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Republican Rocky Chávez launches bid for Boxer seat -- Assemblyman Rocky Chávez formally entered the contest to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday, offering himself as a pragmatic leader focused on strengthening national security, educational opportunities and the state economy. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle Michael Finnegan in the Los Angeles Times$ Chris Nichols UT San Diego$ Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 3/5/15

As assemblyman, Rocky Chavez has focused on veterans, education -- During his tenure in the Legislature, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, who announced a bid for U.S. Senate on Thursday, has established himself as a moderate Republican with an interest in veterans affairs and education. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Central Valley congressmen epitomize California GOP's immigration woes -- No lawmaker worked harder than Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) to distance himself from the right flank of his party when it risked shutting down a crucial government agency this week to fight President Obama’s immigration policy. Noah Bierman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

El Nino finally here; but this 1 is weak, weird and late -- A long anticipated El Nino has finally arrived. But for drought-struck California, it's too little, too late, meteorologists say. Seth Borenstein Associated Press Geoffrey Mohan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Rising temperatures are amplifying drought effects, study finds -- Climate change is increasing the risk of severe drought in California by causing warm periods and dry periods to overlap more often, according to a new study. Bettina Boxall in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Fleeing motorist shot in car by LAPD apparently unarmed, police say -- Investigators pored over a neighborhood in Burbank where a vehicle pursuit hours earlier concluded with a Los Angeles police officer fatally shooting a man early Thursday morning. LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery said "there is no evidence to support he was armed." Sarah Parvini, Joseph Serna and Irfan Kahn in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Ferguson, Mo.'s, alleged revenue scams echo in southeast L.A. County -- e U.S. Justice Department report on the Ferguson Police Department -- which among other things alleged police targeted blacks and used arrests as a revenue-generating scheme -- echoes some incidents that occurred over the last decade in southeast Los Angeles County. Shelby Grad in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Protest over tuition hikes shuts down UC Santa Cruz -- All entrances to UC Santa Cruz were blocked Thursday morning by protesters as part of an ongoing demonstration against tuition hikes, and university officials were advising people not to come to campus. Henry K. Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle Veronica Rocha in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Chiropractors lobby against bill ending belief exemptions for vaccines -- Legislation that would do away with personal-belief exemptions for childhood vaccines, filed in response to the recent measles outbreak in California, has quickly emerged as one of this year's most polarizing bills. One interest jumping into the fray: chiropractors. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Drug, criminal background tests for Uber and Lyft -- The drive to treat Uber and Lyft more like taxi companies has sparked another California bill requiring drivers to undergo drug and background tests. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/15

Are soaring pension and administration costs at heart of UC budget fight? -- This week, the University of California announced it would cap enrollment for in-state students at some campuses. Anthony York Grizzly Bear Project -- 3/5/15

Report touts high-speed rail achievements, identifies challenges and risks -- The California High-Speed Rail Authority issued a progress report to state legislators this week describing progress made in recent months, acknowledging ongoing hurdles and providing an update on the cost and schedule of California’s proposed bullet train. Tim Sheehan in the Fresno Bee -- 3/5/15

He’s back: Marty Morgenstern named to health board -- Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed longtime adviser Marty Morgenstern to the board of California’s health exchange, as two former Schwarzenegger administration officials’ terms expire, Brown’s office said Thursday. Morgenstern and Genoveva Islas, a public health advocate from Tulare, replace Susan Kennedy and Kim Belshé. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/15

Fox: Don’t Tax Independent Expenditures, Eliminate Candidate Donor Limits -- The bill authored by Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) to tax independent expenditure campaign spending has a point, although the measure itself is likely to find resistance in both the halls of the legislature and in the courts. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 3/5/15

President Obama plans L.A. trip next week for Democratic fundraiser -- He has no campaigns left to run, President Obama likes to remind audiences of late. But he nonetheless will return to Los Angeles next week to raise money for his party as it gears up for the next presidential race. Michael A. Memoli in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

