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California Policy & Politics This Morning   

Rocky fire jumps Highway 20 in Lake County -- The Rocky fire made its first foray across Highway 20 east of Clearlake Oaks as Monday afternoon winds carried hot embers across the highway, which has served as a containment line for the blaze that has charred 62,000 acres, a Cal Fire spokesman said. Paul Payne and Guy Kovner in the Santa Rosa Press Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/4/15

In blaze near Clear Lake, strategy calls for fighting fire with fire -- Using fire to fight fire, crews ignited controlled burns Monday to sear brush from the path of a ravenous blaze near Clearlake that has devoured more than 62,000 acres of woodlands and forced thousands of residents to flee. Richard Chang and Peter Hecht in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/4/15

As Rocky fire burns, evacuees play a waiting game -- Trent Reid huddled over the bar with a Heineken on Monday afternoon, listening to the chatter on a police scanner. A few miles down the road, fire crews scrambled to stop the flames from jumping a two-lane highway and threatening homes - including his own. Chris Megerian, Kurt Chirbas, Corina Knoll in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/4/15

Rocky fire victims marvel at destruction left in flames' wake -- Nothing remains of Bill Hilbrandie’s mobile home on what was once a green, wooded 20-acre parcel in Morgan Valley, near where the fierce Rocky fire first ignited. “It was so green you couldn’t see 100 feet. Now it’s like Hiroshima,” he said. Glenda Anderson in the Santa Rosa Press -- 8/4/15

Firefighters spent in daily sprint with Lake County’s fast-moving Rocky fire -- Healdsburg firefighter Mike Price had been away from home a couple of days, working the lines on Napa County’s Wragg fire, when his team got called to what has become the biggest wildland inferno in California this year. Paul Payne in the Santa Rosa Press -- 8/4/15

In California, Even Firefighters Conserve Water -- Wildfires scorching California this summer have already cost one life, 24 homes and millions of dollars. They are also consuming another precious resource: water. Tamara Audi in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 8/4/15

State to probe Peevey party proceeds -- The California Fair Political Practices Commission has opened a formal investigation into the state’s top utility regulator, who has yet to disclose the final recipient of tens of thousands of dollars he solicited for a February tribute dinner. Jeff McDonald in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/4/15

L.A. sues to shield turf grant recipients -- The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is suing the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to prevent release of information about the recipients of millions of dollars under a popular turf-replacement program. The city department sued last week in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking to block release of the information to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Morgan Cook in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/4/15

Campaign money has MTA board members missing votes -- When the Metropolitan Transportation Authority took up an agreement last year for a new walking path in East Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti had to excuse himself from the vote. David Zahniser, Katie Shepherd in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/4/15

Gov. Brown praises President Obama for new greenhouse gas rules -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday welcomed President Obama's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and noted that California is ahead of the federal government in the effort. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/4/15

Kevin de León brings climate change appeal to California Latinos -- Joined by billionaire activist Tom Steyer, De León appeared on Univision Los Angeles on Sunday to make the case to Spanish-speaking audiences. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/4/15

Walters: Politicians just hate bad media -- The plot of the uber-complex “True Detective” miniseries merges two real-life California situations. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/4/15

Suicide spike boosts oversight of California women's prison -- A spike in suicides and attempted suicides has prompted corrections officials to step up oversight at a California women's prison as inspectors try to pinpoint the cause of the troubling increase. Don Thompson Associated Press -- 8/4/15

Rep. Adam Schiff, an influential Democrat, backs nuclear deal with Iran -- Rep. Adam Schiff of Burbank, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, came out Monday in support of the Iran nuclear agreement, saying that it "realistically precludes" Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb for 15 or more years. Paul Richter, Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/4/15

McSwain: Obama ignores California’s green power experience -- With his Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama is repeating California’s expensive mistake of ignoring the engineering realities of saving the planet and imposing political quotas requiring solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. Dan McSwain in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/4/15

Consultant's report clashes with calls for smaller Men's Central Jail -- A consultant hired by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has determined that the new Men's Central Jail should contain about 5,000 beds - roughly the same number as a plan that the board voted to put on hold last month. Cindy Chang in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/4/15

