• School Inoovation and Achievement
  • School Inoovation and Achievement

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Three California House members cross party lines on spending bill to keep government open -- Democratic Reps. Jim Costa of Fresno and Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert joined the majority of Republicans to vote for the bill. Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of Alpine joined Democrats to vote against it. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Bill to give California aid from destructive fires passes in the House -- The House passed an $81 billion disaster aid bill Thursday with the help of some California Democrats torn between their displeasure with the GOP-designed bill and their obligation to help their state recover from this winter’s destructive firestorms. Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/21/17

Trump official sought to block abortion for a 17-year-old rape victim -- E. Scott Lloyd, the anti-abortion activist who heads the Trump administration’s refugee resettlement program, tried to prevent a 17-year-old rape victim in federal detention from getting an abortion, according to court documents. David G. Savage in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Evacuation orders lifted in Santa Barbara County as crews tame massive Thomas fire -- Authorities lifted all evacuation orders in Santa Barbara County on Thursday morning as fire crews continued to slow the spread of the massive Thomas fire. Gusty winds continued to wash over Southern California but had little effect on the efforts of firefighters to contain the massive Thomas fire burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Javier Panzar, Michael Livingston and Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Southern California waiting on Trump to declare ‘major disaster’ after ‘catastrophic’ fire season -- Southern California officials were awaiting a response today from President Donald Trump to Gov. Jerry Brown’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration that would bolster recovery efforts from wildfires that have burned across the region. The item is in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ -- 12/21/17

As Congress grapples with spending bill, Pelosi shoots back at Trump -- After President Trump attempted to pin blame on Democrats on Thursday for a looming government shutdown, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced she had breaking news. “The Republicans control Congress,” the San Francisco Democrat said. “They control the House. They have the votes to keep the government open. They don’t need us to keep the government open. We have never been about shutting the government down.” Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/21/17

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is under pressure over a fix for 'Dreamers' -- California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is under pressure from activists and fellow Democrats to withhold support for a spending bill that would avert a government shutdown in exchange for protections for people brought to the country illegally as children. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Poll: Dianne Feinstein Vulnerable to Insurgent Democrats in 2018 -- Six years after receiving the most popular votes in any senatorial election in U.S. history, the five-term Democrat has seen sliding favorability ratings as liberals in the Golden State hammer her for not being tough enough standing up to President Donald Trump. Griffin Connolly Roll Call -- 12/21/17

Newsom, Feinstein continue to lead in gubernatorial and Senate contests -- Californians could see two Democrat-on-Democrat contests in the state’s premier races in 2018, according to a new poll released Thursday. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell won’t run for mayor -- In an email to his supporters, Farrell cited a desire to spend more time with his wife and three young children. “The timing is simply not right for our family, and I will always put them first,” he said. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/21/17

Poll Finds Low Recognition Of California Senate, Gubernatorial Candidates -- A new poll finds California Senator Dianne Feinstein in a weaker position for reelection than its creators expected. The Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll shows Feinstein leading her fellow Democrat, state Senate leader Kevin de León, by a margin of 41 percent to 27 percent. That’s even though most voters don’t know who de León is. Ben Bradford Capital Public Radio -- 12/21/17

California legislative leaders vow to release more sexual harassment records -- As sexual harassment scandals multiply in Sacramento, state legislative leaders are promising to release more details about harassment claims and investigations — even as questions remain about how far any new transparency will go. Casey Tolan in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/21/17

Pot is about to be legal in California—will you get what you thought you voted on? -- California is days away from launching a legal marketplace for adults to buy and sell recreational marijuana. On Jan. 1, the state will carry through on a vision voters endorsed by passing Proposition 64 last year. Laurel Rosenhall Calmatters.org -- 12/21/17

California’s ‘green rush’ cranks up -- The flood gates are about to open for California’s new commercial cannabis industry, as the state rushes to issue temporary licenses for businesses looking to open on Jan. 1. Felicia Alvarez Capitol Weekly -- 12/21/17

