Friday’s Briefing: East Bay Judge Blocks Release of Police Misconduct Records; Newsom and State Sue Huntington Beach for Refusal to Build Housing

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Jan. 25, 2019:

1. A Contra Costa County judge blocked the release of police misconduct records from the city of Walnut Creek after police unions argued in court that a new state transparency law should not apply to records prior to Jan. 1, reports Thomas Peele of the East Bay Times$. State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, author of the new law, has said repeatedly that the intent of it was to apply to police misconduct records in the possession of police agencies, regardless of the date. But cops’ unions want the law to only apply to new records of misconduct. The judge’s order will remain in place until a hearing next month.

2. The state of California, at the urging of Gov. Newsom, sued Huntington Beach over the Orange County city’s refusal to build housing, reports Liam Dillon of the LA Times$. “The lawsuit accuses Huntington Beach of defying a state law that requires cities and counties to set aside sufficient land for housing development. Newsom said the suit, scheduled to be filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court, was needed to address rising housing costs that threaten economic growth and deepen inequality.”

3. Cal Fire officials said their investigation of the catastrophic Tubbs fire in 2017 concluded that PG&E was not responsible for the horrific blaze that tore through Santa Rosa and killed 24 people, the LA Times$ reports. Investigators blamed private electrical equipment on private property for igniting the second-worst fire in state history.

4. The FAA temporarily blocked flights into New York’s La Guardia Airport today because of a shortage of air traffic controllers due to federal government shutdown, The New York Times$ reports. The lack of air traffic controllers is causing flight delays throughout the East Coast today.

5. Fewer than half of the nation’s IRS workers have returned to their jobs because of the federal government shut down, the Associated Press reports (via the Sacramento Bee$). “Of the 26,000 employees recalled, about 12,000 have come to work, the IRS officials said. Around 5,000 have claimed the hardship exception under the union contract and another 9,000 couldn’t be reached by IRS managers.”

6. Bay Area tech leaders have pledged $500 million to help the state build and protect affordable housing in the region following a request from Gov. Newsom, reports Marissa Kendall of the Bay Area News Group$. “With backing by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the San Francisco Foundation, Facebook, Genentech and others, the new $500 million fund promises to build or preserve more than 8,000 homes in the five-county Bay Area over the next 5 to 10 years.”

7. The chancellor of the California State University system announced a tuition freeze next year at all of the CSU campuses as a result of increased state funding proposed by Newsom, reports Larry Gordon of EdSource.

8. Roger Stone, a longtime confidante of President Trump, was indicted and arrested this morning on charges of lying to Congress about his role in working with Wikileaks to damage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, The New York Times$ reports. Special counsel Robert Mueller said in the indictment that Stone coordinated with Wikileaks to release tranches of emails stolen by Russian operatives.

9. And the world champion Golden State Warriors bypassed the Trump White House on their trip to Washington, D.C. this week and instead made a private visit to former President Obama.

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