California Policy & Politics This Morning   

As bribery case continues, CalPERS reaps profits from tainted investments -- It’s been one of the darkest chapters in CalPERS history, a bribery scandal that prompted a guilty plea from its former chief executive earlier this month. It’s also been rather profitable. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/25/14

Richard Alarcon's fall from Valley political leader to convicted felon -- Now that former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon has been convicted of perjury and voter fraud, the longtime San Fernando Valley politician could end his 20-year public career as an inmate in state prison. Alice Walton KPCC -- 7/25/14

Despite conviction, Richard Alarcón keeps $116,000 a year pension -- Despite being convicted of four felonies this week by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury, former City Councilman Richard Alarcón will continue to receive his $116,000 annual pension, an official said Thursday. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 7/25/14

Abcarian: Was Richard Alarcon rightly convicted for lying about where he lives? -- Home, as it turns out, is where the Chihuahuas are. Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

On Obama's private L.A. schedule: a meeting with Father Boyle -- President Obama met privately with Father Gregory Boyle of Los Angeles' Homeboy Industries and four former gang members Thursday as part of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative aimed at lifting African American and Latino youths. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

Chief designer says 2,000 bolts, rods need no replacing -- More than 2,000 bolts and rods on the new Bay Bridge eastern span are likely to be more corrosion-resistant than the 32 steel fasteners that failed last year and do not have to be replaced, the bridge's chief designer said Thursday. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 7/25/14

$3 million OKd to pay for string of Bay Bridge fixes -- The panel overseeing completion of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge agreed Thursday to pay the bridge builder an extra $3 million to resolve nagging problems that include rust-stained white paint, misaligned steel rods and a new issue - malfunctioning motorized maintenance scaffolds. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 7/25/14

Stem cell agency tightens ethics rules -- Responding to his predecessor's ethically controversial departure, the president and chief executive of California's stem cell agency said Thursday he is taking legal steps to minimize conflicts of interests with those who have business before the agency. Bradley J. Fikes UT San Diego$ -- 7/25/14

High-speed rail Pacheco Pass route upheld by appeals court -- A state appeals court on Thursday upheld a proposed route for California's high-speed rail line connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to the Central Valley. Associated Press -- 7/25/14

Top-two primary means a double dose of campaign rhetoric -- California’s top-two primary, hailed as a good-government effort to give the state’s voters a wider choice of candidates, may also be subjecting them to longer, louder and nastier campaigns. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 7/25/14

Walters: Brown’s appointees will nudge state Supreme Court leftward -- The U.S. Supreme Court has undergone very obvious ideological cycles – depending on who happened to be in the White House when vacancies occurred. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/25/14

Democrats to host GOP candidates in House race to succeed McKeon -- In another manifestation of how the political landscape is changing under the state's top-two election system, a Democratic club in the Antelope Valley is scheduled to host two Republican congressional candidates at its forum early next month. Jean Merl in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

FBI tried to ensnare Mayor Ed Lee in corruption case, sources say -- One big donor to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's mayoral campaign in 2011 turns out to have been the FBI - which apparently had undercover agents working on a Bay Area corruption investigation contribute $20,000 to the mayor, sources tell us. Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 7/25/14

Jerry Brown adds to campaign war chest -- Gov. Jerry Brown continues to expand his massive financial advantage over Republican Neel Kashkari in his bid for re-election, reporting Thursday that he had $22.4 million on hand as of June 30. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

Landlords say San Francisco anti-eviction law unconstitutional -- A San Francisco law requiring landlords to pay large sums of money to tenants before removing a property from the rental market was challenged in federal court on Thursday amid rising tensions between renters and landlords in the expensive city. Jennifer Baires Reuters -- 7/25/14

Assembly leader weighs in on the issues -- Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins spent an hour with U-T San Diego editorial board on Wednesday, offering her take on a an array of state and local issues. Mark Walker UT San Diego$ -- 7/25/14

Jerry Brown's traveling party to include donors, old friends -- When he leaves next week for Mexico for talks on trade and the environment, Gov. Jerry Brown will be accompanied by more than 100 administration officials, lawmakers and business delegates, including many of his political donors and a handful of old friends. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/25/14

Bid book shows Ballmer overpaying -- Drafts of the Los Angeles Clippers' sale bid book show exactly how much Steve Ballmer is willing to overpay for the team. Ramona Shelburne and Darren Rovell ESPN -- 7/25/14

