Monday Must Reads: Brown’s Tunnels Plan May Be Headed for the Ballot; AG Harris Strongly Defends Sanctuary Cities


Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to build two giant water tunnels underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta may be headed for the 2016 ballot, the SacBee$ reports. The governor had hoped to avoid a vote on his unpopular proposal, but a wealthy Stockton-area farmer, Dean Cortopassi, who strongly opposes the tunnels’ plan, is financing a signature-gathering drive. The proposed ballot measure would require voter approval for large infrastructure projects, including the $15 billion tunnels’ proposal.

Kamala Harris.
  • Kamala Harris.
2. California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the frontrunner in the 2016 US Senate race, strongly defended sanctuary cities, like San Francisco, in the wake of a controversy over the killing of a Pleasanton woman by a Mexican citizen, the Chron reports. “We have to get smart and understand the vast majority of these undocumented immigrants are following the law, working hard, raising their children, paying taxes,” Harris said. A new report last week on immigration confirmed Harris’ assertion; it noted that foreign-born citizens are far less likely to commit violent crime than native-born residents.

3. Governor Brown’s administration opposes a plan to increase the minimum wage in California to $11 an hour by next year, and $13 an hour the year after, the LA Times$ reports. The official position by Brown’s finance department indicates that the governor plans to veto the minimum wage bill.

4. A state judge has ruled that California cannot restrict water usage by agencies that have so-called “senior” water rights without due process, the SacBee$ reports. The judge’s ruling, if upheld, could greatly hamper the state’s ability to curtail water use in the drought.

5. The proliferation of recreation drones — deployed by hobbyists — is interfering with firefighting in the state, the SacBee$ reports. Fire agencies say they’ve had to ground air tankers when trying to fight fires because of the concern of mid-air collisions with drones.

6. And a federal judge has ruled that cannabis dispensaries cannot write off their business expenses on their federal taxes because marijuana remains illegal US law, the Chron reports.