Republicans ready to turn in signatures for ballot measure to repeal California gas-tax increase
LA Times's PATRICK MCGREEVY: "Republican activists said Tuesday that they have collected at least 830,000 signatures for an initiative to repeal recent increases in California’s gas tax and vehicle fees, more than enough to qualify the measure for the November ballot."
"The activists need 585,407 signatures of registered voters to qualify the ballot measure."
"Because signatures are still being processed and counted by the campaign, backers hope to have 900,000 by the time they begin turning them in to the counties on Friday, according to Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego City Council member and organizer of the drive."
READ MORE related to Transportation: LA needs increased enforcement near safe parking spots, city councilman says -- Daily News's CITY NEWS SERVICE; Trump and GOP lawmakers are making it easier for auto dealers to racially discriminate -- LA Times's DAVID LAZARUS
2018 elections: Voters eye deluge of water money
LISA RENNER in Capitol Weekly: "California voters may be asked this year to approve $13 billion in two separate water bonds that promise to pay for safe drinking water and improve flood protection."
"Proposition 68, the California Clean Water and Safe Parks Act, is a $4.1 billion measure and is already set for the June 5 ballot."
"The Water Supply and Water Quality Act is an $8.9 billion measure and could come up for a vote in November. The Secretary of State’s office is reviewing the signatures turned in and should decide by the end of the month whether the measure qualifies for the ballot."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Firm accused of fraud in Hunters Point Shipyard cleanup fires back in defense -- The Chronicle's JK DINEEN; Wind, Solar Power could be key to Salmon survival in the northwest -- Water Deeply's MATT WEISER; Long road still ahead for California's delta tunnels plan -- Water Deeply's TARA LOHAN; Report: Climate change is driving precipitation in 'Whiplash' in California -- Water Deeply's TARA LOHAN; The man swimming across the Pacific Ocean for science -- Oceans Deeply's MATTHEW O. BERGER; Goldman Prize goes to activist who fought deep-sea industrial trawling -- Oceans Deeply's IAN EVANS
Pro- and anti-Trump forces score points on immigration, but both sides are losing
LA Times's STEVE LOPEZ: "When it comes to illegal immigration, California is no longer at war with a single foe — the Trump administration."
CALmatters' DAN MORAIN: "Good morning, California."
"Sen. Kamala Harris, contemplating a presidential run, told a New York radio station she won’t take corporate political action committee money. Harris had taken $260,000 in corporate PAC money since 2015."
"Here comes the flood"
They came for Darrell Issa. They stayed with their inflatable chicken, blue wall and signs for political therapy
LA Times's CHRISTINE MAI-DUC: "A mother of two turned ringleader of “the resistance” and more than a hundred of her faithful followers gathered on Tuesday morning outside Rep. Darrell Issa’s office in a northern San Diego County suburb. Across the street was her foil, a wedding DJ in a red “Make American Great Again” cap, setting up hefty speakers for an upcoming war of words."
"For about 65 weeks the deep divide in America played out along this 100-yard stretch of road in Vista. Here, at 10 a.m. every Tuesday, passersby found signs, chants, songs and, if they were lucky, sometimes a 20-foot-tall inflatable chicken with a Trump-esque coif."
LA County, residents slam judge's ruling allowing SoCalGas to conduct study on Aliso Canyon's future
LA Daily News's OLGA GRIGORYANTS: "Los Angeles County leaders say they have “serious concerns” over a state administrative judge’s ruling that the Southern California Gas Co. can conduct research on the future of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility."
"The facility was the site of a massive methane leak at one of its wells in October 2015. More than 100,000 metric tons of methane shot into the atmosphere, forcing thousands from their homes and prompting many residents to complain of illness."
"While crews capped the leak the following February, and SoCalGas began operations again with the state’s blessing, critics have long called for the permanent shutdown of the facility."
US is way behind other nations on workers' readiness for jobs of the future, report says
WaPo: "The United States lags behind other countries in readiness for an increasingly automated world, placing ninth on a ranking of 25 advanced economies, according to a new report from Swiss technology giant ABB."
"South Korea, Singapore, Germany and Canada are better prepared for the rise of machines, thanks largely to their education systems and labor policies, the authors of the Automation Readiness Index concluded."
READ MORE related to Development & Economy: Cost-of-living adjustments for California state worker pensions are safe, for now -- Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON; California state workers will keep monthly paydays -- Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON; Sacramento's poverty growth ranks among highest in US, study finds -- Sacramento Bee's BENJY EGEL; Historic downtown San Jose building gets makeover and tender loving care -- BANG's GEORGE AVALOS
Medical coding becomes first program in proposed California online community college
EdSource's MIKHAIL ZINSHTEYN: "If lawmakers approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious plan to launch a statewide online-only community college, the first students to benefit will be aspiring health professionals who are crucial to the bottom lines of hospitals and medical clinics."
"Officials from the California Community Colleges system announced on Tuesday that the first career pathway the proposed online college will prepare workers for is medical coding, a middle-skill position that can pay well above $50,000 a year and one that is in high demand. The state needs an estimated 1,600 medical coders annually through 2024."
