April 10, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories 

George Skelton: Why are California legislators getting decent approval ratings? They’re getting things done — The California Legislature has achieved something I never expected to see again in my lifetime. Its public job approval rating has soared above 50%. That’s astronomical compared with the lawmakers’ wretched ratings of a few years ago. Skelton column in LA Times

Newsom raises most for governor’s race, with boost from Aribnb – The California governor’s mansion isn’t one of the more than 300 homes and apartments available in Sacramento through Airbnb. Even so, the San Francisco company so far appears more committed than any other entity to boosting Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s bid for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Gov. Brown 

Willie Brown:  Jerry Brown in fine form at Maddy event — Gov. Jerry Brown was in fine form the other night at the California State Museum during a dinner fundraiser for the Maddy Institute at Cal State Fresno, named for the late, great Republican legislator Ken Maddy. When I introduced Brown, I went through the list of offices he has held, starting with the community college board in Los Angeles in the 1960s, then on to secretary of state, governor, Oakland mayor, state attorney general, then governor again. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle (scroll to item)

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Pelosi joins hundreds at anti-poverty rally in California — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined a group of about 200 people at a rally in Los Angeles on Sunday, calling for continued federal funding to help combat poverty in the U.S. AP article; LA Times article


Mobile apps for undocumented immigrants mark new era in technology — With the press of a digital “panic” button, immigrants detained by ICE may soon be able to send customized, encrypted messages to friends and family from their mobile phones in a last-minute attempt to share final parting words or critical information. San Jose Mercury News article

If California becomes a sanctuary state, this county will resist — Leaning back in his chair, his gold sheriff’s badge glinting in a shaft of light, John D’Agostini thought for a second about what he would do if Sacramento legislators imposed San Francisco-style sanctuary laws to protect people living across the state illegally. His dilemma is part of the complex immigration debate in California, where a bill passed last week by the state Senate would restrict cooperation with U.S. immigration agents everywhere, including not only liberal strongholds but bastions of conservatism like El Dorado County. San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas 

With a deadline looming, no one is threatening to shut down the government — Congress is off for two weeks, and when lawmakers return, they will quickly face a critical deadline to keep the government open. But in an unusual development on Capitol Hill, where budget brinkmanship has become a reliable expression of political dysfunction, nobody is threatening to shut the government down. Washington Post article 

Even on the Supreme Court, the new person gets the jobs no one else wants — No one could have known it at the time, but at the end of last summer, Justice Elena Kagan gave Neil Gorsuch a face-to-face tutorial on what it means to be the Supreme Court’s newest justice. It starts in the kitchen. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Presidential Politics 

Trump pushes historic cuts in global health aid, stoking fears of new disease outbreaks and diminished U.S. clout — Half a century after the United States led a global expansion of international efforts to combat infectious disease and promote family planning, the Trump administration has embarked on a historic retrenchment that many fear threatens the health of millions and jeopardizes America’s standing in the world. LA Times article 

Marcos Breton: President Trump, if you didn’t ban, maybe you wouldn’t have to bomb — If America is going to war with Syria, then Trump must actually speak to Congress and the American people about sending young Americans to their deaths in combat. In the meantime, I’m just an American citizen who has no idea what his country is doing or what it really stands for with Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Breton column in Sacramento Bee 

The Trump resistance found early success.  Can it also find momentum? – For liberal groups, the swift success in health care removes a visceral, unifying issue. And with the midterms much farther off than they were after Mr. Brown’s victory in a special election — 20 months away, not 10 — many resistance-group leaders worry about sustaining their momentum into 2018. New York Times article

Who’s visiting the White House? Watchdog groups sue to find out — A coalition of government watchdog groups plans to sue the Trump administration on Monday with the aim of compelling the White House to continue President Barack Obama’s practice of releasing logs of lobbyists and others who visit the complex. Washington Post article

News Stories

Top Stories

Panicked borrowers, and the Education Department’s unsettling silence — It was bad enough late last month when the Education Department, in a legal filing, informed the nation’s public servants that they shouldn’t trust its administrator’s word about whether their student loans qualify for its debt forgiveness program. But the panic among borrowers that the newfound uncertainty unleashed helps illuminate an additional problem with the public service loan forgiveness program: Many people who believe that they qualify — and entered graduate school, borrowed piles of money and chose employers accordingly — may not realize that they are not making qualifying payments or that certain loans are not eligible for forgiveness. New York Times article 

Despite law change, few districts offer early kindergarten to youngest 4-year-oids – Only a small number of California’s largest school districts are taking advantage of a state law that allows them to enroll more 4-year-olds in a pre-kindergarten program known as “transitional kindergarten.” EdSource article

