California Policy & Politics This Morning   

Cal Fire scandal widens to prostitution, unwanted sexual advances -- A Cal Fire assistant chief allegedly hooked up with prostitutes on his state cell phone and then took a state vehicle to meet them, according to new records released to The Sacramento Bee. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/3/15

Regulator had ‘regular’ chats with Edison -- The state utility regulator who recused himself from future Pacific Gas & Electric business after his behind-the-scenes emails were released publicly has taken part in similar backchannel discussions with Southern California Edison, newly obtained records show. Jeff McDonald UT San Diego$ -- 3/3/15

Backers of Prop. 8 marriage initiative lose disclosure case -- Sponsors of California’s now-repealed ban on same-sex marriage lost another legal battle Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to exempt them from state campaign disclosure laws. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/3/15

In election with a bid to boost turnout, participation may be lacking -- In an election Tuesday where voters will weigh in on an idea to boost L.A.’s low voter turnout, it remains an open question how many people will go to the polls. Emily Alpert Reyes and Catherine Saillant in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

Bay Area Legislator Says Fight Outside Campaign Cash… By Taxing It -- Critics of the outsized role that independent political action committees now have in campaigns often talk about clamping down, imposing contribution limits and the like. But one brand new idea in the state Capitol suggests something different: impose a tax. John Myers KQED Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

Supreme Court justices voice doubts on redistricting panels -- The fate of California's reform plan to have a nonpartisan citizens' panel redraw the state's congressional districts looked in doubt Monday after arguments in the Supreme Court. David G. Savage in the Los Angeles Times$ Michael Doyle McClatchy DC -- 3/3/15

Myers: Does Fate of Independent Redistricting Lie in Anthony Kennedy’s Hands? -- It certainly has all the makings of a good dramatic script: partisan schemes inside the halls of power … thwarted years ago by voters at the ballot box … now facing the judgment of a court whose tie-breaking vote lies in the hands of a man who himself dabbled in the hurly-burly of state politics and government. John Myers KQED -- 3/3/15

Walters: Legislature may regain mapmaking -- One can read too much into questions and comments from appellate judges during oral arguments, but with that caveat, it appears that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to erase the redrawing of congressional districts by independent commissions created by voters through the initiative process. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/3/15

California state worker forecast IT system would be a ‘quagmire’ -- In this case, call-center worker Ganesh Kumar warned Department of Consumer Affairs’ officials that the BreEZe system would be anything but a breeze, shortly before the program went live in the fall of 2013. Jon Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/3/15

Kevin de León wants to bring fight against sexual violence to California high schools -- He has just introduced a bill that would require high schools that teach health classes to add curriculum about sexual assault and violence. Laurel Rosenhall in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/3/15

The GBP Interview: Kevin De León -- Kevin De León is the poster child for on-the-job training. He was elected to the Assembly in 2006 as the product of a political deal, anointed by his childhood friend, then-Speaker Fabian Nuñez as the speaker in waiting. Anthony York Grizzly Bear Project -- 3/3/15

West Hollywood councilman admits he had sex with man he hired as deputy -- But after that intimacy the first night they met, it never happened again, Duran said; they became good friends, and he hired Ian Owens because he was well qualified for the job. Hailey Branson-Potts in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

Ten California Assembly bills on unusual issues -- The deadline to file legislation has passed, yielding 1,504 Assembly bills that cover every imaginable topic. Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/3/15

California Supreme Court rejects blanket ban on where sex offenders can live -- The California Supreme Court said Monday that San Diego County's blanket ban on where sex offenders may live is unconstitutional. Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle Sudhin Thanawala Associated Press -- 3/3/15

California Beach Community Prepares for High-Stakes Vote on Oil Drilling -- On Tuesday, the residents of Hermosa Beach are going to vote yet again on an oil and gas drilling initiative — whether to allow a contract with the energy company E&B Natural Resources Management to proceed despite a current drilling ban. Adam Nagourney in the New York Times$ -- 3/3/15

Women Gaining Leadership In California Legislature -- In November state Senator Jean Fuller will become Senate Minority Leader. She’ll be the Senate’s first woman Republican leader. And she’ll be joining Democratic Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen on the "big five," which also includes the governor and the Senate president pro tem. Katie Orr Capital Public Radio -- 3/3/15

