145 federal judges nominated by Biden and confirmed by the Senate as of Nov. 5, 95 have been female and 96 have been Black, Latino, Asian, Native American or multiracial, the Pew Research Center said. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23


Tech layoffs: Silicon Valley financial services company cuts 400 jobs -- Bill, a Silicon Valley company specializing in financial automation software for small and midsize businesses, has revealed plans to reduce its global workforce by 15%, affecting around 400 employees. Aidin Vaziri in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23

SAG-AFTRA members easily ratify new contract after actors’ strike -- The ratification vote, which was expected, marks the end of Hollywood’s extraordinary season of labor discontent that caused widespread disruptions across the film and TV industry. Christi Carras in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

San Diego-based self-driving truck company TuSimple shuts down U.S. operations, lays off 150 -- The action follows more than a year of controversy, including the firing of the company’s CEO. A majority of the workers who will be let go are based in San Diego. Natallie Rocha in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/6/23


“Little ray of hope”: Carbon hot spots discovered near California coast -- Scientists exploring the Northern California Coast have, for the first time, uncovered a treasure trove of carbon compacted on the seafloor — a discovery that may help unravel the ocean’s power to combat climate change. Anthony De Leon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

Avian Flu

250K birds euthanized due to avian flu in Sonoma County, state of emergency declared -- The “highly pathogenic” avian flu was discovered at two commercial poultry farms in the county. Jordan Parker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23

SF Small Business

S.F. will make it easier for small businesses to open in the city -- Breed’s ordinance makes more than 100 changes to the city’s planning code that lift restrictions on the opening of new bars and restaurants in certain neighborhoods, allow greater flexibility in how retail space is used and shorten the amount of time it takes for some new businesses to open, among other things. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23


S.F. supervisor wants to ban ‘dangerous’ landlords from buying rental properties in city -- The proposal was sparked by the recent sale of 800 Divisadero St., an 18-unit residential building near Alamo Square Park that houses the family-owned, half-century-old Eddie’s Cafe on its ground floor, to a landlord who was sentenced to time in prison for soliciting others to burn down a residential hotel he owned in Oakland more than a decade ago. Laura Waxmann in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23

S.F. supervisors pass housing reform package that protects rent-controlled units, pre-1923 homes -- As San Francisco faces a looming state housing deadline that threatens local control and state funding, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a housing reform package that includes protections for rent-controlled units and historic buildings. Aldo Toledo in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23


California judge blocks company from claiming its spray protects homes from wildfires -- A California judge says a company must stop making unfounded claims that its coating-spray product will protect homes from catching fire and burning down during wildfires. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23


Dumped body parts, a missing couple, abandoned kids: Horror, mystery inside Tarzana home -- The family of a Tarzana woman is searching for answers after what was suspected to be her torso was found last month and her husband was arrested in the slaying. Summer Lin, Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23

15-year-old boy gunned down blocks away from his South Gate home -- Daniel Mejia was fatally shot around 8:40 p.m. Thursday while walking home, according to a GoFundMe account created by his family. Karen Garcia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/6/23


How Sacramento Turned Into a Great Restaurant City -- Soaring Bay Area housing prices, a highly diverse community and some of the world’s best produce have been catalysts for the dining scene in California’s capital. Ella Quittner in the New York Times$ -- 12/6/23

New HIV cases are declining in San Francisco, except among Latinos -- Buchbinder said health officials are looking into whether Latino men newly diagnosed with HIV are foreign-born or U.S.-born so they can better understand how to tailor their services for prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23

This is the most expensive home sold this year in the U.S.’ most expensive ZIP code -- A luxurious Silicon Valley home in the nation’s most expensive ZIP code recently fetched $40 million, making it the second-most-expensive publicly listed house sold in the Bay Area so far this year. Jessica Flores in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/6/23


Tuesday Updates

Kamala Harris, the first Black woman in her role, just broke a record held by an outspoken slaveholder -- Vice President Kamala Harris sets a new tiebreaking record previously held by John C. Calhoun, among the fiercest defenders of slavery of his era. Noah Bierman in the Los Angeles Times$ Shira Stein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/5/23

Migrants to California released on San Diego streets -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote today on a request for another $3 million in funding for a welcome center that has helped as many as 800 migrants a day reach their final desired destinations. Lynn La CalMatters -- 12/5/23

