The Roundup

Apr 16, 2018

GOP gubernatorial dilemma

California Republicans confront a dire election scenario: No GOP choice for governor


Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "The California GOP is at risk of something unprecedented this year: With two serious candidates for governor competing for a shrinking share of the electorate, there may be no Republican standard-bearer on the ballot in November."


"The distinct possibility has unnerved party officials and political consultants who worry that it could have severe consequences for down-ballot candidates in a year when Republicans are fighting to retain control of Congress and claw back from super-minority status in the Legislature."


"The first thing that people see when they open their ballot is the top-of-the-ticket race, and we don't want Republicans to be discouraged," said Dave Gilliard, who represents candidates in several House districts that national Democrats have targeted as prime pickup opportunities because voters chose Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election."


White House, Congress side with California growers over raising Shasta Dam


The Chronicle's CAROLYN LOCHHEAD: "Congress and the Trump administration are pushing ahead with a plan to raise a towering symbol of dam-building’s 20th century heyday to meet the water demands of 21st century California — a project backed by San Joaquin Valley growers but opposed by state officials, defenders of a protected river and an American Indian tribe whose sacred sites would be swamped."


"The fight is over Shasta Dam, at 602 feet the fourth-tallest dam in California and the cornerstone of the federal Central Valley Project, which provides water to cities and farms throughout the state. One of its biggest customers is the Westlands Water District in the arid western San Joaquin Valley, which distributes water to numerous large farms."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: SoCal plans to spend $11B on the delta tunnels. Who will end up paying? -- LA Times's BETTINA BOXALL; Big Tujunga Canyon land to be preserved as public parkland, after $4.4 million conservancy purchase -- Daily News's ELIZABETH CHOU; Poll shows support for safe drinking water fund in California -- Water Deeply's LESTER SNOW; Race to the bottom: Impact of deep-sea fishing severely underestimated -- Oceans Deeply's ALASTAIR BLAND


Opposition to immigrant sanctuary spreading in California


AP's AMY TAXIN: "More local governments in California are resisting the state's efforts to resist the Trump administration's immigration crackdown, and political experts see politics at play as Republicans try to fire up voters in a state where the GOP has grown weak."


"Since the Jeff Sessions-led Department of Justice sued California last month over its so-called "sanctuary state" law limiting police collaboration with immigration agents, at least a dozen local governments have voted to either join or support the lawsuit or for resolutions opposing the state's position. Those include the Board of Supervisors in Orange County, which has more than 3 million people."


"More action is coming this week, with leaders in the Orange County city of Los Alamitos scheduled to vote Monday on a proposal for a local law to exempt the community of 12,000 from the state law. On Tuesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is meeting to consider joining the Trump administration lawsuit."


Pelosi in SF, says Trump's action on Syria 'above the law'


The Chronicle's LIZZIE JOHNSON: "House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi accused President Trump of acting “above the law” Sunday, saying that he has not asked for needed congressional approval for military action in Syria."


"After a weekend news conference about tax reform at the San Francisco Labor Council, Pelosi decried Trump’s use of escalating force against Syrian President Bashar Assad without the authorization of Congress. On Friday night, the United States — along with France and Britain — bombed the country over Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons such as chlorine and sarin on citizens."


Police reform experts say Trump administration left SF in the lurch


The Chronicle's KIMBERLY VEKLEROV: "Policing experts tapped by President Barack Obama to devise reforms for law enforcement agencies across the country say the Trump administration has largely abdicated that responsibility — and that the federal absence is hurting cities such as San Francisco."


"Their remarks came during a three-day training session last week by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives in Oakland, where Northern California police chiefs, commanders, prosecutors and — for the first time — community activists gathered to discuss police shootings, racial bias, immigration and other tough issues in law enforcement."


Pricey retrofit proposed for sinking Millennium Tower in SF


The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS: "Engineers have proposed an unconventional solution to the Millennium Tower’s tilting troubles: drilling piles down to bedrock to stabilize one side of the 58-story condo high-rise and then letting the other side continue to sink until the building straightens itself."


"“The engineers are very confident this is going to stabilize the building,” said Vision Winter, a partner at O’Melveny & Myers, the law firm hired by the homeowners association to obtain funding for the building’s mega-repair."


Sacramento school superintendent salaries soar, some higher than university leaders


Sacramento Bee's DIANA LAMBERT: "Sacramento school superintendent salaries have exploded in recent years, growing to challenge the paychecks of university presidents."


"Locally, superintendent salaries range from $240,000 for Sarah Koligian in the Folsom Cordova Unified School District, which has 20,353 students, to $330,951 for Christopher Hoffman, who leads the region's largest school district, Elk Grove Unified, with 63,297 students, according to 2017-18 state enrollment figures."


"Hoffman's pay is more than the salary of President Robert Nelsen of Sacramento State, who is paid $324,029. The California State University campus serves 29,000 students."


READ MORE related to Education: From public housing to college: new national pilot helps low-income students in LA make that journey -- EdSource's LARRY GORDON


Splitting California in 3 would be different. That's the only sure thing


The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "California is moving closer to a landmark November vote that could chop the state in three, splitting San Francisco from Los Angeles, dividing the Central Valley in half, and creating a mountain of questions about how the nation’s biggest state would divvy its resources."


"Tim Draper, a Bay Area venture capitalist seeking to blow up California as it now exists, says he’ll submit more than 600,000 signatures to the secretary of state next week for a measure that would divide the state into what he’s labeled Northern California, Southern California and California."


