California Policy and Politics This Morning

Judge: CalPERS can offer long-term care insurance to gay couples -- In a major case involving gay rights at CalPERS, the nation's largest public pension fund has been ordered to offer its long-term care insurance program to same-sex partners of California workers. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 5/26/12

Bid to tie minimum wage to inflation dies in California Assembly -- AB 1439, by Assemblymember Luis Alejo, would have measured inflation using the California Consumer Price Index. Hannah Madans SacBee Capitol Alert -- 5/26/12

BofA tries turning distressed homeowners into renters -- Bank of America is testing a mortgage-to-lease program in four states. The idea: Instead of evicting homeowners who face foreclosure, it lets them stay as tenants and sells the homes to investors. E. Scott Reckard and Alejandro Lazo in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/12

Richard Grenell regroups in Palm Springs -- For Richard Grenell, buying a house in Palm Springs and setting out to renovate it with his partner is just the diversion he may need after a tumultuous year. Hank Plante in the Desert Sun -- 5/26/12

Gov. Jerry Brown: Golden Gate Bridge a model for thinking big -- A 75th anniversary celebration for the Golden Gate Bridge began Friday with California Gov. Jerry Brown comparing the landmark span to his own big dreams for the Golden State. Terry Collins Associated Press -- 5/26/12

State: PG&E's flawed tracking endangered public -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. put its customers in jeopardy by failing to reduce pressure on hundreds of segments of natural-gas pipelines as homes and businesses were built over what was once open space, state regulators said Friday. Demian Bulwa in the San Francisco Chronicle CASSANDRA SWEET in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 5/26/12

Police report released on California lawmaker's DUI arrest -- When Assemblyman Roger Hernandez was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving after pulling into the parking lot of a Concord hotel two months ago, he had a question for the police officer who stopped him. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 5/26/12

Redistricting, open primary spice three Orange County Assembly races -- While most state legislative races won't get interesting in Orange County until the fall, term limits and recent electoral reforms have made three contests on the June 5 ballot competitive. BRIAN JOSEPH in the Orange County Register -- 5/26/12

Activist outspends 2 candidates in 74th Assembly -- Assembly candidate Leslie Daigle‘s fundraising has dropped dramatically in recent months – but independent campaign spending on her behalf now totals more than the combined fundraising of Daigle and her fellow Republican candidate, incumbent Allan Mansoor. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 5/26/12

Campaign money is flowing into candidate coffers as primary election approaches -- When it comes to politics, there is the golden rule: He who has the gold wins. Neil Nisperos and Benjamin Demers in the Inland Daily Bulletin -- 5/26/12

Independent groups pony up $8.5 million on legislative races -- Independent groups, unburdened by campaign contribution limits, have contributed some $8.5 million this campaign season towards electing or defeating dozens of candidates for the California Legislature. And they're clearly not done, with the June 5 primary election less than two weeks away. John Myers News10 Capitol Connection -- 5/26/12

Freshman assemblyman from Fremont faces two challengers -- A freshman assemblyman from Fremont is being challenged by a longtime South Bay politician and a management consultant in a race that could be made more bruising by the one-two punch of redistricting and a new primary voting system. Josh Richman in the Contra Costa Times -- 5/26/12

Bilbray has had many addresses, now in Pacific Beach -- U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray says his home is a Pacific Beach condominium previously occupied by a former girlfriend of Bilbray’s son, Brian P. Bilbray. Aaron Burgin UT San Diego -- 5/26/12

Candidates make final fundraising push before primary -- Candidates for Inland Southern California’s newly reshaped congressional districts filed their final fundraising reports before the June 5 primary, shedding new light on the region’s contested House races. BEN GOAD in the Riverside Press -- 5/26/12

CalBuzz: Happy Memorial Day: Amid Rebel Yells, eMeg Returns -- As Californians prepare to celebrate Memorial Day with a traditional blue-state feast, starting off with tofu burgers washed down with 13 or 14 beers and ending 12 hours later with a full face-plant into the guacamole, our Department of American History and Corporate Event Planning sends a memo reporting that a number of bright-red states started the party early. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 5/26/12

