Daily Headlines for December 11, 2017

We scan major news sources* and compile selected articles to keep you up-to-date on current issues affecting California business – the economy, health care, environment, transportation and more. Receive Daily Headlines by Email

Today’s Top Story

First Conviction for Violation of Santa Monica Minimum Wage Requirements
The City of Santa Monica has announced its first conviction for violation of the city’s minimum wage laws. A hotel-based retail business entered a “no contest” plea to three misdemeanor counts of failing to pay employees the city-required minimum wage and one count of unlawful retaliation against an employee. Under the plea agreement with the City Attorney’s Office, the owner was placed on 36 months of probation and is required to pay approximately $11,000 in back wages to employees, plus $3000 in city investigation costs. Additionally, the owner must perform 150 hours of community service.

Public Affairs / Politics

That Powerful Elected Office a Candidate Held Years Ago? California Voters Won’t See it When They Mark Their 2018 Ballot
Of all his former political posts, Antonio Villaraigosa is most widely known for serving eight years as mayor of Los Angeles, a powerful position that he’s counting on voters to remember as they scan next year’s ballot in the race for governor. Except he can’t call himself the former mayor. His rival, former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, can’t use her previous title, either. Los Angeles Times

17 Ways California Sued the Trump Administration in 2017
In some cases, California is leading the legal battle, taking on the Trump administration on immigration, health care and the environment. In others, it has joined other states such as Washington – the first to sue the Trump administration when President Donald Trump penned his first major executive order banning travel to the United States from Muslim-majority countries. The Sacramento Bee

Start the Clock for Trump, GOP in Last Push on Taxes, Budget
Start the countdown clock on a momentous two weeks for President Donald Trump and the GOP-run Congress. The Associated Press

Assemblyman Matt Dababneh to Resign Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Assemblyman Matt Dababneh said Friday he is resigning from office at the end of the month, a decision that comes four days after he was publicly accused of masturbating in front of a lobbyist and other inappropriate behavior. Los Angeles Times

Human Resources / Health & Safety

Polluted Air, Health Problems Brought by Southern California Fires are Expected to Linger
The air quality is worst in and around fires burning from Ventura County to San Diego County, but the smoke has traveled to places not threatened by the flames. And with the Santa Ana winds dying down, officials say the smoke could stick around for a while. Los Angeles Times

Will Misconduct Scandals Make Men Wary of Women at Work?
Some women, and men, worry the same climate that’s emboldening women to speak up about sexual misconduct could backfire by making some men wary of female colleagues. The Associated Press

Court: Pilot-Employee Returning from Service Deserved Bigger Bonus from Federal Express
The Ninth Circuit Court recently upheld the ruling of a San Diego federal judge who found that Federal Express paid one of its pilot-employees a bonus that was $10,300 less than he deserved after returning from 3 ½ years of Air Force duty. The San Diego Union-Tribune

Thousands of State Workers Face Criminal Background Checks, and Some Could Lose Their Jobs
Thousands of public workers at nine state departments will undergo criminal background checks that could affect their employment, according to the state Human Resources Department. If the background checks turn up past criminal convictions, employees could be “non-punitively separated,” according to notices sent to labor unions. The Sacramento Bee

Economy

California Can Preserve State and Local Tax Deduction, Even if Congress Ends it
If Republicans’ tax overhaul passes next week, California taxpayers are likely to lose many of the state and local deductions that saved them more than $100 billion on their taxes in 2015. But legislative staffers and tax law experts are already gaming out ways to adjust the state’s tax code to offset the loss of those deductions and counter other changes to federal taxes. The Sacramento Bee

Powell Faces Early Test of Policy View as Tax Cuts Near Approval
Incoming Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, chosen by U.S. President Donald Trump to keep the recovery humming, appears set to let an expected trillion=dollar tax cut run its course through the economy as weak wage growth and inflation buttress his view that the economy remains underpowered. Reuters

GOP Lawmakers Reconsider Proposal to Shrink Corporate Tax Cut
Republicans negotiating a final GOP tax bill are reconsidering proposals to shrink the plan’s corporate tax cut amid ferocious opposition from Senate Republicans as well as outside conservative and business groups. The Washington Post

