California Policy and Politics This Morning

Democratic convention showcases 2 rising stars -- This weekend's gathering of California Democrats showcased two of the party's rising stars, with state Attorney General Kamala Harris and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom showing off their formidable political skills and contrasting approaches as the state's majority party prepares for an eventual changing of the guard. JULIET WILLIAMS AP -- 2/12/12

Rick Santorum makes surprise appearance at Indian Wells fundraiser -- Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, surging in national political polls in the Republican presidential primary race, made a surprise appearance at the annual fundraiser for the Sacred Heart Church and School on Saturday night in Indian Wells. Marcel Honoré in the Desert Sun -- 2/12/12

California Democrats debate how to raise taxes at statewude convention -- Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged Saturday that his tax proposal for the November ballot has a "few issues," but he sidestepped the controversy in a high-profile speech at the California Democratic Party's annual convention. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/12/12

Van Jones: 'Millionaire tax' will energize young voters -- Jones, the guest speaker at the Friday night kick-off of the state Democratic Party convention in San Diego, told attendees that a tax on top earners would motivate young voters facing large student loan debt and dismal job prospects in a down economy. Torey Van Oot in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/12/12

Franken praises Prop. 8 ruling in San Diego -- Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., gave a wide-ranging speech Saturday at the California Democrats State Convention in San Diego, shifting from searing attacks on the Republican Party to family anecdotes to praise for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for ruling California's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Christopher Cadelago UT San Diego -- 2/12/12

Feinstein regrets Obama's shift on birth control -- U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Saturday that she regretted that President Barack Obama had abandoned his insistence that religious organizations offer free birth control for their employees. ELLIOT SPAGAT AP -- 2/12/12

Myers: Dems Day 2: Congressional "Erminators" -- Think Hatfields and McCoys. Or Corleones and Tattaglias. Now, think worse... and you start to get a feel for the animosity on display Saturday night between Rep. Howard Berman and Rep. Brad Sherman. John Myers Capitol Notes Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/12/12

Dueling tax hike measures pushed as Democrats hold convention -- Gov. Jerry Brown holds a fundraiser and touts his bid to raise taxes on sales and on incomes above $250,000. Nurses and teachers unions seek to increase levies only on incomes of $1 million or more. Anthony York in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/12/12

Democrats see California as cash cow for elections -- California Democrats, while acknowledging their solidly blue state will not be a presidential election battleground, marshaled forces this weekend for another critical 2012 battle: maximizing the Golden State's role as a powerhouse fundraiser to fuel the re-election of President Obama and return Rep. Nancy Pelosi to the speakership of the House of Representatives. Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/12/12

Walters: Is a part-time California Legislature the cure? -- Shannon Grove, a Republican assemblywoman from Bakersfield, is sponsoring an embryonic ballot measure to return the Legislature to a part-time body, which it was before 1966. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/12/12

Kamala Harris pledges to double down on lender abuse cases -- California Attorney General Kamala Harris said today she is "doubling down" on prosecutions of predatory lending and other cases of lender misconduct in the wake of the $26 billion mortgage settlement announced last week. Torey Van Oot in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/12/12

Bennett exits U.S. House race -- Supervisor Steve Bennett, the leading candidate among four Democrats who had announced their intent to run for Congress in Ventura County's new 26th District, dropped out of the race Saturday and said he will run for re-election to the Board of Supervisors instead. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 2/12/12

Bill Lockyer says wife assaulted by ex-boyfriend -- Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, wife of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, was "violently assaulted" by an ex-boyfriend she met up with at a Newark motel after the Lockyers fought, her husband says. Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/12/12

Prop. 8: Supreme Court may redefine gay rights -- Nine years ago, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who may soon decide the fate of same-sex marriage in California, pondered the case of two Texas men who had been arrested in an apartment at gunpoint and charged with sodomy. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/12/12

Willie Brown -- Jerry Brown tax plan has competition -- Let's be honest - all the tax plans are set up to pay for the interests of their backers. Munger and the teachers are all about money going to education. Brown, while saying his plan will help education, actually would give himself the freedom to spread the money around to a host of state programs. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/12/12

Lopez: In Central Valley, conservative flight to the right -- The way things are going in the GOP presidential primary, there's now an outside chance that California's 169 delegate votes — the most of any state in the nation — could come into play. Who knew? Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/12/12


Occupy protesters target California Democrats -- Even with Democrats supporting higher taxes on the wealthy this November, Occupy protesters still found fault with California's majority party at their annual convention in San Diego on Saturday. JULIET WILLIAMS AP -- 2/12/12

Confinement strategy at protests stirs debate -- In a small park in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood, hundreds of Occupy Oakland protesters were surrounded by police officers in riot helmets just before 6 p.m. Jan. 28. Justin Berton in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/12/12

Occupy Oakland marchers continue weekly anti-police protest -- About 75 people marched Saturday night during the weekly anti-police brutality march organized by Occupy Oakland. Several police motorcycles followed the crowd, which chanted "Out of your homes and into the streets!" and "The system has got to die!" Alan Lopez in the Oakland Tribune -- 2/12/12

