Updating . .   

Golden Gate Bridge board keeps sidewalk toll on table, OKs study -- Golden Gate Bridge district officials voted Friday to study charging a toll for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the iconic span, despite strong opposition from cyclists and an effort by the San Francisco delegation to shelve the proposals. John Coté in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/24/14

Yes on Proposition 45 going to the airwaves -- With just over a week until election day, backers of Proposition 45, the health insurance rate regulation initiative, are finally putting ads on television. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

CA17: PCCC aids Honda, Newsom aids Khanna -- It was a battle of the proxies Friday in the 17th Congressional District as a national liberal grassroots group came to Rep. Mike Honda’s aid while Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom made a plea on Democratic challenger Ro Khanna’s behalf. Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 10/24/14

UC says its five medical centers are ready to take Ebola patients -- The University of California has told California public health officials that its five medical centers, including UCSF Medical Center and UC Davis Medical Center in Northern California, are "positioned" to provide necessary specialty care for any potential Ebola patients in the Golden State. Chris Rauber Sacramento Business Journal -- 10/24/14

Who’s rich and not rich in Bay Area delegation -- No surprise that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., married to private equity magnate Richard Blum, clocked in at #9 with minimum assets of $43.7 million, or that House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, whose stock investor husband Paul’s assets grew significantly this year, came in at #14, with minimum assets of $42.3 million. Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/24/14

Ex-NYC Mayor Bloomberg buys World Series ad to push Berkeley soda tax -- Michael Bloomberg is jumping into Berkeley’s battle over a proposed soda tax by funding a baseball-themed TV ad that will run throughout the Bay Area during this weekend’s World Series games. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/24/14

De León says ‘green jobs’ will be priority as Senate leader -- In his first policy speech as California’s Senate leader, Kevin de León said one of his key priorities will be combating climate change by setting policies that promote energy efficiency. Laurel Rosenhall in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

New $2 million flows into anti-casino effort -- Two tribes have put $1 million each into the campaign to block another tribe from opening a casino-hotel off Highway 99 near Madera. John Howard Capitol Weekly -- 10/24/14

Obama embraces Ebola nurse -- President Obama embraced Nina Pham, the Dallas-area nurse declared free of Ebola earlier Friday, with a big hug on Friday, as the White House seeks to calm fears over the spread of the deadly virus. Justin Sink The Hill -- 10/24/14

A parched farm town is sinking, and so are its residents' hearts -- Going into the fourth year of drought, farmers have pumped so much water that the water table below Stratford fell 100 feet in two years. Land in some spots in the Central Valley has dropped a foot a year. Diana Marcum in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Doctor accused of issuing thousands of illegal drug prescriptions -- San Gabriel Valley doctor pleaded not guilty Thursday to writing thousands of illegal prescriptions for powerful painkillers during late-night weekend visits and then laundering the money he received in exchange. Veronica Rocha in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Baldassare: A Cautionary Tale for Fiscal Reformers -- One of the biggest surprises in the PPIC Statewide Surveys this fall has been the inability of Proposition 2 (aka the rainy day fund) to garner majority support from voters. Mark Baldassare Fox & Hounds -- 10/24/14

Fox: Seeking More Voters Spurs Probable Change in L.A. Elections --It’s about the numbers, or shall we say the lack of numbers, when Los Angeles voters come out to vote in city elections. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 10/24/14

To Get More Doctors to Africa, Paul Allen Pledges to Fly Sick Ones Home -- To contain the spread of the Ebola virus, organizations working in West Africa need more medical professionals to join that effort. Yet, if those doctors and nurses get sick, many of them want to be flown back home for medical treatment, but medical evacuation isn’t easy or cheap—flights can cost $250,000 or more. Justin Bachman Bloomberg Businessweek -- 10/24/14

California Policy & Politics This Morning   

New crude oil report concludes risks of train spills are real -- Mile-long oil trains that are expected to crisscross California daily in the coming years pose significant risks to residents of urban areas, including Sacramento, a new report concludes, contradicting earlier studies that found no major safety concerns. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

