California Policy and Politics This Morning

Nadia Lockyer tells traumatic story of how affair, drugs and deceit led to downfall -- Week after week, messages from Nadia Lockyer came in a barrage of lurid and disjointed emails, texts and photos. They were a confusing attempt to explain her tortured, drug-fueled affair with a meth addict and her crumbling marriage to state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who is three decades her senior. Julia Prodis Sulek in the San Jose Mercury -- 4/22/12

Gouged by Some Small Groceries, Food Program Cracks Down -- At Rancho Grande Supermarket in San Pablo, a package of 18 corn tortillas recently cost $7.80. Taxpayers footed the bill for the pricy tortillas, which were bought in early April with a government voucher from the California Women, Infants and Children program, a federally financed nutrition program that is administered by the state. KATHARINE MIESZKOWSKI Bay Citizen -- 4/22/12

AT&T wields enormous power in Sacramento -- No other single corporation has spent more trying to influence legislators in recent years. It dispenses millions in political donations and has an army of lobbyists. Bills it opposes are usually defeated. Shane Goldmacher and Anthony York in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/22/12

Feinstein puts re-election campaign on cruise control -- Millions of dollars were embezzled from her campaign. Twenty-two challengers are trying to knock her off in the June primary. And the stakes in the November election are nothing less than control of Capitol Hill. But U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein isn't a bit worried. Her campaign is on cruise control, her re-election all but certain -- yet again. Josh Richman in the Contra Costa Times -- 4/22/12

Morain: Candidate has a personal reason to run -- Elizabeth Emken lives on a leafy cul-de-sac in Danville with her husband of 26 years, their two daughters, their English springer spaniel, and their son, Alex. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/22/12

Walters: California court system is latest victim of Legislature's disastrous fiscal decisions -- The California Legislature has a bad habit of making sweeping decisions in the moment without giving much thought to their long-term consequences. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/22/12

Flood of fundraising under way in 26th Congressional race -- Of the 1,347 men and women running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, only eight have raised more money this year in support of their quest than state Sen. Tony Strickland, of Moorpark. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 4/22/12

GOP Bills Die in Committee -- Hundreds of bills passed their first committee votes this week at the State Capitol. But many did not – especially measures authored by minority Republicans. Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 4/22/12

Orange County Is Template for New Online Voter Registration Program -- With help from a $239,240 federal grant, Orange County is set to become one of three counties statewide that will be the templates for a program that makes it possible for California residents to register to vote online in time for the November elections. TRACY WOOD VoiceofOC.org -- 4/22/12

PG&E '89 memo noted pipe's history of weld failure -- A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. document that the company just disclosed to state regulators indicates the San Bruno pipeline that exploded in 2010 had a history of weld failure that by law should have prompted a test designed to head off such disasters. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/22/12

Orange County sex offender law picks up support but few convictions -- Nearly half of the county's cities have adopted the 'child safety zone' law that bans sex offenders from parks, beaches, playgrounds and hiking trails. Critics say it's an ineffective feel-good measure. Nicole Santa Cruz in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/22/12

Party affiliations no longer a primary factor in California -- June's primary will be different from previous California elections: The two top vote getters will advance to the November ballot, regardless of their political parties. J.N. Sbranti in the Modesto Bee -- 4/22/12

California voter rolls, independent voters increase -- A higher percentage of eligible Californians is registered to vote in this presidential primary compared to four years ago, but fewer are embracing political parties. Associated Press -- 4/22/12

Banks: LAPD goes from longtime oppressor to community partner -- In 1992, the LAPD was regarded with suspicion and downright hostility by many in South Los Angeles. Now, two decades after the riots, the 'siege mentality' is gone, crime is down significantly and 70% of city residents approve of the department. Sandy Banks in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/22/12

Willie's World: Political consultant Jack Davis back on S.F. scene -- Davis, the legendary political consultant who has been in semiretirement in recent years, is back from Wales and was spotted the other day dining at Original Joe's. He's spending three weeks here, checking out the landscape for the November election. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/22/12

   High-Speed Rail

Supervisor: 'Just Be Honest' About the High-Speed Rail Plan -- Supervisor Shawn Nelson says supporters of the problematic California high-speed rail project would face less criticism if they would “just be honest” about the financial realities confronting the $68-billion plan. TRACY WOOD VoiceofOC.org -- 4/22/12

   Economy

Solar investments continue in Inland Empire amid industry's troubles -- California solar firms collected nearly $1.2 billion worth of venture capital investments last year, accounting for 62 percent of worldwide venture investments in solar panel, according to a new study. Andrew Edwards in the San Bernardino Sun -- 4/22/12

Aid for troubled mortgages has been revamped -- Nearly five years after the housing bust began, government programs to help those who are underwater on their mortgages, unemployed or unable to make their payments are kicking into gear. Hudson Sangree in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/22/12

