* Updates Since Early This Morning

Romney crushes Santorum -- Mitt Romney crushed Rick Santorum in the Illinois primary Tuesday night, padding his delegate lead and once again forcing his Republican opponents to find another moment to mount a guerrilla challenge to his campaign. ALEXANDER BURNS Politico -- 3/20/12

Mayor says he'll suspend Mirkarimi as sheriff -- Mayor Ed Lee is suspending Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from his post, the first step toward removing him from office permanently for official misconduct. Rachel Gordon in the San Francisco Chronicle Julia Prodis Sulek in the San Jose Mercury TREY BUNDY, ZOE CORNELI Bay Citizen -- 3/20/12

California activists clash over term limits measure on June ballot -- A ballot measure to change term limits for California legislators was defended Tuesday by supporters as necessary to blunt the influence of lobbyists, but was attacked by an opponent as a "sham" meant to trick voters and help politicians. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

Jerry Brown reaches out to rival tax proponent -- If Molly Munger’s new television ad for her tax initiative was aimed at getting the attention of Gov. Jerry Brown, it seems to have worked. Anthony York in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

Mirkarimi says he won't resign -- Embattled San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will not leave his position, despite an ultimatum from Mayor Ed Lee telling him to either resign or face official misconduct charges. Rachel Gordon in the San Francisco Chronicle TREY BUNDY Bay Citizen Julia Prodis Sulek in the San Jose Mercury -- 3/20/12

Prisoners call upon United Nations to investigate solitary confinement -- Calling solitary confinement "torture," California prisoners and advocates are asking the United Nations to investigate the segregated housing of gang members at prisons throughout the state. Anna Gorman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

Jerry Brown: Munger sent 'nice e-mail,' but no deal in works -- A week after negotiating the compromise tax measure with the California Federation of Teachers, Gov. Jerry Brown said today that despite recent talks with Molly Munger, the proponent of a competing tax initiative, there is no sign of a deal. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/20/12

High schools, community colleges react to CSU enrollment freeze -- The announcement by California State University officials of a plan to freeze enrollment next spring at most campuses and to wait-list all applicants the following fall has left many high school and community college counselors grasping for answers on how to advise their students. Stephen Ceasar and Carla Rivera in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

Cal State panel approves pay hike for two university presidents -- A California State University panel voted Tuesday to increase compensation for the new presidents of the Fullerton and East Bay campuses, focusing renewed scrutiny on the executive pay issue. Carla Rivera in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

Lee gives Mirkarimi 24 hours to resign or face charges -- Mayor Ed Lee gave embattled San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi 24 hours to resign or face an official misconduct charge and the possible forced removal from office, sources told The Chronicle today. Rachel Gordon in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/20/12

Neighbor: Mirkarimi's Wife 'Pressured Me to Destroy Evidence' -- Eliana Lopez, the wife of San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, repeatedly pressured two neighbors to "destroy evidence" and "lie to police," one of those neighbors, Abraham Mertens, claimed in an op-ed published in Tuesday's San Francisco Chronicle. TREY BUNDY Bay Citizen -- 3/20/12

Saunders: A bruised ego for San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi -- Everything is political in San Francisco. In January, police arrested Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi on domestic-violence charges after an argument in which he apparently bruised the right arm of his wife, Eliana Lopez. Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/20/12

Mexico earthquake: No tsunami warning for California -- Federal officials said they don't believe the estimated 7.6 earthquake that struck near Acapulco, Mexico on Tuesday will result in any tsunamis off the California coast. Shelby Grad in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

3 online date sites agree to screen for predators -- Three leading online dating sites have agreed to screen for sex offenders and take other measures to protect their members after a Southern California woman was assaulted on a date. ROBERT JABLON Associated Press Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/20/12

John McCain, Pete Wilson back Kuykendall for Congress -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former California Gov. Pete Wilson are headlining an "honorary host committee" at a campaign open house for former Rep. Steven T. Kuykendall, who is seeking to return to Congress this year from a newly drawn Long Beach district. Jean Merl LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 3/20/12

