California Policy & Politics This Morning   

California leaders routinely use private email -- Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and other top elected officials in California acknowledge using personal email accounts to conduct government business, and it's not clear if their private exchanges are retained as public records or subject to disclosure. Michael R. Blood and Juliet Willams Associated Press -- 3/30/15

Top California elected officials on their private email use -- The Associated Press surveyed the top eight statewide elected officials and the four legislative leaders to ask whether they ever use private email accounts for official business, whether such records are retained and whether such communications should be considered public record. Associated Press -- 3/30/15

California's death row, with no executions in sight, runs out of room -- Warning that there is little time to lose, Gov. Jerry Brown is asking the California Legislature for $3.2 million to open nearly 100 more cells for condemned men at San Quentin State Prison. Paige St. John in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/15

Probe of back-channel dealing continues at California PUC -- Michael Peevey’s announcement last fall that he would not seek reappointment to the California Public Utilities Commission appeared to offer closure to years of controversy surrounding his tenure. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/30/15

How banquet for ex-PUC head Peevey went sour for UC Berkeley -- A tribute dinner for the embattled former president of the state Public Utilities Commission may have seemed a good way to help bolster funding for UC Berkeley’s public policy school, but the event turned into a nightmare that ended only when the school rejected the proceeds, e-mails released by the university show. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/30/15

PUC scandal stretches to UC Berkeley -- Money raised by a $250-a-plate retirement dinner for Michael Peevey, the former president of the California Public Utilities Commission, has become too hot to handle for the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. The school was designated as the dinner's charity. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/15

Skelton: Charles Munger Jr. stands ready to protect democracy -- Charles Munger Jr. isn't waiting around idly for the U.S. Supreme Court to act on congressional redistricting. He's hoping for the best but planning for bad news. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/15

Walters: California’s schools gain in financing -- One of the Capitol’s perpetual debates is over how much California spends to educate its 6.2 million elementary and high school students, especially in relationship to other states. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/30/15

A bare-knuckle brawl in the 7th Senate District -- Welcome to the 7th Senate District, where money and hardball politics came together in the primary election. The runoff will not be much different. John Howard Capitol Weekly -- 3/30/15

Doctors with major illnesses back state’s right-to-die movement -- Dan Swangard knows what death looks like. As a physician, he has seen patients die in hospitals, hooked to morphine drips and overcome with anxiety. He has watched death drag on for weeks or months as terrified relatives stand by helplessly. Anna Gorman in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/30/15

Women’s marijuana event 'a Tupperware party for cannabis’ -- In a Russian Hill apartment, 17 women passed around cannabis-infused gluten-free vegan blueberry almond granola and rubbed marijuana-based topical cream into their shoulders. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/30/15

Former terrorist was cleared for expedited TSA checkpoint -- The news that the Transportation Security Administration has enrolled more than 1 million people in a program that lets low-risk travelers zip through expedited security checkpoints was tarnished by a report that former terrorist Sara Jane Olson was cleared to use the low-risk screening lane. Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/15

Calbuzz: Bracketology: New GOP Presidential Rankings -- “Paddy Power,” Ireland’s largest bookmaker, still has Jeb Bush as the odds-on favorite to capture the Republican presidential nomination, but the far more influential “Hackenflack Line” has dropped the Bushman into second place. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 3/30/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions    

California agriculture industry could lose $1 billion in two years because of drought -- And with a fourth dry year unfolding, Sumner said there is a nagging sense in farm country that California has “established a new normal” that includes severe cutbacks in deliveries from two major water systems. Guy Kovner in the Santa Rosa Press -- 3/30/15

CalPERS urged to avoid Obamacare ‘Cadillac Tax’ -- Employer and employee groups are urging CalPERS to “undertake all efforts” to avoid the “Cadillac Tax,” a 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans imposed in 2018 by President Obama’s health care law, a CalPERS staff report said this month. Ed Mendel -- 3/30/15

Feds, state question Dixon’s use of its downtown ‘depot’ -- Federal and state officials have amped up the pressure on the city of Dixon this month, demanding more explanations about the city’s use of its downtown train “depot” – a facility built a decade ago with federal transportation funds that has yet to have a passenger train land at its front door. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/30/15


New tests to tell juniors if they’re college-ready -- This is a transition year for the California State University’s Early Assessment Program, a decade-old early warning system that tells 11th-graders whether they are prepared for college-level work – and steps they should take if they’re not. Caught in the switch to a new test and new academic standards, more juniors may be told that they’re not yet ready. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 3/30/15

Judge rules religious school within its rights to dismiss 2 teachers --Just as classes were beginning in the fall of 2012 at Little Oaks School, Lynda Serrano received a letter asking her and other teachers to provide a reference from a pastor. Jerome Campbell in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/15

Supreme Court may hear case on school barring American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo -- A California school dispute that arose when students wore shirts emblazoned with the American flag on Cinco de Mayo could prompt the Supreme Court to take a new look at free-speech rules for high schools. David G. Savage in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/15


Rising healthcare costs are pressuring patients -- A recent survey by private health insurance exchange EHealth highlights the pressure Americans are feeling. It found that more than 6 in 10 people say they're more worried about the financial effect of expensive medical emergencies and paying for healthcare than about funding retirement or covering their kids' education. Lisa Zamosky in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/15

Prescription Candy: A Quick Fix for Aging? -- In America, drug addiction is despised as a social scourge, a destructive force for families and communities alike. Yet when it comes to treating older adults, drugs are hailed as quick salvation — prescription candy — the answer to complex chronic diseases and behavioral “problems” affiliated with dementia. Matt Perry Calfornia Health Report -- 3/30/15

Also . . . 

Homeless anxious by shelter closing -- With the closure of the their temporary home just days away, many homeless men and women staying at San Diego winter shelters are anxious about the city’s plan to move them to a year-round facility run by Father Joe’s Village. Gary Warth UT San Diego$ -- 3/30/15

Dolphins, sea lions train for Navy deployment to overseas trouble spots -- For a moment, the mammal and the machine are side by side on a Navy dock here. Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/15

Fugitive LAPD rookie once had a 'straight arrow' reputation -- The haunting last image of Henry Solis in the United States was taken by a security camera at the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez border. Javer Panzar and Matt Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/15


Carly Fiorina says ‘higher than 90 percent’ chance she’ll run for GOP presidential nomination -- Carly Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, said her chances of running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 are “very high.”Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” the 2010 California gubernatorial candidate said she is “higher than 90 percent” likely to enter the race, with an announcement coming in late April or early May. Josh Hicks in the Washington Post$ -- 3/30/15