California Policy and Politics This Morning

Prop. 32: Group linked to Koch brothers gives $4 million -- A group with ties to the conservative billionaire Koch brothers has dropped $4 million to pass a ballot measure that would severely limit the political activity of labor unions. Anthony York in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Prop 32 supporters: the Koch Brothers dilemma -- When news broke Friday of a $4 million infusion of cash into efforts to pass Proposition 32 -- the ban on paycheck deductions for political efforts -- it marked a major turn in the narrative of the campaign, all thanks to two words: Koch Brothers. John Myers News10 -- 9/15/12

Conservative organization gives $4 million to Proposition 32 -- With a single donation, a conservative group with ties to the Koch brothers has doubled the money backing a ballot measure that would hamper union's political fundraising. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/15/12

Propositions 30 and 38 go head to head -- As Gov. Jerry Brown and wealthy civil-rights attorney Molly Munger brace for a fall showdown over their initiatives to raise taxes for schools, educators are agonizing over picking sides. Steven Harmon and Katy Murphy in the San Jose Mercury -- 9/15/12

Whole Foods endorses genetically modified food labeling measure -- Whole Foods Market, the upscale seller of organic products and other "natural" foods, has endorsed a California initiative that would require the labeling of genetically engineered food ingredients. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Uneasy Allies in the Grocery Aisle -- Giant bioengineering companies like Monsanto and DuPont are spending millions of dollars to fight a California ballot initiative aimed at requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods. STEPHANIE STROM in the New York Times$ -- 9/15/12

Hiltzik: Prop. 37: Another example of the perils of the initiative process -- There's scant science and much nonsense in the debate over Propositon 37, would require some food sold in California and produced via genetic engineering to be labeled as such. Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Jerry Brown finds decisions 'way too important' for LAO -- The Legislative Analyst's Office wasn't the most diplomatic, perhaps, when in a February report on Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal for higher education, it suggested a number of shortcomings in Brown's plan to measure performance at public colleges and universities. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert$ -- 9/15/12

Bond-rating agency sees fork in road for California finances -- A leading bond-rating agency outlined on Friday a stark choice for California voters -- approve higher taxes for a "striking improvement" in state finances, or reject them and send the state back into the red. Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 9/15/12

Prop. 83 violates sex parolees' rights -- A state appeals court says a voter-approved California law that prohibits paroled sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park violates the constitutional rights of parolees whose housing options are so limited that they end up living on the streets, with little access to health care or social services. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/15/12

Rick Caruso's interests may be hurdles in a run for L.A. mayor -- Rick Caruso, the developer of the Grove and Americana at Brand, controls a high-profile portfolio of real estate holdings in the same city he would be trying to govern. Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Tax measure gets Speaker Pérez's support -- Assembly Speaker John Pérez lost his legislative fight to fund college scholarships by raising corporate taxes through the Legislature this year - so he's throwing his support behind a ballot measure that would instate the same tax hike, albeit not for scholarships. Marisa Lagos and Wyatt Buchanan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/15/12

California Tries to Guide the Way on Health Law -- California — home to seven million uninsured people, more than any other state — is at the forefront of preparations for January 2014, when a controversial requirement that most Americans have medical coverage or pay a penalty takes effect. ABBY GOODNOUGH in the New York Times$ -- 9/15/12

Obama, Romney volunteers hit key states -- The population powerhouse states of California, New York and Texas, while rich in voters, are not battleground swing states in the 2012 election and have been relegated to fundraising meccas that are largely ignored by the campaigns of President Obama and Mitt Romney. Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/15/12

   Economy

Amazon, other Web retailers start collecting California sales tax -- New state and local government revenues from Amazon alone are expected to be as high as $100 million during the first year of collection. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Bay Area home sales, prices up in August -- Propelled by cheap mortgages, an improving economy and strong buyer demand, home sales in the Bay Area recorded their best August in six years as prices continued to surge, according to a real estate report released Friday. Carolyn Said in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/15/12

Sacramento home prices jump 10 percent in August -- Driven by short supply and relatively high demand, Sacramento County's median home price continued its steady upward climb in August - and rose more than 10 percent from the same month a year before. Hudson Sangree in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/15/12

   Education

Cal State applicants to get warning letter about tax initiative -- Cal State plans to send a letter to applicants saying, in effect, their chances for admission are higher if the tax hike on the Nov. 6 ballot passes. Tax foes say that's illegal. Evan Halper in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

UC regents hear ideas for raising money -- Anyone who needs a lot of money, as the University of California says it does, gets thinking about the fastest, easiest ways to bring in cash: Cut employees' health care plans: $100 million. Raid the endowment: $20 million. Charge more for parking and shift money to the pension plan: Could rake in millions. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/15/12

State takes over financially strapped Inglewood Unified School District -- The financially ailing Inglewood Unified School District on Friday became the ninth school district in the history of California to be taken over by the state. Rob Kunzia in the Torrance Daily Breeze -- 9/15/12

