California Policy and Politics This Morning

Photos, texts and police reports shed new light on Nadia Lockyer's tortured affair -- Sobering photographs of her bruised forehead and neck, new text messages of a tempestuous affair and a police report of a volatile marriage all emerged this week, adding new layers of recklessness and despair to the public fall of Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer. Josh Richman and Julia Prodis Sulek in the Contra Costa Times -- 3/31/12

Brown's balancing act on tax hike: Wage populist fight to soak the rich or carefully court business? -- Now that left-leaning groups have joined forces with Gov. Jerry Brown on a tax-hike initiative, they are quietly urging him to take on their cause with a full-throated populist campaign to sock it to the rich. Steven Harmon in the Contra Costa Times -- 3/31/12

Latest compact includes new provisions -- In the biggest tribal casino deal of his tenure, Gov. Jerry Brown signaled Friday that he wants tribes and surrounding communities, not the state, to take the lead on settling any disagreements about casino impacts. Jim Miller in the Riverside Press -- 3/31/12

Tech firms' data gathering worries most Californians, poll finds -- The vast majority of Californians surveyed in a statewide poll are worried about the data collected by Internet and smartphone companies, and most said they distrust even firms known for their ardent fans and tens of millions of daily users. David Sarno in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12

Kinde Durkee pleads guilty to $7 million embezzlement scheme -- Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee pleaded guilty this morning to defrauding her clients of at least $7 million, bringing to a close a case that one official has called the "most extensive campaign treasurer fraud in the history of California." Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert JULIET WILLIAMS Associated Press Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal$ Lisa Brenner KPCC -- 3/31/12

Ex-political treasurer took family's money, campaign advisor says -- Former campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, who pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges stemming from an investigation of millions of dollars taken from candidates’ political accounts, also siphoned money from personal accounts of a high-profile Los Angeles political consultant, the consultant's attorney said. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12

Fletcher garners attention, must make his case -- Smart. Bold. Principled. Pragmatic. Desperate. Dumb. Those descriptions followed state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher’s decision this week to leave the Republican Party and run for San Diego mayor as an independent. Craig Gustafson UT San Diego -- 3/31/12

Michelle Obama makes fundraising stop in San Francisco -- President Obama's most valuable fundraiser - first lady Michelle Obama - landed Friday in San Francisco, where she urged 350 supporters at a high-dollar re-election campaign event to get involved because too much is at stake in this election. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/31/12

Bay Area Residents Leaving in Droves -- More people are leaving the Bay Area than moving here from other locations in the United States, according to newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. AARON GLANTZ Bay Citizen -- 3/31/12

Police didn't turn on their lights or sirens before shooting unarmed black teen Kendrec McDade -- The two Pasadena police officers who shot and killed 19-year-old Kendrec McDade Saturday night did not have their patrol car lights or sirens on when they approached the unarmed teenager. Erika Aguilar KPCC LA -- 3/31/12

Medical marijuana initiatives filed in five cities -- Amid a massive federal crackdown, medical marijuana dispensaries announced plans Friday to expand their efforts beyond the city of San Diego, proposing ballot initiatives in five local municipalities to regulate storefront operators and generate additional revenue through a sales tax. Christopher Cadelago UT San Diego -- 3/31/12

Rex Babin, Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist, always drew from the heart -- In Rex Babin's perhaps most beloved editorial cartoon, huge hands reached down from on high to steady US Airways Flight 1549 as it floated on the Hudson River, passengers standing on its wings. Anita Creamer in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/31/12

   High-Speed Rail

Price for California high-speed rail drops to $68.4B -- The price tag for California's ambitious high-speed rail project has dropped to $68.4 billion, a $30 billion decline over a highly criticized draft released last fall, a source familiar with the plan confirmed late Friday. The first full section of track will now stretch from Merced to the San Fernando Valley, a significant expansion of the initial phase that eliminates the so-called "train to nowhere" between two small Central Valley cities. DON THOMPSON Associated Press Dan Smith and David Siders in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/31/12

   Economy - Jobs

SAG, AFTRA approve merger -- Members of the two largest unions for actors, broadcasters and other performers voted overwhelmingly on Friday to join forces in a merged group that will represent almost 150,000 people. Bob Strauss in the Los Angeles Daily News Richard Verrier in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12

Mayor: Layoffs, pension pressure loom -- Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa dropped the equivalent of a budget bombshell this week, raising the possibility of additional layoffs and calling on city unions for more pension reforms. Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 3/31/12

NFL, AEG stalemate threatens downtown football stadium project -- NFL executives are dissatisfied with proposals to bring professional football to a downtown Los Angeles stadium, threatening the $1.2 billion project, according to sources. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 3/31/12

