Today’s News: Rough U.C. debut for Janet Napolitano; Mountain Fire keeps growing; Garcetti dons Navy duds

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Napolitano confirmed. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been confirmed as the next University of California President. But her confirmation hearing did not go smoothly, or quietly.

Student protestors shouted, chanted and briefly interrupted the U.C. Regents meeting that was held in San Francisco to confirm Napolitano. Four students who refused an order to leave were led away in handcuffs. The protestors said Napolitano’s role in the federal government – and her record on deportations – makes her a risk to undocumented students.

After her conformation vote, Napolitano tried to calm to those fears.

“Documented or undocumented, we welcome all students to the University of California,” Napolitano said. “We are in the business of education and I will be an advocate for that, I will be an advocate in Sacramento, I will be an advocate in Washington D.C.”

Napolitano acknowledged that her lack of academic experience makes her an unusual choice to lead U.C., which has 10 campuses and 234,000 students. But the former Arizona governor stressed that she has a passion for higher education and a wealth of experience running large, complex organizations.

Napolitano will be the first woman to serve as president of U.C. She’ll make a base salary of $570,000, which is a little less than current U.C. President Mark Yudof. She begins at the end of September. AP

Mountain Fire. The 39-square mile Mountain Fire in Riverside County is still just 15 percent contained. It’s been spreading in three directions in the San Jacinto Mountains and raining ash on nearby Palm Springs. Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for roughly 4,000 houses, cabins, hotels and campgrounds. The biggest concern remains the community of Idyllwild. The fast-moving fire has produced a massive cloud of smoke that fire officials say could carry embers and ignite new fires near the town. Seven homes have been destroyed and three firefighters have been treated for minor injuries. KNBC

Reserve duty. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti will be swapping his business suit for a naval uniform this weekend. But aides insist he’ll still be on call for any city emergencies. In addition to his new full-time job, Garcetti has a part-time gig with the U.S. Navy Reserve. Lt. Garcetti will spend the weekend at the Navy Operational Support Center in Bell. He enlisted in 2005, and averages about 40 days a year doing training and exercises with the reserve’s intelligence service. Garcetti’s eight-year commitment ends in September, During the mayoral campaign, he said he was considering re-upping. L.A. Times

Filner recall. Organizers of an attempt to recall San Diego Mayor Bob Filner over sexual harassment allegations are planning to rally outside City Hall today. Once a formal petition is filed with the city, supporters will have about a month to collect more than 100,000 signatures to force a recall vote. Filner has been accused by former supporters of sexually harassing two constituents and a former staffer. The Democrat has admitted that his behavior was wrong, but he says he did nothing illegal and has refused to resign. After a closed door meeting yesterday, the Democratic Party of San Diego voted not to join the calls for Filner’s resignation. Which Way, L.A.?, 7 San Diego

Space exploration. NASA’s proposed new budget is a mixed back for the space agency, but it could be good news for the planetary explorers at the Jet Propulsion Lab in La Canada. The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved a spending package for the next fiscal year that contains more than $1 billion for planetary science research. The funding, if it survives the full legislative process, would allow JPL to begin work on a Mars project that would return a soil sample of the Red Planet to Earth. The money would also help fund planning of a NASA/JPL probe to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa. Discovery News