California Policy & Politics This Morning   

Superbug outbreak extends to Cedars-Sinai hospital, linked to scope -- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said it has discovered that four patients were infected with a deadly superbug from a contaminated medical scope and 64 more people may have been exposed. Chad Terhune in the Los Angeles Times$ Alicia Chang Associated Press -- 3/5/15

Possible HIV cure OK'd for testing -- HIV patients will be given genetically modified stem cells in an attempt to effectively cure them of the infection, the first time this experimental therapy has been tried. Bradley J. Fikes UT San Diego$ -- 3/5/15

Lawmakers announce renewed push for Medi-Cal funding -- California lawmakers and advocates are gearing up for a new chapter in the battle over the state's healthcare program for the poor. Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Government DNA collection under microscope in California -- The advantages of immediately identifying and treating diseases are indisputable. What makes Gatto and privacy advocates nervous is the knowledge that the government can hold on to that information and share it without consent. Security concerns intensify those fears. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/15

Darrell Steinberg lands UC Davis post -- Former Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is joining the ranks of academia – at an institution funded by a measure he championed while in the Legislature. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/15

Jerry Brown finds Democrat to fill Riverside seat -- Riverside is one of the few big California counties where Republicans outnumber Democrats. But Gov. Jerry Brown has found one of his own, announcing Wednesday the appointment of a Democratic Temecula city councilman to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/15

Hermosa Beach defeats oil drilling measure -- The votes are in: Hermosa Beach owes a Bakersfield oil company about $18 million. Monterey Park won't have the nation's first all-Asian American city council. And a veteran West Hollywood lawmaker's three-decade term may have come to an end. Brittny Mejia, Frank Shyong and Hailey Branson-Potts in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Election sets stage for L.A. Unified battle -- Over the last few months, Los Angeles teachers union leaders have racked up a series of victories. They worked to push out Supt. John Deasy, elect a friendly candidate to the school board and win a ruling against a new evaluation system. But after Tuesday's election, the union's leadership is facing new challenges and a potent adversary. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

L.A. election demonstrates the power of the few -- Los Angeles City Council members each represent districts of about 250,000 people. But three incumbents on Tuesday reclaimed their seats with what could end up being fewer than 10,000 votes apiece. Emily Alpert Reyes, Alice Walton and Peter Jamison in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

L.A. election's biggest winner? City Council President Herb Wesson -- In a Los Angeles election with an assortment of winners, no one at City Hall had a more triumphant Tuesday night than Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson. David Kahniser and Catherine Sailant in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

California Republicans announce teacher evaluation, employment overhaul -- Saying a major court decision that rejected California’s teacher employment rules compels them to act, Assembly Republicans on Wednesday unveiled a legislative package to overhaul how the state evaluates, dismisses and grants tenure to educators. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ Kimberly Beltran Cabinet Report -- 3/5/15

Gun rights showdown: Sunnyvale restrictions upheld by appeals court -- Sunnyvale's law restricting high-capacity gun magazines is constitutional and justified by legitimate efforts to minimize local gun violence, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday. Howard Mintz in the San Jose Mercury$ Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/5/15

California bill would protect civilians recording police activity -- From the LAPD beating of Rodney King 24 years ago to last year’s death of Eric Garner after a scuffle with New York police officers, bystanders who recorded the incidents on video have allowed the public to see at least some of what happened. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

A ghost of Prop. 46 eyed in the Capitol -- California voters, confronted by a multimillion-dollar advertising blitz, overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 46, which would have raised the cap on pain-and-suffering damages in medical malpractices lawsuits. But new legislation in the Capitol targets a slice of Proposition 46, the part dealing with the state’s prescription drug database. Samantha Gallegos Capitol Weekly -- 3/5/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions    

Is firefighter binge-drinking at heart of Cal Fire problems? -- Peel away the allegations of prostitution hookups, graphic sex photos, sexual assaults on women and lying, and here’s the less-salacious thread running through the recent scandal at Cal Fire’s Ione academy: booze. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/15

California jobless claims move faster but still have delays -- The state agency that handles unemployment claims for millions of Californians says it has hired nearly 500 new employees to process claims faster, but its technology still lags and responses take longer than desired. Juliet Williams Associated Press -- 3/5/15

