California Policy and Politics This Morning

Public opinion wanes on California bullet train plan, poll shows -- A strong majority of voters have turned against the bullet train project just as Gov. Brown is pressuring the Legislature to green-light the start of construction, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll finds. Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12

Slowing U.S. economy has ripple effect in California -- The U.S. economy is unmistakably slowing down. What isn't clear is how much that will hurt California's recovery. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/2/12

Assemblyman Richard Pan takes per diem after move across Sacramento -- Here's what Assemblyman Richard Pan did not say in announcing that he was switching homes to run in a new district: Taxpayers are footing much of the bill. Jim Sanders in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/2/12

Ethics watchdog targets two leading Assembly candidates -- The Fair Political Practices Commission launched probes last week into the campaign activities of Rudy Bermudez and Ian Calderon, two Democrats battling each other for the chance to represent the 57th Assembly District, which stretches from La Puente to La Mirada. Michael J. Mishak in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12

Ad Watch: Commercial against Prop. 28 mostly misleading -- Opponents of Proposition 28, a measure on Tuesday's ballot that would alter the state's legislative term limits law, have launched a 10-second television commercial blasting the measure. Dan Smith in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/2/12

In California, it's Big Tobacco vs Lance Armstrong over Prop. 29 -- Fabled as a mecca for the health-conscious and fitness-obsessed, California is also one of only a few states that has not hiked its cigarette taxes in the last decade, meaning it is less expensive to light up in Los Angeles and San Francisco than many other places in the country. Garance Burke Associated Press -- 6/2/12

California's minor parties facing extinction under new voting system -- They've been a colorful part of California's political landscape for decades -- Greens, Libertarians, American Independents and members of the Peace and Freedom Party. But after Tuesday's election, most of them will be all but invisible -- and perhaps on their way to extinction. Josh Richman in the Contra Costa Times -- 6/2/12

California pay commission keeps looking for a legal opinion to support its actions -- Even its own attorney concludes that the California Citizens Compensation Commission lacked authority to cut legislators' per diem for living expenses and eliminate their car-lease program in separate actions over the past three years. Now the commission wants another opinion. Jim Sanders in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/2/12

Mailer for Hodge falsely claims endorsement by The Star -- The California Professional Firefighters, a statewide umbrella organization of firefighter unions, sent a political mailer to about 30,000 households in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties this week that falsely claim The Ventura County Star endorsed 19th Senate District candidate Jason Hodge. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 6/2/12

Mail ballots indicate low-turnout election -- Mail ballots arriving at the Orange County elections office indicate a low-turnout for Tuesday’s primary, with voting on pace to see less than 30 percent of registered voters casting ballots in the county. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 6/2/12

On the trail of the tax loopholes -- Rarely have there been so many tempting targets for those who favor closing corporate tax loopholes. Amy Wong Capitol Weekly -- 6/2/12

Jeffe: Super PACs: California, Here They Come -- As California heads into its first primary election under new district lines and open primary rules, Super PACs and other independent expenditure groups (IEs) are playing hardball in down-ballot, state races. Sherry Bebitch Jeffe NBC LA Prop Zero -- 6/2/12

Dennis Kucinich to stump for Pete Stark on Sunday -- Liberal icon Rep. Dennis Kucinich – now a lame duck, having lost his primary in which redistricting pitted him against a fellow Ohio Democrat – isn’t going quietly into that good night, but instead is rallying to the side of a Bay Area friend. Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 6/2/12

Water agency draws fire after filing unusual libel suit -- The Central Basin district, facing a raft of investigations, targets authors of a critical email. L.A. County's D.A. fears action could deter whistle-blowers. Hector Becerra and Sam Allen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12

Assessor's stepping aside ‘not enough,’ ex-chief appraiser says -- A former high-ranking appraiser said Friday that Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez's decision to step aside amid a wide-ranging probe of influence peddling at his office was "long overdue and not enough." Ruben Vives, Jack Dolan and Jason Song in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12

Hard-charging Trutanich hopes to be hard-charging D.A. -- In nearly three years as L.A.'s city attorney, Trutanich has raised his profile by taking on billboards, pot shops and political protesters. But his blunt style has drawn criticism. Kate Linthicum and David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12

Judge voices concern on unclaimed property suit against California -- Lawyers for owners of property seized by the state controller as "unclaimed" encountered strong resistance from a Sacramento federal judge to a plea for more aggressive searches for owners. Denny Walsh in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/2/12

   High-Speed Rail

Bullet train faces new legal challenges -- Central Valley farm groups filed a major environmental lawsuit Friday against the California bullet train project, while Orange County transportation leaders urged state officials to shelve the $68-billion proposal until improvements can be made to the existing passenger rail system. Dan Weikel and Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12

Jerry Brown moves to protect high-speed rail project from environmental lawsuits -- The Brown administration, laboring to start building California's high-speed rail project by early next year, is preparing a proposal to insulate the project from environmental lawsuits, limiting circumstances in which a court may block construction of the line. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee Mike Rosenberg in the San Jose Mercury -- 6/2/12

Will high-speed rail really be that fast? -- It’s one of the biggest promises of high-speed rail: Los Angeles to San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes. Not one second more. Ronald Campbell in the Orange County Register -- 6/2/12