"“This is a very important milestone in the development of the online college,” said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges system. “Medical coding is a very attractive entry point for the health care field."
READ MORE related to Education: CSU failed to ensure safety of students working with hazardous materials, audit says -- Sacramento Bee's DIANA LAMBERT; Fresno State professor Randa Jarrar won't be fired for Barbara Bush tweets -- Fresno Bee's CARMEN GEORGE
18 percent of LA City workers say they were sexually harassed
Daily News's CITY NEWS SERVICE: "Nearly 18 percent of Los Angeles city employees who responded to a recent survey said they have been sexually harassed in the workplace, while more than half of employees who said they have been subjected to harassment didn’t report the incident to anyone, it was reported Tuesday."
"The anonymous survey released by the Personnel Department is believed to be the first citywide poll of employees on sexual harassment in decades, the Los Angeles Times reported."
"City Council members Paul Krekorian and Nury Martinez requested a survey of the city’s 45,000 employees last fall amid a nationwide focus on unwanted sexual attention in the workplace. A total of 4,205 employees responded to the survey, a “strong sample response,” said Jody Yoxsimer, an assistant manager who worked on the project."
READ MORE related to Sexual Misconduct: San Francisco lax in dealing with sexual assaults, women say -- The Chronicle's CYNTHIA DIZIKES/EVAN SERNOFFSKY
4 new ways you can avoid fines for not having health insurance
California Healthline's MICHELLE ANDREWS: "There are already more than a dozen reasons people can use to avoid paying the penalty for not having health insurance. Now the federal government has added four more “hardship exemptions” that let people off the hook if they can’t find a marketplace plan that meets not only their coverage needs but also reflects their view if they are opposed to abortion."
"It’s unclear how significant the impact will be, policy analysts said. That’s because the penalty for not having health insurance will be eliminated starting with tax year 2019, so the new exemptions will mostly apply to penalty payments this year and in the previous two years."
"I think the exemptions … may very marginally increase the number of healthy people who don’t buy health insurance on the individual market,” Timothy Jost, emeritus professor of law at Washington and Lee University in Virginia who is an expert on health law."
READ MORE related to Health & Healthcare: Mass shooting training drill tests Pomona hospital's trauma center with a Las Vegas-like scenario -- OC Register's THERESA WALKER
HUD Secretary Ben Carson tours women's homeless center on skid row
LA Times's GALE HOLLAND: "Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson toured a homeless women's center on L.A.'s skid row Tuesday as part of a fact-finding trip to local public-private partnerships and faith-based programs tackling homelessness and job training."
"Carson, whose agency provided a record $109 million last year to L.A.'s battle with one of the nation's worst homelessness problems, also met with county and business homelessness leaders and stopped at a faith-based drug treatment residential center in Echo Park."
READ MORE related to Homelessness & Housing: Nightmare 90-minute 'super commutes' more common as Bay Area housing shortage intensifies -- BANG's MARISA KENDALL
Efforts to regulate bail companies have some unlikely allies: bail agents
LA Times's JAZMINE ULLOA: "In recent years, the seriousness and number of official complaints related to the bail industry in California have significantly increased while bail agents and bounty hunters face limited oversight, putting vulnerable communities at risk of fraud, embezzlement and other forms of victimization."
"This year, as Gov. Jerry Brown has pledged to work with lawmakers in a push to overhaul how courts assign defendants bail and to better regulate bail agencies, even some who profit from the court practice admit it’s time for regulation. These bail and bail-recovery agents could become unlikely allies, saying they advocate for change because they’ve seen the system abuse the poor."
READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: SF City Attorney seeks to remove 80 percent of people from gang injunction -- The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY; SF supervisors decline to support Sen. Wiener's conservatorship bill -- The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN
Can California make a French dad pay for his kid? A test case is here
Sacramento Bee's STEPHEN MAGAGNINI: "She was a junior, a Ukranian immigrant, at the University of California, Davis, bumming around Europe in the summer of 2009. He was a robotics engineer, almost 20 years her senior, but looked younger. Alessandra Lubinets, then 27, and Philippe, then 46, met on Aug. 13 at a crowded cafe the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. He left to catch his plane, but a French romance bloomed."
"They corresponded. He sent her a necklace on their "anniversary" the next year; a watch on her birthday. She visited in November, they kissed at the Louvre, had a second date at the Eiffel Tower, and, after the holidays, skied the French Alps. After her senior year at UC Davis, she returned to live with him over the summer in Lyon. They said goodbye again as she returned to the States, but now life had changed dramatically, putting her at the forefront of an international child support treaty the U.S. only joined about a year ago."
"Lubinets was pregnant. Their romantic relationship died, and Philippe didn't want her to have the baby. Their son, Henri, is now 6, and Lubinets, 36, is seeking child support from a man across the ocean, in another country, making her one of the first California test cases of the treaty to make a foreign dad help pay for his child."