Updating Wednesday . .   

ACE train service cancelled after more mudslides at Niles Canyon -- Three suffer minor injuries as service interrupted for second straight day. Rick Hurd in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/18/23

After rains, trash flushes from far inland to beaches and ocean. What’s being done to stop it? -- Following the recent storms, heaps of trash were washed to the coast once again. It's an ongoing problem that more communities are trying to address. Laylan Connelly in the Orange County Register -- 1/18/23

President Biden to tour Central Coast damage with Gov. Newsom -- President Joe Biden will visit California’s storm-wracked Central Coast on Thursday to survey recovery efforts with Gov. Gavin Newsom, the governor’s office has confirmed. The governor’s office said Biden and Newsom will meet with affected residents and public safety responders but did not say where and that details will be announced later. John Woolfolk in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/18/23

Policy and Politics  

California faces catastrophic flood dangers — and a need to invest billions in protection -- The storms that have been battering California offer a glimpse of the catastrophic floods that scientists warn will come in the future and that the state is unprepared to endure. Ian James in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23

Los Angeles County’s Black Residents Are Most at Risk in Major Floods -- Southern California has so far escaped the worst impact of recent rainstorms, but a new study shows a 100-year-flood event would disproportionately impact Black residents. Audra D. S. Burch and Eileen Guo in the New York Times$ -- 1/18/23

California vs. Florida: A tale of two Americas -- The governors of California and Florida — two of the nation’s biggest ideological rival states — are leading in opposite directions. Both may run for president. Noah Bierman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23

Newsom says 95% of Texans pay more than Californians in taxes. But is he correct? -- Asked to provide a source for the assertion, Newsom’s office cited a 2018 study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a liberal-leaning group. But the group’s spokesman, Jon Whiten, told The Bee “We do not compute a specific percentage of Californians who pay less/more tax than Texans.” It did laud California as having the nation’s fairest tax system. David Lightman in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/18/23

California Joins Other States in Suing Companies Over Insulin Prices -- The state is taking action against three major drug companies and the big pharmacy benefit managers in an effort to temper costs for people with diabetes. Benjamin Ryan in the New York Times$ -- 1/18/23


Gun talk in Washington, gun bills in Sacramento -- While the state already has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, Attorney General Rob Bonta joined the top prosecutors of 17 other states to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a New York law that makes it easier for residents to sue gun manufacturers for contributing to a “public nuisance.” The court’s decision would implicate a similar California law sponsored by Bonta. Ben Christopher CalMatters -- 1/18/23

Supreme Court Again Rejects Request to Block New York Gun Law -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday turned down a request from firearms dealers in New York to block parts of recent state laws that they said violated their Second Amendment rights. The court’s brief, unsigned order gave no reasons, which is typical when the justices act on emergency applications. Adam Liptak in the New York Times$ -- 1/18/23


Sierra snowfall totals pile up after weekend storms -- According to UC Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab in Soda Springs, 5.1 inches fell on Sunday, 165 inches so far in January and 346 inches since Oct. 1, the start of the snow season. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

Despite Rain Storms, California Is Still in Drought -- A rapid string of punishing storm systems, known as atmospheric rivers, has brought extreme amounts of rain and snow to California during the past weeks, but the sudden deluge has not made up for years of ongoing drought. Elena Shao, Mira Rojanasakul and Nadja Popovich in the New York Times$ -- 1/18/23

Tech Workplace  

Microsoft to Lay Off 10,000 Workers as Slowdown Hits Software Business -- In his note to employees, Mr. Nadella didn’t specify which parts of the company would be hit by the cuts. He said the company would be pulling back in some areas but continuing to hire in key strategic areas. Tom Dotan in the Wall Street Journal$ Karen Weise in the New York Times$ -- 1/18/23


‘Fentanyl is a historic foe’: New data on S.F. fatal drug overdoses suggests where epidemic is headed -- “The bottom line is that we are not anywhere close to being out of the woods,” said Daniel Ciccarone, a professor of family community medicine at UCSF. “Fentanyl is a historic foe.” Trisha Thadani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

Caregiver sentenced to life in prison for ‘unspeakable’ sexual abuse of disabled children -- A federal judge said Steve Rodriguez, a certified nursing assistant from Pomona, committed “unspeakable acts” when he filmed himself sexually abusing his victims. Nathan Solis in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23


Court orders officials to reconsider mentally ill homeless man’s application for SSI benefits -- Now a federal appeals court has ordered officials to reconsider Finney’s application, saying there were reasons — including his mental illness — that he has been either unable or unwilling to seek treatment. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

High Speed Rail  

High-speed rail to downtown S.F. is back on track — but the price tag keeps going up -- That new effort includes a new price tag for the long-promised expansion — $6.7 billion, up from $5 billion in 2016. This is the estimated cost to bring commuter trains and a route for high-speed rail service from Mission Bay to First and Mission streets by 2033. John King in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23


Bay Area regulators look to impose sweeping ban on new natural gas water heaters, furnaces -- The environmental push to stop the use of natural gas in homes may have become the latest splinter in America’s culture wars, but that hasn’t stopped Bay Area officials from aiming to be at the forefront of the movement. Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

Also . . .   

