Democratic Debate and Second Week of Impeachment Hearings
On Wednesday, 10 candidates faced off for a Democratic presidential debate held in Atlanta. Reflecting his surge in the polls, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg came under fire for his political inexperience, while California Sen. Kamala Harris tried to regain momentum in her flagging campaign. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, House Democrats heard from nine witnesses this week in their impeachment investigation of President Trump. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and former White House adviser Fiona Hill were among those who testified. Sondland said that there was, in fact, a quid pro quo for the release of military aid to Ukraine, while Hill characterized the pressure campaign as a “domestic political errand” being run by Sondland and other White House officials.
- Joe Garofoli, senior political writer, San Francisco Chronicle
- Aimee Allison, founder and president, She the People
Latest PG&E Power Shutoff
On Wednesday, utility giant PG&E began shutting off power to customers in parts of 11 counties in Northern California, including Napa and Sonoma. PG&E had earlier warned that the outages could affect 300,000 customers, but changing weather conditions ultimately left only about 50,000 customers without power this week. It’s the second consecutive month that PG&E has preemptively cut off power to avoid sparking a wildfire with its equipment during dry and gusty winds. On Monday, lawmakers in Sacramento called executives from the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities, including PG&E, to testify about the impact from last month’s power outages. At the hearing, PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said the shutoffs are “not a sustainable solution” to the threat of wildfires, which have become more intense and deadly in recent years.
- Dan Brekke, KQED reporter and editor
Alcatraz Occupation Anniversary
Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Alcatraz Island by Native American students and community leaders. Calling themselves the “Indians of All Tribes,” the group of 89 activists took over the former penitentiary to protest unjust federal policies against Native Americans, including relocation and termination of sovereign tribal rights. The occupation ended when armed federal marshals raided the island 19 months later in June 1971. Today, a new generation of activists is commemorating this historic takeover and affirming why, in the words of one of the occupation’s leaders, Alcatraz is an idea, not an island.