California Policy & Politics This Morning   

California water bond, budget reserve campaign committee raises $650,000 -- A campaign committee to pass a $7.5 billion water bond and budget reserve ballot measure championed by Gov. Jerry Brown received its first infusion of money late Tuesday. Jim Miller in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/18/14

CTA backs Torlakson with big contribution as race tightens -- Flush with $150,000 in new support from teacher organizations, state schools chief Tom Torlakson was still forced on the defensive by challenger Marshall Tuck at a candidate forum Wednesday night. Tom Chorneau Cabinet Report -- 9/18/14

PG&E facing big fine for judge-shopping in rate case -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. could face millions of dollars in fines for the lobbying campaign it waged with state regulators to assign its preferred judge to a rate-setting case stemming from the deadly San Bruno explosion, under a proposed order that the California Public Utilities Commission issued Wednesday. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/18/14

CPUC president's ousted aide may come back as judge -- The top aide to the head of the California Public Utilities Commission, forced from her post after e-mails showed she intervened in the selection of an administrative law judge to hear a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. rate case, is on paid leave from the agency but retains her current civil service rank - administrative law judge, The Chronicle has learned. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/18/14

Skelton: Convoluted residency law makes no sense -- To steal from Charles Dickens, "The law is an ass." A jackass, he meant. "An idiot." George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes anti-discrimination measure for unemployed -- Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a measure Wednesday that would have barred employers from discriminating against unemployed job seekers. Melanie Mason and Patrick Mcgreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Jerry Brown signs ride-sharing insurance bill -- Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring drivers in the burgeoning ride-sharing industry to carry more insurance, his office announced Wednesday. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury$ Chris Nichols UT San Diego$ -- 9/18/14

Knight tells Donnelly not to walk precincts for him -- State Sen. Stephen Knight (R-Palmdale) said Wednesday he has told controversial GOP Assemblyman Tim Donnelly not to walk precincts for him in Santa Clarita this weekend. Jean Merl in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

The ‘Cory Booker of California’ Leaps to Safer Ground -- Once arguably the most vulnerable House Democrat in California, freshman Rep. Raul Ruiz has climbed to safer ground in the final months of the midterms. His position can be chalked up to a series of politically fortunate — albeit grave — events on two separate flights to the Palm Springs-based 36th District. Emily Cahn Roll Call -- 9/18/14

Ro Khanna attacks Rep. Mike Honda for pension 'double-dipping' -- Democratic challenger Ro Khanna called out Congressman Mike Honda on Thursday for collecting hefty public pensions while he collects a House salary. Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/18/14

Support for Obama on Gaza blockade: Lee, 2 others -- There’s some measurable support in Congress for President Obama’s call to lift Israel’s blockade of Gaza as part of a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/18/14

Giants rumors are making life hard for GOP hopeful -- It’s tough for a big-city mayor to be elected to statewide office, and Republican Ashley Swearengin of Fresno is finding out exactly why. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/18/14

San Francisco Supervisor Announces He’s Taking AIDS Preventive Drug -- San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener publicly announced Wednesday afternoon that he is taking Truvada, an FDA-approved drug that dramatically reduces the risk of HIV infection. Lisa Aliferis KQED -- 9/18/14

LA Elections: Report calls for date change to boost municipal voter participation -- A report released Wednesday by the city's top budget official recommended the Los Angeles City Council move municipal elections to June and November of even-numbered years. Local elections are currently held in March and May of odd-numbered years. Alice Walton KPCC -- 9/18/14

Taxes, Fees, Rates   

Thousands diverted onto 110 ExpressLanes, then fined by toll operator -- Thousands of drivers who were diverted onto toll lanes following a dramatic gun battle in Los Angeles last month were fined for not having the transponder needed to travel on the pay-to-drive lanes. Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Pensions   

CalPERS picks Ted Eliopoulos to be investment chief -- California's huge pension fund has turned to a trusted insider to take over the daunting job of directing almost $300 billion in investments, crucial to the retirement of more than 1 million current and former state and local government workers. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

SEIU tests its mojo in CalPERS vote -- CalPERS board candidate Theresa Taylor has 20 years of financial experience at the Franchise Tax Board and a personal commitment to preserving pension benefits, she says, fortified by watching her husband lose most of his retirement savings. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/18/14

