Updating Thursday . .   

Kiley, Duarte among California Republican congressmen happy to land roles on key committees -- Kiley will be squarely in the center of congressional action when he joins the House Judiciary Committee. Kiley, a Yale Law School graduate, has worked as a private attorney. Gillian Brassil, David Lightman in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/19/23

Skelton: Have no Prop. 1 water projects been built in California? No, but they are moving slowly -- California voters approved a ballyhooed $7.5-billion bond issue eight-plus years ago thinking the state would build dams and other vital water facilities. But it hasn’t built zilch. True or false? That’s the rap: The voters were taken. The state can’t get its act together. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23


Alec Baldwin and weapons handler to be charged with manslaughter in deadly ‘Rust’ shooting -- New Mexico prosecutors said they are filing felony criminal charges against actor Alec Baldwin and the armorer of the low-budget western “Rust,” following the fatal shooting of the film’s cinematographer. Meg James in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23

Rain Train  

How much did deadly storms cost California? $1 billion and counting -- After California’s powerful winter storms finally subsided, emergency officials and accountants have stepped in to start tallying the damage. One expert said he expects the total cost to California will be over $1 billion. Damage in Sacramento County alone likely topped $123 million, according to a preliminary estimate from the county. Ariane Lange, Mathew Miranda in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/19/23

For all their ferocity, California storms were not likely caused by global warming, experts say -- As California emerges from a two-week bout of deadly atmospheric rivers, a number of climate researchers say the recent storms appear to be typical of the intense, periodic rains the state has experienced throughout its history and not the result of global warming. Louis Sahagún in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23

Warming to make California downpours even wetter, study says -- As damaging as it was for more than 32 trillion gallons of rain and snow to fall on California since Christmas, a worst-case global warming scenario could juice up similar future downpours by one-third by the middle of this century, a new study says. Seth Borenstein Associated Press -- 1/19/23

S.F. storm damages could top $46 million. How will city prepare for more climate-driven devastation? -- While the near-record rainfall that hit San Francisco was certainly a factor in the flooding, the city’s antiquated sewer system compounded the problem. Trisha Thadani, J.D. Morris, St. John Barned-Smith in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23

How long will Bay Area storm repairs take? -- The worst of this season’s storms is behind us, but the repair work across the Bay Area — estimated to take weeks, months or even longer — is just beginning. A destructive vortex of flooding, mudslides and high winds cracked asphalt, shook bridge foundations and damaged other critical infrastructure. Gabriel Greschler, Katie Lauer, Rachel Heimann Mercader in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/19/23

How Do California’s Storms Weigh In Compared With History’s Big Ones? -- The storms that have walloped California in fierce waves since last month have left many communities cleaning up and digging out from flooding and landslides. By one metric, though, the state has seen much worse. Raymond Zhong and Mira Rojanasakul in the New York Times$ -- 1/19/23


One California county is almost fully out of drought -- Del Norte County, home to Crescent City and Klamath in the far northwest corner of the state, is 90% drought-free, according to the new map. The rest is considered “abnormally dry” — the lowest stage on the drought scale. Kate Galbraith in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23


PG&E sued by El Dorado and Placer counties over destructive 2022 Mosquito Fire -- It destroyed 78 structures, including dozens of homes in the Placer County community of Michigan Bluff and the El Dorado County town of Volcanoville, before being contained Oct. 27, according to Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service. Michael McGough in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/19/23

These overgrown California forests will be thinned with new wildfire funds from feds -- Six of the 11 areas receiving assistance this year are in California, including the Klamath River Basin, where the McKinney Fire ignited this summer. The McKinney Fire was California’s deadliest of 2022. Gillian Brassil in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/19/23

Capitol Riot  

Citing ‘Twitter Files,’ George Floyd protests, Jan. 6 defendant from California decries his prosecution -- Federal prosecutors say Northern California resident Sean Michael McHugh used bear spray to attack police officers outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, that he shoved a metal sign against officers and directed rioters forward with a megaphone while declaring, “Right now we’re storming the Capitol.” Sam Stanton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/19/23


Huge new BART housing development on the Peninsula will test if transit is still a draw -- For a quiet bedroom community known for its Chinese banquet halls, sleepy downtown and proximity to the airport, Millbrae plays an out-sized role in the Bay Area’s transportation network. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23

LA City Council committee sends package of renter protections to full council -- Hundreds of thousands of renters could benefit if permanent tenant protections are adopted on Friday. Linh Tat in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/19/23

Mayors: Affordable housing demand is crushing us -- “At the end of the day, as mayors, people aren’t looking to their senators to solve homelessness. ... They’re looking to their mayor,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Marissa Martinez Politico -- 1/19/23

Also . . .   

