California Policy and Politics This Morning

Jeremy Lin ESPN racial slur blasted by Judy Chu -- Rep. Judy Chu on Monday slammed the racial slur used in an ESPN headline about NBA phenom Jeremy Lin, saying she did not believe the phrase “chink in the armor” was an innocent mistake. The California Democrat said on MSNBC that the headline on the Saturday story about the New York Knicks breakout star was “appalling and offensive.” The writer’s word choice, Chu said, was intentional. MACKENZIE WEINGER Politico -- 2/20/12

Worry over Mitt Romney sparks talk of Tampa -- There are growing calls for an alternative to Mitt Romney as the Republican standard-bearer, with the names of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie again being seen as the most likely saviors. MAGGIE HABERMAN and JONATHAN MARTIN Politico -- 2/20/12

California Watch Polk Award -- The George Polk Award for Medical Reporting will go to Lance Williams, Christina Jewett and Stephen K. Doig of California Watch, a nonprofit investigative reporting group. Their groundbreaking, yearlong series of articles demonstrated how a California hospital chain increased its Medicare reimbursements by classifying patients as suffering from rare medical conditions. Brian Harmon Long Island University -- 2/20/12

Trying to save $1 billion on seniors’ health care could backfire -- About 1.2 million California seniors and people with disabilities are dual-enrolled in Medi-Cal and Medicare. Their care, however, is fragmented, as no single organization coordinates their services. The result: increased health care costs. BRIAN JOSEPH in the Orange County Register -- 2/20/12

Fox: For President’s Day: Digging up Mr. Lincoln -- Election night 1876 arrived full of uncertainty. The presidential race was something of a referendum on Reconstruction, and the results were so tight that the winner was unknown. It would be months before a special commission awarded 20 disputed electoral votes, and the presidency, to Rutherford B. Hayes. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 2/20/12

Brown seeks to consolidate gambling oversight -- As California considers a major expansion of legalized gambling, Gov. Jerry Brown wants to revamp how the state regulates the industry and protects its millions of customers. JIM MILLER in the Riverside Press -- 2/20/12

Villaraigosa cabinet rumors start again -- Let the rumors begin. With Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa being named chairman of the Democratic National Convention this summer in Charlotte, N.C., the rumor mill is alive with speculation that it is seen as a grooming period for a potential cabinet post in a second Obama administration. Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 2/20/12

Gun owners hope to win the right to carry concealed weapons -- In an unusual twist, optimism among California gun enthusiasts stems from recent legislation banning them from openly carrying even unloaded handguns. Carol J. Williams in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/20/12

CSU professors to be paid for protest day -- California State University East Bay professors who played hooky to protest state budget cuts - but then put in for a full day's pay - are getting a pass from the system's chancellor. Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/20/12

Skelton: It still should be a full-time job -- A freshman assemblywoman is pushing to drastically downgrade the Legislature. Instead, lawmakers should upgrade their act. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/20/12

Walters: Jerry Brown and Gray Davis a study in contrasts -- If Californians believed that electing Democrat Jerry Brown as governor would mean a big break with Republican predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger, they must be disappointed. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/20/12

Officials want bullet train money spent in L.A., Bay areas -- Transportation officials in Southern California and the Bay area — the bookends of the state’s proposed bullet train — want a large share of the voter-approved money for the project spent quickly improving their rail corridors. Dan Weikel and Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/20/12

CalBuzz: Consultants: CA GOP Primary Now Looming Large -- Mitt Romney’s staggering failure to solidify his electoral base has led most members of the Calbuzz California Consultanate, in six short weeks, to reverse their nearly unanimous prediction that the Latter Day Shapeshifter would soon wrap up the GOP presidential nomination. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 2/20/12

Randle: GOP needs new playbook to rebound in California -- Republicans have lost ground and, more importantly, lost our connection with swing voters that today decide elections. To succeed here, Republicans must become consequential to this generation of Californians. Jeff Randle in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/20/12

