Updates since early This Morning

Jerry Brown: Millionaire's tax will 'pretty well' ensure defeat of tax plan -- Gov. Jerry Brown, in an increasingly public effort to clear the November ballot of competing tax measures, said this afternoon that his own initiative to raise taxes could survive the presence of one of those other proposals, but likely not the other, more popular "millionaires tax." David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/8/12

Torlakson calls Jerry Brown's spending cut triggers 'blatantly unfair' -- Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of schools, said Thursday that while he supports Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase ballot measure, he considers Brown is being "blatantly unfair" to schools in targeting them for spending cuts should voters reject new taxes. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/8/12

Jerry Brown: 'I don't know' about arena for Sacramento Kings -- Two days after the Sacramento City Council approved a financing plan to build a $391 million arena for the Sacramento Kings, Gov. Jerry Brown was asked today for his opinion. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/8/12

Business Roundtable opposes two tax plans, but not Brown's -- The California Business Roundtable announced Thursday that it opposes two tax initiatives rivaling Gov. Jerry Brown's plan, but the large-business coalition stopped short of endorsing the governor's proposal. Kevin Yamamura SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/8/12

Poll: Millionaires tax stands best chance of approval in November -- Proponents of a ballot measure to hike taxes on millionaires released a summary of a poll on Wednesday that showed theirs has the best chance of passing in November, especially should multiple tax measures end up on the ballot. Nicholas Riccardi in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

Democrat David Pollock quits crowded Ventura County House race -- Shortly before filing closes for the June 5 primary election, Democrat David Pollock said Thursday he is quitting the race for an open congressional seat in Ventura County. Jean Merl LA Times PolitiCal -- 3/8/12

In Ratings Battle, Officials Taking the Side of 'Bully' -- When a documentary about bullying was granted an "R" rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, effectively banning it from classrooms, many critics cried out that, well, they were acting like bullies. JON KORN Bay Citizen -- 3/8/12

100 Californians on new Forbes list of global billionaires -- Standing at the top of the California billionaires is Oracle Corp.'s Larry Ellison at $36 billion, the world's sixth richest person and third richest American behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim and his family top the global rankings at $69 billion. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/8/12

Chief justice lobbies California lawmakers on court spending bill -- The chief justice of the California Supreme Court was at the Capitol on Thursday lobbying against a bill that would take away some of her power over court spending, and the leader of the Senate later announced his opposition to the legislation. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal -- 3/8/12

High levels of income inequality -- The highest levels of income inequality in California are found in its most urbanized regions - Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area - and in a few rural areas, a new Census Bureau report. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/8/12

Hunters, fishermen turn out in droves to support embattled Fish & Game chief -- Dan Richards, the beleaguered president of the state Fish and Game Commission, received an outpouring of support Wednesday from outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom accused Democratic legislators of conducting a witch hunt to oust him for killing a mountain lion in Idaho. Steven Harmon in the San Jose Mercury -- 3/8/12

PPIC: Four out of five surveyed see recession -- California’s likely voters approach the elections this year with big concerns about the economy and the state’s fiscal future, according to a statewide survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), with support from The James Irvine Foundation. PPIC via Capitol Weekly -- 3/8/12

Being in Congress loses its thrill -- For members of Congress, the thrill is gone. They don’t make national policy anymore. They can’t earmark money for communities back home. The public hates them. JONATHAN ALLEN Politico -- 3/8/12

Fox: Unions Work to Deny Voters Say in Local Pension Issues -- The battle over pensions is going to the ballot in San Jose after a city council vote Tuesday. The only roadblock: state legislators from the area friendly to public employee unions are trying to derail the pension reform by demanding an audit of the city’s pension debt. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 3/8/12

Villaraigosa pushes gay marriage legalization on Democrats' platform -- That's a position opposed by President Obama -- though he's said his views on the issue are "evolving" -- and one that many Democrats ostensibly would not want to have highlighted a few months before the general election. Seema Mehta and Shelby Grad in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

FAA forecast: High air fares most of this decade -- Air fares are likely to stay high throughout this decade, as passenger travel grows but airline capacity shrinks, according to a government forecast issued Thursday. JOAN LOWY Associated Press -- 3/8/12

How a $1,000 test could destroy the health-insurance industry -- And it raises the potential that young people will get themselves tested and then purchase insurance based off the result. So those with a clean genomic result might go for a cheap catastrophic plan, while those with a high risk of developing pricey illnesses will opt for more comprehensive insurance. Ezra Klein in the Washington Post -- 3/8/12

