* Updates Since Early This Morning

Assemblyman Chris Norby cleared of alleged campaign fund misuse -- The state's ethics watchdog agency on Thursday dismissed allegations against Assemblyman Chris Norby (R-Fullerton) that he misused campaign funds to pay for a motel stay in Orange County for personal benefit. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/5/12

New football stadium would bring nearly 20,000 cars on game days -- A new downtown football stadium and nearby convention center would bring an estimated 19,560 additional cars to the neighborhood during weekend events, according to an environmental impact report released Thursday. David Zahniser and Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/5/12

Tim Leiweke's NFL Stadium Position: AEG is Willing to Share Revenue, and Today's EIR is Out to Change L.A. Driving Habits -- Some call AEG's Tim Leiweke Los Angeles' most powerful man. But hours before today's release of a 10,000-page Environmental Impact Report for Farmers Field NFL stadium, Leiweke was stressed. Jacket off, slumped in a chair, drinking a Coke, he didn't seem like president of a firm with the biggest footprint downtown, maybe even citywide. Hillel Aron LA Weekly -- 4/5/12

State sues Orange County to protect school money -- The state filed a lawsuit against Orange County on Thursday to prevent political leaders from diverting money from education in order to balance the county’s budget. Chris Megerian and Nicole Santa Cruz in the Los Angeles Times$ Kevin Yamamura SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/5/12

Political landmark for Nancy Pelosi: She marks 25 years in elected politics this week -- It was 25 years ago this week — April 7, 1987 to be exact — that a mother of five named Nancy D’Allesandro Pelosi won the first of what would be a very long string of election victories in the U.S. House of Representatives. Carla Marinucci Chronicle Politics -- 4/5/12

Abel Maldonado breaks from family business amid IRS beef -- Central California congressional candidate and former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado, Jr. is haggling with the Internal Revenue Service over some $470,000 in disputed taxes, court records show. Michael Doyle SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/5/12

Fox: Dr. Laffer’s Rx for California’s Economy -- Economist Arthur Laffer thinks the way to fix California’s broken economy is to rip out the current tax structure and replace it with a new model for the 21st century. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 4/5/12

Devore: Why an oil company backs Jerry Brown's tax plan -- Why would Occidental Petroleum, America's fourth-largest oil company, donate $250,000 to a tax-hiking ballot initiative in California? CHUCK DEVORE in the Orange County Register -- 4/5/12

Glendale Bear joins Twitter, but is a no-show on trash day -- Glendale’s now-famous hungry bear has confirmed his love of Costco meatballs, apologized for a bad hair day, and pushed back at journalists for "gross misrepresentations" after taking to Twitter earlier this week. Matt Stevens in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/5/12

Lead-Ammo Ban Sought to Protect Condors and Eagles -- Environmental groups contend that condors and bald eagles are being poisoned when they feed on dead animals killed by lead bullets. Tia Ghose East Bay Express -- 4/5/12

 

   California Policy and Politics This Morning

Brown pitches tax hike for public safety -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday urged support for his proposed tax increase to assure funding for local governments that have taken on increased public safety duties. Christopher Cadelago UT San Diego -- 4/5/12

Jerry Brown confident he will meet deadline on new tax proposal -- Gov. Jerry Brown is no longer collecting signatures for his original tax hike ballot proposal, confident that a compromise unveiled late last month will get enough signatures to meet a tight deadline to be placed on the November ballot, his top political advisor announced Wednesday. Nicholas Riccardi LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 4/5/12

Nadia Lockyer denies leaving ex-lover a voice mail -- Despite a trip to rehab and an ongoing investigation into her accusation that she was assaulted by an ex-boyfriend in a Newark hotel room, Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer allegedly has continued to contact her former lover, Stephen Chikhani. Most recently, she supposedly left him a voice mail message declaring, "Miss you beside me." Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/5/12

Sheriff's captain took inmate on golf outing, deputy says -- A pro golfer turned jewel thief was escorted from the Catalina Island jail to a golf course, where he gave the captain pointers, the deputy and the former inmate say. The captain is under investigation. Robert Faturechi in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/5/12

Skelton: Bullet trains vs. book learning -- The latest incarnation of the transit plan is an improvement, but should high-speed rail take priority over higher education? Either way, the state needs to pump more funds into the treasury. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/5/12

