Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. The pending shutdown of the federal government is not about budget cuts, it’s about abortion and climate change, the LA Times reports. In negotiations with President Obama and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, House Republicans are demanding new restrictions on abortions nationwide and they’re attempting to defund efforts by the US Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions. Democrats note that the Republican demands, which are holding up a deal that would avoid a shutdown, have nothing to do with the nation’s growing budget deficit.
2. California Democratic leaders, including state Senator Loni Hancock of Berkeley, say the University of California may have to close some of its campuses if Republicans continue to block Governor Brown’s effort to put tax measures before voters, the Chron reports. Hancock also said that distinguished faculty members at UC Berkeley have told her that they would leave Cal if the legislature goes forward with massive budget cuts. Brown said earlier this week that UC tuition could double to $20,000 to $25,000 a year without the tax measures. Republicans, however, say the governor and Democrats are attempting to scare voters, and that they could reach a budget deal if were not for the intransigence of public-employee unions.
3. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has called for a budget hearing on Monday with the city council and hopes to get feedback from council members on their priorities for closing the city’s $46 million deficit, the Trib reports. Potential budget options include closing libraries and laying off cops and firefighters. Quan also is in negotiations with many of the city’s employee unions in an attempt to obtain concessions, and she’s pushing forward with her proposal for an $80-a-year parcel tax.
4. State regulators have systematically failed to enforce California’s earthquake safety laws for school buildings, putting millions of students at risk, according to an investigative report by California Watch. At least 20,000 school remodeling projects — including 5,000 in the Bay Area — have not been certified by the state as being earthquake compliant.
5. President Obama’s nomination of UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the federal bench finally made it out of a key Senate committee, the Chron reports. Liu’s nomination passed along party lines, but it could be blocked in the full Senate by a Republican filibuster. Conservatives have objected to Liu because they say he is too liberal.
6. And PG&E officials say that if state regulators go forward with plans to ask the utility tough questions in public, they will scuttle a deal that would require the agency to pay up to $6 million in fines, the Chron reports.