Updates since early This Morning

Poor children could lose medical coverage in budget plan -- The state Legislative Analyst's Office said Friday that fewer poor children will get the medical care they need under Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal. Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

John and Ken apologize for Whitney Houston 'crack' comments -- KFI radio hosts John & Ken have apologized for derogatory comments they made about Whitney Houston that resulted in their suspension from the station. Abby Sewell and Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

California congressional race heats up over PG&E money -- A bitter Southern California primary fight between two incumbent Democratic congressmen has taken a negative turn. The campaign of Rep. Brad Sherman has sent a full-color mailer attempting to tie his opponent, fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman, to a 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight residents and destroyed 38 homes in a San Francisco Bay area suburb. GARANCE BURKE AP -- 2/17/12

Just in time for Presidents Day: Here comes $4 gas in Los Angeles -- Just in time for Presidents Day: get ready for the long holiday weekend's highest prices ever in Southern California as $4 gasoline is expected to arrive in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and probably Orange County, too. Ronald D. White in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

Jerry Brown woos Xi, Chinese companies -- As he helped squire Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping around Southern California, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that the state would open two trade offices in China and proposed setting up a task force with the Communist government there to improve trade and investment. Nicholas Riccardi LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/17/12

Senate confirmation uncertain for Cal State board chairman -- Suspense is building over whether the chairman of the California State University Board of Trustees will be able to win Senate confirmation this month because of his role last year in granting administrative pay raises while also raising student fees. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/17/12

Highlights and lowlights of Obama’s SF visit: our coveted Chronnie Awards are back!! -- President Barack Obama’s whirlwind 10th visit to California this week — George Clooney! Dim Sum! Al Green! — prompts a very special joint edition of the Chronnie Awards to memorialize the stunning highs and lows: Carla Marinucci Chronicle Politics -- 2/17/12

Lawmakers to Gov. Jerry Brown: Slow down -- Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal is far more than a spending plan. It includes major changes to welfare, child care, healthcare and school funding. Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/17/12

California's Steinberg says Nevada taking Tahoe 'political hostage' -- Don't mess with Lake Tahoe. That's the message California state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) sent to Nevada this week after the Silver State threatened to pull out of the compact that has tightly regulated land use around the famous mountain lake for decades. Michael J. Mishak LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/17/12

California to reopen foreign trade offices in China -- Nine years after California disbanded its foreign trade offices amid controversy, Gov. Jerry Brown announced today that the state will open two offices in China. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/17/12

Fox: Joint Venture Silicon Valley Wants Changes to Prop 13 -- Joint Venture Silicon Valley focused on Proposition 13 at a conference last week issuing a report that Proposition 13 should be part of a discussion about restructuring the tax system. No other part of the tax system was in the report’s crosshairs. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 2/17/12

Maxine Waters ethics case: 6 committee members recuse selves -- The tumultuous ethics case against Rep. Maxine Waters, one of Los Angeles’ most enduring politicians, took another strange turn Friday as six members of the House Ethics Committee recused themselves from considering the charges against her. Richard Simon in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

Dems blast Fox host for 'crack pipe' comments about Rep. Waters -- The Fox News commentator who said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) should "step away from the crack pipe" referring to remarks she made about House Republican leaders said his comments were a joke. But the Los Angeles County Democratic Party didn't find it very funny. Rick Rojas in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

Cook says 13 California congressional seats may be competitive -- A fourth of California's 53 congressional seats could be competitive in this year's elections, thanks to extensive district boundary changes by the state's independent redistricting commission, says a new analysis by the Cook Political Report. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/17/12

Big winners and big losers under governor’s education plan -- There definitely would be big winners and unhappy losers under the governor’s plan to revamp how the state allocates money for schools. Jill Tucker Chronicle Politics -- 2/17/12

The Politics of Budgeting -- In California, where December unemployment registered 11.1 percent--almost three points above the national jobless rate, a majority of Californians (54 percent in a January PPIC survey) has steadfastly approved the President’s job performance. Sherry Bebitch Jeffe KNBC PropZero -- 2/17/12

Second 'per diem session' of year protects lawmakers' incomes -- The California Legislature conducted its second "per diem session" of the year Friday, with both legislative houses meeting briefly, thereby allowing their members to leave town for a three-day holiday weekend without losing their $141.86 per day, tax-free expense payments. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert JULIET WILLIAMS and JUDY LIN AP -- 2/17/12

Kristin Olsen seeks online posting of CA legislators' office budgets -- California legislators would be required to post their office budgets and monthly office expenditures online under legislation proposed this week by a Republican assemblywoman. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/17/12

Republicans target Capps ... and Pollock -- On today's third anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- aka, the stimulus package -- the National Republican Congressional Committee is celebrating by making calls in targeted House districts to remind voters about what the GOP group calls the "failed stimulus plan that has paralyzed our economy." Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 2/17/12

Bay Area Climate Change Plans Lack Coordination -- In the Bay Area, where climate change is expected to cause flooding, shoreline erosion, heat waves, water shortages and a spread of exotic infectious diseases, it seems as if people are drowning in plans — but with little regional coordination. JOHN UPTON Bay Citizen -- 2/17/12