GOP Rep. Issa wants Democrat Berman back in Congress -- Rep. Howard Berman, who is locked in a pitched reelection battle with fellow liberal Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman, likes to say he can work with Republicans to get things done. But even he may have been a little stunned when a conservative GOP colleague served up these statements at an entertainment industry event over the weekend: Jean Merl LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 4/5/12

Assemblyman Allen's union ties raises questions -- Assemblyman Michael Allen remained on the payroll of two North Bay labor unions after he took office last year, raising questions for the Santa Rosa Democrat who previously ran afoul of state political conflict-of-interest laws because of his work. DEREK MOORE in the Santa Rosa Press -- 4/5/12

Unaffiliated voters grow despite partisanship -- Despite the high degree of partisanship in Washington and Sacramento, unaffiliated voters in California continue to increase their market share. Decline-to-state voters now account for 21 percent of the state’s electorate, up from the 19 percent of 2008 and double the 10.5 percent of 1995. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 4/5/12

Public 'customers' focus of some state departments -- Talk to state workers who deal with the public and you'll soon hear a word that outsiders don't normally associate with government: customers. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/5/12

NRC chair to visit troubled California nuke plant -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Wednesday that its chairman will visit the ailing San Onofre nuclear power plant on the California coast, where twin reactors have been sidelined because of excessive wear in tubing that carries radioactive water. MICHAEL R. BLOOD Associated Press -- 4/5/12

Nuke tube supplier questioned by regulators in 2009 -- Government inspectors raised questions in 2009 about incomplete quality assurance audits from a Japanese company supplying thin metal tubes that eventually would be installed at the San Onofore Nuclear Generating Station. PAUL SISSON in the North County Times -- 4/5/12

Raiders' Deal Still Haunts Oakland -- A new lawsuit notes that the football team never repaid a $53.9 million "loan" it received from the city and Alameda County. Robert Gammon East Bay Express -- 4/5/12

   Economy - Jobs

In Sacramento, a deal that really wasn't -- A month ago, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Maloof brothers emerged from an Orlando hotel conference room after three days of negotiations to announce a handshake deal on financing a new downtown sports and entertainment arena. That moment now appears to have been more hope than reality. Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/5/12

Yahoo laying off 2,000 in restructuring bid -- Yahoo said Wednesday that it will lay off 2,000 people, 14 percent of its workforce, as part of a restructuring meant to revive the struggling Internet giant. Casey Newton in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/5/12

Capping big pensions: How much is too much? -- Regents last week reaffirmed the use of a federal IRS cap on the amount of pay used to calculate UC pensions, an inflation-adjusted $250,000 limit this year that also is proposed in a bill to cap the pensions of all new hires in state and local government. Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 4/5/12

Silicon Valley to get its own reality TV show -- In collaboration with Executive Producer Randi Zuckerberg, big sis of that Mark dude over at Facebook, Bravo will squeeze the booming local tech scene through its reality-TV grinder. Working title: "Silicon Valley." Patrick May in the San Jose Mercury -- 4/5/12

Electronic Arts voted 'Worst Company of 2012,' beating out Bank of America -- Redwood City video game company Electronic Arts was voted "The Worst Company in America" in an annual poll run by a blog affiliated with Consumer Reports. Jeremy C. Owens in the San Jose Mercury -- 4/5/12

   Education

Chancellor asks Santa Monica College to put two-tier plan on hold -- The system chief makes the request after a student protest that led to pepper-spraying. He says the plan to charge more for high-demand classes violates education codes and he's sought a legal opinion. Carla Rivera and Stephen Ceasar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/5/12

Students pepper-sprayed at Santa Monica College protest -- About 100 students protesting a plan to offer high-priced courses at Santa Monica College this summer tried to storm into a meeting of the college's Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening. Carla Rivera in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/5/12

Fate of American Indian Charter School II debated -- A high-achieving Oakland charter school under investigation for fraud and mismanagement will remain open but be required to clean up lapses in financial and administrative oversight, the city school board decided Wednesday in a 4-3 vote. Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/5/12

Baron: SoCal district up for $550K Broad prize -- Despite the worst education funding crisis in decades, a California school district boosted achievement enough to win a spot in the final four of the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education. Kathryn Baron TopEd -- 4/5/12

