Farmer’s Joins Insurance Exodus from California

Another major insurance company — Farmer’s — will stop providing many insurance policies in California, joining an exodus of insurers from the state.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday:

Farmers Direct Property and Casualty Insurance Company will withdraw from all insurance programs offered in California, including home, auto and renters policies. Most of the policyholders with Farmers Direct will get “soft-landing offers,” which will resemble renewals in another Farmers company, according to Michael Soller, deputy insurance commissioner. He estimates there will be only about 2,800 Farmers Direct policyholders who may not get an offer.

In July, Farmers Insurance capped the number of policies it would write each month due to “record-breaking inflation, severe weather events, and reconstruction costs continuing to climb,” according to the company. It made a similar move in Florida, another coastal state heavily impacted by severe weather.

Click here to read the full article in BreitbartCA

These are the highest-paid University of California employees

Each circle represents a University of California employee who made over $1 million in total compensation in 2022. Select a circle for details.

The University of California, among the most prestigious university systems in the country, is famous for its academic programs, research institutions and medical centers. But data shows that the university’s top-paid employees are not involved in any of these pursuits.

The very highest-paid employees in 2022 were not professors, chancellors or even the president of the university. Instead, the most compensated employees were UCLA football coach Chip Kelly, UC Berkeley football coach Justin Wilcox and UCLA men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin. Each head coach earned over $4 million last year.

That’s according to UC payroll data from Transparent California, a database of California public employee salaries. The Chronicle used this data to analyze the salaries of the 186,000 UC employees who made over $30,000 in total compensation last year. Total compensation includes base pay, overtime pay, other payments (like bonuses) plus health and retirement benefits.

Kelly, the Bruins football head coach and the highest-paid UC employee last year, made $5.7 million in total compensation. Though Kelly’s base salary is $300,000, nearly $5.5 million of his earnings came from various talent fees and bonuses, according to his 2022 employment contract. These payments include $4.5 million for media appearances, a $1 million retention bonus and smaller payments contingent on the team’s season record and players’ academic performance.

Wilcox and Cronin made about $4 million each in compensation, with a substantial amount coming from fee and bonus payments as well.

The highest-paid professor and the fourth most-compensated employee was Jason Roostaeian, a UCLA clinical professor in the plastic surgery department, who made $3.5 million last year. The president of the university system, Michael Drake, earned $992,000 in 2022.

The three head coaches who make over $4 million are among the highest-paid public employees across the state — a circumstance common in other states as well. Their compensation far exceeds the earnings of, for instance, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who is the highest-paid California mayor with a total compensation of $444,000 in 2022. The highest-compensated person employed by the California State University system, the state’s other large university system, was San Diego State University president Adela de la Torre, who made about $710,000 last year.

“Due to the competitive market of the conferences in which the three coaches noted participate in, the amount of compensation is in alignment with comparable peers in the industry,” wrote UC spokesperson Ryan King in an email to the Chronicle.

In fact, relative to coaching salaries at other schools in the country, the compensations of these three coaches are modest. Kelly’s nearly $6 million compensation, for instance, is ranked No. 27 among the salaries of other college football head coaches across the country. The highest pay, according to USA Today, is University of Alabama coach Nick Saban’s $11.4 million.

Kelly’s compensation is expected to grow after a contract extension signed earlier this year outlined a $6.2 million salary by 2025, with UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond citing the team’s improved record under Kelly as a reason for increasing his salary.

UCLA’s football and basketball programs are big business. Last year, the school’s football program made nearly $43 million in revenue from ticket sales, media contracts and sponsorships, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. The Bruins men’s basketball program generated close to $13 million.

Still, the UCLA athletic department reported a $28 million deficit at the end of the 2022 fiscal year and an overall four-year shortfall of $131 million, as revenue remain below pre-pandemic numbers. Coach salaries totaled $22 million across all teams last year, equivalent to roughly a fifth of all UCLA team expenses.

Despite head coaches topping the list of UC salaries, the majority of individuals in the top 1% of earners — those with compensations of over $525,000 — are professors or executive-level administrators like chancellors, deans and vice presidents.

