Sifting through the rubble

Dec 5, 2018

With 11 names left, search for wildfire missing winds down


AP's JANIE HAR/PAUL ELIAS: "The search for people unaccounted for after the deadliest U.S. wildfire in at least a century is winding down in Northern California, with just 11 names left on a fluctuating list that once approached 1,300 and prompted fears that hundreds had died in the flames."


"The declining number released late Monday came as a relief in the Paradise area as it reels from the wildfire that killed at least 85 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes."


"Families, friends and even long-ago acquaintances have been peppering social media with pleas for help finding people. Sometimes they had no more than a first name to work with."


How Northern California's destructive wildfires could exacerbate the state's housing crisis


LIAM DILLON, LAT: "Northern California’s recent wildfires have burned homes at a greater pace than developers are building them, deepening a housing shortage that already has left millions struggling to find affordable places to live."


"Five large wildfires over the past 14 months, with November’s Camp fire the most devastating, have destroyed nearly 21,000 homes across six counties. That total is equivalent to more than 85% of all the new housing built in those counties over the past decade, according to Construction Industry Research Board building permit statistics."


"We had a housing crisis prior to the fires,” said Bob Raymer, a senior engineer with the California Building Industry Assn. “This only exacerbated the crisis. I can’t even put a measure on it. Just wow.”


READ MORE on wildfiresNew proposal would allow California to issue bonds for wildfire prevention efforts -- TARYN LUNA, LAT


Legislature, Newsom have an ambitious agenda


From DAN WALTERS at CALmatters: "The Legislature reconvened this week with Democrats celebrating sweeping election wins that give them immense majorities in both sides of the Capitol and they are intending to use them."


"Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom presided over the state Senate’s opening session, saying, “the world is looking to us.” Newsom will be inaugurated as governor a month hence, having promised California voters a much more expansive – and expensive – array of public services, to wit: “Guaranteed health care for all. A ‘Marshall Plan’ for affordable housing. A master plan for aging with dignity. A middle-class workforce strategy. A cradle-to-college promise for the next generation. An all-hands approach to ending child poverty.”


"Advocates for such causes have been frustrated for years, even decades, by a series of conservative-to-centrist governors, including the man Newsom will succeed, Jerry Brown."


Oakland council will decide whether to limit police searches of people on parole, probation


The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY: "Oakland council members pushed forward guidelines Tuesday that would limit when police can search people on probation and parole — a move that drew a sharp rebuke from community members who said it didn’t go far enough."


"The city’s public safety committee on Tuesday evening rejected a more restrictive recommendation from the Oakland Police Commission that would have required officers to have “reasonable suspicion” that a person on probation or parole was committing a crime before police could search the person or their property."


"The council, instead, backed a draft proposal on searches written by the Oakland Police Department. That plan will advance to the full City Council for a vote."


'There's going to be a lot of very nervous public employees:' Court to hear pension case


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "The California Supreme Court this week will hear a lawsuit that could unravel a piece of Gov. Jerry Brown’s marquee pension law by reinstating a perk he eliminated five years ago."


"The high stakes case tests the so-called California Rule, the legal precedent that forbids California government agencies from reducing retirement benefits without offering workers some kind of compensation to offset a loss in income."


"If the court sides with Brown, unions worry that future city managers and governors will be emboldened to cut benefits they promised to their workers."


California would guarantee a bed for every homeless person under new bill


The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZ: "Every homeless person in California would have a right to a bed year-round under a statewide “right to shelter” policy proposed by Sen. Scott Wiener."


"The San Francisco Democrat plans to announce SB48 on Wednesday, although key details of the bill — including how much the added shelters will cost, how they will be paid for and who will be responsible for ensuring enough beds are made available — will not be worked out until at least next year."


"Wiener’s bill calls for the Legislature and stakeholders to work together to create the policy. Wiener said Tuesday that he hopes to have a finished bill in 2019, but that it’s possible he’ll need to work on it the following year as well.


California lawmakers move to get tough with feds on wild horse slaughter


The Tribune''s ANDREW SHEELER: "California’s wild horses could soon be given more state protection — a move prompted by the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to allow the potential sale of hundreds of wild horses to slaughterhouses."


"California State Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, on Tuesday introduced Assembly Bill 128, which would strengthen state law that makes it a felony to sell, import, export or possess a horse for the purpose of slaughter for human consumption."


