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THE NOONER for May 21, 2015

It's noon. It's time for a break. Here's what people are reading on today:

State Senate Race Deals Blow To Democratic Party, Unions | The Sacramento Bee
The California Democratic Party and labor unions vowed not to back down any time soon after their candidate lost a costly state Senate race in the San Francisco Bay Area this week.

Sacramento Lawmakers Poised To Consider Making Child Death Records Secret
The California Department of Social Services has quietly drafted a bill that would gut key portions of the state’s landmark law requiring child protective services agencies to release records when a youth dies of abuse or neglect. A vote is expected as early as Thursday.

Poll: Kamala Harris Leads California Senate Contenders, Except For 'undecided'
With 58 percent of likely voters in June 2016's open primary still expressing no opinion, 19 percent favor Harris while 8 percent favor Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, who launched her campaign with a series of stumbles last week.

Organized Labor Comes Up Short In Democratic State Senate Runoff
Finally, the barrage is over in the East Bay. Tuesday night’s special election for a state Senate seat closed a $9-million assault of mailers, television ads and radio commercials that led to the victory of a Democrat backed by Republican interests over his own party’s weightiest ally, organized labor.

Unions Handed Another Defeat In Closely Watched Senate Special Election |
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Ad16: Sbranti Won’t Run, Joins Swalwell’s Staff
By Josh Richman Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 at 6:01 pm in Assembly, Catharine Baker, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House.

East Bay Senate Race Shows How State Politics Are Changing - San Francisco Chronicle
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UC Financial Aid For Out-of-state Students A Surprise To Many | The Sacramento Bee
Alexei Koseff @
Institutional aid for nonresidents grew fivefold over past decade

California Lawmakers Propose Harsher Penalties For Animal Cruelty
In the wake of an attack on a marine wildlife rehabilitation facility in Laguna Beach, five legislators have authored a bill that was introduced Wednesday to increase the penalties for animal cruelty.

First Draft: Taking Stand Against Spying, Rand Paul Stages Senate â
The senator from Kentucky and Republican presidential candidate began a filibuster against renewal of the Patriot Act.

Ralph Nader Can't Escape It: His '00 Candidacy Gave Us President Bush
George W. Bush won the popular vote in Florida by 537 votes, giving all of the state's electoral votes to him rather than Vice President Al Gore. Nader received 97,488 votes in Florida, and several studies conducted after the election indicated that about half of Nader's votes would have gone to Gore and about one quarter would have gone to Bush. Without Nader, Gore would have been elected president.

Strong Support In Koreatown Propels David Ryu To L.A. City Council Victory
By a margin of 1,600 votes, David Ryu became the first Korean American elected to the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, thanks in part to strong support in and around Koreatown.

Obama's Trade Agenda Clears Key Senate Hurdle
President Obama 's trade agenda has cleared a key Senate hurdle to move toward a final vote.

NFL Says Clock Ticking On Oakland Effort To Keep Raiders | The Sacramento Bee
Matt Barrows @
NFL has seen progress from St. Louis and San Diego but not Oakland

Bay Bridge tower rod is fractured, Caltrans says
The bridge project’s chief engineer, Brian Maroney, said officials did not yet know whether water caused the rod to corrode. Suspicion had centered on the rod after ultrasonic tests conducted in April showed that it was shorter than the 25-foot rods that were installed elsewhere at the base of the span. [...] in the past couple of months, water with elevated levels of chloride has accumulated in some of the sleeves — raising fears that salt water from the bay is infiltrating the concrete-and-steel foundation. Salt water is more corrosive than freshwater, but both can damage the type of hardened steel that make up the tower rods. The portion below the fracture point remains in the sleeve, and Caltrans said it is unclear how far above its base the rod broke.

Fox News To Limit First Republican Presidential Debate To 10 Candidates
Fox News plans to limit the first Republican presidential debate to 10 candidates, using an average of recent polls to determine who makes the cut.

The 40 Most Interesting Women In Politics - Washington Post
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First Draft: First Republican Debate Is Limited to 10 Candidates
Fox News, which is to host the first Republican presidential debate, announced criteria Wednesday that winnowing down the sprawling field of candidates to just 10 who could participate in its August debate, the first of the presidential campaign.

Senate Panel Approves GOP Bill To Loosen Some Financial Regulations
A Senate committee Thursday voted to ease some of the financial regulations enacted in 2010, approving legislation that Republicans said would help small banks avoid burdensome rules but that Democrats charged would help big Wall Street firms as well.

First Draft: Today in Politics: Another Senate Cliffhanger as Holiday Approaches
The focus is on the continued drama on Capitol Hill as a legislative knot has yet to untangle itself.

Millions In Federal Dollars Aim To Improve Long-term Water Conservation
California is getting about $33 million in federal money for water recycling, irrigation improvements and other conservation projects in a new round of funding for water and energy efficiency projects in Western states.