Click here to read the full article in the SF Chronicle

McCarthy’s fall leaves state Republicans in bind

Successor may bring in less money, even as Democrats try to tie incumbents to new speaker’s extremism.

WASHINGTON — Since House Republicans unanimously elected Louisiana’s Rep. Mike Johnson as speaker last week, the GOP has sought to portray itself as an emboldened party willing to battle President Biden and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

But for California Republicans, Johnson’s election presents a host of potential problems that could make trying to survive in a deep-blue state even harder than it already was.

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ouster is the first of those challenges. McCarthy’s fundraising allies have said they will work with Johnson to ensure the money continues to pour into Republicans’ coffers. But Johnson is relatively unproven as a fundraiser, and McCarthy, who pulled in more than $500 million last election cycle, rose to the top of his party in part because of his ability to rake in dough.

The loss of McCarthy from upper leadership could have especially dire consequences for the California Republican Party, which has long relied on him to keep money coming into the Golden State, said Mike Madrid, an anti-Trump Republican consultant who’s become a critic of the party.

“Kevin McCarthy was the last card holding up the house that we call the California Republican Party,” Madrid said. “He was the last reason any money — any serious money — was actually moving through the operation.”

Now that McCarthy is out as speaker, “that money is going to dry up very, very quickly,” Madrid added. “The state party is going to have a very difficult time keeping its head above water while it’s already sinking.”

Even before his first election to Congress in 2006, McCarthy demonstrated his value by raising money and sending funds to fellow candidates and the National Republican Congressional Committee. As he rose the ranks in party leadership, donors were more eager to hand over their cash. This was a godsend to the state party, which had struggled to raise enough money to field competitive candidates in safer Democratic districts.

Madrid said it’s very unlikely that candidates in California’s most competitive districts will see their bank accounts dry up. Donors in and outside the state will continue giving to protect the five Republicans who hold districts that President Biden won in 2020 — Young Kim of Anaheim Hills, David Valadao of Hanford, Mike Garcia of Santa Clarita, Michelle Steel of Seal Beach and John Duarte of Modesto.

If donors don’t deliver for those members, the GOP could lose its House majority.

But, Madrid said, for Republicans in safe districts, donors are unlikely to want to invest, since they are unlikely to see anything change.

Even if the money keeps flowing, California Republicans have another problem: Democrats are eager to tie them to the deeply archconservative Louisiana Republican they’ve elevated to the post second in line for the presidency.

“Johnson is as extreme as they come. He led the plot to overthrow the 2020 election. He’s a Trump loyalist. Above all, he’s a MAGA extremist,” a new ad from the Congressional Integrity Project, a Democratic-aligned nonprofit, warns Californians.

“This is who John Duarte voted for,” the ad continues. “Tell him to stop putting MAGA over the American people.”

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report changed its assessment of Valadao’s race from leaning Republican to “toss-up” on Tuesday.

Dave Wasserman, a senior editor and elections analyst at Cook, wrote that the fight over the speakership had “supercharged House Democrats’ confidence that they can flip the five seats they need to reclaim the chamber by convincing swing voters that ‘dysfunctional’ Republicans can’t be trusted with the keys to power.”

And Dan Gottlieb, a spokesman for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a news release that “Californians are eager to reject the extremism that [Valadao has] been enabling.”

That sort of attack may have some resonance in California. Although McCarthy may have been unpopular with Democrats, he was a Californian. The differences between his home of Bakersfield and the rest of the state are not as vast as the differences between California and the Deep South.

Though McCarthy declined to vote to certify some states’ presidential election results in 2020, Johnson went a step further, rallying more than 100 Republicans behind his brief endorsing a lawsuit to overturn the election. He has repeatedly backed measures to ban abortion nationwide, and previously worked for a nonprofit — labeled an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — that defended state-sanctioned sterilization of transgender people. Such viewpoints are at odds with many swing district voters.

But Jon Fleischman, former executive director of the state GOP, doesn’t think connecting vulnerable California Republicans to Johnson will go far with voters.

