In L.A. and the Bay Area, environmental law is used to block homeless shelters
From the LAT's LIAM DILLON and BENJAMIN ORESKES: "Earlier this spring, residents of a San Francisco waterfront neighborhood put up a plea on GoFundMe, seeking to raise $100,000 to file a lawsuit under one of California’s landmark environmental laws."
"The fundraiser, which surpassed its goal, wasn’t intended to fight a toxic waste facility or industrial warehouse. Instead, residents plan to sue to stop a temporary homeless shelter proposed on a parking lot in their community."
"State and local governments have dedicated billions of dollars in recent years toward homeless housing and services, even as the state’s unhoused population has increased to nearly 130,000 residents. But some efforts to build temporary and permanent housing have run into a form of opposition that could only happen in California."
San Francisco bans city use of facial recognition surveillance technology
From the Chronicle's TRISHA SADANI: "San Francisco became the first city in the country to ban city use of facial recognition surveillance technology Tuesday — a groundbreaking move that privacy advocates applaud, but others say may go too far."
"The legislation, written by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, also will force city departments to disclose what surveillance technology they currently use — and seek approval from the Board of Supervisors on any new technology that either collects or stores someone’s data."
“This is really about saying we can have security without being a security state. We can have good policing without being a police state,” Peskin said at Tuesday’s board meeting. “Part of that is building trust with the community.”
California Assemblyman Arambula takes stand, denies ever hitting his children
From RORY APPLETON in the Sacramento Bee: "Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula testified in his own defense Tuesday morning as his misdemeanor child abuse trial nears its conclusion. During his time on the stand, he adamantly rejected both the prosecution’s and his own daughter’s versions of the events of Dec. 9."
"Arambula, D-Fresno, was arrested on Dec. 10 and accused of injuring his 7-year-old daughter the night before. Police were called out to the girl’s school after she told school personnel her father had hit her and showed staff members a bruise on her temple."
"As Arambula settled onto the witness stand, he told his attorney he was nervous but had been looking forward to this day. Arambula had watched seven days of testimony from police, a social worker, school staff, therapists and much of his family – including two of his three daughters – before having his opportunity to address the jury."
Jackie Goldberg returns to L.A. school board with resounding election win
From the LAT's SONALI KOHLI, ALEXA DÍAZ and DORANY PINEDA: "Jackie Goldberg, a veteran politician and educator who served on the Los Angeles school board three decades ago, will once again have a voice in the nation’s second-largest school district after a resounding win Tuesday for a seat in a special election."
"Goldberg’s victory over candidate Heather Repenning was also a win for the teachers union and will mark a shift in the board's power dynamic that had recently tilted toward pro-charter-school alliances."
"She vowed to work to bring more funding to the district and its neediest students, and improve conditions that teachers fought for during a January strike."
Synagogue shooting suspect pleads not guilty to hate crimes
From the AP's ELLIOT SPAGAT: "The man suspected of killing a woman in a shooting at a Southern California synagogue pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges Tuesday.
John T. Earnest spoke twice during the brief hearing — to acknowledge his name and to say he agreed with his court-appointed attorney’s decision against seeking bail."
"Earnest, 19, is charged with bursting into the Chabad of Poway synagogue on April 27 and opening fire with an assault rifle, killing one and injuring three."
"Peter Ko, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the judge that the government had not decided whether to seek the death penalty. He reaffirmed plans to try Earnest separately and simultaneously with a state charge of murder that is classified as a hate crime, which also exposes Earnest to a potential death sentence."
Adachi case: Police leaks, followed by a police raid, test SF’s progressive creed
From the Chron's EVAN SERNOFFSKY: "The raid of a San Francisco journalist’s home, conducted by city police officers trying to figure out which of their colleagues slipped him a report on the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi, has prompted condemnation from First Amendment advocates."
"But city leaders have been largely ambivalent, silent or supportive of the police search, despite California’s shield law that protects journalists who decline to identify confidential sources."
"In a city where liberal politics are the mainstream, some leaders appear to be caught between their feelings over a leak they believe smeared the progressive champion Adachi hours after his death and typically left-facing values like freedom of the press and the limits of police power, some observers say."
