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One week after Donald Trump called California’s high-speed rail project a “‘green’ disaster”, and one day after California led 16 states in a lawsuit against President Trump's declaration of emergency, the US Department of Transportation announced plans to cancel $929M in federal grant funds that were yet to be paid toward the $77B endeavor.

The department is also "actively exploring every legal option to seek the return from California of $2.5B in federal funds FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) previously granted,” according to the statement released Tuesday.

Gavin Newsom released a short statement in response:
"This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won't sit idly by. This is California's money and we are going to fight for it."

California and 15 other states filed a lawsuit Monday against President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a statement Monday saying the suit alleges the Trump administration's action violates the Constitution.

"President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt," Becerra said. "He knows there is no border crisis, he knows his emergency declaration is unwarranted, and he admits that he will likely lose this case in court."

Joining California in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. All the states involved in the lawsuit have Democratic attorneys general.
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The Trump administration said Tuesday it would cancel almost $1 billion in funding for the California high-speed rail network, casting doubt on whether the state will be able to complete even the first phase of the troubled project. Federal Railroad Administrator Ronald Batory wrote Tuesday to state officials that the administration was canceling its grant agreement with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and halting $928.6 million in future grant payments it was expected to make to fund the project through 2022.

The FRA is also considering a legal effort to recover the federal funds already spent on the project. The authority has “failed to make reasonable progress on the Project” according to the terms of the federal funding agreement, Batory said, in a letter to the rail authority.

REF:
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article226443005.html
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-administration-to-cancel-nearly-1-billion-in-funding-for-california-high-speed-rail-2019-02-19?link=MW_latest_news

Today (Tuesday), protesters are planning to call for West Hollywood Mayor John Duran's ouster at the City Council meeting and demonstrators reportedly plan to push for action on the recent deaths of two black gay men inside the home of Ed Buck, a wealthy white Democratic donor. Duran, who is openly gay, is a longtime friend and supporter of Buck, and has worked as an attorney for him in the past.

Mayor Duran is under fire from fellow lawmakers who are urging him to step down after the latest sexual harassment allegations by members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles were made about him.

Duran, now 59, has refused to step down. He described himself as a "proudly sensual gay man," to a LA Times reporter. “There’s a culture clash going on, if somebody expresses himself or herself sexually, that doesn’t make it harassment, per se.” said Duncan.

In 2016, West Hollywood paid $500,000.00 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Duran's ex-council deputy, the Times reported. He was also accused by another council member of using the dating app Grindr during public meetings.

“It is time that the #MeToo movement comes to West Hollywood,” Robert Oliver, who resigned as vice chair of the city's public safety commission last week after his colleagues declined to condemn Duran, told the Los Angeles Times.

On January 4th, Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2017 deployment to Iraq.

Prosecutors say he killed a teenage Islamic State fighter under his care and then held his reenlistment ceremony with the corpse. They also accuse Gallagher of shooting two civilians in Iraq and firing inadvertently into crowds.

Congressman Duncan Hunter has recently sent a letter to President Trump asking him to directly intervene in the court martial proceedings on Gallagher. Hunter’s letter alleges political bias against Gallagher. Hunter and Andrea Gallagher, Edward’s wife, appeared on Good Morning San Diego Tuesday to defend Edward and discuss the bias and mistreatment the military hero is receiving.

A military judge has postponed the trial until May 28th. The three-month delay came after defense lawyers asked for more time to go over the prosecution’s evidence. Defense attorney Phil Stackhouse said his team has received more than 1,000 pages of material from the prosecution since the end of January. The trial has been reset for May 28.

Senator John Moorlach (R-Orange County) has a new bill on the table that could alleviate some of the traffic problems in California, reduce emissions, and provide an alternative for 'high speed rail'.

SB319 would require the Department of Transpiration to build two additional traffic lanes on both sides of I-5 and Highway 99. The expansion would stretch from Bakersfield to Stockton - And there would be no speed limit in those lanes.

“Uh, I don’t know, I haven’t considered how crazy a lane with no speed limit would be!” said Stephen McBride, who lives in Sacramento.

Moorlach said his plan is more realistic than a high-speed rail still years away from being built. And it’s better for the environment.