“I don’t think the ideological views of the speaker really matter at all,” he said. “It’s not clear to me that the positions on the issues of the new speaker are really any different than the positions of the issues of the old speaker.”

Of Republicans surveyed in an October Economist/YouGov poll, 38% said they wanted House members to back the speaker candidate supported by the majority of the GOP caucus even if they disagreed with the nominee, while 33% of Republicans said they should not.

“I don’t think they’re going to judge their member of Congress based on who their party put forward as speaker,” Fleischman said. “If there’s any potential for impact, it’s not going to be [due to] the views of the congressman from Louisiana on the issues.”

Democratic groups may have an easier time tying the lawmakers to former President Trump, he argued. Trump is the likely GOP presidential nominee, is very popular among the GOP base, but is still deeply unpopular among swing voters.

“These incumbents are going to have to run under the banner of Trump for president,” Fleischman said.

Still, Republicans and their allies will seek to localize races and focus on specific issues to make clear the role their candidates could play in Washington.

“Californians demand relief from the surging cost of living, gas prices and violent crime fueled by extreme left-wing policies in D.C. and Sacramento,” Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ben Petersen said in a statement.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

31 stores in California on Rite Aid Closure List

At least 10 stores are in Los Angeles County; another six are in Orange County and just two are in the Inland Empire.

Rite Aid has marked 31 stores in California for closure in its restructuring plan, which was filed Monday, Oct. 16 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey.

The chain, which previously said it might close 500 stores, wrote that at least 154 stores would close.

The troubled retail pharmacy chain is facing slumping sales and several opioid-related lawsuits. To make ends meet, the company is looking to reduce its debt while resolving “litigation claims in an equitable manner,” Rite Aid reps said Sunday.

At least 10 stores will close across Los Angeles County. Another six will shutter in Orange County and just two in the Inland Empire. Only one, a store on South Archibald Avenue in Ontario appears to have closed already.

“Many of the stores on this list have already closed and received ample notice of the closure, while some will close in the coming weeks,” Rite Aid said via email Tuesday.

Here’s the list of stores Rite Aid has marked for closure in California. The store number precedes each address:

LA County

5448 — 4044 Eagle Rock Boulevard, Los Angeles

6288 — 959 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles

5457 — 4046 South Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles

5466 — 7859 Firestone Boulevard, Downey

5521 — 4402 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach

5571 — 935 North Hollywood Way, Burbank

5585 — 139 North Grand Avenue, Covina

5593 — 13905 Amar Road, La Puente

5611 — 920 East Valley Boulevard, Alhambra

6333 — 15800 Imperial Highway, La Mirada

Orange County

5735 — 24829 Del Prado, Dana Point

6717 — 8509 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine

5753 — 30222 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel

5757 — 19701 Yorba Linda Boulevard, Yorba Linda

5760 — 1406 West Edinger Avenue, Santa Ana

6213 — 3029 Harbor Boulevard, Costa Mesa

Inland Empire

6318 — 3000 South Archibald Avenue, Ontario (marked closed on Yelp)

5730 — 25906 Newport Road, Menifee

North of LA

5772 — 2738 East Thompson Blvd., Ventura (marked closed on Yelp)

5780 — 720 North Ventura Road, Oxnard

San Diego County

5635 — 3813 Plaza Drive, Oceanside

5638 — 1670 Main Street, Ramona

5657 — 6505 Mission Gorge Road, San Diego

5661 — 8985 Mira Mesa Boulevard, San Diego (marked closed on Yelp)

Northern California

5967 — 20572 Homestead Road, Cupertino

5976 — 2620 El Camino Real, Santa Clara

5979 — 901 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz

6001 — 571 Bellevue Road, Atwater

6045 — 5409 Sunrise Boulevard, Citrus Heights

6080 — 1309 Fulton Avenue, Sacramento

6769 — 499 Alvarado Street, Monterey

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Feud Between Native American Casinos and California Card Rooms Moves to Legislature

When California voters were deciding the fate of two competing sports gambling ballot measures last year – and defeating both after seemingly jillion-dollar campaigns – they were unwittingly passing judgment on three ancillary gambling issues.