Arellano: LA Weekly’s controversial publisher wants to revive OC Weekly. Should he? -- The fluorescent lights were bright and stark in the barren office near John Wayne Airport in Irvine where I met LA Weekly publisher Brian Calle. It felt like a morgue because it was: Before us was the corpse of my journalism past. Gustavo Arellano in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23

The rare snowy owl won’t stay forever, but this California town is captivated -- Nobody is quite sure why a snowy owl, usually found in Arctic regions, decided to relocate to sunny Cypress, Calif. Everyone you talk to has a theory. Some speculate that recent storms blew the bird off course; others think perhaps it is an escaped pet. Jennifer Hassan in the Washington Post$ -- 1/19/23


California Policy and Politics Thursday  

Rain Train  

After epic rains, California will have time to dry out. But for how long? -- Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA, said precipitation over the next two-plus weeks “is likely to be below average for most/all” of California. “This will give the state a needed opportunity to dry out, for rivers to recede, and for folks in the mountains to dig out from feet of snow,” he wrote Tuesday on Twitter. Luke Money in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23

California rain totals: Charts show dramatic effect of recent storms -- January saw the wettest 10-day period in 25 years for many parts of the region. The item is in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23

New map shows where rising groundwater in Bay Area adds flood risks -- During the recent storms that left widespread flooding in their wake, water wasn’t just coming down from the sky or in from the ocean. It was also bubbling up from underground into basements and inundating wastewater systems. Tara Duggan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23

So much rain and snow may boost hydropower — good news for California’s grid -- Rising reservoirs and a deep snowpack have officials crossing their fingers that the hydropower will have a good year, helping power grid operators. Rob Nikolewski in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23

California storms feed systems set up to capture rainwater -- As Californians tally the damage from recent storms, some are taking stock of the rainwater captured by cisterns, catches, wells and underground basins — many built in recent years to provide relief to a state locked in decades of drought. The banked rainwater is a rare bright spot from downpours that killed at least 20 people, crumbled hillsides and damaged thousands of homes. Suman Naishadham, Brian Melley Associated Press -- 1/19/23

Official: LA County storm recovery may cost $100 million -- Cleanup efforts in L.A. County will largely involve Public Works, LADWP and private insurance companies. In total, according to Public Works, there are nine agencies affected by the recovery efforts. McGowan said repairs will involve fixing roads, clearing landslides and clearing debris; and may cost the county upwards of $100 million. Emily Holshouser in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/19/23

Biden to tour California storm damage, see recovery efforts -- The president, accompanied by FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state and local officials, will visit Thursday the storm-damaged Capitola Pier in Santa Cruz County, where he will meet with business owners and affected residents. Biden will also meet with first responders and deliver remarks on supporting the state’s recovery at nearby Seacliff State Park. Zeke Miller Associated Press John Woolfolk, Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/19/23

Policy and Politics  

Oakland’s ex-Mayor Libby Schaaf finally lays out her next moves -- Former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who left office at the end of 2022, has been named the interim executive director for Emerge California, an organization that trains women to run for elected office. Sarah Ravani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23

SF Economy  

Downtown S.F. still has North America’s weakest pandemic recovery -- Downtown San Francisco continues to have the weakest recovery from the pandemic out of 62 North American cities as of November 2022, with only 31% of its fall 2019 activity based on mobile phone data, a new study shows. Roland Li in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23


Here’s how many jobs Microsoft plans to cut in the Bay Area -- But the layoffs will apparently have little effect in the Bay Area, at least for now, according to a report the company filed with the state’s Employment Development Department that shows only 46 jobs will be cut statewide. Chase DiFeliciantonio in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23

Laguna Honda  

Beleaguered Laguna Honda asks feds to back off from forced patient transfers -- Laguna Honda, San Francisco’s beleaguered public nursing home, is asking federal regulators to extend their moratorium on mandated transfers of the hospital’s frail patient population, which is currently due to lift on Feb. 2. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23

Staying Afloat  

San Mateo County could soon expand direct cash payments to some of its poorest residents -- As inflation and the blow back from the coronavirus pandemic continue to put pressure on low-income people in one of the wealthiest regions in the country, San Mateo County is exploring expanded guaranteed income programs to help more families in need. Aldo Toledo in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/19/23