High Bay Area rent prices drive mom to raise child in a garage -- When Jones became pregnant she lost her job and could no longer afford to pay her apartment rent. She initially moved into a shelter and felt lucky when she found the single-car garage space converted into a studio in a San Mateo suburban home for $1,000 a month. Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/5/15

Bay Area Tech Boom Driving Up Cost of Psychotherapy -- Workers with higher salaries seek counseling and drive up therapists’ prices in the process. April Dembosky KQED -- 3/5/15

Hot start to year for local (San Diego) economy -- San Diego's economy started 2015 with a bang, paced by a better job market and a surprising spike in new home permits, a study released Wednesday says. Jonathan Horn UT San Diego$ -- 3/5/15

In one month, gas prices in state have surged about $1 a gallon -- California gas prices have shot up about $1 a gallon in the last month as oil refineries have been idled by a labor strike and an explosion. Tiffany Hsu in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Tentative $415 million settlement in tech workers’ lawsuit -- A federal judge has tentatively approved a $415 million settlement in a major class action lawsuit by Silicon Valley workers who accused Apple Inc., Google Inc. and other tech companies of making an illegal agreement not to hire each other's employees. Associated Press -- 3/5/15

Silicon Valley tech firms step up overseas cash stash as total hits $2.1 trillion -- Eight of the biggest U.S. technology companies added a combined $69 billion to their stockpiled offshore profits over the past year, even as some corporations in other industries felt pressure to bring cash back home. Richard Rubin Bloomberg -- 3/5/15

Backers of Carson NFL stadium file ballot initiative as first step -- Last summer, representatives of the San Diego Chargers approached the Starwood Capital Group to learn more about the 168-acre site of a former landfill in Carson. By late January, the team had a binding deal to buy it. Nathan Fenno and Tim Logan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

San Diego may have to cover 65% of stadium cost -- San Diego County would have to cover up to 65 percent of the cost of a new stadium, based on what other NFL markets have contributed. That's the conclusion from the National University System's Institute for Policy Research in a quick study of the economics of cities and football teams. Roger Showley UT San Diego$ -- 3/5/15

Record $185M AutoZone verdict challenged -- A nearly $186 million verdict against AutoZone Stores in a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit — believed to be the largest employment law verdict for an individual in U.S. history — is far from being set in stone. Kristina Davis UT San Diego$ -- 3/5/15

California’s contract ‘sunshine’ season opens, no light expected -- The Department of Human Resources will throw wide its doors on Friday for state unions and the administration to publicly present their initial contract proposals in a public forum. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/15

McSwain: Executive pay bill calls out utilities -- How much are executives worth? This loaded question could someday be headed to a public hearing near you. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, has introduced a bill that would require a public regulatory hearing about certain large bonuses for utility executives. Dan McSwain UT San Diego$ -- 3/5/15

Greenhut: Union-backed edict imperils care for poor -- Hospital group still evaluating attorney general's costly contract provisions. Steven Greenhut UT San Diego$ -- 3/5/15

Education 

Law student files suit against University of San Diego -- A law student at the University of San Diego has filed a lawsuit against two students she says raped her, and against the university for allegedly discouraging her from reporting the assault to police and then doing a poor job of investigating the incident during an administrative hearing. Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

San Francisco archdiocese teachers overwhelmingly reject moral strictures -- Eighty percent of faculty and staff at the four San Francisco archdiocese high schools subject to the archbishop's new moral strictures have signed a petition rejecting his additions to the handbook for the next school year. Lee Romney in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

UC executive salary caps proposed in new bill -- The union-sponsored Assembly Bill 837 would cap executive compensation at $500,000, a limit its author claims will save $80 million per year and further the reforms sought by Gov. Jerry Brown. Katy Murphy in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/5/15

CSU Faculty Says Wage Increase Needed -- The California Faculty Association released a report showing its member's salaries have essentially remained flat, while compensation at the University of California and in the community college system has gone up. Katie Orr Capital Public Radio -- 3/5/15

