California Policy and Politics This Morning

Chuck Colson Dies At 80 -- Charles Colson, who served time in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal and later became an influential evangelical Christian, has died. He was 80 years old. Colson went from being one of the nation's most despised men to a hero of conservative Christians. BARBARA BRADLEY HAGERTY NPR JESSICA GRESKO Associated Press -- 4/21/12

AT&T wields enormous power in Sacramento -- The Speaker's Cup is the centerpiece of a corporate lobbying strategy so comprehensive and successful that it has rewritten the special-interest playbook in Sacramento. When it comes to state government, AT&T spends more money, in more places, than any other company. Shane Goldmacher and Anthony York in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/21/12

Lawmakers' mileage checks driving up costs -- A citizens' panel was thwarted when it tried to set a $300 limit on state lawmakers' monthly car allowances. Now, with a rate of 53 cents a mile, some have gotten reimbursements of more than $2,000. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/21/12

Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer resigns, citing need to focus on motherhood, recovery -- After weeks of scandalous revelations about her tempestuous affair with a methamphetamine addict, Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer said Friday she was resigning from office to recover from her own addiction and care for her 8-year-old son. Julia Prodis Sulek, Angela Woodall and Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury Carolyn Jones, Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/21/12

With an economy of words, California legislators state their ballot business -- The most important words for politicians may be the handful they use on the ballot to describe their day jobs. Court fights have erupted over whether a city attorney could use 'prosecutor' and a lawmaker could avoid acknowledging she's in the Legislature. Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/21/12

Fight over Kehoe abortion bill escalates -- San Diego Sen. Christine Kehoe’s measure to expand abortion services to women in remote corners of the state has emerged as a major battleground over the volatile social and political issue. Michael Gardner UT San Diego -- 4/21/12

Big Tobacco pouring in the cash in No on 29 campaign -- An early March story in the Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal reported that fund-raising among tobacco companies had been surpisingly slow for its No on Proposition 29 campaign. Steven Harmon Political Blotter -- 4/21/12

Assemblyman Roger Hernandez gives up state car use following DUI arrest -- State Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, was with a Kaiser lobbyist in state-issued Camry hybrid when he was arrested March 27 on suspicion of driving under the influence, sources said Friday. Brian Charles and Frank C. Girardot in the San Gabriel Tribune -- 4/21/12

FPPC pushing for personal liability when IEs break elections law -- Bracing for a flood of independent expenditures for candidates or causes in this year's elections, California's political watchdog agency is seeking to tighten state law to require more personal liability. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/21/12

Statewide computer overhaul looms for Medi-Cal -- California is in the midst of developing a complex new computer system called Health Enterprise to replace the decades-old hook-up that handles billings under Medi-Cal, the state-federal health care program for the poor, disabled and elderly that covers perhaps a fifth of the state’s population. John Howard Capitol Weekly -- 4/21/12

Planned Parenthood runs ad backing abortion bill ahead of vote -- Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California has launched a new radio ad to generate support for legislation that would allow non-doctors to perform an early-term abortion procedure, as opposition from the California Nurses Association threatens to derail the bill. Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/21/12

Ad Watch: 1st Congressional rivals Aanestad, La Malfa disagree on federal farm subsidies -- Former Republican Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, is on the air with a new radio spot criticizing one of his top rivals for the newly drawn 1st Congressional District seat. Torey Van Oot in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/21/12


Villaraigosa wants to cut 669 city positions, raise retirement age in quest to balance budget -- Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for the elimination of 669 city employee positions on Friday, unveiling a budget that slashes funds across the city, but modestly boosts the number of LAPD officers. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Daily News Kate Linthicum and David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/21/12

California's March job gains show gradual recovery continuing -- California’s labor market continued its slow improvement in March as employers added jobs for the eighth straight month. Ricardo Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/21/12

Bay Area gained almost 19,000 jobs in March -- The job surge in the Bay Area has now reached every urban center in the region, which added nearly 11,000 jobs during March, a state labor report of seaasonally adjusted numbers released Friday showed. George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury -- 4/21/12

Investor 'feeding frenzy' gobbles up Sacramento-area homes for rentals -- First came the foreclosure notices. Then came the vacant, bank-owned properties, followed by a tide of short sales and ever-decreasing home prices. Now come the rental homes. Phillip Reese and Hudson Sangree in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/21/12