Why This L.A. City Could Be the Next ‘Mecca’ for Pot Businesses -- On a recent Saturday morning, about 200 people walked among rows of folding tables on an indoor basketball court in the South L.A. city of Lynwood. They shook hands with business owners wearing company-branded shirts. They asked about open positions, took brochures and wrote down contact information. David Wagner KQED -- 12/21/17

Emergency ordinance bans marijuana use in San Bernardino for 45 days -- The ordinance – adopted by the body after hearing 10 public speakers, some for, some against the temporary ban – buys the city time while it awaits a Dec. 28 court decision on the validity of Measure O, the voter-approved ballot measure requiring the city to allow dispensaries in certain areas around town. Brian Whitehead in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ -- 12/21/17

More than 20 undocumented teens ordered released after feds fail to prove gang affiliation -- Weeks after a federal judge ruled that undocumented teens jailed in Yolo County and elsewhere must be given access to judicial hearings if the government wants to keep them incarcerated, 22 of them have been ordered released. Stephen Magagnini in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/21/17

PG&E's stock dives after it suspends dividend, citing potential wildfire liabilities -- Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s stock took a dive Thursday after the utility company announced it will suspend quarterly cash dividends on its common stock, citing uncertainty over potential liabilities associated with the October wildfires in Northern California. Tracey Lien in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/21/17

L.A.'s increasingly hot and dry autumns result in 'these near-apocalyptic fires' -- For weather experts, autumn in Southern California is “the great race.” The severity of the fall fire season is often determined by what arrives first — the fierce Santa Ana winds or the rains. This year, however, it’s been no contest. Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Wells Fargo says raises were not linked to tax bill passage — then backtracks -- Wells Fargo & Co.’s move to raise its minimum pay to $15 an hour was part of a long-term plan and not related to the passage of the Republican tax overhaul as the company implied, said a bank spokesman, who later backtracked and stated the hikes were in fact a result of the bill’s approval. Jim Puzzanghera and James Rufus Koren in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Fox: CA Treasury May Gain from Federal Tax Cut -- The federal tax cut bill could enrich the California treasury initially. Yes, this is the bill that Jerry Brown called a monstrosity. Yes, this is the bill that the recent UC Berkeley IGS poll found California voters opposed by 51% to 30%. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 12/21/17

The Republican tax bill will make it harder for states and cities to pay their bills -- Much has been made of the GOP’s willingness to expand the deficit in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. But that’s not the only once-cherished Republican tenet abandoned in the tax proposal and other recent GOP initiatives. Andrea Louise Campbell in the Washington Post$ -- 12/21/17

Sinclair Broadcast Group is fined $13 million by FCC for failing to identify sponsored programming -- The FCC has leveled a $13.4-million fine against Sinclair Broadcast Group for failing to identify sponsored content that aired on its TV stations. Stephen Battaglio in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Border groom passes federal background check, turns out to be convicted drug smuggler -- When Brian Houston wedded his Mexican fiancé in a surprise ceremony during a rare opening of the steel gate on the U.S.-Mexico border fence last month, he said it was because he could not cross into Tijuana. Now we know why. Kristina Davis in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/21/17

Smolens: How Issa could benefit from bucking the GOP on tax bill -- Rep. Darrell Issa didn’t take one for the team this time. Michael Smolens in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/21/17



California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Your choice for California governor could depend on how much you make -- Wealthier, white voters and people from the Bay Area like Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Los Angeles residents tend to prefer their former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who also gets support from households of modest means and Latinos. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/21/17

Barbara Boxer’s PAC blasts California Republicans for their ‘yes’ tax vote -- A new attack ad launched Wednesday targets California Republicans who voted in favor of the GOP tax overhaul, seen as overwhelmingly unpopular among California voters. Angela Hart in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/21/17

Skelton: The Republican tax plan is a victory for the Democrats — maybe -- Republicans won the tax fight in Congress by overpowering Democrats. Now the battle begins to retain that power in next year’s elections. Their celebrated victory could cost them control of the House. Theoretically anyway. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Gov. Jerry Brown requests a major disaster declaration for SoCal wildfires -- The wind-driven blazes, which ravaged neighborhoods from San Diego County to Santa Barbara County, destroyed more than 1,000 homes and forced more than 200,000 people to flee. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Walters: Community colleges needed to close degree gap -- California’s looming shortage of college-educated workers has been well-documented, particularly in a series of reports by the Public Policy Institute of California. Dan Walters Calmatters.org -- 12/21/17