Bill would steer extra revenue to Common Core implementation -- A bill introduced last week asks legislators to make implementing the Common Core and other new academic standards the top priority in spending a chunk of the extra $2 billion that the Legislative Analyst’s Office says could come K-12 schools’ way next year. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 3/5/15

Grade colleges on how well they teach teachers? Universities balk -- With fresh credentials in hand, enthusiastic and energetic teachers charge into classrooms hoping to change young lives. But in the first year they often end up feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and unprepared to teach and manage classes. Sharon Noguchi in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/5/15

Middle-class families get little help in paying for early care -- While Gov. Jerry Brown battles the University of California regents to keep a lid on undergraduate tuition, the rising cost of childcare and preschool are often a bigger concern for middle-class families in the state – and one that is noticeably absent from the state’s public policy agenda. Michael Collier EdSource -- 3/5/15

Drought   

Dry Winter Weather Worries Rice Farmers -- California rice farmers are worried that if doesn't rain or snow soon they will have to fallow fields again this year. The rice crop was down nearly 25% in 2014. But, it's not just the drought that's hurting growers. Market competition from states like Louisiana and Arkansas is also increasing. Lesley McClurg Capital Public Radio -- 3/5/15

Immigration / Border 

Immigrants in U.S. get help preserving land rights in Mexico -- Immigrants living in the U.S. get help from the Mexican government in preserving their land rights in Mexico. Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Environment 

Cleaner air is linked to stronger lungs in Southern California children -- Cleaner air has for the first time been linked to bigger and stronger lungs among school-age children, according to findings released Wednesday from a two-decade study in Southern California. Tony Barboza in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Wildfires eat up Forest Service budget, hampering prevention -- The cost of fighting wildfires in California and in the western United States has skyrocketed, hampering efforts by the U.S. Forest Service to implement fire prevention and forest management programs, the country’s top natural resources official said Wednesday. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/5/15

Study: Napa Quake Should Spur Retrofits to Older Buildings -- The message is driven home in a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey, which shows many of the structures damaged by last summer’s quake were built before 1950. Daniel Potter KQED -- 3/5/15

California cities leading in population growth, density -- Increasingly, Americans are living in cities, those cities are becoming more densely populated, and California is a major factor in both trends, a new Census Bureau report indicates. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/15

Three lawmakers urge Park Service action on Rim of the Valley study -- The study of the corridor — which includes the mountains encircling the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura counties — was mandated by Congress in 2008. Samee Kamal in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Health 

Vaccines should be mandatory for California day-care workers, senator says -- A California lawmaker is urging the state to make vaccines mandatory for all adults who work in preschools and day-care centers, a move following the largest measles outbreak in California in 15 years. Rosanna Xia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Also . . . 

Sacramento Artists Voice Opposition To $8 Million Out-Of-Town Piglet -- Artists who live in Sacramento are not pleased with a plan that would spend $8 million on a sculpture for the new Downtown Sacramento arena. They attended the Sacramento City Council meeting Tuesday night to speak against the plan. Bob Moffitt Capital Public Radio -- 3/5/15

Whittier police officers sue, say they were forced to meet quotas -- Six Whittier police officers are suing the city, saying they faced retaliation when they complained and refused to meet alleged ticket and arrest quotas. Veronica Rocha in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Man killed by LAPD officers on skid row was Cameroonian national, feds say -- Federal immigration officials said Wednesday that the homeless man shot and killed by Los Angeles police on skid row was a Cameroonian national but provided no other details about the man's true identity. Richard Winton and Kate Mather in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Beltway 

California lawmaker's pet inspires rare bipartisan compromise -- The 15-pound dog, with the jowls of a young Winston Churchill and the pluck of a latter-day Snoopy, is the inspiration for of Rep. Jeff Denham's (R-Turlock) measure approved Wednesday to allow dogs and cats to ride on Amtrak trains. Noah Bierman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15

Senate fails to override Obama's veto of Keystone XL pipeline -- The Senate failed Wednesday to override President Obama's veto of Keystone XL pipeline legislation, ending for now attempts by Congress to speed up approval of the controversial energy project. Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/15