California Policy and Politics This Morning

Congress' balance of power could hinge on California contests -- Democratic leaders are hoping the state provides six of the 25 seats needed to win back the House majority. Money and national attention are being lavished on the races. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/3/12

Sherman leads Berman in USC poll of Valley voters -- A USC poll taken days before one of the hottest congressional primaries in the nation shows Rep. Brad Sherman leading fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman, 31.7% to 24%, with more than 23% of those surveyed saying they had not yet made up their minds. Jean Merl in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/3/12

Matier & Ross: CA officials 5% pay cut puts some below towns -- A quick survey of the pay cuts just approved by the California Citizens Compensation Commission shows that Gov. Jerry Brown's new $165,000-a-year salary is about $14,000 less than what the parks and recreation director in the delta town of Brentwood makes. Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 6/3/12

Myers: Governor wades, carefully, into contested primary races -- The value of a gubernatorial pat on the back may be hard to measure in a contested primary race, but a handful of candidates have been more than happy to accept Gov. Jerry Brown's praise -- even though that praise isn't apparently synonymous with an endorsement. John Myers News10 Capitol Connection -- 6/3/12

Term limits: A saga of irony and miscues -- What goes around comes around. Twenty-two years after Republicans successfully led a move to thwart the power of then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown by limiting lawmakers’ terms in office and eliminating their pensions, voters will consider the issue again – this time to partly undo what they did earlier. John Howard Capitol Weekly -- 6/3/12

California lawmakers running for Congress make heavy use of taxpayer-paid mail -- The postcard from Republican Sen. Tony Strickland invited constituents to coffee and conversation. Democratic Sens. Gloria Negrete McLeod and Juan Vargas mailed letters reminding residents of a tax credit for low-income workers. Torey Van Oot in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/3/12

Morain: Never a dull moment in politics -- We'll be testing the new top-two primary system in legislative districts drawn by an independent commission, seeing if big money can shape the November runoffs, and learning whether Sacramento first lady Michelle Rhee can begin to school politicians about her vision for education by spending $300,000 on individual Assembly races. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/3/12

State's 'top-two' primary election system to get its first big test -- The candidates who finish first and second in Tuesday's legislative and congressional races will face off in November. The new system could open the door for independent candidates and intraparty slugfests. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/3/12

New primary system, new districts reshape Tuesday's election -- Most voters will go to the polls Tuesday, cast their ballots and go about the rest of their day not realizing they've participated in a significant election. Monica Rodriquez in the San Bernardino Sun -- 6/3/12

Democratic Reps. Laura Richardson, Janice Hahn battle over new 44th Congressional District -- Laura Richardson took a seat next to Janice Hahn on the floor of the House of Representatives to make her intentions clear last summer. The three-term congresswoman wanted Hahn to understand why she had decided to mount a challenge for the South Bay's new 44th Congressional District. Art Marroquin in the Long Beach Press -- 6/3/12

Independent money deluge in final days -- Independent spending groups last week injected a final blast of money into Inland Southern California races on Tuesday's ballot. JIM MILLER in the Riverside Press -- 6/3/12

Nancy Pelosi skilled in art of political warfare -- After 25 years in Washington, nearly half of it as the highest-ranking woman in American politics, Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi has learned the art of when to attack and when to pull back. Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 6/3/12

Mayor Kevin Johnson raises big money outside Sacramento -- As Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson seeks a second term in Tuesday's election, his campaign has been bolstered by large contributions from wealthy out-of-town donors – the kind of big names who often fund national political campaigns but rarely come near Sacramento city politics. Phillip Reese and Ryan Lillis in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/3/12

Political Notebook: $6.5M spent on San Diego mayor's race -- The total includes more than $4.4 million spent by the candidates -- City Councilman Carl DeMaio, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Rep. Bob Filner and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher -- along with an additional $2 million spent by political-action committees and other interested participants, such as labor unions and political parties. Christopher Cadelago and Craig Gustafson UT San Diego -- 6/3/12

Willie's World: Prop. 29 will win, cigarette smuggling will rise -- Here's a primary prediction: Despite being seriously outspent by big tobacco, the Proposition 29 people get a last-minute infusion of campaign cash and squeak out a win for their measure tacking another $1-per-pack tax onto cigarettes. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 6/3/12

Lopez: One drug connection that everyone ignores -- Recreational users and hard-core addicts in the U.S. give little thought to the violence by Mexican cartels that is consuming our southern neighbor. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/3/12

