Republican John Cox inches ahead of Antonio Villaraigosa for second place in California governor's race, new poll finds
LA Times's PHIL WILLON: "Republican businessman John Cox has nudged ahead of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for second place in California's race for governor, while Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has shored up his front-runner status among voters, according to a new poll from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California."
"The survey released Wednesday night also found that Sen. Dianne Feinstein continues to hold a sizable lead in her reelection bid over fellow Democrat and former state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León of Los Angeles."
"With the June 5 primary approaching, Cox's rising fortunes in the governor's race should be well received by Newsom — facing a Republican in the November election will likely increase his odds for victory. No Republican has been elected to statewide office in California since 2006, and Democrats currently hold an edge of nearly 20 percentage points over the GOP in voter registration."
READ MORE related to State Politics: Antonio Villaraigosa says he's not a "partisan warrior," but he's ready to fight -- CALmatters' BEN CHRISTOPHER; In her historic rise to California Senate leader, Toni Atkins brings hope for a calmer era in the Capitol -- LA Times's GEORGE SKELTON; Poll finds Newsom's lead strengthens in primary race for governor -- The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH; Atkins sworn in as 1st woman, 1st openly LGBT person to head state Senate -- The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZ; Sacramento had the state's first woman in office. She's finally being honored -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN LILLIS; Republican rising against Gavin Newsom in California governor's race, poll finds -- Sacramento Bee's ANGELA HART
Why is California losing military veterans faster than most states?
Sacramento Bee's PHILLIP REESE: "California is quickly losing its veterans."
"Barely one in 20 adults living in California during 2016 served in the military. The number of military veterans per capita in California fell 48 percent between 2000 and 2016, much faster than the nationwide decline, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau."
"Only five states — New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York — saw a larger decline in veterans per capita between 2000 and 2016. Only two states — New York and New Jersey — have a lower percentage of adults who served in the military."
Little-known California lawsuit complicates drought plan for Lake Mead
Water Deeply's DANIEL ROTHBERG: "River states have been negotiating a plan to avoid the worst – a shortage in Lake Mead so bad it could trigger unprecedented cutbacks. With the region experiencing drought conditions since 2000, even California, which has senior rights, came to the negotiating table. State officials said they were willing to voluntarily reduce Colorado River allocations to keep water levels in Lake Mead – the reservoir that holds water behind Hoover Dam for Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico – from slipping below a critical threshold."
"The primary obstacle to a deal, known as the Drought Contingency Plan, has been an internal power struggle in Arizona about conservation and which agency gets to make decisions about using the state’s Colorado River water."
"In February, an obscure legal battle involving farmers and the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) in California created a new hurdle for the Drought Contingency Plan. If it is not resolved, it could reduce California’s ability to curb its Colorado River use by storing water in Lake Mead and could impede progress on a regional water agreement of increasing importance."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: People cause climate change, but don't blame big oil, industry tells judge -- The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER; The robot that is helping unravel the mystery of ocean microbes -- Oceans Deeply's PAUL TULLIS; It looks like a fish, but it's not. Meet the robot built to spy on ocean life -- LA Times's DEBORAH NETBURN; Storm brings record rainfall, little damage to SoCal. But the worst may be yet to come -- LA Times's ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN/MELISSA ETEHAD/RUBEN VIVES; Atmospheric river set to bring thunderstorms to Bay Area -- The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI; PG&E's wildfire plan: round-the-clock prediction and response center in SF -- The Chronicle's DAVID R. BAKER; Streaming your entertainment outdoors after big rains in Bay Area -- The Chronicle's TOM STIENSTRA;
Video of Uber's deadly self-driving car crash shows moment pedestrian is hit
LA Times's RUSS MITCHELL: "Police on Wednesday released a video that shows an Uber robot car running straight into a woman who was crossing a highway with her bicycle in Tempe, Ariz. The woman was taken to a hospital, where she died Sunday night."
"The video, shot from the car, is sure to raise debate over who's to blame for the accident. Although the woman appears to be illegally jaywalking from a median strip across two-lane traffic on a dark road, she is more than halfway across the street when the car — traveling about 40 mph, according to police — hits her. It does not appear to brake or take any other evasive action."
READ MORE related to Transportation: For police, catching stoned drivers isn't so easy -- LA Times's JAMES QUEALLY/SARAH PARVINI
Weed is legal. But this map shows just how much of California is a 'pot desert'
Sacramento Bee's BRAD BRANAN/NATHANIEL LEVINE: "Recreational marijuana may be legal in California, but much of the state remains a “pot desert,” according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of state licensing data."
"Three months into the rollout of commercial marijuana, residents in about 40 percent of the state have to drive 60 miles or more to find a licensed dispensary to buy legal marijuana. These areas can be considered “pot deserts,” borrowing from a term often applied to healthy food and grocery stores."
"While that might sound like hyperbole for a product like cannabis, remember that many people use marijuana for medicine and dispensaries are supposed to replace medical marijuana collectives that previously served patients."