Proposition 26, the measure sponsored by American Indian tribes that would given them control of sports wagering, contained three other provisions that drew little media attention. One would allow a few horseracing tracks to take bets on sporting events, a second would have expanded gambling in tribal casinos into roulette and dice games, and a third could have driven the state’s poker parlors out of business.

The third was an effort by the tribes to settle a long-simmering political and legal dispute with the card rooms over which kinds of games the latter could feature. The casino-owning tribes contend that their rivals, with such games as blackjack, have expanded into tribal territory under the state’s very complicated definitions separating legal gambling from illegal forms.

If approved, Prop. 26 would have given the state attorney general new powers to crack down on violations of gambling laws, including the power to close facilities that the AG deemed to be violators, and if the AG refused to act, a private party – such as an tribal casino – could file a civil action itself. Card room operators saw the passage as a death sentence and were relieved when the proposition failed.

However, it was not the end of the long-running gambling turf war, and hostilities are being resumed in the state Legislature in the form of a bill that would allow tribes to do what voters didn’t approve last year: file civil actions against the rival card rooms.

Senate Bill 549 began as a measure dealing with education when it passed the Senate, but in June its author, Sen. Josh Newman, a Democrat from Fullerton, stripped out its language and substituted verbiage lifted almost word for word from Prop. 26, giving tribes a three-month window next year to take legal action against their rivals.

Both sides are gearing up for war when the Legislature reconvenes this week. The tribes have a bottomless pit of political money and have long established themselves as a major interest group in the Capitol. But, the family that owns a large card room in Hawaiian Gardens, a tiny city – just one square mile – in Los Angeles County, has committed $5-plus million just this year to lobbying against SB 549.

Hawaiian Gardens is located just a few blocks from the boundary of Newman’s district and taxes on the Gardens Casino, one of the state’s largest card rooms, provides more than two-thirds of the otherwise impoverished city’s revenue.

This isn’t the first time the casino has been embroiled in political battle.

The casino’s late founder, Dr. Irving Moskowitz, was a major financier for settlements in territory claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. As I wrote in a Sacramento Bee column 23 years ago, Moskowitz’s actions in Israel were supported by the nation’s hardliners but drew criticism from moderates and the conflict found its way into the Legislature over allegations that the city of Hawaiian Gardens had improperly used redevelopment funds to underwrite construction of the casino.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Tensions Flare As California GOP Gives Trump a Boost by Overhauling State Primary Rules

In a move backed by former President Trump’s campaign, the California Republican Party on Saturday changed its rules for allocating delegates in the state’s presidential primary — a shake-up that could discourage other GOP candidates from campaigning here and make the state less competitive in next year’s nominating contest.

Tensions flared as the California GOP’s executive committee approved the plan, with some pro-Trump demonstrators denouncing the move, police getting called and two factions nearly coming to fisticuffs.

Although demonstrators argued that the state party leadership was trying to undermine the former president, the decision by the California GOP’s executive committee reflects a concerted effort by the Trump campaign to mold state party rules across the country to benefit his candidacy.

The Michigan Republican Party also recently changed its rules for awarding delegates in a way that’s expected to benefit Trump. Republicans in Idaho, Nevada, Louisiana and Colorado are considering other measures that could give Trump an advantage.

The new rule in California means a Republican presidential candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote in the March 5 primary will win all 169 delegates from California, which has more than any state in the nation. If no one reaches this benchmark, delegates will be awarded proportionally based on the statewide vote.

State party leaders argued that the new plan would draw candidates to compete in California.

“Today’s vote … was a massive victory for California Republicans who are eager to have a say in deciding who our Party’s 2024 presidential nominee will be,” state party Chair Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement.

“Republican presidential candidates will not only be encouraged to spend real time campaigning in our state and making their case to voters, but Republican voters will equally be encouraged to turn out to support their chosen candidate to help them win delegates,” she added

But other Republicans say the plan will instead make California less competitive than if the party had stuck with some version of the system it has used for much of the last two decades, in which three delegates were awarded for each congressional district won, said Jon Fleischman, who was executive director of the state GOP in 2000, when it adopted this plan (though it didn’t go into effect until after the 2004 election).

