Almost Daily Briefing
Local News Roundup for #Lafayette, California
So long, ‘Sinky’: Infamous Moraga sinkhole finally fixed
Street repair projects typically end with little fanfare — workers simply remove the barriers and take down the detour signs. However, there was nothing typical about the gaping sinkhole at the intersection of Rheem Boulevard and Center Street. When the ground opened up after heavy rains in March 2016, the 15-foot deep hole swallowed a traffic signal, huge chunks of sidewalk and a PG&E junction box. On the one-year anniversary of the Rheem Boulevard sinkhole in March, pranksters decorated the fence surrounding it with streamers, a balloon and a happy birthday sign. Abiding by the process required to receive federal funding combined with the complexity of the project, which included replacing a 130-foot-long segment of the 96-inch storm drain pipe, delayed the repairs, according to Edric Kwan, public works director. “People don’t understand the magnitude of it, that there’s a creek under the road,” Kwan said. “It’s not like we could just shovel some dirt in a hole and it’s fixed.”
So Long, Chuck – You Were A Great Depression
Old Timers in Moraga may remember life Before Chuck, before the rains came. Traffic moved easily along Rheem Boulevard, neighbors waving jauntily to one another, some of them even venturing into the shopping center to buy something from time to time. And then, whammo. After a biblical eight days of solid precipitation the ground near Autohaus Stuttgart finally said “uh uh” and dropped like a noise-battered soufflé – then-Chief of Police Bob Priebe screaming a warning and townspeople running for their lives (not really, but it was pretty crazy) as the corner light pole at Rheem and Center dropped into the gaping, soggy cleft like a spear, promptly knocking out power and puncturing a gas line. A hasty evacuation followed. Yogurt cups and cheeseburgers were abandoned in place as MPD cleared the area of civilians.
Borenstein: Changes coming to East Bay Times editorial page
PG&E's vegetation management program under fire after north bay blazes," by NBC Bay Area's Jaxon Van Derbeken: "PG&E auditors allow one out of 100 trees they check to violate state power line clearance standards, NBC Bay Area has learned. But critics say one out of 100 is one too many." Story
The withering California dream, by the numbers," by Matt Levin of KQED: "The California dream isn't dead. It just upped and moved to South Dakota." Story
London’s plans for Oxford Street show that even the busiest roads can ban vehicles—but there's one major misstep.
Americans are paying 31 cents more than they did a year ago, but Californians are paying significantly more because of taxes.
SF to experiment with Uber and Lyft passenger loading and pick-up zone
San Francisco Chronicle
Passengers on SF-to-Vallejo ferry stranded on water for nearly 4 hours
San Francisco Chronicle
Mayor Lee strikes deal to allow Uber, Lyft vehicles to use SF curb space
San Francisco Examiner
Can utilities make customers pay wildfire costs? Regulators delay decision
San Francisco Chronicle
Wildfire victims could see easier utility billing process
San Francisco Chronicle
Schiff to AP: Trump, Russia, GOP Leaders Threaten Democracy," by AP's Laurie Kellman: "[CA Rep. Adam Schiff] He said Russia poses an external threat, but "in many respects, the challenge from within is more serious because we have a president who takes issue with the First Amendment and a president who describes the press as an enemy of the people." Story
The real question behind the Mueller indictments is unprecedented in U.S. history," by Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law, for SacBee: "Never in recent memory have the crimes been so serious or raised such profound questions about the integrity of a presidential election." Story
A year after Trump's election, H-1B visa holders' hope dwindles," by SFChronicle's Trisha Thadani: "Separately, the tweaks to the H-1B program seem insignificant and incremental. Yet taken together, these subtle shifts have left aspiring Americans like Kohli wondering if their green cards will ever come." Story
The Paradise Papers,' via Reveal and the Center for Investigative Reporting: "A roundup of coverage by Reveal and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on the bombshell leak of confidential files that "shed light on how corporate giants move their cash from one offshore tax haven to another." Read it here
California isn't waiting on Feds to ease cannabis industry banking woe,'' by Brooke Edwards Staggs via The Cannifornian: "California should contract with armored car services to transport cannabis-generated tax money and study the idea of creating a public bank to serve the marijuana industry, according to State Treasurer John Chiang. The recommendations came during a Tuesday news conference in Sacramento, where Chiang and members of his Cannabis Banking Working Group presented a 32-page report following their nearly year-long study into how to help marijuana companies access banking services. Big banks don't handle cannabis-related money because the drug remains illegal federally, a factor that figures to be a hurdle for the fast-growing industry. And the ideas put forth Tuesday might be stop-gap solutions until federal lawmakers come up with new rules that reflect the broader push toward cannabis legalization. Story.
These 500 interests spent the most influencing California lawmakers this year," by SacBee's Dan Smith: "Those lobbyist employers spent $85.2 million trying to influence policy in the third quarter of the year, slightly less than the $86.4 million spent in the same period in the 2015-16 session, according to data from the California Secretary of State. Through the first nine months of the year, however, lobbyist employer spending stood at $253.6 million for 2017, nearly 8 percent more than the $235.5 million spent during the same period in 2015." Story
East Coast Republicans pushed back against Trump's tax plan. Why didn't California's GOP?,'' by LATimes' Sarah D. Wire: "When the House GOP released a plan last month that eliminated a popular tax break, some Republican representatives from high tax states like New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania were outraged. Republicans from California quietly voiced concerns about the end of a tax break that 1 in 3 Californians use. Story.
Rohrabacher says future homebuyers hurt by tax plan don't represent a large number of voters,'' by LATimes' Sarah D. Wire. Story.
Darrell Issa says he'll vote 'No' on current tax bill: 'We can do better than this,'' by LATimes' Sarah D. Wire. Story
GOP candidate John Cox launches attack against Democrat Gavin Newsom in California governor's race,'' by LATimes' Seema Mehta: Story.
Doug Ose taking 'real look' at California governor's race," by SacBee's Christopher Cadelago: Story.
Steyer's impeachment campaign hits nerves,'' by LATimes' Phil Willon: Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer has pulled off a rarity in this hyper-charged partisan age: He raised the ire of both President Trump and the president's Democratic nemesis, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. That unlikely pairing is thanks to the $10 million worth of nationwide TV ads calling for Trump's impeachment that Steyer launched in late October. Story.
Steyer claims breach of contract after Fox News pulls his Trump impeachment ads,'' by POLITICO's Cristiano Lima:. Story.
Manafort indictment draws attention to contributions to local campaigns,'' by OCRegister's Martin Wiskol: Story.
Drone "drug drop" worries spur push to restrict air above South Bay jails,'' by MercNews' Robert Salonga: Story.
See how Oroville dam spillway transformed from May-November in two minutes,'' via SacBee: Story.
THAT OTHER LAFAYETTE
The Lafayette City Council has approved a fracking moratorium while it overhauls its drilling regulations.
AND FINALLY. . .
The Almost Daily Briefing is an aggregation of links to news articles from local and regional newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, and other internet sources. Its purpose is to alert readers to current issues and affairs that may impact Lafayette. The Almost Daily Briefing does not promote, favor, disfavor, support, reject, or endorse any position, candidate, campaign, or proposition, and nothing about the Daily Briefing, including the selection, presentation, arrangement, or content of the links presented should be construed as an advocacy position.
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