Updates since early This Morning

Assemblywoman Julia Brownley enters congressional race -- Assemblywoman Julia Browney (D-Santa Monica) has jumped into the crowded race for an open Ventura County congressional seat. Jean Merl and Catherine Saillant in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

Dems: GOP won’t let us televise contraception hearing -- First, House Democrats couldn’t get a woman onto the all-male panel at a contraception hearing last week. Now, they’ve invited her to testify at their own unofficial hearing — and they say the Republicans won’t let them televise it. JENNIFER HABERKORN Politico -- 2/21/12

Gay-marriage foes to ask appeals court to review Prop. 8 ruling -- Opponents of same-sex marriage said Tuesday they planned to ask a federal appeals court to reconsider this month’s 2-1 ruling that struck down Proposition 8, California’s 2008 ballot measure that banned gay marriage. Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times LISA LEFF AP -- 2/21/12

GOP 'super PACs' overtaking campaigns' fundraising -- An unmistakable dynamic is playing out in the money game among Republican presidential candidates: New "super" political action committees are growing more powerful than the campaigns they support. JACK GILLUM AP -- 2/21/12

Greenhouse gas battle could reap billions in auctions -- As California’s attempt to curb climate-changing greenhouse gases ramps up, critical pieces of the landmark law remain uncertain, including the impact of the all-important auctions of hundreds of millions of so-called “emission allowances” that will serve as the spur for utilities, refiners and others to comply. John Howard Capitol Weekly -- 2/21/12

San Diego judge refuses to keep pension reform off ballot -- A San Diego judge Tuesday refused a request from public employee unions to block a pension reform measure from appearing on the city's June 5 ballot. Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

community colleges ballooning budget gap -- California’s community colleges, already suffering from steep funding cuts, are facing a yawning hole in their budgets this year. The Community College League of California said Tuesday that plummeting revenue from student fees and a dip in property tax revenue has created a $149-million deficit. Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/21/12

California city and county pensions in trouble -- Many of California's biggest local governments spend an average of 10 cents of every dollar covering pension costs, according to a study of the largest independent pension plans released Tuesday. Nicholas Riccardi LA Times PolitiCal JUDY LIN AP -- 2/21/12

Supreme Court rejects appeal over Redondo Beach day laborer law -- The U.S. Supreme Court turned down a Southern California city's appeal seeking reinstatement of its ordinance that prevented day laborers from gathering on busy street corners and soliciting work from passing drivers. David Savage in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

put brakes on naming of freeways, bridges -- Drive around California and you might find yourself on the Glenn Anderson Freeway or the Sonny Bono Freeway, named after two deceased congressmen, or the Quentin Kopp Freeway, which is named after a retired state senator who is still alive. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal -- 2/21/12

Donations slow for part-time Legislature initiative -- Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to reduce the Legislature to part time say they hope to raise $2.6 million for the effort, but records show that contributions have been few and relatively small in the campaign's first few weeks. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/21/12

Foes of part-time Legislature fire political shot at Shannon Grove -- Taking the gloves off, opponents of a proposal to convert the Legislature to part time took a personal shot today at the measure's sponsor - urging Assemblywoman Shannon Grove to voluntarily reduce her own salary and per diem payments. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/21/12

Supreme Court will hear case on affirmative action at colleges -- The Supreme Court cast doubt Tuesday on the future of affirmative action at the nation’s colleges and universities, agreeing to hear an appeal from a white student in Texas who seeks an end to "racial preferences" in college admissions. David G. Savage in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

Wildermuth: Voters Want to Know About Campaign Cash -- Sometimes you don’t miss something until it goes away. That’s the way it was in late November when the aging computer system running the state’s CAL-ACCESS database of political contributions clanked, wheezed, sent up a final gasp of steam and then shuddered to a halt for the best part of a month. John Wildermuth Fox & Hounds -- 2/21/12

