Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Republican state lawmakers say it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to strike a deal with Governor Jerry Brown over his proposal to put a tax measure on the June ballot before his March 10 deadline, AP reports. Brown has said that if the deal is not in place by then, he’ll go forward with slashing $26 billion from the state’s budget. GOP legislators also say that even if Brown meets their demands, they may still not vote to put his tax proposal on the ballot.
2. Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, indicated that they won't push forward with a plan to shut down the federal government this week, the LA Times reports. Some Tea Party lawmakers want to shut down the government if Democrats don’t capitulate to their demands for massive budget cuts, but Republican leaders apparently realize that the electorate will blame them for any shutdown.
3. It looks like President Obama will be tough to beat in 2012, Politico reports. The president has a commanding lead in most polls over likely GOP candidates, and several prominent Republicans will probably sit out the election and wait for 2016. GOP hopeful Mike Huckabee said that those who claimed that Obama would be a one-termer and easy to beat were “political idiots.”
4. Google announced that it’s changing its search algorithm to downplay results for so-called “content farms” — sites that primarily compile info from elsewhere, the Mercury News reports.
5. Lawyers for Contra Costa County prosecutor Michael Gressett are demanding a new, independent investigation into the rape charges filed against him, the CoCo Times reports. Gressett’s team alleges that the original probe conducted by the CoCo DA’s office was tainted, and pointed to a recent arbitration decision that said the charges against him were “tainted by political animosity.”
6. Several cities in the East Bay are making it difficult for property owners to install solar panels because they charge exorbitant permit fees, the CoCo Times reports. Richmond and Emeryville are two cities with high fees. Cities that charge lower fees and make it easier for property owners to go solar include Berkeley and Oakland.
7. And in case you missed it, The King’s Speech was the big winner at last night’s Academy Awards ceremony, winning Oscars for best picture, director, actor (Colin Firth), and original screenplay.