   Health Care

Report: Sutter Health probed -- It's a fact of life in California health care – the clout wielded by the state's big hospital chains. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/15/12

Low-income Parents Brace for End of ‘Healthy Families’ -- Next January, the state will begin transferring hundreds of thousands of low-income kids from its popular Healthy Families insurance plan to Medi-Cal — which offers medical coverage to the state’s poorest residents. Mina Kim KQED State of Health -- 9/15/12

   Environment

Greasing the wheels of an urban oil-drilling boom -- As rising crude prices make old fields now surrounded by homes economically viable again, oil companies are making many concessions with local officials to revive them. Ronald D. White in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Studies: Offshore Wind Potential is Huge -- Harnessing wind offshore and at higher altitude could meet all electricity needs — theoretically. Craig Miller KQED Climate Watch -- 9/15/12

   Also..

Alleged 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker taken in for interviewing by deputies -- Just after midnight, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Arab world. Robert Faturechi and Allen J. Schaben in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Google denies White House request to pull YouTube video that sparked violence -- Google rejected a request by the White House on Friday to reconsider its decision to keep online a controversial YouTube movie clip that has ignited anti-American protests in the Middle East. Gerry Shih Reuters -- 9/15/12

2 ex-SEALS killed in Libya attack remembered by friends, family -- Two former Navy SEALS from San Diego County killed in the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya were remembered this week by loved ones as dedicated family men and warriors. Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

California Muslims hold vigil for slain ambassador -- The Tustin vigil came as law enforcement personnel patrolled near Coptic Christian churches because of the role of Egyptian Christians in making the film that spurred violence in the Mideast. Mona Shadia and Harriet Ryan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Lazarus: A binding contract, but not for Wells Fargo -- Question: When is a contract not worth the paper it's printed on? Answer: When it contains weasel words so broad in scope that one party is free to change whatever it wants, whenever it wants. David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

UC Davis to help disfigured 'hero dog' -- The heroic exploits and tragic difficulties of a dog in the Philippines named Kabang have touched hearts across the world and grabbed the attention of a team of Northern California veterinarians who are stepping up to help. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/15/12

Saunders: Price of Obama's 'college affordability' -- "No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don't have the money," President Obama told the Democratic National Convention as he accepted his party's nomination in Charlotte, N.C., this month. Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/15/12

   Occupy

Occupy movement turns 1 year old, its effect still hard to define -- Since Occupy Wall Street sparked a nationwide movement, no broad tangible result has emerged. To stay relevant, must it involve politicians? Andrew Tangel in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Documents show FBI monitored Bay Area Occupy movement -- The FBI kept a watchful eye on the local Occupy movement last year, especially while it was planning protests to shutdown West Coast ports, according to documents obtained by the ACLU of Northern California. Matthew Artz in the Oakland Tribune -- 9/15/12

   Chicago v Boston

Mitt Romney's tax plan feasible, studies show, but at a cost -- Romney's proposal would require eliminating all deductions and credits for households with income over $100,000. David Lauter in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Some Romney Proposals Await Fuller Detail -- Mitt Romney says he will cut government spending by some $500 billion a year by the end of his first term, while protecting military spending. But he has not detailed many of the deep cuts to domestic programs that budget analysts say would be needed to achieve that. MICHAEL COOPER in the New York Times$ -- 9/15/12

Mideast upheaval stirs pot in presidential race -- Mitt Romney could use it to try to cut into President Obama's advantage on foreign policy, but that strategy also carries risks. Paul West in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/15/12

Will the Arab Spring Rain on Obama’s Re-election? -- Until now, the Arab Spring has felt like a wash in domestic political terms. Conservatives have charged Obama with “losing” Egypt to the Islamists after mishandling the region’s politics. MICHAEL CROWLEY Time -- 9/15/12

Poll Finds Obama Is Erasing Romney’s Edge on Economy -- President Obama has taken away Mitt Romney’s longstanding advantage as the candidate voters say is most likely to restore the economy and create jobs, according to the latest poll by The New York Times and CBS News, which found a modest sense of optimism among Americans that White House policies are working. JEFF ZELENY and MEGAN THEE-BRENAN in the New York Times$ -- 9/15/12

Huntsman: Romney's Reaction to Arab Protests a 'Problem' -- Former U.S. Ambassador to China and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said on Friday that Mitt Romney’s response to the violent protests in the Middle East and North Africa posed a “problem” for the man he endorsed several months ago. Matt Vasilogambros National Journal -- 9/15/12

White House Unveils Sequestration Plan -- U.S. weapons purchases would be slashed, programs to protect food and water safety would take a hit, and crime-prevention programs would be scaled back if Congress fails to act to prevent automatic cuts known as the sequester from taking effect at the beginning of next year, the White House warned on Friday. Katy O'Donnell, Sara Sorcher and Meghan McCarthy National Journal -- 9/15/12

