CALQuiz: A Harris aide resigns, a housing bill returns, and the state works to stop floods
Larry Wallace, a senior aide to Sen. Kamala Harris, resigned this week after news broke that the state of California paid $400,000 to settle a sexual harassment suit that was filed against him when he worked for Harris at the California Department of Justice. According to the suit, what did Wallace force his assistant to do?
Rank every male in the office by looks in an email, which he forwarded to staff
Refill the paper or ink in a printer he placed under his desk daily
Ask her into his office and corner her for "intense hugging sessions"
Brush off crumbs on his pants while he sat and ate a sandwich
When Danielle Hartley, Wallace's assistant, asked him to move the printer, he refused, according to the Sacramento Bee. Sen. Harris says she did not know about the lawsuit or settlement until this week.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, unveiled SB 50, a second iteration of a controversial housing bill that aimed to increase denser housing near transit stops. The first bill died in committee, but now it could potentially see a second life under a new governor. What did Wiener say about this updated version of his legislation?
"Now that my man Gavin's in charge, this is in the bag"
"We've heard your complaints, and we made adjustments for a more palatable proposal"
"The learning process from SB 827 will make SB 50 a stronger bill that I hope our new supermajority will pass"
"The heart of the bill is the same as where the bill ended up last year"
Unlike last time, state Sen. Wiener's bill has attracted a powerful ally: the State Building and Construction Trades Council. The labor group opposed group opposed SB 827, but with Wiener's changes to the plan, now endorses SB 50. Here's what you need to know from data and housing guru Matt Levin.
As the changing climate creates more extreme weather events, flooding in rivers throughout the Central Valley poses a threat to communities. What is the state of California doing to address the floods?
It's creating man-made lakes to absorb floodwaters and create destination spots to help Central Valley tourism
It's working with the Trump administration to create even more irrigation systems to make sure water isn't "foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean," as Trump once tweeted
It's busting up levees and reconnecting rivers with floodplains to absorb floodwaters naturally
It's considering a new housing code that would require structures in floodplains to be built on stilts
The state has relied on levees to protect cities and towns from floods, but now it's changing course. Near Modesto, several miles of levee were removed and replaced with tens of thousands of native flora. The idea? Let swollen rivers pour into natural floodplains that can absorb the water, instead of relying on levees, which can inundate more levees downstream, causing ruptures and devastation to populous areas.
The California Supreme Court this week heard a case that tests the California Rule. What is that?
A mandate allowing cities to tightly control the density of housing
A strict moratorium for off-shore drilling that required a special exemption by the federal government
A legal precedent that requires the state to compensate public employees if their retirement benefits are lessened
A general concept that Californians are vastly superior to Americans from other states
The justices heard oral arguments in a case involving the California Rule, a legal precedent forbidding state government agencies from reducing employees' pensions without providing compensation to offset the loss of benefits. The lawsuit seeks to unravel a pension law that was passed six years ago by Gov. Jerry Brown. If Brown wins, labor organizations worry it will embolden leaders to strip away pension benefits. If labor wins, opponents worry the pension debt will continue to grow and could be made worse by a recession.
In races throughout the country, women candidates made big gains in bids for office at the local, statewide and federal levels. The California Legislature's new class of members includes 10 women. How many women total now represent Californians in the state Capitol?
The Legislature has 36 female representatives, or 30 percent, a number just shy of the record of 37 women legislators who served in 2005-2006. Laurel Rosenhall and Elizabeth Castillo take a look at the new members who were sworn in earlier this week.