Updating . .   

Inside PG&E, executives race to get ahead of unending wildfire risk and put power lines underground -- PG&E Corp. leaders gather each week in the middle of a nondescript San Ramon office complex to talk about the company’s most pressing problem: wildfires. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/10/21

PG&E power shutoffs could hit North, East Bay counties on Monday -- The potential public safety outages — cuts that PG&E plans in order to prevent wildfires — are in response to dry, gusty winds forecast to begin on Monday morning. Danielle Echeverria in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Fiona Kelliher in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/10/21


Will oil in the ocean sway Orange County elections? -- Democrats have tried for years to make the environment a focus in Orange County elections, campaigning on the idea that combating climate change can be in voters’ long-term and short-term interests. Brooke Staggs, Andre Mouchard, Teri Sforza in the Orange County Register -- 10/10/21

California’s offshore oil rigs are decades old, and industry resists decommissioning them -- Amid a week of horror and heartbreak, outrage and demands for greater accountability, many Californians couldn’t help but question all the other oil platforms that have rusted and churned for decades just a few miles offshore. Rosanna Xia, Susanne Rust, Anita Chabria in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/10/21


As drought worsens, California farmers are being paid not to grow crops -- Green fields of alfalfa and cotton rolled past as Brad Robinson drove through the desert valley where his family has farmed with water from the Colorado River for three generations. Stopping the truck, he stepped onto a dry, brown field where shriveled remnants of alfalfa crunched under his boots. Ian James in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/10/21

Why Southern California fears too much water conservation -- As Gov. Gavin Newsom weighs new mandatory drought restrictions, Southern California leaders fear cuts in urban water use could force already sky-high water bills ever higher. Joshua Emerson Smith, Lauryn Schroeder, Karthika Namboothiri in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/10/21


Here's what Bay Area doctors say about how COVID affects the brain -- While driving recently, Cliff Morrison suddenly found himself lost in a forest. He pulled over, looked around and realized he was actually on a tree-lined street half a mile from his home in the Oakland hills, heading to the post office. Morrison, 70, did not have dementia. He had COVID-19. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/10/21

Fully Vaccinated and Had Covid-19? No Rush for a Booster Shot, Experts Say -- Several studies suggest that people who have had Covid-19 and were fully vaccinated have strong protection, including against variants, and probably don’t need the boost, though the research is preliminary and data is incomplete, according to scientists who specialize in vaccines and immunology. Felicia Schwartz in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 10/10/21

Has COVID pushed Bay Area stressors to the breaking point? -- The maddening, deadly and ever-extending COVID-19 pandemic has laid another smothering layer of stress on an already stressed-out region — fundamentally changing how we feel about home and work, our community and safety, and the long-term prospects of living in the Bay Area, according to an exclusive new poll by the Bay Area News Group and Joint Venture Silicon Valley. Louis Hansen in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/10/21

California low-wage workers no longer have COVID paid sick leave. What happens next? -- That could leave the Central Valley’s low-income workers, including those who are employed by the region’s agricultural industry, in a vulnerable position in the months ahead, worker advocates said. Nadia Lopez in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/10/21

Policy and Politics  

Here are six impactful new California laws Gavin Newsom signed over the weekend -- From banning gas-powered leaf blowers to requiring gender-neutral children’s sections in large stores, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed off on a host of new California laws over the weekend. Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/10/21

San Francisco poised for lower speed limits after Newsom signs legislation -- Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that gives local cities greater freedom to reduce their speed limits, and the new law is primed to be put to use in San Francisco as the city struggles to meet its goal to end traffic fatalities by 2024. Ricardo Cano in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/10/21


High rents and low incomes: Sacramento is far short of its affordable housing needs -- Kristi Phillips, Anthony Slain and their three children have been on a waiting list for a Housing Choice Voucher, formerly known as Section 8, for over 11 years. Theresa Clift in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/10/21


Did you get an eviction notice in California? Don’t leave yet. Follow these steps -- Tenant protections put in place during the coronavirus pandemic are ending around the country, and increasing the potential for nonpayment-based evictions. Mila Jasper in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/10/21


San Diego Citizens Review Board leader wants to change the way it investigates deaths in custody -- The 11-member board has professional investigators who look into in-custody deaths, uses of force that result in great bodily injury and public complaints of misconduct involving sheriff’s deputies or probation officers. Jeff McDonald, Kelly Davis in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/10/21


UCSD students want to sever political connections with La Jolla to join heavily Asian council district -- A group of vocal UC San Diego students is lobbying city officials to sever the school’s longtime political and social connections to La Jolla so the university can align with the Convoy District and nearby areas with significant Asian populations. David Garrick in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/10/21


California man given prison over scheme to defraud Afghan government on US contract -- A Northern California man was sentenced to prison last week over a scheme to defraud the government of Afghanistan on a multi-million dollar U.S. energy contract. Vincent Moleski in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/10/21