Helping English learners -- Padilla, a Los Angeles Democrat and son of migrants who rose from English Learner to graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will chair a series of special Senate subcommittee hearings on the issues confronting students and educators. Michael Gardner UT San Diego -- 3/20/12

If the CA Prez Primary is in Play, what does that mean for Candidates and Ballot Measures? -- As the battle for the Republican presidential nomination drags on through state after state, a number of commentators are suggesting that California’s primary scheduled for June 5 may help determine the party nominee. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 3/20/12

Ryan budget: Change Medicare, slash spending, lower taxes -- House Republicans would slash federal spending, lower tax rates and substantially overhaul Medicare in the 2013 budget unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin that offers a do-over of sorts to last year’s blueprint that left the party in political trouble. Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

Democrats: Ryan budget ‘a breach of faith’, hurts women -- As expected, Democrats voiced strong objections Tuesday to the House GOP budget proposal, saying it violates the agreement established during last summer’s debt negotiations, destroys the current Medicare system and would be harmful to women. Ed O'Keefe in the Washington Post -- 3/20/12

Friends propose Rod Blonien scholarship at Jesuit High School -- Blonien, who worked for former Gov. George Deukmejian before becoming a lobbyist for gambling and horse racing interests, died a week ago at age 65 of an apparent heart attack. Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/20/12

Assembly Republicans unveil 13-bill package honoring veterans -- With troops returning from combat in the Middle East, Assembly Republicans unveiled a 13-bill package today designed to recognize their service and assist them in returning to civilian life. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/20/12

California unions to push jobs plan -- The California Labor Federation will unveil on Tuesday a series of proposals to promote job growth in the state, a plan that union officials said will be the centerpiece of its lobbying and political efforts this year. Chris Megerian LA Times PolitiCal$ -- 3/20/12

Ashburn says he'll resign from state board if elected to county board -- Former state Sen. Roy Ashburn, who had earlier indicated he might keep his $128,000 per year position on the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board if elected to a $120,000 seat on the Kern County Board of Supervisors, is changing his tune. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/20/12


   California Policy and Politics This Morning

California chief justice avoids controversy, warns that budget cuts could imperil judiciary -- California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who has feuded openly for months with state lawmakers and dissident judges over a bid to weaken her administrative power, appealed to the Legislature on Monday to spare the judiciary from further budget cuts. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee Rachel Gordon in the San Francisco Chronicle Don Thompson and Judy Lin Associated Press Cheryl Miller The Recorder -- 3/20/12

Walters: Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye makes case for peace -- The annual State of the Judiciary addresses that the chief justice delivers to the Legislature are usually pro forma exercises that draw little more than passing attention. Not this year. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee

Contrition accomplished? San Francisco Sheriff Mirkarimi: 'Not the person I thought I was' -- His voice trembled. His palms sweat. Moments after San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was sentenced on a domestic violence charge Monday, he apologized to his family and community, saying he was "ashamed and deeply sorry" for his behavior. Julia Prodis Sulek in the San Jose Mercury Rachel Gordon in the San Francisco Chronicle Maria L. LaGanga in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

Head of California National Guard confirmed, told to pursue reforms -- The state Senate confirmed the appointment of David S. Baldwin as adjutant general in charge of the California National Guard, with lawmakers saying they trust he will continue his shake-up of an agency that has been rocked by one financial scandal after another. Patrick McGreevy LA Times PolitiCal$ Torey Van Oot SacBee Capitol Alert DON THOMPSON Associated Press -- 3/20/12

Molly Munger hits TV airwaves with pitch for income tax hike -- Civil rights attorney Molly Munger's campaign to pass a broad-based income tax to bolster California education is taking to the television airwaves with a 30-second ad in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Jim Sanders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/20/12

