Updates since early This Morning

S&P upgrades California's financial outlook -- California got another bump from Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday as the rating agency upgraded the state’s financial outlook from “stable” to “positive.” Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/14/12

California's sales tax rate not the nation's highest, report says -- During California's perennial tax wars, one statistic comes up constantly -- the Golden State's 7.25% sales tax rate is the highest in the nation. Nicholas Riccardi in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12

Myers: Getting On Ballot Only Half the Battle -- As every smart politico knows, there are two distinct stages of direct democracy in California: getting your proposition on the ballot and then getting voters to actually ratify your proposition. John Myers Capitol Notes -- 2/14/12

Quinn: The Not So Civil War Between the Legislature and the California Supreme Court -- It has never happened before. The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani Cantil Sakauye, accusing the Speaker of the California Assembly John Perez of lying while a prominent Assembly member compares the chief justice to a rookie legislator who does not understand the process. Tony Quinn Fox & Hounds -- 2/14/12

Obama hits the CA fundraising Mother Lode again Wed — here’s all the details -- President Barack Obama’s two day trip to California starting Wednesday is another whirlwind 2012 campaign fundraising tour that should take in a hefty haul: it includes a tony Beverly Hills dinner hosted by comedian Will Ferrell, a Los Angeles reception featuring the Foo Fighters, and a San Francisco performance by Chris Cornell. Carla Marinucci Chronicle Politics -- 2/14/12

Redevelopment agencies’ exit creates $900 million problem for schools -- Complications in transferring tax increment money from dissolved redevelopment agencies to schools have created an unanticipated three-month delay and a $900 million funding gap for districts. Kim Beltran, Tom Chorneau SI&A Cabinet Report via Capitol Weekly -- 2/14/12

Assembly spends nearly $200,000 to fight public-records suit -- The California Assembly spent nearly $200,000 in legal fees fighting against disclosure of member-by-member budgets that allocate tens of millions in public funds, records show. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/14/12

Nonprofits fear money in center's care vanished -- About 200 small California groups may have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in donated funds. Jeff Gottlieb in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12

Change in top 2 primary law: Candidates must run as registered -- With little fanfare on Friday afternoon, Gov. Jerry Brown signed urgency legislation that will have the effect of making Supervisor Linda Parks' decision about how to position herself in the upcoming congressional campaign a little tougher. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 2/14/12

Paul McCartney and wife lay flowers at Whitney Houston memorial -- Among those laying flowers at the makeshift memorial set up for Whitney Houston outside the Beverly Hilton, where she was found dead Saturday, were pop superstar Paul McCartney and his wife, Nancy Shevell. Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12

AT&T cuts speeds for high-intensity users -- So last month, AT&T "throttled" Trang's iPhone, slowing downloads by roughly 99 percent. That means a Web page that would normally take a second to load instead took almost two minutes. AT&T has some 17 million customers with "unlimited data" plans that can be subject to throttling, representing just under half of its smartphone users. It stopped signing up new customers for those plans in 2010. Peter Svensson AP -- 2/14/12

CMR: Kathy Beasley -- At the Capitol it's sometimes better for your wallet to keep opinions to yourself. Bob Fairanks and Bob Schmidt Capitol Morning Report -- 2/14/12


   California Policy and Politics This Morning

Obama's budget plan cuts aid for California farms, beaches, illegal immigrants in prison -- California has a big stake in the debate begun Monday with release of the Obama administration's proposed fiscal year 2013 budget, even if the sprawling document has only a short lifespan. Michael Doyle in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/14/12

How Kamala Harris Finessed a Foreclosure Deal for California -- Kamala D. Harris, the attorney general of California, could have derailed a nationwide settlement with big banks over home foreclosure abuses when she walked out of talks last September. SHAILA DEWAN in the New York Times -- 2/14/12

State Democratic party won't endorse Howard Berman, Brad Sherman -- 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 -- 2/14/12

Walters: Jerry Brown has a big problem with tax measures -- When Jerry Brown goes into his bunker – or monk's cell or man-cave – and issues cryptic messages, you know he's up to something. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/14/12

