• School Inoovation and Achievement
  • School Inoovation and Achievement

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US: Maximize pumping from biggest federal water project -- The Trump administration says it will look at ramping up water deliveries to farmers from California's massive and environmentally sensitive Central Valley Project. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Friday it will look for ways to change the operation of the water project to maximize water for California farmers and others. Associated Press -- 12/29/17

Career tax collector retires after Legislature guts his agency -- The tax-collecting agency the Legislature gutted in 2017 will get one more change as the calendar turns: David Gau, a career employee of the Board of Equalization, is retiring as its executive director. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/29/17

As wildfires worsen, technology makes smoke in air easier to track -- This fall, as wildfire smoke shrouded the Bay Area and people rushed to buy face masks, a San Francisco company called Aclima seized the chance to track the pollution. It sent two cars bristling with air-monitoring equipment northward toward the fire zone. One made a notable discovery: In the East Bay hills above El Cerrito, smoke on that day was far stronger than in the flatlands. Kate Galbraith in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/29/17

Alarming failures left many in path of California wildfires vulnerable and without warning -- Thirty minutes later, with Cutting huffing from exertion and choking in thick smoke, the evacuation of Redwood Hill was still playing out one door at a time. He followed the sound of shouts to an officer struggling to carry a disabled woman. Her house was on fire. Paige St. John in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/29/17

Neighbors help each other piece their lives back together after the Thomas fire -- After days of protecting his Ojai ranch in the hills above town from the siege of fire, Trevor Quirk and his friend, Justin Homze, hosted a community meal in the parking lot of an Ojai market. Someone donated 100 burritos. There were pints of blueberries. Coffee was served. But that was just a start. Nicole Santa Cruz in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/29/17

With clock ticking down to legalization, marijuana becomes a suburban affair -- For cannabis power couple Lisa and Bob Selan, though, this drive-by plot of high desert in suburban Antelope Valley could be a cornerstone of Los Angeles’ medical marijuana market, which is days from expanding to include any adult who wants to take off the edge. Geoffrey Mohan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/29/17

Medley of agencies tasked with enforcing California pot laws -- Licensed businesses around California can begin legally growing and selling marijuana for recreational use Monday, and a hodgepodge of enforcement agencies will be trying to make sure they adhere to a slew of new pot laws. Paul Elias Associated Press -- 12/29/17

Built to last: Former LAUSD Supt. Roy Romer, 89, surveys $20-billion school construction effort -- Former Los Angeles schools Supt. Roy Romer gave an A+ to the polished cement under his feet this month at the newly constructed Maywood Center for Enriched Studies. The cement had the sheen of the tile flooring that is common in most schools, but it should last much longer and cost less to maintain. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/29/17

Smolens: Little-known tax bill provision could cost local governments millions -- In the past few years, local taxpayers have saved a lot of money. For those getting water from the Sweetwater Authority, it was $2.7 million. In the Carlsbad Unified School District, folks saved $10.2 million. And in San Diego, it was a whopping $323 million. Michael Smolens in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/29/17

Sales of new and more-expensive homes rise sharply in Sacramento County -- Sacramento County saw a significant increase in sales of new homes and houses priced at more than a half-million dollars in November, CoreLogic reported Friday. Hudson Sangree in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/29/17

San Diego lawyer requests ethics investigation into Rep. Darrell Issa -- A San Diego attorney has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Rep. Darrell Issa for not reporting a business he owns in an ethics report. Joshua Stewart in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/29/17

In a 30-minute interview, President Trump made 24 false or misleading claims -- President Trump gave an impromptu half-hour interview with the New York Times on Dec. 28. We combed through the transcript and here’s a quick roundup of the false, misleading or dubious claims that he made, at a rate of one every 75 seconds. (Some of the interview was off the record, so it’s possible the rate of false claims per minute is higher.) Glenn Kessler in the Washington Post$ -- 12/29/17


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

UC regent resigns amid criticism over offensive remark -- A University of California regent who was caught on tape last year asking an employee if he could hold her breasts has decided to resign amid growing calls that he step down. Regent Norman J. Pattiz sent a letter dated Thursday to Regents Chair George Keiffer saying that after 16 years on the board he would retire in February. Associated Press Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/29/17