California threw a $50 million lifeline to a bankrupt hospital. It’s scrambling to reopen -- Earlier this year, the state created a loan program meant to help struggling hospitals stay afloat and to help reopen Madera County’s only hospital. Almost a year after its closure, Madera continues its search for a buyer or partner. Ana B. Ibarra CalMatters -- 12/5/23

Q&A: Assembly’s Labor committee chair prioritizes women, senior workers -- With nine months’ experience in the Assembly, Liz Ortega will lead the Labor committee after a strike-filled summer and several wins for low-wage workers. Alejandra Reyes-Velarde CalMatters -- 12/5/23

McCarthy and Johnson are both conservative Christians. Only one is on the ‘front lines of the culture war’ -- The transition of House speakership from McCarthy, a proud but subdued Christian, to Johnson, a fervently devout evangelical, highlights the religious right’s dominance of the evangelical GOP coalition. Faith E. Pinho in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/5/23

Moms for Liberty suing Yolo County library, claiming free speech violations at forums -- Yolo County’s Moms for Liberty chapter and conservative groups are suing the county and its library system, alleging their First Amendment rights were abridged by protests against them during events at the Davis library branch. Sam Stanton, Ishani Desai in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/5/23

Silicon Valley’s AI boom collides with a skeptical Sacramento -- Silicon Valley’s freewheeling artificial intelligence industry is about to face its first major policy roadblocks — not in Washington, but in its own backyard. Jeremy B. White Politico -- 12/5/23

Assembly Member Evan Low joins crowded Bay Area House race -- Low, hopes to become the first LGBTQ House member elected from the Bay Area. Ten openly LGBTQ members serve in the House, after former New York Rep. George Santos was expelled last week. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Christopher Cadelago, Melanie Mason Politico Grace Hase in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/5/23

Liz Cheney, outspoken Trump critic, weighs third-party presidential run -- The former congresswoman says she is determined to stop Trump. Other Trump critics think a third-party candidacy could help him. Maeve Reston in the Washington Post$ -- 12/5/23


‘We are not trying to be greedy.’ CSU faculty walk out for higher pay in tough times -- Hundreds of Cal Poly Pomona faculty members crowded on sidewalks near campus entrances, carrying signs that read ‘On strike!’ as they called for higher wages. Debbie Truong in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/5/23


Inside the A.I. Arms Race That Changed Silicon Valley Forever -- ChatGPT’s release a year ago triggered a desperate scramble among tech companies and alarm from some of the people who helped invent it. Karen Weise, Cade Metz, Nico Grant, Mike Isaac in the New York Times$ -- 12/5/23


What makes a Bay Area property ‘historic’? The answer is anything but straightforward -- Historic status has sometimes been used as the method of last resort to prevent redevelopment. Kate Talerico in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/5/23


KIPP to close three L.A.-area charter schools amid low enrollment, opposition -- The move is a stunning setback for a largely successful competitor to traditional public schools, which also will have to respond to enrollment declines. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/5/23


Los Angeles-to-Baltimore drug pipeline behind triple homicide in Porter Ranch, prosecutors say -- After authorities seized $377,000, Travis Reid felt cheated by his cocaine supplier, prosecutors told the jury in closing arguments. Reid’s answer, they say, was to lure his supplier into a drug deal, execute him and steal 10 kilograms of cocaine. Matthew Ormseth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/5/23

Prosecutors drop charges in ‘ghost gun’ case linked to LAPD gang unit scandal -- Los Angeles County prosecutors have dismissed a gun possession charge against a man who was stopped by officers from a gang unit within the LAPD’s Mission Division, one of the first instances of a case being compromised by the department’s latest corruption scandal. Libor Jany in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/5/23


Why some people think California’s cow manure methane plan stinks -- But while boosters say the technology has already helped the industry achieve 22% of its needed emission reductions, the facilities are coming under increasing fire from critics, who say they spew lung-damaging pollution in local communities and seriously undermine the state’s net-zero carbon goals. Tony Briscoe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/5/23


Half a billion: That’s the latest price for a gondola to Dodger Stadium -- In 2018, when the Dodger Stadium gondola was first proposed, the cost was estimated at $125 million. On Monday, an environmental impact report projected the cost at up to $500 million. Bill Shaikin, Rachel Uranga in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/5/23

What could Alaska-Hawaiian airlines merger mean for Bay Area travelers? -- The proposed merger of Alaska and Hawaiian airlines could benefit Bay Area travelers in a number of ways, according to an industry expert. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/5/23