California Assembly approves bill for Ronald Reagan statue -- The state Assembly on Friday unanimously approved a bill that would authorize a Ronald Reagan statue inside the Capitol. Associated Press -- 5/26/12

Assembly committee kills bill expanding powers of LAX police -- A state Assembly committee on Friday shelved a measure aimed at expanding the powers of Los Angeles International Airport's police force, effectively killing the plan until at least the end of the year. Art Marroquin in the Torrance Daily Breeze -- 5/26/12

State auditor's office subpoenas Vernon financial records -- The office, which rarely uses its subpoena power, is conducting a probe of contracts, bond issuances, salaries and other financial matters in Vernon. Sam Allen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/12

Former L.A. County appraiser is arraigned -- Scott Schenter is charged with unlawfully lowering property values by $172 million, allegedly to secure campaign contributions from the owners for Assessor John Noguez. He pleads not guilty. Ruben Vives in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/12

Hiltzik: Tobacco taxes are great, but Proposition 29 stinks -- Proposition 29 includes a deal breaker. Raising money for California: Good. Discouraging smoking via a harsh tax: Great. Sequestering the money for a limited purpose: Bad. Really bad. Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/12


All Fresno County courthouses outside of the city of Fresno to close -- Seven Fresno County courthouses outside the city of Fresno will close this summer, and court employees will be asked to take a 10% pay cut or early retirement to help bail out the state's financial mess. Pablo Lopez in the Fresno Bee -- 5/26/12

Home sales up nearly 10% in San Fernando Valley area -- The San Fernando Valley's housing market perked up in April with sales increasing nearly 10 percent and foreclosure activity plunging 45.5 percent, a research center said Friday. Gregory J. Wilcox in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 5/26/12

Smart meter savings may be phantom, study says -- The smart meter system that some consumers love to hate will likely cost a good deal more – and save a good deal less — than originally promised. Laura Barron-Lopez in the Orange County Register -- 5/26/12

Top CEO pay equals 3,489 years for typical worker -- David Simon of Simon Property received a pay package worth more than $137 million for last year, and the typical CEO took home $9.6 million, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Seth Borenstein Associated Press -- 5/26/12

Yahoo kills iPad magazine Livestand less than a year after launch -- Yahoo will stop production of its personalized iPad magazine effort, Livestand, just seven months after it debuted, the company announced in a blog post Friday. Jeremy C. Owens in the San Jose Mercury -- 5/26/12

California gasoline use rose for first time in a year in February -- For the first time in a year, Californians consumed more gasoline in a month than they had during the same period a year earlier, according to the State's Board of Equalization. Ronald D. White in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/12

Interior Department nixes East Bay casino -- The Interior Department vetoed an Indian tribe's plans Friday to build a casino on 30 acres north of Richmond, saying the tribe lacked any "significant historical connection" to the site. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/26/12

Ione Band of Miwoks gets OK on casino land -- An Amador County tribe cleared a major hurdle Friday in a long quest to get land to build a casino near the town of Plymouth. Peter Hecht in the Sacramento Bee -- 5/26/12

Theme parks' entry prices jump -- This year, daily passes for the Anaheim Disney parks — Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park — rose as of May 20 from $80 to $87. The biggest increase hit the estimated 300,000 park-goers, such as Casado, who buy premium annual passes that include parking. Those went from $499 to $649. Hugo Martín in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/12

   Taxes - Fees

Fire fee fixes stall -- Legislative challenges to the looming $150 annual fee that will be levied on rural residents who rely on the state for fire protection stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee Friday. Michael Gardner UT San Diego -- 5/26/12


Most students eagerly count the days until summer vacation, but homeless children will lose safe havens -- Michael Fiore and his son, Matthew, became homeless in 2010, after Fiore survived cancer but couldn't find work. After losing their Concord apartment and nearly everything they owned, the 61-year-old former Sears appliance technician and his son have alternated the last two years between sleeping in their car, in shelters and with friends. Theresa Harrington in the Contra Costa Times -- 5/26/12

LAUSD plans solo effort for $25M in Race to the Top grants -- With its eye on a $25 million prize, Los Angeles Unified is gearing up to compete in the Race to the Top, a federal grant program that for the first time is open to individual school districts. Barbara Jones in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 5/26/12