Genest: Political watchdog has a full set of teeth under Ann Ravel's charge -- So it may seem out of character for me to rise in defense of Gov. Jerry Brown's liberal Democrat appointee as chairwoman of the commission. MIKE GENEST in the Bakersfield Californian -- 2/20/12

40 officials in Orange County get conflict-of-interest warnings -- Ethics panel member sends letters to council members who have voted themselves onto local boards that pay stipends up to $5,000. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/20/12

Bay Bridge reopens ahead of schedule -- The Bay Bridge reopened Sunday night - more than a day ahead of schedule - thanks to dry, mild weather over the weekend, Caltrans officials said. Carolyn Jones in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/20/12

   Economy - Jobs

Tycoons line up for shot at team -- Sacramento was reminded once again last week that its beloved Kings are a small-market, low-budget operation – a team that might be pried away by big money. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/20/12

   Education

Teacher finds T-shirts the perfect place to encourage young people to seek to attend college -- Justin Robinson was tutoring students at Garey High School in Pomona about two years ago when he began to take note of what interested them. Monica Rodriguez in the San Bernardino Sun -- 2/20/12

'Parent trigger' campaign divides families at troubled Adelanto elementary school -- Some angry parents want to remove their names from petitions seeking charter status before the school board votes. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/20/12

   Health Care

Unsafe levels of lead still found in California youths -- Despite enormous strides over the last 20 years in protecting children from the metal, health workers still find unsafe levels in thousands of youngsters every year. At the same time, programs to combat lead poisoning are being slashed. Anna Gorman in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/20/12

Lack of primary and preventative care sends thousands to hospitals -- Better access to primary health care and prevention programs could have kept thousands of California adults out of hospitals, according to a new statewide analysis. Bernice Yeung California Watch -- 2/20/12

As tobacco sales fall, state budget suffers -- Fewer smokers is bad news for California’s budget. A major bond rating agency sounded an alarm this month, saying the state may have borrowed more than $4 billion against settlement money that might never materialize. Kendall Taggart California Watch -- 2/20/12

   Environment

Water tunnels would be huge project -- if they clear huge obstacles -- From the state and federal governments' point of view, his 20-acre property in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is an ideal spot for one of the five large pumping stations they're proposing to feed what may be the largest water tunnel ever contemplated in North America. Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/20/12

Wildfire Trends: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet -- New research includes first-ever global death toll from landscape fires: more than 300,000. Craig Miller KQED Climate Watch -- 2/20/12

   Also..

Warren Hellman honored by thousands at music fest -- If there's a bluegrass heaven, it looked a lot like Ocean Beach on Sunday afternoon. Carolyn Jones in the San Francisco Chronicle Sean Maher in the Contra Costa Times -- 2/20/12

   POTUS 44

Eat like the Obamas for Presidents’ Day -- There’s simply no amount of five-star Yelp reviews that can build the type of buzz a restaurant receives when the first family dines there. Whether it’s President Obama taking Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Ray’s Hell Burger, Michelle Obama popping in to Shake Shack or the couple dining together for Valentine’s Day at Vermilion, the Obamas have been busy members of the D.C. area’s dining scene. Alex Baldinger in the Washington Post -- 2/20/12

   Beltway

In weaving faith into campaign, Santorum resorts to chiding opponents -- As his campaign surges, Rick Santorum is testing an untested model for incorporating religion into his message. He is betting that Americans want a president who uses faith not just to inspire — but also to judge. David A. Fahrenthold and Felicia Sonmez in the Washington Post -- 2/20/12

Gingrich archives show his public praise, private criticism of Reagan -- In an unnoticed 1992 speech, Newt Gingrich in a single utterance took aim not only at a beloved conservative icon but also at a core tenet of the conservative movement: that government must be limited. Jerry Markon in the Washington Post -- 2/20/12

After Bailout of Auto Industry, Detroit Fallout Trails Romney -- As Congress and the White House scrambled in the fall of 2008 to confront the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, Mitt Romney felt compelled to say what many in his native Michigan would consider heresy: Do not bail out the troubled American automakers. JEREMY W. PETERS in the New York Times -- 2/20/12