Economy, Employers, Jobs   

Judge rejects injunction that would have blocked arena project -- A judge today tentatively rejected a citizen group’s attempt to block construction of the new Sacramento Kings arena. Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/25/14

City Hall compromise on housing ballot measures -- A controversial proposal pushed by affordable housing activists and designed to ensure that 30 percent of San Francisco's future housing units are within reach of low- and middle-income residents will not go before voters in November, after Supervisor Jane Kim and Mayor Ed Lee reached a compromise Thursday. Marisa Lagos in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 7/25/14

Coping with the throngs on San Francisco's beloved Embarcadero -- Packed with pedestrians, sightseers, bicyclists, joggers, skaters, pedicabs, strollers and, of course, cars, the Embarcadero is both popular and hazardous. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 7/25/14

Charles Schwab adding 1,200 jobs in Texas -- Charles Schwab will get $5.95 million in Texas state incentives to add more than 1,200 jobs in Austin and El Paso. Mark Calvey San Francisco Business Times -- 7/25/14

Mayor Garcetti to talk with U.S. Olympic officials about 2024 bid -- Mayor Eric Garcetti is set to meet with U.S. Olympic Committee officials to discuss Los Angeles' potential bid for the 2024 Summer Games. David Wharton in the Los Angeles Times$ Rick Orlov in the San Bernardino Sun -- 7/25/14

After being bought for $2B by Facebook, here's what Oculus has been up to -- What does a company do after being acquired by a tech titan for $2 billion? Get to work. Marni Usheroff in the Orange County Register$ -- 7/25/14

Tech companies’ diversity problems are even worse at the leadership level -- Late Wednesday, Twitter released a report showing what's become a very familiar story in Silicon Valley: That its workforce is mostly white and mostly male. By the company's own admission, Twitter has "a lot of work to do." Seven out of 10 employees there are men. Brian Fung in the Washington Post$ -- 7/25/14

Education

Union invites teachers to the bargaining table with LAUSD -- After meeting with Los Angeles Unified officials for the first round of face-to-face contract negotiations Thursday, United Teachers Los Angeles announced plans to change its bargaining tactics. Thomas Himes in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 7/25/14

Feds back English learner lawsuit against state -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has found an ally in the U.S. Department of Justice for its lawsuit charging that the state abdicated its obligation to ensure all students classified as English learners get extra instructional services to become fluent in English. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 7/25/14

USC says grad student found dead was attacked near campus -- A Chinese graduate student at USC who was discovered dead in his apartment was the victim of an assault a few blocks from campus, the university said Thursday. Caitlin Owens, Kate Mather, Matt Stevens in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

Heald, other Corinthian-owned colleges continue to recruit students as company closes -- You'd never know by their ads or websites that the career-college company Corinthian Colleges is collapsing. Katy Murphy in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/25/14

Charter school chain sues L.A. Unified over two campus closures -- A battle for the future of a California charter school chain is headed to court Thursday over a decision by Los Angeles Unified officials to close two of its campuses. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

Berkeley private school The Academy closes after 45 years -- Parents and teachers at a small private school here are feverishly trying to continue classes after the family corporation that owned it since 1969 closed it earlier this month due to low enrollment. Doug Oakley in the Oakland Tribune -- 7/25/14

Drought  

Drought starting to kill salmon in Klamath Basin -- Low warm water conditions from the drought are starting to kill salmon in Northern California's Klamath Basin — the site of a massive fish kill in 2002. Associated Press -- 7/25/14

San Francisco aquarium's unexpected virtue: drought tolerance -- The Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences opened at its new home six years ago with an ambitious overhaul of the way it delivers water to fish - and penguins and octopus and, of course, Claude, the popular albino alligator. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 7/25/14

Immigration / Border

California attorney general asks lawyers to help immigrant children -- California's attorney general has personally asked several major law firms to provide pro bono services to unaccompanied immigrant children flooding the U.S. border with Mexico, a signal that California views the growing crisis as a humanitarian issue. Sharon Bernstein Reuters -- 7/25/14

FBI investigating scam targeting immigrant children's families -- The FBI is investigating how scammers obtained confidential information to defraud migrant children's families of thousands of dollars by telling them they needed to pay a fee to get their children out of federal custody. Molly Hennessy-Fiske in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

Path to child migrant compromise? -- With August looming and Congress deadlocked, the 24-page supplemental spending bill filed Wednesday evening in the Senate may be most important for the structure it provides on how to deal with the child migrant crisis at the border. David Rogers Politico -- 7/25/14