Such a system allows a candidate to strategically target a handful of areas instead of trying to campaign and advertise in an enormous state with some of the most expensive media markets in the nation.

“The net effect of passing this proposal will be no presidential campaign will be incentivized to do any campaigning in California, period,” Fleischman said. “The cost to advertise statewide is too great and the impact of trying to motivate volunteers is too small. So they will go to other states and ignore California in the primary, as they ignore California in the general election.”

Trump’s campaign supported the plan because polling shows he can win more than half the votes in California’s GOP primary, allowing him to sweep up the state’s huge haul of delegates, according to an executive committee member who had spoken with a campaign official.

Trump strategists also believe a previous proposal — that the California GOP scrapped — could have helped Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said the executive committee member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about the insider conversation.

Under that system, delegates would have been awarded by congressional district, with two going to the winner in each district and one delegate going to the second-place finisher. California is so big, with 52 congressional districts, that such a system would have created an enormous “consolation prize” amounting to more delegates than those awarded by multiple other states combined.

Ken Cuccinelli, founder of the pro-DeSantis Never Back Down super PAC, blasted the state GOP’s decision to go the other route.

“Smoke filled back rooms do not reflect the will of or benefit voters in any state. Yet across the country games are afoot to enhance the potential outcome of primary elections for one former president who half of the Republican electorate no longer wants as the party leader,” said Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general who served in the Trump administration, in a statement.

But “even with these asinine primary rules changes,” he added, “we remain confident Governor DeSantis will become the Republican nominee and 47th president of the United States.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Had it not changed its rules, the California GOP would have lost half of its delegates to the Republican National Convention — a huge blow to the state’s clout. Either of the plans that were considered would have met the national party’s requirements for sending a full delegation.

California’s 2024 primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday on March 5, along with contests in more than a dozen other states. While California’s overwhelmingly Democratic tilt has long made it uncompetitive for Republican presidential nominees in general elections, the state could play a significant role in deciding the next GOP nominee — particularly if a candidate doesn’t take a commanding lead in earlier contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

By the time California votes in the spring, Trump could be under indictment in four separate criminal cases. He has already been charged in connection with an alleged hush money payment to an adult-film star in the final days of the 2016 campaign, and with mishandling and illegally possessing classified documents at his Florida home after his presidency ended.

Trump is also being investigated in Georgia on allegations that he attempted to overturn his 2020 loss in the crucial state to Democrat Joe Biden; and federal prosecutors have targeted the former president in an investigation into other efforts to keep him in office, including the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

But Trump’s legal issues have not dampened support from his base — including the more than 50 supporters who staged a protest at the Marriott hotel in Irvine on Saturday morning.

The protesters saw the California GOP’s earlier proposal as a purposeful effort to harm Trump, and remained angry that a decision was being made by the party’s 100-member executive committee rather than by more than 1,400 members at their fall convention — a reflection of the distrust of party leadership among conservative activists across the country. They unsuccessfully pushed for a candidate having to receive a certain percentage of the vote to be awarded any delegates.

“There’s a part of me that does think that maybe they’re trying to take votes away from Trump, specifically, who’s coming in strong, and so they’re kind of thinking, ‘What can we do to take away votes for Trump?’” said Bonnie Wallace, president of the Greater Pasadena Republican Assembly. As a state party delegate, she was able to observe the committee meeting, which was closed to the media, but she was unable to vote on the matter.

“What I heard in there is, ‘Oh, we need to open this up so all the candidates are welcome. … If they get 5% of the vote, they’ll get something,” added Wallace, who carried a sign that read, “CAGOP & RNC/Why not Trump? Stop supporting corruption!” “You know, we need to whittle things down. We don’t have participation trophies.”

The executive committee approved the delegate allocation plan on a 53-16 vote. State party officials said they could not wait for the convention to debate the matter due to a tight deadline for submitting plans to national Republicans.

