California Policy & Politics This Morning

Leland Yee case: Feds again vow to add racketeering charges against most defendants -- Federal prosecutors on Thursday again vowed to add racketeering charges to the political corruption and organized crime case that includes suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, assuring a judge that "a majority of the defendants" will face that sweeping criminal charge. Howard Mintz in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 4/18/14

In political scandal, good government advocates see opening for ethics, campaign finance changes -- When the Legislature returns next week from spring break, it will pick up with the drudgery of its shortcomings right where it left off, with ethics training in the upper house. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 4/18/14

FPPC delays decision on Berryhill money-laundering case -- The board of California's political ethics watchdog Thursday postponed action on a recommended $40,000 money-laundering penalty against state Sen. Tom Berryhill, his brother and Republican central committees in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. Jim Miller in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 4/18/14

High-paid Centinela Valley school chief can cash in lucrative whole-life insurance policies -- The embattled superintendent of the Centinela Valley school district — who is under investigation for his massive pay — took out a $750,000 life insurance policy before securing approval from the school board to do so, the Daily Breeze has learned. Rob Kuznia in the Los Angeles Daily News$ Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

L.A. ethics panel wants more public funding available to candidates -- The city currently provides $2 for each dollar a candidate raises in primary elections, and $4 for each dollar contributed in two-way runoffs in general elections. Soumya Karlamangla in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

California Democrats Face New Calculus After Scandals -- Democrats have held a lock on power in this state since 2012. But the party now finds itself in a rare defensive posture as it tries to contain the damage from a series of high-profile scandals. Alejandro Lazo in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 4/18/14

Progressives rip one corporate tax break, laud another -- It seems memories are short on San Francisco's progressive left, at least when it comes to tech companies and it happens to be union contract negotiating time. John Coté, John King in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/18/14

Greenhut: Rainy-day plan ignites spending debate --Republicans and Democrats reacted favorably to Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement on Wednesday that he supports the creation of a new “rainy day fund” that would help the state government amass reserves to weather tough financial times and chisel away at its mountains of unfunded debt. Steven Greenhut UT San Diego$ -- 4/18/14

Candidates note Solis' absence in first debate of county race -- Two candidates hoping to succeed Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina faced off Thursday in Claremont, without the presumed front-runner participating. Abby Sewell in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

Six Californias plan running out of time for 2014 ballot -- Voters may have to wait two more years before they get a chance to decide whether to carve the Golden State into six mini-Californias. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/18/14

BART cited, fined $210,000 for worker deaths -- State regulators on Thursday cited BART for three "willful, serious" violations and fined the transit agency $210,000 for the deaths of two workers hit by a train in October while working on a section of track in Walnut Creek. Matthias Gafni in the Oakland Tribune -- 4/18/14

L.A. faces three more years of deficits, budget official says -- Los Angeles faces budget deficits through 2018 even if elected officials keep a lid on spending and secure new concessions from the workforce, the top financial analyst at City Hall warned Thursday. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

Pelosi assists in Holy Week foot-washing ritual -- To "honor the dignity and work of immigrants," Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi helps Bishop Marc Andrus wash the feet of two children Thursday at Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in San Francisco. The item is in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/18/14

DWP resumes shut-offs on delinquents -- The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power wants the $242 million it says it’s owed by delinquent ratepayers, and it’s ready to begin shutting off their electricity. Scott Bridges L.A. Biz -- 4/18/14

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson wants more disclosure on crude oil transport -- Pointing to the catastrophic derailment in Quebec of a train transporting oil and similar accidents, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, proposed legislation Thursday to get emergency responders more information about crude-carrying trains that roll through California. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 4/18/14

After vowing to cooperate, Robert Rizzo skips his sentencing interview -- After pleading no contest to corruption charges and agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors, former Bell administrator Robert Rizzo would not be interviewed for his own probation report before he was sentenced. Jeff Gottlieb in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

City of Bell shouldn't count on being paid back by Rizzo, Spaccia -- There’s a good chance the City of Bell will never see the money misappropriated by its convicted former city manager Robert Rizzo and his deputy, Angela Spaccia. Prosecutors and defense attorneys agree the two former city officials are “penniless.” Frank Stoltze KPCC -- 4/18/14

CalOptima Leaders Shelved Critical Audit -- A comprehensive study of weaknesses at CalOptima, the county’s $1.5-billion health plan for low-income residents, was quietly sidetracked two years ago by Supervisor Janet Nguyen and two of her board of directors allies. Tracy Wood VoiceofOC.org -- 4/18/14

Senate leader calls for GPS investigation after Orange County serial killings -- The leader of the state Senate is seeking an investigation into how two sex offenders being monitored by parole agents and tracked by GPS devices were allegedly able to rape and murder four women without being detected. Paloma Esquivel and Paige St. John in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

