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  • School Inoovation and Achievement

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California Senate Democrats are considering some ideas to counter the GOP tax plan -- Democrats in the California Senate are planning to write legislation to lessen the effects of the elimination of popular tax breaks in the GOP’s overhaul of the federal tax system. To finance broad-based corporate tax cuts and reductions in individual tax rates, the GOP plan caps the deductibility of state and local income and property taxes — a benefit used often in suburban areas of California. Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

Landmarks in ashes, and of memory, confront fire victims in a traumatized Ventura -- Two weeks after the Thomas fire, nearly everyone in Ventura has a story to tell. With more than 500 homes lost and 27,000 residents evacuated, no one is a stranger to this disaster. They turn to one another in restaurants and diners, checkout lines and the post office and share their stories as if words could lay a foundation for their new lives. Thomas Curwen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

Amid Thomas fire, farmworkers weather risks in Oxnard's strawberry fields -- As the Thomas fire raged in the hills above Oxnard, shops were empty and streets were silent. Smoke shrouded the seaside town, making it dangerous to breathe without respirators, according to public health officials. But in the vast strawberry fields outside town, work continued as usual. Melissa Etehad in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

After a Wildfire, Making a Holiday Among the Ashes -- This was supposed to be the Ekblad family’s first Christmas in their new home, a four-bedroom near a park in Ventura, that they stretched their budget to buy. Leila Fadel KQED -- 12/23/17

California Fire Victims Put Up Christmas Trees Where Homes Once Stood -- What was once a crowded row of houses along Hopper Avenue in Santa Rosa, California, 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 landscape. April Dembosky NPR -- 12/23/17

The N-word. A hanging panda. Deputy’s lawsuit says co-workers’ racism went on for years -- A former African American Butte County Sheriff’s deputy who alleges he was racially discriminated against for years, including being called the N-word by a co-worker, will likely receive a jury trial in Sacramento federal court after recent mediation failed to resolve the case. Anita Chabria in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/23/17

Videos showing violent arrest of a black motorist renew concern about Pasadena police tactics -- It should have been the most minor of traffic stops. But an encounter between two Pasadena police officers and a black motorist last month has reignited the nation’s heated debate over how police use force and sparked outrage in a city with long-simmering complaints about how law enforcement treats African American men. Makeda Easter and Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

Eleventh woman accuses San Diego County sheriff's deputy of sexual misconduct -- An 11th woman came forward this week with allegations against a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy, saying he improperly groped her during an encounter in Lakeside almost two years ago. Jeff McDonald in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

Lopez: Living in a parking lot amid Santa Barbara's wealth is a kind of middle-class homelessness -- Kathy is a senior citizen, Marva is a nurse, Santiago is a chef and Luis is an eighth-grade student. All of them live in Santa Barbara with one thing in common. When night falls, they head to designated parking lots and sleep in their vehicles, all clients in the city’s Safe Parking program. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

Berkeley homeless camps take 21st century approach with solar power -- A group of homeless people are pioneering what they say is a sustainable, if minimalist, 21st century camp model in this often trendsetting city by installing solar panels to charge cellphones and computers, power a few nighttime reading lights, and otherwise stay globally tuned. Tom Lochner in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/23/17

Pender: IRS won’t force workers to submit new W-4 payroll tax withholding forms -- On Friday, President Trump signed the biggest federal tax overhaul in three decades and readers, understandably, have lots of question about it. Today I’ll answer one about how it will impact payroll tax withholding and another on prepaying your property tax through an escrow account. Kathleen Pender in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17

‘Santa Baby’ composer Phil Springer, 91, still can't figure out why his sexy Christmas song endures -- Phil Springer maneuvers his knobby but agile fingers across the keys of the upright piano in his daughter’s living room and croons the opening lines of the Christmas song so sexy that when Eartha Kitt recorded it for the first time in 1953 it was banned in parts of the South: Randall Roberts in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

Facing Republican attacks, FBI’s deputy director plans to retire early next year -- Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director who has been the target of Republican critics for more than a year, plans to retire in a few months when he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits, according to people familiar with the matter. Devlin Barrett and Karoun Demirjian in the Washington Post$ -- 12/23/17

Frustrated and Defiant, Trump Reshapes U.S. Immigration -- Haiti had sent 15,000 people. They “all have AIDS,” he grumbled, according to one person who attended the meeting and another person who was briefed about it by a different person who was there. Forty thousand had come from Nigeria, Mr. Trump added. Once they had seen the United States, they would never “go back to their huts” in Africa, recalled the two officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation in the Oval Office. Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis in the New York Times$ -- 12/23/17


