* Updates Since Early This Morning

Jarvis group launches 'Don't Sign the Petition' anti-tax campaign -- Less than a week after Gov. Jerry Brown started using robotic telephone calls and mailers to gather signatures for his ballot initiative to raise taxes, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association plans to launch its anti-tax campaign today on the conservative "John and Ken" talk radio show. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/9/12

Pension reform panel looking at alternative hybrid plan -- State lawmakers considering pension reform are taking their show on the road to Chino on Friday and say they are looking at a hybrid pension plan offered by the state teachers retirement system as a possible model. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12

California unions get contract extensions -- Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is finalizing labor agreements with four unions representing a total of 24,000 state workers, including doctors, crafts workers and psychiatric technicians. Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12

UC Davis pepper spray report due to be released on Wednesday -- After a month of legal wrangling, the independent report into the pepper spraying of University of California, Davis, students may finally be released to the public on Wednesday. Sam Stanton in the Sacramento Bee Larry Gordon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12

California to get millions for public lands -- California will get more than $8 million in federal funds to protect and manage public lands and sensitive habitats. Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/9/12

Rep. Sanchez 'quite disappointed' Anaheim cut from bullet train plan -- Rep. Loretta Sanchez, the Orange County Democrat who has strongly backed the Obama administration’s high-speed rail agenda, said Monday that she is “quite disappointed” by the California bullet train authority’s decision to drop Anaheim out of the $68-billion plan. Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12

'Now let's get back to work,' Jeff Gorell says of return to Capitol -- Short and sweet. No flowery speech from Assemblyman Jeff Gorell today as he returned to the Capitol after a yearlong deployment to the war in Afghanistan. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 4/9/12

California state worker unions reach tentative labor pacts with Jerry Brown -- Four unions representing a combined 24,000 state employees have reached tentative agreements with the Brown administration to extend their existing contracts for another year. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/9/12

Facebook to buy mobile photo app Instagram for $1 billion -- The most popular online photo-sharing service just got a whole lot more powerful. Facebook said Monday that it will spend $1 billion to acquire the hugely popular mobile photo app Instagram. Mike Swift in the San Jose Mercury Jessica Guynn in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12

Quinn: Impeach the Supreme Court! -- Looks like the American left will have a conniption if the US Supreme Court exercises judicial review powers it has had for more than 200 years and overturns heath care reform. Tony Quinn Fox & Hounds -- 4/9/12

Poll on L.A. mayor's race shows front-runners locked in dead heat -- City Councilman Eric Garcetti, City Controller Wendy Greuel and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky would be locked in a dead heat if the 2013 Los Angeles mayoral election were held today, according to a new poll due to be released this week. Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12


   California Policy and Politics This Morning

Legislative panel working on ‘hybrid’ pension -- A two-house legislative committee is working with Gov. Brown’s Department of Finance on a ‘hybrid’ retirement plan for new state and local government hires, a committee member told a forum here last week. Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 4/9/12

Brown lobbies schools behind closed doors on budget, tax plan -- Gov. Jerry Brown and high-ranking members of his staff have been reaching out in recent weeks to the education community in a series of closed-door meetings aimed at articulating several key messages – some say warnings – tied to the budget and the November election. Kimberly Beltran SI&A Cabinet Report -- 4/9/12

Felton affordable housing project's demise cost taxpayers at least $1.5 million -- The statewide elimination of redevelopment programs has thrown affordable housing projects into doubt, but one recently scuttled housing deal is demonstrating just how costly good intentions can be. JASON HOPPIN and KIMBERLY WHITE in the Santa Cruz Sentinel -- 4/9/12

Skelton: California should've been a primary decider -- With apologies to Yogi Berra and thanks to Rick Santorum, the fat lady has thrown up. It's over. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12

'Orphan' state parties worry GOP -- National Republicans have begun to intervene in a handful of key Senate and House battlegrounds where state parties are in disarray, seeking to head off the possibility that local mismanagement could cost the party control of Congress. JONATHAN MARTIN and ALEXANDER BURNS Politico -- 4/9/12

Ratepayer advocate swamped with work -- When he took the job as ratepayer advocate for the Department of Water and Power, Fred Pickel knew he would be busy. But not this busy and not this soon. Rick Orlov in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 4/9/12

Van Jones, Mr. Dreamy, talks Obama, 9/11, jobs -- Van Jones, a pioneer among the nation's eco-activists, has made his mark from the Bay Area - where he's headed three major community organizations - to the White House, where he served as President Obama's "green jobs czar." Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/9/12

Challenger fights Pete Stark… with Pete Stark -- Eric Swalwell, the young Democratic upstart who’s taking on veteran incumbent Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, is taking a page from another young upstart’s playbook: Pete Stark. Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 4/9/12

Schrag: The Raid at Oaksterdam: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid -- Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative that California voters passed by a hefty 55-45 margin in 1996, was always a slippery proposition. Peter Schrag Cal Progress Report -- 4/9/12

Judge admonishes prosecutor in L.A. councilman's perjury case -- In a March 2 hearing in the case against Richard Alarcon, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Lentz Snyder was scolded for being 'very dismissive' of defense evidence submitted to a grand jury in 2010. A lawyer says Alarcon and his wife are 'heartened' by the turn of events. Catherine Saillant in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12

