On Tuesday, PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, claiming it faces tens of billions of dollars in potential liability costs for deadly and destructive wildfires in 2017 and 2018. The utility giant said the bankruptcy filing — the second in less than 20 years — would not disrupt services to its nearly 16 million customers in Northern and Central California. The move has angered wildfire victims whose lawsuits against PG&E will be consolidated and their payouts decided by the bankruptcy judge overseeing the company’s financial restructuring. State lawmakers are now seeking ways to have more control over what happens next.
Marisa Lagos, KQED Politics and Government reporter
California state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo)
Mark Toney, The Utility Reform Network executive director
California and Congress
On Tuesday, President Trump will deliver the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill. Seated behind him will be House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who united House Democrats in denying the president billions in funds to build a border wall in exchange for ending the 35-day government shutdown. Pelosi has also been appointing Bay Area and California lawmakers in recent weeks to key assignments on committees dealing with homeland security and government oversight. Back in California, a legal fight is brewing between the state and the city of Huntington Beach, as state officials pursue a new strategy to address the housing crisis.
Scott Shafer, KQED Senior Editor of California Politics and Government
Lanhee Chen, Hoover Institution fellow
Reel Hollywood Love for Oakland
Three movies released last year with ties to Oakland have won praise from audiences and critics alike. Oakland native Ryan Coogler directed “Black Panther,” which has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide and is now up for a Best Picture Oscar. “Blindspotting” explores the intersection of class and race as its protagonist navigates the criminal justice system while witnessing police brutality. “Sorry to Bother You,” a satire chronicling the struggles of a black telemarketer in Oakland, is the directorial debut of hip-hop musician and rapper Boots Riley.
Carvell Wallace,New York Times Magazine contributing writer and Slate columnist