Kevin de León to Feinstein: 'Don't come back' to California without forcing a government shutdown over Dream Act -- Taking direct criticism to the woman he is attempting to unseat in next year’s U.S. Senate race, California Senate leader Kevin de León on Wednesday urged Democrats to block a year-end spending bill as leverage to pass a Dream Act — “clean” of GOP demands for increased border security. Jazmine Ulloa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Is Dianne Feinstein losing her grip on California Senate seat? -- She is one of California’s most recognizable politicians, an icon in the Democratic Party, and the second longest-serving U.S. senator in Golden State history. But a new poll is raising the volume of one of the most intriguing questions in political circles from here to Capitol Hill: Is Dianne Feinstein losing her ironclad grip on her Senate seat? Casey Tolan in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/21/17

In Races for Governor and U.S. Senate, It’s the Incredible Shrinking Republicans -- If trends in the new Berkeley/IGS survey hold, California voters will have to choose between two Democrats running for governor in the November 2018 election. Scott Shafer KQED -- 12/21/17

Rep. Zoe Lofgren loses race to lead Democrats on Judiciary Committee -- Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) lost a vote Tuesday to become the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee The House Democratic Caucus, by a 118-72 tally, instead picked Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) to replace outgoing Rep. John Conyers Jr. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Supervisor Jane Kim takes first step to run for San Francisco mayor -- San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim signaled her intent to enter the 2018 mayoral race Wednesday, requesting nomination papers from the city’s Department of Elections. Kim, a stalwart progressive as a supervisor, has long been rumored to be considering a bid for the mayor’s office. She was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2010. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/21/17

Strategies Emerge In 24 State Lawsuits Against Trump Administration -- States, including California, say the agency does not have authority to simply stop enforcing a rule already on its books. Under the Administrative Procedure Act, a 1946 law guiding how the executive branch regulates companies and implements laws, federal agencies generally must follow a lengthy process to change rules, including holding public hearings and accepting comment. Ben Bradford Capital Public Radio -- 12/21/17

As sexual misconduct case deepens, accusers worry deputy is being protected -- As a sexual-misconduct case deepens within the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department — a 10th woman has come forward with a legal claim against the county — three alleged victims are publicly raising questions about why the accused lawman has not been arrested. Jeff McDonald in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/21/17

Kasparian steps down from Democratic committee amid sexual harassment allegations -- Labor leader and political kingmaker Mickey Kasparian has resigned from the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee — a week after a new lawsuit accused him of sexual assault. Joshua Stewart in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/21/17

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

California health insurance premiums expected to rise under Republican tax plan -- Despite successfully beating back Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the future of the federal health care law appears uncertain after congressional Democrats were unable to defeat a provision of the GOP tax plan that dismantles the foundation on which Obamacare is built. Angela Hart in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/21/17

A guide to paying your property taxes early — before the new tax law kicks in -- The $1.5-trillion Republican tax plan headed to President Trump’s desk puts new limits on how much households can deduct in state and local taxes if they itemize. Andrew Khouri in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Commercial property industry is in a 'good place' with latest tax legislation, analyst says -- Analyst Spencer Levy has tracked the latest tax legislation through Congress, keeping a watchful eye on its potential impact on people who invest and work in the commercial real estate industry, a multitrillion-dollar driver of the U.S. economy. Roger Vincent in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Tax bill simplifies filing for some but complicates it for others — and don't count on that postcard -- But as the tax legislation worked its way through Congress and now heads to Trump’s desk, that postcard has largely disappeared — it was nowhere to be seen at Wednesday’s White House celebration — as have many of the changes that were designed to simplify the federal tax code. Jim Puzzanghera in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Risk for middle class: That GOP tax cuts could fade away -- Two features in the tax bill — a child tax credit and a $10,000 limit on state and local tax deductions — won't adjust to keep pace with inflation, thereby reducing their value each year. What's more, the individual tax cuts are set to expire after 2025. And once the individual tax rates revert to their former levels, a stingier inflation gauge would raise taxes for most households. Josh Boak Associated Press -- 12/21/17