California's sexual harassment prevention laws to expand in 2018 -- In the new year, California’s laws that govern sexual harassment will get an update with expanded protections for transgender men and women. The new rules stem from S.B. 396, which expands sexual harassment training for supervisors that has been required in California since 2004. In 2018, the mandatory training will now include education for supervisors on gender identity and sexual orientation. Mary Plummer KPCC -- 12/29/17

Get ready for a revived brawl over single-payer healthcare in California -- Whether it was bracing for a possible repeal of Obamacare or pondering an ambitious single-payer program that would overhaul how California provided medical care to its residents, the issue of healthcare kept politicians and policy wonks busy in 2017. That’s not likely to let up in 2018. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/29/17

Crime is down in L.A. County sheriff's territory -- Crime fell this year in areas patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, including a 20% decline in homicides driven largely by fewer gang-related deaths. Cindy Chang in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/29/17

High court upholds conviction in case of police pursuit that ended in toddler's death -- The California Supreme Court today upheld a former Palmdale resident's second-degree murder conviction for leading deputies on a high-speed pursuit that ended in a crash that killed a toddler and seriously injured her mother in Lancaster in 2012. The item is in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/29/17

Santa Barbara newspaper with history of controversy apologizes after byline includes anti-gay slur -- A newspaper that’s no stranger to controversy found itself in hot water with readers this week after an employee changed a reporter’s byline to include an anti-gay slur in its Christmas Day issue. Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/29/17

Advocates hope focus on sex harassment means more priority for testing rape kits -- Advocates and lawmakers who have pushed to end California’s backlog of untested rape kits say they are hoping the national attention to sexual harassment and assault will drive efforts to pass much-needed reforms in the state. Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/29/17

Caltrans Launches Climate Change Studies, It’s “Going To Affect Freeways” -- Caltrans is taking climate change seriously. So seriously that the organization is prepping a dozen reports that evaluate how things like warming temperatures, changes in rainfall and wildfires affect roadways. Ezra David Romero Capital Public Radio -- 12/29/17

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

New Tax Law Could Hurt New and Middle-Class Homebuyers -- Homeowners and future buyers in the Bay Area, where real estate prices are astronomical, could be hit the hardest by the new Republican tax law that limits how much mortgage interest, as well as local and state taxes, residents can deduct from their federal taxes. Erika Aguilar KQED -- 12/29/17

Tax Law Ushers In Higher Executive Salaries at Netflix -- The streaming giant cited the recent passage of the U.S. federal tax overhaul as the reason for the change. The company said salaries of more than $1 million for named executives, other than the chief financial officer, were subject to a substantial surcharge. Trey Williams in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 12/29/17

SMUD is hiking your rates soon -- Sacramento Municipal Utility District customers will see increases in their bills at the start of the new year. In 2017, SMUD approved a rate increase of 1.5 percent for all residential customers in 2018 and a 1 percent increase in both 2018 and 2019 for all commercial customers. Mark Glover in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/29/17

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Cases Could Open Door To Pension Cuts For California Workers -- For decades in California, a sacrosanct rule has governed public employees' pensions: Benefits promised can never be taken away. But cases before the state Supreme Court threaten to reverse that premise and open the door to benefit cuts for workers still on the job. Associated Press -- 12/29/17


As West Coast fights homelessness, kindness is contentious -- Mohammed Aly does not see any reason why he shouldn't try to ease the lives of Orange County's homeless. But the authorities - and many of his neighbors - disagree. Aly, a 28-year-old lawyer and activist, has been arrested three times as he campaigned on behalf of street people. Recently, he was denied permission to install portable toilets on a dried-up riverbed, site of an encampment of roughly 400 homeless. Amy Taxin and Geoff Mulvihull Associated Press -- 12/29/17


Valley housing prices shattered records in 2017. That’s great for sellers, ‘depressing’ for buyers -- After a year of looking for a house in the San Fernando Valley, Elizabeth Coipel-Liverman and her husband Daniel Liverman could only find “overpriced fixer-uppers in bad neighborhoods.” Now, the Chatsworth couple is turning to Ventura County to find their dream home. Olga Grigoryants in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 12/29/17