California marijuana market poised to explode -- California in 1996 became the first state to legalize pot for medicinal reasons, but it has yet to approve it for the overall adult population, or so-called "adult-use." Despite that, it has the largest pot market in the nation, according to a widely referenced report last year by San Francisco-based marijuana research and investment firm ArcView Group. Patrick May in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 9/18/14

Folsom to sue Sacramento County over expansion of Mather Airport -- Residents and elected officials in Folsom and El Dorado County have long been opposed to the Mather expansion because of concerns about overhead flight noise from cargo planes. Brad Branan in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/18/14

Sacramento Republic FC releases plans for soccer stadium in downtown railyard -- Sacramento Republic FC released drawings today of a planned soccer stadium in the downtown railyard that the club says could host a Major League Soccer franchise. Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/18/14

Tesla Sees Fully Autonomous Car on Horizon -- Tesla Motors's Chief Executive Elon Musk said the technology for a fully autonomous car could be ready in five or six years, and the result will be a vehicle far less likely to harm occupants and others on the road. Mike Ramsey in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 9/18/14

Education

New report on L.A. Unified's iPads reflects problems with curriculum -- An evaluation of the iPads-for-all project in Los Angeles schools found that only 1 of 245 classrooms surveyed even used the costly curriculum. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Google donating $1 million to LAUSD schools -- Try googling “donation LAUSD $1 million” and you’ll be directed to articles about Google, itself. That’s because the tech giant on Monday flash-funded Los Angeles schools to the tune of about a million bucks through the crowd-funding website DonorsChoose.org. Scott Bridges L.A. Biz -- 9/18/14

UC regents support renewable energy but not coal and oil divestment -- A UC regents committee decided Wednesday not to sell off stocks and holdings in oil, coal and natural gas from the university’s $91-billion endowment and retirement funds but moved to have environmental and social issues more deeply influence investment decisions. Larry Gordon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

UC proposes systemwide plan to fight sexual misconduct -- In a sweeping effort to combat sexual misconduct on campus, University of California officials unveiled a systemwide plan Wednesday, calling for mandatory training for all students, staff and faculty, improved support for victims and more thorough investigations. Larry Gordon and Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

L.A. schools police will return grenade launchers but keep rifles, armored vehicle -- Los Angeles Unified school police officials said Tuesday that the department will relinquish some of the military weaponry it acquired through a federal program that furnishes local law enforcement with surplus equipment. Stephen Ceasar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

American flag T-shirt case: court refuses to rehear challenge -- Federal appeals court lets stand ruling that found South Bay high school had right to order students wearing American flag T-shirts to turn them inside out during 2010 Cinco de Mayo celebration. Howard Mintz in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/18/14

UC task force unveils guidelines on fighting campus sexual misconduct -- Aiming to create a national model to combat sexual misconduct, the University of California unveiled recommendations Wednesday aimed at a more uniform, systemwide approach to preventing and responding to violence on campus. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Candy maker Mars commits millions to food research at UC Davis -- Candy manufacturing giant Mars Inc. said today it will commit at least $40 million to food-related research at UC Davis. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/18/14

Fate of high school exit exam undecided -- While the state’s standardized testing program is being revamped during the transition to the new Common Core State Standards, the fate of the high school exit exam – the one test students must pass – remains murky. Michelle Maitre EdSource -- 9/18/14

Dads’ roles key to early childhood development -- A single parent since his son was three weeks old, Humberto Lopez loved and cared for his child in every way he knew how. Kimberly Beltran Cabinet Report -- 9/18/14

Drought  

'Hi, do you have water?' In a Central Calif. town, answer is often no. -- The grandmother sat outside in her Sunday best next to a house with peeling paint, her canned iced tea resting on top of a washing machine that didn't work. She'd been without running water for four months. Diana Marcum in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Landscape experts say Caltrans water-saving projects could harm trees -- Gov. Jerry Brown’s January order to cut state-government water use 20 percent rippled through the bureaucracy early this year as high-level officials rushed to find ways to conserve. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/18/14