The protest was driven in part by fury and confusion sowed on social media, where far-right activists argued that Millan Patterson and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, who effectively controls the state party, were trying to derail Trump’s candidacy.

“They are trying to change the laws so they can orchestrate a brokered convention at the National convention and steal the GOP nomination from Donald Trump,” Laura Loomer, a Trump supporter from Florida who has a history of spreading conspiracies to her large online following, wrote on Twitter on July 20. “We can’t allow [Millan Patterson] and [McCarthy] to get away with their deceptive rule changes that are designed to screw Donald Trump.”

Millan Patterson and McCarthy did not respond to requests for comment on the accusations.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Mass Media Hysteria Over ‘Dangerously Hot’ Summer Heat

Long before ‘climate change hysteria,’ Sacramento had such hot summer days, we kids couldn’t walk barefoot on the sidewalks

Meteorologists forecasted June would be unseasonably hot. It wasn’t – we had lovely cool weather in June.

Now that Summer has finally arrived in California, many of these shameless green agenda forecasters are warning of a “dangerously hot” summer.

Yesterday this dangerously hot weather hit 94 degrees in Northern California after being told it would be 102. Today is is predicted to be 101 degrees. “Dangerously hot.”

The Sacramento Bee, one of the climate hysterics, reports:

“After two years of severe drought, record winter rains and now sweltering heat, more than four in ten Californians reported being personally affected by an extreme weather event in the last two years, a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found. The survey released Thursday showed that nearly 80% of adults think climate change is contributing to extreme weather in the state and 82% consider the climate a top or near-top concern.”

The PPIC poll was funded by the Arjay and Frances F. Miller Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Windy Hill Fund. The Arjay and Frances F. Miller Foundation is not rated on Charity Navigator or Guidestar, despite an IRS ruling year of 1957. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, created in 1964, supports environmental causes and population control programs, according to Influence Watch. The Windy Hill Fund is a total mystery.

The hyperbole in the PPIC poll is ripe as they claim “Californians are facing ‘weather whiplash’ and heat waves as the global climate changes.”

Despite historical polling responses finding that climate change is always far down on a list of concerns, the PPIC reports:

When asked how much climate change is affecting their local community, 25 percent say “a great deal” and 46 percent report that is having “some” effect. Overwhelming majorities believe that climate change is a “very” or “somewhat” serious threat to California’s future economy and quality of life; however, partisans differ on these issues.

Perhaps this mass hysteria is bolstered by Governor Gavin Newsom’s “extreme heat warning and ranking system.”

Last September, Gov. Newsom signed a bill into law to create an extreme heat warning and ranking system in California. The Globe reported:

Assembly Bill 2238, jointly authored by Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-North Hollywood) and Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), will create a ranking and advance warning system in conjunction with the Department of Insurance and the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP), a wing of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) that focuses on climate change impacts. Such a system will be developed by January 2024 and will also require ICARP to develop a public program around the ranking system and work with local and tribal governments in implementing the system locally, develop guidance in preparing and planning for extreme heat, and recommend adaptation measures.

Pay particular attention to this: Newsom’s Department of Insurance and the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP), a wing of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) that focuses on climate change impacts.

And we wonder why our insurance rates are skyrocketing…

California’s Missing-in-Action Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara opined:

“California is once again leading the world in fighting climate change and its deadly effects. Ranking heat waves will be a powerful new tool to protect all Californians alongside Governor Gavin Newsom’s Extreme Heat Action Plan. I applaud the Governor’s and the bill’s joint authors’ continued leadership on these necessary extreme heat investments and policies that will save lives and close the protection gap for our most at-risk communities as we face more heat waves in the years ahead.”

My weather app, which is far more accurate than most television meteorologists – and a lot less hyperbolic – reports that is will be 101 today.

Oh NO!!!

This “dangerously hot” day precipitated the Sacramento Zoo to announce it will close early today at 1:00pm.

Last summer city officials imposed a soft lockdown on city residents: The parks were closed due to the forecasted heat wave. Parks are where people retreat when the weather is hot, to get out of hot homes and apartments.