The Most Controversial Cuts the White House Unveiled Today -- After months of foot-dragging, the White House finally announced how it would implement the mandatory spending cuts to defense and domestic spending Republicans and Democrats agreed to last year, but that no one — not Congressional Democrats, Republicans, or the White House — wants to see go in effect. JOHN HUDSON The Atlantic -- 9/15/12

GOP Pushes Back on Sequester -- Republicans pushed back Friday after the White House blamed the GOP for blocking "balanced" alternatives that would raise taxes on the wealthy as a way to avoid automatic budget cuts set to take effect Jan. 2 Steven T. Dennis Roll Call -- 9/15/12

Sequester Benefits Neither Party, Congressional Insiders Say -- Congress is not expected to make any serious maneuvers to offset looming cuts to the defense sector before the fall elections, making the issue a political football heading into November. Shane Goldmacher and Peter Bell National Journal -- 9/15/12

Republican Infighting Leaves 46 Million Food Stamp Recipients Facing Uncertain Future -- As House Democrats decry cuts to food stamps in the farm bill, Republicans meet behind closed doors to try to bring it to a vote. But the bill is still stalled. Rebecca Berg BuzzFeed -- 9/15/12

Mitt Romney's Disastrous Energy Plan -- The Republicans are offering up a blueprint for environmental ruin - more drilling, less wildlife and a climate gone crazy. JEFF GOODELL Rolling Stone -- 9/15/12

To Be Presidential, Romney Must First Be Truthful -- Presidential campaigns sometimes turn on big moments that help voters ponder the central question they have about every challenger: What would this person actually be like as president? Jonathan Alter Bloomberg View -- 9/15/12

Republicans Expand Foreign Policy Attacks as Bodies Return Home -- The Republican presidential ticket escalated its attack on President Barack Obama’s foreign policy as the U.S. political debate focused on a topic largely absent from the campaign trail until this week. Lisa Lerer and Julie Bykowicz Bloomberg -- 9/15/12

Obama Nearing the 50% Mark or He's Losing -- Both candidates had good news to point to in the national polls today, which means they also both had bad news. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter. ESTHER ZUCKERMAN The Atlantic -- 9/15/12

Jesse Ventura suggests US may be behind Middle East violence -- Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, an avid and prolific conspiracist, says it’s possible the U.S. government is intentionally inflaming the current turmoil in the Middle East. “Who knows what caused it? Let’s remember the CIA’s job is to go out and create wars,” Ventura told The Daily Caller during an extensive interview. Jamie Weinstein Daily Caller -- 9/15/12

Only Explain -- Early Friday morning, September 14, a movie-loving and Romney-supporting friend emailed: “I’m starting to panic. Tell me not to.” WILLIAM KRISTOL Weekly Standard -- 9/15/12

Time To Panic -- Religious conservatives are worrying out loud about Mitt Romney. David Weigel Slate -- 9/15/12

Why Obama Is Still Ahead -- The economy alone won’t win the election for Romney. FRED BARNES Weekly Standard -- 9/15/12

The Hip-Hop President -- His lack of righteous anger is exasperating Americans. Michelle Malkin NRO -- 9/15/12

Romney: My Magic Tax Plan Will Repeal Laws of Arithmetic -- Let’s stop this meme before it gets started. Mitt Romney did not say that a salary between $200,000 and $250,000 a year counts as “middle income.” Jonathan Chait New York Magazine -- 9/15/12

Romney defines ‘middle-income’ as $200,000 to $250,000 and less in annual income -- Mitt Romney is promising to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans. But how does he define “middle-income”? The Republican presidential nominee defined it Friday as income of $200,000 to $250,000 a year and less. Associated Press -- 9/15/12

The Conservative Prescription for Romney: More Social Issues -- To "values voters," the problem with Romney's campaign is not enough red meat -- and not enough Paul Ryan. Molly Ball The Atlantic -- 9/15/12

In Values Voter Speech, Ryan Defies Campaign Messaging on Abortion -- The Romney campaign likes to say the election is all about the economy. Ryan, blasting Obama on social issues at the Value Voters Summit, didn’t get the memo. Michelle Goldberg Daily Beast -- 9/15/12

Three Reasons to salute ben bernanke -- It's time to give Ben Bernanke some credit. Under attack from the left and the right for much of the past year, the mild-mannered former Princeton prof has shown some leadership and pushed through a major policy shift. John Cassidy The New Yorker -- 9/15/12

Why Snooki Is the Ultimate Swing Voter -- Today, during a taping of Live! with Kelly and Michael that will air Tuesday, Mitt Romney made an obvious play for a vote. Whose? Snooki's. Why? Snooki is the ultimate swing voter. ESTHER ZUCKERMAN The Atlantic -- 9/15/12