Speed limits are going up in LA so that police can write more tickets
LA Times's LAURA J NELSON: "Los Angeles officials on Tuesday raised speed limits on more than 100 miles of streets, saying the increases are the best way to quickly resolve a years-long problem that has prevented police officers from ticketing speeding drivers across the city."
"Despite concerns from neighborhood groups, the City Council voted unanimously to raise the speed limit on well-known thoroughfares, including portions of Mulholland Drive, San Vicente Boulevard and Reseda Boulevard. Most of the increases were of 5 miles per hour."
READ MORE related to Public Safety: A killing at a gas statioin, a videotape and an extraordinary prosecution against a deputy -- LA Times's MAYA LAU/RICHARD WINTON/MARISA GERBER
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If you have already donated to Open California this year - Thank you! If you haven't had the opportunity to support Capitol Weekly and The Roundup yet, this is the time. Contributions from other readers and supporters like you have gotten us very near our goal for the year and your contribution could put us there.
Democrats focus on voting rights ahead of 2020 primary
AP's JUANA SUMMERS: "Democrats are trying to turn their most painful losses this year into a rallying cry they hope will electrify the 2020 presidential campaign: Every vote matters."
"Multiple potential contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are elevating the issue of voting rights as they prepare to launch campaigns. They're vowing to oppose Republican-backed efforts to require identification to vote, reinstate protections eliminated by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling and frequently highlight the necessity of counting every vote."
"The aim is to tap into the anger and frustration among Democrats who argue that Republicans win some elections by making it harder for their constituents, particularly minorities, to vote."
READ MORE related to 2020: The shadow campaign for Democratic presidential nomination is well underway -- LA Times's EVAN HALPER
California wildfires costs soaring past last year's records
AP's PAUL ELIAS: "Insurance claims and cleanup costs associated with California wildfires last month are expected to exceed the record-breaking amounts paid out last year after blazes ripped through the state's wine country."
"The insurance industry is bracing for payouts exceeding last year's record $11.8 billion payments to Northern California fire victims."
"California Insurance Commissioner Davy Jones says he will release preliminary claims data Wednesday morning for the three wildfires last month that destroyed 19,000 homes and businesses."
READ MORE related to Camp Fire Calamity: Camp Fire death toll reaches 86 after man dies in hospital; 3 remain missing -- Sacramento Bee's VINCENT MOLESKI; Debris cleanup for November wildfires will cost California $3 billion -- The Chronicle's ASHLEY MCBRIDE
CW Podcast: Scott Lay
Capitol Weekly STAFF: "Here it is, Dec. 11, and the final count of ballots cast in California’s Nov. 6 general election was certified less than a week ago."
"And, as Jim Brulte and Kevin McCarthy have sadly noted, many GOP Election Night “wins” fell to Democrats as the final votes were tallied."
Sacramento paid $300K to help 6,000 undocumented residents with immigration problems
Sacramento Bee's THERESA CLIFT: "Twenty-eight undocumented immigrants facing deportation received legal aid funded by the city of Sacramento to fight their removal under a program funded last year, and which city officials are considering extending."
"The effort, which the city funded with $300,000 last year, also paid for legal services for more than 300 people applying for citizenship, green cards and other services, said Marcus Tang, an immigration attorney, during a City Council presentation Tuesday."
"In all, the program — called Family Unity, Education and Legal Network for Immigrants, or FUEL — has so far provided services to more than 6,000 families, including “know your rights” presentations to more than 2,000 families, emergency preparedness training to more than 200 families and training for more than 265 educators in three school districts, Tang said."
Trump admin asks SCOTUS to reinstate political asylum ban
The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to reinstate the president’s ban on political asylum for thousands of undocumented immigrants, a ban that lower courts have deemed to be in direct contradiction of U.S. immigration law."
"The restrictions, announced by President Trump on Nov. 9 but blocked 10 days later by U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of San Francisco, are needed to “re-establish sovereign control over the southern border” and “reduce illegal and dangerous border crossings,” Justice Department lawyers said in asking the high court for a stay of Tigar’s ruling."
Feds back lawsuit accusing Sutter Health of bilking Medicare for higher payments
Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "The U.S. attorney general announced Tuesday that the Justice Department will take up a whistleblower lawsuit against Sacramento-based Sutter Health, alleging that the nonprofit medical provider manipulated diagnosis codes to get inflated payments from Medicare."
"Federal healthcare programs rely on the accuracy of information submitted by healthcare providers to ensure that patients are afforded the appropriate level of care and that managed care plans receive appropriate compensation,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Today’s action sends a clear message that we will seek to hold healthcare providers responsible if they fail to ensure that the information they submit is truthful."
School suspensions continue downward trend in California, new data show
EdSource's DAVID WASHBURN/DANIEL J WILLIS: "The number of suspensions reported by California schools continue their steady decline, with about half as many students sent home for disciplinary reasons during the 2017-18 school year as had been at the beginning of the decade, according to recent data released by the California Department of Education."
"The statewide number of suspensions dipped to 363,000 last year, down from 710,000 issued during the 2011-12 school year, the data show. However, the so-called “suspension gap,” which refers to the disproportionate number of African-American students suspended, remains."
Police found trove of nude images of women in ex-USC gynecologist's storage unit
LA Times's RICHARD WINTON/HARRIET RYAN/MATT HAMILTON: "Shortly after Los Angeles police launched an investigation into Dr. George Tyndall last spring, a team of detectives began surreptitiously following the former USC gynecologist."
"The 71-year-old passed most of his days inside a condominium he owns near Lafayette Park, but on at least two occasions, Tyndall drove to a self-storage facility and spent time inside a rental unit, police said."
Deal preserving low-cost housing hailed as Ed Lee's real legacy
The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "On the first anniversary of Ed Lee’s unexpected death last December, San Francisco officials are planning to gather on the mayor’s balcony in City Hall Wednesday morning to commemorate the late mayor."
"But across town, in the Inner Richmond District, another tribute to Lee’s life will quietly unfold, one that those who knew him say pays homage to his work as a civil rights attorney and affordable-housing advocate."
"On Wednesday, San Francisco housing officials and the Chinatown Community Development Center are expected to announce the acquisition of two adjoining buildings through the city’s Small Sites program, which is designed to prevent displacement of low-income tenants."
Trump rolls back wetlands protections. What it means for California farmers, developers
"It all started when California farmer John Duarte plowed a wheat field in Tehama County, about two hours north of Sacramento, and wound up paying a $1.1 million fine to the federal government for his efforts."
"On Tuesday, Duarte, who was embraced by conservatives nationwide as a victim of government over-reach, got vindication of sorts."
"In a victory for farmers and land developers throughout the West, the Trump administration announced a broad rollback of rules designed to protect wetlands and other small bodies of water. The decision means regulations put in place in 2015 by the Obama administration will fall by the wayside."
READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Trump says he would be 'proud' to shut down the government over border wall funding -- LA Times's JENNIFER HABERKORN; Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime lawyer, faces sentencing in New York -- LA Times's CHRIS MEGERIAN