Marin home prices rise 15.5 percent in November -- The median price of a Marin home spiked 15.5 percent to $952,250 in November, compared with the $824,500 median price a year earlier, a real estate data tracking firm reported Thursday. Irvine-based CoreLogic said sales of new and resale homes and condos also rose 18.1 percent to 320 homes sold in November, up from the 271 homes sold in November 2016. Keri Brenner in the Marin Independent Journal -- 12/29/17


December fires leave little time for mudslide protection -- Ventura County officials warned residents Thursday that there’s very little time to install protections as homes near recent fire lines face an elevated risk of flash floods and mudslides that could follow the wildfires when it rains this winter. Sharon McNary KPCC -- 12/29/17

Section 8 housing vouchers-holders struggle to stay in community post-fire -- About two-thirds of the Hopper Lane complex was destroyed, including Thompson’s apartment. The property’s ownership group says those still intact are uninhabitable because of health and safety concerns. Renters who receive federal housing vouchers occupied a sixth of the 120-unit complex, meaning Thompson is far from alone in losing her subsidized low-income housing to the fires. Kevin Fixler in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat -- 12/29/17


Battle against sexual misconduct hits Bay Area high school campuses -- A month into her freshman year at Los Altos High School, Thara Salim set off with a friend down an empty hallway to pick up a French assignment. On the way back, he suddenly grabbed her wrist, dragged her into a boys bathroom and sexually assaulted her. Salim, 5 feet 1, protesting and resisting, was overpowered. Then she froze, too traumatized to scream. Sharon Noguchi and Annie Sciacca in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/29/17


California pot shops roll out hoopla as sales set to start -- Live music. Free T-shirts. A "Fweedom" celebration with mystery prize boxes worth up to $500, and a shot at a behind-the-scenes tour. Marijuana legalization arrives Monday in California with lots of hoopla, but only a handful of cities will initially have retail outlets ready to sell recreational pot. Elliot Spagat Associated Press -- 12/29/17

Recreational pot launch: Will new retail shops enjoy a near-monopoly? -- Even as California readies for the rollout of recreational marijuana starting Monday morning, elected officials and industry leaders are wrangling over a pivotal question: How widely available should the drug be? Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/29/17

California begins commercial sales of cannabis on Jan. 1. Here's what you need to know -- Marijuana is available with proper identification to any adult 21 or older — state resident or visitor — at about four dozen outlets scattered across the state. Sales begin as early as 6 a.m. New Year’s Day at places like Harborside in Oakland and Berkeley Patients Group in Berkeley. The item is in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/29/17

As California legalizes recreational marijuana, this L.A. pot shop weighs closing its doors -- California is days from allowing shops to sell recreational pot to paying customers, legalizing a hotly anticipated industry. But Jerred Kiloh says that when the New Year rolls around, the doors of his medical marijuana dispensary might be closed, in order to avoid breaking the law. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/29/17

State Of Emergency Declared In Yuba County Due To Illegal Marijuana Farms -- A local state of emergency has been declared in Yuba County due to the growing number of illegal marijuana farms. The emergency declaration approved by Yuba Supervisors Thursday says the county's sheriff's office is being overwhelmed by indoor and outdoor illegal pot grows on public and private lands. Randol White Capital Public Radio -- 12/29/17

State’s Top Marijuana Regulator Has a Big Job in Runup to Legal Sales -- On Jan. 1 California will become the eighth state, and the largest, to allow adults 21 and older to buy cannabis at licensed retailers. Voters passed Proposition 64 in November 2016, and the state has been rushing to get regulations in place. State licensing started in December. Katie Orr KQED -- 12/29/17

It’s still unclear if recreational marijuana will be sold in Sacramento on Jan. 1 -- Four days before marijuana becomes legal to sell for recreational use in California, it remains an open question whether consumers will be able to buy it in Sacramento on Jan. 1. Brad Branan in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/29/17

