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California Policy & Politics This Morning   

Firefighter killed, hundreds flee as California blazes burn -- Blazes raging in forests and woodlands across California have taken the life of a firefighter and forced hundreds of people to flee their homes as an army of firefighters continue to battle them from the air and the ground. Twenty-three large fires, many sparked by lightning strikes, were burning across Northern California on Saturday, said state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant. Jeff Chiu and Haven Daley Associated Press -- 8/1/15

Brown declares state of emergency for California wildfires -- Gov. Jerry Brown is declaring a state of emergency throughout California as wildfires rage in the parched state. Brown says in a declaration issued Friday that the severe drought and extreme weather "have turned much of the state into a tinderbox." Brown's order requires all state agencies to provide assistance if needed to respond to the fires and mobilizes the California National Guard to help with disaster response. Associated Press Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/1/15

Recall election history bodes ill for Richard Pan opponents -- Incensed by a new law mandating full vaccination for schoolchildren, some Sacramento-area voters are attempting to boot from office Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, the pediatrician who authored Senate Bill 277 months after winning a bruising campaign in 2014. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/1/15

San Francisco ballot measures this fall: housing, lobbying, development -- San Francisco voters will have a chance this fall to weigh in on measures ranging from a proposed pause in the construction of market-rate housing in the Mission to limiting the availability of short-term rentals through companies such as Airbnb. Emily Green in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/1/15

Federal regulator dismisses nuclear plant complaint against Edison -- Federal regulators dismissed a complaint against Southern California Edison that accused the utility of failing to seek approval for changes to the San Onofre nuclear power plant that ultimately led to the facility's permanent closure. Ivan Penn in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/15

Release of recordings by anti-abortion group blocked by judge -- A federal judge on Friday blocked the release of any recordings made at meetings of an abortion providers' association by an anti-abortion group that previously revealed secretly recorded videos of a Planned Parenthood leader. Associated Press Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/1/15

Garcetti raises record $2.2 million in first quarter of re-election effort -- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti raised $2.227 million during the first quarter of his 2017 re-election campaign, an amount that sets a record for incumbent mayors' early fundraising in the era of the city's modern campaign-finance regulations, his campaign consultant said Friday. Peter Jamison in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/15

Joe Dunn expected to enter congressional race for Loretta Sanchez's seat -- Former state Sen. Joe Dunn, D-Santa Ana, may be the next to join the race to replace Rep. Loretta Sanchez, the Orange Democrat now running for U.S. Senate. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 8/1/15

Mike Huckabee to address California Republican convention -- Republican Mike Huckabee, the folksy former governor of Arkansas, will fill a lunchtime speaking slot at the California Republican’s fall convention in Anaheim, officials said Friday. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 8/1/15

Conservative Koch brothers bring big money, message to Orange County this weekend -- When the billionaire Koch brothers and several hundred mega-donor allies roll into Dana Point this weekend, the conservative coalition will have more on its agenda than the usual screening of favored presidential candidates and discussions about policy. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 8/1/15

Political Climatology 2016: California Politics Podcast -- Bob Dylan may have famously once sang that “You don’t need a weatherman to tell you which way the wind blows,” but in politics you do need some data. And right now, it’s looking Democrats in California have the wind at their backs on some big environmental issues. John Myers KQED -- 8/1/15

Rocket crash investigation raises questions on FAA's safety oversight -- Newly released evidence in the investigation of last fall's crash of an experimental spaceship over the Mojave Desert is raising questions about whether federal aviation regulators are protecting the public as companies launch more rockets. Melody Petersen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/15

Borenstein: Contra Costa supervisors dip their hands in the public till one more time -- After nine months, the Contra Costa supervisor salary fiasco seems to be nearing an end, but not before the elected officials dip their hands into the public till one more time. Daniel Borenstein in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 8/1/15

San Francisco’s new urine-resistant walls seem to be keeping things dry -- Thursday night at 16th and Mission, where the weekend starts early, action at the wall was shockingly calm. People flooded out of the BART station at regular intervals, loudly chatting and laughing. A half-dozen homeless people settled into their nooks and crannies for the night. And the wall — it stayed relatively dry. Lizzie Johnson in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/1/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions    

Gas prices could fall to under $2.50 a gallon in California -- Gas prices may soon begin falling to levels not seen since the Great Recession in 2008 to under $2.50 a gallon in California and -- gasp! -- to below two bucks nationwide. That would be a pleasant shock on the West Coast, coming just two weeks after rising nearly 75 cents overnight in Southern California to $4.30 a gallon. Gary Richards in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/1/15

Providence and St. Joseph hospital chains are in talks to merge -- Two major Catholic hospital systems with a big presence across the Southland - Providence Health & Services and St. Joseph Health - want to join forces amid an industrywide consolidation drive. Nick Shively, Chad Terhune in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/15

Marijuana dispensaries need banking access, California officials say -- Citing the public safety risks of a cash-only industry, state officials argued Friday that medical marijuana dispensaries should have better access to banking. Kurt Chirbas in the Los Angeles Times$ Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/1/15

L.A. Councilman Gil Cedillo wants to spend $9M to help keep housing affordable -- About $9 million in former redevelopment funds could be used to help keep rent and housing costs low for hundreds of residential units in the First City Council district represented by Gil Cedillo, who on Friday asked his colleagues to support the plan. The item is in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 8/1/15

Homelessness in Orange County: More single adults and fewer families; vets unchanged -- A push to house the chronically homeless and homeless families in Orange County has brought down their numbers - but the number of veterans living on Orange County streets is unchanged and the number of single adults who are homeless has shot up, according to a report to the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness Friday. Erika Aguilar KPCC -- 8/1/15

Education 

Cal State Long Beach hosts 1,400 educators -- Her words rang true, based on the number of teachers in attendance Friday at Cal State Long Beach who took time out of their summer to learn more about the craft of education. Josh Dulaney in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 8/1/15

Environment 

Environmental group seeks injunction to stop fracking in California -- A national environmental organization went to court this week demanding an immediate halt to hydraulic fracturing and other intensive well-stimulation methods until California petroleum industry regulators can consider new scientific findings of troubling health and environmental threats. Sandy Mazza in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 8/1/15

Beltway 

Hillary Clinton releases eight years of tax returns -- The documents were made public the same day the State Department released the latest batch of Clinton's e-mails from her time as secretary of state.The documents were made public the same day the State Department released the latest batch of Clinton's e-mails from her time as secretary of state. Tom Hamburger in the Washington Post$ -- 8/1/15

Donald Trump's companies have sought visas to import at least 1,100 workers -- Donald Trump is staking his run for U.S. president in part on a vow to protect American jobs. But this month, one of his companies, the elite Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Florida, applied to import 70 foreign workers to serve as cooks, wait staff and cleaners. Mica Rosenberg, Ryan McNeil, Megan Twohey and Michelle Conlin Reuters -- 8/1/15