Updates since early This Morning

Stuff Capitol Insiders Say --Stuff Capitol Insinders Say inspired by the hardworking people toiling in and around California's capitol in Sacramento. Produced by the Sacramento Press Club YouTube -- 2/13/12

Democrats say they're being shut out of California water bill rewrite -- Republican lawmakers led by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, have been quietly overseeing the rewrite of a huge California water bill since last summer. The bill could shape everything from the San Joaquin River to Sacramento Valley water deliveries. But despite the broad-based impact, Democrats feel shut out. Michael Doyle in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/13/12

California's affirmative action ban challenge gains little traction in court -- A federal appeals court on Monday appeared unlikely to overturn Proposition 209, indicating that it is bound by a previous ruling upholding California's voter-approved ban on public affirmative action programs. Howard Mintz in the Contra Costa Times -- 2/13/12

First Amendment, anyone? Democratic Rep. Pete Stark bars TV news crew from public town hall -- California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark – who has raised ire and sparked viral videos with his verbal outbursts at public events — on Saturday barred a KTVU Channel 2 news crew from entering his public town hall at Hayward City Hall, telling them that he would not allow media coverage, sources say. Carla Marinucci Chronicle Politics -- 2/13/12

Steinberg seeks state review of Sacramento Co. dental program -- Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is calling for a state review of a Sacramento County pilot program that provides state-funded dental coverage for low-income children. Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/13/12

California's high-income taxpayers dropped sharply -- Gov. Jerry Brown wants to hit California's highest-income taxpayers with billions of dollars in new taxes, and is jousting with other groups with their own tax-the-rich measures over which, if any, will win voter approval. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/13/12

House Republicans surrender on fight over payroll tax cut -- GOP leaders will put forward a new proposal to extend the tax cut, giving up, for now, on their demand that it must be paid for. Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/13/12

Washington state makes 7: Governor signs gay marriage law -- "My friends, welcome to the other side of the rainbow!" state Sen. Ed Murray declared Monday as Washington became the seventh state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Kim Murphy in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/13/12

California faces cuts in Obama budget -- California has a big stake in the debate begun Monday with release of the Obama administration's proposed Fiscal 2013 budget, even if the document has only a short lifespan. Michael Doyle SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/13/12

Billionaire George Soros donates $500,000 to three-strikes drive -- Soros' $500,000 donation to the "Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012" was reported Friday by the ballot drive's fundraising committee, sponsored by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, records show. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert Nicholas Riccardi LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/13/12

California lawmaker: Cap public pensions at $100,000 -- While state lawmakers slowly move through hearings on complicated proposals to reduce public pension costs, Assemblyman Donald Wagner (R-Irvine) says he has a simple solution: Cap public retirements in California at $100,000 a year. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/13/12

Fox: Labor and State Democrats Tie the Knot Tighter -- Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandies once commented that each state could “if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 2/13/12

Wildermuth: Public Finance Made Easy -- Government finance doesn’t have to be complicated, although you wouldn’t know it from watching the budget dance in Sacramento. John Wildermuth Fox & Hounds -- 2/13/12

Poll: Santorum surges past Romney, both Republicans trail Obama -- President Obama for the first time has opened a sizable lead over his most likely Republican opponents, thanks to growing support among independent voters, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. David Lauter in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/13/12

CA Democratic Party stays on the sidelines for Berman-Sherman battle -- The contentious battle between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman for the new 30th Congressional District spilled over to the state Democratic Convention in San Diego over the weekend, when Berman was able to head off an endorsement of Sherman by the party. Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 2/13/12

 

   California Policy and Politics This Morning

L.A. Coliseum Commission officials cash in on unused sick leave -- Top officials at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum have shown a knack for banking healthy chunks of unused sick leave on the public payroll — in one case, about 35 years' worth. Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/13/12

California Democrats take shots at Republicans - and each other -- The fight between the Berman and Sherman camps was the battle royale of the weekend, culminating with the two exchanging verbal blows in front of a crowd of several hundred delegates assigned to the district gathered to make a recommendation. Torey Van Oot in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/13/12

