California officials, state and federal, want Gov. Brown and President Obama to declare drought and disaster emergencies in the Golden State, which faces its third consecutive dry winter.
From the AP: "In a letter sent Monday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Democratic Rep. Jim Costa urged the governor to take immediate action. A separate letter signed by dozens of other California lawmakers called for the same declaration."
"The lawmakers cited the California Department of Water Resources' announcement of low water deliveries for Central Valley agriculture due to light rainfall projections."
Termed-out Assembly Speaker John Pérez says that that come summer he'll likely be stepping down to make way for new blood. The speakership isn't the heavy-hitting job it once was -- term limits have seen to that -- but the speaker is an important player in budgeting, committee assignments and the pubnic's perception of the Assembly.
From the LAT's Melanie Mason and Marc LIfsher: "The jockeying to replace Pérez has been the subject of much speculation in the Capitol, but so far, no clear front-runner candidate has emerged."
"Pérez will appear on the ballot in June, in the Democratic primary election for controller. He announced his bid for the statewide office in October and, in the last week, his campaign has rolled out endorsements from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and current state Treasurer Bill Lockyer."
Sacramento may have the state Capitol, but the center of the most intense politics here has been City Hall and the fight over whether the public should come up with a hefty subsidy to finance a sports complex.
From the Bee's Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis: "Brushing past dozens of vocal construction workers who favor the arena financing, opponents of the subsidy delivered more than 35,000 petitions to the City Clerk’s Office. Within minutes, Mayor Kevin Johnson was caustically comparing the petition drive to the effort to move the Kings to Anaheim in 2011 and Seattle earlier this year."
"Meanwhile, the City Council continued to forge ahead on the $448 million arena proposed for Downtown Plaza. The council late Tuesday agreed to exempt the project from the city’s competitive-bidding requirements – a move that city officials said would streamline construction while allowing the Kings to steer much of the work to small, Sacramento-area contracting firms."
Meanwhile, tensions are increasing between BART's management and its union workers as a new round of negotiations get under way on Thursday.
From the Chronicle's Matier and Ross: "Feelings are especially raw among members of Service Employees International Union Local1021 and BART's other big labor outfit,Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555."
"About 60 union protesters showed up Thursday at Warehouse 416, an art gallery in Oakland, for the re-election campaign kickoff of Director Robert Raburn, whose district includes Alameda and parts of Oakland and San Leandro."
Tucked away in the indictments of 18 L.A. County Sheriff's personnel is a description of the illegal arrest of an Austrian diplomat who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
From the LAT's Robert Faturechi and Jack Leonard: "The Austrian consul's husband was arrested outside the jail because he had walked near the doors going into the visiting center, according to one of the indictments unsealed Monday."
"When the consul requested to speak to a supervisor about her husband's arrest, she too was placed in handcuffs and arrested, even though she had committed no crime and would have been immune from prosecution, the indictment said."
The state has come up with a plan for action on climate change, updating an earlier report that was developeds during the Schwarzenegger administration.
From Capitol Public Radio's Max Pringle: "The draft “Safeguarding California Plan” is an update of the state’s 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy. It outlines the preparations needed in nine key sectors like energy, public health, agriculture and water."
"For example, the draft suggests developing an urban water use plan to reduce reliance on distant, unpredictable sources. It also calls for “smart” power grids that are connected, but localized. And it calls for reducing the state’s carbon footprint today to lessen the impacts of climate change in the future."
A federal judge in Sacramento has ordered the state to properly handle the mentally ill inmates on death row, the latest in a series of legal decisions targeting the state's correctional policies.
From the LAT's Paige St. John: "U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton's order, issued Tuesday afternoon, says California made progress three years ago when it created a special program for the most seriously mentally ill prisoners on death row and earlier this year when it set aside 10 beds in a medical unit within the San Quentin Prison for their care. But, he said, those efforts fall short in both the level of care and the number of people it can treat. He called the current care "inadequate."
"Lawyers for mentally ill prisoners had asked the judge to require California to create a special place to treat death row inmates, since moving them to other prisons or hospitals is difficult."