DACA recipient Flor Martinez attends a rally following President Trump's rescindment of the program, Monday, Sept. 5, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

In summary

California central to Supreme Court DACA case. State debates whether acetaminophen causes cancer. Newsom announces funding boost for Fresno schools.

Good morning, California.

“I hope the Supreme Court justices don’t lose sight of the lives that are at issue. They are really American in every way. They have grown up here. They have succeeded here at UC. They are the kind of young people we want.”—University of California President Janet Napolitano, to The L.A. Times regarding the Dreamers case to be argued today.

High court’s DACA case hits home

Dulce Garcia with Attorney General Xavier Becerra arguing for the DACA program.

Dulce Garcia will be in the audience alongside Attorney General Xavier Becerra today when the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a case that will determine whether Garcia and 700,000 other people who came to this country as children are deportable.

Garcia arrived in California at age 4 with her parents in 1987, and registered under the Obama administration’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

At a press conference with Becerra last week, Garcia told how she went to community college and UC San Diego, though she was told her immigration status would prevent her from attending college.

  • “I am part of a community and I belong here.”

Garcia is a San Diego lawyer whose name is on one of the many briefs in the case, and is central to the litigation, as conservative groups note in a brief seeking to unravel DACA.

As is often the case, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a brief opposing California’s position and supporting Trump’s position.

This warning may cause headache

Photo illustration

Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and many other over-the-counter and prescription painkillers, could soon come with a Proposition 65 warning that it could cause cancer.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment oversees Proposition 65, the 1986 voter approved initiative that requires the state to place warnings on products that cause cancer or are reproductive toxicants. 

The department’s Carcinogen Identification Committee will meet Dec. 5 to consider whether to recommend listing acetaminophen, a product that has been available without a prescription since 1955.

  • Senate Health Committee Chairman Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat and a pediatrician, sent a letter saying listing acetaminophen would lead to “consumer confusion. Pan pointed to the “long-standing overall safety profile of this medicine.”
  • The California Dental Association wrote that placing a warning on acetaminophen could lead to greater use of opioids. That, in turn, would lead to more addiction, abuse and death.
  • The U.S. Food & Drug Administration wrote that acetaminophen doesn’t cause cancer. Any listing by California would be mislabeling and is preempted by federal law.

Newsom spreads money in Valley

Gavin Newsom meets with The Fresno Bee’s editorial board. (Photo by The Bee.)

Gov. Gavin Newsom, continuing his effort to help the Central Valley, announced a $10 million plan to improve Fresno’s public schools.

The Fresno Bee’s Manuela Tobias reports Newsom delivered the keynote speech during the second day of the California Economic Summit in downtown Fresno.

  • Newsom: “I’m so sick and tired of this notion that somehow we’re living in two different worlds in the state, coastal economy and inland economy.”

The funding will go to Fresno, Clovis, Central and Sanger school districts, State Center Community College District, Fresno State University, and Fresno Pacific University.

Newsom said he is committed to delivering on high-speed rail in the Central Valley. Much of the construction is taking place in Fresno.

At the start of the year, Newsom said he was scrapping for now plans to bring high-rail to San Jose, focusing instead on running the rail from Merced to Bakersfield. 

President Trump promptly withdrew nearly $1 billion in federal funds for the project, one of many fights between California and Trump.

When cops commit crimes

Lights off on top of police car. Photo by ChiccoDodiFC, istockphotos.com

More than 80 cops convicted of such crimes as animal cruelty, driving under the influence and manslaughter continue to work in California law enforcement, a consortium of journalists led by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley reports.

Remind me: Early this year, the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training responded to a California Public Records Act request from the Berkeley journalists by releasing 12,000 names of people who had criminal histories and applied to become police officers, worked as officers or are currently employed as cops.

  • Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the list was inadvertently released, and demanded it be returned. 
  • The journalists responded by doing their jobs, fully reporting on what they had found.

Human trafficking: Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy Vidal “Dustin” Contreras shoved his girlfriend to the ground and handcuffed her. When she tried to get away, she told investigators, he pushed her face into the door frame. 

Contreras pleaded guilty not to domestic violence but to disturbing another person “by loud and unreasonable noise.” 

Contreras kept his badge and was assigned to be a human-trafficking detective, Robert Lewis and David DeBolt reported.

The collaboration included journalists from McClatchy, Gannett, Media News Group, Voice of San Diego, and Reveal.

IRS rule threatens Paradise housing

Paradise Community Village burned in the Camp Fire last year. Photo by Anne Wernikoff.

An obscure federal rule could keep dozens of low-income residents from moving back to Paradise, the town that was destroyed in 2018 by the deadliest wildfire in state history, CalMatters’ Matt Levin reports.

Paradise Community Village was the town’s only housing stock reserved for poorer residents in an area beset by a disaster-induced housing squeeze.

Internal Revenue Service rules dictate that any destroyed affordable housing be rebuilt and reoccupied within 24 months or the investors in the project have to repay the federal government. 

  • Kris Zappettini, of the Community Housing Improvement Program, the nonprofit developer that ran Paradise Village: “I don’t think that rule contemplated the type of devastation that happened with the Camp Fire.”

Cleanup crews just finished removing 3.6 million tons of debris, more than was hauled away from Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

  • The Paradise Village developer has requested a waiver. 
  • An IRS spokesperson said the agency does not comment on specific taxpayer situations.

To read Levin’s full report, please click here.

Take a number: 130,529

Joe Canciamilla. (Bay Area News Group photo.)

Former Democratic Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla abruptly resigned on Oct. 31 as Contra Costa County’s top elections official. On Friday, it was revealed that he spent $130,529 in campaign funds on a vacation in Asia and a remodel of his Hawaii home.

Dan Borenstein, Bay Area News Group columnist, reports: 

  • “When some of the spending was uncovered by state auditors, Canciamilla … presented false information, including altered bank records, to fraudulently conceal additional violations of state campaign finance laws.”

The staff of the Fair Political Practices Commission, which enforces campaign finance law, announced a settlement with Canciamilla on Friday.

  • Canciamilla agreed to pay a $150,000 fine, half of which must come from his personal funds and the rest from his campaign accounts.

The commission will vote on whether to approve the settlement when it meets on Nov. 21. 

As Contra Costa’s elected county clerk-recorder, Canciamilla was supposed to uphold such laws. His annual salary and benefits: $334,000, Borenstein reports. 

Canciamilla was a leader of the moderate Democrats during his three terms in the Assembly ending in 2006. A lawyer, he considered running for superior court judge,

TBD: Will Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton prosecute Canciamilla? Becton, a former judge, took office after former Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson, pled guilty to perjury in connection with charges that he used $66,000 in campaign money for personal expenses.

Commentary at CalMatters

Kevin R. Johnson, UC Davis School of Law: The outcome of the DACA case being argued on Tuesday will determine the fate of hundreds of thousands of young people. The long term reaction to the Trump immigration approach that the elimination of DACA exemplifies may ultimately lead to larger political changes across the nation similar to those that occurred in California after voters passed Proposition 187.

Dan Walters, CalMatters: When the Legislature acts on a whim, it often violates common sense and constitutional law, so adults must step in.


Please email or call me with tips, suggestions and insights, dmorain@calmatters.org, 916.201.6281. Thanks for reading, please tell a friend and sign up for WhatMatters here.

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Dan Morain joined CalMatters in March 2018. He is the former editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee. Morain also spent 27 years at The Los Angeles Times, and has covered the Capitol since 1992.