Crusading vet treats some of L.A.’s most cherished residents: The pets of skid row -- For years, Dr. Kwane Stewart quietly visited homeless encampments, treating pets for free. Then came reality TV and a nonprofit. For the ‘Street Vet,’ unhoused pets still come first. Salvador Hernandez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23

The sad plight of elephant seal pups born on Bay Area beaches amid storms -- Ocean surges from early January storms flooded Bay Area beaches at a vulnerable time for elephant seals: the start of pupping season. Julie Johnson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

A $16,000 meat slicer. A $18,500 dehydrator. Twitter is auctioning off wildly excessive kitchen equipment -- The auction listings read like the inventory of a Michelin-starred restaurant: A $20,000 rotisserie oven. A $18,500 dehydrator. A $16,000 specialty meat and cheese machine known as “the Lamborghini of slicers.” But it’s not a fine-dining restaurant selling off used equipment. It’s one of the world’s most famous tech companies. Elena Kadvany in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23


California Policy and Politics Wednesday  


500 mudslides, flooded communities, broken bridges: California faces long, costly storm recovery -- The atmospheric river storms that pummeled California for weeks inflicted “extensive” damage to as many as 40 of the state’s 58 counties, and total repairs could reach as much as $1 billion, according to authorities. Summer Lin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23

California endures a pox of potholes as storms pummel roads and freeways -- In Los Angeles, requests for pothole repairs have soared as downpours have crumbled streets. Since Dec. 30, there have been 2,407 potholes reported on Los Angeles roads, with 722 this weekend alone. So far, 812 of those reported have been fixed, said Elena Stern, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Works. Terry Castleman, Rachel Uranga in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23

The past three weeks were the wettest in 161 years in the Bay Area -- New rainfall totals show that no person alive has experienced a three-week period in the Bay Area as wet as these past 21 days. The last time it happened, Abraham Lincoln was president. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/18/23

Sacramento County ordered Wilton to evacuate because of flooding. Here’s why some residents didn’t -- Shawn Huston didn’t leave his family’s Wilton home of 49 years when Sacramento County gave an evacuation order last week. He also didn’t evacuate when previous floods struck the area, ßincluding in 2017 and 1986, when he watched part of a levee break from his bedroom window. Kristin Lam Capital Public Radio -- 1/18/23

S.F.’s Golden Gate Park has a new feature after storms: more lakes -- After weeks of rain, Golden Gate Park has gained some photo-worthy new landmarks: temporary lakes. Near where John F. Kennedy Drive intersects Stanyan Street, not far from the McLaren Lodge, a shallow pond has formed around a grove of trees — some fallen, some standing. Claire Hao in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

Policy and Politics  

Politically wired leader of defunct L.A. antipoverty group admits embezzlement -- Dixon Slingerland, once a top fundraiser for Eric Garcetti and Barack Obama, admits he embezzled money from the Hollywood antipoverty group he led for 23 years. Michael Finnegan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23

Former S.F. building commission president pleads guilty to $775,000 fraud -- Rodrigo Santos, a 64-year-old civil engineer and former president of the San Francisco Building Inspection Commission, has pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding clients out of $775,000, arranging donations to bribe a city building inspector, lying to the FBI and other accusations. St. John Barned-Smith in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

‘An iconic moment’: In Warriors’ return to White House, Biden takes a knee -- ‘An iconic moment’: In Warriors’ return to White House, Biden takes a knee After being disinvited during former President Donald Trump’s administration, the NBA champion Golden State Warriors returned to the White House on Tuesday, and President Biden made what Stephen Curry called a “very symbolic” gesture. C.J. Holmes in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

Walters: Unemployment insurance in crisis, needs a fix -- Unemployment insurance, the California program that supports workers who lose their jobs due to layoffs, has been dysfunctional during the last two recessions. It’s time to fix it. Dan Walters CalMatters -- 1/18/23

Tech Workplace   

Microsoft Plans to Announce Layoffs as Early as Wednesday Morning -- Microsoft Corp. is planning to announce more layoffs as soon as Wednesday morning, according to a person familiar with the matter. Last year, Microsoft had more than one round of layoffs but didn’t announce how many positions it cut. Tom Dotan in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 1/18/23