Senator seeks to limit UC students from outside California -- Too many students from other states and countries are flocking to University of California, says a state senator who wants to limit the influx. Matt Krupnick in the Contra Costa Times -- 5/26/12

New Veterans Success Center opens at Cal State San Bernardino -- On a cloudy Friday morning, veterans and active duty service members of the United States military, were paid solemn tribute in a ceremony at Cal State San Bernardino. Michel Nolan in the San Bernardino Sun -- 5/26/12

   Health Care

Kaiser, state settle therapy dispute -- Kaiser Permanente has agreed to reimburse some patients who were denied physical, occupational and speech therapy and paid for it themselves, state regulators announced Friday. Sandy Kleffman in the San Jose Mercury -- 5/26/12

Fewer than one in four kids in county with Medi-Cal get dental care -- For many of Los Angeles County's poor children, getting in to see a dentist can be as tough as making it in Hollywood, state data show. Emily Bazar in the Torrance Daily Breeze -- 5/26/12


Scientists observe 'tragic experiment' of tsunami debris -- Material swept across the Pacific after Japan's 2011 earthquake offers an opportunity to track items originating from a single point at a single time. Debris has begun washing up on the West Coast. Tony Barboza in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/12

Getting Serious About the “Other” Greenhouse Gases -- While carbon dioxide reductions are at the heart of efforts in California to curb greenhouse gas emissions, state air regulators were reminded in a hearing on Thursday not to overlook a number of other “short-lived” greenhouse pollutants in meeting targets outlined under AB 32, the state’s Global Warming Solution’s Act. Jeremy Miller KQED Climate Watch -- 5/26/12

California budget cuts hurt long battle against invasive weed threat -- It doesn't take a botanist or even a nature nut to identify yellow star thistle along a favorite hiking trail. Every outdoor enthusiast has felt the familiar stab of introduction. Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee -- 5/26/12


New Age war being waged for soul of Big Sur's Esalen -- The world-famous Esalen Institute hasn't seen this much controversy since a psychic was hired in 1979 to contact extraterrestrials for advice on reorganizing management. Julia Prodis Sulek in the San Jose Mercury -- 5/26/12

Winnemem Wintu tribe stages war dance as protest -- The 125 members of this once-thriving band of river-loving people organized the dance, which began Thursday, in protest of what they consider the federal government's refusal to protect their traditional coming-of-age ceremonies from the degradations of drunken louts on Lake Shasta. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/26/12

From AOL squatter to entrepreneur -- To save money for two months, 20-year-old Eric Simons surreptitiously lived inside AOL's Palo Alto office, sleeping on its couches, showering in its gym, sneaking its snacks and laboring there all day to develop his dream -- the Internet site ClassConnect, which he launched to help teachers create and share lesson plans with students and other educators. Steve Johnson in the San Jose Mercury -- 5/26/12

CHP shifting to SUVs for patrol cruisers -- Officials say they plan to start phasing in a 'Police Interceptor' version of the Ford Explorer this fall because traditional sedans available were too small. A third of the fleet is replaced each year. Ari Bloomekatz in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/26/12

   POTUS 44

Obama campaign billed $35,000 for Newport Beach policing -- The city spent $35,043 on police officers when President Obama stopped in Corona del Mar in February for a campaign breakfast, and revenue officials have sent his campaign an invoice to recoup the costs. City Manager Dave Kiff said the invoice was his idea. AMY SENK in the Orange County Register -- 5/26/12

Obama stumbles out of the gate -- Nothing inspires Democrats like the Barack Obama swagger — the supreme self-confidence on stage, the self-certainty in private. So nothing inspires more angst than when that same Obama stumbles, as he has leaving the gate in 2012. MIKE ALLEN and JIM VANDEHEI Politico -- 5/26/12


Joe Ricketts Finds New Role in Anti-Obama Campaign -- When news broke last week that the billionaire investor Joe Ricketts had considered financing a $10 million advertising effort linking President Obama with the fiery race-based rhetoric of his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Mr. Ricketts quickly distanced himself from the proposal and Mitt Romney’s campaign denounced it. JIM RUTENBERG and JEFF ZELENY in the New York Times$ -- 5/26/12