It was 106 degrees in Sacramento July 2nd. Today it could be 101 degrees. This is what is known as hot summer weather in California. We native Californians also know this is normal.

As a kid, I remember such hot Sacramento summer days, I couldn’t walk barefoot on the sidewalks.

But no one cautioned us to “be safe” or “stay hydrated.” In fact, back when I was a kid, parents told us to put shoes on and to stop being stupid.

In July 1973, Sacramento’s hottest day was 107 degrees.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Hate Crimes in California Rose 20% in 2022, Report Says

Hate crimes have risen in California, according to a new state Department of Justice report.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta and community leaders gathered in front of the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, June 27 to discuss the state’s latest report on hate crimes, and ongoing efforts to combat rising hate and extremism.

Reported hate crimes increased roughly 20% last year, up from 1,763 in 2021, to 2,120 in 2022, the report said. Officials define hate crimes as a criminal offense against a person or property, motivated by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.

Key takeaways from the 2022 Hate Crime in California report include:

  • Hate crimes against Black communities increased 27.1%, from 513 in 2021 to 652 in 2022.
  • Anti-Hispanic hate crimes rose from 197 in 2021, to 210 in 2022.
  • Anti-Asian hate crimes fell from 247 in 2021, to 140 in 2022; a decrease of 43.3%.
  • Anti-Jewish hate crimes increased 24.3% from 152 in 2021, to 189 in 2022.
  • Anti-transgender hate crimes increased from 38 in 2021, to 59 in 2022.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

When Will the Legislature Vote on California Reparations?

Next Thursday, California’s first-in-the-nation task force on reparations plans to hand over to the state Legislature its extensive report and recommendations for how to compensate eligible Black Californians for the enduring harms of slavery. 

As historic a moment it may be, it won’t mean advocates of reparations have crossed the finish line. 

Lawmakers will then have to decide which of the task force’s recommendations they want to turn into bills for consideration. Those bills will then have to be voted on by the Assembly and Senate, and if approved, sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom to be signed into law or vetoed. And all that may not happen until next year. 

“For the most part, chances are there will not be legislation produced this legislative year,” state Sen. Steven Bradford — a Democrat from Gardena, task force member and vice chairperson of the Legislative Black Caucus — told CalMatters on Wednesday. 

“The recommendations will probably come in the form of a bill that will be introduced probably at its earliest in December of this year and it will move through the process in the next legislative cycle,” he said. 

After more than two years, hundreds of hours of public meetings and thousands of pages of public documents, the centerpiece of the task force’s recommendations is economic modeling for how the state can calculate how much each eligible Black Californian may be owed

Economists estimate eligible Black residents may be owed a total of more than $800 billion for decades of over-policing, disproportionate incarceration and housing discrimination. The $800 billion is more than two-and-a-half times the total spending in California’s $300 billion-plus annual budget

That price tag has been met with a cold response from other lawmakers and Newsom, who signed the law creating the task force. Very few lawmakers have spoken in favor of the task force’s recommendations and Newsom’s office continues to say the governor is waiting for the final report to be released.  

Bradford has floated the idea of diverting 0.5% of the state’s annual budget to generate a $1.5 billion annuity to fund reparations programs and payments over time.

“To their defense, in a sense, many are saying ‘We’re waiting for the final report,’ which will be out next week. And then we’ll see where our real allies are at, after that,” Bradford said. 

According to the Department of Justice, the final report is expected to look nearly identical to the draft of the final report that the task force approved at its last meeting in May, which is already available online

The task force’s final meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday in the first floor auditorium in the March Fong Eu Secretary of State building in the 1500 block of 11th Street. 

Reparations calculator: CalMatters has created an interactive tool to estimate how much someone might be owed in reparations for slavery and racism. Look it up herewatch a TikTok about it, see it on Instagram and read the full story from Wendy Fry of CalMatters’ California Divide team.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

California Insurance Market Rattled by Withdrawal of Major Companies

Two insurance industry giants have pulled back from California’s home insurance marketplace, saying that increasing wildfire risk and soaring construction costs have prompted them to stop writing new policies in the nation’s most populous state.

