California Policy & Politics This Morning   

California health exchange weighs formal opposition to Proposition 45 -- Members of the state health insurance exchange on Thursday came out strongly against a fall ballot initiative to give rate-regulation authority to the elected insurance commissioner, with some requesting the board issue formal opposition. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/14

Doctor drug testing latest front in medical malpractice measure -- When consumer advocates were preparing a fall ballot initiative to raise the sum victims can recover in medical malpractice lawsuits, they considered tacking on an inducement that would resonate with voters across California. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/22/14

Ethics panel wants stiffer penalty for CalPERS' Priya Mathur -- The state's ethics panel is taking a get-tough stance toward a board member of the nation's biggest government pension fund, who has repeatedly failed to file legally required disclosure reports. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/14

Walters: Pension fatteners reveal some strange public work rules -- Two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature agreed to a mild reform of public employee pensions aimed, they said, at reducing manipulation of the system and reducing long-term costs. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/22/14

Bay Area billionaire's climate-change ads leave fact-checkers cold -- Bay Area billionaire Tom Steyer's blitz against candidates who are soft on climate change is underway in seven states, but some prominent fact-checking groups say he's emitting enough hot air to melt a few glaciers. Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/21/14

Court allows release of officers' names in UC Davis pepper-spray case -- The California Supreme Court has affirmed that newspapers have a right to know and publish the names of all the UC Davis campus police officers involved in the controversial pepper-spraying of student protesters in 2011. Larry Gordon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

California pushes shift in military sex assault cases -- All sexual assault cases in the California military will be transferred from the chain of command and the court-martial system to local police and prosecutors under a law signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown that is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. Vivian Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle Melanie Mason, Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Kamala Harris will appeal death penalty ruling -- California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday she will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/14

Lawmakers seek to reduce crack cocaine sentences to those of powder -- The state Senate gave final legislative approval Thursday to a bill that would reduce the penalties for the sale of crack cocaine to the same levels for powdered cocaine, addressing concern that the sentencing disparity harms minority communities. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

California Prisons Invest in Rehabilitation for "Lifer" Inmates -- Now, driven by court rulings that make it harder to deny parole and Gov. Jerry Brown’s emphasis on inmate rehabilitation, a record number of lifers are getting out -- nearly 2,300 since 2009, or more than three times the number paroled in the previous 17 years combined. Monica Lam and Scott Shafer KQED -- 8/22/14

Tempers flare in state Senate over flurry of hostile amendments -- Tempers flared in the state Senate on Thursday over a series of hostile amendments proposed by Republicans, including one on the hot-button issue of immigration. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Assembly approves greater disclosure for campaigns -- California lawmakers are sending legislation to Gov. Jerry Brown to force greater disclosure in political campaigns. The Assembly on Thursday passed two bills aimed at giving voters more information. Juliet Williams Associated Press -- 8/21/14

State lawmakers seek end to mandatory sentences for some drug crimes -- The state Senate on Thursday gave final legislative approval to a measure that would eliminate mandatory 90-day jail sentences for some drug crimes while supporters fended off an attempted hostile amendment to oppose the state cap-and-trade program. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

State reverses abortion decision at 2 Catholic colleges -- Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has reversed an earlier decision to allow two Catholic universities to eliminate coverage of most abortions for employees, saying state law requires health insurance plans to cover all abortions. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/22/14

California pensions, consumers get $800 million from Bank of America case -- California will get an $800 million share of the record-breaking $16.65 billion Bank of America Corp. is paying to settle claims over the packaging and sale of toxic mortgage securities. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/14

For California, Bank of America settlement might not be as good as it seems -- The money is divided into two pots; The Golden State gets $300 million in damages. That reimburses the state’s pension funds for bad investments on mortgage-backed securities. Ben Bergman KPCC -- 8/22/14

Police often provoke protest violence, UC researchers find -- The violence that turns a small-town protest into a fiery national spectacle like the one that has played out this month in Missouri is often unwittingly provoked by police, according to researchers at UC Berkeley. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/21/14

Who's arming Orange County? -- Two Orange County members of Congress want to revisit a program providing free surplus military gear to local law-enforcement – a program attracting scrutiny after police used military-type tactics and equipment in Ferguson, Mo. Martin Wisckol and Sean Emery in the Orange County Register$ -- 8/22/14

