California Policy and Politics This Morning

Mountain lion photo exposed major cultural shift in California -- Hunters and environmentalists don't often agree. But there's no dispute between them on one thing: This week's sizzling controversy over whether a top California wildlife official should be removed from his post for shooting a mountain lion in Idaho is about much more than mountain lions. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury -- 3/4/12

Stockton on verge of declaring bankruptcy -- Black-and-white photos of Stockton in its heyday - of handsome buildings and bustling streets - flash on the flat-screen television at Henry's Miracle Mile Hair Styling in the city's historic shopping district. Wyatt Buchanan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/4/12

Walters: As Stockton struggles, so does California -- So Stockton has suspended payments to its bondholders and is seeking to renegotiate its debts in hopes of averting a formal bankruptcy. Sound familiar? It's what Greece, which also is head-over-heels in debt, is doing. Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/4/12

Groups joust over Capitol rally role -- A massive student rally in support of higher education funding planned for Monday at the state Capitol is being co-opted by labor and Occupy activists, says an executive with one of the student groups. Ed Fletcher in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/4/12

Salary 'spiking' drains public pension funds, analysis finds -- Twenty California counties, including Ventura, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego, allow some workers to make more in retirement than they did while working. The coffers are underfunded by millions of dollars. Catherine Saillant, Maloy Moore and Doug Smith in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12

Trutanich paid for YouTube views of D.A. campaign videos -- An L.A. firm said it was hired to provide a certain number of views but that a huge online audience then followed naturally. But a Connecticut firm says it was paid for what would be the bulk of the views. David Sarno and Jack Leonard in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12

Morain: Capital punishment: The ultimate debate -- At 6:22 p.m. Wednesday, 10 minutes after the deadly intravenous drip began, cop killer George Rivas became the 479th person executed in Texas since the state resumed executions three decades ago. On the following day, California capital punishment opponents delivered nearly 800,000 signatures to election officials to place a new initiative on the November ballot to abolish state-sanctioned killing. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/4/12

Bill Lockyer gave $1.7 million to wife's campaign -- To understand why state Treasurer Bill Lockyer is considered such a heavyweight in East Bay politics, look no further than the $1.7 million he pumped into his wife's 2010 campaign for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/4/12

Medical marijuana status remains hazy in California -- Cities and medical pot providers grapple with conflicting rulings while waiting for the state Supreme Court to rule on the issue — a year or more from now. Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12

Deadline nears for Valley pot shops to shut down -- Jordan Vas bought a marijuana plant last month for his home in Parlier. He admits he doesn't have a green thumb, but tending his own crop is his strategy for getting marijuana in the wake of the Fresno County ban on dispensaries. Kurtis Alexander in the Fresno Bee -- 3/4/12

PG&E workers' warnings likely to be focus of suits -- Soon after the San Bruno pipeline explosion in 2010, Lloyd Cluff peered into the crater blown in the earth and recalled the risk he had identified there two decades earlier to the company that employed him as a geologist, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. Jaxon Van Derbeken in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/4/12

Killer collected unemployment checks while in jail, authorities say -- A convicted killer who got caught because he’d tattooed a graphic mural of the murder scene on his chest allegedly raked in more than $30,000 in unemployment benefits while he sat in the Los Angeles County jail system, a sheriff's spokesman said. Jack Dolan in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12

Ramos supports governor's initiative for public safety funding -- With Gov. Jerry Brown in attendance, District Attorney Michael A. Ramos announced Thursday that he supports the governor's upcoming ballot initiative to continue funding for prison realignment and other goals. Mike Cruz in the Contra Costa Times -- 3/4/12


California GOP spokeswoman suggests pundit is a 'slut' -- California Republican Party spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns suggested on Twitter on Friday that a pundit who criticized Rush Limbaugh for calling a law school student a "slut" is herself one, touching off a flood of criticism on the social networking site. David Siders SacBee Capitol Alert -- 3/4/12

Rush Limbaugh apologizes to Sandra Fluke -- Two days after Rush Limbaugh called a Georgetown law student a slut and a prostitute, and one day after he mocked President Obama for calling her to show support, the conservative commentator posted an apology to Sandra Fluke on his website on Saturday: “I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.” Melinda Henneberger in the Washington Post Kim Geiger in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12

Sandra Fluke says she expected criticism, not personal attacks, over contraception issue -- For decades, Georgetown University law students have led the push to have the student health-insurance plan cover contraception. Jenna Johnson in the Washington Post -- 3/4/12

Firm that dropped Rush Limbaugh after slur wins praise, jeers -- A Sacramento-based mattress company's decision to pull ads from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show after the host's controversial comments on sex and birth control has generated headed debate on the company's Facebook page. Chris Megerian and Shelby Grad in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12

