Stories you shouldn’t miss for Jan. 3, 2018:
1. Some insurance companies are canceling policies of homeowners who live in or near wildland areas in California, including the Oakland and East Bay hills, because of concerns about the proliferation of catastrophic wildfires, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle$. “We’re looking at a future where there will be increasing challenges of insurance availability for some homeowners in some areas of California,” said state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “The areas where this is a problem are likely to expand.” Property owners who lose their insurance can enroll in a state-sponsored plan as a last resort.
2. The California Legislature is examining whether to make sweeping changes to state taxes in response to the GOP tax overhaul signed by President Trump, because the new federal plan significantly raises taxes for many California residents, reports Katy Murphy of the Bay Area News Group$. Under one proposal, state taxes could be written off entirely as charitable contributions to counteract the new federal law’s $10,000 cap on state and property tax deductions.
3. The Trump administration is pushing forward with a plan to increase exports of water from the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta despite new evidence of fish declines, the Sacramento Bee$ reports. Administration officials want to fulfill the president’s pledge to send more Delta water to large agribusinesses in the dry San Joaquin Valley and to Southern California, but environmentalists say the plan would violate federal law. Last week, state officials disclosed that the population of the endangered Delta smelt was at all-time low.
4. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley filed murder charges against the drunken driver who smashed his vehicle into the back of a CHP cruiser, killing Officer Andrew J. Camilleri on Christmas Eve, reports Angela Ruggiero of the East Bay Times$. Authorities say Mohammed Abraar Ali was driving his car at 120 mph at the time of the crash on I-880 in Hayward and that his blood-alcohol level was 0.11 percent.
5. And Oakland schools senior business officer Vernon Hal, who came under intense criticism for the district’s financial mess, has resigned, reports Ali Tadayon of the Oakland Tribune$. The district’s financial problems recently prompted $9.1 million in cuts.
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