A quick look at some of the biggest tax changes for Californians -- Congressional Republicans are framing their tax cut bill as a Christmas gift that will give Americans an average tax cut of $2,059. For Californians, especially in the wealthier areas along the coast, the situation isn’t as clear cut. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Ted Cruz on tax overhaul: Everyone's taxes going down except some 'rich people in Manhattan and San Francisco -- The GOP lawmaker made the remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday in a speech supporting Republicans' sweeping tax overhaul plan, considered to be the most comprehensive rewrite of the nation's tax laws in more than 30 years. The bill cleared the House on Tuesday and the Senate early Wednesday. Michelle Robertson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/21/17

‘Loaded with ornaments.’ These Californians view GOP tax plan as a Christmas gift -- Business owners and economists said the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts should produce a surge in capital investment and improve job growth. Corporate income taxes will be reduced drastically, and there’s a special tax break for small-business owners. The bill also will cut taxes for businesses that invest in new plant and equipment. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/21/17

Back in the Valley, GOP tax bill gets approval from farmers and businesses -- The bill would lower the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, down from 35 percent, which is welcomed by business owners who are incorporated. Carl Carlsen, the owner of Western Ag & Turf in Madera, said he’s complained many times about the amount he pays in business tax. “You feel you’re not working for yourself anymore,” Carlsen said. BoNhia Lee and Lewis Griswold in the Fresno Bee -- 12/21/17

Obamacare insurance mandate repeal threatens Sonoma County, state health care expansion -- Congressional lawmakers voted Wednesday to repeal the federal mandate requiring most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, a decision that could increase the ranks of uninsured Californians by nearly 2 million people and hike premiums for those who remain covered. J.D. Morris in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat -- 12/21/17

12 California Republicans vote to support tax overhaul for a second time; Rohrabacher and Issa say no -- No House Democrats, including the 39 from California, supported the bill. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk) was not present for the second vote, but she voted no on Tuesday. See the Republican votes here: Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

How The Tax Bill Could Impact San Diego Schools -- And then there’s the new cap on federal write-offs on your state and local tax burden. Those who itemize their deductions would take a hit on anything in excess of $10,000. While that doesn’t have a direct impact on school funding, San Diego Unified School District Trustee Richard Barrera said he worries it could discourage future funding measures and flatten revenues. Megan Burks KPBS -- 12/21/17

Prop. 13 targeted by proposed California ballot initiative -- A coalition of liberal groups is trying to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would remove Prop. 13’s restrictions on reassessments and tax increases for corporate-owned property. The backers say the initiative would keep Prop. 13’s protections for homeowners, residential renters, small businesses and farmers. Kevin Modesti in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 12/21/17

New poll shows broad support for raising Bay Area bridge tolls -- Details of a regional ballot measure that would raise tolls to pay for billions in Bay Area transportation improvements are beginning to fall into place after results of a new poll show that the measure has sufficient support to pass. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/21/17


LA County looks to cut the red tape for Creek fire homeowners trying to rebuild -- Hoping to help residents in the unincorporated areas rebuild homes lost in the recent wildfires, Los Angeles County officials have given several departments the green light to cut red tape to speed up the the permit process. Susan Abram in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 12/21/17

Special crime patrols net arrests in Montecito as Thomas fire burns -- A 32-year-old Lompoc man was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary after police caught him inside a Montecito residence Tuesday night, authorities said. Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Politifact CA: Pants On Fire for claim of Muslim man’s arrest in Northern California wildfires -- Facebook users recently spotted a suspicious article about the deadly Northern California wildfires, through the social network’s initiative that allows readers to flag fake news. Given the steady flow of misleading and intentionally false claims about the cause of the fires, PolitiFact California decided to fact-check the article, which appears to have been posted Dec. 11, 2017. Chris Nichols Politifact CA -- 12/21/17