The man who owns L.A. -- Tim Leiweke, the president and C.E.O. of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, likes to show off the view from his office window in downtown Los Angeles. Connie Bruck The New Yorker -- 3/31/12

Amid impasse, Sacramento puts off spending city money on arena project -- Facing a major rift with the Sacramento Kings over funding the new downtown sports arena, city officials are postponing the expenditure of any city money until the dispute is solved. Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/31/12

Hiltzik: The Dodgers' new chapter won't come cheap -- TV rights and development of Chavez Ravine — one way or another, fans as well as taxpayers are likely to foot some of the sky-high costs. Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12

Shutdown process is a new frontier -- Local officials who once oversaw billions in redevelopment spending with little interference from the state now are having to make the case for every penny. JIM MILLER in the Riverside Press -- 3/31/12

California faces increasing dependence on high-priced oil imports -- A modern-day oil boom in states like Texas and North Dakota has helped the U.S. reduce its dependency on foreign oil to the lowest levels in 12 years. Unfortunately, California isn't benefitting, and steady declines in the state's production will leave it increasingly dependent on expensive foreign crude in the future. Ronald D. White in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12


Oakland plan makes teachers compete for their jobs -- As part of a radical plan to reform three failing high schools in Oakland, current teachers who want to stay will have to compete for their jobs with outside applicants. Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/31/12

A Japanese-inspired approach to teaching is expanding in the Bay Area -- As the national school reform narrative zeros in on rewarding the best teachers and sorting out the bad apples, a quieter effort to shore up the teaching practice has taken root in some Bay Area schools. Katy Murphy in the Contra Costa Times -- 3/31/12

   Health Care

Stanford: Antibody offers hope against cancers -- In a potential breakthrough for cancer research, Stanford immunologists discovered they can shrink or even get rid of a wide range of human cancers by treating them with a single antibody. Victoria Colliver in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/31/12

Launch of Cal Expo health clinic draws hundreds -- They had cracked teeth, blurry vision, sore backs, suspicious growths and hips that hurt so much that some could barely walk. But they did not have health insurance. Jennifer Garza in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/31/12

Lazarus: Is healthcare a privilege or a right? -- In a telling argument before the Supreme Court, a lawyer representing 26 Republican-led states has asserted that expanding Medicaid in states through the healthcare reform act is an act of coercion. David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12


Citrus disease shows up in California for first time -- One of the citrus industry's most-feared diseases, citrus greening, has been discovered in the Hacienda Heights area of Los Angeles County -- the first time the disease has been found in California. Robert Rodriguez in the Fresno Bee -- 3/31/12

GM pulls support for Heartland Institute -- Citing its corporate stance that climate change is real, General Motors announced Wednesday that its General Motors Foundation would no longer be funding the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank that has attacked human-caused global warming as “junk science.” Dean Kuipers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12

FDA decides not to ban BPA in food packaging -- The agency says it will continue to study health effects of the widely used chemical; an environmental group is highly critical. Bettina Boxall and Eryn Brown in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12


Ex-Obama green advisor Van Jones to address Occupy event in L.A. -- Former Obama administration environmental advisor Van Jones will address an Occupy-related art show and protest training event in L.A. on Saturday titled "All in for the 99%." Dean Kuipers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12


Rally supports fired Pomona College workers -- The workers were fired after they could not provide proof of legal eligibility to work in the United States. The action came following complaints the college was not checking such eligibility of workers as required by federal law. Lori Consalvo in the Inland Daily Bulletin -- 3/31/12

Obama proposes new rule for immigrant families -- Illegal immigrants who are immediate relatives of citizens could stay in the U.S. while applying for permanent residency. The goal is to reduce a family's time apart. Brian Bennett in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12


Obama, taking on Congress, could find new foe in Supreme Court -- President Obama might be campaigning this summer not just against the GOP nominee and congressional Republicans but also the Supreme Court. Sam Baker The Hill -- 3/31/12

   POTUS 44

Obama blasts GOP's 'you're-on-your-own economics' -- Framing the November election as a defining moment for the middle class, President Obama said voters would have a choice between his policies and Republicans' "you're-on-your-own economics" as he sought to energize his most devoted supporters after a deflating week. Kathleen Hennessey and Michael A. Memoli in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12


RNC has extra $21 million for presidential nominee to spend -- When the GOP primaries finally do come to a close, the RNC will have a nice wrap-up gift on hand for the eventual nominee: an extra $21 million to spend. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/12

Supreme Court May Be Most Conservative in Modern History -- One statistical method for analyzing the Supreme Court, in fact, already finds that the current court is the most conservative since at least the 1930s. NATE SILVER in the New York Times$ -- 3/31/12