The best unkept secret in the Capitol: The nearby DMV office that serves lawmakers and their staff
Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF/BRYAN ANDERSON: If you enter the Legislative Office Building in downtown Sacramento, pass through security and hook an immediate left, then walk to the end of the hallway and take another right, at the end of that hallway is an unmarked door with a peephole."
"Inside you will find the Capitol office of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, an unlisted branch where elected officials can register their cars, renew their driver’s licenses — or apply for the new federally-mandated Real ID card that has been driving up wait times at DMV field offices across the state."
"From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, with an hour break at noon for lunch, in-person service is available by appointment, according to a brochure obtained by The Sacramento Bee. The office serves current and retired members of the Legislature and Congress; current legislative staff; employees of the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the Legislative Counsel and the Legislative Data Center; and elected and appointed officials."
Inmate firefighters risk death at $1 an hour
Capitol Weekly's CHUCK MCFADDEN: "Some were bank robbers, car thieves and burglars. Now they are on the front lines in the scary and dangerous job of saving California from raging wildfires."
"There are about 3,900 of them, all state prison inmate volunteers from 44 fire camps spread across California. They are providing vital reinforcements to the army of men and women battling a host of fires from Oregon to Mexico. The fires include the largest blaze in nearly a century."
Waging a desperate fight to save homes as Holy fire spreads into Lake Elsinore
LA Times's RUBEN VIVES/ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN: "As flames flickered behind Ana Tran’s McVicker Canyon home, she and her friend rushed to their car and sped past firefighters who were heading toward the blaze. Thick black smoke billowed above homes and cars blanketed in pinkish fire retardant."
"The residents, like many others, made a frantic escape Thursday after winds picked up in Lake Elsinore and pushed the raging Holy fire within feet of homes. By evening, the blaze had ravaged more than 10,200 acres through the Cleveland National Forest and into Riverside County."
Amid backlash, Coastal Commission asks state to 'explore all potential options' to open Hollister Ranch to the public
LA Times's ROSANNA XIA: "Facing mounting criticism for allowing Hollister Ranch landowners to keep 8.5 miles of Santa Barbara coastline largely closed to the beachgoing public, state officials indicated Thursday some regret about the controversial deal they quietly agreed to earlier this year."
"In an announcement met with applause at a public meeting in Redondo Beach, California Coastal Commission Chair Dayna Bochco said the agency plans to ask the State Lands Commission to “explore all potential options” to obtain genuine public access by land to one of the state’s least untarnished stretches of coastline."
Legislators assail Gov. Brown's plan to limit utilities liability in wildfires
The Chronicle's DAVID R BBAKE: "Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to end strict financial liability for utilities whose power lines spark wildfires received a skeptical response Thursday from state legislators, some of whom bristled at anything resembling a bailout of the companies."
"At a joint legislative committee hearing to consider the plan, some legislators questioned its constitutionality and complained that it would give electric utilities less incentive to manage their power grids safely."
Bawdy behavior at California Lottery alleged in detailed letter to Governor Brown
Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON/TARYN LUNA: "A package of bawdy photos allegedly showing senior state Lottery leaders carrying on at a Southern California piano bar, with one image showing an official putting his head up a woman’s shirt, was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office last week in an appeal from an anonymous employee urging the administration to investigate the department."
"Brown’s office late Thursday said he is asking the attorney general’s office to look into the letter and the attached photos."
"The contents of the letter are troubling,” Brown spokeswoman Ali Bay said."
Rent control foes hire California NAACP leader after her group opposes initiative
The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZ: "The president of the California NAACP has long resisted criticism that she melds the group’s interests with those of her political consulting firm, which takes in large fees for working on campaigns that the civil rights organization backs."
"Critics say Alice Huffman is doing it again on what is shaping up to be one of the most bitterly contested measures on the November ballot — Proposition 10, which would repeal a state law that limits cities’ ability to impose rent control."
"The state NAACP’s 28-member executive committee voted in May to oppose Prop. 10. Huffman said the group agreed with arguments that allowing stricter forms of rent control would discourage housing construction and therefore hurt low-income tenants."
BART OKs safety measures after recent vioence but not everyone's happy
The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "Stung by criticism after a string of violent crimes, BART’s Board of Directors voted Thursday to update the transit system’s surveillance cameras and install emergency call boxes."
"The two measures, approved in a 6-3 vote, were part of a $28 million public safety package announced this week by General Manager Grace Crunican. It also included proposals to build barriers to deter fare evasion and install a large screen at Civic Center Station to remind riders that they are under surveillance."
Ghost Ship victims' families urge judge to rethink 'slap on the wrist' deal
The Chronicle's KIMBERLY VEKLEROV: "The two defendants charged in the deaths of 36 people at the Ghost Ship warehouse are getting off easy, families of the victims told an Alameda County Superior Court judge Thursday, imploring him to reconsider the plea deal they deemed a “slap on the wrist” and “morally bankrupt."
"Under the plea agreement between the Alameda County district attorney’s office and lawyers for the defendants, Derick Almena and Max Harris are expected to be sentenced to nine and six years, respectively, in county jail but will be credited for time served. Almena, 48, could be released in 3½ years and Harris, 28, in less than two years."
"Families told Judge James Cramer that the punishments weren’t enough."
This LA Sheriff's deputy was a pariah in federal court. but his secrets were safe with the state.
LA Timers's JOEL RUBIN: "For years, James Peterson’s secrets were safe in the courtrooms of Los Angeles."
"The L.A. County sheriff’s deputy, who trawled a stretch of the 5 Freeway for drug traffickers, often testified in the state court system about his arrests. No one knew to ask about his troubled past."
Analyzing the Trump effect: Is America having a nervous breakdown?
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Think people are losing their minds over President Trump? Maybe it’s not all in your head.""
"The American Psychological Association is holding its annual convention in San Francisco, and there are no fewer than 15 symposiums, panel discussions and paper presentations devoted to the psychological ills that practitioners believe are spreading under the president."
"The list of Trump-related topics at the four-day conference covers the psychic waterfront. “Metaphors and the Trump Administration: What Are Effective Responses?” “Healing Practices and Models for Undocumented Students in the Trump Era.” “Gaining Perspective: Intergroup Conflict Intervention With Trump Supporters and Opponents."
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