Arrested: S.F. gallery owner captured on video hosing homeless woman taken into custody -- Gwin will be charged with misdemeanor battery “for the alleged intentional and unlawful spraying of water on and around a woman experiencing homelessness” on Jan. 9, District Attorney Jenkins said in a statement released after she had reviewed evidence from the San Francisco Police Department. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Christian Martinez, Nathan Solis in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23

Supervised Drug Use  

Breed: Nonprofits should move forward with supervised drug use site — on their own -- As pressure intensifies on Mayor London Breed to open a supervised drug-use site in San Francisco, she signaled Wednesday that nonprofits should move forward on that front — but without any city support or funding for as long as such sites remain illegal under state and federal law. Trisha Thadani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23


A new California housing law has done little to encourage building, report says -- A California law passed in 2021 was supposed to make it easier for homeowners to build duplexes, but few are taking advantage of it. Hannah Wiley in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23


LAPD tased Keenan Anderson 6 times in 42 seconds, bringing scrutiny to Taser policies -- For a disturbing 42 seconds, a Los Angeles police officer repeatedly stunned a teacher with a Taser gun this month as other officers tried to pin and handcuff the man in the middle of a busy Venice street. The gaps between pulses were so brief that Keenan Anderson, 31, could get out only a few words — including “Help me, please” — as he repeatedly cried out in agony. Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23

‘Everyone’s worst nightmare’: What we know about the California massacre that killed 6 -- The massacre stunned the town of Goshen with the execution-style killings of a baby, his teen mother and her grandmother, but much is still unknown. Grace Toohey, Ruben Vives in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23

Prosecutors sought 33 years to life, but Mongols biker who killed cop may be freed by March -- David Martinez, who pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter charges, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being behind bars for over eight years. Terry Castleman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23

‘Victim of a brutal crime’: Family disputes Mexican authorities’ account of O.C. public defender’s death -- The death of an Orange County public defender at a Baja California resort last week, labeled an “unfortunate accident” by Mexican authorities, has raised several unanswered questions with little to no investigation by local police, the man’s family said in a statement. Nathan Solis in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23


Laney College journalists sue Peralta College District in public records dispute -- Four student journalists from Laney College in Oakland are suing the Peralta Community College District to force administrators to produce documents — contracts, emails and credit card statements — that tax-funded agencies must make available under the California Public Records Act. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23

Inside the child care crisis: Q&A with a veteran provider -- In her 20 years as a child care provider, Donise Keller has learned to take a lot in stride. She often puts in 12-hour days. She scrapes by on less than $20,000 a year. But she does it because she loves working with the children in her care, who she fondly refers to as her babies. Karen D'Souza EdSource -- 1/19/23


Beware: King tides are about to hit California’s coast -- The atmospheric rivers may have subsided, but Mother Nature isn’t done flooding California just yet. On Saturday and Sunday, “king tides” of over 7 feet are expected to cause minor coastal flooding along low-lying areas, according to the National Weather Service Bay Area office. Claire Hao in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/19/23


California oil regulator leaves job amid drilling fight -- Amid a statewide battle over the future of fossil fuels, Uduak-Joe Ntuk stepped down last week as California’s top oil and gas regulator after three years in the job, state officials confirmed Wednesday. Ntuk, a former Chevron engineer and petroleum czar for Los Angeles, was appointed as head of the California Geologic Energy Management Division by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019. Drew Costley Associated Press -- 1/19/23

Also . . .   

Actor Julian Sands identified as one of two missing hikers in San Gabriel Mountains -- Sands, 65, is known for his work in “A Room With a View” (1985), “Naked Lunch” (1991), “Warlock” (1989), “Snakehead” (2003) and dozens of other films and TV series. Born in the United Kingdom, Sands lives in North Hollywood. Christi Carras, Jonah Valdez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/19/23

Here’s how much a ticket costs for 49ers-Cowboys playoff game -- If you’re wondering just how massive Sunday’s renewal of the 49ers-Cowboys rivalry game is, one number should help make it clear. $500. Alex Simon in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/19/23

A news site used AI to write articles. It was a journalistic disaster -- The tech site CNET sent a chill through the media world when it tapped artificial intelligence to produce surprisingly lucid news stories. But now its human staff is writing a lot of corrections. Paul Farhi in the Washington Post$ -- 1/19/23


Wednesday Updates  

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