Benicia sees cash in crude oil; neighbors see catastrophe -- A plan to bring tank-car trains filled with crude oil from Canada and North Dakota to a Benicia refinery is pitting the Solano County town against Northern California neighbors who say they will be burdened with the risk of environmental catastrophe. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/24/14

Neel Kashkari enters final weeks with less than $1 million -- The report includes $1 million of personal money Kashkari put into his campaign Friday. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

Outside spending in California state elections nears $32 million -- Oil companies, unions, hospitals and other political special interests have pumped more than $31.4 million into California statewide and legislative contests on the Nov. 4 ballot, state independent expenditure filings through Wednesday show. Jim Miller in the Sacramento Bee$ Jean Merl in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

CA17: Honda spends big while Khanna runs dry -- That dull thud you heard echoing across the 17th Congressional District recently was the sound of Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign dropping a massive $651,000 in October’s first half, according to a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 10/24/14

CA17: Honda blasts firm fined for wage theft -- Rep. Mike Honda talked tough Thursday against a Fremont company that the Labor Department has fined for unfair labor practices – the CEO of which is a donor to and endorser of his Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna. Josh Richman Political Blotter -- 10/24/14

Ad Watch: CTA overstates Torlakson’s accomplishments, Tuck’s failures -- A new radio ad from an independent expenditure funded primarily by the California Teachers Association touts the record of incumbent Tom Torlakson while criticizing his challenger, former Los Angeles schools executive Marshall Tuck, as unqualified. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

Morain: Becerra stumps for Bera, urges turn-out -- Rep. Xavier Becerra quipped Thursday that Rep. Ami Bera will defeat Republican challenger Doug Ose by a “landslide,” 51-49 percent, and that the outcome will come down to turnout. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

Reality check: Honda's ad misleads viewers on Khanna's positions, as well as his own -- Honda bested Khanna by 20 points in June's primary, but a recent SurveyUSA poll showed a tight race. Honda this week launched a 30-second television ad attacking Khanna. Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/24/14

Ventura County Assembly district this fall is at center of California's political universe -- With the race for governor virtually nonexistent, California's political heavy hitters — the state parties and well-heeled interest groups — are focusing all their money and manpower on a handful of legislative races, none more vital than the Assembly district in the heart of Ventura County. Timm Herdt in the Ventura Star$ -- 10/24/14

Mayor Garcetti can't get enough D.C.; Gov. Brown has had his fill -- Many Californians may be happy to never set foot in Washington, with its humid weather, over-abundance of careerists and lack of decent produce, but one of the state’s biggest enthusiasts can’t stay away. Evan Halper in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Walters: Sacramento is next in line for strong-mayor reforms -- California’s early 20th century political reformers, such as Hiram Johnson, believed that good government could be insulated from venal politics by weakening political parties, creating independent regulatory entities and institutionalizing professional expertise. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

Gov. Jerry Brown finally spends campaign money, but not on himself -- California Gov. Jerry Brown is finally spending some significant money on the November election. But once again, his focus is not on his reelection, which seems assured given public opinion polling, but rather two propositions on the November ballot. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

Jerry Brown headed to Yale Law School reunion -- This is how secure Gov. Jerry Brown is in his re-election prospects: Less than two weeks before Election Day, Brown left the state on Thursday for a long weekend in New Haven, Conn., where he will participate in his Yale Law School class’ 50th reunion. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

Improving voter turnout a priority for secretary of state candidates -- The record-low voter turnout in California's June primary has added urgency to the contest for the state's top elections post. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Shriver-Kuehl supervisorial race takes on a confrontational tone -- The race to replace retiring Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has taken an increasingly confrontational tone in the final weeks as former Santa Monica City Councilman Bobby Shriver has stepped up TV ads and mailers attacking the record of his rival, former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl. Catherine Saillant in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Steinberg to join law and lobbying firm --A week after stepping down as leader of the state Senate, Democrat Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento said Thursday that he will join the law and lobbying firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP on Dec. 1, a day after he leaves office. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ Laurel Rosenhall in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

Six Nguyen Donors Admit to Political Money Laundering -- Donors admit they illegally received reimbursements for campaign contributions, according to newly obtained documents from the state's Fair Political Practices Commission. Thy Vo VoiceofOC.org -- 10/24/14

