Good morning. It’s Tuesday, March 14.
- Latest atmospheric river to revive flooding risks.
- Major win for Uber and Lyft on gig economy law.
- And fears of financial crisis engulf regional banks.
Next up: atmospheric river No. 11.
Forecasters said the latest in a relentless season of atmospheric rivers would bring flood risks to parts of the Central Valley, Sierra foothills, and much of the coast on Tuesday as intense rain and snowmelt flows into already swollen waterways. The storm was expected to deliver several inches of rain, multiple feet of mountain snow, stronger winds than those of the last system, and dangerous pounding surf. Of California’s 58 counties, 40 were under emergency declarations. School closures and evacuation orders, especially near burn scars, were widespread. Accuweather | Fox Weather
- Forecasts called for about a dozen rivers to rise above flood stage, including the Eel, Russian, Sacramento, Feather, and Salinas rivers. See updated predictions. 👉 NOAA.gov
“We are looking at an extended closure.”
Highway 1 was underwater between Santa Cruz and Monterey counties for a second day on Monday, closing the major artery after a levee on the Pajaro River burst last Friday. Crews were scrambling to plug the breach, which officials said had grown to at least 300 feet. Nearly 2,000 residents were displaced when an enormous expanse of muddy floodwater spread across the entire town of Pajaro. Officials said Monday it could be months before they can return. Santa Cruz Sentinel | KSBW
- Photos showed the devastation in Pajaro. 👉 SFGATE
Other storm developments:
- Forecasters said we’d get a break for a few days before yet another atmospheric river rolls in next week. @NWSWPC | @CW3E_Scripps
- The southern Sierra now appears to have the largest snowpack in recorded history — not just for the calendar date, but for any date. @Weather_West | S.F. Chronicle
- Tahoe’s Emerald Bay has completely frozen over for the first time in decades, according to state park officials. See pictures. 👉 KGO
A ruling by a California court of appeals on Monday will allow Uber, Lyft, and other gig economy companies to continue treating their workers as independent contractors. In 2019, state lawmakers passed a law requiring more companies to classify their workers as employees, entitled to benefits like paid sick leave. That led to the passage of Proposition 22, a ballot measure bankrolled by Uber and Lyft that exempted gig businesses from the law. Monday’s order upheld that result, invalidating a lower court ruling that deemed it unconstitutional. The fight is still likely not over. CalMatters | Wall Street Journal
In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom was reeling from bad publicity after he attended a powerful lobbyist friend’s birthday at the French Laundry in wine country. In response, his chief of staff, Ann O’Leary, unveiled rules designed to restrict the influence of revolving-door connections between political and corporate worlds. Last week Newsom advisers were pulled into urgent calls with Walgreens officials over an abortion-pill fight. The lead representative for Walgreens: Ann O’Leary. Politico
After the second- and third-largest bank failures in the country’s history, President Biden sought to reassure Americans that the federal government was acting decisively to protect their money before markets opened Monday. But his remarks failed to erase all doubts. First Republic Bank in San Francisco plunged by 60% on Monday. PacWest Bancorp, based in Beverly Hills, fell 21%. The broader fallout, Bloomberg wrote, “stands to bring a reckoning to the Bay Area’s tech-driven economy.” N.Y. Times | Bloomberg
Opinions flew over the banking crisis:
- Wall Street Journal editorial: “The unpleasant truth — which Washington will never admit — is that SVB’s failure is the bill coming due for years of monetary and regulatory mistakes.”
- Washington Post editorial: “Bankers were once again taking unwise risks, and regulators were once again too lax.”
- Will Gottsegen in the Atlantic: “The tech world may still see itself as the ultimate expression of American business, a factory of world-changing innovation, but in 2023, it just looks like a house of cards.”
Isaiah Foskey: $819,000
Brock Bowers: $687,000
Cameron Brink: $177,000
Mia Mastrov: $347,000
For more than a century, college athletes earned little for their achievements beyond plaques and trophies. That changed in June 2021, when the Supreme Court said the NCAA could no longer bar payments to student-athletes. Two years later, dozens of teenage athletes in California are now worth at least six figures. “Sometimes you feel like you have to fit certain beauty standards, there’s a whole aspect,” said Cameron Brink, a Stanford basketball player. The S.F. Chronicle profiled 15 Bay Area athletes.
Burning Man, the art party with a “leave no trace” ethos, is fighting to block a clean energy project in the Nevada desert. The Bureau of Land Management has proposed a geothermal plant about 10 miles from the dry lake bed where tens of thousands of techno-utopianists and Silicon Valley executives gather each summer. Backers say such green projects are essential to meet the nation’s sustainable energy goals. But in a lawsuit, the San Francisco-based Burning Man Project argues that it could spoil the arid ecosystem. SF Standard
Since the mass protests that swept Los Angeles in 2020, several protesters agreed to settle excessive force claims against the LAPD in exchange for cash settlements that included no acknowledgement of wrongdoing. But Deon Jones, who was shot in the face with a projectile, said he wouldn’t be silenced by taxpayer dollars. Last week, federal jurors vindicated him in court, finding Officer Peter Bueno personally liable for the shooting in the first verdict of its kind related to the protests. They also awarded Jones $375,000. L.A. Times
Cerritos College basketball coach Russ May fulfilled the dream of a player who is deaf and autistic, putting him in a blowout game with two minutes left. But the player, Kade West, wasn’t officially allowed to play. “I know the rules, but the human part of me took over,” May said. “It was an incredible moment.” Officials responded by suspending May, ordering Cerritos to forfeit the game, and temporarily stripping West of his uniform. West still cries about it. L.A. Times
Along a dusty road outside Temecula a monkey smokes a cigar, a 350-foot serpent slithers across the desert, and a group of transformers storms a ridge. The otherworldly metal sculptures of Ricardo Breceda have become a popular part of the landscape in Southern California’s Borrego Springs. Less well-known is the artist’s open-air studio, a 20-acre piece of land in Aguanga populated by hundreds of Breceda’s works. Visitors are welcome. Roadside America
The photographer Scott Harrison posted a great collection of pictures. 👉 Flickr
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