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California Policy & Politics This Morning   

With climate change and road repairs, Brown jumps into last-minute legislative fray -- Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown raised eyebrows by dodging questions about debates over legislation and joking that he stands "above the fray." Chris Megerian, Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

Jerry Brown proposes new $65 driver’s fee, higher gas taxes -- California drivers would pay $65 a year in a new “highway user fee” plus higher taxes at the gas pump under a $3.6 billion plan Gov. Jerry Brown is pitching to help fix the state’s roads, bridges and highways. Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle John Myers KQED Jessica Calefati in the Oakland Tribune Juliet Willams Associated Press -- 9/4/15

Oil industry, environmentalists in ad war over bill to cut gasoline use -- When Californians check their mailboxes or flip on their radios these days, they might be forgiven for thinking an election is around the corner. Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

The ads: Oil companies' radio and TV spots -- Oil companies are running a radio spot that sounds like a public service alert. The item is in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

Fired regulator: Brown pushed to waive oil safeguards -- California's top oil and gas regulators repeatedly warned Gov. Jerry Brown's senior aides in 2011 that the governor's orders to override key safeguards in granting oil industry permits would violate state and federal laws protecting the state's groundwater from contamination, one of the former officials has testified. Ellen Knickmeyer Associated Press -- 9/4/15

California fines oil companies for failing to report water use data -- The state fined 30 oil companies on Thursday for failing to meet a deadline to report information about the source, volume and disposal of water used in oil and gas production. Julie Cart in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

Bill banning PG&E penalty tax write-off fails in Senate -- Legislation prohibiting Pacific Gas & Electric Co. from taking a tax write-off on a $1.6 billion penalty related to the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion fell short Thursday in the Senate when it failed to to receive any Republican support. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

State lawmakers approve traffic relief and stricter penalties for sex offenders -- Los Angeles County motorists would be able to use carpool lanes on some local freeways during off-peak hours under a proposal state lawmakers sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

Assembly Democrats pick Anthony Rendon to be next speaker -- Assembly Democrats tapped a Los Angeles-area lawmaker, Anthony Rendon, to be their next speaker Thursday, despite current Speaker Toni Atkins' attempt to stave off a challenge in the final weeks of the session. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

News photographers call on California Gov. Jerry Brown to veto drone restrictions -- An organization representing news photographers urged California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday to veto legislation that would restrict the use of drones over private property without the owner's consent. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

L.A.-area carpool lanes may be opened to everyone during off-peak hours -- The state Senate sent the governor separate bills on Thursday — one that would allow all motorists to use carpool lanes on some Los Angeles County freeways during off-peak hours, and another that would increase penalties for sex offenders who remove court-ordered GPS tracking devices. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

Jerry Brown brokering late deal on medical marijuana regulations -- Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is crafting the framework for medical marijuana regulations in California, a session-closing play that could end nearly two decades of clashing interpretations and court battles. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

Jerry Brown gets bill creating new date rape crime -- The state Senate on Thursday unanimously approved Senate Bill 333, which would create a new felony for the possession of date-rape drugs with the intent to commit a sexual assault, sending it to Brown’s desk for a signature. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

Health plans come out against tax bills -- California’s largest health plan group this week declared its opposition to both of the healthcare special session bills that would impose new taxes on managed-care organizations, the latest sign that a replacement for a soon-to-expire health plan tax is unlikely to emerge before lawmakers adjourn next week. Jim Miller in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

California Bill Protects Immigrant Victims from Being Deported -- The state with the largest number of undocumented immigrants passed a bill Thursday to protect those who are victims of crimes from being deported. The California Assembly passed the the Immigrant Victims of Crime Equity Act, which was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León of Los Angeles. Chris Jennewein Times of San Diego -- 9/4/15

Congressman Mike Honda grapples with ethics report's release -- There is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Mike Honda and members of his staff improperly used official resources to benefit his campaign, and that Honda improperly linked official activities to political support, the Office of Congressional Ethics reports. Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury$ Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/4/15

California lawmaker presents bill for deaf students using sign language -- It was a little ironic that the Assembly fell silent to watch Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, present Senate Bill 210, which sets educational standards for deaf students. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

Plastic microbead ban fails in California Senate -- A bill to bar California retailers from selling cosmetic products that contain exfoliating plastic microbeads failed in the state Senate Thursday after a handful of Democrats held off their votes. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

Feinstein trying for fifth full term? Invites go out for fundraiser -- California U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 82, has sent the first signals that she intends to run for a fifth term — invitations to a Washington, D.C., fundraiser for her 2018 campaign went out Thursday. Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/4/15

Sen. Dianne Feinstein opens up about women in politics -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein has some advice for women interested in politics: Don't get too big for your britches. Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

Sen. Dianne Feinstein pushes bill to create more homeless housing on VA campus -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Thursday she would introduce legislation to move veterans from the county's alleyways and sidewalk shantytowns onto the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' long-contested West Los Angeles campus. Gale Holland in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

Walters: How do we grade our schools? -- The state Board of Education, for the umpteenth time, heard presentations Thursday about a new method of gauging how well public schools are educating 6-plus million kids. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

No charges after Orange County supervisor handcuffed man who was 'preaching the word of God' -- Unnerved by a man who was "preaching the word of God" and suspiciously eying a knife, Orange County Board of Supervisors Chair Todd Spitzer apparently handcuffed a man at a Foothills Ranch restaurant earlier this year, sheriff's officials said Thursday. James Queally in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

