CalWatchdog Morning Read – January 4

  • Lead levels plague eight CA areas
  • O.C. assemblyman under fire from all directions for op-ed
  • Democrats in Legislature hire Fmr. U.S. A.G. Holder to advise on Trump
  • Report: CA housing situation worsens
  • Drought dying? 

Good morning. Happy Hump Day. The Legislature returns today, although don’t expect too much action. But next week, Gov. Brown will introduce his budget and Rep. Xavier Becerra will have a confirmation hearing to be the state’s attorney general. So things won’t be quiet for long. 

We begin today with a story off the beaten path. The water contamination scandal in Flint, Michigan, triggered national outrage and prompted Congress last month to pass a bill rushing $120 million in federal aid to the city.

The local regulators who knew about the severity of lead contamination and protected themselves but not the community are facing criminal charges. That’s because a high presence of lead in the blood is associated with low IQs and cognitive problems and can be devastating for infants and children.

Now a massive study by Reuters — based on federal health data from 21 states and broken down by ZIP code — points to eight areas in California with problems as bad or worse than what is now seen in Flint, where 5 percent of tested children have elevated levels of lead in their blood. The national norm is 2.5 percent.

CalWatchdog has more.

In other news:

  • “An Orange County assemblyman is under fire from his right, center and left over a column published last week titled: ‘California Democrats legalize child prostitution.’ The column set off a war of words over the difference between legalization and decriminalization, with critics panning the column as ‘misleading,’ ‘irresponsible’ and ‘an unsubstantiated hot take.'” CalWatchdog has more. 

  • Democratic legislative leaders hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as outside counsel to “advise on potential legal challenges with the incoming Trump administration,” according to a statement sent this morning. Story coming later. 

  • “California’s housing affordability challenges remain daunting and continue to increase, according to a draft report from the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development released Tuesday.” The Los Angeles Times has more. 

  • “A series of powerful storms is set to soak California over the next week, bringing heavy rains, flooding risk in some creeks and 10 feet or more of new snow to the Sierra Nevada — the latest sign that the stranglehold of the state’s five-year drought is significantly weakening.” The San Jose Mercury News has more. 

Legislature:

  • In today. Assembly at 1 p.m., Senate at 2 p.m. 

Gov. Brown:

Tips: [email protected]

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