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California Policy & Politics This Morning   

MWD mulls $350M water program hike -- Southern California's largest water agency, Metropolitan Water District, will consider dramatically increasing its conservation budget by a record $350 million, which it says will make the water-saving program the nation's largest. The additional expense could also raise water rates by 21 percent, according to one of its board members. Bradley J. Fikes in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ Taylor Goldenstein in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/23/15

Vandalism costs East Bay district 50 million gallons of water -- Fremont police are investigating what they believe is an act of vandalism that destroyed an inflatable rubber dam in the East Bay on Thursday morning, costing the area nearly 50 million gallons of water. Emily Green in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/23/15

State water board OKs voluntary cutbacks for delta growers -- California water regulators have accepted an unprecedented proposal from Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta farmers to voluntarily cut water use by 25% -- or fallow a quarter of their cropland -- in an effort to avoid harsher, government-imposed cuts. Monte Morin in the Los Angeles Times$ Dale Kasler and Phillip Reese in the Sacramento Bee$ Fenit Nirappil and Scott Smith Associated Press Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/23/15

Legislative Democrats propose broad expansion of child care -- Legislative Democrats put forward separate approaches this week to significantly increase spending on child care programs, amid wariness by influential school groups and hostility from the Brown administration. Jim Miller and Alexei Kosseff in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/23/15

Oakland works to keep protests from becoming destructive -- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, roundly criticized after vandals damaged multiple businesses during a May Day protest, has apparently had enough and ordered a change to how the city handles after-hours demonstrations. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 5/23/15

Controversial piece of body camera bill could be deleted -- Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, said this week she is considering removing a provision that initially called for banning officers involved in a use-of-force incident from viewing camera footage before they write reports. Chris Nichols in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 5/23/15

Advocates report $48.5 million in state lobbying costs in first quarter -- Local governments, businesses, unions and other special interests reported spending more than $48.5 million on direct state lobbying expenses from January through March, according to first-quarter reports filed earlier this month. Jim Miller in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/23/15

California gambling interests welcome Rod Wright back to Sacramento -- He may have left the Capitol amid controversy last fall, but former state Sen. Rod Wright was welcomed back warmly on Thursday at an Internet poker conference hosted by Capitol Weekly. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/23/15

California lawmakers act to mandate vaccines for day care workers -- California lawmakers acted Friday on a measure that would require workers in day care centers to get vaccinated as part of an effort to protect children from preventable diseases, including measles, for which there have been recent outbreaks in the state. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/23/15

More than 700 workers to help with California oil spill cleanup -- Workers have rescued five brown pelicans, as well as a juvenile sea lion partially covered in oil, officials said. The birds have been taken to a facility in San Pedro and the sea lion was taken to SeaWorld for rehabilitation, said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Mark Crossland. Javier Panzar and Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/23/15

Feds order company involved in California oil spill to test, study pipe -- The company that owns the pipe that ruptured and spilled up to 105,000 gallons of heavy crude in Santa Barbara County has 10 days to appeal a federal order to take corrective steps, officials said Friday. Joseph Serna and Julie Cart in the Los Angeles Times$ Brian Melley Associated Press -- 5/23/15

State analysis supports repealing toothless state job-positions law -- A state law intended to eliminate chronically-empty state job positions is “clearly broken,” according to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, and should be repealed as Gov. Jerry Brown has suggested. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/23/15

Criminal suspects challenge legality of warrantless cellphone tracking -- Four men charged in federal court with attempted murder in the shooting of an Oakland, California, police officer in 2013 are seeking to have evidence – including the officer’s gun, which was found at one defendant’s apartment – thrown out because they claim it was obtained through the warrantless use of a StingRay, a controversial cellphone surveillance device. Ali Winston Center for Investigative Reporting -- 5/23/15

Family of man killed by SJSU police criticizes decision not to file charges against officers -- Police said Lopez charged at the officers with a saw blade after defying their orders to drop it, and withstood a failed Taser deployment; his family argues that he was not a threat stemming from a general fear of police, and that a language barrier may have added confusion to the encounter. Robert Salonga in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/23/15

Carpooling by Uber, Lyft OK’d by California Assembly -- Users of services like Uber and Lyft would be cleared to use the drive-for-pay services to carpool under a bill that cleared the California Assembly on Friday. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/23/15

California ban on microbeads in cosmetics advances -- The Assembly on Friday passed a bill to bar California retailers from selling products containing tiny plastic beads which currently are embedded in many exfoliating creams and scrubs. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ Fenit Nirappil Associated Press -- 5/23/15

Disabled L.A. man's desire to vote leads to probe of alleged state violations -- Years later, when he turned 18, Lopate's mother sought a court guardianship of her severely autistic son so that she could oversee his medical affairs and other legal matters. But she and Lopate were horrified and confused when they discovered that the move would result in her son being stripped of his right to vote. Stephen Ceasar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/23/15

