Updates since early This Morning

California gov. to play host to Chinese VP for 2 days -- Gov. Jerry Brown will welcome Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to California with a tour of the Port of Los Angeles and events highlighting the economic and cultural ties between the world's most populous nation and the U.S. state with the greatest population and largest economy, the governor's office announced Wednesday. JUDY LIN AP -- 2/15/12

Federal funds for health testing at beaches to be eliminated -- Health testing at beaches in California and across the nation is at risk of being cut back under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plan to eliminate federal funds for monitoring whether the water is too contaminated to swim in. Tony Barboza in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/15/12

Lance Armstrong to give $1.5 million to push California tobacco tax -- Former Tour de France champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong will announce a $1.5-million donation to Proposition 29, the June ballot measure in California that would create a new $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes to pay for cancer research. Anthony York in the Los Angeles Times Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert JUDY LIN AP -- 2/15/12

CalPERS report undermines Gov. Jerry Brown’s pension overhaul plan -- CalPERS has a new report that says California Gov. Jerry Brown's idea to alter pensions with 401(k)-style plans won't help new workers and won't save California money, either. Michael J. Mishak LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/15/12

Ex-Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness joins CPOA as lobbyist -- McGinness retired from his sheriff's post in 2010 after a 31-year career in the department. He currently hosts his own talk radio show on KFBK and teaches as an adjunct professor at California State University. Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/15/12

Caltrans removes staff after 25-mile Interstate 10 backup -- The jam was so severe, causing waits of five hours or more, that some people were forced to relieve themselves on the freeway shoulder, according to the Desert Sun newspaper of Palm Springs. One man from Rancho Mirage told the Desert Sun the delays cost him $1,200 after he missed his flight to Europe. Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/15/12

Gov. Jerry Brown changes route, restores bus money next year -- Gov. Jerry Brown reversed course this week by restoring $496 million in school bus money in his budget proposal for next fiscal year after facing criticism from education groups. Kevin Yamamura SacBee Capitol Alert Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/15/12

Two more agencies say they'll pay furlough back wages -- Solidarity isn't just a union concept. Nearly all current and former employees of the California Housing Finance Agency and the California State Lottery will receive back pay for wages lost to furloughs, officials now say. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/15/12

Myers: The Costs of Brown's Pension Plan... In Money and Politics -- For weeks, the conventional wisdom around the Capitol has been that Governor Jerry Brown's proposal to create a hybrid pension/401(k) system for future government employees faced long odds with legislative Democrats. Now, they've got something on which to base their opposition: a study by CalPERS that suggests such a system may not be all it's cracked up to be. John Myers Capitol Notes -- 2/15/12

Fox: Brown’s Tax Plan Looking for Love -- Governor Jerry Brown is taking knocks for not yet clearing competing tax proposals proposed for the November ballot to the point where Scott Lay in his Nooner report asked the question whether Brown would be the one to dump his measure and back another. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 2/15/12

California lawmaker proposes tougher sanctions in corruption cases -- Assemblyman Paul Cook (R-Yucaipa) said he introduced legislation in response to indictments issued last year against officials including former San Bernardino County Supervisor Paul Biane on charges of bribery, extortion and misappropriation of public funds. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/15/12

 

   California Policy and Politics This Morning

California economic reports forecast modest growth -- Things are looking up for California's beleaguered economy as the recovery from the recession hits a period of slow, modest growth this year and next, according to two economic reports. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/15/12

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 -- 2/15/12

Walters: Misplaced budget priorities abound in California -- The Save Mart supermarket chain unveiled a plan Tuesday to keep Sacramento's public swimming pools open this summer and thus provide recreation for thousands of youngsters whose families can't afford backyard pools. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/15/12

California Assembly decision to fight budget release cost nearly $200,000 -- The California Assembly spent nearly $200,000 in public funds fighting against release of member-by-member budgets allocating tens of millions in public funds, records show. Jim Sanders in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/15/12

Villaraigosa will chair Democratic National Convention -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been selected chairman of this summer's Democratic National Convention, elevating his role as a surrogate in the Latino community and raising his national profile at a time Villaraigosa considers his political future. Mark Z. Barabak and John Hoeffel in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/15/12

