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California Republicans gather for biannual convention -- Hundreds of California Republican leaders and their guests gathered Friday in Sacramento for their biannual convention, with plans to celebrate their legislative victories in 2014 that blocked Democratic supermajorities in the Legislature and to hear from a potential 2016 presidential candidate. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/27/15

AEG report warns Inglewood stadium vulnerable to terror -- AEG commissioned a study by former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge that found the proposed Inglewood project would be a tempting target for terrorists and should not be built. Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Hiltzik: How NFL stadium promoters are snowing the city of Inglewood -- The Inglewood City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to build a $1.86-billion National Football League stadium in their municipality. The vote proves nothing, except that money causes blindness. Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Ex-leader of panel that cut pay, perks for California lawmakers steps down -- Charles Murray, the controversial official who led the move to cut the salaries of the governor and Legislature by 18% in 2009 and to take away lawmakers’ district cars two years later, resigned Friday from the state Citizens Compensation Commission. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Illicit oil wastewater pits stir water pollution fears -- One thing is clear for officials who discovered hundreds of illicit oil wastewater pits in Kern County: They have years of work ahead of them to determine who put the chemical-laden water there and how to remediate any potential environmental damage. Julie Cart in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

California Farmers Face Another Year Without Federal Water -- California farmers will be cut off federal water imports for the second straight year, in a move likely to worsen crop losses in the nation’s biggest agricultural state. Jim Carlton in the Wall Street Journal$ Paul Rogers in the Contra Costa Times$ Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee$ Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/27/15

Senate candidate Kamala Harris unknown to more than 50% of voters -- California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, the only major candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer, is unknown by more than half the state's registered voters, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin declines U.S. Senate run -- Swearengin becomes the latest potential candidate to turn down a campaign for the seat coming open next year with the retirement of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. Fellow Republicans Neel Kashkari, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer all have declined to enter the race. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Quinn: The Impossibility of a Republican US Senator -- Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris is becoming more and more the inevitable successor to Sen. Barbara Boxer, but one thing will assure Harris’s election, and that is if a Republican ends up in the top two runoff against her. It is impossible for any Republican to be elected United States Senator from California. Tony Quinn Fox & Hounds -- 2/27/15

Jersey tale: Christie’s family ties with..a Genovese crime boss? -- Call it an overlooked footnote in the life of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – those family ties with Tino Fiumara, whom the New York Times once described as “a fearsome and ranking member of the Genovese crime family: twice convicted of racketeering, sentenced to 25 years in federal prison, and linked by investigators to several grisly murders, including one in which a victim was strangled with piano wire.’’ Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/27/15

Gavin Newsom raising money for 2018 -- Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom reported Friday that he has raised about $727,000 in the two weeks since announcing his candidacy for governor in 2018, touching off an unusually early fundraising effort in a wide open race. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/27/15

Jury: Fallbrook Schools Must Pay Ex-Employee $1M for Retaliation -- A jury Thursday afternoon ordered the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District to pay its former IT director Elaine Allyn over $1 million for retaliating against her for objecting to the deletion of district emails. Ashly McGlone Voiceofsandiego.org -- 2/27/15

California, GOP on same page in bid to curb U.S. role in schools reform -- California may be a blue state, but a Republican-led effort to scale back federal intervention in educational reform is drawing support here. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Bill would force mobile apps to disclose tracking, sharing of consumer GPS -- Makers of mobile apps would need to start disclosing how they plan to use and share geographic location data collected on their consumers, under a bill introduced Friday by Sen. Mark Leno. Allen Young Sacramento Business Journal -- 2/27/15

Lessons from Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's Spock: Life is like a garden -- Ironic that a character supposedly without emotion is the one who resonated so much. Less fiery than Captain James Tiberius Kirk, less funny than Dr. Leonard Bones McCoy, less vocal than Scotty, it was Spock who gave us the line and the mission: Live long and prosper. Matthew T. Hall UT San Diego$ Neda Ulaby NPR Adam Chandler The Atlantic -- 2/27/15

Scientists Tackle a Dual Threat: More Acid, Less Oxygen in the Ocean -- Every summer for the past decade, fishermen and beachgoers along the Oregon coast have noticed dead crabs scattered along the shore, sometimes washed up in bunches. No one knows for sure why it’s happening, but scientists think “dead zones” formed by low oxygen levels in coastal waters could be the culprit. Mallory Pickett KQED -- 2/27/15

ZMapp Ebola trial starts -- ZMapp, made by San Diego's Mapp Biopharmaceutical, was used last year to treat Ebola patients under emergency authorization. Studies in monkeys found the three-antibody cocktail to be strongly protective against Ebola. But it has not been tested for efficacy in humans. Bradley J. Fikes UT San Diego$ -- 2/27/15

