Updates since early This Morning

GOP referendum on state Senate districts qualifies for fall ballot -- California voters will get a chance in November to decide whether to approve new boundaries for state Senate districts drawn by a citizens panel. Republican activists qualified a referendum on the controversial maps Friday. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/24/12

Three-strikes law costly and ineffective, study says -- California's controversial and costly three-strikes law has done nothing to deter crime despite expanding the state's prison population, according to a new study. Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/24/12

California Senate leader co-sponsors Internet gambling bill -- A proposal to allow Californians to gamble in games, including poker, on state-sanctioned Internet sites gained new momentum when state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg signed on as the co-author of legislation introduced Friday. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/24/12

Charges filed against gun-carrying California lawmaker -- The San Bernardino County district attorney's office Thursday filed criminal charges against a California lawmaker who attempted to take a loaded gun onto an airplane. Michael J. Mishak LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/24/12 . Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/24/12

Voters shunning GOP's traditional tax stance -- California voters, sorting out a November election of historic proportions, are turning their backs on the fundamental Republican philosophy that demonizes taxes. John Howard Capitol Weekly -- 2/24/12

Brown lobbies Obama -- Gov. Jerry Brown lobbied the Obama administration today for authorization to enact further Medi-Cal cuts, after the administration earlier rejected California's bid to charge copayments for prescription drugs, hospital visits and other services. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/24/12

California lawmaker to pursue drivers licenses for illegal immigrants -- Facing his last year in the Legislature, Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) said Friday he has authored one more bill to carry out his years-long quest to provide driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/24/12

Jerry Brown calls GOP senators 'petty' in CSU confirmation spat -- Gov. Jerry Brown said today that Senate Republicans are getting "a little petty" in their unwillingness to confirm the appointment of Herbert L. Carter as chairman of the California State University Board of Trustees. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/24/12

CA death spurs call to ban push pins in youngsters' schools -- The death of a 3-year-old Oceanside boy last year has prompted legislation to ban push pins in California kindergarten classrooms, preschools and daycare centers. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/24/12

LAO: Jerry Brown's DMV renewal discount is a money loser -- Gov. Jerry Brown wants to give drivers a $5 discount for avoiding Department of Motor Vehicles offices when they renew their registration, but the state's top fiscal analyst questioned the plan Friday as a money loser. Kevin Yamamura SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/24/12

Feinstein asks to go back to donors -- U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's attorney has asked the Federal Elections Commission to allow the California Democrat to collect more cash from donors who gave her campaign money that was allegedly stolen by her former treasurer. Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/24/12

ads on public school buses -- Rides to school -- by Campbell's Soup? School funding has gotten so bad that one California lawmaker is proposing to allow commercial advertising outside school buses. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/24/12

Hackers publish private information about L.A. police officers -- The FBI is probing an Internet breach in which hackers publicly posted private information belonging to more than 100 local law enforcement officers who are part of the Los Angeles County Police Canine Assn. Andrew Blankstein in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/24/12

Bill Maher donates a million dollars to Obama 'super PAC' -- Bill Maher won't return to "Real Time" on HBO until March 2, but when he does you can be sure he's going to be talking about so-called super PACs. Patrick Kevin Day in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/24/12

Newsom says his job should be “dissolved” unless changes made -- A year into his term as California’s Lt. Governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom said Thursday said that it’s time to “get rid of the position” unless the job is made more effective — by having the state’s top two constitutional officers run as a single ticket and work as a team. Carla Marinucci Chronicle Politics -- 2/24/12

Fox: Pension Politics -- Republican legislators want pension reform because they believe it is a step toward overall fiscal reform. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 2/24/12

Jeffe: CA Pols, Gov's Dog Score "Political Oscars" -- Ladies and gentlemen, we present Prop Zero's first annual “Plunketts”-- a sort-of “political Oscar.” It’s named for George Washington Plunkett, an old-time, political boss. Sherry Bebitch Jeffe KNBC Prop Zero -- 2/24/12

Los Angeles Times launches new membership program -- Starting March 5, online readers will be asked to buy a digital subscription at an initial rate of 99 cents for four weeks. Readers who do not subscribe will be able to read 15 stories in a 30-day period for free. There will be no digital access charge for subscribers of the printed newspaper. Jerry Hirsch in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/24/12

 

   California Policy and Politics This Morning

Poll finds majority support for two of three California tax increase measures -- Housing woes and high unemployment continue to burden California pocketbooks, but voters say they support higher taxes – albeit mostly on the rich – according to a new Field Poll. Kevin Yamamura in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/24/12

Defying Jerry Brown, tax proponents launch campaign -- Backers of a $10-billion income tax hike to fund California public schools launched a petition drive on Thursday to qualify the measure for the November ballot, brushing off a poll by Gov. Jerry Brown's political operation that showed their effort is deeply unpopular with voters. Nicholas Riccardi LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/24/12