Out of Office, but Not Out of Things to Say -- Wilkes Bashford, of the renowned clothing store here that bears his name, places a John Lobb suede oxford, size 11, marked down to $1,650, on the table at Le Central. ERICA GOODE in the New York Times -- 2/15/12

Herdt: For county Democrats, a runaway bride -- When a politician, especially one who appears to be flying high, drops out of a political race much speculation inevitably follows. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 2/15/12

Smyth won't challenge Pavley in east county Senate district -- Assemblyman Cameron Smyth of Santa Clarita, widely believed to be the Republicans' best potential candidate in the new 27th Senate District, said Tuesday he will not run against Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 2/15/12

Whitman, former finance chair for Romney, gives little funding this time -- Back in the 1980s at Boston’s Bain & Co. business consulting firm, partner Mitt Romney mentored a promising young executive named Meg Whitman. Lance Williams California Watch -- 2/15/12

CalBuzz: Why GOP Wannabes Must Attend State Convention -- Urgent memo to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum: You can still get a cheap, one-day round-trip flight to make the California Republican Convention. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 2/15/12

Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, wife of California treasurer, acknowledges substance abuse -- Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, wife of California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, said Tuesday that she's in rehabilitation for a substance-abuse problem after an extramarital affair culminated in a beating by her ex-lover. Josh Richman in the Oakland Tribune Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/15/12

Charges filed against Ed Lee’s contributors -- San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon today said he’s filing misdemeanor criminal charges against an airport passenger shuttle company that he says illegally funneled contributions to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s campaign last year. Josh Richman in the Oakland Tribune MATT SMITH Bay Citizen -- 2/15/12

San Francisco's Voting System Won't Change, For Now -- Neither of two dueling proposals to change San Francisco's ranked-choice voting system will go on the June ballot, the city's Board of Supervisors decided today. Bay Citizen -- 2/15/12

Warren Furutani says he won't seek reelection to Assembly -- State Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Gardena) says he's taking a break from politics and won't seek another term in the state's lower house. Jean Merl in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/15/12

Morain: Will San Francisco vote to drain Hetch Hetchy? -- U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican, reopened the public discussion about draining the reservoir that supplies water for San Francisco by writing a letter to the Interior Department in December. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/15/12

CalPERS will look again at adjusting forecast -- CalPERS is going to look again at adjusting its investment forecast, a move that could increase taxpayer contributions while ramping up the political heat on public pension funds in California. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/15/12

Standard & Poor's gives state a boost, upgrades California's bond outlook -- Standard & Poor's improved California's bond outlook from stable to positive Tuesday, a signal that the deficit-ridden state could be in line for a ratings bump. The state's A-minus rating is S&P's lowest among U.S. states. Kevin Yamamura in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/15/12

California state sales tax rate highest, but overall rate ranks 12th -- California has the nation's highest state sales tax rate, but its overall rate, including local sales taxes, drops to 12th highest, according to a new report from the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based organization that collects nationwide tax data. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/15/12

City council appointments to paid boards are challenged -- The state ethics agency has received citizen complaints alleging that city council members in nine Orange County municipalities have voted on their own appointments to represent their cities on paid public boards in possible violation of conflict-of-interest rules. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/15/12

L.A. City Council redistricting discussions turn nasty -- Old rivalries resurface, fraud is alleged and activists renew their efforts as the deadline nears for approving a new high-stakes map of City Council districts. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/15/12

San Francisco sues to force feds to improve pipeline safety -- The city of San Francisco took the unusual step Tuesday of asking a judge to force federal natural-gas safety regulators to step up efforts in California, saying the government "abjectly failed" to enforce pipeline laws before and after the 2010 explosion that devastated a San Bruno neighborhood. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/15/12

   Occupy

Home sale delayed as Occupy members protest foreclosure proceedings -- A Victorville veteran of Iraq and his family are breathing a sigh of relief - for now - after Wells Fargo on Tuesday delayed the sale of their foreclosed home from this week to next month. The sale of Anthony Chavoya's foreclosed home at the Chino Civic Center on Tuesday was disrupted by a few dozen Occupy protesters from Los Angeles and Inland Valley cities, chanting and waving signs in support of the member of the Army veteran. Neil Nisperos in the Inland Daily Bulletin -- 2/15/12

