Updating . .   

LAPD ban of ‘thin blue line’ flags is latest salvo in culture war -- LAPD Chief Michel Moore says the flag’s original meaning, police support, has been “hijacked” by extremist groups. Libor Jany in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23

Arellano: May Jose Huizar’s fall be the end of the ‘Eastside politico’ -- When news broke this week that former Los Angeles Councilmember Jose Huizar was going to plead guilty to federal racketeering charges for his role in a corruption scandal that rocked Los Angeles politics, I immediately thought of “American Me.” Gustavo Arellano in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23

Water district roiled by bitter infighting and criminal charges against general manager -- For years, the Central Basin Municipal Water District was seen as a poster child for government dysfunction: State auditors slammed the agency for questionable contracting practices, poor leadership and violating the law. Ian James, Dorany Pineda in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23

The San Francisco Inquirer looks like local news. Here’s why politicians are furious with the site -- A New York consultant who reportedly published false news articles about political figures has created a website called the San Francisco Inquirer, which is designed as a local news site but appears to be an effort to pressure federal lawmakers into supporting the consultant’s client, a Bay Area-based tribe. Shira Stein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/21/23

Dowd: Nancy Pelosi, Liberated and Loving It -- Won’t she still be a celebrity, even without her old title and big staff and wide balcony? “I was a woman of great power, and now I’ll be a woman of great influence,” she said. “Whatever that happens to be.” Maureen Dowd in the New York Times$ -- 1/21/23

Rain Train  

Storm flooding compounds misery for California farms and workers -- After a series of violent storms, California farmworkers must cope with flooded homes, dangerous job conditions and lost wages. Dorany Pineda, Brittny Mejia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23

California oysters are in short supply. Here’s why the rain is to blame -- Although the storms brought much-needed rain to the state, helping to refill reservoirs and soaking drought-stricken regions, the water runoff into places such as Morro and Tomales bays prompted oyster harvesters to pause operations for bacterial testing. Christian Martinez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23

Struggling to find a Bay Area roofer after recent winter storms? You’re not alone -- Property owners with roof damage may need to wait weeks for repairs as local roofers are overwhelmed after the storms. Ethan Varian in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/21/23

California Storms Leave Billions of Dollars in Damage to Businesses, Homes and Infrastructure -- Weeks of heavy weather unleashed landslides, shattered rainfall records and hit industries from tourism to agriculture. Jim Carlton in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 1/21/23

California’s vineyards were thirsty. Historic rains were ‘a dream come true.’ -- This region’s vintners have been turning very little water into very good wine year after year during an unrelenting drought. Reis Thebault in the Washington Post$ -- 1/21/23


LAPD chief apologizes to family of former TV exec who accused ex-CBS boss of assault -- The LAPD was rattled last fall amid accusations that the former commander, Cory Palka, provided special treatment to Moonves when he was in charge of the LAPD’s Hollywood division. Palka allegedly worked to cover up Golden-Gottlieb’s sexual assault report in 2017 and 2018, according to a November report from New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James. Meg James in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23


How Apple Has So Far Avoided Layoffs: Lean Hiring, No Free Lunches -- The world’s largest company has so far avoided the job cuts rippling through peers including Microsoft Corp., Google, Meta Platforms Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. Aaron Tilley in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 1/21/23


Los Angeles is taking an aggressive approach to homelessness. How does it compare to San Francisco’s? -- The challenge for both regions is seeing long-term results in cities with affordable housing shortages, a fentanyl crisis, and challenges in treating people with mental illness who end up on the streets. Mallory Moench in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/21/23


Hackers penetrated LAUSD computers much earlier than previously known, district probe finds -- Instrusion into L.A. school district’s system began as early as July 31. Previously, officials spoke of attack that began and ended on Sept. 3. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23

California sues 2 Sacramento landlords, alleges they discriminated against Section 8 tenant -- The lawsuit was filed against two Sacramento landlords, alleging they discriminating against a tenant, and chose to evict her for using federal assistant to pay rent. Sawsan Morrar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23


New $6.7 billion price tag makes Caltrain’s SF extension among costliest in the world -- Preparations for the final 1.3-mile leg — pushing trains to the city’s Salesforce Tower — are finally picking up speed after decades of on-and-off planning. But there’s one major hurdle: a new $6.7 billion price tag. Eliyahu Kamisher in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/21/23

Also . . .   