Horse heroes of the Lilac fire get thank-you boots -- Many ran into smoke, flames and uncertainty when the Lilac wildfire arrived at Bonsall’s San Luis Rey Downs horse training facility on Dec. 7, rescuing hundreds of horses that otherwise would have died in their stalls. On Wednesday, a few took steps to thank the owners of those fearless feet. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/21/17

A Tree Where Our House Once Stood: Christmas Spirit Survives in Santa Rosa -- What was once a crowded row of houses along Hopper Avenue in Santa Rosa is now a vast dirt plain. But in empty lot after empty lot, people have put up Christmas trees. Red ribbons and shimmering silver tinsel defy the apocalyptic landscape. April Dembosky KQED -- 12/21/17

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Fearing huge liability for wine country fires, PG&E is suspending dividend payments -- Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is suspending dividend payments to shareholders out of concern for any finding of financial liability in Northern California’s devastating wildfires, the San Francisco-based utility said Wednesday. Associated Press in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Employers In California Can No Longer Ask About Your Salary History -- "This has been a tool, I think, for a lot of employers to justify paying — predominantly women — less than men, who are doing equal work," says Legislative Counsel and Policy Director Mariko Yoshihara with the California Employment Lawyers Association. Randol White Capital Public Radio -- 12/21/17

California Ranchers Will Need Vet's Prescription To Use Livestock Antibiotics -- Macon notes the new law could pose a challenge for California livestock managers and ranchers in places where vets are few and far between. Julia Mitric Capital Public Radio -- 12/21/17

Cruise reports its first injury involving self-driving car -- For the first time, an accident involving one of Cruise’s self-driving cars in San Francisco injured a motorist, according to a report the company filed with state regulators. The injury, to a motorcyclist who was lane-splitting and trying to pass the Cruise car, was minor, according to the report. David R. Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/21/17


San Francisco moves toward ending chronic homelessness among military veterans -- San Francisco came a big step closer to ending chronic homelessness for veterans Wednesday with the opening of a 70-unit supportive housing complex for people who have served in the military. Kevin Fagan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/21/17

New Program Pitches Tiny Homes as Solution to San Francisco Homelessness -- In San Francisco’s Mission District, there is a dirt lot that stands out from the many vacant properties scattered throughout the city. In the gated parking lot behind Impact Hub SF, a co-working and event space at 15th and Mission streets, two colorful 5-by-8-foot structures fill the otherwise empty space. Arash Malekzadeh KQED -- 12/21/17


Education Department scraps policy of fully forgiving all defrauded Corinthian students' loans -- Students who were defrauded by the for-profit Corinthian Colleges may not get their loans forgiven entirely, the Education Department announced Wednesday, in a reversal of the Obama administration policy of wiping out the debt. Associated Press -- 12/21/17

San Diego State Revives Aztec Language Course as Mascot Debate Continues -- San Diego State is reviving a course on the indigenous Aztec language, Nahuatl, next semester. The announcement comes as faculty and students revive a decade-long debate on campus about the appropriation of the Aztecs as a mascot. Megan Burks KQED -- 12/21/17

Novel program allowing California community colleges to award bachelor's degrees not yet ready to expand -- Lawmakers and advocates pushing for more California community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees — a break from their core mission — may want to exercise caution. Mikhail Zinshteyn EdSource -- 12/21/17


Everything You Want to Know About Legal Weed in California -- On Jan. 1, it will become legal for adults 21 and older to buy and sell recreational marijuana in California. In anticipation, Bay Curious is answering a bunch of your questions about commercially available marijuana. Jessica Placzek, Ryan Levi and Eli Wirtschafter KQED -- 12/21/17

How Much Marijuana Is Too Much to Drive? -- On Jan. 1, it becomes legal for adults 21 and older to buy and sell recreational marijuana in California. In anticipation, Bay Curious answered several listener questions about commercially available marijuana in our Dec. 21 episode. Eli Wirtschafter KQED -- 12/21/17