L.A. Fire Department response times slow, data show -- Waits for 911 medical help in Los Angeles increased slightly this year, signaling no measurable progress on Mayor Eric Garcetti's campaign pledge to speed up Fire Department responses to emergencies, according to city statistics released Thursday. Ben Welsh in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Venezia's View: The Sweet Deal That is a Water Board Seat -- Why do political insiders want to be on these boards? To start with, there’s little to no oversight and no term limits. Members make anywhere from $20,000 to more than $46,000 a year by just going to meetings. There’s also health insurance, retirement benefits, travel and more. Barbara Venzia VoiceofOC.org -- 10/24/14

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Pensions   

99 ways to boost pensions in California -- at public cost -- Directing traffic is part of a police officer's job, and in the city of Fountain Valley, keeping cars moving comes with a $145 monthly bonus — and a bigger pension. Melody Peterson, Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

A look at some of the pension-boosting perks -- The board of the California Public Employees' Retirement System voted to add to a recent pension reform law 99 bonuses that can boost workers' current paychecks and also their future pensions. Here are some of these retirement-enhancing bonuses: Melody Peterson, Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

San Francisco Tenant Protection Puts a Price on Eviction -- To evict a downstairs tenant so they can occupy their entire two-story house, Daniel and Maria Levin have been told by city officials they need to compensate her—to the tune of $118,000. Jim Carlton in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 10/24/14

California cracks down on wage theft by employers -- State regulators are wielding a new tool to combat the intractable problem of employer wage theft, which costs workers an estimated $390 million a year. Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Another councilman throws support behind raising Sacramento minimum wage -- For Councilman Jay Schenirer, private discussions about raising Sacramento's minimum wage began when the city council repealed an ordinance last year that required some big-box stores to conduct an economic analysis before entering Sacramento. Allen Young Sacramento Business Journal -- 10/24/14

San Francisco court clerks union accused of breaking law with 1-day strike -- A state labor board says the union representing San Francisco Superior Court clerks must answer charges that it violated state law in last week’s one-day strike that disrupted court operations. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/24/14

California start up creates gun technology that tells dispatch how, when cop guns are fired -- Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak, whose agency is testing the new system, says it will allow the sheriff's office to see whether deputies are in trouble and unable to ask for assistance. Haven Daley Associated Press -- 10/24/14

5 Bay Area restaurants taking tips off table, adding surcharge -- Citing both pragmatic and philosophical reasons, a small collection of Bay Area restaurateurs are eliminating tipping. Instead of expecting diners to leave a tip, the restaurants will automatically add a 20 percent service charge to all bills — and not accept any additional gratuity beyond the service charge. Paolo Lucchesi in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/24/14

Mortgage rates sink; 30-year averages 3.92%, Freddie Mac says -- The lowest mortgage rates of the year sank a bit lower this week, with Freddie Mac reporting that lenders were offering 30-year fixed loans at an average of 3.92%, down from 3.97% a week ago. E. Scott Reckard in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Strong growth is forecast for Inland Empire -- It was among the nation's hardest-hit local economies during the Great Recession, beset by staggering numbers of foreclosures and one of the highest jobless rates in California. Chris Kirkham in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14


UC Davis loses bid to land stem cell clinic -- The California stem cell agency Thursday approved $24 million to create what it’s billing as a world-leading string of stem cell clinics, but rejected an $11 million bid from the University of California, Davis. David Jensen in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

Schools warned on legalities of anti-bullying -- Citing an “ever-increasing” number of complaints about the bullying of students with disabilities, the federal government issued a letter this week reminding schools of their legal responsibility to stop such bullying or risk violating federal anti-discrimination laws. Jane Meredith Adams EdSource -- 10/24/14

Rhee promises vote for Tuck...Oh, wait -- Trouble is, Rhee can’t vote for Tuck, or any other candidate in California because she’s registered to vote in Tennessee, where her ex-husband and kids live. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/24/14

Cal State awarded $60 million in federal grants to help diversify biomedical research -- Three California State University campuses Wednesday were awarded more than $60 million in federal grants to help train low-income and minority students for biomedical research careers. Carla Rivera in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Another CSUN fraternity being investigated for possible hazing -- School officials said late Thursday that a fraternity at Cal State Northridge was under investigation for possible hazing, months after a pledge at a different Greek organization died during a mandatory hike. Adolfo Flores in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14