Woman beaten by CHP officer in L.A.: 'I just want justice done' -- A woman who was punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol officer on the 10 Freeway said she wants "justice done" and for the officers to be put behind bars. Kate Mather in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Girl, 13, accused of setting massive wildfire ordered to stand trial -- A 13-year-old girl was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on charges of setting the fire that burned 2,000 acres and destroyed or damaged more than 40 structures in the San Marcos area of northern San Diego County earlier this year. Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Rep. Eshoo Calls for ‘Re-brand’ of Net Neutrality -- Americans “can’t tell which jargon box to check,” says the California Democrat. Alex Brown National Journal -- 8/21/14

New California law allows dogs to dine out -- Your dog can now join you for dinner out under legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/14

Fresno City Council again rejects train station master plan money -- The Fresno City Council has decided the best way to plan for high-speed rail is to assume the train will never get here. George Hostetter in the Fresno Bee -- 8/21/14

Legislature OKs bill banning California displays of Confederate flag -- A bill prohibiting California from displaying or selling merchandise with the Confederate flag is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk, after getting final legislative approval in the Assembly on Thursday. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Mayor Ed Lee not Mr. Nice Guy around City Hall anymore -- The mayor's recent dispute with some traditional allies on the Board of Supervisors over how to increase Muni funding is the most public fight in a series of spats that have undercut Lee's cultivated image as a genial consensus builder who, in his words, is "not a politician." John Coté and Marisa Lagos in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/21/14

The 5 Biggest Spenders in the 2014 Election -- In America’s campaign system, big political donors are a little bit like the Wizard of Oz, the faceless characters pulling the levers behind the curtain to make sure their favored candidates and causes get the exposure and airtime they need to win. Emily Cadei Ozy -- 8/21/14

Tech mogul tackles 'dark money' in political campaigns -- Jim Greer is the latest tech entrepreneur to put his money into a plan to fix politics. The advantage he has over other reformers: He's a game designer. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/22/14

No opposition, so no election in three cities -- Three North County cities have scrapped their fall elections, opting instead to appoint city council candidates — all of whom were running unopposed. Teri Figueroa UT San Diego$ -- 8/21/14

Irvine will take Great Park PR firm to court for records -- Great Park auditors want to know if city got its $100,000 a month’s worth from Forde & Mollrich. Kimberly Pierceall in the Orange County Register$ -- 8/21/14

Why Three North County Cities Canceled Their Elections -- San Marcos, Del Mar and Solana Beach didn’t have enough candidates running to justify the cost. Leo Castaneda KPBS -- 8/22/14

Taxes, Fees, Rates   

Jerry Brown gets bill to OK local fees for bicycle facilities -- Californians could vote to tax themselves to build bike paths, bike parking and other bicycle facilities under a bill heading to Gov. Jerry Brown. Laurel Rosenhall in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/14

Economy, Employers, Jobs   

California’s latest carbon auction raises $331.8 million -- Industrial companies and other businesses paid a combined $331.8 million for carbon credits in California’s latest cap-and-trade auction, state officials said Thursday. Environmentalists said the results of the latest quarterly auction were positive in light of recent controversy surrounding the market. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/14

SEIU Local 1000 spends big to support CalPERS board candidate -- California’s largest state employee union is spending $180,000 on radio and online ads to support CalPERS board candidate Theresa Taylor, according to a state filing Thursday. The Franchise Tax Board employee is one of three candidates running for the state member seat on the 13-member board. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/14

L.A. unions, allies issue fake parking tickets to protest bank deals -- In an unconventional attempt to sway public opinion, a group of labor unions and their allies fanned out across the urban center to leave fake tickets on parked cars, arguing that soured deals with Wall Street banks were at least partly to blame for the rising cost of parking tickets citywide. Emily Alpert Reyes, Soumya Karlamangla in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Senate sends franchise bill to Jerry Brown -- A heavily lobbied fight between franchise owners and their corporate parents is on its way to the office of Gov. Jerry Brown. Laurel Rosenhall in the Sacramento Bee$ Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Is San Diego minimum wage hike 15 or 44 percent? -- With opponents of raising the city’s minimum wage officially launching a referendum campaign on Thursday, it’s become clear that a key issue will be how to describe the size of the pay increase to the public. David Garrick UT San Diego$ -- 8/22/14

For low-income families, challenges keep growing -- Orange County workers’ household incomes slipped over a dozen years, when adjusted for inflation, while rents shot up at a faster rate, according to a new report. Sarah Tully in the Orange County Register$ -- 8/22/14

Homeless people migrating from downtown to County-USC, study finds -- Homeless people squeezed out of downtown Los Angeles are migrating to nearby Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights, where they are seeking refuge in the emergency room and on the grounds of Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, according to a six-month study released Thursday. Gale Holland in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