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Man accused of plotting terror attack on San Francisco’s Pier 39 -- A 26-year-old tow truck driver from Modesto was accused Friday of planning an Islamic State-inspired terror attack over the holidays on San Francisco’s Pier 39, only to find out that his would-be partners were undercover FBI agents. Evan Sernoffsky and Lizzie Johnson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Rong-Gong Lin II and Rubaina Azhar in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Don Thompson Associated Press. Alex Emslie KQED Erin Tracy in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/23/17

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti admits considering a 2020 bid: 'I am thinking about this' -- It's no secret Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is interested in running for president. When reporters ask about his intentions, he has used all sorts of ways to deflect, typically by saying he's focused on his day job — for the moment. But speaking in Spanish to a Univision reporter this week, Garcetti edged ever closer to the telltale admission he's actually considering it. Seema Mehta and Jazmine Ulloa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

Democrats who supported spending bill face angry backlash over immigration -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) appears to have anticipated the backlash. Feinstein, who is up for election next year in the state with the largest population of “dreamers,” surprised activists earlier this week when she said she would vote for the spending bill rather than risk a shutdown over immigration. But Feinstein switched her vote at the last minute. David Weigel and Ed O'Keefe in the Washington Post$ -- 12/23/17

SEC says L.A. developer who bought celebrity real estate ran $1 billion Ponzi scheme -- When small-time investors entrusted their money to Sherman Oaks firm Woodbridge, they were told the funds would be used to make profitable high-interest real-estate loans. James Rufus Koren in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

Rocket launch at Vandenberg streaks across San Diego sky -- But it wasn’t a meteor or an asteroid or even a UFO. It was the contrail from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base Friday night. This was SpaceX’s 18th and final mission of the year and included 10 satellites being thrust into orbit. Gary Robbins in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/23/17

SoCal Gas cited for 'public nuisance' over new leak at Aliso Canyon natural gas facility -- Air quality officials on Friday cited Southern California Gas Co. for a 50-minute gas leak at its Aliso Canyon storage facility earlier this week, accusing the utility of causing a public nuisance by exposing nearby residents to foul odors. Tony Barboza and Victoria Kim in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

March Fong Eu, pioneering Asian American politician who was longtime California secretary of state, dies at 95 -- March Fong Eu liked to tell constituents that she was “born behind a Chinese laundry,” and it wasn’t far from the truth. Eu’s parents ran a hand-wash laundry in Oakdale, a modest town in the San Joaquin Valley where — at the time — a girl of Chinese descent might well have thought twice about dreaming too big. Claudia Luther in the Los Angeles Times$ John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Janie Har Associated Press Annie Sciacca in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/23/17

San Francisco Mayor Lee was able to answer questions in ambulance after collapsing -- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was able to answer paramedics’ questions as he rode to the hospital in an ambulance from the Safeway where he had collapsed the night of Dec. 11, before dying of a heart attack three hours later. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17

Ex-Black Panther awarded $3.75 million after clash with Oakland councilwoman -- An East Bay jury has awarded former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown $3.75 million in damages for injuries she suffered when Oakland Councilwoman Desley Brooks assaulted her during an argument at a downtown restaurant. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17

After probe, Contra Costa County sheriff denies claims of mistreatment at jail -- The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office has completed an investigation of its own practices and announced Friday that it prevented no immigration detainees from using the bathroom and did not confine inmates to cells for 23 hours at a time. The allegations came from several of the 38 women detained at the West Contra Costa County jail in Richmond by federal immigration officials, including Dianny Patricia Menendez, who in October told The Chronicle she would rather be deported than suffer the jail’s distressing conditions. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17

Manhunt on for shooter who has targeted Central Valley drivers randomly for a month -- A manhunt is underway for a gunman who has opened fire on random commuters in Fresno and Madera counties, leaving several cars riddled with bullet holes and one passenger wounded in the last month, officials said. Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17


Thomas fire becomes largest wildfire on record in California -- The Thomas fire on Friday became California’s largest wildfire on record, burning 273,400 acres during its destructive march across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Michael Livingston and Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/23/17

Congress’ failure on disaster aid not a problem for wildfire victims — yet -- The Senate’s failure to approve an $81 billion disaster-relief bill before leaving town for the holidays will have no immediate effect on victims of the Wine Country fires, but federal aid money will need to be replenished soon, officials said Friday. Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17