A First: Drought Tops List of Californians’ Worries -- Asked to name the “most important issue” facing the state, 26 percent of respondents to a statewide survey earlier this month said “water” and “drought.” Craig Miller KQED -- 10/24/14

Immigration / Border

Military immigrant program halted -- A popular military enlistment program for immigrants with specialized skills is now stuck in bureaucratic limbo — after the Pentagon announced last month it would begin allowing some young immigrants without legal status into the program. Seung Min Kim, Jeremy Herb Politico -- 10/24/14


Anglers angered over possible ban on lead weights, lures -- Anglers threw down their waders in anger this week over a decision by a state agency to look into regulating and possibly banning lead sinkers and other fishing gear as part of a comprehensive probe of toxic household products. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/24/14


California Hospitals Prepare for Ebola -- Hospitals in California are adapting to evolving guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control on how to best prepare for a possible Ebola patient. April Dembosky KQED -- 10/24/14

New class of abortion providers helps expand access in California -- As other states add restrictions on abortion, California goes its own way to expand access. Lee Romney in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen pledges $100 million to fight Ebola -- Paul Allen, billionaire owner of sports teams and mega-yachts, on Thursday pledged at least $100 million to fight Ebola in what is believed to be the largest private foundation donation so far to combat the deadly disease and support healthcare workers in West Africa. Maria L. La Ganga in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Also . . .

Ex-San Francisco officer pleads guilty, will testify in corruption case -- A former San Francisco police officer, one of three veteran officers charged in a major corruption case, has pleaded guilty to stealing money and property from suspects and distributing confiscated drugs, and has promised to testify against his former colleagues in their upcoming trial. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/24/14

Art vandalism in Yosemite, other parks prompts investigation -- Reports of artistic vandalism in 10 national parks in the West have prompted an investigation from the National Park Service, which said it is looking into incidents in five states, including California. David Ng in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

Undercover duck farm video doesn’t sway authorities -- An animal rights group that infiltrated one of California’s largest duck farms and shot undercover video of dead and dying birds is alleging widespread abuse at the Sonoma County plant. But an investigation by local authorities found no wrongdoing, just standard treatment of animals raised to become food. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/24/14

Mark Zuckerberg's Calculated Move to Learn Mandarin -- When Mark Zuckerberg spoke Chinese during an appearance Wednesday at Beijing's Tsinghua University, the Facebook CEO smiled and dismissed his linguistic chops. "My Chinese is really zaogao," he said, using the idiomatic term "spoiled cake" for "terrible." The audience cheered, impressed he could say anything at all. Matt Schiavenza The Atlantic -- 10/24/14

Joan Quigley, astrologer who advised Reagans, dies -- Joan Quigley, a San Francisco socialite and writer who became famous as the astrologer who advised President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan in the 1980s, has died after a recent illness. She was 87. Julian Guthrie in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/24/14

Lazarus: Lured by Verizon into giving up cellphone privacy -- What Verizon Wireless was doing was luring Purtell into giving permission for his personal information to be used for increased marketing. David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/24/14

POTUS 44    

While her husband is shunned, Michelle Obama hits campaign trail -- Michelle Obama goes where her husband dare not tread in these last days before the midterm elections. David Lightman McClatchy DC -- 10/24/14


GOP changes tune on cutting Social Security with elections on the line -- Cutting federal health and retirement spending has long been at the top of the GOP agenda. But with Republicans in striking distance of winning the Senate, they are suddenly blasting the idea of trimming Social Security benefits. Lori Montgomery in the Washington Post$ -- 10/24/14

Frank Mankiewicz, political and media insider, dies at 90 -- Frank Mankiewicz, who came from a family of Hollywood luminaries but forged his own path in Washington politics and media, serving as a top aide to presidential candidates Robert F. Kennedy and George S. McGovern, as an ambitious president of National Public Radio and as a rainmaker at a prominent public relations firm, died Oct. 23 at George Washington University Hospital after three weeks of intensive care. He was 90. Adam Bernstein in the Washington Post$ -- 10/24/14