Jobs and the Economy

San Leandro Oks marijuana business tax — Three approved medical marijuana dispensaries will have to pay more to operate in San Leandro now that the city has imposed a 6 percent business tax that will climb to 8 percent by 2021. San Jose Mercury News article


Don Curlee: Size and stability mark farm workforce — While a storm of discussion rages about immigration and deportation issues, University of California researchers have found surprising stability in the state’s huge agricultural workforce, largely composed of immigrants. Curlee in Visalia Times-Delta

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Three men died months ago in confrontations with police. The coroner won’t say what killed themJesse Lee Attaway died more than six months ago after being shot by Sacramento sheriff’s deputies. Logan Ron Augustine, 17, died last Thanksgiving in a confrontation with deputies at a Carmichael 7-11 store. Daniel Joshua Landeros died Nov. 30 after Elk Grove police struck him with a Taser twice and restrained him after a struggle. The official causes of death and autopsy reports for each of the three remain secret because the county coroner’s office is refusing to release the documents, a legal challenge filed last week in Sacramento Superior Court charges. Sacramento Bee article

LAPD to begin using the world’s first ‘pursuit-rated’ hybrid patrol cars — Ford Motor Co. has unveiled the world’s first “pursuit-rated” hybrid police car and the Los Angeles Police Department may be among the first agencies to have one. Chief Charlie Beck and LAPD officers were expected to help introduce the vehicle at a Monday morning ceremony in Los Angeles. LA Times article


Bonds in the bank, Turlock Unified weighs many building needs — Turlock Unified trustees toured campuses expected to get safety updates and facility upgrades under two school bonds passed in November. No longer just a someday wish list, the vision embraced by voters now faces the practical hurdles of making it happen. Modesto Bee article 

Foon Rhee: Keeping kids in school should be elementary — We don’t want misbehaving students to stop the rest of their class from learning. But we also don’t want to suspend or expel unruly kids too quickly and risk putting them in the “school-to-prison pipeline.” This issue is really sensitive when race is involved – the focus of an extensive new study on out-of-school suspensions in California. Rhee in Sacramento Bee


UC Merced helps Yosemite National Park celebrate Earth Day — Visitors will be able to explore the projects Yosemite has been working on to preserve natural and cultural resources, see UC Merced theatrical performances, experience Ranger-guided Junior Ranger walks and participate in art and educational activities. Merced Sun-Star article

Health/Human Services  

‘Be our guest’: San Joaquin Community Hospital hosts ‘Beauty and the Beast’ NICU reunion – Four-year-old Allyson, in her newly purchased yellow Disney princess dress, waited patiently in line with her mother Tammy Hatfield to take a photo with Princess Belle at San Joaquin Community Hospital’s seventh annual NICU reunion Sunday afternoon. Bakersfield Californian article 

Craig Lindsey: The autistic need more authentic portrayals in popular media than Muppets and killers — As much of a plus as it is to see an autistic Muppet on TV screens, it’s still an uphill battle getting authentic portrayals of autistic people in the media. Lindsey column in Modesto Bee


Passengers grateful Alaska Airlines jet landed safely in Modesto – Aaron Needles was preparing himself for the worst Sunday morning, when the flight crew announced his Alaska Airlines flight from Sacramento to San Diego would have to make an emergency landing because of a malfunction on the plane. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

‘He’s home’: Emotional family honors Merle, boxcar — For a man who wasn’t there, Merle Haggard was everywhere Sunday at Kern Pioneer Village: His hits on the sound system, his T-shirts on the backs of fans, his essence — his very Merle-ness — palpable at the dedication of the country music icon’s boyhood home. Bakersfield Californian article 

China Lake Museum moving from naval base to Ridgecrest — Some of the names of the weapons systems developed at the sprawling China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in northeastern Kern County have become well known to Americans: the Tomahawk, Harpoon and Sidewinder missiles; bunker buster precision-guided bombs used for destroying buried or hardened targets; and the Shrike, the first anti-radiation missile developed from scratch at China Lake. Many of these weapons and other technologies have been exhibited for decades at the China Lake Museum located on the base. But now, the museum is on the move. Bakersfield Californian article 

San Joaquin County supervisors to consider adding information officer– The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider hiring a public information officer that will be tasked with not only interfacing with the community and departments, but creating a message and brand for the county. Stockton Record article 

Oakland Fire Department software blamed for inspection lapses — After a 2011 civil grand jury report excoriated Oakland’s building services division, concluding that some inspectors were keeping property records in their desk drawers rather than a central database, the city purchased a multimillion-dollar software system to bring the department into the 21st century. San Francisco Chronicle article