California Policy and Politics Sunday Morning  

Gavin Newsom signs law giving journalists unrestricted access to protests closed by police -- The new law, Senate Bill 98, requires that journalists be given unfettered access to closed-off protests, and prohibits law enforcement officers from assaulting, interfering or obstructing journalists from covering such events. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/10/21

California will require large retailers to provide gender neutral toy sections -- California became the first state in the nation Saturday to adopt a law requiring large retail stores to provide gender neutral toy sections under a bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Taryn Luna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/10/21

Caged dogs used to be sole source of canine blood supply in California. That’s about to change -- Under the new law, veterinarians in the state will be able to operate canine blood banks similar to the voluntary model used for people, which is anticipated to help increase the amount of lifesaving supplies needed to heal injured or ailing pets. Melody Gutierrez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/10/21

Walters: Oil spill increases pressure on Newsom -- As if California needed another calamity, a pipeline bringing oil into Southern California from an offshore drilling platform ruptured this month, causing an ecological disaster on Orange County beaches and lagoons. Dan Walters CalMatters -- 10/10/21


Unvaccinated Black and Latino residents have the highest COVID-19 rates, L.A. County says -- Los Angeles County on Saturday reported 28 new deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the death total to 26,308 countywide since the pandemic began, with total reported infections around 1.5 million. Christopher Goffard in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/10/21


Driver who tried to run over pedestrians in Hawthorne dies after attack by crowd, officials say -- Detectives are investigating the death of a man who was pulled from his pickup truck and suffered “blunt force trauma” after trying to run people over on a Hawthorne sidewalk early Saturday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. Christopher Goffard in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/10/21

Sheriff buys back 301 guns in Chula Vista Saturday -- Deputies exchanged gift cards for 301 guns, paying out $100 for handguns, rifles and shotguns and $200 for “assault weapons” brought in with no questions asked in the parking lot of the Chula Vista Superior Court. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/10/21

Police shoot, kill suspect in Downtown LA hostage rescue caught on Twitter -- Los Angeles police shot and killed a man who took a woman hostage in a downtown Los Angeles high-rise apartment after shooting randomly at a group of people inside a business and attempting to carjack another female victim. The item in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 10/10/21


Caltrans to pause clean-ups at homeless camps, buying Sacramento time to find alternatives -- In a joint statement released on Friday, Caltrans and city officials said the pause is meant to “allow city officials additional time to identify all available options as we work together to locate resources and collaborate on solutions to help people living alongside our roadways.” Vincent Moleski in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/10/21


Illegal marijuana farms in Orange County show how toxic danger is spread through national forests -- Hoang was more concerned with what he saw scattered around him in a canyon near Ortega Highway in Orange County: pesticides so toxic that they are banned in the United States, plus fertilizer, beer cans, irrigation tubing, clothing and trash. Brian Rokos in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 10/10/21


California moves toward ban on gas lawnmowers and leaf blowers -- California will outlaw the sale of new gas-powered lawnmowers, leaf blowers and chainsaws as early as 2024 under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/10/21

Heirlooms from estate of Al Capone sell at auction in Sacramento for over $3 million -- The top seller was a .45-caliber Colt pistol, Capone’s favorite gun, which garnered a winning bid of $860,000. The next-highest seller was a .38-caliber Colt pistol, which went for $200,000. Vincent Moleski in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/10/21

Also . . .   

Behind the Empire: Jason Hughes, now under investigation, built a company with persistence, self-promotion -- Commercial real estate guru Jason Hughes marketed himself as a fighter for the underdog, an advocate for tenants and small business owners in high-stakes deals with powerful developers and property managers who possess far more experience than most renters. Jeff McDonald in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/10/21



Saturday Updates   

Vaccine alters California’s coronavirus path: Urban areas improve, rural parts suffer -- Residents in rural California counties with low vaccination rates died from COVID-19 at significantly higher rates during the summer Delta coronavirus variant surge than those in better-vaccinated regions such as the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California, a Los Angeles Times data analysis has found. Luke Money, Sean Greene, Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/9/21

These charts show the incredibly stark difference in COVID-19 death rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated in California -- Unvaccinated Californians were between 15 and 20 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated ones when deaths from the disease most recently peaked at the start of September, according to state data. Susie Neilson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/9/21

Testing COVID vaccine? Fighting cancer? Carlsbad 6-year-old does both -- Imagine surviving two brain cancer surgeries and more than 30 radiation treatments only to end up getting COVID-19. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/9/21


Pipeline company evades questions over a 15-hour gap before reporting oil spill -- When workers for the company operating the Elly drilling rig saw oil in the water miles from the California shoreline, they didn’t immediately call authorities. Instead, they dialed the company’s risk management firm. Anita Chabria, Laura J. Nelson, Adam Elmahrek in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/9/21