What about LinkedIn? Google's plans instantly oversubscribe Mountain View building rights -- Google Inc. is requesting all of the available development capacity in Mountain View's North Bayshore — a move that, if approved, means LinkedIn Corp. would not be able to expand on a development site it wants to build on in the district. Nathan Donato-Weinstein Silicon Valley Business Journal -- 2/27/15

California Policy & Politics This Morning   

Hundreds of pits filled with oil wastewater discovered in Kern County -- Unbeknown to state officials, oil producers in Kern County have been disposing of chemical-laden wastewater in hundreds of unlined trenches in the ground without proper permits, according to an inventory that regional water officials completed this week. Julie Cart in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Court case could throw out tiered rates used to promote water conservation -- In drought-ridden California, many water bills are calculated using a basic principle: The more water a customer uses, the higher the rate. It's a strategy water districts employ to boost conservation. Matt Stevens in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Field Poll: Californians sharply divided over hiking state gas tax -- California voters think the government should spend more money to help maintain crumbling roads, but they offer mixed views on how to fund the upkeep, according to a new statewide Field Poll. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/27/15

Some Mexicans to be given another chance to stay in US -- Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Mexicans who were expelled from the country by immigration officials in Southern California will be allowed to return for a chance to make their case to stay in the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday. Elliot Spagat Associated Press -- 2/27/15

Christie to address California GOP; too late for White House bid? --Not so long ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the brash, rising star of the Republican Party who felt confident enough to pick a fight with the governor of another big state, Jerry Brown, dismissing him as “an old retread” who would deliver a “failed record” for California. Now, as Christie prepares to deliver the keynote address at this weekend’s state GOP convention in Sacramento, things are a bit different. Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/27/15

GOP lines up to take on California Reps. Peters, Ruiz -- Three months after being elected to their second terms, a pair of California Democratic congressmen are already hearing footsteps. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/27/15

Marine vet may challenge Peters -- acquie Atkinson is an openly lesbian combat veteran and a wounded warrior, according to The Hill publication in Washington, which first reported the news Thursday. Michael Smolens UT San Diego$ -- 2/27/15

Metro trains ran 83 red lights in four years, study finds -- The Blue Line, which connects Long Beach with downtown Los Angeles, recorded two-thirds of the violations, and averaged more than one per month from 2012 through last year. The north-south route crosses over multiple major streets and freight tracks. Laura J. Nelson in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Former California Sen. Ellen Corbett gets another six-figure job -- Just a few months after being termed out of the Legislature and taking a lucrative job with a Bay Area school district, former Sen. Ellen Corbett has been named to a six-figure position on a state government board. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/27/15

California lawmaker wants to pare six-figure pay for state boards -- California Senate leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) announced Thursday the appointment of former Democratic Sen. Ellen Corbett to a $128,109 post on the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, but one lawmaker is trying to put an end to such soft landing pads for political insiders. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/27/15

L.A. City Council president blasts 'smear' mailers by Fresno grower -- Months after the Los Angeles City Council took a stand in a labor dispute involving a Fresno fruit grower, the company is spending more than $12,000 on election mailers claiming that Council President Herb Wesson "works hard to keep Mexicans from voting." Emily Alpert Reyes, David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

PAC with tobacco ties pushes for Nury Martinez, L.A. ballot measures -- A political action committee partly backed by an affiliate of tobacco giant Phillip Morris USA is helping to promote the reelection bid of Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez and two measures to change L.A.’s election date, according to city records. David Kahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Convicted Killer Was Santa Ana Mayor’s Campaign Consultant -- On Aug. 12, 2003, 19-year-old John P. Vega and his buddy Hugo Rivera got into a fight with the man they were staying with, a longtime friend they affectionately called “Grandpa.” Adam Elmahrek VoiceofOC.org -- 2/27/15

Bill Seeks Tighter Conflict Of Interest Rules For Local Elected Officials -- Currently, elected officials only need to recuse themselves from voting on contracts for immediate family members or their spouses if there’s a common financial interest – for example, if they live together, or co-own a business. Democratic state Senator Tony Mendoza says elected officials should recuse themselves even if there isn’t a direct financial relationship. Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 2/27/15

San Diego bag ban back on the table -- San Diego officials are revisiting a proposed local bag ban now that a statewide ban on plastic bags is on hold pending a referendum. Deborah Sullivan Brennan UT San Diego$ -- 2/27/15

Leno: More info before more cash for flawed California IT project -- A leading state lawmaker has rejected an appeal for another $17.5 million for a troubled computer system that auditors blasted earlier this month as poorly planned, inadequately managed, underperforming and busting its budget. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/27/15

Walters: A new fight over judging K-12 schools -- California’s long-running conflict over how its public schools should be held accountable for educational outcomes entered a new phase this week. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/27/15