Stoker enters race after attempt to get him a state appointment fails -- It was curious last month when former Santa Barbara County Supervisor Mike Stoker sent an email to supporters asking them to attend a Feb. 24 event at which he would announce that he would be a Republican candidate in the 19th Senate District, but then told me that the email didn't necessarily mean that he had decided to run. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 3/8/12

Sources: Bustamante Sex Case Mishandled by County Officials -- The Orange County Board of Supervisors will meet Monday in an emergency closed session to discuss whether they should refer allegations of sexual misconduct against Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas for a criminal investigation. NORBERTO SANTANA JR. VoiceofOC.org -- 3/8/12

Conflict Questions Raised On Water Official's Desal Vote -- Last month, Fred Ameri was among five members of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board who voted unanimously to approve a pollutant discharge permit for Poseidon Resources' proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach. NICK GERDA VoiceofOC.org -- 3/8/12


   California Policy and Politics This Morning

Poll: Slim majority support Jerry Brown's tax plan -- Even though most Californians think the budget remains a big problem, just a slim majority of likely voters say they support Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax initiative for the November ballot, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California. JUDY LIN Associated Press Kevin Yamamura SacBee Capitol Alert Nicholas Riccardi in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

Myers: Brown's Tax Is Ahead, But Why Not By More? -- But what's fascinating is that overall support for the governor's proposal appears to have dropped in just a matter of weeks by an astounding 20 points. PPIC's January survey found 72% support among likely voters. So what gives? John Myers Capitol Notes -- 3/8/12

Survey: Likely voters back tax increase, oppose high-speed rail -- But when it comes to another Brown priority, high-speed rail, California voters are not as gung-ho. When told the project would cost $100 billion over the next 20 years, 53 percent of likely voters said they would oppose it. Will Evans California Watch -- 3/8/12

A collision of visions on bullet train -- The bullet trains that would someday streak through California at 220 mph are, in the vision of their most ardent supporters, more than just a transportation system. Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

Jerry Brown: 'It's good that we have old politicians around' -- Gov. Jerry Brown, who will turn 74 next month, found himself last night in the company of an older politician, a rare enough occurrence Brown's thoughts turned to age. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/8/12

Fish and Game chief draws support, criticism -- Hunters squared off against animal rights supporters Wednesday during a Riverside meeting of the state Fish and Game Commission, whose president is under fire for hunting and killing a mountain lion. JANET ZIMMERMAN in the Riverside Press -- 3/8/12

Skelton: A Fish and Game faux pas -- In flaunting his killing of a mountain lion in Idaho, Commission President Dan Richards forgot whom he represents. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

Will state agencies derail local pension reforms? -- While unions oppose key parts of Gov. Brown’s 12-point pension reform plan in the Legislature, local officials say union allies are using state agencies to try to derail or undermine local pension reforms on the June ballot in San Jose and San Diego. Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 3/8/12

Calpers Should Cut Assumed Return to 7.25% From 7.75%, Actuary Recommends -- The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension, may cut its assumed rate of return on assets for the first time since the global recession dragged down stock and real-estate prices. Michael B. Marois Bloomberg Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

Lawsuit: Some Convicted Felons Should Be Allowed to Vote -- Convicted felons serving time in county jails should be allowed to vote, lawyers for the California League of Women Voters and two other nonprofit groups argued in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. TREY BUNDY Bay Citizen Tracey Kaplan in the Contra Costa Times Nicholas Riccardi in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

Redevelopment's demise leaves CA housing money in limbo -- When more than 400 local redevelopment agencies in California went out of business this year, thanks to state legislation and a Supreme Court decision, it stranded as much as $2 billion in funds that had been set aside for low- and moderate-income housing. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert Kendall Taggart California Watch -- 3/8/12

online poker and sports wagering -- Someday in the near future, a California resident might be able to play a few hands of poker on the Internet and then, after a short drive, bet the winnings on that night’s basketball game. And it would all be legal. JIM MILLER in the Riverside Press -- 3/8/12

LAO says marina loan program should be eliminated -- Boating clubs throughout the state are organizing opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to fold the Department of Boating and Waterways into the Department of Parks and Recreation. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/8/12