California lawmakers OK bill in response to Kardashian wedding snafu -- Celebrity Kim Kardashian’s 2011 wedding to Kris Humphries not only produced headlines over their quick divorce, but now is also responsible for legislation that would significantly increase fines against hosts of unpermitted big events that tie up traffic and public resources. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/23/15

Orange County D.A.: No charges for Santa Ana mayor Miguel Pulido; $13,000 fine was enough -- No criminal charges will be brought against Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido for a land-swap deal with a city contractor, county prosecutors announced Friday. Tony Saavedra in the Orange County Register$ -- 5/23/15

Loretta Sanchez trade gaffe draws party ire -- After having a “draft” of her official launch announcement leak and making a “war cry” gesture while describing Native Americans at a California Democratic convention, Sanchez was caught on camera dancing in front of signs blasting Rep. Ami Bera, a fellow California lawmaker who is facing criticism from progressives and union leaders for his decision to support fast track authority. Lauren French Politico -- 5/23/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions    

California producers fear Mexico, Canada retaliation over labeling law -- California ranchers and their Capitol Hill allies are scrambling to peel away a country-of-origin labeling law they fear will hurt the state. Michael Doyle McClatchy DC -- 5/23/15

Toyota to lay off 200-plus at Long Beach plant -- A shift in Toyota's manufacturing strategies could lead to more than 200 workers losing their jobs at Toyota Auto Body California, a manufacturing plant in North Long Beach. Andrew Edwards in the Long Beach Press Telegram -- 5/23/15

San Diego Stadium costs: How $750M grew to $1.1B -- The $1.15 billion estimate for a new 65,000-seat Chargers stadium in Mission Valley started out at less than $750 million, according to a breakdown released Thursday. Roger Showley in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 5/23/15

Santa Barbara tourism industry fends off oil spill concerns -- Is Santa Barbara covered in oil? Should I cancel my kayaking trip to Channel Islands National Park? Samantha Masunaga in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/23/15

California oil spill a reminder of coastal tourism industry vulnerabilities -- Orange County’s majestic beaches generate a tourism and recreation industry worth $1.9 billion a year. But it’s an industry as vulnerable as the coastline it’s built on. Jodie Tillman in the Orange County Register$ -- 5/23/15

As oil production soars, so have pipeline leaks -- Since 2009, the annual number of significant accidents on oil and petroleum pipelines has shot up by almost 60 percent, roughly matching the rise in U.S. crude oil production, according to an analysis of federal data by The Associated Press. Henry C. Jackson and David A. Lieb Associated Press -- 5/23/15

West Coast dockworkers approve new labor contract -- West Coast dockworkers ratified a labor contract Friday covering 29 ports, ending a year-long process for a new deal that erupted into labor strife on the docks. Andrew Khouri in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/23/15

Hayward Unified, teachers reach tentative contract -- The two-year agreement includes a 2 percent retroactive raise for teachers in the current 2014-15 school year and a 5 percent increase in 2015-16. These increases come after the district gave teachers a 5.5 percent raise in 2013-14 after years of no raises. The item is in the Oakland Tribune -- 5/23/15

California adds 29,500 to payrolls in April; jobless rate falls to 6.3% -- Even as California employers continued to boost head counts in April, they slightly slowed their pace of hiring, adding 29,500 nonfarm payroll jobs. Tiffany Hsu in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/23/15


City sprays golf courses with tap water -- The City of San Diego has continued using drinking water to irrigate two of its three golf courses amid worsening drought, increasing use by millions of gallons each year since 2013, city documents show. Morgan Cook in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 5/23/15


12 California hospitals fined by state health officials -- The California Department of Public Health this week fined 12 hospitals a total of $775,000 after investigations determined that the hospitals caused -- or were likely to cause -- death or serious injury to patients. Tracy Seipel in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 5/23/15

Greenhut: 'Right to try' helps evade the FDA logjam -- The California Medical Association has just recently dropped its opposition to a physician-assisted-suicide bill in the state Legislature — a development its author has called a “game-changer” that may assure its passage. Ironically, the association has yet to remove its opposition to bills to let terminally ill patients opt for experimental treatments that have yet to receive federal approval. Steven Greenhut in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 5/23/15

Also . . . 

Probe faults truck driver in fatal bus collision -- The California Highway Patrol faulted a semi-truck driver Friday for a fiery head-on collision with a bus that killed 10, but officials said they still don't know why his big rig veered across an interstate median and into oncoming traffic, killing five high school students on their way to visit a college and a couple who had just gotten engaged. Amanda Lee Myers and Fenit Nirappil Associated Press -- 5/23/15


Clinton says she’s not running for a ‘third term’ of her husband or Obama -- Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday sought to distance herself somewhat from both her husband, a previous president, and Barack Obama, the current White House occupant who defeated her in 2008. Robert Costa in the Washington Post$ -- 5/23/15