Prop 8 lawyer's views on gay marriage evolving -- The lawyer who argued before the Supreme Court in favor of upholding California's ban on gay marriage learned while he was handling the case that one of his children is gay and now is helping her plan her wedding with another woman. Julie Pace Associated Press -- 4/18/14

Taxes / Fees

PG&E tax, fee payouts throughout California top $302 million -- San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co. says it has paid property taxes and franchise fees totaling more than $302 million to the 49 counties and 243 cities in which it operates in California. Mark Glover in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 4/18/14

Higher prices, not Easter eggs, at Orange County Parks lots -- Just like at churches, local parks’ staff say attendance is highest on Easter Sunday, so Orange County park-goers will pay a premium with one-day higher parking fees. Erika I. Ritchie in the Orange County Register$ -- 4/18/14

Economy, Employers, Jobs   

Gasoline prices jump in California as refineries encounter trouble -- The statewide average for a gallon of regular has surged 13 cents in a week. Analysts differ on when prices will begin to drop. Shan Li in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

Los Angeles City Hall panel hears recommendations from ‘film czar’ office -- The hearing marked the first public recommendations from Garcetti’s film czar office, whose work is being closely watched by local entertainment workers. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 4/18/14

Cross-border airport plan clears hurdle -- A groundbreaking plan for a privately funded international port of entry linking San Diego directly to Tijuana’s A.L. Rodriguez International Airport appears to have cleared its final hurdle. Sandra Dibble UT San Diego$ -- 4/18/14

Silicon Valley tech companies reap record-level investments -- It's a good time to be a software company in Silicon Valley, where big money is flowing to the red-hot industry. Heather Somerville in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 4/18/14

State says new online nursing application should speed up licensing -- California is urging new nursing school graduates who have not already applied for a nursing license to do so using an online application instead of submitting a paper form. Eryn Brown in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

Sriracha plant's possible move out of Irwindale called 'very extreme' -- Irwindale's city attorney said he was confused and disappointed to hear that Sriracha hot sauce creator David Tran is seriously considering moving his factory -- the source of a months-long battle over spicy odor complaints -- out of the city. Frank Shyong in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

Education

Special San Jose State task force releases recommendations on campus climate -- A special task force convened at San Jose State after allegations that a black student was relentlessly bullied by his white roommates concluded its work Thursday night -- and told President Mo Qayoumi all eyes will be on him as he considers their recommendations. Katy Murphy in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 4/18/14

California fails to adequately educate youth inmates, report says -- California and other states are largely failing to adequately educate most of the 70,000 youth locked up at any given time in juvenile detention facilities, according to a national report released Thursday. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

Majority of California voters support universal preschool for 4-year-olds -- Most California voters think the state should increase the availability of preschool for the state’s 4-year-olds, according to a Field Poll conducted in partnership with EdSource. Lillian Mongeau EdSource -- 4/18/14

Californians support state-funded preschool for 4-year-olds, survey shows -- Educating 4-year-olds is important to California voters – important enough that 57 percent say it’s worth spending $1.4 billion a year for the state to provide all of them with preschool. Laurel Rosenhall in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 4/18/14

Drought  

Sneeze, wheeze, allergies: Valley's drought making it worse -- The drought is drying up Valley farms -- but not noses. The dry, warm spring has kicked allergy season into overdrive. Barbara Anderson in the Fresno Bee -- 4/18/14

Immigration / Border

Immigrants seeking U.S. protection spend months in detention, suit says -- Thousands of immigrants seeking protection in the United States have spent months in detention waiting for the government to determine whether they may have legitimate cases, even though regulations say they should receive a determination within 10 days, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Thursday. Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

House Immigration Bills Are Still in the Mix -- Speaker John Boehner and other senior House Republicans are telling donors and industry groups that they aim to pass immigration legislation this year, despite the reluctance of many Republicans to tackle the divisive issue before the November elections. Laura Meckler in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 4/18/14

Environment

Residents express outcry over Chevron Richmond's modernization project -- More than 60 people addressed the city's Planning Commission on Thursday, saying the environmental report describing Chevron Corp.'s proposed $1 billion modernization of its local refinery does too little to reduce pollutants and ensure safety. Robert Rogers in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 4/18/14

Floating nuclear power plants could avoid disasters like Fukushima -- Researchers have an idea for how future nuclear reactors can avoid the trauma that led to the 2011 disaster at Fukushima: by building new plants five to seven miles out into the ocean. Jacob Kastrenakes The Verge -- 4/18/14