Environment

California Coastal Commission ratchets up legal pressure on billionaire Vinod Khosla -- Ratcheting up pressure on Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla over his decision to block public access to a San Mateo County beach, the California Coastal Commission on Thursday announced it is creating a website to ask people to document their historic uses of the beach. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury$ Lee Romney in the Los Angeles Times$ Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 7/25/14

Oil drilling measure to be on Hermosa Beach’s March ballot -- Hermosa Beach residents will get to vote on whether or not they want an oil company to drill in their town. That’s not news, this is: the measure will be on the March ballot, not the November ballot, as city officials wanted, and not on the June ballot, as the oil company wanted. Scott Bridges L.A. Biz -- 7/25/14

Health

Californians to receive health insurance rebates, but some call it chump change -- Nearly 500,000 consumers across California will receive a piece of a $12 million refund from health insurance companies this summer as part of a provision under the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday. Susan Abram in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 7/25/14

Feds cap fines for not buying health insurance -- Federal officials have capped the amount of money scofflaws will be forced to pay if they don't buy insurance this year at $2,448 per person and $12,240 for a family of five. Associated Press -- 7/25/14

Also . . .

Officials want to build a ‘total disaster city’ for training, with fires, explosions and crashes -- Saying California’s emergency responders need more training to handle major calamities, state and local leaders are pitching plans to build a world-class $56 million training facility in eastern Sacramento County that would pit fire crews against a variety of realistic, pressure-packed simulated disasters. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/25/14

Hoping To Save On IT Costs, California Joins The "Cloud" -- California state agencies and local governments looking for cheaper IT services can now find them … in the “cloud.” The state launched its own cloud computing system Thursday. Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 7/25/14

LAPD probing allegations commanders falsified police patrol levels -- The Los Angeles Police Department has opened an investigation into allegations that command staff in some of the city’s police stations have falsified records to artificially inflate the number of officers listed as being on patrol to comply with department regulations. Joel Rubin and Kate Mather in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

Mayor Garcetti turns to YouTube to communicate directly with LAPD officers about contract -- The mayor had intended to visit roll call meetings with officers, but the Los Angeles Police Protective League said that amounted to an unfair labor practice. The union signaled it would file a complaint. Alice Walton KPCC -- 7/25/14

Santa Clara County: Officials proposing total medical pot ban; patients voice access concerns -- As Santa Clara County officials prepare to recommend a total ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas, cannabis advocates said at a public hearing Thursday that in the wake of San Jose's restrictions it could mean more hardship for South Bay patients in need of their medicine. Eric Kurhi in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/25/14

BART board votes to retain lifetime free-travel perk, but with limitation -- BART directors vote 5-3 to continue program that allows them free travel for life on the transit system, but now they must serve eight years in office to qualify for it. Denis Cuff in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/25/14

The Queen Elegantly Photobombed a Selfie -- There is a long (by “long,” we mean “few-months-long”) tradition of royals crashing selfies. Josh Duboff Vanity Fair -- 7/25/14

POTUS 44    

Between high-end fundraisers, Obama talks middle-class issues -- After zipping through the backyards and wallets of rich Democratic donors, President Obama concluded a West Coast fundraising swing on Thursday by trying to shift his focus back to the middle class. Seema Mehta and Kathleen Hennessey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

President Obama hits 'corporate deserters' in populist L.A. speech -- Tearing into companies he dubbed “corporate deserters,” President Obama on Thursday launched an election-year push to make it harder for U.S. companies to avoid paying taxes. Kathleen Hennessey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

President Obama in L.A.: Fundraiser, fist bumps, trash talk in a deli -- On his regularly scheduled visits to rake up campaign cash from the salons of Los Angeles’ upper-crust neighborhoods, President Obama just as regularly drops into locales meant to emphasize that he is more man-of-the-people than man-of-the-moneyed. Seema Mehta, Cathleen Decker in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/25/14

Obama Urges Quick Action to Stop 'Inversions' -- President Barack Obama on Thursday will call on Congress to end a tax-code rule that allows some U.S. firms to reincorporate overseas and lower their tax bills, drawing attention to an emerging trend that worries many lawmakers and could figure prominently in the fall election campaign. John D. McKinnon and Siobhan Hughes in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 7/25/14

Beltway

Poll: GOP has enthusiasm advantage -- More Republicans are on the edge of their seats to vote for who will fill the seats of Congress than Democrats, according to a new poll. Kendall Breitman Politico -- 7/25/14