Democrats look back to 2008 -- Democratic leaders this weekend implored attendees at the state party convention in San Diego to harness the energy and enthusiasm of 2008, casting the upcoming elections as pivotal moments that will determine the trajectory of the country for decades to come. Christopher Cadelago UT San Diego -- 2/13/12

Party bullish on Inland area in 2012 -- It’s been a long time since Democrats could look at Inland Southern California as a place of political opportunity. That’s changed. JIM MILLER in the Riverside Press -- 2/13/12

Skelton: Commit a crime, collect a pension -- Public employees — including teachers — receive retirement benefits even if they are felons. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/13/12

Federal court to hear renewed challenge to California's affirmative action ban -- Reviving California's fierce debate over affirmative action programs, dozens of black and Latino students will turn to a federal appeals court this week in a bid to end the state's 16-year-old ban on using race and ethnicity as factors in public university admissions. Howard Mintz in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/13/12

Schrag: The Promise Of The Big Mortgage Deal -- California Attorney General Kamala Harris deserves at least some of the self-congratulation she heaped on herself when the big national mortgage foreclosure deal was announced last week. Peter Schrag Cal Progress Report -- 2/13/12

State pension initiative fails, local votes in June -- A drive to place a statewide public pension reform initiative on the November ballot ended last week, lacking funding like previous attempts. But major local pension reforms are expected to be on the June ballot in San Diego and San Jose. Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 2/13/12

CredoMobile reverses stance, sets up super PAC -- CredoMobile, a San Francisco phone company, has donated $75 million to liberal causes since 1985. For the past two years, it has led protests against the Supreme Court decision that paved the way for independent political campaign groups, known as super PACs, to accept unlimited donations from corporations and individuals. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/13/12

Californians fund super PAC that hounds GOP -- Everywhere Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney goes, he is followed by "trackers" with video cameras, hoping to catch him making an embarrassing gaffe. Will Evans California Watch -- 2/13/12

Caltrain plan would fast-track electric rail -- The overhaul of California's high-speed rail project could bring the Bay Area $1 billion to electrify Caltrain and lay the path for bullet train service between San Francisco and San Jose sooner than anticipated. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/13/12

Walters: Rose Bird court laid groundwork for current redistricting decision -- Rose Bird's ghost hung over the California Supreme Court as it wrestled with what to do about a referendum to overturn the state Senate districts wrought by a new redistricting commission. Ultimately, she – or her legal position – prevailed. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/13/12

Baca ekes out CD-35 Dem endorsement -- As a Democratic incumbent seeking re-election, Baca needed only a majority vote-plus-one to receive the party's endorsement, not the 60 percent required of other candidates. The outcome in CD-35 was the closest of any race involving an incumbent and a non-incumbent challenger. Jim Miller in the Riverside Press -- 2/13/12

CalBuzz: Jerry Brown’s Big Fail; Dem Winners and Losers -- Governor Jerry Brown’s failure to explain to 3,000 activists at the weekend California Democratic Party convention why they should support his tax-hike initiative instead of two others that threaten to swamp his measure left us pondering the possible reasons for his wimp-out. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 2/13/12

Santorum decries 'judicial tyranny' in Prop. 8 ruling -- GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum described last week’s court ruling striking down California’s ban on same-sex marriage as “almost absurd” and an example of “judicial tyranny.” David G. Savage in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/13/12

   Taxes - Fees

Poll: San Jose residents less resistant to tax increase -- After years of service cuts, San Jose residents appear to be warming to the idea of new taxes, according to a recent poll commissioned by the city. But the poll also shows residents still strongly favor curbs on employee compensation to help solve the city's budget woes, as well as selling one of the city's three golf courses. Tracy Seipel in the Contra Costa Times -- 2/13/12

   Economy - Jobs

State employee unions aren't counting on generous contracts from Democrat Jerry Brown -- Contract talks kicking off this month between the state and four employee unions present Gov. Jerry Brown with a political dilemma: How does he deal fairly with his key labor constituency without exposing himself to charges he's kowtowing to them? Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/13/12

