California Policy & Politics This Morning   

Big state tax decisions lie ahead for California voters -- Picking a new president might not be the only crucial issue before California voters at the polls in two years' time. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/28/14

Democrats’ 'Dr. Death’ team can’t lose — for now -- It might have been the neatest political trick of this election season — Gov. Jerry Brown’s “non-campaign” for a historic fourth term that wasn’t really a non-campaign at all, yet managed to hide all the trappings of a traditional political run. Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/28/14

Across California, Many Politicians Picked By Few Voters -- A nail-biter of an election is the pièce de résistance in political reporting, a dramatic finish that can leave everyone on the edge of their seats. But 2014’s close contests are also a bit of a distraction from the real news: the apparent nadir, in some California communities, of representative democracy. John Myers KQED -- 11/28/14

California motorists to begin shouldering costs of carbon auction -- Starting Jan. 1, gas and diesel fuel will be subject to California’s cap-and-trade market, a 2-year-old regulatory mechanism that puts a price on carbon spewed into the atmosphere. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 11/28/14

Extending San Francisco’s Central Subway would draw riders, study says -- It’s not time to start planning your Muni Metro ride to pick up crab or cheap souvenirs at Fisherman’s Wharf, but a new study finds that extending the Central Subway to the northeastern waterfront is not only possible but would draw tens of thousands of new riders and compete well for federal funding. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/28/14

Sidney Thomas becomes chief judge of Ninth U.S. Circuit Court -- The nation’s largest federal appeals court gets a new presiding officer Monday as Sidney Thomas, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, succeeds Alex Kozinski as chief judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/28/14

338 L.A. arrests: No warnings, 'penned in,' arrested, protesters say -- As protests continued in the days after a Missouri grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, some of the hundreds of people arrested in Los Angeles said they had broken no laws and never heard an order for them to disperse. Matt Stevens, Stephen Ceasar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/28/14

California Governor’s Mansion to close during renovation -- One of the smallest line items to get any attention in this year’s state budget was $2.5 million to renovate the historic governor’s mansion in downtown Sacramento. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 11/28/14

Walters: California Republicans’ hopes in Congress are dashed -- Going into the Nov. 4 election, Republicans appeared to have an excellent chance of recouping several congressional seats they’d lost in 2012, and their optimism was bolstered on election night. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 11/28/14

Taxes, Fees, Rates   

Should a sin tax apply to e-cigarettes? -- A public health agency dependent on cigarette taxes for its funding may ask state lawmakers to tax electronic cigarettes to help make up for a decline in consumption of traditional tobacco, says an official for its San Diego branch. Jonathan Horn UT San Diego$ -- 11/28/14

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Pensions   

Merchants head downtown as Oakland gains new luster -- When the lease for Luan Strauss’ Oakland bookstore expired earlier this year, she decided not to stay in the city’s cozy Laurel District. She moved the store downtown, to an area that just 10 years ago was a shadowy no-man’s-land that is now becoming the heart of Oakland’s burgeoning retail scene. Will Kane in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/28/14

Oakland falling behind in push to add housing -- Oakland’s housing boom is bringing more than 11,000 new apartments, condominiums and lofts to the city, but it’s not nearly enough to satiate the Bay Area’s seemingly endless need for new housing, regional planners say. Carolyn Jones in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/28/14

Education

Universities are focusing more on undergraduate research projects -- John Derby spent his last summer vacation hobnobbing with famous astronomers as though they were old friends. Carla Rivera in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/28/14

Immigration / Border

Immigration advocacy groups fear more efforts to scam those seeking legal status -- Advocacy groups barely waited for President Obama to finish speaking about sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration system to start warning about scams. Elliot Spagat Associated Press -- 11/28/14

Environment

Air Resources Board gets OK to regulate emissions on big-rig engines -- California’s air quality cops have scored an important victory with a state appellate ruling Monday that they have the legal right to regulate the emissions equipment on heavy-duty engines. Denny Walsh in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 11/28/14

Health

Kaiser criticized over mental healthcare staffing -- Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente is facing mounting criticism about the care it provides mental health patients in California. Stuart Pfeifer in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 11/28/14