   Education

After California's affirmative action ban, college diversity suffers under race-blind policies -- Fifteen years ago, California voters were asked: Should colleges consider a student's race when they decide who gets in and who doesn't? With an emphatic "no," they made California the first state to ban the use of race and ethnicity in public university admissions, as well as hiring and contracting. Terence Chea Associated Press -- 4/22/12

Inland Empire district charts its own course to success -- Corona-Norco Unified gives teachers the freedom to experiment instead of prescribed lesson plans, boosting scores and graduation rates in the heavily Latino, low-income district. Stephen Ceasar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/22/12

Undocumented students seek support for higher education at event in Las Lomas -- Yadira Grajeda, a senior at Pajaro Valley High School, left central Mexico with her parents to live in Watsonville at age 1. Grajeda has never visited her native country, yet she's found it a struggle to find grants and scholarships to attend UC Santa Cruz in the fall because of her status as an undocumented citizen. Shanna McCord in the Santa Cruz Sentinel -- 4/22/12

   Environment

'Garbage' chemical threatens Valley water -- A 1974 memo from Dow Chemical describes several chemicals in a widely used farm fumigant as "garbage." Today, one of those useless chemicals threatens drinking water for more than 1 million people across the San Joaquin Valley. Mark Grossi in the Fresno Bee -- 4/22/12

Migrating waterfowl die from lack of water -- The deaths of up to 20,000 migrating birds this year in a wildlife refuge near the Oregon border has renewed debate about resource management on the Klamath River, where myriad competing interests are fighting for water rights. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/22/12

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta faces deadline for restoring fish habitat -- Sweeney, managing partner of a duck-hunting club that owns most of the island, hopes to sell it in what may be the Delta's biggest modern land rush: a stampede to buy land for fish habitat. State and federal water agencies face a number of hard deadlines over the next seven years to restore at least 17,300 acres of fish habitat. Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/22/12

Camp in a California state park -- while you can -- California's camping season is on the horizon. Warmer temperatures and longer days signal time spent in the outdoors, stargazing, roasting marshmallows, searching for lost tent pegs and wondering how that rock materialized under your sleeping bag. Marta Yamamoto in the San Jose Mercury -- 4/22/12

   Immigration

Home ownership new 'rite of passage' for Valley immigrants -- Many immigrant groups in the Valley are realizing their dreams of homeownership despite the economic and housing turmoil of the past decade. Kurtis Alexander in the Fresno Bee -- 4/22/12

   Occupy

Occupy factions, divided in tactics, to start anew -- After a quiet late winter, Occupy movements all over the Bay Area are lurching to life again with spring - but this time they are coming in two sharply divided forms. Kevin Fagan, Carolyn Jones in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/22/12

   Also..

Fired state employees get a second chance -- Edward Loyd was fired last year from his job with the state. An employee at the Lanterman Developmental Center in Pomona, Loyd was seen hitting and pushing a resident with severe disabilities. Police later photographed a bruise on the resident's arm and another on his back. BRIAN JOSEPH in the Orange County Register -- 4/22/12

Sisters of mercy, devotion — and dismay -- Nuns feel shaken and insulted after the Vatican rapped them hard on the knuckles for not toeing the line. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/22/12

The tattooed prosecutor: From dropout to the courtroom -- Often defying convention, Cameron Talley is taking his talents from the homicide team to the major fraud unit. LARRY WELBORN in the Orange County Register -- 4/22/12

Government Puts Brakes on Transit App -- Software that could speed up Muni sits unused. SHANE SHIFFLETT Bay Citizen -- 4/22/12

On Lee's shelf: ads to combat begging -- Paging Don Draper. Mayor Ed Lee and Mayor Gavin Newsom before him supported an advertising campaign around the city to tell tourists not to give to panhandlers. Years later, the idea remains just that. And certainly any campaign that does move forward could use a little finessing by the "Mad Men" ad executive. Heather Knight in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/22/12

   POTUS 44

Obama officials push Congress to block doubling of student loan interest rate -- The Obama administration on Friday urged Congress to step in to prevent a doubling of the interest rate on a massive federal student loan program this summer, affecting an estimated seven million borrowers. Daniel de Vise in the Washington Post -- 4/22/12

   Beltway

Election-year spending battles will test Speaker Boehner and GOP -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is all but certain to face a divisive spending vote that splits his party right before the November elections. Erik Wasson The Hill -- 4/22/12

GOP elite holds off the tea partiers -- The tricorne-hat wearing, Gadsden-flag waving insurgents were nowhere near the Republican National Committee’s annual meeting of state chairman, which wrapped up at a posh resort here Saturday afternoon. JAMES HOHMANN Politico -- 4/22/12