Bay Briefing: Farmers caught up in California-Trump water battles

Good morning, Bay Area. It’s Monday, March 25. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

California water worries

California farmers are caught in the middle of a tug-of-water between President Trump’s administration and the state over the reach of the federal Clean Water Act, writes reporter Kurtis Alexander.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working to rein in the landmark law and halt what it sees as excessive oversight of small marshes, creeks and ponds. State regulators are seeking to maintain and expand watershed protections. They say too many waterways have been eaten up by human sprawl.

Whatever regulation emerges between the state and federal governments will affect potentially millions of acres, and the consequences for development, farming and infrastructure in California could be huge.

Report on the report

Voters can expect to hear President Trump repeat the “No collusion!” refrain until election day 2020.

His re-election campaign got a boost Sunday when Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report proved Trump right on that count, says senior political writer Joe Garofoli.

Barr’s four-page letter said Mueller’s investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Mueller’s team drew no conclusions about whether Trump obstructed justice, Barr said.

Paving the way

 Bay Briefing: Farmers caught up in California Trump water battles

The effort to open California’s parks to people with disabilities has raised important questions about the proper balance of nature and civilization in public parks. Should trails be paved? Can a path formed thousands of years ago violate a 29-year-old law?

“The idea of accessible parks really wasn’t in existence for a long time,” says Stuart Seaborn, managing director of litigation at Disability Rights Advocates, a Berkeley nonprofit that has played a central role in expanding accessibility nationwide.

More: Here are the five best parks in California for those who use wheelchairs or have other mobility impairments.

Finding harbor

 Bay Briefing: Farmers caught up in California Trump water battles

An unusually large influx of gray whales into San Francisco Bay this year has thrilled boaters, beachgoers and tourists along Crissy Field, Angel Island and other shoreline locations, but the strange behavior and apparent poor condition of the magnificent sea creatures has marine biologists worried.

“It could be an early warning, or it could be a little blip,” one scientist said. “But I’m definitely on the alert. All the whale researchers should be paying attention and getting as much data as we can.”

Hidden haunts

 Bay Briefing: Farmers caught up in California Trump water battles

Only one San Francisco guidebook includes a warning that the plaza at 50 Beale St. seems “geared toward office workers on their smoke break.” Or that there’s a public space inside Millennium Tower, but you wouldn’t know it because “their sign is small.”

Sign up for Bay Briefing

Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to The Chronicle’s Bay Briefing newsletter and get the Bay Area’s best journalism in your in-box every weekday.

“The East Cut Open Space Inventory,” an image-rich tour of 40 spaces south of Mission Street and east of Second Street, may be written for the people who live on Rincon Hill and in the towers around the Transbay Transit Center. But its thoroughness spells out how private development can add breathing space to dense urban districts, writes urban design critic John King.

“These spaces can be difficult to find, or it’s difficult to know what’s public and what’s private,” said Jolene Jussif, an intern at the East Cut Community Benefit District, the organization that released the 82-page booklet.

Around the Bay

Vacant juvenile halls: San Francisco Mayor London Breed created a panel of officials, criminal justice experts and advocates to examine the county’s juvenile justice system and make recommendations for potential reforms after a Chronicle report published online that documented a sharp drop in serious youth crimes across the state.

Cause of death: San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi died from a mixture of cocaine and alcohol, which caused his already-damaged heart to stop, the city medical examiner has concluded.

Turning up the heat: Democratic senators, including California’s Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, filed a brief in support of the legal effort by Oakland and San Francisco to hold major oil companies responsible for harm caused by climate change.

Urban Shield: Officials have scrapped Alameda County’s annual anti-terror training exercise praised by law enforcement agencies but panned by critics who said it militarized police forces.

Stump speech: Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders draws an enthusiastic crowd to Fort Mason in San Francisco.

City lights: Literary lovers mark Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 100th birthday.

Chronicle Food + Wine

 Bay Briefing: Farmers caught up in California Trump water battles

The Fillmore’s Isla Vida is proof that there can be homegrown, personality-driven quick-service restaurants in this economy, says restaurant critic Soleil Ho.

Isla Vida’s older sibling, the 13-year-old Farmer Brown, closed its doors for good last year, citing the rising labor and real estate expenses associated with running a typical restaurant in San Francisco.

“Its story feels like a microcosm of how large-scale economic factors have prompted local restaurateurs to be lighter on their feet, shedding costly trappings like European-style table service in favor of models that look more like fast food,” Ho writes.

The restaurant’s chef-owner, Jay Foster, now focuses his energy on his outlets at SFO and smaller, quick-service operations such as Little Skillet in SoMa and Isla Vida in the Fillmore.

Bay Briefing is written by Taylor Kate Brown and sent to readers’ email in-boxes on weekday mornings. Sign up for the newsletter here, and contact Brown at taylor.brown@sfchronicle.com

Article source: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Bay-Briefing-Farmers-caught-up-in-13713246.php

This entry was posted in SF Bay Area News and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.