   High-Speed Rail

Voters have turned against California bullet train, poll shows -- A strong majority of voters is against the bullet train project just as Gov. Brown is pressuring the Legislature to green-light the start of construction, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll finds. Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/3/12

Walters: Is California high-speed rail an ego trip for Gov. Jerry Brown? -- Jerry Brown, not surprisingly, used a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to tout his two bids for public works posterity – a north-south bullet train and a tunnel for water to bypass the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/3/12


California's taking the lead on self-driving cars -- California is quietly positioning itself at the leading edge of what could be the biggest revolution in daily travel since the day the buggy was unhitched from the horse. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/3/12

Former leather factory bustles with artists -- Where most people saw run-down buildings and grounds drenched in toxic chemicals at the old leather factory on River Street, Santa Cruz leaders 10 years ago envisioned a vibrant center for artists of all variations. Shanna McCord in the Santa Cruz Sentinel -- 6/3/12

Number of homes on market down as prices pick up -- Their experience is the story of the day in the Bay Area real estate market, especially in the tech-fueled swath from San Francisco to San Jose. Carolyn Said in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 6/3/12

   Health Care

Plan to Tax Soda Gets a Mixed Reception -- The California good life — the one of endless varieties of lettuce and tasting rooms nestled in vineyards — does not extend to Richmond’s Iron Triangle, a neighborhood named for the railroad tracks that delineate its borders and historically one of the neediest communities in the Bay Area. PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN in the New York Times$ -- 6/3/12


Stay or go? Some towns are eyeing retreat from sea -- Years of ferocious storms have threatened to gnaw away the western tip of a popular beachfront park two hours drive north of Los Angeles. Instead of building a 500-foot-long wooden defense next to the pier to tame the tide, the latest thinking is to flee. Alicia Chang and Jason Dearen in the San Jose Mercury -- 6/3/12

Environmental groups, state conservancies say Whittier oil project could open other preserves to oil drilling -- Environmental groups are lining up against the Whittier oil and gas project, saying the precedent-setting case could have repercussions for other preservation lands and parks established as a result of voter-approved state bonds. Steve Scauzillo in the San Gabriel Tribune -- 6/3/12


Growers in California's Central Valley struggle to cope with farmworker shortage -- Kevin Steward has spent more than a quarter-century in agriculture, much of that growing grapes for wineries. He's always been able to rely on seasonal workers to tend the vines and bring in the year's harvest. But this year, workers are harder to come by. Darrell Smith in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/3/12


Diocese of Oakland evicting anti-abortion shelter -- Casa Vincentia has long been an anti-abortion bastion in the East Bay, providing a home for pregnant women who otherwise might consider abortion. Matthew Artz in the Contra Costa Times -- 6/3/12

Scauzillo: Falling in love with the train -- It's not easy being green. That little ditty by Kermit The Frog is none truer than when trying to ditch the car to ride public transportation. Steve Scauzillo in the San Gabriel Tribune -- 6/3/12

Borenstein: Culture that enabled teacher sexual abuses continues in Moraga district -- They don't get it. A Moraga principal who failed to report student complaints about a molesting teacher remains on the job months after the superintendent learns of the inaction. Daniel Borenstein in the Contra Costa Times -- 6/3/12

   POTUS 44

What's this? Obama longs for GOP rival like McCain -- The Democratic incumbent and his re-election advisers are waxing nostalgic about the Republican senator from Arizona who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential race. They're embracing McCain as a reasonable voice on climate change and immigration, someone who took on extremism in his own party. JULIE PACE Associated Press -- 6/3/12

Obama not backing off attacks on Romney's record at Bain Capital -- President Obama’s campaign is going full throttle with its attacks on Mitt Romney’s time at the private equity firm Bain Capital despite concerns from some Democrats that the strategy could backfire. Amie Parnes and Mike Lillis The Hill -- 6/3/12

President, GOP Spar on Economy and Taxes -- President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans traded barbs in their weekly addresses over the solution to the nation’s sagging economy and fiscal challenges. Emily Pierce Roll Call -- 6/3/12


Outcry over Romney's Mass. affirmative action move -- Mitt Romney scuttled the Massachusetts government's long-standing affirmative action policies with a few strokes of his pen on a sleepy holiday six months after he became governor. ANDREW MIGA Associated Press -- 6/3/12

Saunders: Romney follows Obama's footsteps to Solyndra -- If you stood at the right angle, you could look past Romney's shoulder and see a big red "for sale" sign draped on the building, dubbed by Romney the "the Taj Mahal of corporations." Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 6/3/12