Immigration / Border 

'Dreamers' will have to wait until next year for Congress' long-promised protections -- A promised year-end deal to protect the young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation collapsed Wednesday as Republicans in Congress — fresh off passage of their tax plan — prepared to punt nearly all remaining must-do agenda items into the new year. Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times$ Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Kate Morrissey in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/21/17


Suing Big Oil over climate change, Santa Cruz eyes wildfire, storm costs -- The city and county of Santa Cruz have joined a growing number of communities suing oil companies over climate change, alleging a plot in which the fossil fuel industry concealed the dangers of its products from consumers, much like the tobacco industry did decades ago. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Nicholas Ibarra in the Santa Cruz Sentinel -- 12/21/17

Also . . . 

A video captures police beating that left a man with a broken leg. He's filed a claim against them -- After a November traffic stop led to his violent beating, arrest and a broken leg, an Altadena man has filed a claim for damages against the city of Pasadena, its police department and chief, and the two officers involved. Makeda Easter in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Apple admits it does slow down old iPhones — to prevent unexpected battery shutdowns -- Among legions of Apple users, the notion that Apple slows down iPhones as they age was a widely shared but unverified concept for many years. Yet on Wednesday, Apple acknowledged that it does limit iPhone performance with new iOS software updates, according to multiple media outlets. Seung Lee in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/21/17

Internet outage cripples state business for a day -- A widespread internet outage slowed the business of state government at many downtown offices on Wednesday and state officials do not know when they’ll be back online. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/21/17

POTUS 45  

Trump stands to save millions under new tax measure, experts say -- President Trump, who won the White House on a wave of populist promises, will likely save millions of dollars, thanks to Congress’s approval of a tax plan he pledged was designed for the middle class. Drew Harwell in the Washington Post$ -- 12/21/17

AP Fact Check: Trump's 'middle-class miracle' favors wealthy -- You wouldn't know it from President Donald Trump's rhetoric, but the tax overhaul coming into effect is heavily tilted to the rich. It also leaves "Obamacare" in place, despite his assertion that the tax plan repeals the health care law. Nothing about the plan provides the fuel to achieve economic growth at the levels he's predicted. Christopher Rugaber and Calvin Woodward Associated Press -- 12/21/17


Republicans celebrate their tax bill — and heap praise on Trump -- As he stood outside the White House on Wednesday, President Trump basked in the praise of Republican lawmakers assembled around him. He was lauded for his “exquisite presidential leadership.” He was touted as “one heck of a leader” and as a “man of action.” John Wagner in the Washington Post$ -- 12/21/17

The GOP tax plan passed. Now Democrats have another big issue to use in the midterms -- As GOP leaders in Congress met behind closed doors to hash out the details of their massive tax overhaul, a group of UC Irvine graduate students met in Rep. Mimi Walters’ district, fretting about how the plan could cost them money. Christine Mai-Duc and Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/17

Republican senators show little urgency to pass law protecting Mueller -- Republican senators who worked swiftly last summer to help write legislation protecting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III now are showing little urgency to get those measures passed. Karoun Demirjian in the Washington Post$ -- 12/21/17

House Republicans quietly investigate perceived corruption at DOJ, FBI -- A group of House Republicans has gathered secretly for weeks in the Capitol in an effort to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly — and perhaps criminally — mishandled the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia, according to four people familiar with their plans. Kyle Cheney and John Bresnahan Politico -- 12/21/17


-- Wednesday Updates 

Thomas Fire Likely to Become California’s Largest Ever as Crews Brace for Return of Winds -- After a two-day lull in powerful winds that drove the massive wildfire burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, crews are bracing for the return of potentially dangerous gusts that could revive the flames. Crews used the calm conditions to build containment lines and set controlled fires to clear dry brush ahead of so-called sundowner winds expected to whip up Wednesday afternoon. KPCC -- 12/20/17

Suing Big Oil over climate change, Santa Cruz eyes wildfire, storm costs -- The city and county of Santa Cruz has joined a growing number of communities suing oil companies over climate change, alleging a Big Tobacco-like plot in which the fossil fuel industry long concealed the dangers of its products from consumers. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/20/17

