May 11, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories

California governor to release revised spending plan — California Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled Thursday to release his revised state budget amid lower-than-expected revenue and uncertainty about future federal spending on health care. The release of Brown’s spending plan for the next fiscal year kicks off a month of negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Legislature. AP article; KQED report

Foes into friends: Lobbyists make amends to lawmakers with ‘make-up money’ — “Make-up money” is what it’s called in Sacramento—the contributions that flow to newly-elected officials from interest groups that backed a losing candidate during the campaign. It’s a completely legal way of saying, in political terms, “Let’s kiss and make up.” CALmatters article

Valley politics

Bakersfield Ward 5 profile: Ryan Nance touts working-class resume – Ryan Nance keeps a peppy dialogue going as he and campaign volunteer Isaiah Perez wend their way through the neighborhood around Laurel Glen Elementary. Nance is checking in with voters who are likely to cast a ballot in next month’s special Ward 5 election for a seat on the Bakersfield City Council. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

State of Jefferson’s solution to ‘persecution’: Bigger government — Rebuffed at every turn by state lawmakers, supporters of the movement to establish a separate “State of Jefferson” in Northern California have a new approach: Make the Legislature bigger. Sacramento Bee article

‘Are we the party of Wall St. or the party of Occupy?’ Candidates to lead state Democrats hold testy debate — The contrast between the leading contenders to become the next chairperson of the California Democratic Party was clear at a debate between the hopefuls Wednesday: Longtime party official Eric Bauman said the party must expand on its existing successes, while activist Kimberly Ellis countered that it had lost its way and needs to be fundamentally overhauled. LA Times article


Upholding the law or picking on protestors? Fresno officials, activists point fingers — At a time when protests are on the rise nationally, some Fresno activists say Mayor Lee Brand and police are handpicking which demonstrations to regulate – pointing to the arrest of protestors who claim they peacefully rallied for immigration rights. Community and faith leaders gathered outside Fresno County Superior Court on Wednesday to allege that four people who face misdemeanor charges for obstructing the sidewalk during a protest in March are being wrongly targeted for their activism. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

Feinstein, Harris push for special prosecutor; McConnell says no – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended President Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday, dismissing increasingly urgent calls by Democrats — including California’s two senators — for an independent prosecutor to investigate possible Russian ties to Trump’s presidential campaign. San Francisco Chronicle article

Soda industry targeted Legislature’s Latino Caucus – As California lawmakers continue to kill soda tax proposals, a new analysis found that the industry has disproportionately directed campaign contributions to members of the Latino Caucus in Sacramento. KQED report

California legislator proposes new law to address misuse of disabled parking placards – The California Department of Motor Vehicles would be required to do more to confirm that those who use disabled parking placards actually need them, under state legislation proposed Wednesday after an audit warned of possible widespread abuse.  LA Times article

George Skelton: This lawmaker learned to revere education after her parents fled Jim Crow.  Now she’s tackling teacher tenure — Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s father moved his family from Hope, Ark., to Los Angeles when she was 3. He had a compelling reason: A lynch mob was chasing him. Skelton column in LA Times

Can Nancy Pelosi ride a wave of Trump resistance back to House majority – and speakership? – Rather than step aside for a new generation of young leaders, as many have nudged Pelosi to do, the first woman to ever lead a major party in Congress – and hold the speaker’s gavel — returned to work to marshal the opposition to President Trump. In fact, she sees her current role as minority leader under a Republican president in some ways as more influential than when she served as House speaker under a Democratic president. LA Times article

Presidential Politics

Sense of crisis deepens as Trump defends firing Comey – President Trump’s abrupt dismissal of the F.B.I. director roiled Washington on Wednesday and deepened the sense of crisis swirling around the White House. Republican leaders came to the president’s defense, and Mr. Trump lashed out at Democrats and other critics, calling them hypocrites. New York Times article; LA Times article

