Public power

Jan 16, 2019


PG&E bankruptcy plan leads SF to reconsider public power system


From the Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA and J.D. MORRIS: "The planned bankruptcy of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has opened the possibility of San Francisco taking over some or all of the utility’s local operations and infrastructure, reinvigorating an enduring debate over whether the city should take on a greater role as a power provider."


"Mayor London Breed has asked the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to analyze the impacts of PG&E’s likely insolvency and what the city needs to do to ensure electricity services continue uninterrupted. The report is due in three months."


“The analysis should evaluate all options,” the mayor said in a letter to SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly, “including the possibility of acquiring and building electrical infrastructure assets.”


READ MORE related to PG&EPG&E Bankruptcy Threatens California Wildfire Suits, Green-Power Contracts -- RUSSELL GOLD, SARA RANDAZZO and REBECCA SMITH in the Wall Street Journal; PG&E’s bankruptcy could slow California’s fight against climate change -- LAT's SAMMY ROTH; Butte County files lawsuit against PG&E -- RISA JOHNSON, Chico E-R; Frayed Wires: As California enters a brave new energy world, can it keep the lights on? -- CALmatters' JULIE CART


Newsom wants the tech industry to help pay for new housing. But not for the neediest Californians


LA Times's LIAM DILLON: "California’s housing affordability crisis over the past decade has coincided with a boom in tech-fueled job growth. Now Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling on Silicon Valley companies to make an unprecedented contribution to help build new homes — but his idea is drawing concern from some budget watchers and government ethics advocates who worry about the political influence the tech industry could gain."


"Newsom said his administration is asking corporations to provide developers with low-interest loans to build housing for teachers, nurses and other middle-class Californians. Newsom indicated the companies’ total fundraising for the program would match the $500 million in public money he’s proposed in the state budget for the development of middle-income housing."


"“The workforce housing issues have been exacerbated by the success of a lot of these companies,” Newsom said when presenting the budget last week. “I do not begrudge other people's success. But that success is creating burdens and stress.”"


Sacramento Women's March to go on as scheduled


From JESSICA HICE in Capitol Weekly: "Last January, about 36,000 people gathered in Sacramento to march in support of the #MeToo movement. Many women and their allies who marched included those that spoke out and signed an open letter denouncing sexual harassment within the Capitol community."


"Supporters hope they will have a similar turnout Saturday."


"Under new management, the Women’s March Sacramento group in 2018 became an official chapter of Women’s March Global and plans to focus this year’s march on ending violence against women and supporting all women, including those who were just elected to Congress."


Newsom gets no honeymoon amid PG&E bankruptcy, LA school strike


Thje Chornicle's JOE GARAFOLI: "Welcome to the job, Gov. Gavin Newsom."";.Newsom started his first full week in office with two crises thrown into his lap: The state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., said it would file for bankruptcy protection, and teachers in Los Angeles went on strike,crippling a school district where 80 percent of the students live in poverty."


"Newsom’s challenge: Where does he weigh in with the power of his office — and where does he hold back?"


With FBI probe looming, LA City Council members revive plan to limit developer donations


LA Times's EMILY ALPERT REYES/DAVID ZAHNISER: "Two years ago, Los Angeles City Council members called for a ban on political donations from real estate developers seeking city approval for their projects, saying they wanted to erase the perception that money is the reason big buildings are getting the green light."


"That plan languished at City Hall and was tabled by the Ethics Commission before it officially expired."


"Now, with FBI agents conducting a corruption investigation into City Hall, council members have revived the idea."


Top California doctors group seeks  legislation to ensure pain prescriptions get filled


Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "The California Medical Association is working to get legislation introduced — perhaps as early as this week — that will alleviate a problem with prescription forms that has pharmacists across the state rejecting patients who bring doctors’ orders for pain medications."


"Many doctors say the problems began Jan. 2 after a new law went into effect the day before. That’s when they started receiving emails from pharmacies telling them that they had used an incorrect prescription form and that pharmacists couldn’t fill their orders until they received the correct form."


""I just got my new prescription pads (Monday) at a cost of several hundred dollars, and the change is trivial,” said Dr. Richard Buss, a family practice physician in Jackson. “At the hospital here, I was next to a doctor who was trying to send a patient home after knee surgery, and the pharmacy wouldn’t honor his prescription because they were old forms."


Reeling California Republicans elevate social conservative


From Politico's JEREMY WHITE: "California Republicans, battered by deep losses in the 2018 elections, have shaken up their leadership by elevating a social conservative to lead the state Senate caucus."


"State senators voted to replace Sen. Patricia Bates with Sen. Shannon Grove on Tuesday, the latest leadership shuffle as the state party searches for a way out of political oblivion. Grove highlighted California’s highest-in-the-nation poverty rate in a statement heralding the change."


“For the sake of the millions of forgotten Californians, our Caucus will work to navigate government with pragmatism and compassion and negotiate with fearlessness,” the Bakersfield Republican said."


Marin Coast Guard families tread water with donations as shutdown drags on


From WILL HOUSTON, in the Marin Independent Journal: "Raising three kids including a 4-month-old, Novato resident Meghan Wood and her husband, Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Wood, are wondering how they’re going to keep up without a paycheck. There’s preschool, car payments, a cellphone bill, costs for their children’s extra-curricular activities and groceries to pay for, to name a few."


"While Congress and President Donald Trump are stuck in a stalemate over how to reopen the government from its longest-ever shutdown, Coast Guard families like the Woods stationed in Novato as part of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Strike Team at Hamilton and thousands of federal government workers are bearing the consequences."


“There is no rank or rate or pay scale. There is no limit to what it is,” Meghan Wood said of the shutdown’s impacts. “There is no one getting paid.”


School where  boy with autism was restrained and later died has been investigated by the state multiple times


Sacramento Bee's SAWSAN  MORRAR: "The El Dorado Hills private school where a boy with autism died after being held face-down by staff for nearly two hours has been investigated before by the state for its use of physical restraints, according to court documents and state records."


Guiding Hands School is currently the subject of three ongoing investigations by the state Department of Education, according to documents filed by the agency with Sacramento Superior Court on Jan. 11."


READ MORE related to Education: LA teachers bask in support for a strike, but pressure grows to settle amid financial losses -- LA Times's HOWARD BLUME/DOUG SMITH


Berkeley police arrest 4 suspects in connection to break-in at Cannabis Buyers Club


From Daily Cal's SABRINA DONG: "The officers detained four suspects sitting in a vehicle outside of the business upon arrival. After searching the vehicle, the officers found gloves, bolt cutters, pry bars, flashlights and a face mask. The suspects were arrested after further investigation on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy and possession of burglary tools."


"According to the alert, the four arrested were 29-year-old Curran Travis Warren Jr., 21-year-old Mahlik Antoine Smith, 19-year-old Parrish Kendricks and an unnamed 17-year-old."


Gillibrand enters presidential race featuring a record number of women


LA Times's JANET HOOK: "Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a central figure in the Democratic Party’s debate about the #MeToo movement, is preparing to join a 2020 presidential primary contest that features a record number of women in the wake of the midterm election tidal wave of female candidates."


"Gillibrand, 52, announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” which was taped Tuesday afternoon, in advance of a weekend trip to Iowa, where the first 2020 Democratic contest will be held."


“I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom I am going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own,” she said.