Twitter Workplace  

Want a Giant Neon Twitter Bird? You’ll Have to Bid More Than $17,000 -- The company’s artwork, high-end furniture and espresso machines are for sale in an online auction that evoked a more flush era when its tastes reflected its status as a hot tech-world employer. Michael Levenson in the New York Times$ -- 1/18/23

Taxes / Fees  

Billionaires in blue states face coordinated wealth-tax bills -- Left-leaning proponents of taxing the assets held by America’s billionaires have a new target: In lieu of a federal wealth tax, state lawmakers want to tax billionaires where they live, in states like California, Washington and New York. Julie Zauzmer Weil in the Washington Post$ -- 1/18/23


Drive-by shooter strikes downtown San Diego homeless shelter -- There were no injuries, but the shelter’s fabric walls and air conditioning unit were damaged. Another shooting fatally injured a security guard at the shelter in 2019. Gary Warth in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/18/23

S.F. gallery owner who sprayed homeless woman in viral video apologizes -- In a recorded statement first reported by ABC7, Collier Gwin — owner of Foster Gwin Gallery in San Francisco’s Jackson Square — said he was committed to making amends, days after he previously said he found it “hard to apologize.” “There’s a breaking point,” he said in the video. “I have the video to constantly remind me that this is a large cross to bear.” Annie Vainshtein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

Facing an unhappy judge, L.A. leaders vow to rework settlement on homeless services -- Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said Tuesday that city and county officials will spend the next three months reworking a legal settlement that spells out the types of services that must be on hand to combat the region’s homelessness crisis. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23


S.F. Supervisor accuses Mayor Breed of withholding affordable housing funds for blighted lot -- The battle over the future of the blighted former Touchless car wash property on San Francisco’s Divisadero Street escalated Tuesday with Supervisor Dean Preston accusing Mayor London Breed’s administration of jeopardizing affordable housing on the site by refusing to commit city money to purchase it. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

What will LA City Council do about end of renter protections on Feb. 1? -- New tenant protections have been proposed and could come to full council for vote on Friday. Linh Tat in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/18/23


Man’s death after tasing reignites debate over LAPD’s role in traffic enforcement -- Police say that Keenan Anderson caused the minor traffic collision in Venice that ended with several officers piling onto him and shocking him with a Taser. His family disagrees. They say Anderson, who died a few hours later, was a victim of the crash and that what he needed in that moment of distress was medical care, not police intervention. Libor Jany in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23

Who would execute a baby? Tulare sheriff said a Mexican cartel, then backtracks -- The body of the 16-year-old girl was found crumpled outside the home, along with her dead 10-month-old son. It was clear to investigators who came upon the scene in the early hours of Monday morning that the young mother had tried to run away with her baby in her arms. But forensic evidence showed she had been caught before she could escape, and both she and her child were shot in the forehead from above, execution style. Ruben Vives, Grace Toohey, Jessica Garrison, Robert J. Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23

Thieves are targeting California’s refund cards. Here’s what to watch out for -- To ease the pain caused by high gasoline prices, the state of California has been sending a Middle Class Tax Refund of $200 to $1,050 to eligible households. Unfortunately, a portion of that amount has wound up in the hands of thieves. Jon Healey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23

Here’s how much S.F. spent on police in Union Square over holidays to lure shoppers downtown -- For the second year in a row, San Francisco spent more than $2 million in police overtime in Union Square to deter retail theft during the holiday shopping season and make an emptier downtown feel safer. Mallory Moench in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/18/23

Baja officials urged cremation to family of OC public defender who died in Rosarito Beach -- Relatives of Elliot Blair plan to have an independent autopsy conducted because of ‘unanswered questions’ Tony Saavedra, Roxana Kopetman in the Orange County Register -- 1/18/23


As more shooters wear body armor, a California bill would ban most bullet-proof vest ownership -- Assembly Bill 92, introduced by Assemblyman Damon Connolly, D-San Rafael, comes as a response to many high-profile mass shootings where the shooter wore body armor. That includes the 2015 massacre in San Bernardino, where two people wearing tactical gear killed 14 people at a holiday gathering. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/18/23


Goldberg elected L.A. school board president amid tense labor negotiations -- Jackie Goldberg — who served as the Los Angeles Board of Education president 40 years ago and also served on the L.A. City Council and in the state Legislature — was elected president again Tuesday and said her overriding goal is to “double down” on academics so students are achieving at grade level by fifth or sixth grade. Howard Blume in the Los ßAngeles Times$ -- 1/18/23

California school district transitioned child without telling parent, lawsuit alleges -- A conservative legal group has filed a lawsuit against the superintendent and school board members for the Chico Unified School District, alleging that a district employee helped a fifth grade student transition their gender identity without informing the child’s parent. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/18/23

Also . . .   

