California Policy & Politics This Morning   

Chinese firm for Bay Bridge produced flaws in another huge project -- Both were built between 2008 and 2011 in the same Shanghai, China, factory complex. Each suffered from mistakes by inadequately trained Chinese welders. Thousands of welds in the towers for the 140 giant wind turbines cracked. Hundreds of welds in the Bay Bridge roadway cracked, too. Charles Piller in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/21/14

Sony Pictures hack fuels speculation about studio's possible sale -- Fallout from the crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment has called into question exactly what the future holds for one of Hollywood's biggest names. Meg James, Daniel Miller, Yvonne Villarreal in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/14

Google vs Hollywood on Sony hack -- Cybersecurity questions and box office turmoil aside, another storyline is emerging after the high-profile hacking of Sony Entertainment: A renewed battle between Google and Hollywood. Alex Byers Politico -- 12/21/14

California's pot activists prepare for 2016 initiative -- California voters shied away from becoming the first in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana in 2010, but four states have since approved such a law and the eureka state appears primed to join the party in 2016. Martin Wickol in the Orange County Register$ -- 12/21/14

Oakland’s 'Girl Scout Barracuda’ ready to lead the city -- For about 30 seconds on a recent weekday afternoon, Oakland’s “Girl Scout Barracuda” looked exhausted. The city’s mayor-elect, Libby Schaaf — given the barracuda nickname by a colleague — had been at a City Council meeting until 2:30 a.m. Carolyn Jones in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/21/14

The slaying suspect has a famous name — will that matter? -- A fight ends in the fatal stabbing of young Luis Santos. Among the accused is the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez. The Santos family wonders if political influence will trump justice. Christopher Goffard in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/14

Sforza: Little-known City Selection Committee will rescind meeting actions -- Think of a backroom, dark and smoky perhaps, where the decisions get made about who will serve on powerful agencies controlling millions and millions of public dollars. Teri Sforza in the Orange County Register$ -- 12/21/14

Carly Fiorina ramping up long-shot bid for White House -- Former HP CEO and 2010 Republican U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina steps up her exploration of a 2016 presidential run, but experts say she might not have the chops for it. Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/21/14

Morain: Telegrams, typewriters, vitriol and politics in the Internet age -- With no discernible drama, the Federal Election Commission last week voted to make Ann Ravel its new chairwoman. It was quite a change from the invective flung Ravel’s way in the two months since she floated the notion that the Federal Election Commission might want to revisit how it oversees campaigning on the newfangled thing called the Internet. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/21/14

Comedian Bill Maher speaks amid handful of protesters at UC Berkeley commencement -- Outspoken talk-show host Bill Maher appeared Saturday at UC Berkeley's December graduation, greeted by a handful of silent demonstrators protesting the comedian's statements about Islam. Maher delivered the keynote speech at UC Berkeley's winter commencement ceremony, where about 500 students were honored. Chris De Benedetti in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 12/21/14

Veterans in need get aid, advice at Stand Down event in L.A. -- Free meals, beauty makeovers, gift sleeping bags and complimentary cellphones brought more than 800 military veterans to the Los Angeles Convention Center on Saturday, but the bigger gift for many could come in the form of permanent homes. James Rainey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/14

San Diego region has become hub of gang-controlled prostitution rings -- It began with teachers and counselors becoming suspicious. Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/14

Borenstein: MTC commissioners allowing themselves to be misled on building costs -- The executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has once again deceived his board and the public about costs and financing for the agency's legally questionable real estate speculation. Daniel Borenstein in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 12/21/14

Wrongfully convicted inmates fight for compensation -- The Los Angeles Times has documented dozens of cases nationwide in which people convicted and later cleared by DNA or new evidence never received state compensation. Some — especially the low-income minorities who make up a large share of the wrongfully imprisoned — never file a claim because they can't afford a lawyer or find one willing to take the case. Molly Hennessy-Fiske in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/14

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Pensions   

L.A. officials to review pay policy for injured workers -- Los Angeles' top elected officials say reforms are needed in an unusually generous injury leave policy that pays city employees more when they are out with job-related ailments than when they come to work. Jack Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/14

NFL to L.A. area not likely for 2015 -- While the NFL is closer to returning to the Los Angeles-Orange County market than at any point since the Rams and Raiders left Southern California 20 years ago this week, 11th-hour stadium talks in St. Louis and Oakland have all but eliminated any chance of NFL games being played in the nation’s second-largest market in 2015, according to NFL officials, sports business officials and persons familiar with negotiations in four markets. Scott M. Reid in the Orange County Register$ -- 12/21/14

Immigration / Border

Immigrants build document trails to remain in US -- Electricity bills. Speeding tickets. Dentist records. Money order receipts. The search for documents is on for immigrants who may qualify for a work permit and reprieve from deportation under measures President Barack Obama announced last month. Elliot Spagat Associated Press -- 12/21/14

Environment

City chips away below Coit Tower to stabilize hill’s slope -- It’s a sight more expected in Yosemite than on a San Francisco street corner: Four people rappelling down a steep cliff, anchored by rope to the top. Marisa Lagos in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/21/14

Health

St. Helena Hospital pays $2.25 million to settle federal suit -- St. Helena Hospital has agreed to pay $2.25 million to settle government claims that it performed unnecessary cardiac operations and overcharged Medicare, conduct that was revealed by a whistle-blowing hospital employee. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/21/14

Also . . .

Arthur Gardner dies at 104; produced TV's 'Rifleman,' 'Big Valley' -- For producer Arthur Gardner, known for his TV western series "The Rifleman" and "The Big Valley," life in the business was "a picnic," his favorite catchphrase. Deborah Vankin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/14

POTUS 44    

Balz: For Obama, a good December, but hard choices lie ahead -- President Obama left Washington on Friday for a lengthy holiday vacation in Hawaii, as if the beating he and the Democrats absorbed last month was of no particular consequence to him. Life could be different when he returns in January. Dan Balz in the Washington Post$ -- 12/21/14

Beltway

California Reps. Miller, Waxman among lawmakers bowing out with 113th Congress -- This year's farewell addresses offered an alternative view of the era of divided government — a fleeting glimpse of the odd alliances and friendships formed against the backdrop of the partisanship that usually defines Washington. Lisa Mascaro and Michel A. Memoli in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/14

Saunders: The opposite of intelligence: Spy versus DiFi -- The needle already was in the haystack. That essentially is the message embedded in the Democrats’ Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on CIA interrogations and detentions, approved without a single Republican vote and released by committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/21/14