Newport Beach mother to plead guilty in college admissions scandal
LA Times's MATTHEW ORMSETH: "A Newport Beach woman has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, admitting she plotted with William “Rick” Singer, the consultant at the center of the college admissions scandal, to have an employee take online classes for her son and submit them to Georgetown."
"Karen Littlefair will plead guilty by Jan. 17 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to a plea agreement signed in November and unsealed Monday. She acknowledged paying Singer $9,000 for one of his employees to take four online courses for her son, a Georgetown student."
"My client took the earliest opportunity to take responsibility for the conduct set forth in the plea agreement,” said her lawyer, Kenneth B. Julian. “She’s doing the right thing, early.” He declined to comment further."
Zodiac still a puzzle 50 years later
The Chronicle's BILL VAN NIEKERKEN: "The Zodiac Killer’s murderous Bay Area crime spree lasted less than a year, but his name and the nearly two dozen taunting letters and cryptograms he sent captured the public’s imagination and inspired books and major movies."
Sacramento County is restoring oversight of Sheriff's Office. Here's who applied for the job
Sacramento Bee's ALEXANDRA YOON-HENDRICKS: "The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is expected to select its new inspector general during its Tuesday meeting, an appointment that will restore oversight of the Sheriff’s Office more than a year after the position was vacated."
"Board Chair Patrick Kennedy and Sheriff Scott Jones recommended that recently retired Brentwood Police Chief Mark Evenson be approved by the board last month, after the pair had conducted interviews with three finalists for the position."
"Evenson would be someone “who’s going to do a good job” providing accountability for the county law enforcement agency, Kennedy previously told The Sacramento Bee."
Climate change a top presidential issue for California Democrats
The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "Climate change is a top priority for California’s most liberal Democratic voters, a choice reflected in the presidential candidates they back, according to a poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies."
"Among voters likely to cast ballots in the March 3 Democratic primary who identified themselves as very liberal, 57% said climate change should be the leading priority for the next president, compared with 37% for self-styled moderates."
"White non-Hispanics, voters younger than 30 and college graduates all put climate change on top, said Mark DiCamillo, the poll’s director."
More California salad contaminated by E. coli bacteria, CDC says
LA Times's GEOFFREY MOHAN: "California’s Salinas Valley is grappling with a new outbreak of E. coli contamination linked to packaged salads."
"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the latest multistate outbreak, which sickened eight people in upper-Midwest states and 16 in Canada, involves a different E. coli strain than the one involved in a previous set of illnesses announced before Thanksgiving."
"The outbreaks, however, share a common geographical origin: lettuce harvested in California’s Salinas Valley, according to the CDC."
SF is one of the most expensive places in the world to build housing. Here's why
The Chronicle's ROLAND LI: "Adrian Caratowsa was lucky."
"After six years of trying and failing to score an affordable apartment in San Francisco, he won the lottery for a city-subsidized apartment in the Transbay district."
"Caratowsa, who once lived in a South of Market warehouse with 27 roommates, now pays around $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom at 255 Fremont St. Nearly 70 people applied for each apartment in the building."
New restraint device will soon hit the streets
LA Times's MARK PUENTE: "Standing before 20 cameras, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore stood motionless Monday as a sergeant pointed a laser at the chief’s leg to demonstrate a new gadget that will hit the streets next month."
"A loud boom echoed across the Police Academy grounds, and a Kevlar cord wrapped around Moore’s legs to prevent him from running away. He could only shuffle his feet and needed scissors to cut the cord from his dark blue pants. The new device, called the BolaWrap 100, fires a Kevlar cord that ensnares an individual’s body to restrict mobility, giving officers seconds to swarm the person without using more drastic measures such as a Taser or gun."
"The device resembles a gadget on a superhero’s utility belt and will soon be in the hands of several hundred officers to help detain individuals without using force. The Times reported last week that the Los Angeles Police Department would test the devices for free for several months. The department began rolling them out Monday."
Bloomberg's presidential bid endorsed by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg began his uphill climb Monday to win California’s Democratic presidential primary by announcing the endorsement of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo."
"Liccardo had endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris, who dropped out of the race last week. He will serve as state co-chair, adviser and surrogate for Bloomberg’s campaign."
"Liccardo said he is supporting Bloomberg, who entered the race two weeks ago, “because as mayor of the nation’s largest, most diverse and most complex city, Mike solved problems — to reduce poverty, expand jobs, cut gun violence, improve public health and build affordable housing."
20 moments that defined the Bay Area in this century's first 20 years
The Chronicle's STAFF: "It’s strange to think of the Bay Area in the year 2000 — before smartphones, before social media logos on towers, before the Warriors redefined championship basketball. It was a time when the future still felt like a soft reflection of the past. Since then our world has evolved at a rare pace. At the end of two decades in this fresh millennium, Chronicle reporters and editors reflect on 20 key Bay Area moments that shaped our culture."
Can overwhelmed SF sewers ever stop flooding?
The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA/ANNA BAUMAN: "After a weekend storm walloped San Francisco, officials say preventing flood damage from powerful rains in vulnerable areas of the city largely remains a pipe dream."
"A storm that inundated San Francisco with more than an inch of rain in a single hour Saturday flooded two Muni light-rail stations, snarled traffic on Highway 101 and forced residents in parts of West Portal to wade through waist-deep water that surged into homes, causing thousands of dollars of damage."
"Residents of San Francisco’s lowest-lying areas are routinely the most unlucky when heavy storms hit. City officials said Monday that though precautions were taken prior to the worst of the weekend’s rain — mostly keeping storm drains free of debris — San Francisco’s aging sewer system is still in some areas prone to backups and flooding when lots of rain falls in short periods of time."
Democrats poised to unveil 2 impeachment articles vs Trump
AP: "House Democrats are poised to unveil two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — with an announcement expected early Tuesday."
"Democratic leaders are pushing ahead with formal charges saying the president put U.S. elections and national security at risk by asking Ukraine to investigate his rivals, including Joe Biden, while withholding military aid for an ally trying to counter hostile Russia neighbors. They warn Trump could do it again if left unchecked."
"Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined during an evening event Monday to discuss the articles or the coming announcement. Details were shared by multiple people familiar with the discussions but unauthorized to discuss them and granted anonymity."
Report sharply criticizeds FBI but finds no partisan bias in Russia probe
LA Times's DEL QUENTIN WILBER: "The Justice Department’s internal watchdog sharply criticized the FBI on Monday for its clandestine surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor suspected of working with Russian intelligence, describing a systematic breakdown and numerous errors in a politically charged investigation during a presidential campaign."
"Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his investigators uncovered no evidence that the mistakes were intentional or influenced by political bias, as President Trump has repeatedly alleged. He also concluded that the FBI had proper legal and factual justification for launching the counterintelligence probe in 2016."
"The 434-page report was released as the House Judiciary Committee conducted a contentious impeachment hearing, and Trump and his allies seized on the withering criticism of the FBI to claim full vindication — and overstate the conclusions."
US misled the public on progress in the Afghanistan war, report claims
AP: "The U.S. government across three White House administrations misled the public about failures in the Afghanistan war, often suggesting success where it didn’t exist, according to thousands of pages of documents obtained by the Washington Post."
"The documents reveal deep frustrations about America’s conduct of the Afghanistan war, including the ever-changing U.S. strategy, the struggles to develop an effective Afghan fighting force and persistent failures to defeat the Taliban and combat corruption throughout the government."
"We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015."