California Politics Podcast: The Senate Show, Equal Pay Percolates -- This week’s analysis of California politics examines the decision by Antonio Villaraigosa to skip the race for the U.S. Senate; an effort launched at the state Capitol to boost the state’s equal pay law; and a big step for the brewing battle over banning plastic bags in the Golden State. John Myers KQED -- 2/27/15

Google invests $300 million in fund for residential solar power -- The Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet search giant said Thursday it would invest $300 million in a new SolarCity Corp. fund that would help finance the installation of residential solar power systems. Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Gun causes tension at pension board -- The ongoing divide about investment strategies on the county pension board has spilled over into personal allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination, with threats of a potential lawsuit between board members and one trustee saying she fears for her personal safety. Jeff McDonald UT San Diego$ -- 2/27/15

Uber says it's plugging gaps in L.A County public transit system -- Uber might want to replace your car, but it’s not ready to replace Los Angeles County's buses and trains. At least, not yet. Tracey Lien in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Beer samples could be on tap at California farmers markets -- California’s farmers markets are places to sample the lush cornucopia of the state’s produce – and, perhaps soon, to taste the fruits of California’s many craft breweries. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/27/15

Blogger hands out $165,000 to Mission fire victims -- The blogger who was driven to action after watching onlookers film a Mission District fire on their cell phones while weeping residents fled the engulfed building finally got to help those weeping victims Thursday night. Kevin Fagan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/27/15

Calbuzz: GOP Confab Highlight: Condi Drinking Game -- Tony V has totally wimped out on California’s Senate race, leaving state political writers in desperate need of a story — and reduced to downing shots each time someone says, “I wish Condi would run” at this weekend’s Republican convention. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 2/27/15

Taxes, Fees, Rates    

Bill would make diapers tax-free -- Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, introduced the bipartisan bill this week with the goal of easing costs for new parents. Sen. Joel Anderson, R-El Cajon, co-authored the legislation. Chris Nichols UT San Diego$ -- 2/27/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions    

At L.A. oil refinery, striking workers vent about long hours and stress -- Worker fatigue and safety are key sticking points in the weeks-long strike, according to Zalamea and other members of the United Steelworkers union. They cite low staffing levels, long hours and hiring policies that allow too many contractors unfamiliar with the plant. Tiffany Hsu in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Gas price spike a week after Torrance refinery explosion takes even petroleum industry insiders by surprise -- The explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery is only partly to blame for a surge in gasoline prices that even stunned one gas station operator Thursday. Nick Green in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 2/27/15

Hidden in plain sight: The face of the Tri-Valley's working poor -- The cold, hard reality of skyrocketing Bay Area housing prices hit Brittany Baker when, returning to Livermore after six years in Kansas, she discovered she couldn't afford a place of her own in the city where she grew up. Jeremy Thomas in the Oakland Tribune -- 2/27/15

New scope-of-practice bill would boost role of nurse practitioners -- Sen. Ed Hernandez is again trying to change California law so nurse practitioners can do what they are trained for without supervision by a doctor. Kathy Robertson Sacramento Business Journal -- 2/27/15

4-Year Contract Dispute Between Kaiser, NUHW Thaws; Union ‘Hopeful’ -- For more than four years, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, representing 2,600 Kaiser mental health clinicians in California, has been in a small war with the health care giant. Jon Brooks KQED -- 2/27/15

Home-care workers launch rally for overtime at governor's residence -- Home-care workers took their beef with the state over new overtime, travel and wait-time pay to the front door of Gov. Jerry Brown's Sacramento residence on Thursday. Kathy Robertson Sacramento Business Journal -- 2/27/15

Farmers Fear Legal Status For Workers Would Lead Them Off The Farm -- The political battle over immigration, now provoking a confrontation between Congress and the White House, touches all of us in one very direct way: our food. That salad mix, and those apples, may well have been harvested by workers who arrived here in the U.S. illegally. Dan Charles NPR -- 2/27/15

Warm, Dry Weather Threatens Way of Life at Lake Tahoe -- It would not be an odd sight in the spring. But there is something depressing about a closed ski slope in the middle of winter. The trails are bare and grassy. The chairlifts just hang there, waving a little with the breeze. It’s like walking into an empty restaurant on a Friday night. Sam Harnett KQED -- 2/27/15

Loretta Sanchez's bill wants John Wayne Airport to be 'port of entry' to attract international travel -- A House bill introduced this week would ease airline costs for international flights into John Wayne Airport and could attract more such flights to the county. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register$ -- 2/27/15