Cause of Lilac fire may never be known -- Cal Fire and County Fire Authority Chief Tony Mecham said investigators know exactly where the Lilac fire began off the west side of Interstate 15 on Dec. 7, roughly a half-mile south of state Route 76. “We’ve narrowed it down to a one-square-foot area where it started, but we didn’t find anything,” Mecham said Friday. “There was nothing there that we could tie to a heat source.” J. Harry Jones in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/23/17

Bretón: With a bracelet from their daughter, they fled flames, and celebrate Christmas with loss and love -- The Robys, Pam and Don, had spent every Christmas for almost 40 years in the Santa Rosa home where they raised their three daughters. Their house was two stories and 1,600 square feet of memories of their girls, their ancestors and the life they have shared since they were two kids in love who married in the tumultuous year of 1969. Marcos Bretón in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/23/17

Housing crisis in Santa Rosa: After fires, how should communities rebuild? -- When developers came to Santa Rosa officials in February with a 237-home proposal for a vacant commercial area near the Fountaingrove neighborhood, it looked like a way for the city to make a dent in its housing shortage. Lizzie Johnson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

BofA Says Tax Act Forces $3 Billion Fourth-Quarter Earnings Cut -- The legislation signed into law on Friday by President Donald Trump slashes the corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, meaning many firms will be forced to write down tax assets accumulated at higher rates. The Republican-drafted law also delivers a package of temporary cuts for businesses and most individuals. Dakin Campbell Bloomberg Politics -- 12/23/17

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Tesla starts Model 3 deliveries to non-employees -- Tesla confirmed Friday that Model 3 deliveries to reservation holders who are not Tesla employees are beginning to take place. The electric car company, based in Palo Alto, is expected to release fourth-quarter Model 3 production and delivery numbers in early January. David R. Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17


San Francisco Bay ferry service on brink of major expansion -- In a region where the daily commute can be a soul-ravaging exercise in traffic gridlock or overstuffed railcars, the 154 sparkling white piles poking out of the water just south of the San Francisco Ferry Building offer a glimmer of hope. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17


Nearly 800 apply for lottery to buy 12 reduced-price East Bay homes -- That means more than 63 low- and moderate-income families competed for the right to buy each one of the 12 homes that Livermore required builders to sell at below-markets price in three new subdivisions. Monday was the deadline to sign up. Denis Cuff in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/23/17


San Diego Universities Look To Expand Amid Growing Student Interest -- Applications to San Diego State University and UC San Diego are up more than 10 percent in one year. More than 93,000 undergraduate students are crossing their fingers for a spot at SDSU, and 116,000 hope to attend UCSD. But neither school has the capacity to match — at least not right now. Megan Burks KPBS -- 12/23/17


Raring to buy recreational pot in Los Angeles? Not so fast -- California is on the brink of legalizing the sale of recreational pot, with the first round of state licenses for marijuana businesses kicking into effect in January. But Los Angeles pot shops won’t be able to immediately start selling marijuana for recreational use on New Year’s Day, city officials cautioned Friday. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ David Wagner KPCC -- 12/23/17

Marijuana for Christmas? Elderly Couple Arrested With 60 Pounds for Gifts -- Patrick Jiron, 83, and Barbara Jiron, 80, were driving from California to Vermont when they were stopped in Nebraska. Their pickup truck had an aroma. Liam Stack in the New York Times$ -- 12/23/17

Taylor: How Oakland is including black, brown people in marijuana industry -- In a dark room, Jahful Price slowly worked a row of pungent plants guided by his headlamp. He wore a white biohazard suit, methodically picking up cannabis plants by their stems and hanging them upside down on a rack with plastic clothes hangers. Otis R. Taylor Jr. in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17

Immigration / Border 

9th Circuit says Trump's third travel ban is illegal -- A federal appeals court decided unanimously Friday that President Trump’s latest travel ban violates the law, but the ruling will not take effect until the Supreme Court reviews a likely appeal. Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17

Border Patrol stop finds $500K in suspected drug money -- U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a 35-year-old woman suspected of smuggling more than a half million dollars of suspected drug money after a vehicle stop on Interstate 5 near Oceanside. Gary Warth in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/23/17


San Diego's flu deaths double in less than a week -- A sudden surge of flu activity prompted public health officials to hold a rare news conference Friday, warning that the level of influenza activity detected at hospitals, doctors offices and labs is “very worrisome” as Christmas Day approaches. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/23/17

Also . . . 