GOP leader McCarthy says Trump is not a right winger – McCarthy said that Trump “wasn’t my first, second or third choice to be president,” but said the 45th president is “misknown (sic) as being rigid, but he’s open minded.” McCarthy also defended Trump’s controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey, saying Democrats and Republicans had lost faith in the agency. KQED report

Trump’s priorities may be endangered by backlash over Comey firing – President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was leading an investigation into possible collusion between Russia and members of the Trump campaign, has stoked tensions on Capitol Hill. With an already strained relationship between the White House and Democratic lawmakers — as well as some Republicans — the explosive decision could endanger much of the Trump administration’s legislative agenda. McClatchy Newspapers article

Court delay sets up potential environmental battle between California and President Trump – A federal court has granted the Trump administration more time to review California regulations for limiting emissions from diesel-powered vehicles such as bulldozers. LA Times article

Victor Davis Hanson: Can Trump successfully remodel the Republican Party? – The Republican Party establishment is caught in an existential paradox. Without Donald Trump’s populist and nationalist 2016 campaign, the GOP likely would not have won the presidency. Nor would Republicans now enjoy such lopsided control of state legislatures and governorships, as well as majorities in the House and Senate, and likely control of the Supreme Court for a generation. So are conservatives angry at or indebted to the apostate Trump for helping them politically in a way they previously could not help themselves? Hanson column in Fresno Bee

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

California set an ambitious goal for fighting global warming. Now comes the hard part — When Stanford University energy economist Danny Cullenward looks at California’s policies on climate change, he sees a potential time bomb. The state wants to slash greenhouse gas emissions so deeply in the coming years that oil refineries and other industries could face skyrocketing costs to comply with regulations, driving up gasoline prices until the system loses political support. If that happens, an effort touted as an international model for fighting global warming could collapse. LA Times article

No radical changes in proposed Bakersfield city budget – After years of budget cuts, the City of Bakersfield has plans to add three more police officers and one solid waste employee, according to the proposed city budget revealed Wednesday night. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Joel Fox: PAGA lawsuits hit small businesses hard — The problem with the Private Attorneys General Act on small business was made clear in a recent article in the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. It points to an obvious solution to prevent the crippling of small businesses while at the same time supporting labor laws: give businesses a fair amount of time to fix any problems uncovered.  Fox in Fox & Hounds

A personal and poignant reopening: Crowds pack Fair Oaks Library – Fair Oaks closed, seemingly forever, on June 30, 2010. At the time, the city was feverishly cutting costs and chopping services, and it was well on its way to declaring Chapter 9 bankruptcy. But as Stockton exited bankruptcy and became healthier fiscally, community members began calling for the reopening of Fair Oaks, on Main Street smack in the middle of Stockton’s gritty east side.  Stockton Record article

Stockton Record: Homelessness guidelines, fund set framework – Cities across the state and country are dealing with homelessness. There are varying degrees of the number of people impacted, and dozens of approaches being taken — some successful, some not. Stockton City Council took a positive step on Tuesday night. Stockton Record editorial

VA aims to end veteran homelessness, says it will take years – The new Veterans Affairs chief shares the goal set by former President Barack Obama‘s administration of ending homelessness among veterans, but says it’ll take longer than his predecessor predicted. AP article

Sacramento’s largest homeless organization hires new executive director – Loaves & Fishes, the largest nonprofit agency in the Sacramento region serving homeless people, has selected a new executive director to replace Sister Libby Fernandez. Noel Kammermann, who in recent years has run programs for homeless people in the Northeast, will lead Loaves, which offers meals, showers, legal help and other services to more than 700 people each day, officials announced. Sacramento Bee article

Here’s how LA County citizens panel wants to spend $355 million a year in homeless fight — The citizen planning group for the Measure H sales tax drew up final recommendations Wednesday for how Los Angeles County should spend $355 million annually over the next three years to fight homelessness. LA Times article

Looking to help challenged teens, Sacramento launches summer jobs program – Know a teenager who needs a summer job? The city of Sacramento has one. Mayor Darrell Steinberg on Thursday is scheduled to announce a youth employment program that aims to put hundreds of high school students to work by June in minimum-wage positions at local companies. The goal is to give job skills to teens who have barriers to employment or may not be college bound. Sacramento Bee article

