California Policy and Politics This Morning

Failed legal fight over video games costs California nearly $2 million -- Designed to protect California kids from video games of murder and mayhem, a law that was passed six years ago but never took effect wound up costing state taxpayers nearly $2 million. Jim Sanders in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/19/12

California senator blasts ESPN for Jeremy Lin headline incident -- A California state senator blasted ESPN today for using a racial slur in a Web reference to New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin, calling on the network to do more than just apologize "in addressing this unacceptable act." Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/19/12

Brown pins legacy to California high-speed rail plans -- Critics have called it the train to nowhere and a $98 billion boondoggle. As concerns mount over the practicality and affordability of California's plan to build a high-speed rail system, even many former supporters are beginning to sound skeptical. JULIET WILLIAMS AP -- 2/19/12

Sherman is staying put, despite Berman supporter's plea -- Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett’s decision a week ago to drop out of the race for an open congressional seat did more than disappoint those who liked his chances. Jean Merl in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/19/12

Morain: Label this one 'Do Not Touch' -- Rich people with a cause cannot seem to resist inflicting their world views on California politics, no matter if they are levelheaded or wacky, and no matter where they reside. It's generally not a good thing for those of us who do live here. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/19/12

Walters: Going green will cost California more green -- The state of California has made a full-blown commitment to reducing reliance on fossil-fuel energy and other limited resources. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/19/12

Activists oppose Brown's attempt to repeal longer holding periods for shelter animals -- Jasper is one of the lucky few - an adorable mixed breed stray puppy adopted from the Castaic animal shelter almost at the moment he arrived. In another kennel, Kato, an 11-year-old Akita mix needing pain medication, continues to wait for a "forever home." Christina Villacorte in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 2/19/12

Willie Brown: Obama should try Clinton approach with big donors -- When President Obama touches down in San Francisco, the game plan is simple: Get in and out as quickly as possible, with as much money as possible. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/19/12

California finance director is someone the governor can count on -- Ana Matosantos, who has served under Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, has been adept at crafting solutions to the often-precarious state budget. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/19/12

L.A. County assessor at center of probe of tax bill reductions -- Allegations of special favors granted to property owners sparked D.A.'s probe of Assessor John Noguez and his relationship with a consultant. More than 100 properties are under scrutiny for any evidence of improperly reduced valuations. Ruben Vives and Jack Dolan in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/19/12

Nadia Lockyer's ex has lengthy criminal record -- The man described as the ex-boyfriend who allegedly assaulted Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer at a Newark hotel two weeks ago has a history of methamphetamine arrests dating back 15 years and is facing drug charges in a separate case in San Jose, law enforcement records show. Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/19/12

   Occupy

Occupy Oakland protesters march to UC Berkeley -- Marchers with Occupy Oakland made their way peacefully to the UC Berkeley campus Saturday night. It was the third Saturday night march Occupy Oakland has held since hundreds were arrested after attempting to enter a vacant Oakland building and breaking into Oakland City Hall. Alan Lopez in the Oakland Tribune -- 2/19/12

   Economy - Jobs

Homeowners get runaround about who holds loans -- Jan Samzelius has been seeking a loan modification on his Marina district house since 2009. He wants to negotiate directly with the mortgage holder - but he can't figure out who it is. Carolyn Said in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/19/12

Officials stand by high-speed rail estimate -- State rail officials are defending as reasonable their estimates that passengers will take at least 29 million trips a year on high-speed trains between San Francisco and Los Angeles by 2040. Tim Sheehan in the Fresno Bee -- 2/19/12

NASA's Webb telescope: Revolutionary design, runaway costs -- The seven-ton spacecraft, one of the most ambitious and costly science projects in U.S. history, is under construction for NASA at Northrop Grumman Corp.'s space park complex in Redondo Beach. Ralph Vartabedian and W.J. Hennigan in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/19/12

Job interviewing, to the extreme -- Some firms are using offbeat interview practices to get a real-time look at how prospects tackle problems, think on their feet and work as part of a team. Tiffany Hsu in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/19/12

Critics say good riddance to RDAs -- For months, local government leaders and many economists have decried the demise of more than 400 city redevelopment agencies across the state. Jim Steinberg in the Inland Daily Bulletin -- 2/19/12

Land speculators see silver lining in solar projects -- Remote, inhospitable desert land gains new value as developers seek sites for renewable energy. Industry observers caution that not every owner is going to make a fortune. Julie Cart in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/19/12