CalBuzz: For Mitt, the ‘Pivot’ is Never Having to Say He’s Sorry -- When he compared restarting his boss’s campaign to an Etch A Sketch, Eric Fehrnstrom, Mitt Romney’s flack, committed a gaffe in precisely the sense that journalist Michael Kinsley meant it – “when a politician tells the truth.” But the gaffe is less important than the fact it illuminates: that on the issues, Romney has more positions than the Kama Sutra (ht Garry South). Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 4/9/12

   High-Speed Rail

Walters: California high-speed rail plan still has shaky finances -- When the state's bullet train impresarios unveiled a much-revised plan for the statewide project last fall – with campaign-style hoopla, one should note – they said it settled all of its outstanding questions and doubts. Not by a long shot. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/9/12

   Economy - Jobs

California state government hiring slowed in 2011 -- California state government hired 25 percent fewer employees last year, according to new payroll figures, although departments still added thousands of workers while squeezing their budgets during the economic downturn. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/9/12

California National Guard aims to cut joblessness in the ranks -- California's National Guard – the nation's largest and busiest National Guard force – is facing an employment crisis, and a new initiative is attacking the issue head-on. Darrell Smith in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/9/12

Santa Rosa workers agree to more furloughs -- But less noticed that same evening was that virtually the entire non-public safety city workforce agreed to concessions that dwarfed the savings served up by the firefighters or their police brethren two weeks earlier. KEVIN McCALLUM in the Santa Rosa Press -- 4/9/12

Biofuel firms face uncertainty over future government help -- As one of the Bay Area's hottest biofuel businesses, Solazyme exemplifies to many everything that is right -- or wrong -- with the federal government's efforts to wean the nation off foreign oil. Steve Johnson in the Oakland Tribune -- 4/9/12


L.A. schools chief pushes to change system's culture -- Some see John Deasy as a dynamic leader morally driven to give all students a quality education. Others see a relentless taskmaster intolerant of dissent. He admits impatience but otherwise has no apologies. Teresa Watanabe and Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12

Career-and college-ready: Are they synonymous or different? -- Like cream and sugar, or ice cream and cake, college and career ready roll off the tongue together as any good platitude should. The item is at TopEd -- 4/9/12

   Health Care

System to Curb Abuse of Prescription Painkillers Goes Unused -- Less than 1 percent of Bay Area's 30,000 doctors, pharmacists enrolled in drug-monitoring database. SHOSHANA WALTER Bay Citizen -- 4/9/12

Task force seeks to change California's mental health commitment law -- A homeless man plagued by schizophrenia is beaten to death by police in Fullerton. A man from Fort Bragg fixates on aliens for years while denying he is ill, then kills two men before dying in a gunfight with law enforcement. Lee Romney in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12

UC Davis study suggests link between obesity and autism -- In the scientific hunt for the causes of autism, researchers at UC Davis may have just picked up a new trail: obesity during pregnancy. Grace Rubenstein in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/9/12

Nonprofit founded by TV's Dr. Oz seeks to get city's youths off couches, into fitness -- Last year, Michelle Bouchard and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the TV talk show host, visited Sacramento. They noticed the problem of childhood obesity here was similar to what they had seen in many cities across the country. Jennifer Garza in the Sacramento Bee -- 4/9/12


San Gabriel Valley homeowners swarm to meeting about citrus disease -- Homeowners respond in a big way to agricultural officials' call to save the state's $2-billion citrus industry, and backyard trees, from a disease spread by insects. Rosanna Xia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12

Despite Deadly Fungus, Bullfrog Imports Continue -- A clerk serving Cantonese-speaking customers at a cluttered market in San Francisco’s Chinatown reached into a tub of American bullfrogs. She drew a one-pound frog from the top of the pile. She whacked its head, sliced its neck and placed its body in a plastic grocery bag. JOHN UPTON Bay Citizen -- 4/9/12

San Diego River pact reached -- The city of San Diego says it has reached a tentative agreement to lease its land at Carlton Oaks County Club to the golf course’s owner, and it won’t be sold to a private party, a development that cheered environmentalists and the San Diego River Conservancy. Karen Pearlman UT San Diego -- 4/9/12


San Jose's Oak Grove High rallies around African immigrant who speaks rare language -- If you heard that 17-year-old Samedi Djeimguero didn't speak a word of English, never held a pencil or used a modern toilet, you'd figure he'd have a tough time fitting in with American classmates. Instead, his stark differences have sparked a real-life lesson in friendship and compassion at San Jose's Oak Grove High School. Lisa Fernandez in the San Jose Mercury -- 4/9/12

Making the border less enticing to cross -- U.S. Border Patrol agents are taking a more proactive tactic to deter migrants: asking Mexican and Central American TV and radio stations and newspapers for the opportunity to tell of the dangers of crossing illegally. Paloma Esquivel in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12


Pet lovers face deadline on license plate sales -- In a state where people wear their hearts on their bumpers, a specialty license plate campaign by California pet lovers to save animal lives needs saving. SUE MANNING Associated Press -- 4/9/12

Community comes together for troubled youth -- On a 100-acre ranch in the foothills northeast of Salinas, 28 students, many of whom are on probation, are building a house. When it’s finished, it will shelter some of them from the violence in their own neighborhoods. Lynn Graebner HealthyCal.org -- 4/9/12

   POTUS 44

States with highest gas prices back Obama -- There is a curious relationship between a state's gas prices and presidential politics. The higher the price of gasoline, the higher President Obama's prospects of winning that state. Yousur Alhlou in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/9/12


It's do or die for Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania -- In a primary battle on his home turf against Mitt Romney, he hopes voters recall what they like about him and not why they booted him from the Senate in 2006. Paul West in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/9/12