POTUS 45  

Where's the California love? Trump is first president in decades to skip a visit in initial year -- President Trump’s love for all things gold apparently doesn’t extend to the Golden State. Trump is about to become the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower 64 years ago to skip a visit to California during his first calendar year in office. And he doesn’t appear to have any plans to take Air Force One to the country’s most populous and economically powerful state before he marks his first full year in office Jan. 20. Brian Bennett in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/29/17

Trump Says Russia Inquiry Makes U.S. ‘Look Very Bad’ -- President Trump said Thursday that he believes Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia investigation, will treat him fairly, contradicting some members of his party who have waged a weekslong campaign to try to discredit Mr. Mueller and the continuing inquiry. Michael S. Schmidt and Michael D. Shear in the New York Times$ -- 12/29/17

White House looks to make internal changes amid worries of a tough year ahead -- While President Trump spent the past week at his Mar-a-Lago Club — golfing, tweeting, relaxing with family and talking to old friends — White House officials have been in quiet talks about revamping the West Wing operation and filling open posts ahead of what could be a politically difficult 2018. Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey in the Washington Post$ -- 12/29/17


-- Thursday Updates 

Get ready for a revived brawl over single-payer healthcare in California -- Whether it was bracing for a possible repeal of Obamacare or pondering an ambitious single-payer program that would overhaul how California provided medical care to its residents, the issue of healthcare kept politicians and policy wonks busy in 2017. That’s not likely to let up in 2018. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/28/17

California minimum-wage workers get a 50-cent raise starting next week as pay heads toward $15 -- Many lower-paid workers in California will get a raise on Jan. 1 under the state’s new minimum-wage law, which will eventually boost hourly pay to at least $15. James Rufus Koren in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/28/17

Bullet train: A dispute over stations -- It’s a tale of two stations. Bakersfield, California’s ninth-largest city in terms of population with more than 380,000 residents, is trying to decide where to put a bullet-train station. This battle has lasted for years. Dorothy Mills-Gregg Capitol Weekly -- 12/28/17

Federal government finds flaws in California’s plan to improve lowest-performing schools -- The U.S. Department of Education has cited substantive flaws in California’s plan detailing how it will improve low-performing schools and use billions of dollars of federal education aid under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 12/28/17

Rising stakes for California: Top stories of 2017 -- Throughout California, 2017 was a year of historic rises. The sea at the very edge of our existence was unrelentingly on the rise—as was the cost of housing, which soared to unprecedented heights. CALmatters -- 12/28/17

Get up to speed: 10 hot topics that will shape California campaigns in 2018 -- The 2018 elections are coming—and those of you who don’t spend your waking hours monitoring the secretary of state’s website may have some questions. Questions like: Wait, there’s an election next year? And, didn’t we just have an election? And, Is Jerry Brown running again? -- Ben Christopher Calmatters -- 12/28/17

New California laws going into effect in 2018 -- New year, new laws. In 2018, the lives of Californians will change dramatically thanks to laws regulating marijuana, community college tuition, immigration policy and — less pressingly — entering a crosswalk before the countdown hits zero. Katie Dowd in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 12/28/17

Legal Weed Hurts Prognosis For California Medical Pot Market -- When Elias Zaldivar was an 18-year-old college freshman and decided he was in the market for marijuana, he knew just how to get it, and it didn't involve canvassing the corridors of his campus in search of that stoned-out dude who sold pot from his dorm room. Instead, he went straight to a doctor. John Rogers Associated Press -- 12/28/17

3 signs Eric Garcetti might be aiming for the White House -- In interviews this year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has left the door open to a possible 2020 presidential bid. His involvement in the launch of three little-noticed groups provides further evidence that he's stepping on to the national stage and considering a run for the White House. Aaron Mendelson KPCC -- 12/28/17

Sacramento State workers say lab chemicals caused fertility problems, seek $80 million -- Four Sacramento State employees are asking the university to pay $80 million in damages because of fertility problems they say resulted from exposure to hazardous chemicals in the science building. Diana Lambert in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/28/17

How California plans to stop ‘dead’ drivers from using disabled parking placards -- Last year, a California audit revealed an impossible statistic: More than 26,000 people over age 100 in the Golden State had blue disabled placards, allowing them to park at any street meter for free, all day, or at prime blue-stenciled stalls at the front of store parking lots. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/28/17