New Bills Would Benefit Farm Workers, Smart Phone Users, Clean Car Buyers -- One newly-introduced measure would waive the state sales tax on the purchase of new zero-emission vehicles. Buyers would still have to pay local sales tax. Another bill would create a pilot program to provide health care to farm workers. And a third measure would require smart-phone and tablet users to “opt-in” before an app can collect and share GPS data. Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 3/3/15

Tequila is among the gifts received by Gov. Jerry Brown -- Gov. Jerry Brown collected just under $4,000 in gifts last year, including $200 in tequila from the president of Mexico, according to a state report released Monday. Chris Megerian and Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

Greenhut: Gay group charter turns into a nonevent -- State GOP holds low-drama convention, but still lacks direction. Steven Greenhut UT San Diego$ -- 3/3/15

CalBuzz: Gay Old Party: Reflections on the Log Cabin Vote -- Suddenly, the California Republican Party is as gay as IKEA on Super Bowl Sunday. Okay, not exactly. Still, it was a momentous vote, when the California Republican Convention last weekend officially recognized its gay wing, the Log Cabin Republicans with “charter status.” Hank Plante Calbuzz -- 3/3/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions    

Charger fans plead for stadium -- Dozens of devoted Chargers fans peppered the mayor’s stadium task force Monday night with everything from constructive advice to outside-the-box ideas to desperate pleas to find a solution. David Garrick UT San Diego$ Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

Oakland now has state's highest minimum wage -- Oakland's minimum wage hike went into effect Monday providing a significant raise to the city's lowest paid workers.The law raises the minimum hourly wage from $9 as set by the state to $12. The item is in the Oakland Tribune -- 3/3/15

Referendum launched to block One Paseo -- Opponents of a disputed mixed-use development in Carmel Valley have launched a referendum seeking to overturn City Council approval of the project. The council voted 7-2 on Feb. 23 in favor of One Paseo, 1.4 million-square-foot complex of office buildings, condos and apartments, retail stores and restaurants. Michael Smolens UT San Diego$ -- 3/3/15

Gas prices in Sacramento, throughout California are in full flight -- This morning, GasBuddy put the average price of gas in the Los Angeles area at $3.51 a gallon, up 45 cents from last week. Skyrocketing prices in Southern California have helped push the statewide average price of gas up to $3.38 a gallon, up from $2.95 just one week ago. Mark Glover in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/3/15

131 Californians make Forbes' billionaire list -- According to Forbes, which released its 2015 billionaires list Monday, there are now a record 1,826 billionaires worldwide, worth a combined $7.05 trillion. California is home to 131 of them. Andrew Khouri in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

Hackers get info on 50,000 Uber drivers -- On Friday Uber disclosed that an unauthorized person had breached its driver database, gaining access to 50,000 drivers’ names and driver license numbers. Uber said the one-time breach happened May 13 and was discovered in September. Carolyn Said in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/3/15

San Diego consults its civic playbook on stadium situation --Officials here are accustomed to doing civic business with a high degree of caution and deliberation, careful to avoid political conflict and legal wrangling whenever possible. Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

What's at stake in remodeling Burbank Airport -- Opened 85 years ago, the terminal is so close to the runway that it does not meet federal design safety standards. The terminal also doesn't meet seismic standards and could be so heavily damaged in a major earthquake that it could go out of service. Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

Quinn: The Nasdaq at 5,000 is different this time -- This time, the Nasdaq at 5,000 is underpinned by substantial companies with strong sales and credible plans for growth, not wishful schemes to "monetize eyeballs" and sell pet food online. Michelle Quinn in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/3/15

San Francisco Airbnb law off to slow start; hosts say it’s cumbersome -- San Francisco’s new vacation-rental law is off to a slow start. Only a fraction of hosts who rent homes to temporary visitors have registered with the city, and many say the process is mired in time-consuming bureaucracy. That mirrors the situation in Portland, Ore., where new vacation-rental laws took effect in September and February, but haven’t spurred many hosts to register. Carolyn Said in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/3/15


Bill would create new tech-focused University of California campus -- The University of California and Gov. Jerry Brown are currently embroiled in a heated showdown over the system’s finances and admissions policy. Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s novel solution: open a new tech-focused campus. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/3/15

Budget Standoff Leaves California College Hopefuls in Limbo -- University of California admissions officers are sifting through a record number of applications, but they have no idea how many new students they can enroll. Lisa Leff Associated Press -- 3/3/15

