Feds prepare to arrest thousands of immigrant family members
NYT's CAITLIN DICKERSON/ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS: "Nationwide raids to arrest thousands of members of families who are in the country illegally have been scheduled to begin Sunday, according to one former and two current homeland security officials, moving forward with a rapidly changing operation, the final details of which remain in flux. The operation, backed by President Donald Trump, had been postponed, partly because of resistance among officials at his own immigration agency."
"The raids, which will be conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement over multiple days, will include “collateral” deportations, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the preliminary stage of the operation. In those deportations, the authorities might detain immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even though they were not targets of the raids."
"When possible, family members who are arrested together will be held in family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. But because of space limitations, some might end up staying in hotel rooms until their travel documents can be prepared. ICE’s goal is to deport the families as quickly as possible."
READ MORE related to Immigration: Deported airman's mother inspires bill to protect 'patriot parents' -- LA Times's BRITTNY MEJIA; Trump may issue executive order in census immigration fight -- LA Times's NOAH BIERMAN
Dramatic new firefighter video shows Camp Fire chaos
Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "California fire officials this week published a dramatic video documentary showing glimpses inside the chaotic and lethal first few hours of last fall’s Camp Fire from the perspective of the firefighters who rushed in."
"The November 2018 fire would turn out to be the worst wildfire in state history, destroying nearly 90 percent of the town of Paradise as well as other hillside communities in Butte County. In total, 85 people died and 19,000 structures were destroyed."
"Early in the 17-minute video, called “Into The Fire,” a camera inside a firetruck shows flames feet away as the truck races along a black and smoky hill road. “Oncoming!” someone in the truck shouts as headlights suddenly appear out of the flames ahead."
Tom Steyer's bets on private prisons and coal mining could spell trouble in 2020
LA Times's MICHAEL FINNEGAN/SEEMA MEHTA: "When Tom Steyer was running a hedge fund in 2000, he wrote a letter telling some wealthy investors their money would soon flow through an offshore company that would shield their gains from U.S. taxes."
"It was routine in finance, but could prove toxic in politics."
"Now that the San Francisco billionaire has joined the crowd of Democrats running for president, much of what he did to build his personal fortune, including a stint at Goldman Sachs in the 1980s, could turn off voters. His fund’s investments in coal mining and private prisons are two of the biggest hazards."
Kaiser mental health workers vote on contract
SARAH ABDESHAHIAN in Capitol Weekly: "After months of bargaining, thousands of mental health clinicians across California are voting today on the latest contract offer from Kaiser Permanente. Simultaneously in San Francisco, dozens of Kaiser Permanente mental health clinicians are going on strike today."
"Their last statewide strike was in December 2018 and lasted five days. Voting on the latest contract could end as early as today."
"Nearly 4,000 psychologists, therapists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses at Kaiser Permanente, represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), have cited a “growing child mental health crisis” at the Kaiser facilities as their main concerns during contract negotiations."
Are contracted workers 'oppressed' in California? Debate over 'gig' economy heats up
Sacramento Bee's HANNAH WILEY: "A proposed law that would force companies to treat their independent contractors like full-time employees is dividing California workers, with some demanding a path to benefits and others fighting for the freedom that comes with a flexible schedule."
"At the crux of the argument is Assembly Bill 5, which would codify the California Supreme Court’s 2018 “Dynamex” decision that limits when companies can classify workers as independent contractors and deny them employment benefits."
"The proposal most notably challenges tech giants like Uber and Lyft that depend on drivers who are willing to work without full-time benefits or defined schedules. It could affect hundreds of thousands of other workers, from truckers to makeup consultants in salons."
Opinion: A key move to address California's wildfire crisis
PATRICK LAVIN in Capitol Weekly: "California is facing a wildfire crisis of epic proportions, and with the 2019 fire season already upon us, the immediate threat of yet another highly destructive and costly wildfire looms over communities all across the state. Everyone agrees that something must be done to address this crisis, and yet legislators still have not taken definitive action."
"There is no question that state laws and regulations dealing with fire prevention, accountability and cost recovery are outdated and don’t reflect our new wildfire normal – brought about by years of drought, hundreds of millions of dead trees, hotter, drier days and nights, as well as more frequent high-wind events – have created tinder box conditions throughout California."
"Even the best prevention efforts cannot eliminate 100% of the wildfire risk."
California's ban on alligator imports could be delayed despite animal rights appeals
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "California lawmakers are advancing bills that would outlaw sales of new fur coats, ban fur trapping, forbid circuses from using wild animals and restrict the harvesting of canine blood."
"Crocodiles and aren’t so lucky."