L.A. area nation’s most expensive housing market -- When it comes to buying a home or renting an apartment, the Los Angeles-Orange County area is the most expensive market among the nation’s 100 biggest metropolises, according to a report released Thursday by the real-estate website Zillow. Gregory J. Wilcox in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 8/21/14

Education

LAUSD's $1-billion iPad effort beset by problems, report finds -- The groundbreaking effort to provide an iPad to every Los Angeles student, teacher and school administrator was beset by inadequate planning, a lack of transparency and a flawed bidding process, according to a draft of an internal school district report obtained by The Times. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Some California community colleges could soon start offering 4-year degrees -- A small number of California's two-year colleges will start offering four-year degrees if the governor signs a bill that cleared the state Legislature Thursday. Katy Murphy in the San Jose Mercury$ Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Democrats reject GOP attempts to lift school reserves cap -- Democrats in the California Senate on Thursday rejected a Republican effort to overturn a state budget provision that caps the amount of money school districts can hold in reserve. Laurel Rosenhall in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/14

Zuckerberg's money starts flowing to Bay Area schools -- Three Redwood City schools are getting a $1.06 million check from Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook-fueled infusion of $120 million into Bay Area classrooms, one of the first districts to see part of the education mega-pledge. Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/21/14

Johnson to join county board after losing bid for L.A. Unified post -- A week after losing a close election for the Los Angeles school board, Alex Johnson will take on a different leadership role in education. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Ex school boss pleads to federal charge -- Former San Ysidro School District Superintendent Manuel Paul pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge related to allegations of a pay-to-play culture at South County schools. Greg Moran UT San Diego$ -- 8/21/14

Coast Colleges could pay former chancellor more than $200,000 -- Coast Colleges’ recent breakup with its chancellor may cost the district more than $200,000 under the terms of an agreement approved by the Board of Trustees. Keegan Kyle in the Orange County Register$ -- 8/22/14

Drought  

California drought continues to take heavy toll on reservoirs -- The severe drought gripping nearly all of California eased ever so slightly this past week, but the state's reservoirs remain "seriously low," according to the latest figures released Thursday. Veronica Rocha in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

63 trillion gallons of groundwater lost in drought, study finds -- The ongoing drought in the western United States has caused so much loss of groundwater that the Earth, on average, has lifted up about 0.16 inches over the last 18 months, according to a new study. Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

California drought has wild salmon competing with almonds for water -- The ongoing California drought has pitted wild salmon against farmers in a fight for water. While growers of almonds, one of the state's biggest and most lucrative crops, enjoy booming production and skyrocketing sales to China, the fish, it seems, might be left high and dry this summer—and maybe even dead. Alastair Bland NPR -- 8/21/14

Fewer plants crimp foraging by bees -- California’s record drought hasn'’t been sweet to honeybees, and it’s creating a sticky situation for beekeepers and honey buyers. Terence Chea Associated Press -- 8/22/14

Ban on filling swimming pools hits communities in parched California -- The California dream of owning a house with a sparkling swimming pool is drying up for would-be swimmers in communities across the state as some local water districts have banned homeowners from filling empty pools in drought-stricken areas. Aaron Mendelson Reuters -- 8/22/14

Immigration / Border

Gov. Brown, California Democrats seek $3 million to help migrant kids -- Seeking to address the swell of unaccompanied children from Central America who have immigrated to the U.S. illegally, Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers announced Thursday a proposal to provide $3 million in legal aid to those minors. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ Juliet Williams Associated Press Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle Howard Mintz and David E. Early in the San Jose Mercury$ Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 8/21/14

Billionaires silent on immigration after big push -- Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, billionaire Michael Bloomberg and Citigroup exec Carlos Gutierrez gave immigration reform firepower last year when they lent their money or names to the cause. Anna Palmer Politico -- 8/21/14

Family holds vigil to demand release of man held by immigration officials -- The family of Edgar Vargas Arzate held a vigil Thursday evening to demand that immigration officials release the 27-year-old, who was shown in surveillance footage being punched by Santa Ana police when he was arrested June 20. Alejandra Molina and Sean Emery in the Orange County Register$ -- 8/22/14

Deported Mexicans Find New Life at Call Centers -- Henry Monterroso is a foreigner in his own country. Raised in California from the age of 5, he was deported to Mexico in 2011 and found himself in a land he barely knew. Elliot Spagat and Omar Millan Associated Press -- 8/22/14