Wine country looks more like cannabis country in California – California’s legalization of recreational marijuana has led to the beginning of a major transformation of wine country. It’s been just seven months, but already investors are snapping up property where wine was once produced. Vineyard operators are developing expertise in cannabis cultivation. New, specialty marijuana businesses are sprouting up in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. And farmers who have long made a good living by growing and harvesting winegrapes are expressing interest in diversifying with marijuana. Sacramento Bee article

Are low-income businesses short changed by big banks? – Businesses in lower income census tracts in Alameda County, including the area where Maya is located, received significantly fewer bank loans and credit cards than the wealthiest business districts in 2015, according to a KQED analysis of the most recent federal public data. KQED report

Raiderettes get $1.25 million in settlement — The Raiderettes had reason to cheer Wednesday, as the proceeds from a $1.25 million settlement were distributed to nearly 100 women who worked as cheerleaders for the Raiders. San Francisco Chronicle article


Modesto Irrigation District: Water, water, everywhere – why not try selling some? – Modesto Irrigation District leaders who strained to provide farmers with miserly amounts of water in recent drought years now have more than they know what to do with. So on Tuesday, the MID board agreed to offer surplus water this year to farmers just outside district borders, at about $50 an acre-foot. Modesto Bee article

So what did all that rain and the concern about bees do to the Valley’s almond crop? — The state’s almond crop will hit a record 2.2 billion pounds this year, a federal agency projected Wednesday. The 2017 figure would top the previous high of 2.14 billion pounds last year if it pans out through a harvest starting in August. Modesto Bee article; Stockton Record article

Survey: Valley residents worried about water – Reliable access to clean drinking water is a problem for one in five San Joaquin Valley residents, according to a Fresno State survey released this month. Visalia Times-Delta article

Experts look at dozens of factors in California dam crisis – Independent experts looking for the causes of the spillway failures at California’s Oroville Dam identify dozens of possible factors in a preliminary report released Wednesday. Experts say they will look at a range of possible flaws in the concrete and foundation of the half-century-old main spillway, including whether cracks in the spillway allowed water to tear away at the concrete spillway. AP article; Sacramento Bee article

California eyes herbicide compound for carcinogen list – California is deciding whether to add a popular herbicide’s ingredient to the list of officially recognized cancer-causing compounds — a move that has run into a legal road block. Capitol Weekly article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Fresno’s violent crime shows drop, but shootings remain a dangerous problem — Violent crime is down by 7.4 percent in Fresno so far this year, police Chief Jerry Dyer said Wednesday during a monthly review of crime data. Property crime has dropped by 3.6 percent so far in 2017. The comparison involves crime statistics so far this year compared to the same months in 2015 and 2016. Fresno Bee article

Fresno’s former No. 2 cop was ‘deep undercover’ when he talked of buying pot, attorney says — Former Fresno deputy Police Chief Keith Foster was “deep undercover” when he was recorded on a wiretap talking about buying marijuana, his attorney told jurors during opening statements Wednesday in Foster’s federal drug trafficking trial. But the attorney, Marshall Hodgkins, said Foster wasn’t selling oxycodone to his nephew Randy Flowers, saying both had prescriptions for the narcotic. Fresno Bee article

California prison smuggling: Meth in soap, heroin on stamps — The $15 million spent by California to thwart prison drug smuggling has generated mixed results, researchers found, as increasingly creative smugglers turned to tricks like concealing methamphetamine in a bar of soap or heroin under postage stamps. AP article

Merced County gang raids: 52 arrests, $225,000 cash, 21,000 rounds of ammo – Investigators arrested 52 gang members and seized 70 guns early Wednesday after hundreds of local, state, and federal investigators raided dozens of Merced County homes targeting Sureno gang members operating under the umbrella of the Mexican Mafia. Merced Sun-Star article