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 -- 2/14/12

George Soros gives $500,000 to effort to narrow three-strikes law -- Billionaire George Soros has written a $500,000 check to help finance a potential ballot measure that aims to lower the number of criminals serving prison terms of 25 year to life under California's three-strikes law. Nicholas Riccardi in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12

California Democratic Party Endorses Janice Hahn Over Laura Richardson -- The California Democratic Party endorsed Rep. Janice Hahn on Sunday, Roll Call has learned — a significant sign of support in her race against fellow Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson. Kyle Trygstad Roll Call -- 2/14/12

Supervisors Considering Changes to SF's Election System -- One measure would eliminate ranked-choice voting. The item is in Bay Citizen -- 2/14/12

California to probe charges of shoddy PG&E pipe welds -- The California Public Utilities Commission is investigating two veteran welders' accusations that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews did substandard work during strength testing of gas pipelines that the company performed last year in reaction to the San Bruno disaster, officials said Monday. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/14/12

San Francisco key officials embroiled in byzantine legal case -- It's not every day a sitting mayor is called to the witness stand. But the case of a nearly decadelong legal battle between the city of San Francisco and two of its former technology vendors over allegations of a kickback scheme is anything but routine. John Coté in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/14/12

Inmate on hunger strike dies at California State Prison, Corcoran -- A spokesman with California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirms that Christian Gomez died Feb. 2. That’s just four days after Gomez began to refuse prison meals to protest conditions in the Administrative Segregation Unit at Corcoran. Julie Small KPCC So Cal Public Radio -- 2/14/12

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 -- 2/14/12

   Giving and Receiving

California's political watchdog panel eases its approach to ethics issues -- The Fair Political Practices Commission has eased restrictions on gifts to lawmakers, called fewer open meetings and stopped notifying the public of pending investigations. Some good-government advocates are angry. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12


Occupy arrestee was charged in 2010 protest -- An Occupy protester arrested for allegedly kicking an Oakland police sergeant over the weekend was arrested in 2010 in connection with a demonstration over the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer. Henry K. Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/14/12

   Economy - Jobs

Obama budget contains nearly $35 billion for passenger rail -- The Obama administration, which has been urging California to push through growing opposition to its high-speed rail project, asked Congress on Monday for nearly $35 billion in passenger rail funding over the next five years. Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12

Nearly $3B in energy loans could default -- A report commissioned by the Obama administration to re-examine the Department of Energy's loans to clean energy companies after the bankruptcies of the first two loan recipients, including Fremont-based Solyndra, found that close to $3 billion in loans could be at risk for default, which is in line with the department's own internal estimate. Daniel J. Goldstein California Watch -- 2/14/12

Bill puts $100,000 cap on future state and local pensions -- The Irvine Republican's measure, AB 1633, would cap pensions for workers who don't participate in Social Security at $100,000 per year. Workers who do participate in the federal program couldn't receive more than $80,000 per year from a state or local pension. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12

California 'underemployment' among worst in nation -- California was among five U.S. states with the highest "underemployment" rate for 2011, according to a new Gallup poll. Kevin Smith in the San Gabriel Tribune -- 2/14/12

Sacramento judge rules Department of Justice layoffs can proceed -- A Sacramento judge has refused to temporarily halt layoffs planned for the Department of Justice, leaving the path clear for about 80 employees to be shown the exit. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/14/12


Bus funds restored, but some schools lose more -- California schools will no longer lose $248 million in transportation funding under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Friday – a move applauded by many education officials and school districts that had decried the loss as a disproportionate burden on rural schools. Joanna Lin California Watch -- 2/14/12

LAUSD set to cut Beyond the Bell after-school programs -- Free after-school programs that provide academic and cultural enrichment for thousands of LAUSD students - and day-care options for their parents - would be scaled back or eliminated under a money-saving plan set for a vote today by the school board. Barbara Jones in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 2/14/12

Fensterwald: Innovators for youth honored -- The founder of a network that provides support for gay students and the founders of two effective nonprofits that provide hope and training for at-risk youths in Oakland and Santa Clara County are among the five winners of this year’s James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards. John Fensterwald educatedguess -- 2/14/12