Health

Obamacare: California sign-ups exceed 3 million for private health care plans or Medi-Cal -- Capping six months of open enrollment under the new federal health care law, more than 3 million Californians signed up for a private health insurance or Medi-Cal plan by final deadline Tuesday, state health exchange and Medi-Cal officials announced Thursday morning. Tracy Seipel in the Oakland Tribune -- 4/18/14

Obamacare enrollment nears 1.4 million in California exchange -- Covered California signed up more than 200,000 consumers for Obamacare coverage after extending its enrollment deadline by two weeks, bringing the statewide total to nearly 1.4 million people. Chad Terhune in the Los Angeles Times$ Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 4/18/14

Missed the Obamacare deadline? Short-term health plan may be better than nothing -- Insurance providers are now shifting their sales pitches to such Band-Aid policies, which health care experts agree are better than nothing but come with a litany of caveats. Tracy Seipel in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 4/18/14

Cloning advance using stem cells from human adult reopens ethical questions -- Scientists have grown stem cells from adults using cloning techniques for the first time — bringing them closer to developing patient-specific lines of cells that can be used to treat a whole host of ailments, from heart disease to blindness. Ariana Eunjung Cha in the Washington Post$ -- 4/18/14

Investors Jump In After Canada Changes Marijuana Rules -- Now, after a change this month in Canada's production and distribution laws made it legal for any licensed company to grow and ship medical marijuana to patients, and illegal for patients to grow their own, Mr. Zettl finds himself competing with a dozen new entrants in an industry that could be worth as much as $1.2 billion in a decade. Will Connors in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 4/18/14

Also . . .

California's only river route floats Delta mail carrier's boat -- Patches of blue peek through the vast canopy of gray as Rick Stelzriede turns a key in the ignition and points his bow toward open water. Rowena Coetsee in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 4/18/14

Bill Gates Has a Plan to Cash In on Google Glass -- The Microsoft cofounder has filed a patent for technology that would sound an alarm if sneaky cameras are spotted nearby. Dustin Volz National Journal -- 4/18/14

Chelsea Clinton expecting 1st child -- Chelsea Clinton says she and her husband are expecting their first child later this year. Ken Thomas Associated Press -- 4/18/14

Sexual harassment lawsuit filed against ex-San Diego Mayor Bob Filner -- A woman has filed a lawsuit against former Mayor Bob Filner, alleging that he sexually harassed her at a public event at an elementary school while his police bodyguards watched. Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

Gown that survived 1906 quake a reminder of elegant past -- Just in time for the 108th anniversary of the worst disaster to ever hit San Francisco, historians have uncovered a delicate and beautiful coat and gown that were worn by a fashionable woman here on the eve of the great 1906 earthquake and fire. Carl Nolte in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/18/14

San Franciscans commemorate the Great Quake of 1906 -- and a dress -- City officials and celebrants in period dress packed old-timey John’s Grill here Thursday to remember the great 1906 earthquake -- and gasped in wonder as a dress belonging to a society woman of the day was carefully unveiled. Lee Romney in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

Sacramento photographer Tom Myers, 88, captured vivid images of the West -- Tom Myers, a Sacramento photographer whose vivid images of animals, places and people in California and the West have appeared in national magazines, books and on greeting cards, died April 7 of cancer, his family said. He was 88. Robert D. Dávila in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 4/18/14

Potus 44 

Obama hails 8 million enrollees for insurance under federal health-care law -- President Obama announced Thursday that 8 million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, calling the feat a success story that Democrats should “forcefully defend and be proud of” in the face of Republican election-year attacks on the law. Juliet Eilperin and David Nakamura in the Washington Post$ -- 4/18/14

Beltway

Establishment bites back: Chamber fights tea party in Senate races -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce jumped into two key Senate races this week -- another clear signal that the GOP establishment will try to stop tea party candidates from winning primaries as Republicans try to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats. Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

McManus: Is Jeb Bush too old school for the new GOP? -- Is Jeb Bush's moment over? Not in his mind. The former governor of Florida says he's considering a campaign to become his family's third president, even though he dreads "getting back into the vortex of the mud fight." Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 4/18/14

G.O.P. Campaign Outreach Tool: Gun Sweepstakes -- Across the country, from a race for sheriff in California to the United States Senate primary in South Carolina, candidates are using high-powered pistols and rifles as a lure to build up their donor lists and expand their base of support. Jeremy W. Peters in the New York Times$ -- 4/18/14

The tea party radio network -- A POLITICO review of filings with the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission, as well as interviews and reviews of radio shows, found that conservative groups spent nearly $22 million to broker and pay for involved advertising relationships known as sponsorships with a handful of influential talkers including Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh between the first talk radio deals in 2008 and the end of 2012. Kenneth P. Vogel and Mackenzie Weinger Politico -- 4/18/14