California economy to take hit from defense cuts -- Tens of thousands of California jobs are at stake as the Pentagon rolls out plans to reduce its budget for the first time since the 1990s. Yousur Alhlou in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/13/12

Biomedical job growth stalls in California, study finds -- Job growth in California's biomedical industry has stalled as uneasy investors wait out a shaky economy and an uncertain regulatory environment. Employment in the sector has dropped to pre-recession levels statewide, according to a recent California Healthcare Institute report. Darrell Smith in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/13/12

   Education

Fensterwald: Building teachers to last -- The biggest challenge facing legislators as they pursue rewriting the state’s teacher evaluation law this year is not how to weed out the worst teachers but how to retain the best. John Fensterwald educatedguess -- 2/13/12

Brown: Disapproving parents agree: Go back and fix your budget, governor -- Parents from around the state have reviewed the governor’s proposed 2012-13 budget, and we would like to say, loud and clear, we are disappointed. Crystal Brown TopEd -- 2/13/12

Suddenly, the pressure is off -- Some college-bound teens already know where they are going next, but even if they don't, they've done all they can for now. It's time to kick back. Larry Gordon and Angel Jennings in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/13/12

   Health Care

California's mobile hospitals are running out of money and time -- In a cool, 18,000-square-foot warehouse tucked in an industrial Sacramento-area neighborhood sits millions of dollars in equipment California leaders hope never to use. Kevin Yamamura in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/13/12

   Environment

Southern Californians at risk of death from air pollution, EPA says -- Southern Californians are among those at highest risk of death due to air pollution, according to recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency research published in the journal Risk Analysis. Bernice Yeung California Watch -- 2/13/12

   Also..

L.A.'s new trash plan: better for recycling or a big mess? -- Today, the Board of Public Works will hold the first public hearing on a proposal to move from a largely unregulated free market - one likened to the "Wild West" by critics - to a highly regulated system in which the city would select one private waste hauler to serve each of 11 geographic regions. Melissa Pamer in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 2/12/12

Coalition of SoCal cities want to shed light on Edison charges -- A coalition of Southern California cities, including Torrance, has accused the region's largest utility of pocketing millions in taxpayer money meant for light pole maintenance and replacement and failing to do much work, if any, for years. Nick Green in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 2/12/12

A mother's diminished dream to honor her late son -- Seven years after Hazel Imbrecht created a foundation to honor the memory of her son and four years after her death, it now appears something will come of her once-grandiose dream of paying tribute to the late Ventura Assemblyman Charles Imbrecht. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 2/13/12

   POTUS 44

Obama’s ‘Truth Team’ aims to network its way to a reelection win -- With his decision to embrace an independent super PAC last week, President Obama issued a plea for deep-pocketed allies to help his campaign fight back against Republican rivals in the increasingly expensive and sophisticated arena of television attack ads. Now, the Obama campaign is putting out a call for its grass-roots network to join the battle for free. David Nakamura in the Washington Post -- 2/13/12

Obama budget strategy: Spur economy now, cut deficits over time -- President Obama unveils a budget blueprint Monday designed to give the economy a shot in the arm while laying out a long-term plan to cut federal deficits, senior administration officials say. Christi Parsons in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/13/12

   Beltway

Santorum defends views on working women -- Rick Santorum, still enjoying a surge in fundraising and attention after winning three states last week in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination, pushed back Sunday against the idea that his socially conservative views could alienate working women. Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/12/12

Key Republican promises fight over birth control coverage -- Sen. Mitch McConnell says the issue won't go away until Obama 'simply backs down.' The White House says the plan strikes the 'right balance' to protect religious liberty. David G. Savage in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/12/12

Affluent Californians send huge donations to Obama, Romney -- DreamWorks co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg are among the affluent Californians taking advantage of new campaign rules that allow them to donate unlimited amounts to help President Barack Obama get re-elected. Yousur Alhlou in the Contra Costa Times -- 2/12/12

Romney backers in Congress second-guessing campaign -- They say the setback in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado put more pressure on Romney to win decisively in Michigan and Arizona on Feb. 28 to avert a messy and prolonged fight for the nomination. Alexander Bolton The Hill -- 2/12/12