Teachers charged with having sex with students, giving them cocaine -- Two female teachers who took male high school students on a camping trip to a San Clemente beach were charged Monday with supplying the students with alcohol and cocaine and having unlawful sexual intercourse, prosecutors said. Matt Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

New state preschool funding is having an impact -- A once-empty preschool in south San Jose is now filled with 44 children, spending their days eagerly peering at insects through mega magnifying glasses or linking plastic gears to create contraptions. Susan Frey EdSource -- 3/3/15


California drought: State to boost water deliveries after feds pull back -- The State Water Project’s 29 customers, a mix of urban and agricultural users that include Bay Area water agencies, are forecast to receive about 20 percent of what they normally get — up from a January projection of 15 percent. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/3/15

Scientists explain how climate change helps fuel California drought -- Rising temperatures resulting from increased greenhouse gas emissions mean warm and dry periods are coinciding more frequently, the study authors say. And that is amplifying the effects of low precipitation. Bettina Boxall in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

California drought likely a fixture, says Stanford study -- Human-caused climate change is increasing drought risk in California -- boosting the odds that our current crisis will become a fixture of the future, according to a major report Stanford scientists released Monday morning. Lisa M. Krieger in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/3/15

Water and eminent domain: a volatile mix -- A Southern California city has launched eminent domain proceedings to take over the private water agency that has served the community for more than 80 years – an unusual move, even in California, where fights over water are common. John Howard Capitol Weekly -- 3/3/15

A New, Stronger Tunnel to Bring Hetch Hetchy Water to the Bay Area -- The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has opened a new 3.5 mile-long tunnel in Sunol Valley, a few miles east of Fremont, that will transport 265 million gallons of water a day, on average, to customers of the Hetch Hetchy water system. Sheraz Sadiq KQED -- 3/3/15


Fracking: Oil company sues to overturn San Benito County fracking ban; could affect other counties -- An oil company has sued to block San Benito County's voter-approved fracking ban in a move that could affect the growing trend of California cities and counties' efforts to stop the controversial oil drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing. Paul Rogers in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 3/3/15

State Sues Gallo Over Hazardous Dust Used To Make Wine Bottles -- Keith Kihara with the state says the company improperly stored, then improperly recycled oil and hazardous dust -containing lead, arsenic, cadmium and selenium from 2009 -to- last year. Bob Moffitt Capital Public Radio -- 3/3/15

Court: Mansions generally don't need environmental review -- Just because a planned home is huge doesn’t mean that it should receive additional environmental review, the California Supreme Court decided Monday. Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15


Supreme Court Challenge to Federal Health Law Won't Affect California, Experts Say -- Health policy experts say the upcoming Supreme Court hearing regarding the Affordable Care Act will not affect health insurance subsidies for Californians. But a ruling against the law could confuse people. Pauline Bartolone Capital Public Radio -- 3/3/15

Also . . . 

Source: Body cameras show LAPD officer yelling 'He's got my gun' -- Footage from body cameras worn by an LAPD officer and a sergeant involved in Sunday’s deadly shooting in downtown’s skid row does not show whether the man reached for an officer's gun, law enforcement sources said. Kate Mather and Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

Homeless man attacked transient before police shot him -- An enhanced version of a video recording of Los Angeles police officers fatally shooting a homeless man on skid row Sunday appears to show the man's hand reaching in the direction of one officer's waistband. Gale Holland, Kate Mather, Sarah Parvini and Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/3/15

POTUS 44     

Obama Calls for Changes in Policing After Task Force Report -- President Obama on Monday called for prompt action to change police practices across the country after the deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island at the hands of white officers exposed frustrations about law enforcement in minority communities. Julie Hirschfeld Davis in the New York Times$ -- 3/3/15


Saunders: Chris Christie to GOP: You really want me -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave his first-date speech at the California Republican Party’s spring convention in Sacramento Saturday. Like a big man on campus, Christie essentially was telling the party faithful: I know you’ve heard some bad stuff about me, but here’s why you should go out with me. Debra J. Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/3/15

GOP Leaders Still Don't Have a DHS Plan. But They May Have an Escape Hatch -- House Republican leaders still don't seem to have a plan to avoid a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security at the end of the week. But they may have an escape hatch -- one that could technically keep the department open without GOP fingerprints, but might infuriate conservatives in the process. Daniel Newhauser National Journal -- 3/3/15