How Rent Control Subsidizes San Francisco's Super-Rich -- A law meant to help the poor and working class will benefit the latest tech boom's new millionaires. SCOTT JAMES Bay Citizen -- 2/17/12


   California Policy and Politics This Morning

Massive traffic jam on 10 Freeway becomes Caltrans scandal -- Even in a region where gridlock is a daily fact of life, what happened Sunday on the 10 Freeway west of Palm Springs has morphed from traffic jam to full-fledged scandal. Rong-Gong Lin II and Sam Allen in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

Walters: Territorial poaching a symptom of government dysfunction -- One symptom of California's political dysfunction is the ceaseless infighting among governmental entities over power and money, which are often synonymous. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/17/12

$2 million boost for campaign to require two-year state budget -- A signature-gathering drive received a $2 million boost today in its bid to place before voters a constitutional amendment that would require the state to transition to a two-year, performance-based budget cycle and make numerous other changes. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/17/12

California Senate leader calls for paring tax proposals on ballot -- Democratic leaders in the state Legislature are getting nervous about the possibility of three competing tax measures going onto the November ballot and voters sending all of them down in flames. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

Steinberg: Time to rally behind Jerry Brown's tax plan -- Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said today that it's time to end sparring over competing measures and rally behind Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative for the November ballot. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/17/12

Brown's budget can't count on cap-and-trade revenue, analyst says -- In another blow to the state budget, the state's Legislative Analyst's Office said Gov. Jerry Brown should not count on $500 million in revenue from California's controversial cap-and-trade emissions control program to help balance the budget. Nicholas Riccardi in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

GOP launching calls in 8 California House districts -- To mark the third anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 this Friday, the National Republican Congressional Committee is rolling out campaign calls to voters in eight California House districts. Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 2/17/12

Central Valley reps bill would upend water rights -- Representatives from the Central Valley pushed legislation through a House committee Thursday that would upend the state's system of water rights, deploying the federal government to extract water from Northern California farms, fisheries and cities to send to farmers in the valley. Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/17/12

Key House panel approves Sacramento water bill -- an Joaquin Valley farmers would secure more water and an ambitious river restoration plan would be curtailed under a far-reaching California bill approved by a key House panel Thursday night. Michael Doyle in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/17/12

Fliers, website slam Richard Alarcon -- Richard Alarcon, a Los Angeles city councilman and a former state senator and assemblyman, hasn't had the easiest reentry into the world of state political campaigns. Jean Merl in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

PG&E expects San Bruno fines to hit $200 million -- PG&E Corp. expects to pay at least $200 million in fines tied to the deadly 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion, company executives said Thursday. David R. Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/17/12

Podcast: The Political Lull -- It seems to feel lately as though we're in between some big storms rumbling through the state political landscape in 2012 -- hence, the title of this week's Capital Notes Podcast. John Myers Capitol Notes -- 2/17/12

CalBuzz: Mitt’s Dog Checks Out Newt’s Panda & Rick’s Chaps -- Calbuzz gets results: One day after our Department of Campaign Strategy and Unsolicited Political Advice demanded that the Republican presidential front-runners attend the GOP state convention, party officials suddenly announced that Mitt Romney’s national co-chair was heading to California for the event. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 2/17/12

   Economy - Jobs

Back pay for furloughs goes to workers in five state departments -- Hundreds of current and former state workers stand to receive millions of dollars in back wages they lost to furloughs. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/17/12

Sacramento faces new competition in bid to keep Kings -- As Sacramento races to finish its arena financing plan, the city can't help looking over its shoulder at two looming threats. Ryan Lillis and Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/17/12


UC Davis faculty to hold vote on chancellor -- By the time voting closes today, more than 2,600 faculty members at UC Davis will have had an opportunity to weigh in on whether they have confidence in Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi or whether that confidence is gone after November's pepper-spraying of Occupy UC Davis protesters. Hudson Sangree in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/17/12

San Jose, Oakland students anxiously look for answers after school's shutdown -- Among the most pressing questions: Would students be able to transfer credits earned at the institute to other schools? And would the state pay them back the thousands of dollars spent on potentially worthless classes? Matt Krupnick in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/17/12

California weak on oversight of for-profit colleges, advocacy groups -- California's recently formed Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education has significant weaknesses in its oversight of for-profit colleges, advocacy groups told lawmakers at a hearing this week. Erica Perez California Watch -- 2/17/12

Lawmakers advised to give schools options to make cuts in the fall -- California lawmakers on Thursday began to tackle the perplexing problem of how to handle school funding in a year in which no one will know how much money will be available until after the next school year has begun. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 2/17/12

Fensterwald: Senators: Don’t jam us on weighted formula -- Senators on the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee generally praised the rationale and framework of Gov. Brown’s proposal to overhaul school funding in a four-hour hearing Thursday but questioned the details, timing, and the disparate financial impacts on school districts. John Fensterwald educatedguess -- 2/17/12