Video shows dump truck allegedly driven by angry husband crashing into wife’s home -- Video posted on social media showed a man crashing a dump truck into his estranged wife’s home in South Los Angeles on Sunday, smashing into her parked car and other vehicles, then driving away before deputies arrived, authorities said. Salvador Hernandez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/18/23


Tuesday Updates  

LAPD widens investigation into source of racist City Hall leak -- Information obtained by Los Angeles police from search warrants served on Twitter and Reddit has led detectives to additional investigative avenues as they work to uncover who recorded a meeting between three L.A. City Council members and a labor leader that was filled with racist and offensive comments, according to court documents and sources. Richard Winton, Matt Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/23

Rain Train  

California’s record rainstorms are a blessing, a hardship and a spiritual experience -- It may feel like California is being cursed by the gods, but in fact humanity’s relationship with rain has always been paradoxical. Rain has the ability to create, and to destroy. And so it becomes a matter of faith: We pray for it, even as we fear it. Deborah Netburn in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/23

New Bay Area maps show hidden flood risk from sea level rise and groundwater -- Amid dramatic ocean swells and drenching atmospheric rivers, a new report lays bare a hidden aspect of sea level rise that has been exacerbating flooding in the Bay Area. Rosanna Xia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/23

Bay Area rainfall chart, December and January: Almost 50 inches at wettest spot -- For this point in the water year — which starts in October — the totals are around twice the average at many Bay Area spots. November was drier than normal, and December brought about double the average rainfall. The item is in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/17/23


Want to solve climate change? This California farm kingdom holds a key -- Replacing agriculture with solar panels could help solve the West’s energy and water crises. But farmers are fighting back. Sammy Roth, Robert Gauthier,Jessica Q. Chen, Maggie Beidelman, Jackeline Luna, Paul Duginski in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/23

Race to zero: Can California’s power grid handle a 15-fold increase in electric cars? -- Despite expecting 12.5 million electric cars by 2035, California officials insist that the grid can provide enough electricity. But that’s based on multiple assumptions — including building solar and wind at almost five times the pace of the past decade — that may not be realistic. Nadia Lopez CalMatters -- 1/17/23


Unity Software Lays Off More Workers as Tech Job Cuts Grow -- San Francisco-based Unity said Tuesday that 284 jobs would be eliminated. Some of those losing their jobs may be rehired for other positions if they apply for openings, the company said. Sarah E. Needleman in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 1/17/23

Office chairs and a blue bird statue: Here’s everything you can bid on as the Twitter auction begins -- Twitter’s online auction sale, in which the company hopes to sell off office furniture, memorabilia and other items, launched Tuesday morning. Buyers can bid on lounge chairs, sofas, coffee tables, computer monitors, espresso machines and a plethora of other office and kitchen equipment. Jessica Flores in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/23

California bills would ban state employees from installing TikTok on their work phones -- California state workers could be banned from installing certain social media apps like TikTok on their state-issued smartphones under two proposed laws that highlight potential cyber security threats. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/17/23

How Restaurant Workers Help Pay for Lobbying to Keep Their Wages Low -- The National Restaurant Association uses mandatory $15 food-safety classes to turn waiters and cooks into unwitting funders of its battle against minimum wage increases. David A. Fahrenthold and Talmon Joseph Smith in the New York Times$ -- 1/17/23


As Cities Get Tough on Homelessness, Legal Battles Follow -- Cities across the U.S. have been introducing tougher measures to address the growing problem of homelessness, prompting a number of court challenges that could set guideposts on how far municipalities can go. Laura Kusisto in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 1/17/23


UC housing problem persists for graduate students -- The recent agreement between striking graduate student workers in the UC system did little to solve their housing woes. Mikhail Zinshteyn CalMatters -- 1/17/23

Also . . .   

Nearly half of California’s LGBTQ youth considered suicide last year. Two major shifts explain why -- A conservative backlash to transgender rights and the ongoing pandemic are contributing to a mental health crisis: Nearly half of California’s LGBTQ youth considered suicide last year. Elissa Miolene in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/23

Morrison: Recent report on L.A. County hate crime numbers is a reminder of when we didn’t even count them -- You could plausibly take the point of view that much of the history of the 20th century is one long chain of hate crimes. Patt Morrison in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/17/23

Which Bay Area city has the best ‘quality of life’? This tool lets you decide -- What’s the best city to live in the Bay Area? The answer is different for everyone. For some people entertainment options are paramount, while others care more about diversity. Leila Darwiche, Nami Sumida in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/17/23