Few school districts are releasing teacher rankings -- The New York City Department of Education’s release earlier this year of teacher performance ratings has become the latest focal point in the debate about how to measure teaching abilities and whether that information should be public. Mihir Zaveri California Watch -- 4/5/12

   Health Care

Aetna mistakenly tells 8,000 customers their doctors were dropped -- Thousands of Aetna customers across the state, including many in the Sacramento region, were mistakenly sent letters this week telling them that their health care provider is no longer covered in the network and that they need to find new doctors. Jennifer Garza in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/5/12

The Greatest Health Risk to Children? No, It’s Not Drugs -- Nearly half of people surveyed in a poll released today say an unhealthy diet combined with lack of physical activity are the greatest health risks facing California children today. Lisa Aliferis KQED State of Health -- 4/5/12

Volunteers make a difference at free clinic -- Her predicament is all too common in this recessionary era. Over the past few years Haralson went through a divorce and lost her medical insurance. She was laid off from her job as a server at a hotel restaurant – and then lost her home to foreclosure. Suzanne Potter HealthyCal.org -- 4/5/12

   Environment

L.A. City Council committee approves bag ban -- Plastic and paper bags will be phased out at grocery and drug stores throughout the city under a proposal approved for study Wednesday by a Los Angeles City Council committee. Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 4/5/12

   Occupy

L.A. councilman seeks to curtail hours at City Hall park -- A proposal to reduce the hours at the City Hall park and clarify rules about tents comes as some Occupy L.A. protesters say they want to hold meetings at the reopened site. Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/5/12

Oakland police to miss Occupy deadline -- Oakland police will miss the deadline to finish investigating complaints stemming from the first Occupy Oakland eviction last Oct. 25, potentially placing the department one step closer to a federal takeover. Matthew Artz in the Contra Costa Times -- 4/5/12

   Also..

Electric bill skyrockets after smart meter; opt-out option coming, but will cost -- The electric bill in January 2011 was $150.23, the usual cost of the monthly bill and typical for this small Laguna Woods home. One year later, the bill was $514.34. Laura Barron-Lopez in the Orange County Register -- 4/5/12

Reform advocates want more diversity among finance regulators -- To stave off fraud and future Wall Street meltdowns, some reform advocates are pushing for government regulators to become more ethnically diverse. Corey G. Johnson California Watch -- 4/5/12

Sold: O.C. firm with controversial ties to Romney -- DDi — the Anaheim tech company that gained national attention for its one-time stewardship by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney‘s investment firm — has agreed to be sold for roughly $282 million. Jon Lansner in the Orange County Register -- 4/5/12

Saunders: 'The Hunger Games' ' bread and circuses -- It's not until the final book of "The Hunger Games" trilogy that Katniss Everdeen learns that Panem, the capital of her dystopian world, comes from the Latin, "Panem et circenses." Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/5/12

Watchdog finds Solyndra's loan was 'rushed' -- Federal financial experts weren't consulted on a $528 million federal loan to Solyndra until the last minute, and only then had "about a day" to complete their review, an internal watchdog concluded Wednesday. Dina Cappiello Associated Press -- 4/5/12

   POTUS 44

Obama’s Supreme Court comments lead some to question his strategy -- President Obama struck a nerve this week when he took the unusual step of commenting on Supreme Court deliberations, saying it would be an “unprecedented, extraordinary” step for the justices to overturn the health-care law that stands as his signature domestic policy achievement. Peter Wallsten and Robert Barnes in the Washington Post -- 4/5/12

   Beltway

Mitt Romney may have to run against his own image -- In state after state, Romney has grown less popular the longer the campaign wears on and the better voters get to know him. The same thing happened in 2008, the first time Romney sought the GOP nomination. Mark Z. Barabak in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/5/12

Romney sharpens his attack, says Obama is running a ‘hide-and-seek campaign’ -- Mitt Romney took a sharper line of attack against President Obama on Wednesday, accusing the Democratic incumbent of waging a “hide-and-seek campaign” that disguises his intentions and offers no solutions for the country’s most intransigent economic problems. Karen Tumulty in the Washington Post -- 4/5/12

Redistricting fuels arms race -- Veteran House members going head to head with their colleagues are locked in a fundraising arms race. ROBIN BRAVENDER Politico -- 4/5/12