"Californians have made very clear that they oppose the slaughter of wild horses, but the Trump Administration still does not seem to get it,” Gloria said in a statement announcing the bill. “Horses in California should."                                                  


Disneyland cooling tower was likely source of all 22 Legionnaires' cases, official testifies


LA Times's SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA: "A cooling tower at Disneyland was the likely source for all 22 cases in a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak last year near the theme park, an Orange County health official testified Tuesday."


"Most of those who fell ill visited the park in the fall of 2017. Disneyland has denied it was the source, pointing to three infected people who had been in Anaheim but not at Disneyland. One of them died."


"Dr. Matthew Zahn, medical director for epidemiology at the Orange County Health Care Agency, told an appeals board judge at the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration that those three people were in nursing homes in Anaheim. He said health workers visited the nursing homes and determined there were no likely sources of the Legionella bacteria there."


Draft CBS-Leslie Moonves report leaked, contains allegations of extensive sexual misconduct by former CEO years ago


LA Times's MEG JAMES: "CBS Corp.’s board hired two high-powered law firms with sterling credentials to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by former Chief Executive Leslie Moonves — but a series of leaks is undermining the probe."


"Late Tuesday, the New York Times reported that it had reviewed a draft report of the investigation’s findings, including that Moonves allegedly destroyed evidence and sought to mislead investigators in an effort to salvage his reputation and preserve his claims to $120 million in severance pay."


"Moonves — once the most powerful man in television — was fired Sept. 9."


Wealthy USC donors revolt after interim president pushes out top dean over handling of misconduct cases


LA Times's MATT HAMILTON/HARRIET RYAN: "USC vowed to improve accountability and transparency in the wake of a scandal earlier this year in which the longtime campus gynecologist was accused of sexual misconduct against hundreds of students."


"A dispute in USC’s Marshall School of Business is shaping up to be a key test of this new approach, and it’s pitting top administrators against some of the university’s major donors."


UCLA economists predict the US economy will downshift in 2019 and 2020


LA Times's MARGOT ROOSEVELT: "The United States is “playing with fire” in launching a trade war with China and its economic growth will plummet over the next two years as the stimulus of tax cuts and spending increases wanes and interest rates rise, according to a new forecast from the UCLA Anderson School of Management."


"The economy is in the process of downshifting from the 3% growth in real GDP this year to 2% in 2019 and 1% in 2020,” warned senior economist David Shulman, author of the group’s national forecast."


READ MORE related to Development & Economy: Tech wreck, worker shortage could slow California economy, report says -- The Chronicle's KATHLEEN PENDER


Sacramento Sheriff to Supes Board: Don't go too far with oversight


Sacramento Bee's MOLLY SULLIVAN/SAM STANTON: "With a raucous, overflow crowd at the Sacramento Board of Supervisors alternately booing and cheering Tuesday, Sheriff Scott Jones defended his lockout of county Inspector General Rick Braziel, saying he supports the idea of such a position but warning board members not to go too far in trying to provide oversight of an independently elected official."


"An elected official should be free to do the people’s business without outside, undue influence,” Jones told the board in a hearing to debate what sort of oversight — if any — the board should have over the sheriff’s department."


"Near the end of a hearing that continued for nearly five hours, supervisors voted unanimously to move ahead with a scope of services amendment to the Inspector General contract proposed by Supervisor Patrick Kennedy. The amendment language modifies the power of the Inspector General to “monitor” critical incidents and “make independent recommendations” in significant use-of-force cases, including officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths. The Inspector General may also independently conduct investigations at the request of the Board of Supervisors, according to meeting documents."


Presidents Club assembles for Bush funeral, Trump an outlier


AP's CATHERINE LUCEY: "The death of George H.W. Bush is bringing together the five remaining members of an oh-so-exclusive fraternity — the presidents club. But for President Donald Trump, it may not be an entirely comfortable reunion, throwing him together with former occupants of the Oval Office who have given him decidedly mixed reviews."


"Wednesday's state funeral for the late president will be attended by "formers" Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. The last time they were together with Trump was at his inauguration in 2017. Recalling the funerals for Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, they will all sit together in Washington National Cathedral, with the exception of the younger Bush, who will be seated nearby with his family."


"Those who have occupied the Oval Office share an unparalleled experience that typically builds a special camaraderie. And by virtue of health, longevity and opportunities for continued influence, ex-presidents are sticking around longer than ever and staying active in the public eye."


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