Budget analyst leery about Jerry Brown's in-home care cutbacks -- In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) has been one of the state's fastest growing programs during the last decade, and both Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and his Republican predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, have tried to rein in costs, only to collide with political and legal roadblocks. Dan Walters SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/20/12

Law would deny benefits to abusers -- Harris is in the Capitol promoting legislation to close a loophole that now allows abusers convicted of violent sex crimes against their spouses to still be awarded support payments, community property or other financial benefits. Michael Gardner UT San Diego -- 3/20/12

State bill would restrict data from license-plate scanners -- A state lawmaker representing Silicon Valley wants to rein in a cutting-edge law enforcement technology that enables police to stockpile digital personal information on motorists and build a portrait of their whereabouts. G.W. Schulz California Watch -- 3/20/12

PG&E: Pipeline upgrade could top $11 billion -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executives defended the utility's position Monday that customers should pay for most of a $2.2 billion post-San Bruno pipeline safety program, even as they signaled that additional work in coming years could boost the price tag to $11 billion. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/20/12

   Economy - Jobs

As Sacramento gas price dips, official suggests fuel tax cut -- On Monday, State Board of Equalization member George Runner called on California lawmakers to limit fuel taxes Golden State motorists pay to the first $4 per gallon. Mark Glover in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/20/12

San Jose Police Officer's union sues city -- Attorneys for the San Jose Police Officers' Association on Monday elaborated on two lawsuits they filed against the city of San Jose, including one that seeks to force the city back to the bargaining table and another that alleges the city violated the union's contract by trying to change retirement benefits through an election rather than arbitration. Tracy Seipel in the San Jose Mercury -- 3/20/12

At San Jose solar convention, SolarWorld's trade case against China looms large -- Many fear that the Obama administration, eager to create American manufacturing jobs, is about to apply additional duties on solar cells and solar panels made in China, possibly driving up solar prices and curtailing solar adoption in the United States just as the industry is taking off. Dana Hull in the San Jose Mercury -- 3/20/12

Solar-Panel Users Prepare for Tariffs on Chinese Imports -- As U.S. trade officials prepare their preliminary decision on a dumping complaint against Chinese solar-panel makers, U.S. panel users are preparing for new tariffs on Chinese imports by lining up new sources of the panels, sometimes at a significant cost. CASSANDRA SWEET in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 3/20/12

Bill would protect unemployed job-hunters -- A bill making its way through the California Legislature would add employment status to the list of protected classifications such as age, race and disability that cannot be taken into consideration during the hiring process. JACK KATZANEK in the Riverside Press -- 3/20/12

Silver Legacy's financial woes highlight Indian casinos' effects -- One of Reno's splashiest resorts is fighting to stave off financial disaster as Northern California Indian casinos continue to grab market share. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/20/12

Anderson: Cap state worker pay -- Should state workers take home more pay than the governor? State Sen. Joel Anderson says no. Michael Gardner UT San Diego -- 3/20/12

Borrowed Time -- In South L.A., foreclosures hurt renters too. Robert Fulton HealthyCal.org -- 3/20/12


Cal State closes most spring admissions, could shut out 25,000 fall applicants -- Only eight of the system's 23 campuses -- including Cal State East Bay, but not San Jose State -- will accept transfer students for the spring 2013 term, and none will accept new freshmen, said Robert Turnage, the university's budget chief. Matt Krupnick in the San Jose Mercury Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle Pat Flynn UT San Diego TERENCE CHEA Associated Press Kelly Puente and Neil Nisperos in the San Bernardino Sun Carla Rivera in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

LAUSD hires social media coordinator -- Los Angeles Unified is about to go viral, with a social media coordinator launching Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites in an effort to broaden the district's community outreach. Barbara Jones in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 3/20/12

California schools lead nation in Hispanic enrollment -- California enrolls the most Hispanics in K-12 schools in the country: nearly 3.4 million in 2010, according to an analysis of census data released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center. Joanna Lin California Watch -- 3/20/12