History is present: FDR’s floating White House bobs in the waters off Jack London Square -- The rains had finally let up, and I spent the other afternoon in Oakland at the head of the table where the president of the United States once sat, talking about Franklin D. Roosevelt, politics, and salt water. Carl Nolte in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/21/23

S.F. Toiletgate: City is being gifted a free bathroom, but it’s still going to cost $1 million -- The Noe Valley Town Square will finally get a toilet that doesn’t cost $1.7 million. But the price tag for installing a free, donated bathroom could still be jarringly high. Heather Knight in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/21/23


California Policy and Politics Saturday  

Garofoli: ‘We’re talking about one term’: How Barbara Lee plans to tackle the age question in California Senate race -- There was a recurring theme in the responses I have received after writing about Orange County Rep. Katie Porter launching her Senate campaign and The Chronicle confirming that Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee is planning a run, too. It was about age. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/21/23

Oakland leaders rally around police chief’s suspension. Here’s what could come next -- Members of the Oakland City Council threw their support Friday behind Mayor Sheng Thao’s decision to place Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong on paid administrative leave after a city investigation found the chief mishandled two misconduct cases. Sarah Ravani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/21/23

Industry’s ousted reform monitor to pay $350,000 over allegations he failed to do his job -- The law firm of former state Attorney General William Lockyer will pay $350,000 to the City of Industry to settle allegations that Lockyer breached his contract while serving as the city’s reform adviser during a period in which a developer who had donated heavily to Lockyer’s political campaigns in the past allegedly stole millions from a city-backed solar project. Jason Henry in the Orange County Register -- 1/21/23

Kamala Harris visits L.A. stormwater project in wake of record-setting rains -- Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday joined state and local leaders at a Los Angeles County site recently upgraded to increase groundwater retention, where they touted ongoing efforts to improve drought resiliency across California and neighboring states. Grace Toohey, Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23


Oakland’s head of homelessness is out of a job — leaving city in the lurch, again -- Oakland has let go of its top staffer in charge of homelessness after he served less than a year on the job — once again leaving the city without a permanent leader to take on one of its most severe crises. Homelessness Administrator Daniel Cooper was placed on administrative leave Dec. 20 and “released from his employment” Tuesday, according to city spokesperson Nicole Neditch, who declined to comment further. Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/21/23

Landllords and Tenants  

L.A. City Council votes to dramatically expand tenant protections ahead of deadline -- With pressure mounting and the clock ticking, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Friday to dramatically expand protections for renters, heading off what advocates had feared could become a wave of evictions. Julia Wick in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23

Rain Train  

This Bay Area home slid downhill and became a ‘life safety threat’ days after the storms -- Tim Morrison was working in his home office Thursday morning when a parade of city and emergency vehicles began pulling up outside and his son ran into the room. “Dad, did you see what happened to the house across the street?” he said. Morrison looked out the window and was astonished. The house at 14 Cedar Lane, which was there when he started a series of video calls earlier in the morning, was gone. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/21/23

'It Was Like a River': Flood Insurance Is Often Out of Reach for Bay Area Residents Who Need It Most -- When the family of four moved here two years ago, purchasing their first house, they didn't realize it was located in a part of Contra Costa County that regularly floods. On Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps, the neighborhood is marked as an “AREA OF MINIMAL FLOOD HAZARD,” which means homeowners here aren’t required to purchase flood insurance. Ezra David Romero KQED -- 1/21/23

Trees were a California city’s salvation. Now they’re a grave threat -- The power had just gone out in Eben Burgoon’s Sacramento home earlier this month when, all of a sudden, he heard three thuds. He opened his door, expecting to find a fallen tree branch, only to discover that a massive redwood had crashed down on his home, breaking over his roof and smashing his neighbor’s car. Niko Kommenda, Anna Phillips and Austin Meyer in the Washington Post$ -- 1/21/23