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Citrus greening disease found in Riverside for first time since 2017
From the Press Enterprise's RYAN HAGEN: "The citrus greening disease that devastated groves in other parts of the country has been found in Riverside County for the first time since 2017."
"Researchers on Monday, May 6, confirmed the presence of huanglongbing, also known as HLB, on a kumquat tree in the yard of a Riverside house where the disease was also found in 2017, according to Tracy Moehnke, a spokeswoman for the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program. The program is funded by California citrus growers and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture."
"Although the California Department of Food and Agriculture tested the property — near the 60/91/215 freeway interchange — five times since finding the disease there, local citrus disease experts suspect the tree was infected around that same time."
California Catholic dioceses to launch compensation fund for priest abuse survivors
Sacramento Bee's ALEXANDRA YOON-HENDRICKS: "Six California Catholic dioceses, including Sacramento and Fresno, will create a compensation program for victims sexually abused by priests as children."
"The Independent Victims Compensation Program is intended to make it easier for victims to receive monetary compensation for abuse cases that may have occurred many years ago, and for victims fearful of pursuing their case in court."
'“As part of our effort to own and atone for the Church’s failure to protect children and young people abused by Catholic priests (the program will) provide material compensation for pain and suffering they have experienced because of their abuse,” Bishop Jaime Soto of the Sacramento Diocese said in a statement."
SF Mayor Breed scolds supervisors over tepid response to mental health program
The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI: "Mayor London Breed reprimanded some San Francisco supervisors Tuesday for their vote to delay legislation that would force extremely mentally ill people into treatment."
"Breed addressed the Board of Supervisors during her monthly appearance at its regular Tuesday meeting. Her comments came a day after the Rules Committee postponed a vote on whether to make use of state law SB1045, which would give San Francisco the ability to set up a five-year pilot program to hold people involuntarily who are considered a danger to themselves or others."
Is crime lower in Sacramento? Neighboring rural counties saw many more arrests
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "Crime is relatively low in Sacramento County, especially when compared to its more rural neighbors."
"That’s the finding of a report by the Public Policy Institute of California, which examined state arrest rates for all 58 California counties in 2016. The report found that, overall, counties with larger populations — urban centers like San Francisco, Los Angeles County, San Diego County and Santa Clara County — had lower rates than rural counties."
"That was certainly the case for Sacramento County, which in 2016 recorded 2,797 arrests per 100,000 people. While neighboring Placer County recorded a similar 2,967 per 100,000, and Contra Costa County recorded 2,935, other nearby counties had considerably more arrests."
Significant damage from the Sacramento Blue Diamond almond factory will have an impact 'certain to be felt' on the region's economy
Sacramento Bee's DARRELL SMITH: "Officials at Blue Diamond Growers were still assessing the damage done to the cooperative’s Sacramento manufacturing facility after a four-alarm blaze there late Monday that sent two workers to a local hospital."
"In a brief statement Tuesday, Blue Diamond said it is investigating what ignited the blaze and is “focused on learning more about the incident and providing support to our employees."
"No estimates on the extent of the damage or dollar loss were available Tuesday, but “the most likely origin is on the second floor” where different types of equipment are housed, said Sacramento Fire Department Capt. Keith Wade. He noted “significant damage” to the floor as well as smoke damage on both the second and third floors of the five-story structure."
Behold! The first SF Giants photos in history, with Willie Mayes front and center
The Chronicle's PETER HARTLAUB: "After a year of fake-outs, near-misses and political stonewalling, it was hard to believe the San Francisco Giants were coming from New York — even after the official announcement was made."
"But then Willie Mays arrived in the city on Oct. 31, 1957, and it all seemed thrillingly real."
"The Chronicle still has that documentation of Mays’ arrival, including arguably the first San Francisco Giants images in history — two deteriorating-yet-striking photo negatives of the 26-year-old legend standing in front of Seals Stadium, where the Giants played in 1958 and 1959 while Candlestick Park was being built."