Supreme Court denies campus groups' appeal -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from a Christian sorority and fraternity challenging California State University's refusal to provide funding and other campus benefits to student groups that exclude members of other religions. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/20/12

   Health Care

“It Takes a Village” -- The rapidly-spreading Village Movement is helping older adults age gracefully by offering the best of two colliding worlds: “aging in place” to avoid institutional living while creating tight community bonds to foster better health and social connections. Matt Perry HealthyCal.org -- 3/20/12

Ibuprofen may prevent altitude sickness, study says -- Stanford University researchers have discovered a way to kill the horrible "hangover" symptoms that afflict those susceptible to altitude sickness: ibuprofen. Susanne Rust California Watch -- 3/20/12


Late storms relieve state's water worries, for now -- The past week's late-winter storms have washed away worries about a possible drought this year, water officials say. BRADLEY J. FIKES in the North County Times Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/20/12

Sacramento to consider scaling back collection of yard waste, recyclables -- At the same time, city officials recommend that recycling bins be emptied by crews every other week, down from the current weekly service. That move is expected to save the city $1 million a year. Ryan Lillis in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/20/12


U.S. Bank shuts branch at UC Davis, cites Occupy disruptions -- Citing chronic disruption of business by Occupy movement activists and authorities' refusal to disperse protesters, Minnesota-based U.S. Bank has closed its branch office on the UC Davis campus. Mark Glover in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/20/12


Assembly applauds walkers pushing to change immigration law -- The immigrants are walking from San Francisco to Washington D.C. to lobby for passage of the federal Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for many longtime residents who immigrated illegally as children and later graduated from U.S. high schools. Jim Sanders in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/20/12


Once-burgeoning Latino population growth rate dips in many U.S. cities -- The downturn is 'pervasive' and could hurt future growth, but major metropolitan gateway areas are less affected, analysis of Census data shows. Don Lee and Rebecca Trounson in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

Sugar seeks sweet revenge against competition from corn -- In a lawsuit that goes before a Los Angeles federal judge Wednesday, sugar producers accuse their corn industry rivals of false advertising in a campaign that casts the liquid sweetener as "nutritionally the same as table sugar" and claims "your body can't tell the difference." Carol J. Williams in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12

Owner reopens G3 Holistic -- The medical-marijuana cooperative has survived two Drug Enforcement Administration raids - including one last week - and continues to provide medication to its 2,900 members. Sandra Emerson in the Inland Daily Bulletin -- 3/20/12

   POTUS 44

Obama video part of a search for his new 'brand' -- In 2008, new political sensation Barack Obama was introduced to millions of American voters as the "change you can believe in." Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/20/12


House Republicans to propose dramatic changes to tax code -- House Republicans on Tuesday will propose a dramatic reshuffling of the tax code that would collapse the range of individual tax brackets into just two, with lower rates, and slash the top tax rate for corporations. Rosalind S. Helderman and Ed O’Keefe in the Washington Post -- 3/20/12

For Democrats, GOP budget is Christmas in March -- To Democrats, the release of the House GOP budget is like Christmas in March. And they’re planning a celebration of sorts. SEUNG MIN KIM Politico -- 3/20/12

Romney: ‘I don’t see how a young American can vote for a Democrat’ -- In a question-and-answer session after an address at the University of Chicago Monday afternoon, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney made the case that it’s not in the interests of young people to vote for Democrats because the party’s position on taxes and federal spending will leave the next generation bankrupt. Felicia Sonmez in the Washington Post -- 3/20/12

GOP predicts uphill climb for Democrats' efforts to retake the House -- The House GOP’s campaign arm believes the Democrats’ “drive for 25” seats to retake the House majority is more like a long haul for at least 30 seats, thanks primarily to retirements of conservative Blue Dog Democrats from districts that strongly lean Republican. Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/20/12