   Taxes - Fees

San Jose City Council delays action on June sales tax measure -- After discussing the results of an annual poll of San Jose residents about city services -- including what appears to be residents' growing support of a sales tax to help solve San Jose's chronic budget woes -- the City Council on Tuesday decided they need two more weeks to discuss timing and strategies for a potential June sales tax vote. Tracy Seipel in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/15/12

   Economy - Jobs

Santa Clara approves plans for 49ers stadium -- Santa Clara leaders approved plans Tuesday night for a new 49ers stadium by the 2014 season, finalizing the team's exit from San Francisco sooner than expected. Stephanie M. Lee, Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/15/12

   Education

L.A. school board delays vote on massive budget cuts -- The superintendent, however, is allowed to begin preparing layoff notices for thousands of teachers and support staff as talks continue to find a way to save adult and early education programs. Stephen Ceasar in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/15/12

Bus money back for next year, too -- Brown to make room by paying down less debt. John Fensterwald educatedguess -- 2/15/12

Baron: High schools predict community college transfers -- President Obama has long been a champion of community colleges and he demonstrated that commitment Monday, when he traveled to Northern Virginia Community College to release his 2012-13 budget proposal, which calls for an $8 billion program to train students for jobs in high-demand industries. Kathryn Baron TopEd -- 2/15/12

   Health Care

Despite pleas, Burlingame care center closing -- Anna Tupou, 76, has lived at the Burlingame Long-Term Care center for the past four years, a resident of one of only five county-run facilities in the state like it. On Tuesday, she was put on notice that she would soon have to find somewhere else to live. Victoria Colliver in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/15/12

Researchers to examine revamp of public health -- As California continues to forge ahead implementing health reform, state Medi-Cal leaders and UC Davis researchers announced an agreement to examine public health system transformation efforts that may serve as models for the nation. Christina Jewett California Watch -- 2/15/12

   Also..

California, 4 other states may intervene in Honda hybrid settlement -- A judge on Tuesday granted California and four other states more time to consider objecting to a class-action settlement between Honda Motor and car owners over inflated fuel-efficiency claims about the automaker's hybrid vehicles. Elliot Spagat AP -- 2/15/12

Cracking down on parking meter cheaters -- They use disabled-driver placards that they don't deserve. But thanks to the LAPD and DOT, some of them get the hefty fines they really do deserve. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/15/12

Tony Bennett's heart remains here, 50 years later -- The city offered a lovely musical valentine Tuesday to Tony Bennett, the singer who left his heart in San Francisco. Carl Nolte in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/15/12

   POTUS 44

Democrats in tough races turn critical of Obama’s 2013 budget -- Democrats as a whole have commended President Obama’s budget proposal for 2013, but in a few telling instances, members of the president’s party are seeking a bit of distance. Josh Lederman The Hill -- 2/15/12

Defense cuts could hurt Obama in 2012 -- Republicans are using almost $1 trillion in potential defense cuts as a wedge issue with a jobs twist, aiming to weaken Obama where it could hurt him most: in a handful of top-tier battleground states such as Virginia, Colorado, Florida and North Carolina. CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN Politico -- 2/15/12

   Beltway

Local ATM: Obama draws most local money; Romney second -- They won't go to the ballot box for months, but local residents are already voting with their wallets. Phillip Reese in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/15/12

Birth control debate riled few beyond parties' bases -- The fight over the Obama administration's rule requiring that all employers provide birth control coverage to their workers, including religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and charities, is the kind of dispute Washington likes best. Why? David Lauter in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/15/12

Emotional redistricting for California lawmakers on both sides of the aisle -- California lawmakers are on edge. For the past decade, incumbents in the Golden State have, by and large, sailed to reelection. But things have changed this cycle as six California members have announced their retirements and a seventh (Republican Rep. David Dreier) is anticipated to do so later this year. Molly K. Hooper The Hill -- 2/15/12

Gingrich says 'big ideas' will revive campaign -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday in San Diego that big ideas and bold solutions for a national course correction would lift his flagging campaign in time for resurgence on “Super Tuesday.” Christopher Cadelago UT San Diego -- 2/15/12