   Health Care

Survey shows disconnect on end-of-life health care -- Very few Californians have talked to their doctors about their end-of-life health care despite a desire to do so, according to a poll that revealed a wide disparity between how people want their final days to be handled and what they've done to ensure it. Victoria Colliver in the San Francisco Chronicle Lisa M. Krieger in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/14/12

Sebelius in L.A. to announce $9.1 million in aid to med students -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited a health clinic in downtown Los Angeles on Monday and announced more than $9 million in funding to help medical students repay school loans if they agree to work in underserved areas. Anna Gorman in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12

Riverside County launches insurance plan for low-income families -- Riverside County took a first step toward federal healthcare reform last month with the launch of Riverside County Healthcare, an insurance plan for poor people who don’t qualify for Medi-Cal. Robin Urevich HealthyCal.org -- 2/14/12

Darrell Steinberg wants probe of Sacramento County 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 in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/14/12


Disagreements on proposed solar plant’s wildlife impacts -- Wildlife experts and representatives of a company seeking to build a huge solar-energy field in eastern Riverside County sparred Monday over the extent of surveys to judge the project’s impact on migrating birds and eagles. JIM MILLER in the Riverside Press -- 2/14/12

Air pollution might harm brain, study says -- It’s well established that dirty, sooty air is no good for your lungs and probably not great for your skin. But new research indicates it can damage your brain, too. Susanne Rust California Watch -- 2/14/12


Funding for illegal immigrant incarceration jeopardized -- In what has become something of an annual tradition, the presidential budget proposal unveiled Monday contains deep cuts to a federal program that reimburses states for the costs of jailing illegal immigrants, sparking calls to restore funding. BEN GOAD in the Riverside Press -- 2/14/12

Legality of LAPD Chief Beck's proposed impound rules questioned -- With the Los Angeles Police Department on the verge of implementing controversial changes to when officers impound vehicles of unlicensed drivers, the legality of those changes was thrown into some question Monday by a nonpartisan state agency. Joel Rubin in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12


Stanford grad continues fight to get off no-fly list -- A quieter decision Wednesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has enabled Stanford University Ph.D. graduate Rahinah Ibrahim to clear another hurdle in her now years-long battle over the nation’s no-fly list, conceived to stop suspected terrorists from boarding airplanes. G.W. Schulz California Watch -- 2/14/12

Community Policing Coming to BART -- Under scrutiny for three fatal officer-involved shootings in four years, the BART Police Department will take a more community-oriented approach to patrolling the transit system, The Bay Citizen has learned. ZUSHA ELINSON Bay Citizen -- 2/14/12

   POTUS 44

Obama hits GOP with $3.8T budget for 2013 -- A combative President Obama unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget on Monday with a flurry of attacks on Republicans in Congress. Erik Wasson The Hill -- 2/14/12


Newt threatens to take his campaign to GOP convention -- Newt Gingrich threatened Monday to take his presidential bid all the way to the Republican Convention, despite his poll numbers and in the face of opposition from the GOP establishment. Brian Charles in the San Gabriel Tribune -- 2/14/12

Gingrich raises money in California, pledges to lower gas prices -- The former House speaker also appealed specifically to California conservatives, promising to make the state competitive in the fall, calling for the preservation of memorial crosses that came under fire for being on public land, knocking the teachers union in Los Angeles for defending incompetent teachers, saying he would rein in federal environmental officials, and pledging to take on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which just ruled against the state’s same-sex marriage initiative. John Hoeffel in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12

Republicans retreat on tax cut -- House Republican leaders on Monday backed down on their demand to offset the costs of extending the payroll tax cut for the remainder of 2012. Bernie Becker and Russell Berman The Hill Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/14/12

Saunders: Obama imposes will in contraception compromise -- From San Francisco, the controversy over the White House decision to require religious-affiliated employers to provide contraception in their employee health care benefits has felt like an argument about the barn door being open years after the horse got out of the barn. Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/14/12