Morain: Munger gambles big on tax hike for schools -- Molly Munger is rolling the dice and the stakes couldn't be higher for public schools, which she seeks to rescue, or for Californians who depend on dwindling spending for social and health care programs. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/24/12

Brown and Obama find bipartisanship a difficult goal to reach -- When the governor meets the president at the White House on Friday, he'll be looking in a political mirror. Both Democratic leaders promised to end the partisan gridlock that had plagued their respective capitals, and so far neither has had much success. Anthony York in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/24/12

Podcast: Retirement, Realignment, Republicans -- No word seems to dominate the political lexicon these days more than "optics," the acknowledgement that how something looks can sometimes be more important than what it really turns out to be. John Myers Capitol Notes -- 2/24/12

California Republicans seek roster of statewide candidates -- As California Republicans gather this weekend for their biannual convention, they will do so with no statewide officeholder and no obvious stable of up-and-comers to compete for one. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/24/12

Republicans meet in Burlingame to ponder their relevance -- Less than two months into the new year, California Republicans are already reeling from a series of setbacks that reflects their sagging prospects. As activists descend on the Bay Area this weekend for the state GOP's spring convention, the California Republican Party has been struck with a few hard realities: Steven Harmon in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/24/12

Republicans excited by prospect that California primary will matter -- A funny thing happened on the way to the spring 2012 California Republican Party state convention: It suddenly and unexpectedly became interesting. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 2/24/12

Walters: California Republican Party is an endangered species -- Were California Republicans a biological genus rather than a political one, they could demand special protection under laws protecting endangered species like the kangaroo rat, to wit: Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/24/12

California GOP out of sync with most state voters -- The California Republican Party, which begins its three-day convention in Burlingame today, is in a bind at a moment when it is trying to broaden its appeal. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/24/12

CalBuzz: Road Trip: Calbuzz Heads for GOP Confab -- Deeply determined to provide world-class political coverage for our readers while piling up vast mounds of paid overtime for ourselves, the Calbuzz National Affairs desk embarks to the alluring and bewitching burg of Burlingame this weekend to check in on the state Republican Party convention. After all, who could pass up a chance to hear Newt Gingrich explain California to Californians? Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 2/24/12

Boxer: Birth control debate will help elect women -- Two decades after U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer became a symbol of the "Year of the Woman" in Congress, the California Democrat is predicting that this year may see a repeat of woman-fueled political victories in response to the Republican Party's approach to birth control. Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/24/12

Prime Healthcare CEO abruptly steps down -- The president and chief executive officer of Prime Healthcare Services resigned yesterday, leaving as FBI agents are questioning former employees about the firm's billing practices and state legislators prepare to question the company's attorney in a Los Angeles hearing tomorrow regarding hospital reimbursement. Christina Jewett California Watch -- 2/24/12

Despite diversity efforts, UC minority enrollment down since Prop. 209 -- More than a decade after California law banned race-conscious admissions, outreach and financial aid at public universities, the state's most selective public university system has seen a significant impact on its ability to increase enrollments of African American, Latino and American Indian students. Erica Perez California Watch -- 2/24/12

Silicon Valley Neighbors, Facing Vastly Different Tax Rates -- Commercial property valuations are inconsistent and sometimes strikingly low. AARON GLANTZ Bay Citizen -- 2/24/12

New prison medical facilities unnecessary, analyst says -- The report contradicts plans by a court-appointed receiver, who has run the prison health system since a federal judge declared it unconstitutionally inadequate, for $2.3 billion in new clinics and upgrades. Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/24/12

Democrats want to extend guaranteed retirement savings to private sector -- New legislation unveiled this morning aims to build a sort of CalPERS-for-all retirement savings system that the measure's author says could cover an estimated 7 million working Californians in the private sector. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee JUDY LIN AP -- 2/24/12

Vote to confirm Cal State chairman in doubt, Senate leader says -- State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) warned Thursday that he may not allow a vote on the governor’s appointment of Herbert L. Carter to the California State University board by next week’s deadline if Republicans don’t drop their opposition to the confirmation. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/24/12

Sheriff Baca backs driver's licenses for illegal immigrants -- Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said he supports the idea of allowing illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses as long as they have been in the United States for a number of years without committing other crimes. Baca's comments Thursday come as Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has also expressed support for driver's license for illegal immigrants. Robert Faturechi, Joel Rubin and Paloma Esquivel in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/24/12

New law will force Parks to abandon GOP if she wants to run as an independent -- A change in the rules governing California's new primary system, quietly signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Feb. 10, will limit Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks' options if she decides to run for Congress as an independent. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 2/24/12