Keenan Anderson’s family files $50-million legal claim after tasing by LAPD -- Civil rights lawyers acting on behalf of Keenan Anderson’s young son have filed a $50-million wrongful-death claim against the city of Los Angeles, alleging the 31-year-old teacher died as a result of “serious injuries” he suffered when an LAPD officer repeatedly tased him after a traffic collision. Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23

Teenager who struck woman, baby in Venice hit-and-run is fatally shot in Palmdale -- Kristopher Baca was walking to his grandmother’s home when a car pulled up and someone inside fired “numerous” shots, authorities said. He had recently been released from juvenile detention for felony hit-and-run. Matthew Ormseth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23


California slashed rooftop solar payments. Now opponents want a rehearing -- A trio of environmental groups wants the California Public Utilities Commission to upend last month’s decision that overhauled the rules for Californians who install rooftop solar on their homes and businesses, reducing payments to new solar customers for the electricity they generate. Rob Nikolewski in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23


Ballona Creek trash interceptor damaged during storms but will be fixed soon -- In Los Angeles, the goal of the interceptor is to prevent street trash from being carried out into the ocean, where it can pollute beaches, harm wildlife and end up as part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Terry Castleman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/21/23

Also . . .   

Escondido aviator who shot down four Soviet MiGs in ‘extraordinary’ secret dogfight awarded Navy Cross -- In one of the most masterful pieces of flying in Navy history, Royce Williams of Escondido took on seven Soviet MiGs in Korea in 1952 and shot down four of them in a solo dogfight that was kept secret for decades because it was fraught with political sensitivities. He was quietly awarded the Silver Star the following year. But that wasn’t the end of the story. Gary Robbins in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/21/23


Friday Updates  


Environmental rules stoke anger as California lets precious stormwater wash out to sea -- Environmental rules designed to protect imperiled fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta have ignited anger among a group of bipartisan lawmakers, who say too much of California’s stormwater is being washed out to sea instead of being pumped to reservoirs and aqueducts. Hayley Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/20/23

Policy and Politics  

Barabak: The fight to replace Feinstein is going to be nasty, personal and very expensive -- A field of Senate candidates from the same party with similar views means the competition will likely turn personal and focus on things like character, temperament and demeanor. Mark Z. Barabak in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/20/23

Redondo Beach councilman accused of misappropriating $515,000 in law practice faces new State Bar charges -- The State Bar of California charged Councilmember Zein E. Obagi Jr. with seeking to mislead a judge and making misrepresentations to the Superior Court over the money meant for a former client. Rebecca Ellis in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/20/23

Karen Bass and Kevin McCarthy are old political pals. Does that mean anything anymore? -- It’s hard to imagine in these times of bitter partisan antagonism, but the top House Republican and the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles are friends. Not in the Washington sense, where “my friend” borders on insult, but a genuine affinity that has spanned two decades and both coasts. Melanie Mason, Benjamin Oreskes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/20/23

Abortion Pills Will Be the Next Battle in the 2024 Election -- The next front is rapidly emerging in the struggle between supporters and opponents of legal abortion, and that escalating conflict is increasing the chances that the issue will shape the 2024 election as it did last November’s midterm contest. Ronald Brownstein The Atlantic -- 1/20/23


Google cuts 12,000 jobs as global tech layoffs continue -- Search giant Google dwarfed Microsoft’s recent announcement of mass layoffs, with CEO Sundar Pichai telling employees Friday that 12,000 roles would be cut globally — about 6% of its workforce. Chase DiFeliciantonio in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Sam Schechner in the Wall Street Journal$ Julian Mark, Ellen Francis, Gerrit De Vynck and Naomi Nix in the Washington Post$ Adam Satariano in the New York Times$ Kelvin Chan Associated Press -- 1/20/23