Dowd: Have You No Shame, Rush? -- As a woman who has been viciously slashed by Rush Limbaugh, I can tell you, it’s no fun. MAUREEN DOWD in the New York Times -- 3/4/12

   Economy - Jobs

Program to aid unemployed homeowners provides little relief -- Only a fraction of the $7.6-billion federal Hardest Hit Fund has been paid out to needy borrowers. California has provided homeowners less than 2% of the federal funds it received, as of last year. E. Scott Reckard and Alejandro Lazo in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12

Latest HARP program for underwater mortgages ramping up -- "HARP 2.0," the second version of the federal mortgage refinancing program, comes with streamlined processing, but some key issues could hinder borrower participation. Kenneth R. Harney in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12

Fannie, Freddie Foreclose; Blight Follows -- Companies have become major Bay Area landowners, and many of their properties are in disrepair. AARON GLANTZ Bay Citizen -- 3/4/12

Proposed legislation bodes ill for California's food trucks -- A state assemblyman wants to significantly limit where lunch wagons can operate, keeping them even farther from schools than marijuana dispensaries. His legislation could put many of the mobile kitchens out of business just as the industry is surging with creativity. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12

Plagued by Crime, Oakland Food-Truck Vendors Unite for Protection -- Robberies were considered a cost of doing business until a young child was killed. SHOSHANA WALTER Bay Citizen -- 3/4/12

Making sense of San Jose's pension mess -- On Tuesday, San Jose City Council members will decide whether to modify a June pension reform ballot measure that Mayor Chuck Reed says will ease the growing costs of employee retirement. John Woolfolk in the San Jose Mercury -- 3/4/12

Borenstein: San Jose faces $3.5 billion debt for employee retirement programs -- Recent San Jose actuarial reports show $3.5 billion of city debt for underfunded pension and retiree health benefits -- a shortfall that works out to about $11,000 for every household in the city. Daniel Borenstein in the Contra Costa Times -- 3/4/12

Willie Brown: America's Cup sinks dreams of developing San Francisco piers -- The America's Cup scale-back in San Francisco should not have come as much of a surprise. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/4/12

Rent is too darn high for many in Los Angeles -- Housing affordability has long concerned would-be homebuyers in Southern California. But L.A.’s renters are struggling too. More than 60% of Angelenos who rent their dwellings are considered “rent burdened”, meaning they pay more than 30% of their income in rent. Marla Dickerson in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12


Thousands of Sacramento-area teachers soon to receive pink slips -- Thousands of pink slips will be in the hands of area teachers and other school employees by March 15. The notices warn the holder that they are in jeopardy of being laid off at the end of the school year. Diana Lambert in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/4/12


Occupy marchers hit streets as three sit in jail -- Anti-police marchers again hit Oakland streets Saturday night, a day after three Occupy Oakland protestors were charged with stealing an Oakland woman's wallet and making offensive remarks about her perceived sexuality. Alan Lopez in the San Jose Mercury -- 3/4/12


Corrections chief hails the end of triple bunks at California prisons, symbols of overcrowding -- For the last decade, the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy was so overcrowded that officials had to jam 650 inmates into a makeshift dormitory inside the prison gymnasium. Julie Small with Nick Roman KPCC -- 3/4/12

Supervisors hold private talks on using county funds for new Chargers stadium -- Since late 2009, two San Diego County supervisors have been quietly meeting with San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders about using county tax dollars to build a new Chargers stadium in downtown San Diego's East Village. CHRIS NICHOLS in the North County Times -- 3/4/12

Lopez: Learning lessons from a father's pride in his son -- Harry Gordon wasn't exactly pushy in the email he sent me, but he made his point. He said he understood the Miramonte Elementary School scandal was a story that had to be done, but he wondered why there couldn't also be a positive story about teachers. And he had one particular teacher in mind — his son. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times -- 3/4/12


Four straight: Romney wins Washington GOP caucus -- Mitt Romney rolled to a double-digit victory in Washington state's Republican presidential caucuses Saturday night, his fourth campaign triumph in a row and a fresh show of strength in the run-up to 10 Super Tuesday contests in all regions of the country. David Espo AP -- 3/4/12

Romney gets emotional at presidential forum -- The former Massachusetts governor was asked questions by two citizen panelists whose sons made major sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan — one whose son died in Iraq and one whose son suffered a severe brain injury during his time in Afghanistan. Aaron Blake in the Washington Post -- 3/4/12

Romney super PAC preparing for split decision on Super Tuesday -- The major super PAC backing Mitt Romney is once again dumping huge sums of money into the upcoming primaries and caucuses. Felicia Sonmez and T.W. Farnam in the Washington Post -- 3/4/12