“47 percent” fallout? No press allowed at Mitt Romney’s $50,000 a head Hillsborough fundraiser -- In a week where he’s taking heat for his “47 percent” statements made at a $50,000-a-head fundraiser last May, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is apparently taking no chances: there will be no press coverage allowed at his $50,000 a head fundraiser at the Strawberry Hill Estate in Hillsborough Friday. Carla Marinucci Chronicle Politics -- 9/19/12

Cal researchers map political info via social media -- Cal Berkeley researchers have launched a new website to explore how political knowledge can be spread rapidly across big populations using social media – and their test subject is one of this election season’s hottest issues. Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 9/19/12

Jerry Brown signs bill targeting abuses of disability access law -- Senate Bill 1186, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Republican Sen. Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga, will reduce potential damages for disability access violations from a minimum of $4,000 to as little as $1,000 if the defendant corrects violations quickly. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert$ -- 9/19/12

Barbra Streisand backs Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure -- The singer, actress and philanthropist wrote a $5,000 check to support Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure last week, joining other Hollywood notables, including movie director Rob Reiner. Michael J. Mishak LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 9/19/12

Feds approve California high-speed rail construction -- The federal government on Wednesday approved the start of construction for California's $69 billion high-speed rail line, capping years of planning on the first leg of tracks in the Central Valley and possibly kicking off a new round of lawsuits from opponents. Mike Rosenberg in the San Jose Mercury JULIET WILLIAMS Associated Press -- 9/19/12

Brown bans 'demand for money'' letters over disability issues -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed a law aimed at protecting businesses from being shaken down by attorneys who threaten lawsuits over disability access violations unless the owners pay a cash settlement. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 9/19/12

Cal State trustees approve possible 5% tuition hike -- California State University trustees on Wednesday approved a plan to raise tuition 5% next year should a November tax measure fail and trigger deep funding cuts to the 23-campus system. Carla Rivera in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/12

Universities try to spread the word about Proposition 30 -- A new website dedicated to spreading the word about a tax plan pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown has been launched by the University of California, once again raising questions about universities’ role in the initiative campaign. Anthony York LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 9/19/12

Santa Clara County's former schools chief wants to unload underwater house onto taxpayers -- Retired county schools Superintendent Charles Weis wants to unload his luxury condo in downtown San Jose -- which has lost about a fifth of its value since its purchase in 2008 -- onto his former employers, potentially costing Santa Clara County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sharon Noguchi in the San Jose Mercury -- 9/19/12

California launches online voter registration system -- Secretary of State Debra Bowen said she hopes making it easier to register to vote will mean more participation in the Nov. 6 presidential election by many of the the 6.5 million Californians who are eligible to vote but who have not yet registered. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 9/19/12

Herdt: How much should a bubble weigh? -- If you're a teacher and you want to elicit a groan at one of those back-to-school parent information nights, just bring up the subject of standardized tests. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star -- 9/19/12

Fox: Cheers for Gov. Brown on Worker’s Comp Reform -- Governor Jerry Brown signed workers comp legislation yesterday that he was able to steer through the legislature at the end of the session in a display of skillful political leadership. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 9/19/12

State ethics czar to scale back proposed disclosure rules on blogs -- A proposal to require campaigns in California to report when they pay bloggers for favorable mention will be scaled back to exclude instances when campaign workers informally blog or tweet their own views on the side, the head of the state ethics agency says. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 9/19/12

Agency prescribes San Francisco City College trustees tough medicine -- San Francisco City College trustees appeared grateful, albeit somber, last night as they listened to a lengthy assessment of the college district’s finances, and heard tough recommendations on how to stave off insolvency and keep from losing its accreditation. Kathryn Baron EdSource -- 9/19/12

California parents value college but aren’t saving -- California parents value a college education more than a good-paying job for their kids, but most have not started saving to help pay for that education, according to a new survey conducted for ScholarShare, the state’s “529” college savings plan. Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 9/19/12


   California Policy and Politics This Morning

Obama widens lead over Romney in California, Field Poll finds -- Bolstered by a bounce from his party's convention and perhaps more confidence in the nation's direction, President Barack Obama has extended his lead over Mitt Romney in California, according to a new poll. Dan Smith in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/19/12

California voters may now register online -- Starting Wednesday, Californians can register to vote online, a change implemented just in time for the November presidential election. Marisa Lagos in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/19/12

Morain: A stealth attack seeks to drain labor money -- A campaign ad airing statewide portrays crooked politicians and shady lobbyists meeting in garages and stairwells, seemingly at the California Capitol. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/19/12

Mungers spend millions on anti-Sacramento initiatives -- The Munger family may have its political differences, but one thing is clear: Neither Republican Charles Munger nor his independent sister, Molly, seem to think very highly of Sacramento. Anthony York LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 9/19/12

Labor, business launch dueling Prop. 32 campaigns -- Business and labor groups launched dueling ad campaigns Tuesday focusing on Proposition 32, the November ballot measure that promises to eliminate special-interest money in politics. Michael J. Mishak LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 9/19/12