The San Diego City Council unanimously voted last Tuesday to repeal a 1983 ordinance prohibiting residents from living in a vehicle on any street within city limits.

The repeal is, in essence, a response to a 2014 ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down a similar ordinance in Los Angeles as unconstitutionally vague. Homeless advocates repeatedly reminded the council of the law’s shaky constitutional foundation prior to the vote.

City Councilman Chris Ward noted that the repeal isn’t a solution to the city’s homeless issues, but is still a step in the right direction and should be supplemented by more actions to reduce the burden on transient residents.

For homeowners and residents, it is causing a new set of problems all over San Diego. People who live in their cars can now sleep just about anywhere, and beach communities and upscale neighborhoods are fair game.

The local residents are speaking out as their streets become de facto homeless residences, but don't seem to be getting any results

In a city of over 4 million residents, about 250 turned out for a rally in downtown Los Angeles Monday to protest President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency over the issues of illegal immigration and drug trafficking at the southern border. In San Diego, about 100 people total showed up for their rally.

The “Fake National Emergency Presidents Day Protest” began at noon at City Hall, one of many taking place across the U.S. being promoted by MoveOn.org. The usual chanting and sing-song rhymes gave the demonstrators something to do until Maxine Waters showed up.
One Trump supporter waving an American flag and wearing a MAGA cap was on hand, standing his ground until police escorted him away, while the Communist Party (no, not the democrats) did their best to drown out Maxine Waters speech.

18 trillion gallons of water has dropped so far in just February, and the month is not over yet. An amount equivalent of 27 million filled Olympic swimming pools, the current heavy rainy season has helped areas of the state still dealing with drought restrictions.

side ref:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45640673/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/can-severe-weather-trigger-earthquakes/

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Sunday that he will "definitely and imminently" be filing a lawsuit against the President to overturn his national emergency declaration regarding the southern border.

Professor Rory Little of Hastings Law School says it is not clear that California can show it has suffered injury due to the emergency declaration "I don't know whether Gov Newsom can actually show that some of the money that's being used here would have come to California."

Phil Matier and Melissa Caen are joined by former Assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor Willie Brown to discuss Governor Gavin Newsom's dismantling of former Gov Brown's 'legacy' projects, the border wall, Declaration of emergency, and potential legal battle. Willie Brown fawns over Newsom's every move, trying to push the narrative of how 'presidential' he looks. When Matier says that "lawsuits are sign of weakness, used when you don't have the votes", Brown's response was "No, you go to a...a client who pays $1000 an hour, that's not a bad reason to...file the lawsuit, Phil. I don't know what you're talking about. (laughing) Weakness?"

Phil Matier (KPIX) and Carl Guardino from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group discuss Gov. Newsom's call for a data dividend on personal data used by high tech companies.

In his first state-of-the-state address, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed creating a “new data dividend” that could enable state residents to be paid for the personal data they give to tech companies. “California’s consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data,” Newsom said from the State Capitol in Sacramento. He added that tech companies that “make billions of dollars collecting, curating and monetizing our personal data have a duty to protect it.” The suggested policy follows California’s passage of a comprehensive data privacy bill last year, which grants consumers specific rights to their personal digital information

Los Angeles based political activist Najee Ali held a news conference Sunday calling out for the prosecution of Jussie Smollett for inciting racial and political division, harming the black and lgbtq communities, and diminishing real victims of racial crimes.

So who is Najee Ali?
A former gang member with a fairly long history of criminal behavior, turned community activist and current CEO of Project Islamic Hope. Ali, born Ronald Todd Eskew, spent two years in prison for armed robbery before coming to prominence in 1998 when he led public protests over the case of Sherrice Iverson, a 7-year-old girl from South Central Los Angeles who was sexually attacked and strangled in a Nevada casino bathroom. He was unafraid to challenge local issues, protesting pornography in a Snoop Dogg video, urging blacks to work with police and speaking out on behalf of crime victims of every race.

But Ali's problems with the law continued. In 2004, he was sentenced to five years probation and 1,000 hours of community service after he left the scene of a car accident when his vehicle collided with another at Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Bvlds.