Romney's burn rate -- Mitt Romney is burning through cash more than twice as fast as he’s raising it, new reports filed Monday show — a clear sign that a protracted GOP primary fight could leave the front-runner limping into a general election fight with President Barack Obama. KENNETH P. VOGEL and ABBY PHILLIP Politico -- 2/21/12

BP Exits California -- BP announced it will divest from its oil refineries on the Southern West Coast -- in Carson, Calif. -- and Texas City, TX, and expand its operations in the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest -- a move that would halve the company's U.S. refining capacity. Ngoc Nguyen New America Media -- 2/21/12


   California Policy and Politics This Morning

Tax plans would boost schools but leave social safety net vulnerable -- As education groups battle over which California tax initiative would give the biggest boost to schools, advocates for low-income residents fear safety-net programs remain vulnerable no matter what happens on the ballot in November. Kevin Yamamura in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/21/12

Initiative glut taking a toll on state resources -- B.C. Keith is convinced that the Legislature's gender balance is out of whack. So the Sacramento retiree late last year submitted an initiative to require that one woman and one man be elected from each state Senate and Assembly district. Steven Harmon in the Oakland Tribune -- 2/21/12

Walters: Democrats set to boost state Senate clout -- When Republican Assemblyman Cameron Smyth decided to leave the Legislature rather than run for the state Senate this year, it virtually guaranteed that Democrats will achieve a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate, changing the Capitol's political dynamics. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/21/12

New Districts Upend California Politics -- Only one congressional seat in California changed parties in the past decade. Now, an independent redistricting process has turned the Golden State into a battleground where Democrats hope to pick up House seats this fall. VAUHINI VARA in the Wall Street Journal -- 2/21/12

Proposed budget shows lower CalPERS payment -- Under the new budget proposed by Gov. Brown, the annual state payment to CalPERS drops from $3.5 billion this year to $3.1 billion in the new fiscal year. Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 2/21/12

Meg Whitman contributes $100,000 to Mitt Romney's Super PAC -- Former GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman pulled out her checkbook last month to boost her former boss Mitt Romney's presidential bid. Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 2/21/12

Chevron's influence in El Segundo comes under increased scrutiny -- When El Segundo leaders last year were deciding whether to pursue a nearly ninefold tax hike on the Chevron oil refinery, they looked out to a City Council chambers filled with company supporters. Kristin S. Agostoni in the Torrance Daily Breeze -- 2/21/12

Lawsuit filed against red-light camera operator, Victorville -- A class-action lawsuit against Victorville and its red-light camera program alleges vehicle owners' due-process rights were violated and seeks millions of dollars in damages. Mike Cruz in the San Bernardino Sun -- 2/21/12

Climate researcher admits leaking Heartland Institute documents -- Oakland-based climate researcher Peter Gleick confirmed Monday that he’s the source of last week’s leak of documents purporting to reveal the budget and strategy of the Heartland Institute. DARREN SAMUELSOHN Politico -- 2/21/12


700 gather outside San Quentin for Occupy protest -- As many as 700 peaceful Occupy demonstrators gathered outside San Quentin State Prison this afternoon as part of a nationwide effort to call for prison reform. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/21/12

   Economy - Jobs

Cattle ranchers find themselves alone on the range -- Tim Koopman is the first of four generations of cattlemen to take a second job, outside of his Sunol ranch. While both of his adult children own small beef operations, they too earn their livings from careers other than ranching. Stacy Finz in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/21/12

YouTube enlists big-name help to redefine channels -- YouTube is enlisting Hollywood's help to reach a generation of viewers more familiar with smartphones than TV remotes. RYAN NAKASHIMA AP -- 2/21/12

Piracy reduces foreign box office receipts 7%, study says -- A new academic study provides ammunition for those who say online piracy is hurting Hollywood's bottom line. Ben Fritz in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

Surging gas prices threaten to derail economic recovery -- The average cost for regular gasoline in California has climbed past $4 a gallon, with prospects for even higher prices ahead. The recent dramatic increases nationally and statewide could hurt consumers and, in turn, the broader economy. Don Lee and Matt Stevens in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