   Education

Oakland's McClymonds High is a full-service school -- After school each day, dozens of students at Oakland's McClymonds High School crowd through a generic-looking door and into a space that offers them amenities that are few and far between in their West Oakland neighborhood. Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/19/12

Small impact expected from state dream act -- Though it attracted plenty of attention in the wake of its passage, college administrators say they expect little impact from the two-stage California Dream Act, part of which was implemented Jan. 1. The second part goes into effect the first of 2013. MARK MUCKENFUSS in the Riverside Press -- 2/19/12

   Health Care

A push to train more primary-care doctors -- The pay is relatively low, the hours are long, the need is great and, students are finding, the rewards can be immense. Anna Gorman in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/19/12

Chinese couples come to U.S. to have children through surrogacy -- China does not permit surrogate parenting, but that country's rising affluence has given many couples the option of using U.S. surrogacy clinics. Shan Li in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/19/12

60 Lives, 30 Kidneys, All Linked -- Rick Ruzzamenti admits to being a tad impulsive. He traded his Catholicism for Buddhism in a revelatory flash. He married a Vietnamese woman he had only just met. And then a year ago, he decided in an instant to donate his left kidney to a stranger. KEVIN SACK in the New York Times -- 2/19/12

   Environment

The “Magic Dust” that Brings More Sierra Snow -- In a weird twist on the “butterfly effect,” evidence is that Asian dust storms can mean more snow in the Sierra. Craig Miller KWED Climate Watch -- 2/19/12

Leavenworth: Dogs of war still hungry in ‘Water-stan’ -- One of California's great misnomers is the term "water community" when discussing stakeholders who have an interest in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Stuart Leavenworth in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/19/12

   Immigration

Noncitizen veterans protest possible deportation to Mexico -- Two brothers who served in Vietnam demonstrate at the U.S.-Mexico border over a more stringent immigration policy that ensnared them because of misdemeanor criminal convictions more than 10 years ago. Richard Marosi in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/19/12

Mentally ill immigrants deported without representation -- With his handcuffs briefly unlocked from his wrists while he faced a judge, Miguel Canto-Ortiz wore the familiar mark of a detainee: a bright orange shirt from the Santa Ana Jail. But unlike the thousands of others who have passed through this courtroom, Canto-Ortiz was without a lawyer. DEIA DEBRITO in the Orange County Register -- 2/19/12

   Also..

Lopez: A father's last days -- The hospice nurse said on Tuesday that my father could be gone within 24 hours. It was no surprise. He'd been bedridden for days, and on the list of 10 signs that death is near, he had six or seven. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/19/12

Quiet Battle Within Churches over Gay Rights -- Long before the issue of same-sex marriage grabbed the spotlight, liberal Protestant pastors in Northern California were fighting against church rules prohibiting ordination and marriage of homosexuals. That internal church struggle is broadening nationwide. MATT SMITH Bay Citizen -- 2/19/12

Generations of Japanese Americans were scarred by WWII internments -- In the spring of 1942, Donna Nakashima's father came home to Florin on leave from the U.S. Army to help his widowed mother gather the family's belongings – one suitcase per person – as they prepared for wartime incarceration. Anita Creamer in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/19/12

Borenstein: Fire director's resignation should serve as financial warning to Orinda, Moraga residents -- Less than two years after Moraga Orinda Fire District directors appointed Dick Olsen, a well-respected retired Transamerica Corp. vice president and community volunteer, to fill a board vacancy, he and another director have abruptly resigned. Daniel Borenstein in the Contra Costa Times -- 2/19/12

Bill would regulate, license pet groomers in Calfornia -- An uneven cut wasn't the only issue Sheri Test noticed after she picked her toy poodle up from a Modesto pet spa. Torey Van Oot in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/19/12

Privately owned public spaces: Guidance needed -- The Roof Terrace at One Kearny shows why we're lucky that San Francisco requires downtown developers to provide space in their projects that is accessible to the public at large. It also is a case study in why the generation-old guidelines must be improved. John King in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/19/12

Saunders: Occupy Oakland, then lock and load -- Occupy Oakland activists have filed a lawsuit against Oakland and are seeking damages. Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/19/12

   Beltway

‘Taxmageddon’ looms at end of payroll tax holiday -- With Congress voting last week to extend the payroll tax holiday, 160 million workers will be spared an immediate tax hike. But the move leaves them facing an even bigger hit in January, when the holiday ends and the payroll tax joins a long list of levies already set to sharply and abruptly go up. Lori Montgomery in the Washington Post -- 2/19/12