Baron: Beware Common Core and “dubious causality” -- The horse race of international rankings in education is based on misconceptions that can lead countries such as the United States to consider sweeping reforms that probably won’t improve academic achievement, according to a new report. Kathryn Baron TopEd -- 2/17/12

Bill would let school districts deny charters -- Over the past 10 years, Oakland has become the charter school capital of California. Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/17/12

UC Davis settles Title IX suit -- A years-long and closely watched lawsuit claiming discrimination against women in athletics at UC Davis is over – and both sides have declared victory. Denny Walsh in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/17/12

Abuse Cases Put Los Angeles Schools Under Fire -- The arrest of a public school teacher here early this month came with plenty of vivid details, thanks to hundreds of photographs that the police say show the teacher covering the eyes and mouths of children with tape and allowing cockroaches to crawl over faces. JENNIFER MEDINA in the New York Times -- 2/17/12

Gov. Jerry Brown softens possible cuts to kindergarten -- Gov. Jerry Brown is tweaking his proposal to cut transitional kindergarten, meaning that schools may lose less money than originally thought. Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/17/12

   Health Care

U.S. to Review Diet Treatment Once Rejected -- Next week, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration will recommend whether the agency should approve the first new prescription diet pill in 13 years. ANDREW POLLACK in the New York Times -- 2/17/12


Sea otters face a growing threat: shark attacks -- California's sea otters have struggled for years with diseases, parasites and even the occasional collision with boats. But now the fuzzy coastal mascots are increasingly facing another threat: shark attacks. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/17/12

Tesla’s Model X: Sleek, Climate-Friendly and Made in California -- On February 8th, Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, unveiled the company’s latest electric car: The Model X. Probably the sleekest and sexiest SUV you’ve ever seen, and also the priciest. But what’s most remarkable — beyond the falcon wings — is that the car will be manufactured here in the Golden State, at the former NUMMI plant in Fremont. Alison Van Diggelen KQED Climate Watch -- 2/17/12

Climate change doubter Heartland Institute documents leaked -- Earlier this week, the Heartland Institute, a self-described “free-market think tank” that pilloried climate scientists whose stolen emails were released in 2009 as part of the so-called Climategate flap, found itself duped out of several confidential fundraising documents that were then distributed widely over the Internet, offering a glimpse of its priorities. Neela Banerjee in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12


Traffic officials following the few checkpoint rules that exist, auditor finds -- California traffic safety officials have followed the few rules that exist for overseeing sobriety checkpoints set up by hundreds of police departments, the state auditor reported yesterday. Ryan Gabrielson California Watch -- 2/17/12

State looks at spending, regulations for San Francisco Bay bar pilots -- California’s 56 bar pilots provide a vital service, boarding commercial ships as they approach a buoy west of the Golden Gate Bridge and guiding them through dicey Bay Area waters. A giant sandbar in the bay gives bar pilots their name and helps make the zone one of the most treacherous ports in North America. Will Evans California Watch -- 2/17/12

Seventy years later, Japanese-American elders hope memory of internment survives -- But almost 70 years after Japanese-American internment, the teenager learned a hard lesson about the resonance of an extraordinary period in her country's history. As the number of Japanese-Americans who experienced the prison camps dwindles, the memory of that era will need nurturing. Matt O'Brien in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/17/12

   POTUS 44

Pilot detained after straying into Obama's airspace -- F-16 fighters intercept private plane carrying marijuana after it got too close to the helicopter taking the president from Orange County to LAX. Dan Weikel and Ari Bloomekatz in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

President Barack Obama's big-money day in San Francisco -- President Obama wrapped up a day of California fundraisers Thursday with a speech at the Nob Hill Masonic Center on elevating the middle class, as hundreds of demonstrators - from the Tea Party to Occupy - railed outside against his policies on the economy, the environment and contraception. Joe Garofoli, Carla Marinucci, Emily DeRuy in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/17/12

Obama counts on California for electoral votes -- and cash -- Except for a booth and a few T-shirts, President Barack Obama was hardly represented when the California Democratic Party met for its annual convention this past weekend. He may not have noticed. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/17/12

Obama in Bay Area on fundraising trip -- "I'm here not just because I need your help, San Francisco. I'm here because this country needs your help," the president exhorted the crowd, citing the support he had in 2008. "The campaign was not about me -- the campaign was about you." Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/17/12


Republican image on taxes takes a hit -- With their conflicting positions on whether to extend the payroll tax cut, GOP lawmakers acknowledge they have damaged their image as tax opponents and 'muddled the differences' between the parties. Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/17/12

All-male picture tells 1,000 words, say backers of birth control policy -- Female Democrats staged a walkout from a GOP-led committee hearing Thursday after no women were allowed to testify in support of the White House’s contraception mandate. Sam Baker and Mike Lillis The Hill -- 2/17/12

Callista Gingrich pays visit to Thousand Oaks school -- Ahead of Super Tuesday, in which 10 states will hold contests on March 6, the Gingriches began a swing through the state this week in an effort to raise money for Newt Gingrich's bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Teresa Rochester in the Ventura Star -- 2/17/12