Soda bucks flow against Richmond measure -- Big Soda is expecting to spend upward of a million bucks in the coming weeks to sour the residents of Richmond on the idea of putting a penny-an-ounce tax on high-sugar drinks. That comes to about $45.50 per voting household. Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/19/12

L.A. pension plan would hike retirement age, cut pension benefits -- The Los Angeles City Council has zeroed in on a plan for cutting the pension benefits of newly hired civilian employees, setting the stage for a battle with a half dozen unions. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/12

Walters: Educators sullying state law to support Proposition 30 -- Education Code Section 7054 prohibits K-12 and community college officials from spending public funds "for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate … ." Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/19/12

Financial aid at California colleges hit by scams, officials say -- Seventeen people have been indicted since August in six cases that involve 15 California campuses, U.S. attorney's office says. Larry Gordon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/12

AEG, owner of the Kings and Staples Center, is up for sale -- Philip Anschutz puts his AEG sports and entertainment empire on the market in a potential blockbuster. Walter Hamilton and Roger Vincent in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/12

L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa knew of AEG sale "for some time" -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday that he has known about the potential sale of Anschutz Entertainment Group "for some time" but said he did not expect a change in ownership to affect the company's plans for a downtown NFL stadium. Kate Linthicum and David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/12

More chances for protesters in parks -- San Francisco's many protesters now have a "get-in-your-face-free" card from the Board of Supervisors, which on Tuesday unanimously approved an end to a 31-year-old law that banned "petitioning, leafleting, demonstrating and soliciting" in a number of the city's parks and public spaces when groups with a city permit were holding an event. John Wildermuth, John Coté in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/19/12


Rancho Cordova's VSP threatens to leave state over health insurance decision -- California's rollout of the federal health care overhaul, still in its infancy, has prompted one of Sacramento's most important companies to threaten to leave the state. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/19/12

L.A. pension plan would hike retirement age, cut pension benefits -- The Los Angeles City Council has zeroed in on a plan for cutting the pension benefits of newly hired civilian employees, setting the stage for a battle with a half dozen unions. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/12

Apple stock closes above $700 -- Apple shares continued to rise Tuesday as company shares closed above $700. The company closed trading Tuesday at $701.91, up 0.3 percent for the day. Though trading fell very slightly after hours, as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the company was still above its record-setting level. Hayley Tsukayama in the Washington Post -- 9/19/12


Cal State system to hike tuition 5% if Prop. 30 fails -- Tentative approval by CSU trustees comes amid fear that the tax measure will fail, triggering a $250-million funding cut. Carla Rivera in the Los Angeles Times$ Terence Chea Associated Press Kelly Puente in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 9/19/12

City College near bankruptcy, audit says -- City College of San Francisco is perilously close to bankruptcy, in part because it employs nearly twice as many faculty as similar colleges and pays them better - yet educates no more students on average, says a new financial analysis of the state's largest public school. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle Kathryn Baron EdSource -- 9/19/12

Aging, polluting school buses remain on California roads -- Tens of thousands of California schoolchildren ride aging school buses that emit harmful pollutants, an analysis of state data shows. KENDALL TAGGART Bay Citizen -- 9/19/12

State flags 4 Sacramento-area districts over blacks in special education -- Sacramento County's four largest school districts are among dozens in California that have gotten letters from the state saying they have a disproportionate number of African American students in their special education programs who are designated as emotionally disturbed. Diana Lambert and Phillip Reese in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/19/12

Private universities thrive as public schools suffer during recession -- Once upon a time, Jessica Aceves would be beginning her freshman year at Cal Poly Pomona or UC Riverside this fall. Instead, the 17-year-old Colton High School graduate is a freshman at the University of La Verne, where she's majoring in math - for the moment. Beau Yarbrough in the San Bernardino Sun -- 9/19/12

LAUSD officials scramble to find money for San Pedro Science Center -- With district funding gone, Los Angeles school officials are scrambling to find money from other sources to keep the San Pedro Science Center open. Donna Littlejohn in the Torrance Daily Breeze -- 9/19/12


San Francisco public power plan given tentative OK -- San Francisco took a major step toward public power Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors gave initial approval to a five-year contract with Shell Energy North America to provide 100 percent renewable power to San Franciscans willing to pay a premium. John Coté in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/19/12


Exploited boys in San Francisco disappear from view -- Survival sex and Internet hookups replace traditional forms of prostitution. TREY BUNDY Bay Citizen -- 9/19/12

Electronic tolls coming to the Golden Gate Bridge in February -- Toll-takers at the Golden Gate Bridge have less than five months left on the job as span officials plan to go to all-electronic tolling by February. Mark Prado in the Contra Costa Times Neal J. Riley in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/19/12


As election day nears, Congress gets busy — with pet causes -- The end is near. That is, the final days of the congressional session before the election. Reelection-minded lawmakers are scrambling to bring their pet causes up for votes before hitting the campaign trail. Richard Simon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/12

