California Policy and Politics This Morning

Caltrans records reveal concerns about Bay Bridge concrete -- A builder of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge failed to disclose that a 19-foot section of concrete in the foundation of the span's signature tower had not hardened before it was tested. By keeping quiet about the problem, the builder prevented further examination or repair. Charles Piller in the Sacramento Bee -- 5/27/12

From prison, Cunningham pleads for his gun rights -- Just months away from being released from federal prison, former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham of Rancho Santa Fe wrote to a federal judge earlier this month asking help to get his rights to carry a gun restored. Greg Moran UT San Diego Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/12

Polls reveal mixed feelings on Brown's tax plan -- Gov. Jerry Brown must have been pretty tickled with the results of an independent poll released this week that showed most likely voters willing to support his November tax initiative, a key part of his plan to balance the state budget. Marisa Lagos in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/27/12

Peele: Florida's open government practices put California to shame -- Here's Florida's latest transparency coup: Gov. Rick Scott has made his top aides' email accounts available on the Internet for all to see. The public can go online and peek into inbox and sent email folders at any time: no public record requests, no long waits, no government lawyers trying to scrub everything clean. Thomas Peele in the Contra Costa Times -- 5/27/12

California's egg-farm law prompts a push for national standards -- In a rare alliance, the Humane Society and egg ranchers lobby for federal legislation on the treatment of chickens that would override California's Proposition 2. Stuart Pfeifer in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/12

Swing district in Ventura County may create opening for independent candidate -- In a district with nearly even Republican and Democratic registration, there may be no Democrat on the November ballot in the contest to succeed Rep. Elton Gallegly, complicating Democrats' hopes of regaining a majority. Jean Merl in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/12

Who's who in independent cash bonanza? -- Few legislative races on the June 5 ballot feature the same thicket of independent groups' money and motives as Riverside County's 31st Senate District. Imran Ghori and Jim Miller in the Riverside Press -- 5/27/12

Napolitano, Gonzalez and Miller vying in new 32nd Congressional District -- When the redistricting commission finished drawing the new 32nd Congressional District, it appeared as if it was drawn for a Latino and a Democrat. Steve Scauzillo in the San Gabriel Tribune -- 5/27/12

   High-Speed Rail

High-speed rail board to take up hiring of CEO -- The California High-Speed Rail Authority may soon have a new leader to try to steer the agency through the state budget process and the start of construction on the controversial train system. Tim Sheehan in the Fresno Bee -- 5/27/12

   Economy

Soldiers want service to count -- How much should medical training and experience in the military count toward college credit and licensing requirements? Foon Rhee in the Sacramento Bee -- 5/27/12

Morain: Can market for clean-air credits resist profiteers? -- A promise of big money has a way of quieting nagging questions. So it is with California's cap and trade program. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee -- 5/27/12

Facebook IPO offers market lessons -- Facebook's initial public offering promised to be a generational event - and on that front, at least, it delivered. Casey Newton, James Temple in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/27/12

Home sales indicator in California was down in April -- After posting a strong performance in March, California pending home sales slipped in April, according to the California Association of Realtors. Mark Glover in the Sacramento Bee -- 5/27/12

Sports economics hinder Oakland -- The Oakland Coliseum complex is no Ebbets Field, but after last week's announcement that the Golden State Warriors are heading across the bay, it could suffer the same fate. Matthew Artz in the Oakland Tribune -- 5/27/12

CRA breakup time-consuming, complex -- It has been a trip through uncharted waters, with billions of dollars at stake that could affect thousands of jobs as more than 400 community redevelopment agencies statewide are being torn apart. Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 5/27/12

   Taxes - Fees

San Mateo County tax measures aimed at SFO -- A trip to the airport could get pricier if San Mateo County voters approve three tax measures aimed at airport businesses, including an 8 percent tax on parking. Carolyn Jones in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/27/12

New Los Angeles County parcel tax for storm-water treatment to be proposed to voters -- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote this week on a proposal to tax homeowners an average of $54 per parcel to raise funds to treat polluted storm water before it reaches local lakes and beaches. Steve Scauzillo in the Inland Daily Bulletin -- 5/27/12

   Education

Potential teacher shortage developing in California's public schools -- California could be facing a teacher shortage in the coming years if it doesn't find a way to attract fresh recruits to replace a wave of baby boomers set to retire soon, educational scholars say. J.D. Velasco in the San Gabriel Tribune -- 5/27/12

Governor Brown's education aid plan in hands of voters -- Public school officials and employees hope increased taxes will be able to help alleviate some of the hurt they've experienced from recent cutbacks. Neil Nisperos in the Inland Daily Bulletin -- 5/27/12

Students at Inland Empire campuses argue costs, cuts don't add up -- For Natalie Dorado, 25, getting a college education these days has been a matter of getting food in her stomach. Her education at Cal State San Bernardino comes at the end of 10 years in which tuition for students in the CSU system has increased by, depending on your source, between 240 and 318 percent, even as CSU executive salaries have soared. Neil Nisperos and Ryan Hagen in the San Bernardino Sun -- 5/27/12