California suddenly matters -- Suddenly June 5 doesn't seem so far away. With a muddled outcome from the 10 Super Tuesday states, there's no sign the GOP presidential primary process will be resolved before California Republicans hold a vote that pundits once said was too late to matter. Josh Richman in the Contra Costa Times David Siders in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/8/12

Romney hasn't locked up California GOP -- The Republican reluctance to unite behind the Mitt Romney nomination for president — which played out from Georgia to North Dakota on Super Tuesday — could become a factor in California, a new poll shows. Michael Gardner UT San Diego -- 3/8/12

CalBuzz: PPIC Poll: Santorum Moves Up on Romney in CA -- Rick Santorum has moved to within striking distance of Mitt Romney in California’s June presidential primary with its cache of 172 delegates, according to the latest survey from the Public Policy Institute of California. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 3/8/12

With two days to spare, GOP fields candidates in county Senate districts -- Two days before the deadline, Republican candidates stepped forward Wednesday in the two state Senate districts that combine to cover all of Ventura County. Timm Herdt, Arlene Martinez in the Ventura Star -- 3/8/12

Two homecomings for Gorell, one with a price tag -- Preparations are being made for homecoming events for Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, who is scheduled to return at the end of the month from a year-long deployment with the Navy in Afghanistan. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 3/8/12

Mirkarimi case may rest on lawyer-client law -- The fate of San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's domestic-violence prosecution may depend on the meaning of a single provision of California law on the confidentiality of communications between attorneys and their clients. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/8/12

Saunders: California enforces death penalty without penalty -- While running for governor in 2010, Jerry Brown admitted he would "rather have a society where we didn't have to use death as a punishment." But because the Legislature and California voters approved capital punishment, "we've got to make it work." Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/8/12

State takes action against AIG company over fire claims handling -- California insurance regulators have filed a trio of enforcement actions against an AIG-owned company for its handling of claims from Sylmar homeowners for damages caused by the 2008 Sayre fire. The item is in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

   Economy - Jobs

State lawmakers order San Jose pension audit -- The state will audit San Jose's finances amid employee unions' accusations that city officials overstated the cost of the pension system to build support for a June ballot measure reducing retirement benefits. John Woolfolk in the Contra Costa Times -- 3/8/12

Study: Planning key to rail cities' success -- A new study suggests high-speed rail in California will likely create jobs and population growth in larger cities with stations along the route, and "second-tier" cities like Fresno would fare better than those without stations. Tim Sheehan in the Fresno Bee -- 3/8/12

California cities lead nation in suspicious mortgage loans -- California continues to lead the nation in questionable home loans, with Los Angeles, Riverside, Santa Clara, Orange and San Bernardino counties among the areas with the highest number of suspected mortgage fraud cases, federal financial officials reported this week. Corey G. Johnson California Watch -- 3/8/12

L.A. says it'll have to renege on raises -- In a continuing sign of Los Angeles' economic problems, its top budget chief said Wednesday that most civilian employees will need to forgo their scheduled raises in order to avoid layoffs. Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 3/8/12

Public safety employees among highest paid in Palo Alto -- The highest-paid person in the city was police Lt. Kenneth Denson, who took home a whopping $407,908 in calendar year 2011. More than half that sum -- $212,738 -- was attributed to a "cash-out" of unused vacation and sick leave. His base salary was $195,169, according to the data released Tuesday night. Jason Green in the San Jose Mercury -- 3/8/12

Hiltzik: Lowering our expectations for foreclosure settlement -- The federal government's response to the home mortgage crisis always has been an exercise in living down to one's lowest expectations. Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12


Assembly panel rejects Brown's cuts in college aid -- An Assembly subcommittee on Wednesday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to trim state-funded college scholarships known as CalGrants, two days after thousands protested budget cuts at the Capitol. Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal -- 3/8/12

Fensterwald: No action yet on NCLB waiver -- An unconvinced State Board of Education took no action Wednesday on a request for a wavier from the No Child Left Behind law being pushed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. John Fensterwald educatedguess -- 3/8/12

Fensterwald: CST results back in a jiffy -- Next year, school districts will receive the students’ results on state standardized tests in two weeks, not two months – or longer. John Fensterwald educatedguess -- 3/8/12

U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers -- The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter. THOMAS CATAN and JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG in the Wall Street Journal -- 3/8/12

