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State court upholds 2013 law that cut buying pension credits -- A state appeals court has upheld a 2013 California law that eliminated a pension benefit for hundreds of thousands of state and local government employees in an effort to reduce the pension system’s mounting deficits. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/2/17

CalPERS reports make debt, cost difficult to see -- New annual CalPERS reports no longer prominently display the pension debt of local governments as a percentage of pay, making it more difficult for the public to easily see the full employer pension cost. Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 1/2/17

New Hiring, New Fears In New Year -- It looks like more companies may be hiring in the Sacramento area during the first few months of the new year. A survey of the region's top employers finds that 63 percent plan to hire in the first-quarter. That's up five percent from a year ago. Rick Reed conducted the poll for Pacific Staffing. Steve Milne Capital Public Radio -- 1/2/17

Assemblywoman rings in 2017 with a surprise marriage to a former lawmaker -- For a legislator who frequently offers glimpses of her personal life on Twitter, the new year brought something entirely different to share: a wedding. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/2/17

Walters: Reality penetrates California’s public employee pension system, but not far enough -- It’s very rare, but always welcome, when reality intrudes on political decision making. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/2/17

Abalone restoration efforts in coastal waters could use the public’s help, say scientists -- They’re not cute and furry with shiny golden eyes like California’s similarly endangered mountain lions, but they are very tasty, good for the ecosystem and quickly approaching extinction. Sandy Mazza in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/2/17

Orange County Democrats to pick a new leader, and it's likely to be a woman -- Orange County didn’t get its way when it voted for Hillary Clinton in November, but there’s a good chance it will get a woman to lead local Democrats when the party picks its next chief on Jan. 9. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 1/2/17

Mosque members turn out to help Orange County's homeless -- Iqra Mukhlis was helping her friends pack socks, tubes of toothpaste and shampoo bottles in clear plastic bags for Orange County’s homeless Sunday morning at the Islamic Society of Orange County’s mosque. “What a great way to spend the first day of the year,” the Golden West College student said. Deepa Bharath in the Orange County Register -- 1/2/17

Claiming mandate, GOP Congress lays plans to propel sweeping conservative agenda -- For six years, since they took back the House of Representatives, Republicans have added to a pile of legislation that moldered outside the White House. In their thwarted agenda, financial regulations were to be unspooled. Business taxes were to be slashed. Planned Parenthood would be stripped of federal funds. The ­Affordable Care Act was teed up for repeal — dozens of times. David Weigel in the Washington Post$ -- 1/2/17

California’s low-key coastal keeper blazes a 40-year trail -- You don’t have to walk from Mexico to Oregon to appreciate the California Coastal Trail, but Morgan Visalli and Jocelyn Enevoldsen did anyway. The young marine scientists spent three months last summer exploring a proposed 1,200-mile route that many consider a symbol of California’s approach to managing its coastline. Nate Seltenrich in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/2/17


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

New Laws on Minimum Wage, Driving, Sex Crimes Take Effect Jan. 1 -- With a new year come new laws. Legislation that takes effect today will change how Californians drive, get paid, use firearms, consume alcohol and more. Marisa Lagos and Guy Marzorati KQED -- 1/1/17

New state laws could help some workers catch a few breaks -- If you are among the Californians who make less than $15 an hour – more than a third of the state’s workforce – you can look forward to a raise. Margot Roosevelt in the Orange County Register -- 1/1/17

Two-year twins: Babies born Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 in San Diego -- For the second straight year, twins in San Diego are getting attention because, though born just minutes apart, one has a birthday in 2016 and one in 2017. Associated Press -- 1/1/17

Mike Honda gets ready for life after Congress -- As San Jose Rep. Mike Honda sat down to grab a quick lunch at the Washington Hilton last month, he didn’t look like a man nearing the abrupt and unwelcome end to a 35-year political career. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/1/17

Willie Brown: Who needs celebrities? Trump wants ‘the people’ at his party -- So President-elect Donald Trump is having trouble finding celebrities to entertain at his inaugural celebration. You know you’re in bad shape when Elton John turns you down. Sir Elton played at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/1/17

Oakland’s black churches struggle as African Americans leave -- From the sound flowing from Beth Eden Baptist Church in West Oakland when the congregation and gospel choir join in a joyful crescendo, a passerby could be fooled into thinking the pews inside are packed. Laura Newberry in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/1/17

Santa Clara County and San Jose in legal fight over $40 million in tax revenue -- A four-year court battle between San Jose and Santa Clara County over $40 million in property taxes might soon be decided by the state’s highest court, settling a longstanding dispute over which government agency gets to keep the cash. Ramona Giwargis in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/1/17

Two countries, one economy: A Mexican town whose chief earners are in the U.S. worries what happens if they're sent home -- From her stall featuring regional delicacies — chile-infused dried grasshoppers, juicy white worms from the maguey plant and handmade chocolates, among other edible fare — 63-year-old Eufenia Hernandez issued a challenge to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. Patrick J. McDonnell in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/1/17

Foundation goes broke celebrating Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard -- The nonprofit foundation that runs San Diego Fleet Week, the annual celebration of troops and their families, is flat broke and negotiating with creditors to settle its debts. Carl Prine in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/1/17

Amid crowds and flora, a skid row mission makes Rose Parade debut -- In the winter of 1890, a Pasadena hunt club eager to promote the young city as a temperate winter paradise organized a January sports contest with a parade of flower-adorned floats. Harriet Ryan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/1/17

Walters: California’s economy has recovered, but overdue for a budget-busting recession -- The line, uttered by James Carville as he managed Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 campaign for the White House, still holds true, as this year’s presidential election proved anew. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/1/17