Former FPPC enforcement chief joins Sacramento law firm -- Gary Winuk, the former longtime enforcement chief at the state’s political ethics watchdog, has joined a Sacramento law firm, where he will focus on working with local government ethics agencies. Jim Miller in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/4/15

KP Public Affairs, hospitals and labor lead lobbyist filings -- Leading the pack – and spending more than twice as much as the next interest group – was the California Hospital Association ($6.9 million), followed by the California State Council of Service Employees ($3 million) and the Western States Petroleum Organization ($2.5 million). Rounding out the top five are the California Chamber of Commerce ($2.1 million), whose annual list of “job-killer” bills carries significant heft, and San Ramon-based oil giant Chevron ($1.5 million). Jeremy B. White in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/4/15

Greenhut: Has jungle primary tamed Legislature? -- California’s political system has long been the focus of tinkerers who want to make it more responsive to the voters. This fixation goes back at least to the Progressive Era, when Gov. Hiram Johnson helped usher in reforms that are still the subject of debate today — the initiative, recall and referendum. Steven Greenhut in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/4/15

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions    

California minimum wage initiative cleared for signatures -- A union-backed proposal to raise California's minimum wage to $15 an hour was cleared Monday to begin collecting signatures for a ballot initiative next year as local efforts continue nationwide to boost the minimum wage to better reflect the cost of living. Juliet Williams Associated Press -- 8/4/15

Apple sets stage for San Jose campus with 15,000 workers -- Apple has bought a large land chunk in north San Jose along First Street, creating enough land for a an office and research campus where the technology titan could eventually have 15,000 workers -- or more -- according to public property records. George Avalos in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 8/4/15

Fremont CEO arrested in worker's death -- Nearly three years after a day laborer was crushed to death by a dirt wall at a Milpitas construction site, the CEO of the Fremont-based company in charge of the project was arrested Monday at the San Francisco airport on a $1 million warrant. Tracey Kaplan in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/4/15

CalPERS' private equity investing fees are expected to be 'ginormous' -- CalPERS is finally about to reveal how much it really pays Wall Street for its most rarefied services - and taxpayers can expect a dose of sticker shock. Dean Starkman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/4/15

Shuttle drivers for Apple, eBay, Yahoo, Genentech approve union contract -- Drivers who shuttle employees to Apple, eBay, Evernote, Genentech, Yahoo and Zynga are a step closer to getting a raise and benefits. Gina Hall San Francisco Business Times -- 8/4/15

Pension initiative has ‘significant’ savings, costs -- The official analysis of a proposed public pension initiative issued last week said “likely large savings” in retirement benefits would be offset by pressure for higher pay and other costs. But the analysis does not estimate whether it would be a net gain or loss for government employers. Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 8/4/15

As Mexican peso drops, merchants struggle -- The prices at Sunny Perfumes, a shop in San Ysidro that sells to small business owners from Mexico, haven’t changed much in the last year. But for many of its customers, it’s growing much more expensive to buy things there. Tatiana Sanchez in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/4/15


Many snags ahead for California water bills -- Publicly and privately, California lawmakers are pushing to get a big water bill off its current glacial pace. But history cautions that California legislation this ambitious always takes time, and plenty of it. Michael Doyle in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/4/15

Drought could hurt endangered fish caught in water fight -- The delta smelt lives in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the West Coast's largest estuary that supplies water to Central Valley farms and millions of Southern California residents. Terence Chea Associated Press -- 8/4/15

Sacramento Launches 'Mulch Madness' To Save Trees -- Even though it's August, there are many streets in Sacramento that look like it's fall. Parched trees are losing their leaves early as a result of the drought. The city is sponsoring a campaign called Mulch Madness to help save Sacramento's stressed trees. Lesley McClurg Capital Public Radio -- 8/4/15


L.A. Unified food chief resigns under fire but maintains innocence -- David Binkle, L.A. Unified's food services director who won national acclaim for improving school meals, has resigned following a recent audit that found massive waste, ethical breaches and financial mismanagement under his watch. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/4/15