Orange County oil spill: A week later, the water remains off-limits for surfers, swimmers, fishermen -- Small, glassy waves rolled up on shore Saturday morning, one week after an oil spill sent black tar clumps onto the sand here in Huntington Beach, raising fears of long-term damage to fragile ecosystems in the area and cutting off ocean access to residents, visitors and fishermen. Robin Estrin, Marisa Gerber in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/9/21

OC oil spill: What happened and what’s next? Many questions and a few answers -- The worst of the oil spill that hit Orange County starting last weekend could be over, since officials have begun reopening some beaches and cleanup efforts are well underway. But some oil remains at sea, and an investigation to determine who’s at fault is just getting started. Alicia Robinson in the Orange County Register -- 10/9/21

Snowy plovers, already a threatened bird, are caught up in Orange County oil spill -- The small, gray-feathered, white-bellied shorebirds that spend summers nesting on the sandy beaches of Orange County are masters of camouflage. Robin Estrin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/9/21

Marine researchers focus on the tiniest victims of Orange County oil spill -- Until now, the story of the worst local oil spill in decades has been told by gut-wrenching images oil-soaked birds, dying fish and fouled wetlands. However, these images reveal just part of the story, researchers say. Louis Sahagún in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/9/21


Lopez: Up to 1 million gallons of water ... a night? That’s par for some desert golf courses -- Doug Thompson couldn’t believe what he’d just been told. His wife, a botanist, was advising a Coachella Valley country club on drought-resistant landscaping, and Thompson, who got to talking with the groundskeeper, asked how much water it takes to irrigate a golf course. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/9/21

First snow of the season falls in Tahoe, Yosemite areas -- Not much, but the first of the winter season and almost two weeks earlier than normal. After a long, hot summer filled with drought conditions and wildfire, it was a welcome sight for many. Paul Rogers, Summer Lin in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/9/21

Policy and Politics  

Newsom vetoes bills to decriminalize jaywalking, allow cyclists to avoid stops -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday night vetoed a pair of bills designed to make streets more welcoming to non-vehicular modes of transportation, including a measure that would have decriminalized jaywalking and another that sought to allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/9/21


More California colleges remove SAT, ACT requirements during application process -- Nearly 130 colleges and universities in California do not require students applying for the Fall 2022 semester to release their ACT or SAT scores, according to updated data from the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. Lauryn Schroeder in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/9/21

Newsom signs bill creating mental health protocol for schools -- Assembly bill 309, sponsored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) and Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), comes amid a surge in youth mental health disorders related to the pandemic. Carolyn Jones EdSource -- 10/9/21

Proposed 2022 California ballot initiative sets stage to define 'high-quality' education -- The Silicon Valley entrepreneur who unsuccessfully took on teacher tenure in court is now supporting a constitutional amendment aimed at requiring California to provide “high-quality” public education for all students. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 10/9/21

Snail Mail    

California one of 19 states challenging US Postal Service overseer over slower mail delivery -- California, 18 other states and the District of Columbia filed a legal complaint to the commission that oversees the United States Postal Service over the process that allowed mail delivery slowdowns as part of the organization’s operational overhaul. Gillian Brassil in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/9/21

COVID Economy  

A fifth of S.F. office space remains vacant, but there's a 'glimmer of hope' -- Around a fifth of San Francisco’s office space remained vacant at the end of the year’s third quarter, but the highest leasing activity in two years suggests the start of a market recovery, experts said. Roland Li in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/9/21

Also . . .   

How San Diego grew into a magnet for Nobel-quality talent in science -- She lived in England during the age of Dickens, taught school in Illinois as America expanded west, wrote for a scrappy newspaper in Detroit after the Civil War, and spent her latter years in San Diego sharing a fortune. Ellen Browning Scripps was a sharp, generous, worldly person. Gary Robbins in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/9/21

Knight: Two cyclists killed. Two drivers arrested. And in supposedly equitable S.F., two very different outcomes -- San Francisco bicyclists remember the evening with horror, some still choking up when they discuss it. On June 22, 2016, a pair of alleged hit-and-run drivers killed two women riding their bikes, less than three hours and 5 miles apart. Heather Knight in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/9/21

Caltrans projected to break ground on wildlife bridge over 101 Freeway in January 2022 -- Caltrans expects to break ground early next year for an $87-million wildlife crossing on the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills that experts say is critical to help save an isolated population of mountain lions in the region from extinction. Laura Anaya-Morga in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/9/21

Disneyland announces 22 rides where you can pay to skip the lines — here’s how -- Disneyland visitors will need to keep their credit cards handy now that they can pay their way to the front of the line on Rise of the Resistance, Web Slingers and many of the other popular rides at the Anaheim theme park. Brady MacDonald in the Orange County Register -- 10/9/21