Labs and more going up at Googleplex -- Google Inc. is in the midst of more than $120 million in construction projects at its Mountain View headquarters, including work on a series of new or previously secret hardware testing labs that hint at the Internet giant's expanding interest in crafting consumer devices like its rivals Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Mike Swift in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

California leads nation in green-tech venture capital funding -- California companies received $2.8 billion of the $4.9 billion raised by the sector nationwide last year. Massachusetts was a distant second with $465.1 million. Ronald D. White in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

Porn industry may boogie out of L.A. over condom law -- For decades, the nation's pornographic film industry found a happy, largely accepting home in Los Angeles. Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12


A very rough road for community college students -- Many graduated from low-performing high schools that ill-prepared them for college, making them unlikely to get a degree. L.A.'s. community college district is responding with special programs, but one social scientist says it's not enough. Carla Rivera in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

Should California community colleges prioritize enrollment to help students graduate earlier? -- By the end of this week, the Student Success Act of 2012 should be officially introduced in the state legislature, launching the debate on how to improve success rates at California’s community colleges. The item is at TopEd -- 2/21/12


San Joaquin River restoration likely a sore point in dry season -- This is the year east Valley farmers have dreaded. It's one of the driest seasons in the past 100 years, and they must share precious water with the federal government to restore the San Joaquin River. Mark Grossi in the Fresno Bee -- 2/21/12

House transportation bill backs offshore drilling -- Tea Party politics and trillion-dollar-plus federal budget deficits have turned this year's transportation bill upside down. Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/21/12

4,400 PG&E customers opt-out of SmartMeter program so far -- Santa Cruz, Marin and San Francisco counties accounted for the most withdrawal requests. But Mendocino County virtually tied Santa Cruz for top of the list when adjusted for population. SAM SCOTT in the Santa Rosa Press -- 2/21/12

Scientists working on $330,000 test-tube-meat burger -- Would you eat mystery meat grown in a lab if doing so was better for the environment? The debate may seem abstract, but scientists could turn a test-tube burger into reality by October. Tiffany Hsu in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12


Caltrans says safety relies on area drivers -- Even when he’s not driving — just standing on Southern California freeways — Caltrans maintenance worker Maurice Coggins has his eyes on the road. “You never feel safe out here,” Coggins said as traffic whizzed by along Highway 60 near Interstate 15. “It’s like (post-traumatic stress disorder).” DUG BEGLEY in the Riverside Press -- 2/21/12

Man faces possible life sentence if convicted of housing scam -- Timothy Barnett, suspected of tricking desperate L.A. County residents into selling him their homes at steep discounts, could face life in prison under California's three-strikes law. Stuart Pfeifer in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

There’s a train comin’ – light rail changes South L.A. housing market -- Rolland Curtis Gardens sits at one heck of a location. Robert Fulton HealthyCal.org -- 2/21/12


For Rick Santorum voters, it's character that counts -- In Michigan, even some Republicans who don't agree with his positions say he's their choice because he seems the most authentic. Paul West in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

Santorum: Voters should get 'nervous' about Obama on religion -- Escalating his attack on President Obama over matters of faith and politics, Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum said Monday that Obama had been "particularly weak" in protecting religious liberty around the world and compared him to "tyrants" who want to limit the role of faith in their citizens lives. Paul West in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

Democrats warn: Don't get cocky -- Democrats have plenty of reason to feel good right now: The economy’s improving, the president’s numbers are up, their prospects for holding the Senate have brightened, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is confidently predicting that she’ll have a shot to regain the speaker’s gavel next year. JONATHAN ALLEN Politico -- 2/21/12

At Bush library, a plea for civility from Nancy Pelosi -- In an era of deep political partisanship, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made a stop at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library to make a case for political civility. Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12

Romney spends heavily in a challenging month --The Republican presidential hopeful spends twice as much as he raises in January, as does a 'super PAC' working on his behalf, although he remains the undisputed leader in the party's money race. Melanie Mason, Matea Gold and Ian Duncan in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/21/12