Concord teacher had sex with developmentally disabled student, police say -- Daniel Gonzalez, 55, a teacher at the Loma Vista Adult Center, was booked at the Martinez Detention Facility on suspicion of violating a state law that says it is illegal to have sex with a person who is incapable of giving consent because of a mental or developmental disability. Steve Rubenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/23/17


McConnell Wryly Calls Bannon a ‘Genius’ -- Senator Mitch McConnell took a sarcastic shot on Friday at Stephen K. Bannon, telling reporters at an end-of-the-year news conference that Mr. Bannon’s “political genius” had cost the party a Senate seat in Alabama. Sheryl Gay Stolberg in the New York Times$ -- 12/23/17


-- Friday Updates 

Thomas fire within 500 acres of becoming California's largest wildfire on record -- Firefighters continued to make progress on the Thomas fire Friday as the monster inferno was within 500 acres of becoming the largest California wildfire on record. As of Friday morning, the blaze was 65% contained after burning 272,800 acres, eclipsed only by the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which burned 273,246 acres. Michael Livingston in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/17

Pathologists Say San Joaquin Sheriff’s Meddling Could Have Compromised Murder Cases -- Two forensic pathologists who have accused the San Joaquin County sheriff of interfering with death investigations to protect law enforcement officers are also alleging Sheriff Steve Moore meddled with their work on high-profile homicides and suspicious deaths, potentially compromising murder cases. Julie Small KQED -- 12/22/17

California's Democratic chairman begs Democrats to keep the peace and not ask for endorsements at convention -- In an effort to avoid infighting among California Democrats, the state party chairman is asking Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her rival, state Senate leader Kevin de León, and the candidates running for governor not to seek an endorsement at the party’s spring convention. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/17

California adds 47,000 jobs as unemployment rate falls to lowest level since the '70s -- The robust gains were a slight improvement from the prior month’s upwardly revised 45,400 jobs increase, according to data released Friday by the Employment Development Department. The Golden State’s economy got off to a slow start this year, but has been picking up steam in the second half. Andrew Khouri in the Los Angeles Times$ Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/22/17

Looming ‘Year of the Woman’ could tilt area Congressional races -- The thunder of the women’s movement continues to grow in politics, leading some experts to predict it will dwarf 1992’s “Year of the Woman” when the number of female Congress members jumped from 33 to 55. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 12/22/17

California gives Medi-Cal enrollees something to smile about -- Starting in January, many of the dental services that were cut eight years ago will be restored for her and about 7.5 million adults on Medi-Cal, many of whom have had to get their teeth pulled instead of repaired. Emily Bazar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/17

New taxes and higher costs of oil drive up gasoline prices for holiday season -- More Southern California residents are expected to hit the roads this holiday season than ever, and they’re going to be paying more in gasoline prices than they have since 2013. Ivan Penn in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/17

Davis eyes new tax on homeowners to fund services for growing homeless population -- The mayor is pushing for a new parcel tax for social services, which would be the first such tax in the Sacramento region and among the first in the state. Social services are traditionally the purview of counties, but more cities are realizing they may need to pitch in as homelessness and affordable housing crises take root across California. Ellen Garrison in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/22/17

Marijuana and Hmong farmers: Siskiyou County sheriff fights to control cannabis trade -- Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey spent decades as a soldier. He enlisted in the Marines at age 18 and retired as a much-decorated colonel in the National Guard. Today he’s waging war again, not against Al Qaeda or the Taliban, but an army of rogue pot growers who have spread throughout his sprawling county. Stephen Magagnini in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/22/17

16 states oppose Trump plan to kill an airlines fee disclosure rule -- Pennsylvania Atty. Gen. Josh Shapiro and the attorney generals for California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine and 10 others signed a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, urging her to not pull the plug on the rule. Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/17

Traditional lightbulbs set to vanish from California store shelves starting Jan. 1 -- The old-fashioned bulbs are expected to start disappearing from hardware and home-improvement store shelves beginning Jan. 1, when ambitious energy-efficiency regulations are scheduled to take effect across the state. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ Dianne de Guzman in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/22/17

A Capitol holiday gift list -- The holiday season is now well under way. Christmas carols are taking over every extant means of mass communication and there’s so much goodwill around the squirrels in Capitol Park have quit chasing each other across the lawn. Chuck McFadden Capitol Weekly -- 12/22/17

Trump's Wells Fargo tweet cited in court hearing as reason to remove Mulvaney as CFPB acting chief -- A recent tweet by President Trump about possible penalties against Wells Fargo & Co. was cited during a court hearing Friday as a reason for removing White House official Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Jim Puzzanghera in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/17