   Chicago v Boston

Half avoid taxes, get U.S. help, but many not poor -- Mitt Romney got the math about right. But when he said 47 percent of Americans pay no income taxes and are "dependent on government," he blurred together half or more of the entire country, ranging from the nation's neediest to its middle class, and even some of its richest families. Alan Fram Associated Press -- 9/19/12

Romney's 'victims' comment may cost him precious time -- Ultimately, Mitt Romney's videotaped remark may not dissuade many voters, but it is likely to cost him time, which he can hardly afford to lose as the election nears. Mark Z. Barabak in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/12

On Letterman, Obama says Romney ‘writing off’ much of country -- President Obama responded Tuesday to controversial remarks by Republican Mitt Romney by suggesting that his opponent was “writing off a big chunk of the country” and was wrong to suggest that nearly half of Americans think of themselves as victims entitled to a handout from government. Amy Gardner in the Washington Post -- 9/19/12

Obama: 'All of us make mistakes' -- President Obama, responding to a question about Mitt Romney's secretly taped comments at a fundraiser, said on Tuesday that "all of us make mistakes." DONOVAN SLACK Politico -- 9/19/12

Romney video latest campaign stumble -- Mitt Romney is the latest candidate to feel the pain that can come with a starring role on YouTube: His damaging speech at a GOP fundraiser, in which he appears to belittle nearly half of all Americans as too "dependent" on government handouts, isn't winning him any new fans. Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/19/12

Romney RIP — not so fast -- Mitt Romney’s campaign might appear to be collapsing like a cheap card table, but one top Democrat close to President Barack Obama had a curt warning for allies who were declaring the election all but over on Tuesday. It ain’t over, he said, until Karl Rove sings. GLENN THRUSH and BYRON TAU Politico-- 9/19/12

House GOP plays down Romney ‘47 percent’ remark -- Congressional Republicans say they’re not too worked up over Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” blowup, but the sentiment behind his comments reveals a much deeper problem: Republicans aren’t closing the deal with the middle class. JAKE SHERMAN and SEUNG MIN KIM Politico -- 9/19/12

Romney: Obama, supporters 'more European than American' in outlook -- In his first sit-down interview after news of a secretly recorded videotape shook the campaign of the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney told Fox News that he had not meant to write off nearly half the electorate as income tax deadbeats who consider themselves “victims” and would never vote for him. Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/12

Romney advisor predicts 'victims' remark will blow over -- A top advisor to Mitt Romney said Tuesday that the controversy over the GOP nominee’s comments about President Obama’s supporters as dependent on government and not paying income taxes would blow over. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/12

Romney faces twofold challenge in getting campaign back on track -- As Mitt Romney struggles to put a cascade of missteps behind him, the Republican presidential nominee faces a twofold challenge: first, to steer the conversation back to the economy, and second, to prevent his recent difficulties from curdling into a perception that the race is becoming unwinnable. Karen Tumulty in the Washington Post -- 9/19/12

Romney's Video Remarks Have Deep GOP Roots -- Mitt Romney’s decision to reaffirm rather than renounce his controversial taped comments about dependency underscores the extent to which Republicans want to frame the presidential election as a contest between “makers and takers” — as well as the risk that construct could pose to a GOP coalition that has grown increasingly dependent on older voters who rely on government aid. Ronald Brownstein National Journal -- 9/19/12

Romney campaign borrowed $20 million -- Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign borrowed $20 million in the month of August to pay for its expenses before he could begin tapping general election dollars and is now $11 million in debt, a senior campaign official confirmed late Tuesday. Philip Rucker in the Washington Post -- 9/19/12

Time for an Intervention -- It’s time to admit the Romney campaign is an incompetent one. It’s not big, it’s not brave, it’s not thoughtfully tackling great issues. It’s always been too small for the moment. Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 9/19/12

The ‘47 Percent’ Flap -- As citizens become more interested in what our prospective presidents really believe, politicians become more guarded about sharing their beliefs. William Voegeli NRO -- 9/19/12

The Meaning of the Romney Tape -- First, what Mitt Romney was getting at – as opposed to what he actually said – is undeniably true as a broad observation: too many Americans are dependent, or partially dependent, on an expansive government. It's morally corrosive and fiscally unsustainable. STEPHEN F. HAYES Weekly Standard -- 9/19/12

A Note on Romney’s Arrogant and Stupid Remarks -- It's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47 percent who don't pay income taxes are Romney supporters—especially of course seniors (who might well "believe they are entitled to heath care," a position Romney agrees with), as well as many lower-income Americans (including men and women serving in the military) who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they're not getting a tax cut under the Romney plan. WILLIAM KRISTOL Weekly Standard -- 9/19/12

We’re a Nation of Makers and Takers, Including Romney — and Me -- I try not to get worked up about politics, but I hate the Tea Party delusion that we’ve become a nation that is split between makers and takers. It’s the false idea that Mitt Romney, who probably doesn’t believe it, parroted in that cringeworthy video to suck up to wealthy donors who do. MICHAEL GRUNWALD Time -- 9/19/12