California police looking to nab marijuana-impaired drivers with roadside saliva test — Police agencies in California are zeroing in on ways to test drivers impaired by marijuana and other drugs, a task which took on a new sense of urgency after voters legalized recreational marijuana in November. At the Capitol on Wednesday, law enforcement officers demonstrated a mouth-swab device that detects marijuana impairment in drivers and provides results within minutes. Sacramento Bee article


Ruiz Foods gives ‘transformational gift’ to Fresno State Craig School of Business — Dinuba-based Ruiz Foods Products, Inc., one of the central San Joaquin Valley’s leading food makers, has pledged $1 million to Fresno State for the expansion of the University Business Center at the Craig School of Business.  Fresno Bee article

3 UC campuses change responses in state auditor’s survey — Administrators at three University of California campuses changed their responses to a state auditor’s survey to reflect more favorably on UC President Janet Napolitano’s office after her staff directed them to make the changes, according to new documents obtained by The Chronicle that shed light on the controversy. San Francisco Chronicle article

Dan Schnur: UC truly needs independent oversight – One of the first rules of politics is that — unless you are a private investigator or a government auditor — you never want to see your name in the same headline as the phrase “secret fund.” Yet, that’s exactly where University of California President Janet Napolitano finds herself in the wake of a scathing report from the state’s government watchdog agency that criticized her office for a lack of transparency and accountability in its spending decisions. Schnur column in San Francisco Chronicle

California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is ‘frustrated’ UC President Janet Napolitano over scathing audit – On the eve of a special meeting of the University of California regents, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) voiced frustration Wednesday with how UC President Janet Napolitano has dealt with a scathing audit of her office. LA Times article

Four Sanger middle-school students have chickenpox –and they had been vaccinated — Four students at Washington Academic Middle School are home with chickenpox – and each had previously had vaccinations to prevent getting the disease. Fresno Bee article

Kaiser Permanente to Kern High School District: Please, let us teach your kids about STDs – Kaiser Permanente spent months working to bring to Kern County a special production of “What Goes Around,” a play that teaches kids about the risks of sexually transmitted diseases that 10,000 students at schools across Southern California see each year. It’s a curriculum that health practitioners say communicates the dangers of STDs in a hip, casual way that gets to the point with teens – and Kaiser offers it to school districts for free. Bakersfield Californian article

State education officials call for clearer directives to close achievement gaps — The next version of California’s plan for complying with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act may include stronger language and commitments to low-achieving students, following comments Wednesday by some members of the State Board of Education that the first draft only paid lip service to raising the achievement of struggling students. EdSource article

Sacramento Bee: A smart way to put children first and make mornings less hectic — The research is clear: Kids need more sleep. Senate Bill 328 by Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, would prevent the school day from starting before 8:30 a.m. Sacramento Bee editorial


Tesla starts taking orders for its solar roof – Tesla’s high-design solar roofs are moving a step closer to a housetop near you. Tesla Inc. is accepting orders for its electricity-generating roofs, with a Wednesday afternoon kickoff. LA Times article

Other areas

Murals bloom in downtown Bakersfield — Downtown Bakersfield is already home to a number of murals — “Three Guitars” on the east side of Front Porch Music on 19th Street, the veterans tribute at the southeast corner of 20th and Eye streets — but two new projects are getting their moment to shine. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – The debate over Poseidon Water’s proposed coastal California desalination plant in Huntington Beach has taken far too long. We believe it should be built.

Merced Sun-Star – Donald Trump can fire the FBI director, but he can’t fire a free press.

Modesto Bee – Donald Trump can fire the FBI director, but he can’t fire a free press.

Sacramento Bee –- The research is clear: Kids need more sleep. Senate Bill 328 by Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, would prevent the school day from starting before 8:30 a.m.; President Donald Trump’s peremptory firing Tuesday of FBI Director James Comey is a complete homemade mess.

Stockton Record – Cities across the state and country are dealing with homelessness. There are varying degrees of the number of people impacted, and dozens of approaches being taken — some successful, some not. Stockton City Council took a positive step on Tuesday night.