State laws leave room for interpretation when it comes to school suspensions -- One of the main reasons students are suspended from California schools is for “disrupting school activities” or “willfully defying” school authorities, which are largely undefined terms open to substantial interpretation, or misinterpretation, by school officials. Sue Frey and Louis Freedberg EdSource -- 3/8/12

USD students lobby lawmakers to spare financial aid -- Even working two jobs, University of San Diego sophomore Maria Ruvalcaba said it would be a challenge to continue her studies if lawmakers go along with Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to cut financial aid to students attending private universities. Michael Gardner UT San Diego -- 3/8/12

   Health Care

About 800,000 in U.S. have Alzheimer's, live alone -- Ng, it turned out, has Alzheimer's disease - he might have had it for months or even years. But Ng lived alone, and with no family or close friends around to notice his memory loss or personality changes, getting him diagnosed and treated was a challenge. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/8/12

Prices of drugs commonly used by elderly rose faster than inflation -- The price of drugs widely used by elderly Americans grew by almost double the rate of inflation from 2005 to 2009, according to a new study by the AARP. Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

Program’s transition mired in confusion -- California is bungling its planned transition to a less expensive way to care for older adults and disabled people trying to stay out of nursing homes, leaving thousands of vulnerable people at risk of being forced into institutions, critics say. The chaos provides a case study in how the state manages a massive budget cut, and the picture isn’t pretty. Matt Perry HealthyCal.org -- 3/8/12


California helps finance cleaner diesel trucks -- The California Air Resources Board is offering a lease-to-own financing program that encourages small-business owners to replace their older diesel trucks with cleaner new equipment. Mark Glover in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/8/12

Hello, sunshine: Palo Alto utility to pay locals for solar energy -- Green energy may be losing momentum inside the Beltway. But officials in the heart of Silicon Valley are betting on the sun. Marla Dickerson in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

Soot a Culprit in Glacial Melt -- Soot from fossil fuels is causing snow packs, glaciers and ice sheets to absorb heat and melt more quickly, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have confirmed. JOHN UPTON Bay Citizen -- 3/8/12

Fishery experts forecast banner salmon season -- The salmon will be jumping off the coast of California this summer and, for the first time in years, anglers will be allowed to snag them in large numbers for placement on dinner tables, fishery managers announced Wednesday. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/8/12


L.A. Council moves against mobile billboards again -- In another effort to ban mobile billboards from city streets, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a new rule banning signs attached to cars, mopeds and scooters. Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 3/8/12

Bell scandal: Agency probing jet trips to Rizzo's horse farm -- The state Fair Political Practices Commission has become the latest government agency to stick its head into the Bell scandal, investigating plane trips by two former council members that were paid for by then-city manager Robert Rizzo. Jeff Gottlieb in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/8/12

   POTUS 44

Obama Mines for Voters With High-Tech Tools -- With a “chief scientist” specializing in consumer behavior, an “analytics department” monitoring voter trends, and a squad of dozens huddled at computer screens editing video or writing code, the sprawling office complex inside One Prudential Plaza looks like a corporate research and development lab — Ping-Pong table and all. JIM RUTENBERG and JEFF ZELENY in the New York Times -- 3/8/12


Republicans fear rough primary could cost them the House and the Senate -- For months, Republicans had been bullish about their prospects for widening their margin in the House and picking off Democratic senators. But some are now questioning whether they could be done in if Mitt Romney limps out of the primary a severely weakened nominee. Josh Lederman and Cameron Joseph The Hill -- 3/8/12

Romney has yet to close deal with Republican voters -- Mitt Romney won more delegates than his GOP rivals on Super Tuesday, but not any more love from Republican primary voters. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/8/12

Santorum supporters want Newt Gingrich out -- Supporters of Rick Santorum are beating the drum for Newt Gingrich to exit the presidential race. On Wednesday, Santorum — who picked up wins in Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota on Super Tuesday — wouldn’t call explicitly on Gingrich to leave the race. GINGER GIBSON Politico -- 3/8/12

Boehner struggling for GOP unity -- Deep fissures are dividing House Republicans on the highway bill and 2013 budget — and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is making late, urgent efforts to restore unity. Russell Berman The Hill -- 3/8/12

Pat Robertson Says Marijuana Use Should be Legal -- Of the many roles Pat Robertson has assumed over his five-decade-long career as an evangelical leader — including presidential candidate and provocative voice of the right wing — his newest guise may perhaps surprise his followers the most: marijuana legalization advocate. JESSE McKINLEY in the New York Times -- 3/8/12