Morain: Barbara Boxer ran, served and is leaving on her own terms -- Sen. Barbara Boxer, her mementos and photos arriving in boxes from Washington, D.C., took a little time to reflect on the causes she championed, including the rights of women, workers, immigrants, minorities and gays. And, of course, the environment, the focus of her final fight, one she lost the other day. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/1/17

Downtown Fresno artist collective Arthouse closes amid fallout from Ghost Ship fire -- From the outside, 1626 H Street is just another nondescript warehouse along a stretch of warehouses that sit across from the railroad tracks in downtown Fresno. Joshua Tehee in the Fresno Bee -- 1/1/17

Tyrus Wong, Pathbreaking California Artist, Dies at 106 -- Tyrus Wong, who arrived at Angel Island as a 10-year-old immigrant from China in 1920 and went on to a career as one of the California’s most important modern artists, has died at age 106. The Los Angeles Times reports Wong died Friday of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles. Dan Brekke KQED -- 1/1/17

Scores brave frigid waters with New Year’s Day ocean swim -- Around 200 people plunged head first into the new year with a dip in the freezing waters of Ocean Beach. The annual tradition brought together a diverse crowd: families, loads of people in their 20s and 30s, a few nudists and even a toddler. There were the regulars, the first-timers and the out-of-towners who wanted to see what the hubbub was all about. Emily Green in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/1/17

'Polar Bear Plunge' kicks off new year for many -- Jumping into frigid, 56-degree water to kick off the new year isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but more than 200 brave local residents and tourists splashed into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday morning in the annual “Polar Bear Plunge” at La Jolla Shores. David Garrick in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/1/17

Calbuzz: New Year’s Resolutions for California’s Top Pols -- As every schoolchild knows by now, thanks to the indispensable good work of the California Budget and Policy Center, the federal government underpins about one-third – nearly $100 billion – of California’s current year $267 billion budget. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine CalBuzz -- 1/1/17

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions 

Car2go ceases San Diego operations -- Five years after arriving in San Diego as an exciting new alternative to car ownership and a weapon against climate change, car2go and its fleet of conspicuous blue-and-white Smart cars will vanish from local streets after today. David Garrick in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/1/17

A Case Study on Pension Reform: San Jose’s Grand Compromise -- Cities and states across the country are facing public employee pension debt that is challenging and, in some cases, crippling their budgets. But some municipalities are experimenting with ways to solve that problem. In San Jose, California, voters passed a set of sweeping pension reforms back in 2012. The public employee unions fought back in court. Now a new initiative passed this November may offer a compromise that works. Ali Budner KQED -- 1/1/17


Program Aimed at African-American Males Comes to Mission High School in San Francisco -- Launched by the Oakland Unified School District in 2010, the African American Male Achievement program wrapped up its first semester at Mission High School in San Francisco this month. Nailah Morgan KQED -- 1/1/17

Help wanted: Bilingual teachers for California schools -- While Californians passed a ballot measure to bring back bilingual education in the upcoming school year, educators say a challenge to getting the programs started will be finding more bilingual teachers. Amy Taxin Associated Press -- 1/1/17

UC Davis dumped barrels of wine each year. Now it might sell for $80 a bottle -- UC Davis no longer needs to dispose of thousands of gallons of wine that students produce each year, thanks to a new state law clearing the way for nonprofit wine sales. Loretta Kalb in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/1/17


Hollywood sign altered to read 'Hollyweed' -- Los Angeles residents awoke early Sunday to see that one thing, at least, looked different in the New Year: the Hollywood sign. Laura J. Nelson in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/1/17

Now that pot’s legal in California, here’s how to grow it indoors and outdoors -- At his midtown hydroponics gardening store, Chris Corsello saw many of his customers face a similar dilemma: They wanted to ask his advice but not tell him what they were growing. Debbie Arrington in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/1/17

Immigration / Border 

Obama has few options to protect young immigrants -- Barack Obama is under pressure during his final weeks as president to do something — anything — to secure the future of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who could face deportation under the Trump administration. His options appear few. Alicia A. Caldwell Associated Press -- 1/1/17


There’s still a lot we don’t know about blue-green algae toxins in California -- No patterns, lots of blooms and more to learn. That’s what 2016’s blue-green algae season had to offer, says Beverley Anderson-Abbs, an environmental scientist for the State Water Resources Control Board. Stephanie K. Baer in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/1/17

Democrats push Obama to protect California coast from new drilling -- With three weeks left until President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists remain hopeful that President Barack Obama will grant their long-standing wish: permanent protection of the California coast from new offshore oil and gas drilling. Guy Kovner in the Santa Rosa Press -- 1/1/17

Also . . . 

More than a million California children missing out on state subsidized child care -- Only one in seven California children who qualify for subsidized child care received services from state programs in 2015, according to a December report from the California Budget and Policy Center. Of the state’s estimated 1.5 million children – newborns to 12-year-olds – who are eligible for subsidized child care, only 218,000 were enrolled in programs, the report states. Ashley Hopkinson in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/1/17

San Bernardino County deputy accused of having sex with teen in Explorer program -- A 14-year veteran of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has been arrested and booked on suspicion of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a teenage girl participating in the department’s youth Explorer program, authorities said. Matt Stevens in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/1/17


Here are the eight Trump Cabinet picks Democrats plan to target -- Democratic senators plan to aggressively target eight of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees in the coming weeks and are pushing to stretch their confirmation votes into March — an unprecedented break with Senate tradition. Ed O'Keefe in the Washington Post$ -- 1/1/17