As Costs Soar, Taxpayers Target Pensions of Cops and Firefighters -- After the 2001 terrorist attacks, sympathetic residents of this affluent city gathered at the firehouse to offer flowers, cakes and pies. Today, public sentiment toward the men and women in uniform has widely shifted, as many locals are up in arms over escalating pension costs for public-safety workers. MICHAEL CORKERY in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 6/2/12

In California, Stockton Faces Municipal Bankruptcy Vote -- The city of Stockton, Calif., will decide Tuesday whether to give city leadership the authority to declare bankruptcy if the city can't reach a deal with its creditors by the end of the month. BOBBY WHITE in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 6/2/12

Despite demise of CRAs, Valley revitalization efforts continue -- Robert Holguin is exploring some uncharted economic revitalization territory. He's the point man in a guerrilla effort to fill a void created by the demise of community redevelopment agencies. Gregory J. Wilcox in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 6/2/12

$5 million awarded to California job agencies to train veterans -- Ten job agencies around the state have received a $5-million grant to be used to train and place military veterans in jobs, the California Employment Development Department said Friday. Ricardo Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12

Sea Launch has successful blastoff from ocean platform -- A 12,345-pound telecommunications satellite was launched into orbit on a 20-story rocket from an ocean platform near the equator by Sea Launch, a rocket venture that recently emerged from bankruptcy protection and has major operations in Long Beach. W.J. Hennigan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12

   Taxes - Fees

Alameda County leaders to decide whether to ask voters for tax hike -- Alameda County supervisors are expected Tuesday to okay a ballot measure asking local voters to go where no Northern California county has gone before -- raising its sales tax for transportation from a half cent to one cent. What's more, the tax would be permanent, if countywide voters were to approve the proposed November ballot measure by a two-thirds majority. Denis Cuff in the Contra Costa Times -- 6/2/12


California Cuts Threaten the Status of Universities -- If a proposed tax increase is not approved, officials say they would be forced to consider eliminating entire schools or programs, hurting the university system’s elite reputation. JENNIFER MEDINA in the New York Times$ -- 6/2/12

$1 million claim filed in teacher's alleged abuse -- The mother of a 5-year-old boy allegedly kicked and deprived of food by a special-education teacher at a Redwood City elementary school has filed a legal claim seeking more than $1 million in damages. Henry K. Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 6/2/12

   Health Care

Prostate cancer drug so effective trial stopped -- A new drug for advanced prostate cancer patients has proved so effective that researchers stopped the clinical trial early to give all patients a chance to receive the life-extending medication, according to a UCSF-led study released Saturday. Victoria Colliver in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 6/2/12


California Bolsters Energy-Saving Rules -- California added new energy-efficiency requirements to the state's building code this week, a move expected to reduce energy consumption but also add to the cost of construction of houses and commercial buildings. REBECCA SMITH in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 6/2/12

California's new rules likely to drive costs of homes up, energy down -- The cost of building a new home in California is expected to go up while energy costs are projected to fall under tighter energy efficiency rules that follow in the state's long tradition of aggressive environmental standards. Marcus Wohlsen Associated Press -- 6/2/12

Controversial Malibu Lagoon restoration project is postponed -- The state agrees to delay the start of the draining and re-sculpting in part to avoid interfering with a weekend surfing event at Surfrider Beach. Martha Groves in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12


Two Sacramento County deputies charged in probe of gun sales -- With the grim-faced leadership of Sacramento's law enforcement community looking on, federal officials described an elaborate scheme Friday that they say involved police and deputies illegally buying and selling dozens of high-powered pistols to make thousands of dollars in profit. Sam Stanton, Kim Minugh and Denny Walsh in the Sacramento Bee -- 6/2/12

   POTUS 44

Romney claim of IG finding Obama “conflict of interest” in Solyndra? “Simply false,” ABC investigation shows -- Some serious questions are being raised about that dramatic claim of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who stood Thursday in front of the shuttered Solyndra factory in Fremont — and charged the Obama Administration with serious “conflict of interest” in steering money “to friends and family, to campaign contributors” in the deal. Carla Marinucci Chronicle Politics -- 6/2/12


Mitt Romney discloses worth of up to $250 million -- The Republican presidential candidate has shed dozens of stocks and holdings in overseas companies, boosting his cash reserves. Matea Gold in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12

Romney: Jobs report is 'harsh indictment' of Obama's presidency -- Mitt Romney said May's jobs numbers are "devastating" and blamed the policies and priorities of President Obama for the sluggish economy during an appearance Friday on CNBC. Justin Sink The Hill -- 6/2/12

Romney attracts hundreds at Newport fundraiser -- The state’s primary is just four days away, but Mitt Romney’s focus was on the November face-off when he stopped in Newport Beach Friday evening to raise money and tell hundreds of fundraiser attendees why their generosity was well-placed. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 6/2/12

Romney raises half-million dollars -- Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took in over a half-million dollars at a fundraiser at Victoria Club in Riverside today, as part of a swing through California this week. Imran Ghori in the Riverside Press -- 6/2/12

Faux billionaires protest Romney fundraiser in Newport Beach -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stopped in Newport Beach on Friday as part of a fundraising tour through California. The private event at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort, with an entrance fee starting at $1,000, was met by both supporters and detractors of the former Massachusetts governor. Mona Shadia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 6/2/12