Occupy Movement Regroups, Preparing for Its Next Phase -- The ragtag Occupy Wall Street encampments that sprang up in scores of cities last fall, thrusting “We are the 99 percent” into the vernacular, have largely been dismantled, with a new wave of crackdowns and evictions in the past week. Since the violent clashes last month in Oakland, Calif., headlines about Occupy have dwindled, too. ERIK ECKHOLM in the New York Times -- 2/12/12

   Giving and Receiving

Morain: Hear the one about Senate donor reports? -- The U.S. Senate insulted us the other day and got a good laugh at our expense, once again. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/12/12

   Economy - Jobs

Housing crisis losses - who pays? -- The $26 billion settlement reached last week by state attorneys general to aid distressed homeowners, nearly half of it going to California, doesn't much dent $7 trillion. Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/12/12

Uncertainty clouds Obama’s latest solar push -- President Barack Obama wants to revive the renewable energy push that fostered a solar development boom in the first years of his administration, particularly across the sun-drenched deserts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. BEN GOAD in the Riverside Press -- 2/12/12

Bay Area investment group connects socially responsible lenders, local farmers -- But Sutton, who keeps four chickens of her own at her Albany home, wouldn't have known Soul Food Farm was looking for a loan if it hadn't been for an organization called Slow Money. The nonprofit group connects socially responsible lenders with local food enterprises and farms that support soil fertility and their economy. Angela Woodall in the Oakland Tribune -- 2/12/12


Adult education on LAUSD chopping block -- Call it a school for second chances. High-school dropouts can go there to earn a GED or diploma. Veterans, laid-off workers and young adults with vocational aspirations can learn a trade. Immigrant parents can acquire basic English and math skills so they can help their kids with homework. Barbara Jones in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 2/12/12

Orange County public school pay dips for second year -- Nearly 3,200 public school administrators, teachers and other employees in Orange County earned more than $100,000 in 2010-11, and 10 of them crossed the $250,000 mark. Even so, overall compensation at Orange County's K-12 public schools dipped 3 percent as employees took mandatory furlough days, pay cuts and wage freezes, and their ranks thinned through attrition and layoffs. SCOTT MARTINDALE and FERMIN LEAL in the Orange County Register -- 2/12/12

Teachers want moratorium on layoffs and a new evaluation system -- Los Angeles teachers have approved a much-watched initiative that calls for a moratorium on layoffs as well as a new teacher-evaluation system. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/12/12

Claremont McKenna's inflated scores bring new scrutiny to college rankings -- Some students and their counselors say they might take annual magazine listings of colleges less seriously than in the past. Larry Gordon in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/12/12

Outsourcing Gym Class -- The school’s parent-teacher organization pays $71,000 a year to Rhythm and Moves, a company based in Burlingame, which sends Mazeau to the school along with sports equipment including hula hoops, jump ropes and basketballs. KATHARINE MIESZKOWSKI Bay Citizen -- 2/12/12

   Health Care

'Model' dental program proves painful for kids -- Critics – including local dentists, county officials, school nurses and family members – contend that Sacramento's special model of care forces many children to wait months or even years before receiving needed treatment, even if they have broken or rotting teeth, or are in so much pain that they can't chew. Jocelyn Wiener in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/12/12


Testing pot in a legal vacuum -- The more prominent operations in California — including Steep Hill in Oakland, Halent in Sacramento and The Werc Shop in Los Angeles County — have recently formed the Assn. of California Cannabis Laboratories to set equipment standards and methodology and to give a seal of approval for those who comply. Joe Mozingo in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/12/12

Details emerge on Rep. Buck McKeon's Countrywide loan -- Congressional investigators have alleged that McKeon got a cut-rate home loan under a Countrywide VIP program. McKeon disagrees. Now mortgage experts review the paperwork. Abby Sewell and Catherine Saillant in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/12/12

Borenstein: Dangerous road on Amgen race route exemplifies California dysfunction -- It's a logical addition. The mountain, with its stunning views, attracts more than 45,000 riders a year and offers one of the most challenging ascents in the region. Unfortunately, so do the potholes at the southern approach. Daniel Borenstein in the Contra Costa Times -- 2/12/12

   POTUS 44

Parts of Obama's mortgage refinancing package will be reality -- The proposals that require congressional approval have little chance, but some of the president's ideas can be enacted administratively and could begin affecting consumers within weeks. Kenneth R. Harney in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/12/12


Mitt Romney benefiting from divide among conservatives -- The number of votes cast in a straw poll of conservative activists was only a couple thousand fewer than the total at Maine caucuses. But for Mitt Romney, the verdict of attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference may have been a more significant victory Saturday. Michael A. Memoli in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/12/12

Mitt Romney Goes Two for Two With Maine Win -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the non-binding Maine presidential caucuses today, capping off a day on which he also won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll. Lauren Whittington Roll Call -- 2/12/12