Environmental / Agriculture

Record-Breaking Dry Conditions are Making Southern California Wildfires Much Harder to Fight
With the arrival of winter, weather systems move across the region more slowly when compared with the fall. This season that means prolonged dry conditions across Southern California, with some cities seeing no rain at all. Los Angeles Daily News

Assessing the Scope: Southern California Fires Add Up to Disaster on a Jaw-Dropping Scale
For drivers going from Ventura to the San Fernando Valley on Highway 101, it was hard to tell where one disaster ended and another began. Smoke blowing east from the Thomas fire and west from the Creek and Rye fires connected around Simi Valley and formed a single, massive, gray haze. Commuters pressed on under a two-county cloud of calamity. This was Tuesday evening, on only the first full day, on only the northern front of what has become a weeklong siege of fire across Southern California. Los Angeles Daily News

Gov. Jerry Brown Says World Must Fight Climate Change in Visit to Ventura County’s Thomas Fire
Gov. Jerry Brown warned that the state’s fire seasons will continue to get longer and more volatile, and called for a global fight against climate change after visiting devastated parts of Ventura County on Saturday morning. The San Bernardino Sun

International

Poland Risks Being the EU’s Rogue State
Behind the noise of Brexit negotiations, the talk in the European Union this year has been that there’s potentially a bigger problem in the east. And the prospect of another rupture looks to be increasing. Bloomberg

May Hails New Optimism in Brexit Talks After Deal
Prime Minister Theresa May will hail “a new sense of optimism” in Brexit talks on Monday, telling parliament Britain and the European Union should sign off on a deal at a summit this week “to move forwards together” to discuss future trade ties. Reuters

World’s Largest Water Diversion Plan Won’t Quench China’s Thirst
Autumn rains came too late to save the stunted stalks of Shu Xinguo’s corn crop, withered by a dry July growing season. Bloomberg

Infrastructure / Education

Southern California’s Fire Devastation is ‘the New Normal,’ Gov. Brown Says
Gov. Jerry Brown surveyed the devastation Saturday in Ventura — the area hardest hit by firestorms that have displaced nearly 90,000 people in Southern California — calling it “the new normal.” Los Angeles Times

As California Burns, Congress Plans to Slash Tax Write-Offs for Fires and Other Disasters
As California burns, Congress is planning to limit taxpayers’ ability to write off losses from future wildfires and other disasters. The disaster write-off is one of the many little-known deductions set to be mostly wiped out in the GOP tax plan, but it’s getting fresh attention because of the fires that have devastated parts of Southern California over the last week. Los Angeles Times

John Chiang Pitches Billions in New Low-Income Housing Spending and Homebuilding Incentives
California gubernatorial candidate John Chiang wants to tackle the state’s housing affordability crisis by spending billions more on low-income development and offering greater financial incentives to cities that permit new building. Los Angeles Times

California’s New Report Cards: Which Districts Don’t Make the Grade?
About one-quarter of California’s school districts don’t make the grade in serving students — either in achievement or other areas assessed under the state’s new school report cards. Oakland, Hayward, Antioch, Mount Diablo and Pittsburg unified school districts and East Side Union High in San Jose are among the 228 poorest performers in the state. The Mercury News

Opinion/Editorial

State’s Information Technology Debacle Continues
One of the great—and quite irksome—anomalies of California is that while its economy is largely driven by Silicon Valley’s digital innovation, its state government in Sacramento, just 100 miles northeast, has abysmally failed to use that technology effectively. Dan Walters in CALmatters.org

Five Things We Already Know About California’s Races for Governor and U.S. Senate
It’s still early in the 2018 races for California governor and U.S. Senate, but already we know five things: — In this stormy, polarized political climate, Republicans aren’t likely to vote for a Democrat even if there isn’t a strong GOP candidate on the ballot. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times

Protectionism Is a Negative-Sum Game
The Trump administration’s recent actions on trade indicate a narrow view of what drives America’s economic success. The only way for President Trump to attain his bold economic growth targets is to cultivate the job-creating potential that global connections and international companies provide. Nancy McLernon in The Wall Street Journal

The Ironic Cause of Our Greenhouse Gas Decline
Gov. Jerry Brown hopped around Europe for two weeks last month, telling the world that to avoid a climate change Armageddon, it should emulate what California is doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Dan Walters in CALmatters.org

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