Wednesday’s Briefing: Senators Say White Supremacists Are ‘Terrorists’; Berkeley Mayor Says Antifa Is a ‘Gang’

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Aug. 30, 2017:

1. A state Senate committee unanimously approved resolutions urging law enforcement agencies in California to treat violent white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups as terrorists, reports Jazmine Ulloa of the LA Times$. At least one Republican senator, however, said that after radical leftist violence marred demonstrations in Berkeley on Sunday, antifascists, known as antifa, should also be considered a terrorist group.

2. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin told KPIX TV that he thinks antifa should be considered a gang. “I think we should classify them as a gang,” Arreguin said to the local CBS affiliate. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia, and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”

3. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was booed by constituents at a San Francisco event after she said she hopes President Trump “has the ability to learn and change — and if he can he can be a good president,” reports Casey Tolan of the Mercury News$. Feinstein also riled the crowd when she strongly implied that she does not believe Trump will be impeached. “Look, this man is going to be president, most likely for the rest of this term,” she said. “I think we have to have some patience — it’s eight months into the tenure of the presidency.”

4. A strong majority of Californians — 61 percent — oppose a new state law signed by Gov. Brown that allows counties to close polling places and push voters to use absentee ballots, reports John Myers of the LA Times$, citing a new survey from UC Davis’ California Civic Engagement Project. Nonetheless, the state plans to move forward with the planned voting overhaul, which would replace local polling places with a few multipurpose election centers in each county.

5. State regulators fined Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente $2.2 million for failing to provide data on patient care to the state’s Medicaid program, reports Chad Terhune of California Healthline (via the East Bay Times$). The large fine follows a $2.5 million penalty that the state slapped on Kaiser earlier this year.

6. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf called on state lawmakers and the governor to place a $6 billion affordable housing bond on the November 2018 ballot in an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle$. Gov. Brown and legislators are finalizing a package deal for a smaller bond — $4 billion.

7. Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett has filed an intent to run for state Assembly next year, reports Chantelle Lee of the Daily Cal. Bartlett joins an already crowded field to replace Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, who is running for state superintendent of schools.

8. And Hurricane Harvey smashed the U.S. record for rainfall with some areas of southeast Texas being deluged with more than 50 inches of rain since Friday, The New York Times$ reports. The massive storm has killed at least 30 people so far.

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