Environment

DWP is still slow to turn on home solar energy systems -- The solar panels were installed in January, but they haven't pushed a single electron into the house: Hans is still waiting for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to install a meter and turn it on. Chad Garland in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Martins Beach access bill headed to governor -- Legislation that could mean greater public access to Martins Beach in San Mateo County cleared its final legislative hurdle on Thursday and now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown's signature. Jessica Calefati in the San Jose Mercury$ Laurel Rosenhall in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/14

Feds to Be Sued Over Solar Projects' Harm to Endangered Bird -- A national wildlife protection group announced today that it intends to sue two federal agencies for failing to protect the federally Endangered Yuma clapper rail from being harmed at industrial-scale solar power projects in the California desert. Chris Clarke KCET Rewire -- 8/22/14

Health

Without proof of citizenship, residency, 100,000 could lose Obamacare -- About 100,000 Californians who haven't yet proved their citizenship or legal residency in the U.S. face losing their Obamacare coverage in October, state officials said. Chad Terhune in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

ALD newborn-testing advocates fear veto for cost -- Assemblyman Richard Pan’s AB 1559, requiring newborns to be screened for adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), is now headed for a Senate floor vote, having been approved last week by the Appropriations Committee on a 5-0 vote. In fact, no lawmaker has voted against the bill so far; the Assembly approved it 79-0 in May. Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 8/22/14

Sacramento Ebola tests come back negative -- Health officials announced Thursday night that a patient in Sacramento who was thought to have been exposed to the Ebola virus after traveling to West Africa has tested negative and does not have the disease. Kale Williams in the San Francisco Chronicle Ryan Parker in the Los Angeles Times$ Cynthia H. Craft and Katrina Cameron in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/22/14

Also . . .

Anti-spying coalition launches campaign against LAPD drones -- A new anti-police-drone campaign says the risk of Los Angeles authorities abusing their power and spying on innocent civilians is too great to allow the department to start using the devices. Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 8/21/14

Central Basin Municipal Water District director Art Chacon, who has no license, driving -- Chacon, who hasn’t had a driver’s license since 2003, was recently censured by the board. He has come under fire for receiving a $597 monthly car allowance — even though he can’t legally drive. Mike Sprague and Peter Fullam in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 8/22/14

California hits the brakes on Google's self-driving car's lack of steering wheel and brake pedal -- As Google Inc. prepares its self-driving car for public use over the next few years, California's Department of Motor Vehicles is forming new rules that could throw a wrench in the company's plans. Sarah Drake Silicon Valley Business Journal -- 8/22/14

Orange County hate crime report: Confrontations up, vandalism down -- The overall number of hate crimes fell in 2013, but that was largely because of a drop in vandalism. Hate crimes against individuals rose from 24 in 2012 to 28 in 2013. Scott Schwebke in the Orange County Register$ -- 8/21/14

Lawsuit over deputies’ killing of San Lorenzo man -- The family of a San Lorenzo man shot dead by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Thursday, saying the deputies had provoked a “violent confrontation” with a disabled man who needed medical help. Henry K. Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/21/14

Murder trial starts for owner of pit bulls that mauled woman to death -- To prosecutors, Alex Donald Jackson was a small-town drug dealer who did nothing to prevent Pamela Devitt, 63, from being mauled to death by four of his pit bulls -- despite being warned on several occasions about how violent and dangerous the dogs could become. Debbie Truong in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/14

Scott Olson shot both Businessweek’s and Time’s covers this week -- Olson was arrested and released in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday. He also took this iconic shot of the unrest there: Andrew Beaujon Poynter. -- 8/21/14

Why Washington Should Declare War on ISIS -- The terrorist group has a bigger sanctuary, far more money, and is more indiscriminately murderous than al-Qaida was on Sept. 10, 2001. James Kitfield National Journal -- 8/21/14

POTUS 44    

Mark your calendars: ‘National Impeach Obama Week’ is nigh -- The Coalition to Impeach Obama Now! organizers, coordinated by San Diego activist Roger Ogden, have no national endorsements from Tea Party groups or Republican politicians. Instead, impeachobamaweek.net has a small list of regional and local Tea Party, libertarian, and otherwise anti-Obama activist groups backing them. Abby Ohlheiser in the Washington Post$ -- 8/22/14

Obama Faces Options in Iraq and Syria -- At the heart of President Barack Obama's quandary over the Islamic State militants is their haven in Syria. Robert Burns Associated Press -- 8/22/14

White House Memo: A Terrorist Horror, Then Golf: Incongruity Fuels Obama Critics -- As the president returned to his vacation, a firestorm of criticism from Republicans and Democrats erupted over what many saw as a callous indifference to the slaughter of James Foley. Peter Baker and Julie Hirschfeld Davis in the New York Times$ -- 8/22/14