"The Legislature is moving to delay a law that would ban the importation of alligator and crocodile products, such as handbags or shoes, into the state, arguing that the continued importation of those products is necessary for the preservation of the reptile species."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Newsom's sweeping wildfire plan is on brink of passage -- The Chronicle's JD MORRIS; SF's plastic straw ban stirs grumbles -- The Chronicle's ELENA SHAO; Ridgecrest earthquakes caused damage to the earth's crust seen from satellite -- LA Times's COLLEEN SHALBY; After Aliso Canyon, a gas pipeline exploded -- and Californians lost $1B -- LA Times's SAMMY ROTH; 50 years after Apollo 11, the moon's allure still resonates -- LA Times's DAVID SHRIBMAN
Ghost Ship: Almena spars with prosecutors on witness stand
The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY: "Ghost Ship defendant Derick Almena began his third day on the witness stand Wednesday morning sparring with the prosecution, objecting to cross-examinations ranging from his parenting to the safety and permitting of the Oakland warehouse where 36 people died in a 2016 inferno."
"Over more than two hours of testimony, Almena offered prosecutor Autrey James few direct answers to his questions. He instead provided unsolicited explanations or quibbled with how queries were worded, prompting James to repeat many questions again and again."
"The morning of circular arguments prompted Alameda County Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson to give jurors an unscheduled afternoon off. Almena was given time to review the evidence prosecutors plan to present, and to refresh his recollection outside earshot of the jury."
Largest publisher of scholarly journals cuts off UC researchers amid cost dispute
The Chronicle's NANETTE ASIMOV: "On Wednesday, professors and students across the University of California who tried to read articles published in any of 2,500 scholarly journals since Jan. 1 got an unpleasant surprise: They couldn’t."
"Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of journals — from the famous Lancet to the less-known Journal of Psychosomatic Research — had cut UC off."
"“We are sorry for the inconvenience and we hope to continue to work with the University of California to find a solution,” the Dutch publishing company announced in a statement Wednesday, after telling UC Tuesday evening what it planned to do at midnight."
UCLA knew of doctor sex abuse allegation in 2014 but didn't fire him for four years
LA Times's RICHARD WINTON/TERESA WATANABE: "UCLA Medical Center learned in 2014 that a breast cancer patient had made abuse allegations against gynecologist Dr. James Mason Heaps, but officials did not move to fire him until four years later, after more accusations came to light, university records obtained by The Times and interviews show."
"The patient said she told UCLA Health that she was “completely shocked and embarrassed” by what she claimed were inappropriate sexual touching and comments during a medical consultation. She also filed a complaint with the California Medical Board."
"A month later, a UCLA Health manager told the woman that the executive chair and vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology had “thoroughly reviewed and investigated” the allegations, according to the documents reviewed by The Times. Virgie N. Mosley, manager of patient affairs, did not inform the woman about the review’s outcome, telling her in an April 2014 letter that the internal process was “confidential and remains protected information."
Police promote K-9 fund in honor of fallen Officer Tara O'Sullivan
Sacramento Bee's MICHAEL MCGOUGH: "Tens of thousands of dollars in donations have poured in to memorial funds for fallen Sacramento police Officer Tara O’Sullivan, who left behind a loving family and a pit bull named Mojo."
"Commemorating O’Sullivan’s love of dogs, the Sacramento Police Department on Wednesday announced that a community fundraiser dedicated to bringing new K-9s to the Sacramento and Martinez police departments has already secured more than $20,000 in just three days."
"O’Sullivan’s father, Denis O’Sullivan, her sister Krista, their godfather, Gary Roush, and five friendly dogs helped K-9 unit Sgt. Josh Dobson announce the fundraising campaign’s successful start during a press conference at the department’s K-9 training center in McClellan Park."
READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: Crime continues to drop in California. Here's the numbers for your county -- Sacramento Bee's MICHAEL FINCH II; FBI investigating tattooed deputy gangs in LA County Sheriff's Dept -- LA Times's MAYA LAU/JOEL RUBIN
Trade deal puts 'American businesses first,' VP Pence says during California stop
Sacramento Bee's TIM SHEEHAN: "Vice President Mike Pence met with hundreds from the agriculture industry at a Kings County farm Wednesday afternoon and hailed the pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement as an example of “free, fair and reciprocal trade deals that put American businesses first."
"It is a win for American farmers and a win for American business and workers,” he added of the trade deal negotiated by the Trump administration."
"Pence cited International Trade Commission data that he said supports the White House belief that the deal known as USMCA will add 176,000 jobs in the U.S. Plus, he added, “According to conservative estimates, American exports to Canada will increase by $19 billion, and exports to Mexico are going to increase by $14 billion."