At the time, he was free on bail on charges of identity theft. Ali initially fought the charges in both cases but said he decided to plead guilty to hit-and-run, and to perjury in the identity theft case, because he couldn't afford attorney fees.

He was an outspoken critic of the LAPD after the televised beating of car-chase suspect Stanley Miller in 2004, prompting a sharp rebuke from Police Chief William J. Bratton.

During a CNN appearance, Bratton called Ali "one of the biggest nitwits in Los Angeles" while scolding the interviewer, to whom he said, "You need to check out the credentials . . . of some of these people that you choose."

Bratton later apologized for his remarks. The same day, then-Mayor James K. Hahn named Ali to a citizens commission formed to examine the Miller beating. Ali resigned when city officials expressed doubts about whether he should serve because he was awaiting trial on charges in the hit-and-run.

Ali has feuded with other activists and civic leaders. In 2006, he persuaded a Superior Court judge to issue a temporary restraining order against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), accusing the congresswoman of threatening him. In turn, Waters accused Ali of stalking her and got a temporary restraining order against him.

Despite such episodes, Ali often accompanied the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson when they came to Southern California to draw attention to local civil rights issues.

In 2008 he was sentenced to four years in state prison after pleading guilty to trying to bribe a witness in his daughter's criminal case.

He parted ways with National Action Network over dissent with R.J. Reynolds’ position on menthol cigarettes. Basically RJR bought off Rev Sharpton, Meek, and a host of other black leaders to make sure they spun the banning of menthol cigarettes as an attack against the freedoms of the black community. Ali disagreed and was banned.

He was a leading activist to get Roseanne Barr kicked off her series and social media. He often calls for boycotts and banning of people and items he deems a harm to the community.

ref:
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/aug/19/local/me-activist19
https://comptonherald.org/national-action-network-najee-ali-part-ways/

Marin County declared a state of emergency after storms caused a levee breach, flooding nearby Highway 37. Work crews are working to complete a temporary dam, with work expected to be completed Monday. Draining the area will take an additional 5-7 days.

Also known as the "Late Night Bill", Senator Scott Wiener introduced SB 905 last year, which was easily approved by the California legislature. But when the bill came across Brown’s desk, he sided with the California Highway Patrol’s concerns for driver safety, and rejected it altogether.

Senator Weiner’s new version (SB 58) allows the nine cities (San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Long Beach, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Coachella, Cathedral City, and Palm Springs) to determine whether a 4 a.m. final call suits them

The city of Oakland will no longer tolerate homeless encampments on Lake Merritt.

City workers spent the day throwing tents in the trash, evicting more than a dozen homeless people who have been camping by the lake.

One neighbor named Bob, who didn’t want to reveal his last name, said he was “relieved” to see this happening.

“Nobody walks their dogs here, kids don’t come to play here anymore, finally we’re getting our park back,” he said.

Advocates for the homeless say moving people in inclement weather is “inhumane.”

The city will continue clearing encampments around the lake through Friday. This is something Oakland has done with encampments before. Last time, they were hit with a lawsuit but a federal judge sided with the city and determined that, so long as Oakland offers people an alternative place to go and gives them a warning months in advance of the eviction, the city can keep clearing squatters off its property.

Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D), who represents California’s 76th District in North San Diego County, introduced Assembly Bill 467, called the “Equal Pay for Equal Play” measure. If passed into law, the bill would require any competitive sporting event with different male and female divisions to offer equal prize money for men and women if it takes place on state lands. Or else, permit and lease requests will be denied by state agencies.

Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra held a press conference in response to President Trump’s national emergency declaration.

They both stated that California plans to sue over President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency at the Mexico border.

If filed, it would be the state’s 46th lawsuit against President Trump's administration and policies.

and just what did the AG mean by 'our people'?

The number of crimes reported to Los Angeles police that describe a homeless person as a suspect rose again in January, following a large statistical increase last year that officials said has yet to be fully explained.

Los Angeles Police Department data obtained by the NBC4 I-Team showed 920 incident reports were filed by officers between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2019 that included that suspect description, a 29 percent increase over January 2018.

