Hill to Hall Nov. 13–Nov. 16

Nov. 13: Cause of Woolsey may be nuclear plant, officials say

The Safety and Enforcement division of the California Public Utilities Commission is cooperating with state investigators to find the cause of all three fires that broke out in California last week, as The Camp Fire has officially become the deadliest fire in California history. SoCal Edison, a nuclear power plant, reported a broken circuit minutes before the Woolsey fire broke out in the same location the fire originated, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. SoCal Edison has been previously criticized for lacking safety standards, and the LA Times called it “Fukushima waiting to happen,” citing hazardous storing of nuclear waste, a “system prone to severe leaks,” and no federal or state plans for evacuation in case of an emergency.

Nov. 14: Portland City Council rejects protest restrictions

Mayor Ted Wheeler proposed new protest restrictions after antifa protesters clashed with neo-nazis on Aug. 4th at the Patriot Pride rally. Portland City Council rejected the proposal on Wednesday. The ordinance lost by a margin of 2-3, with opposers worried about constitutional curtailing of protest rights and proponents endorsing the safety of the public. The Oregonian reported the ordinance would have “given [Wheeler] the power to dictate the conditions of rallies, such as when and where they would be held…if public safety was jeopardized.”

Nov. 14: U.S. defense secretary defends border deployment

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis traveled to the U.S.–Mexican border on Wednesday, defending President Donald Trump’s decision to deploy troops to the area. According to Reuters, Mattis claimed the mission was “absolutely legal” and designed to “improve troop readiness.” Despite criticism, Mattis defended the decision by stating the head of Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, promotes a similar agenda—in an earlier statement, Nielsen claimed she will “enforce the laws of this country,” though “[troops] have no intention of shooting at anyone right now.”

Nov. 16: Campus sexual misconduct rules to be redone, Education Secretary says

On Friday, Betsy DeVos proposed an overhaul to university standards for dealing with sexual misconduct reports. The plan would include adding protections for students accused of misconduct and would narrow the scope of what universities are required to investigate. It also would add a provision that students can cross-examine their accusers. This proposition would alter parts of Title IX and roll back protections granted by the Obama administration. The National Women’s Law Center condemned such changes, claiming it would “undermine many of Title IX’s essential protections” and “create a more dangerous environment for all students.”