Virtual charter school network making profit at the expense of California schoolchildren, study finds -- A national for-profit charter school company, K12, receives millions of California tax dollars while schoolchildren go without working computers and software, study finds. Katy Murphy and Jessica Calefati in the San Jose Mercury$ Maureen Magee UT San Diego$ Jane Meredith Adams EdSource -- 2/27/15

Teachers union rally in downtown L.A. draws thousands -- Blazer, like many other educators who filled Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, said that he is not financially prepared to strike but that he would if the Los Angeles Unified School District does not reach an agreement with the teachers union to reduce class sizes, raise teacher pay and develop a new system for evaluating teachers. Zahira Torres in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Parents push to transfer kids -- Following pressure from parents, the San Dieguito Union High School District is drafting a policy to allow students to switch teachers when they clash or don’t meet their curriculum needs, according to district officials. Pat Maio UT San Diego$ -- 2/27/15


Abcarian: Amid drought, a turf war between residents and homeowners associations -- Rancho Pacifica, a gated community of spectacular multimillion dollar homes in the hills east of Del Mar, is not immune to the ravages of the California drought. Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Immigration / Border 

California issues 110,000 licenses to immigrants in seven weeks -- Applicants must pass a written exam and a behind-the-wheel test. Those who are successful are given special licenses that state that they are "not acceptable for official federal purposes," such as boarding an airplane. Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15


Most Americans see combating climate change as a moral duty -- A significant majority of Americans say combating climate change is a moral issue that obligates them – and world leaders - to reduce carbon emissions, a Reuters/IPSOS poll has found. Bruce Wallace Reuters -- 2/27/15


A Peninsula BART rider with measles may have exposed others -- Another set of BART riders may have been exposed to measles after an infected person commuted from Millbrae to San Francisco last week, public health officials said Thursday. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/27/15

Person with measles dined at Berkeley restaurant, health officials warn -- A person infected with measles dined at La Mediterranee restaurant in Berkeley last week, exposing hundreds of fellow diners to the infectious virus, a city health spokeswoman said Thursday. Karina Ioffee in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 2/27/15

Many Who Got Obamacare Subsidies Now Face Big Tax Bill -- Roberta, unemployed when she signed up for the plan, got a job halfway through the year and Curtis found full-time work. The couple’s total yearly income became too high to qualify for federal subsidies. Now they have to pay all the money back Anna Gorman KQED -- 2/27/15

Bill pushes more nursing home oversight, transparency -- Nursing home owners with poor track records would face tougher scrutiny in California, and consumers would get better information about operators under a bill introduced by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento. Marjie Lundstrom in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/27/15

Also . . . 

Metrolink derailment: No charges filed against truck driver -- Prosecutors declined to file charges Thursday against the driver of a pickup truck that was hit by a Metrolink train in Oxnard so they can wait for the completion of the investigation. Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Kings/City To Pay $8 Million For Piglet-Inspired Sculpture -- The Sacramento Kings and City of Sacramento will pay $8 million for an 18-foot-tall metallic sculpture by New York artist Jeff Koons. Crocker Art Museum Director Lial Jones says the piece will be based on Piglet from the Winnie the Pooh books and will give local artists something to compare their work to. Bob Moffitt Capital Public Radio -- 2/27/15

Judge declares mistrial in case of LAPD officer charged with assault -- A judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the case of an LAPD officer accused of kicking a woman in the groin during an arrest in 2012 that ended in the woman’s death. Marisa Gerber, Kate Mather in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

L.A. County plans court to help child prostitutes -- Los Angeles County authorities are planning a specialized court to handle the growing number of young people in foster care who street predators have lured or bullied into prostitution. Garrett Therolf in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/27/15

Hyperloop’s 1st home may be Central Valley eco-utopia -- Elon Musk’s “hyperloop” system for high-speed travel may debut in a long-planned, solar-powered city that a former book publisher wants to build from scratch in the Central Valley. The proposed hyperloop, whose passengers would ride in pods racing through sealed tubes, is slated for Quay Valley, a sustainable city straddling Interstate 5 in Kings County. David R. Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/27/15

BART changes new train car design to satisfy disabled riders' concerns -- In an accord with several disabled advocacy groups, the BART board agreed Thursday to delete a proposed grip pole near the middle of three car doors to make it easier for wheel chair users to enter and exit trains. Denis Cuff in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 2/27/15


CPAC Attendees: Shut Down DHS and Stop Obama At Any Cost -- At the conservative political conference Thursday, attendees see GOP leaders as a bigger problem than a DHS shutdown. Lauren Fox National Journal -- 2/27/15

Landmark net neutrality rules win FCC approval in party-line 3-2 vote -- The new rules prohibit Internet service providers from discriminating against legal content flowing through their wired or wireless networks, such as by charging websites for faster delivery of video and other data to consumers. Jim Puzzanghera in the Los Angeles Times$ Troy Wolverton in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/27/15