Luminaries gather to fight for women’s panel -- Actress Geena Davis, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, and Reps. Loretta and Linda Sanchez were among those gathering at Newport Beach’s Fairmont Hotel on Wednesday evening as part of an effort to save the state’s Commission on the Status of Women. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 2/24/12

Bill orders computer techs to report child porn -- Unlike commercial film and photo processors, computer repair technicians can legally ignore the evidence if they stumble upon disturbing images of child pornography or sexual abuse. Michael Gardner UT San Diego -- 2/24/12

California most disliked state – especially by GOP -- California is the most “unfavorable” state for Americans, with Republicans particularly adamant in their distaste for the Golden State. Democrats have a favorable impression of the state, according to the poll by Public Policy Polling. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 2/24/12

   Education

Munger-PTA initiative hits the streets -- Unfazed by disparagement from Gov. Brown’s politicos, civil rights attorney Molly Munger and her chief ally, the state PTA, launched a drive Thursday to collect signatures for the November ballot for a $10 billion tax initiative to benefit K-12 and early childhood education. John Fensterwald educatedguess -- 2/24/12

UC sued over student's drug-induced brain damage -- The mother of a UC Berkeley student left severely brain-damaged in 2010 after a drug overdose at a campus residence sued the University of California regents and the Berkeley Student Cooperative on Thursday, saying they knew of rampant drug abuse at the house but failed to protect the students. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/24/12

Affeldt: Outside evaluator must tell us how well prepared are we for Common Core -- California, like many states, is embarking on an ambitious rewiring of its public school system. John Affeldt TopEd -- 2/24/12

Baron: Financially strained districts on the rise -- Nearly a third of California students attend school in a district facing dire financial circumstances. Kathryn Baron TopEd -- 2/24/12

   Health Care

Simple, early blood test tells fetal health, replacing intrusive tests -- Raising the prospect of a world without birth defects, a Stanford-created blood test that can detect Down syndrome and two other major genetic defects very early in a woman's pregnancy will be available next week. Lisa M. Krieger in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/24/12

State health chief vows changes to Sacramento County dental program -- The state's Medi-Cal chief, under pressure to improve dental care for Sacramento's poor children, pledged this week to implement changes so kids won't have to wait months to receive treatment for painful, rotted or broken teeth. Emily Bazar in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/24/12

Fewer California children living in poor areas -- Fewer California children are living in very poor communities than there were in 2000, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Bernice Yeung California Watch -- 2/24/12

   Immigration

Number of deportation cases drops by nearly a third, report says -- The drop recorded in the last three months of 2011 may reflect the administration's plan to focus its deportation efforts by weighing discretionary factors, including whether the person is a veteran, came to the United States as a child or is a college student. Paloma Esquivel in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/24/12

   Also..

Basic police work ignored in autistic patient’s suspicious death -- Six days before he died, Van Ingraham was found on the floor of his room. His neck was broken and his spinal cord was crushed and disfigured. The injury was so severe, medical experts said it looked like he could have been put in a headlock or hanged. Ryan Gabrielson California Watch -- 2/24/12

State prison population set to drop by one-fourth -- California’s prisons will have 40,000 fewer inmates by 2017 and the state will be supervising 51,000 fewer parolees thanks to an historic shift of responsibility for low-level criminals from the state to county governments, according to a report released Thursday. Daniel Weintraub HealthyCal.org -- 2/24/12

Ancient and proud Japanese-American warriors from 442nd finally get medals for World War II valor -- Like good soldiers, they all arrived on time and waited patiently in line, something they got used to during World War II. A few stood razor straight, some used wooden canes or aluminum walkers and others sat in wheelchairs. But the reward this time wasn't a field ration of cold beans and stale bread. Joe Rodriguez in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/24/12

Mason Bates: Symphony Composer, Club DJ, Working Dad -- With a skyrocketing career — he is the composer-in-residence at both the San Francisco Symphony and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as a popular club DJ — Bates has built a national reputation as an innovator. But for the first time, Bates said, he is feeling the pull of gravity. Constantly writing and touring has caused him to miss Toliver, his 2-year-old son. KEVIN BERGER Bay Citizen -- 2/24/12

   POTUS 44

Obama Blisters GOP on Energy, Gas Prices -- With Republicans ramping up efforts to use rising gas prices as a political bludgeon, President Barack Obama on Thursday fully engaged his GOP critics, accusing them of making “phony election-year promises” to struggling voters. John Stanton Roll Call -- 2/24/12

   Beltway

Super PAC backing Santorum gets help from California -- Shortly after Rick Santorum’s strong finish in the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses, three Californians stepped up to give $50,000 each to the super political action committee backing the former Pennsylvania senator. Will Evans California Watch -- 2/24/12

3 GOP candidates' plans would increase debt, study says -- A nonpartisan group says proposals by Romney, Gingrich and Santorum would push the national debt beyond current projections. Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/24/12