The reports also showed homeless people were more often the victims of crimes, with a 22 percent increase reported during the same period.

Assembly Bill 493 is co-sponsored by Assemblyman Todd Gloria, vice chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. The bill would require every county office of education, school district and charter school to provide annual in-service training to all teachers grades 7-12.

The training would focus on “strategies to increase support for LGBTQ pupils and thereby improve overall school climate,” according to the bill language.

It was Thurmond who sponsored an identical bill, AB 2153, in the last legislative session, when he was still an assemblyman. That bill passed the Assembly and Senate, but fell to then-Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto pen.

In his veto remarks, Brown wrote that current law already requires the California Department of Education to monitor local schools to ensure anti-discrimination policies are in place.

“If local schools find that more training or resources on this topic is needed, they have the flexibility to use their resources as they see best,” Brown wrote in his September 2018 veto statement.

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur responded to Brown’s veto: “While we respect and appreciate Governor Brown’s desire to give schools ‘flexibility,’ the status quo is failing California’s LGBTQ students and denying too many a shot at success.”

Equality California also is a co-sponsor of AB 493.

Ref:
https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article226211595

FBI agents and SWAT teams descended on dozens of homes across Los Angeles early Wednesday targeting members of two violent street gangs allegedly involved in drug trafficking and shootings of both rival gang members and police officers.

The raids swept up 36 people who law enforcement officials said were members of either Florencia-13, a gang based in South L.A. that’s associated with the Mexican Mafia, or the Vineland Boys, a San Fernando Valley-based gang founded in the 1980s with loose ties to Mexican Mafia

Federal prosecutors say they've dealt a blow to the Los Angeles gangs, charging dozens of suspected members with racketeering and drug and gun violations in indictments Wednesday.

The indictments against the Vineland Boys gang say its members exerted control over their San Fernando Valley territory by shooting and assaulting rival gangs, trafficking in drugs and guns, and extorting money from other dealers. Twenty-five suspected Vineland Boys members were arrested Wednesday, while 11 others charged already were in custody.

"This takedown will provide significant relief to the law-abiding residents of the east San Fernando Valley," said Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field Office.

"Undoubtably, this sweep is going to have a major impact to the Vineland Boys street gang, and its impact will bring safety back to the San Fernando Valley," LAPD Deputy Chief Kris Pitcher said during the news conference. "This is an absolute success today..It sends a strong message to the gang that we will continue our efforts to crush their organization until they no longer pose any threat,"

Law enforcement previously targeted the gang in 2003 after two of its members fatally shot Burbank police Officer Matthew Pavelka and wounded his partner during a traffic stop. The crackdown that followed led to a series of federal indictments that resulted in four dozen convictions and lifetime sentences for two defendants.

Though prosecutors said the indictments at the time "severely disrupted" Vineland Boys, the gang regenerated.

"Unfortunately, a new generation of gangsters has come of age and tried to revive the organization's control of drug trafficking through violence," Delacourt said.

The other indictments announced Wednesday say the South Los Angeles-based Florencia-13 gang has been trafficking in drugs, committed attempted murder of a rival gang member, and tried to smuggle drugs into California's prisons, including mailing shipments of 100 grams of heroin to an imprisoned Mexican Mafia member.

Police recently arrested 11 of the gang's alleged members, while 16 others charged in the indictments already were in custody and nine remain fugitives.

Prosecutors say the lead defendant, identified as 47-year-old Leonel Laredo, directed Florencia-13's operations from his prison cell in Beaumont, Texas. Laredo, imprisoned on racketeering and drug convictions stemming from his Florencia-13 connections, remained a leader of the gang and is a member of the Mexican Mafia, prosecutors said.

Mayor Garcetti announced plans to scrap the rebuilding of 3 natural gas power plants in favor of 'green energy' to meet the city's power demands. With no viable plans to achieve this goal, he is setting the city up for a power crunch, massive rate payer hikes, and taxes to try and achieve his virtual signaling announcement.