Inland Empire educators, administrators dance around California's deferrals -- A cut in income is bad enough. Paychecks that arrive months after payday make it even harder. That's the situation California school districts find themselves in, because of a policy that since the 2008-09 fiscal year has delayed paying billions of dollars -- money that the California constitution requires go from the state's general fund to K-12 school districts -- until months after they're owed. Ryan Hagen in the San Bernardino Sun -- 5/27/12

Increasingly, teachers rely on volunteers to fill gaps -- Curtis Winton is one man who stands out in a crowd. He's tall. Walks proudly. And has a smile that you just gravitate toward. It's no surprise that even in his 60s, Winton is popular with students within the Rialto Unified School District. Kristina Hernandez in the San Bernardino Sun -- 5/27/12

Inland Empire's private colleges feel some pain, some gain -- Local private colleges are sending a similar message to their public counterparts: even as their nongovernmental funding sources keep them comparatively insulated from the state's budget crisis, the future is grim. Ryan Hagen in the San Bernardino Sun -- 5/27/12

   Health Care

State-based insurance marketplaces hang in balance of Supreme Court health-care ruling -- While partisan gridlock and logistical disputes have stalled preparations for the 2010 health-care law in about two dozen states, more than a dozen others have moved swiftly to set up the insurance marketplaces at the statute’s core. N.C. Aizenman in the Washington Post -- 5/27/12

   Environment

It's costly, but Los Angeles is getting its rail mojo back -- It took more than a half-century, but this megalopolis that long ago turned its back on cheap street trolleys like the Red Car in favor of car-choked concrete superhighways is finally getting its rail mojo back. Herbert A. Sample in the Sacramento Bee -- 5/27/12

Improving the flow to use recycled water -- Every year California dumps enough wastewater into the ocean to fill Lake Oroville, one of the state’s largest sources of drinking water. Even thirsty San Diego pours thousands of gallons of wastewater into the Pacific off Point Loma every day. Michael Gardner UT San Diego -- 5/27/12

Occidental Petroleum looks to drill for oil in Carson -- There's still oil in them thar Dominguez Hills. Plenty of black gold is hidden in the sand and shale of the Dominguez Oil Field, Occidental Petroleum Corp. officials believe. Sandy Mazza in the Long Beach Press -- 5/27/12

   Immigration

Lopez: Guest worker idea stuck in web of politics -- "You'd think agriculture would have Republican politicians on our side, but on this issue we don't," Kevin Andrew was saying as we toured some grape fields north of Bakersfield, where farmworkers were thinning vines. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/12

In Mexicali, a haven for broken lives -- The once-grand El Hotel Centenario is now the decrepit El Hotel del Migrante Deportado — the Hotel of the Deported Migrant. It hosts a procession of lost souls. Richard Marosi in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/12

   Also..

Matier & Ross: San Francisco Department of Building Inspection's conflict -- Wild times have returned to the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, with Director Vivian Day taking a week off because of stress. Her reason: She says the mayor and head of the commission that oversees her agency are trying to force her out. Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/27/12

Saunders: Obama must reform presidential pardons -- As a candidate for president in 2008, Sen. Barack Obama pledged to "immediately" review federal mandatory minimum sentences "to see where we can be smarter on crime and reduce the ineffective warehousing of nonviolent drug offenders." Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/27/12

USS Iowa ships out under the Golden Gate Bridge on its way to Los Angeles -- Three days after the Japanese surrender ended World War II, the destroyer USS Davison dropped anchor just off Yokosuka. When its crew members awoke the next morning, they found the battleship USS Iowa parked next door. Gary Peterson in the Contra Costa Times Steve Chawkins in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/27/12

Board vacancy triggers talk of gubernatorial appointment -- Contra Costa Supervisor Gayle Uilkema's death last week is spurring talk about whether someone ought to fill the remaining six months of her term. Lisa Vorderbrueggen in the Contra Costa Times -- 5/27/12

   POTUS 44

Poverty advocates begin 2012 push -- President Barack Obama has been focusing his reelection campaign on appealing to the middle class — but many allies on the left, including civil rights activists and religious leaders, say it’s the poor that need more of his attention. JOSEPH WILLIAMS Politico -- 5/27/12

Willie's World: Obama's re-election campaign - the thrill is gone -- The president's trip to the Bay Area last week made it painfully clear that the Barack Obama re-election campaign has lost its mojo. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/27/12

   Beltway

Wisconsin recall election: Scott Walker’s fate will have November implications -- Evan Bradtke, a 20-year-old college student, spends time these days working out of a small, windowless room in a nondescript suite of offices a few miles outside Madison, Wis. Hour after hour he calls voters, urging them to turn out on June 5 to support embattled Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Dan Balz in the Washington Post -- 5/27/12

Why Romney-Obama Will Be a Tight Race -- All signs point to a presidential race that will be very tight. Neither candidate seems capable of pulling away. Charlie Cook National Journal -- 5/27/12