California tops in suspension reform, but still not properly targeting disparities, report says
EdSource's DAVID WASHBURN: "California in recent years has arguably become the best state in the nation at holding school districts accountable for their suspension rates — but a number of districts are still lagging considerably when it comes to addressing suspension disparities among specific groups of students and supporting alternatives to traditional discipline, according to a new statewide report."
"Thanks to the debut last year of the school accountability system known as the California School Dashboard, the state is one of just three nationwide to include suspension rates as a top indicator of overall school performance, and it sets the most stringent goals, asserts the report released Thursday by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a nationwide crime prevention and youth advocacy organization."
"While districts have been required to address suspension rates since 2013 when the state Legislature passed the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) — Gov. Jerry Brown’s sweeping school reform law — the dashboard has taken the responsibility to another level, said Brian Lee, the California director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and author of the report, which analyzed the Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) from the state’s fifty largest districts."
READ MORE related to Education: Hundreds walk out of McClatchy High to protest handling of gang rape and sex harassment cases -- Sacramento Bee's DIANA LAMBERT
Mark Zuckerberg says 'sorry' for Facebook data debacle
The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI: "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally said what users, developers and investors have been waiting to hear since the company admitted it allowed the data of millions of users to be misused: “Sorry."
“This was a major breach of trust, and I’m really sorry this happened,” the 33-year-old said in an interview on CNN Wednesday evening."
"Zuckerberg was responding to revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a political firm that worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, gained access to data on some 50 million users, in contravention of Facebook’s rules for data access. It was his first interview since the company admitted to the violation last week."
READ MORE related to Psychological Warfare: Remember the last time Mark Zuckerberg asked us to trust him? -- The Chronicle's OWEN THOMAS
For 'Dreamers,' the dream to become a doctor now 'at the mercy' of the courts
CHL's ANA B IBARRA: "Among the young people known as “Dreamers,” Ever Arias belongs to a select group."
"Of the roughly 700,000 unauthorized immigrants who have temporary but tenuous protection from deportation, only 99 are in medical school. Fewer still have made it to their final year."
"Arias is one of them and, come June, will start his medical residency — the on-the-job training he needs to become a doctor."
READ MORE related to Health & Health Care: States extend Medicaid for birth control, cutting costs -- and future enrollment -- CHL's PHIL GALEWITZ/ANNA GORMAN; Graphic: opioid painkiller is top prescription in 11 states -- CHL's JENNY GOLD
Some Pomona streets will close for fallen officer's funeral on Thursday
Inland Valley Dailey Bulletin's LISET MARQUEZ/BEATRIZ E. VALENZUELA: "Hundreds of mourners are expected to pay their respects to fallen Pomona police Officer Greggory Casillas Thursday, March 22."
"The funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Purpose Church, 601 N. Garey Ave. in Pomona. The funeral is open to the public. The doors of the church will open at 8:30 a.m."
"Gov. Jerry Brown will be attending the service, according to his press office. The U.S. Honor Flag, which honors those killed in the line of duty serving in law enforcement, fire services, U.S. armed forces and other first responders, also will attend."
READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: 2 SF supervisors ask if mayor has conflict of interest in police union talks -- The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY
Democratic candidates try something new to cope with anti-Pelosi campaign attacks: Disavowing her
LA Times's SARAH D. WIRE: "The morning after Democrat Conor Lamb's electoral upset in a Pennsylvania House district that backed Donald Trump by 20 points, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi shrugged off questions about whether she was worried that the candidate had campaigned on a pledge to replace her."
"We won," said the ever-confident Pelosi. "I just wanted him to win."
Leaders finalize US budget bill; voting could begin Thursday
AP's ANDREW TAYLOR/LISA MASCARO: "Congressional leaders have finalized a sweeping $1.3 trillion budget bill that substantially boosts military and domestic spending but leaves behind young immigrant "Dreamers," deprives President Donald Trump some of his border wall money and takes only incremental steps to address gun violence."
"As negotiators stumbled toward an end-of-the-week deadline to fund the government or face a federal shutdown, House Speaker Paul Ryan dashed to the White House amid concerns Trump's support was wavering. Although some conservative Republicans balked at the size of the spending increases and the rush to pass the bill, the White House said the president backed the legislation."
"Trump himself sounded less than enthused, tweeting late Wednesday: "Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment."
Two old men fantasize about a fistfight. One once was vice president. The other is president
LA Times's NOAH BIERMAN: "Joe Biden started it. President Trump counter-punched. Even pro wrestling has more realistic plot lines than this."
"Biden, the 75-year-old former vice president, retold a fantasy he’s had about exchanging fisticuffs with Trump over comments that the president made about women that emerged during the 2016 election campaign on the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” video."
"They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said ‘no,’” Biden said Wednesday during a sexual assault prevention event at the University of Miami. “I said, 'If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him."