ACLU wants feds to withhold funds from LAPD for body cameras -- The Los Angeles Police Department's effort to equip officers with body cameras has run up against an unlikely obstacle - the ACLU of Southern California. Tami Abdollah Associated Press -- 9/4/15

San Jose jail death: 3 officers arrested on suspicion of murder, Santa Clara County sheriff's office says -- In a move with no known precedent in its 165-year history, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office is recommending murder charges against three correctional officers in the death of an inmate last week at the main jail, accusing them of viciously beating the man and admitting to using force only after the man was found lifeless in his cell. Robert Salonga and Tracey Kaplan in the San Jose Mercury$ Veronica Rocha in the Los Angeles Times Martha Mendoza and Kristin J. Bender Associated Press -- 9/4/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions    

Borenstein: Public pension-spiking Bay Area fire chief faces big cut in $241,000-a-year payout -- When Peter Nowicki retired in 2009, the then-50-year-old chief of the tiny Moraga Orinda Fire District made national news by trading his $194,000 salary for a starting pension of $241,000 a year. Daniel Borenstein in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 9/4/15

Tribal Casino Deals Quickly, Quietly Sealed By Governor Brown -- In the long and contentious history of Indian gaming in California, tribal leaders think they may have finally found a governor in Jerry Brown who has a good sense of both them and their multi-billion dollar industry. John Myers KQED -- 9/4/15

Survey: California state workers like their work, management not so much -- California’s state workers generally believe their work matters and that performance standards are well-defined, but that management doesn’t recognize good work or hold employees accountable for results, according to the results of a first-of-its-kind survey released Thursday. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

Silicon Valley, Seeking Diversity, Focuses on Blacks -- The acute underrepresentation of blacks in the technology industry has given rise to a flurry of initiatives in Silicon Valley to improve the situation. Patricia Leigh Brown in the New York Times$ -- 9/4/15

Sacramento's minimum-wage exemption for tipped employees draws fire -- Sacramento could be walking into a legal storm if it tries to exempt tipped employers from the new minimum wage. Allen Young Sacramento Business Journal -- 9/4/15


Numbers of freshmen from outside California increase at three UC campuses -- The ranks of UC freshmen from other states and nations will rise substantially this fall at the Irvine, Davis and San Diego campuses, even as the controversially high numbers of non-Californians will remain about the same as last year at UCLA and UC Berkeley, new enrollment numbers show. Larry Gordon in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

California makes ‘aggressive’ push to combat campus sexual assaults -- Jonathan Raven, the chief deputy district attorney for Yolo County, compares prosecuting college sexual assaults to a puzzle: You need enough of the pieces – a physical exam, witnesses, recorded statements, text messages – that a clear picture can emerge. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

Students speak out on the Common Core -- The success of the Common Core standards depends on how effectively they engage students. Yet the issue of how students are responding to the standards has generally received far less attention – from researchers, policy analysts and the media – than other issues such as teacher preparation, the new Smarter Balanced assessments and the adequacy of curriculum material. Katherine Ellison, Sarah Tully, and Laurie Udesky EdSource -- 9/4/15


Fast-food nation? Where you live doesn't affect what you eat, researchers say -- Challenging the idea that "food deserts" - those areas devoid of healthy eating options - lead to obesity, new research finds little connection between the eating habits of Angelenos and their proximity to fast-food restaurants or grocery stores. Soumya Karlamangla in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/4/15

Also . . . 

Oakland Police Department sets good example, Obama official says -- The Oakland Police Department is an example of what police agencies across the nation should emulate in the post-Ferguson era, the executive director of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing said Thursday. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/4/15

French train hero Spencer Stone returns to California -- Air Force medic Spencer Stone, 22, stepped out of a giant refueling plane that carried him home to a cheering reception of 300 flag-waving service members and their familes at Travis Air Force Base after an 11 1/2-hour flight from Germany. Peter Hecht in the Sacramento Bee -- 9/4/15

9/11 parade set in Sacramento for France train heroes -- Three man, hailed worldwide as heroes for foiling a potentially catastrophic terrorist attack on a train in France, will be honored with a parade in Sacramento next week, officials announced Thursday. Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler will be the main attraction at the parade which will kick off Sept. 11 at noon on the Capital Mall. Kale Williams in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/4/15


Ben Carson Wins in Matchup With Donald Trump, Poll Shows -- If Donald Trump has an Achilles’ heel in the Republican presidential nominating contest, it just might be the candidate who is least like him: soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Rebecca Ballhaus in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 9/4/15

Snowden: Other People Get Fired and Prosecuted For What Hillary Clinton Did -- If anyone but Hillary Clinton had used a personal email server to send reportedly classified material, they would be prosecuted and lose their security clearance, Edward Snowden says. Kim Zetter WIRED -- 9/4/15

Donald Trump just tripped up on the air over foreign policy. Again and again -- Donald Trump, leading in the polls and riding a wave of momentum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, just hit a speed bump named Hugh Hewitt. Sean Sullivan and David Weigel in the Washington Post -- 9/4/15

The real reason Donald Trump is so rich -- He is a billionaire today despite this poor performance because when he started his career, his father had already built a colossal real-estate empire. And the wealth Donald Trump has accumulated since then has at times come at the expense of taxpayers or the banks and investors who have lent him money. Max Ehrenfreund in the Washington Post -- 9/4/15