Judge says state records of judicial investigations can remain private -- Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos said in her ruling this week that the state constitution gives the San Francisco-based Commission on Judicial Performance the power to shield certain records, effectively trumping the auditor’s legislative authority to review government agencies. Cynthia Dizikes in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/20/17

Homeownership will get more expensive for some Californians under the GOP tax bill -- The Republican tax bill that appears headed for President Trump’s desk reduces the ability of home buyers to deduct mortgage interest, which will be a hit to home shoppers in Southern California and the Bay Area, where housing costs are sky-high. Andrew Khouri in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/20/17

California health insurance premiums expected to rise under Republican tax plan -- Despite successfully beating back Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the future of the federal health care law appears uncertain after congressional Democrats were unable to defeat a provision of the GOP tax plan that dismantles the foundation on which Obamacare is built. Angela Hart in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/20/17

Walters: How would federal tax overhaul hit California? -- As we weigh the impact of the federal tax overhaul, now being wrought by President Trump and the Republican Congress, on California, we should keep in mind the first and foremost axiom about taxation. Dan Walters Calmatters.org -- 12/20/17

How the final tax bill will affect four tax returns. The highest earners get the biggest break -- Earlier this month, The Times reviewed tax returns submitted by a handful of readers to see how the House and Senate tax plans would have affected their 2016 taxes had they been law at the time. Now, that details of the final plan are out, we’ve re-crunched the numbers to see how those same readers would have fared. James Rufus Koren in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/20/17

12 California Republicans vote to support tax overhaul for a second time; Rohrabacher and Issa say no -- The House gave final approval for the GOP tax bill Wednesday, with 12 Republicans in the state delegation again voting in favor of the bill. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa and Darrell Issa of Vista voted no. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/20/17

Insurance companies couldn’t drop customers after a wildfire under proposed bill -- A new proposal from Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Bell Gardens Democrat running for insurance commissioner next year, could change that trend. It would prohibit insurance companies from dropping or not renewing homeowners’ policies after a wildfire disaster, and would require them to seek approval from the Department of Insurance before pulling out of areas with a high fire risk. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/20/17

A dream deported -- Maria Mendoza-Sanchez raised four children in Oakland, built a nursing career and bought a home. Then came the election — and the most agonizing decision of her life. Ha/med Aleaziz in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/20/17

CA120: Alabama election a wave — or just a ripple? -- The recent U.S. Senate election in Alabama marked for many political observers the first striking evidence that the coming year will bring a “wave election” that could wash Republican majorities out of Congress and trickle down to gubernatorial and legislative seats. Paul Mitchell Capitol Weekly -- 12/20/17

In CA, high-speed rail partisans eye Washington crash -- Although it might be regarded as an opportunity to score points against Gov. Jerry Brown’s beloved high-speed rail project, the train crash that killed at least three people Monday is drawing a muted response from both opponents and boosters – at least for the time being. Chuck McFadden Capitol Weekly -- 12/20/17

Prosecutors sue owners of South L.A. property, calling it a 'dangerous hazard' because of gang crime -- For nearly a decade, the South Los Angeles duplex has been a hub for gang violence and troublesome parties filled with drugs, city officials say. In the last four months alone, police have responded there multiple times after reports of gunfire. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/20/17

Tesla troubles: Can California impose its blue values on the green economy? -- In the waning hours of the legislative session, Democrats pushed through new labor requirements widely viewed as retaliation against Tesla, the electric car maker embroiled in a union-organizing campaign at its Fremont plant. Judy Lin Calmatters.org -- 12/20/17

Hey California, say farewell to your traditional incandescent light bulbs -- Starting Jan. 1, 2018, the humble everyday incandescent light bulb will continue on its long and steady fade into our collective memory. Manufacturers will no longer make the traditional 100-watt bulb and stores will eventually sell out of current supplies. Consumers will have to choose from more efficient bulbs that use no more than 72 watts, including halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents and light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs. Patrick May in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/20/17