As Facebook embraces AI tools, will it further spook consumers?


McClatchy DC's TIM JOHNSON: "Social media companies have embraced artificial intelligence tools to scrub their platforms of hate speech, terrorist propaganda and other content deemed noxious. But will those tools censor other content? Can a program judge the value of speech?"


"Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Congress last week that his company is rapidly developing AI tools to “identify certain classes of bad activity proactively and flag it for our team.”"


"It is one of several moves by Facebook as it struggles with an erosion of consumer trust over its harvesting of user data, its past vulnerability to targeted political misinformation and the opaqueness of the formulas upon which its news feeds are built."


Fix for crucial, clogged Silicon Valley freeway is stuck in the slow lane


The Chronicle's WENDY LEE: "Traffic on Highway 85, one of Silicon Valley’s most important freeways, grinds to a standstill during rush hour — and everyone is pointing fingers over who should pay to find a fix."


"Highway 85 is the essential but narrow link between Apple’s Cupertino headquarters and the Googleplex in Mountain View. Every year, nerve-fraying traffic jams worsen as companies feverishly hire workers who, due to the region’s housing crunch, often must commute from far away."


L.A., long a destination for young people, is becoming increasingly out of reach, survey finds


LA Times's NINA AGRAWAL: "Four years ago, Chelsea Lutz moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland to pursue a career writing and directing films."


"I needed a really cheap apartment," she said. She found one in Koreatown, where she didn't particularly want to live, but it was all she could afford."


"Today, Lutz, 28, shares a rent-controlled, one-bedroom apartment in the Miracle Mile area with her fiance."


LA mayor to unveil $20 million emergency shelter plan to tackle homelessness crisis


Daily News's ELIZABETH CHOU: "Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will unveil a $20 million plan Monday to build emergency shelters across the city, as a response to a troubling homelessness crisis that has continued to grow over the past year, along with his recent efforts to raise his national profile."


"When Garcetti details the plan as part of his annual state-of-the-city address, he will be fresh from a two-day trip to Iowa, where he tested the waters for a potential White House bid in 2020, and thrown back into the task of taking on homelessness. The issue is chief among the pressing and unfinished business that faces the mayor, as he considers a run for higher office."


"Last year’s count found there were more than 34,000 homeless people in Los Angeles, with more than 25,000 of them without shelter."


GOP devotes $250M to midterm strategy: Keep House majority


AP's STEVE PEOPLES: "The Republican National Committee has committed $250 million to a midterm election strategy that has one goal above all else: Preserve the party's House majority for the rest of President Donald Trump's first term."


"Facing the prospect of a blue wave this fall, the White House's political arm is devoting unprecedented resources to building an army of paid staff and trained volunteers across more than two dozen states. The RNC is taking the fight to Senate Democrats in Republican-leaning states, but much of the national GOP's resources are focused on protecting Republican-held House seats in states including Florida, California and New York."


"Our No. 1 priority is keeping the House. We have to win the House," RNC political director Juston Johnson said. "That is the approach we took to put the budget together."


READ MORE related to 2018 Elections: Democrats scrambling to derail fake news attacks in 2018 races -- McClatchy DC's ALEX ROARTY


Trump businesses made millions off Republican groups, federal agencies report says


McClatchy DC's ANITA KUMAR: "President Donald Trump’s U.S. businesses have received at least $15.1 million in revenue from political groups and federal agencies since 2015, according to a new report to be released Monday."


"The money went to Trump’s airplanes, hotels,golf courses, even a bottled water company during the presidential campaign and the first 15 months of his presidency, according to a compilation of known records of the spending by Public Citizen obtained by McClatchy."


"But it was Trump’s campaign itself that spent the biggest chunk by far – about 90 percent, or $13.4 million."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Comey says Trump 'morally unfit to be president,' possibly susceptible to Russian blackmail -- WaPo's MATT ZAPOTOSKY/DEVLIN BARRETT; 'Slimeball' versus 'mob boss': War of words escalates between president and former FBI director -- LA Times's JOSEPH TANFANIWithout mentioning Mueller, Trump lawyers urge high court to bolster his power to fire executive officials -- LA Times's DAVID G. SAVAGE; Snubbed by Trump, Japanese leader returns for summit at Mar-a-Lago -- LA Times's DON LEE


Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health


AP's MICHAEL GRACZYK: "Former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won't seek additional medical treatment, a Bush family spokesman said Sunday."


"Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care," spokesman Jim McGrath said in a news release."


"McGrath did not elaborate as to the nature of Bush's health problems. She has been treated for decades for Graves' disease, which is a thyroid condition, had heart surgery in 2009 for a severe narrowing of her main heart valve and was hospitalized a year before that for surgery on a perforated ulcer."


Prosecutors say Durst murdered his best friend to cover his tracks for killing another woman: His wife.


LA Times's MARISA GERBER: "As Los Angeles County prosecutors pieced together their murder case against Robert Durst — the eccentric New York real estate scion accused of killing his best friend Susan Berman in 2000 — they followed a path that led to the opposite coast and decades into the past."


"Another devastated family. Another police investigation. Another woman close to Durst: his first wife, Kathleen, who disappeared in New York in 1982."


"The fates of both women, prosecutors argue, are intrinsically connected. Their theory: Durst killed Berman to keep her from telling authorities what she knew about his involvement in his wife's disappearance. Although her body has never been recovered, prosecutors — and Kathleen's family — believe she was slain by her husband. Durst was never charged in connection with her disappearance."

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