Tech Layoffs Shock Young Workers. The Older People? Not So Much -- When Lyft laid off 13 percent of its workers in November, Kelly Chang was shocked to find herself among the 700 people who lost their jobs at the San Francisco company. “It seemed like tech companies had so much opportunity,” said Ms. Chang, 26. “If you got a job, you made it. It was a sustainable path.” Tripp Mickle in the New York Times$ -- 1/20/23

Despite tech layoffs, S.F. and Santa Clara County unemployment rates both fall to 2% -- San Francisco and Santa Clara County’s unemployment rates both fell to 2% in December as the local economy showed strength despite a wave of tech layoffs that continues to swell, according to state data released Friday. Roland Li in the San Francisco Chronicle$ George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/20/23

Regal closing 7 more theaters, including Sherman Oaks Galleria -- Regal is preparing to close 39 more U.S. theaters, including four in Southern California and seven in the Bay Area, after parent company Cineworld announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. The latest list comes on the heels of dozens of other theaters that have already been shuttered, including Anaheim Hills 14, Calabasas Stadium 6 and the Westpark 8 theater in Irvine. Kevin Smith in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/20/23


After Madera’s hospital closure, could others follow? -- In Madera County, one-fifth of residents live in poverty and many don’t have health insurance. The last thing this largely rural, Latino-majority part of the San Joaquin Valley needed was for its only general hospital to close its doors. Ana B. Ibarra and Nicole Foy CalMatters -- 1/20/23


Gwen Mayse had savings and a job. The Sacramento woman died without a home -- In the spring of 2019, Gwen Mayse slept in a car with her daughter outside of a closed homeless shelter. She had her three dogs, Phat Phat, Queenie and Princess. She was desperate to find housing. Theresa Clift in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/20/23


University of California’s $4-billion real estate investment will worsen housing crisis, unions say -- With property values sinking, investors rushed to withdraw money from a real estate fund managed by private equity giant Blackstone last month. But the fund soon found a savior in the Golden State: The University of California poured in $4 billion even as other investors fled. Melody Petersen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/20/23

A powerful nonprofit owns apartments for poor tenants. Why are some tenants trapped in their rooms? -- The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has spent tens of millions on pro-tenant causes. Yet elderly and disabled tenants at one of its buildings complain they have spent months at a time without a functioning elevator. Benjamin Oreskes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/20/23

With deadline looming, L.A. City Council is set to vote on new tenant protections -- The L.A. City Council is under enormous pressure to finalize a new policy on evictions before the existing emergency order expires at the end of the month. Julia Wick in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/20/23

Rain Train  

In soaked California, few homeowners have flood insurance -- On Sunday morning, Kyle Starks woke up to floodwaters that reached the door of his Jeep after yet another heavy rain storm drenched California. Emergency crews showed up with boats to float Starks and other residents of his rural mobile home park in Acampo to safety. Beyond the physical destruction, the storm could pack a financial hit: Starks does not have flood insurance. Michael Phillis, Adam Beam Associated Press -- 1/20/23

Flood Cars  

Buyer beware: All those cars damaged in California’s floods could be coming to a dealer near you -- In the days and weeks ahead, a complex ecosystem of insurance companies, auction houses, car dealers and others will process these soggy automotive casualties. Many will eventually wind up for sale again. And at least some of those rides will be risky buys. Daniel Miller in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/20/23

Also . . .   

Search crews try using cellphone data to locate missing actor Julian Sands on Mt. Baldy -- As the search continues for British actor Julian Sands, officials have looked at cellphone data to try to piece together Sands’ movements since he went missing in Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. Alexandra E. Petri, Christie D'zurilla, Jonah Valdez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/20/23

In California, Marking Time With Natural Disasters -- The power of nature is never far from mind in California. In fact, to live here for any length of time is to have it embedded in your memories. Shawn Hubler in the New York Times$ -- 1/20/23

Rare snowy owl that drew flocks of birdwatchers disappears from Cypress neighborhood -- A snowy owl that found its way to a rooftop in west Orange County has flown the coop, according to local birders who rapturously monitored the unique visitor over the last month. Nathan Solis in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/20/23