Immigration / Border

New lanes ease wait times at border -- ould long lines at the San Ysidro Port of Entry be largely in the past? Many drivers accustomed to waiting in line for hours instead sailed through the busy border crossing within minutes on Wednesday. Sandra Dibble UT San Diego$ -- 9/18/14

Environment

King fire grows to 27,900 acres, is just 5% contained -- The King fire in Northern California has grown to about 27,930 acres Wednesday, fire officials said, threatening thousands of residents and hundreds of homes. Adolfo Flores in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Health

VA mismanaged West L.A. campus, GAO says -- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has mismanaged its West Los Angeles campus by under-billing for land use agreements and by improperly diverting funds, according to a Government Accountability Office report issued Wednesday. Martha Groves in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

L.A. hospital closes amid falling revenue, earthquake-retrofit tab -- Temple Community Hospital of Los Angeles has closed its doors after more than 70 years in business, citing low revenue and increasing costs of maintaining its aging building. Stuart Pfeifer in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Medi-Cal patients sue over application backlog -- Medi-Cal patients and health care advocates filed a lawsuit against the state Wednesday for leaving hundreds of thousands of low-income and disabled people waiting months for care. Judy Lin Associated Press -- 9/18/14

Also . . .

Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants -- Apple said Wednesday night that it is making it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police — even when they have a search warrant — taking a hard new line as tech companies attempt to blunt allegations that they have too readily participated in government efforts to collect user information. Craig Timberg in the Washington Post$ -- 9/18/14

Classic Jaguar convertible stolen 46 years ago is recovered in L.A. -- When Ivan Schneider’s Jaguar convertible was stolen from in front of his Manhattan apartment 46 years ago, the now-retired trial lawyer thought it was gone forever. Angel Jennings in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Veteran budget and tax analyst Peter Schaafsma dies -- Peter Schaafsma, an analyst of governmental finances for the Legislature, the state treasurer’s office and private clients for nearly 40 years, died Monday night of esophageal cancer, his family said. He was 62. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/18/14

Court upholds civil verdict against LAPD for withholding evidence -- A federal appeals court upheld a civil jury award against two former Los Angeles police detectives Wednesday for concealing evidence that they had arrested and jailed -- for 27 months -- an innocent man. Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Photos: Stunning aerial shots of California -- Whether it's disrupting fire operations in the north or ticking off crowds of fans in the south, drones have developed a bad rep among some in California. But one thing even drone detractors would have a hard time denying is their ability to capture stunning images. Amy Hubbard, Jason Wells in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/14

Dog-Loving Artist Draws Hilarious Sketches Inspired By His Bull Terrier -- Brazilian artist and advertising professional Rafael Mantesso always wanted a bull terrier since he was a little boy. Andrea Romano Mashable -- 9/18/14

POTUS 44    

Obama Falls to Bush-Level Approval Ratings -- Americans’ approval of President Barack Obama has dropped to a new low rivaling even the unpopularity that saddled George W. Bush at the same point of his presidency, according to a new poll, a troublesome sign for Democrats just weeks before the midterm elections. Dan Hirschhorn TIME Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Dalia Sussman in the New York Times$ -- 9/18/14

Obama renews vow to keep U.S. troops out of a ‘ground war’ against Islamic State -- The Obama administration struggled Wednesday to explain how its strategy to defeat Islamic State militants will play out in Iraq and Syria as President Obama underscored that no American ground combat forces will be deployed in the fight. Anne Gearan in the Washington Post$ -- 9/18/14

Obama's ISIS Strategy Will Not Achieve Its Goals, Security Insiders Say -- But a majority of the same experts say that the U.S. is safer now than it was before the 9/11 attacks. Kaveh Waddell National Journal -- 9/18/14

Beltway

Joe Biden pulls off a gaffe hat trick -- Vice President Biden's Wednesday kicked off with an acknowledgment that he had used a "poor choice of words." By day's end, he had put foot in his mouth again. Twice. Sean Sullivan in the Washington Post$ -- 9/18/14

Congress Is About to Decide Whether to Tax Your Internet -- The price of surfing the Web—or buying things online—could soon go up. Dustin Volz National Journal -- 9/18/14

House approves $1T spending bill -- Without the funding measure's passage, the government would shut down on Oct. 1. Rebecca Shabad The Hill -- 9/18/14