LAUSD to double spending on meals despite criminal probe as food services director resigns -- The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Monday the resignation of its embattled food services director, but the district still plans to nearly double the meals it buys under a multimillion-dollar contract its director controlled. Thomas Himes in the Los Angeles Daily News -- 8/4/15

In desert of school failure, 96th streetelementary in Watts scores by rewriting the rules -- By all rights, 96th Street Elementary School in Watts shouldn't be busy on a summer morning. School doesn't start until Aug. 18, and the front door is hemmed in by construction fencing to boot. But parents keep popping by the plain brick complex under the roaring flight path of LAX. Jill Stewart LAWeekly -- 8/4/15

Court: CSU must pay SDSU mitigation -- The California State University Board of Trustees must fund road improvements to handle traffic that would be generated by a planned expansion of San Diego State University, the California Supreme Court decided Monday. Gary Warth in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/4/15

Immigration / Border 

2 immigrants in U.S. illegally are named to Huntington Park commissions -- Julian Zatarain always assumed the doors of City Hall were closed to him because he is here illegally, arriving from Sinaloa in 2007 when he was 13. Cindy Carcamo and Ruben Vives in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/4/15

Feinstein under fire from immigration advocates -- ‘She is basically … joining the Donald Trump bandwagon,’ says one critic of the Democrat, who’s planning a bill targeting ‘sanctuary cities.’ Seung Min Kim Politico -- 8/4/15


Oil sheen off Goleta Beach -- Lab tests confirmed that an oil sheen off Santa Barbara County's coast last week was from natural seepage, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday. Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/4/15

California water officials seek penalties in Santa Barbara oil spill -- California water quality regulators have asked Attorney General Kamala Harris to consider enforcement action against the owner of an oil pipeline that ruptured near Santa Barbara in May, spilling petroleum onto beaches and the Pacific Ocean. Sharon Bernstein Reuters -- 8/4/15

New homes offer water, energy efficiency -- Sprinklers with sensors that determine if the lawn needs to be watered and faucets that cut water use by half used to be luxurious home upgrades. Now, they have become standard features in some new developments. Stela Khury in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/4/15

Lone gray wolf sighted in Siskiyou County -- The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Monday that evidence points to the presence of a male wolf in the far northern area of the state, although DNA testing on scat collected failed to show conclusively that the animal, captured on camera, was a gray wolf. Julie Cart in the Los Angeles Times$ Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/4/15

How bad was L.A.'s smog when Barack Obama went to college here? -- President Obama attended Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1979 to 1981. His memories are full of smog. So how bad was it? According to historic ozone data collected by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, it was pretty bad. Lauren Raab in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/4/15


Worry about Medi-Cal funding, vaccine bill crank up health-care lobbying -- Concern over Medi-Cal funding and a bill requiring vaccination for children inflated spending on health care lobbying in the second quarter. The total jumped by almost 45 percent over the same period a year ago. Kathy Robertson Sacramento Business Journal -- 8/4/15

Millions of Americans Use Medical Devices That May Be Vulnerable to Hacking -- You have passwords for your smart phone and laptop, but what about your pacemaker or insulin pump? Lindsey Hoshaw KQED -- 8/4/15

Also . . . 

Driver pulled from car seconds before it is hit by Caltrain -- Caltrain service on the Peninsula came to a grinding halt for almost 45 minutes Monday evening after a train hit an unoccupied car just moments after the driver was pulled to safety, officials said. Kale Williams in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 8/4/15


Peele: Having covered Trump, it's not hard to guess what he would be like as president -- The chances of Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination for president, let alone the presidency, are astronomical. But say, just for argument, that on Jan. 20, 2017, Chief Justice John Roberts swears him in as the 45th president. What then? Thomas Peele in the Contra Costa Times$ -- 8/4/15

Charles Koch’s focus on ‘injustices’ is fueled by an unlikely partnership -- Last month, billionaire industrialist and conservative donor Charles Koch was meeting in his Wichita office with Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund, when the conversation turned to the recent church massacre in Charleston, S.C. Matea Gold in the Washington Post$ -- 8/4/15