City officials and activists who have pushed Los Angeles to take more aggressive steps to tackle climate change hailed Garcetti’s decision to stop DWP from making life-extending investments at the Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor gas plants.
At a news conference Tuesday, the mayor cast his move as part of a global struggle to rein in the carbon emissions that are heating the planet, and as a major step toward removing fossil fuels from the power mix of the nation’s second-largest city.
Natural gas accounted for 31% of the city’s power supply in 2017, with much of that generation coming from Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor. DWP managers had argued in recent months that those three facilities in particular are critical to keeping the lights on for the city’s 4 million residents, especially on hot summer days with the highest electricity demand and during outages elsewhere on the power grid.
As Los Angeles officials celebrated the transition away from natural gas on Tuesday, they mostly glossed over the fact that the city still gets much of its power from an even dirtier fossil fuel: coal. In 2017, 18% of L.A.’s electricity was generated at the Intermountain Power Plant, a coal-burning facility outside Delta, Utah.

Beverly Hills City Council discussed a citywide ban on tobacco sales, creating uncertainty for the three cigar lounges, two grocery stores, six gas stations, eight hotels and nine convenience stores or pharmacies that sell tobacco in the city.

“It will force us out of business,” said Fernandez, one of several local store owners who addressed the City Council. Referring to his family, including sons age 21 and 16, he added, “It will force us to fight for our lives one way or another.”

Tuesday’s meeting was the first step in a potential first-of-its-kind law in the U.S. that adds to Beverly Hills’ already strict regulations for smokers.

Gov. Newsom has threatened to withhold state funds from cities that do not comply with low income housing construction, evidenced by the current lawsuit against Huntington Beach filed by the State.

Newsom announced Tuesday he plans to invite leaders of 45 noncompliant California cities and two counties to a “candid conversation” aimed at encouraging them to find “the political courage to build their fair share of housing.”

The list includes 15 cities in Los Angeles County and six in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties that have failed to draft general plans meeting minimum housing needs at all income levels.
Newsom referred to a lawsuit California filed Jan. 25 against the Orange County city of Huntington Beach, accusing it of backing out of a promise to revise low-income housing goals in its general plan. The suit stems from a 2016 vote to reduce affordable housing units in response to a citizen outcry opposing high-density and low-income residences.

Newsom said that as a former San Francisco mayor, he disliked starting his tenure by suing a city.

“But they left us no choice,” he said.

Some of the 47 cities and counties are making an effort to comply, the governor said.

“Others are not, like Wheatland, Huntington Park, and Montebello,” he said. “I don’t intend to file suit against all 47 (jurisdictions), but I’m not going to preside over neglect and denial.”

Montebello’s acting city manager reacted in surprise to that comment.

“I would have hoped the governor would have reached out to us before publicly calling us out,” acting City Manager Paul Talbot said Tuesday. “This is the first I heard about it.”

Governor Newsom addressed legislators at Tuesdays State of the State and announced he was chopping two of former Governor Browns favorite "legacy" projects. The ridiculous, over-priced, mismanaged "high speed rail" and the "twin water tunnels". I applaud any dismantling of the enormous wastes of money both these projects represent.

The plan to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles by high-speed rail “would cost too much and, respectfully, would take too long,” Gov. Newsom told legislators. He said the state would still build a portion of the system under construction in the rural Central Valley, denying that it would be a “train to nowhere.” He said the state would not send $3.5 billion back to the federal government to be spent by President Donald Trump.

But Newsom said the state could not afford the total cost — even with what he noted was a “record-breaking surplus” in the state’s coffers, thanks to the ongoing economic recovery.

He also replaced the chair of the high-speed rail’s governing body, saying there had been too little oversight and transparency.

Voters approved the first bond for the “bullet train” under the California High-Speed Rail Authority by referendum in Proposition 1A in 2008. Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, championed the project during his third and fourth terms in office, calling it central to the fight against climate change

San Mateo County officials will on Tuesday consider requiring gun owners to keep their firearms in safes or disabled with a trigger lock in their homes.

In proposing the ordinance up for review at county supervisors’ Tuesday meeting, Supervisor Dave Pine hoped to answer the call from several community organizations to do whatever local officials can do to prevent gun violence. Though Pine said California has some of the strongest gun regulations in the nation, he noted no ordinance similar to the one officials are reviewing Tuesday currently exists.

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