State Farm announced last week it would stop accepting applications for all business and personal lines of property and casualty insurance, citing inflation, a challenging reinsurance market and “rapidly growing catastrophe exposure.” The decision did not impact personal auto insurance.

“We take seriously our responsibility to manage risk,” State Farm said. “It’s necessary to take these actions now to improve the company’s financial strength.”

Allstate, another insurance powerhouse, announced in November it would pause new homeowners, condo and commercial insurance policies in California to protect current customers.

“The cost to insure new home customers in California is far higher than the price they would pay for policies due to wildfires, higher costs for repairing homes and higher reinsurance premiums,” Allstate said in a statement.

California’s unsettled market aligns with trends across the country in which companies are boosting rates, limiting coverage or pulling out completely from regions susceptible to wildfires and other natural disasters in the era of climate change. Florida and Louisiana have struggled to keep healthy insurance markets following extensive damage from hurricanes. Premiums are rising in Colorado amid wildfire threats, and an Oregon effort to map wildfire risk was rejected last year because of fears it would cause premiums to skyrocket.

Scientists say climate change has made the West warmer and drier over the last three decades and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive. In recent years, California has experienced the largest and most destructive fires in state history.

Some California homeowners already are going without coverage, and a shortage of new policies could make it more difficult to buy a home. A state-run pool that serves as the insurer of last resort for many could face pressure as enrollments surge.

The state pool — the California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plan — provides basic fire insurance coverage for properties in high-risk areas when traditional insurance companies will not. Enrollments have jumped in recent years to 272,846 homes in 2022.

“We just don’t have a stable insurance market,” said state Sen. Bill Dodd, a Democrat from Napa, whose Northern California district has been charred by wildfires. “What’s happening is a lot of people in my district and frankly other districts are … going naked — they have no insurance.”

According to data compiled by the industry-supported Insurance Information Institute, California has more than 1.2 million homes at risk for extreme wildfire, far more than any other state.

“The number of acres burned in California has grown steadily in recent years, as more people are moving into fire-prone areas of the state,” the institute said in a statement on the company departures from California. “More homes in harm’s way — combined with rising costs of repairing or replacing houses either damaged or lost to fire — leads to increased insured losses.”

In Colorado, which has been hit by devastating wildfires, insurance premiums have been rising significantly, and some smaller insurance companies have been pulling back from covering properties. A study commissioned by state lawmakers found that 76% of carriers decreased their exposures in Colorado in 2022, leaving the five largest insurance companies to dominate the market.

Florida has struggled to keep the insurance market healthy since 1992, when Hurricane Andrew flattened Homestead, wiped out some insurance carriers and left many remaining companies fearful to write or renew policies in Florida. Risks for carriers also have been growing as climate change increases the strength of hurricanes and intensity of rainstorms.

Louisiana is in the midst of an insurance crisis, exacerbated by hurricanes Delta, Laura, Zeta and Ida in 2020 and 2021. As claims piled up, companies that wrote homeowners policies in the state went insolvent or left, canceling or refusing to renew existing policies.

In California, the loss of large insurers could create more pressure to loosen consumer-minded policies that have held down rates in the state for years. Voters approved Proposition 103 in 1988, which allows the state insurance commissioner to reject proposed rate increases and order refunds. It has been credited with saving consumers billions of dollars, but the industry says it places constraints on accurate underwriting and pricing risk.

Last year, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara advanced regulations requiring insurers to give discounts to customers if they followed new standards like building fire-resistance roofs and creating defensible space around their homes.

Before their announcements, State Farm and Allstate both had been seeking significant rate increases.

Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan advocacy group, said State Farm’s decision was unlawful.

“Insurance companies can’t just stop selling insurance to consumers in order to make more money for themselves,” Harvey Rosenfield, the author of Proposition 103 and the founder of the group, said in a statement. “They have to open their books and get the (state) insurance commissioner’s approval.”

Lara’s office didn’t respond to an email request for comment.

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