California unemployment jumps to 11 percent; 11.6 percent in Sacramento -- California unemployment increased to 11 percent last month, even though companies continued to pad their payrolls. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/21/12

Major manufacturers abandoning China for U.S.? -- China may no longer be the go-to place for American manufacturers looking for cheap labor and favorable policies. A new report shows many large companies are looking to move their production facilities back to the States. Tiffany Hsu in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/21/12

   Taxes - Fees

Saunders: Prop. 29 funds research for cancer, but it's still a tax hike -- The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association wrote Proposition 29, the measure on the June 5 ballot to increase California's cigarette tax by $1 to $1.87 per pack. Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/21/12


Is school district push for political action illegal? -- San Diego schools have launched a website and are sending email blasts urging residents to take certain positions on state issues. Officials say the effort is necessary because of the district’s budget woes, but the effort raises legal issues about the use of public resources for political purposes. Aaron Burgin UT San Diego -- 4/21/12

LAUSD to keep health-class requirement on superintendent's order -- Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy said Friday that health-education class should remain a requirement for high-school graduation, overruling a recommendation by his staff. Barbara Jones in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 4/21/12

   Health Care

'Waiting Room' film looks at Oakland's Highland ER -- A man who lost his family's health insurance along with his job hovers with concern over his young daughter, who has a high fever. A young man with a testicular tumor arrives on the day he was supposed to have surgery at another hospital, which turned him away for lack of coverage. A carpet layer struggles with pain from chronic bone spurs. Victoria Colliver in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/21/12


Asbestos probe: No conspiracy -- Activists convinced that the Hunters Point Shipyard development is a threat to the health of its neighbors have lost another battle with the government. John Wildermuth, Stephanie M. Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/21/12

Strickland bill seeks health warning on reusable grocery bags -- As a growing number of California cities and counties have adopted local ordinances banning the distribution of single-use plastic bags in the name of reducing litter and ocean pollution, state Sen. Tony Strickland is concerned about a different threat at the grocery checkout line: reusable cloth bags. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 4/21/12

Can Clean-Tech Survive the Coming Funding Drought? -- Government policies and subsidies that support clean-tech are phasing out over the next two years. That could be disastrous for the industry, though it doesn’t have to be, according to a new report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. Molly Samuel KQED Climate Watch -- 4/21/12


L.A. emergency-dispatch blackout remains a mystery -- Los Angeles city officials said Friday they are still working to discover what went wrong earlier this month when power at a key communication center went down and caused a blackout to the LAPD dispatch system. Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 4/21/12

San Francisco's Sam Wo restaurant might get chance to reopen -- Sam Wo restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown closed its doors Friday for violating a litany of fire and health codes, but the story's not over yet for one of the city's most storied hole-in-the-wall eateries. Vivian Ho, Paolo Lucchesi in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/21/12

Officials investigate possible special treatment on car impound for husband of L.A. city department head -- City officials are investigating whether the spouse of a department head got special treatment from the LAPD when his car was impounded during a traffic stop, then sprung on the city's tab. Dana Bartholomew in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 4/21/12

Banks: The secret of the cardboard arcade -- What did the dad of Caine Monroy, the boy whose homemade games became a viral video, do to get such a great son? Summer camps? Tutors? Nah. He just let his boy be a kid. Sandy Banks in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/21/12


RNC at a Crossroads -- Here at the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess Resort, the Republican National Committee is mired in the minutiae of the nominating calendar and convention rules. Meanwhile, back at 1401 New York Ave., NW, in a nondescript office suite in downtown Washington, the decisions that could make or break Republicans in 2012 are being made. It’s the headquarters of the Karl Rove-linked Crossroads groups, the center of a network of unlimited-money outsiders. KENNETH P. VOGEL and JAMES HOHMANN Politico -- 4/21/12

Mitt responds to Schweitzer Mormon slam -- Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer isn’t backing away from controversial comments he made about Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. Instead, the Democrat is doubling down. JUANA SUMMERS Politico -- 4/21/12

Shadowy super PAC spent big in March -- The Campaign for Primary Accountability, a super PAC that has targeted incumbent members of Congress, raised more than $645,000 in March, federal documents show. ABBY PHILLIP Politico -- 4/21/12