February 13, 2017


Political Stories-Top stories

George Skelton: California lawmakers are stuck on Trump, but there’s a problem at home that needs attention: dirty water — While President Trump and his California resistors dominate the spotlight, a little outfit without much pizazz is trying to draw state government’s attention to sickening drinking water in the San Joaquin Valley. Skelton column in LA Times

Dan Walters: Millions spent on California politics, but it’s just chicken feed – It would be fair to conclude that state-level spending on politics of all kinds approached $1.5 billion during that two-year period. Big money? Yes. But in another context, it was chicken feed. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


Growers and workers alike worry about immigration raids – News of expanding immigration raids, leading to more than 160 detentions in Los Angeles last week, has sent waves of fear through the state’s rural fields and farmlands, where growers and immigrant laborers alike are bracing for possible crackdowns on the state’s agricultural heartland. Politico article

Trump’s tough stand on immigration will cost taxpayers big – While there’s been much discussion about the cost of building a wall along the 2,000-mile-long border with Mexico, there’s been almost none about the financial impact of his proposed end to the so-called “catch and release” policy, which would require those here illegally to remain in custody until they get their days in court. McClatchy Newspapers article

Immigration raids arrest 600 people across U.S. in one week – Federal immigration officials arrested more than 600 people across at least 11 states last week, detaining 40 people in the New York City area, law enforcement officials said on Sunday. It remained unclear whether the actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were part of continuing operations to round up illegal immigrants with criminal convictions or a ramping-up of deportations by the Trump administration.  New York Times article

Thousands march against Trump in Mexico City: ‘Pay for your own wall!’ — Thousands of demonstrators waving Mexican flags and hoisting signs denouncing President Trump marched through central Mexico City on Sunday, the largest mobilization so far here against what many label an anti-Mexican administration in the White House. LA Times articleAP article

12-year-old girl receives warm welcome from Los Banos community — It took a six-year vetting process and an unexpected legal battle, but members of a Los Banos family are finally celebrating a reunion. Community members and U.S. Rep. Jim Costa joined supporters of Ahmed Ali’s family on Saturday to welcome their 12-year-old daughter, Eman.  Merced Sun-Star article

‘I can see the fear’: multicultural LA senses a different world under Trump – While much of America supports some type of ban on Muslim immigrants, the executive order has been disorienting to many in and around Los Angeles — in part, they say, because their lives intersect with so many people of so many cultures. LA Times article

Other areas

Following Lodi deaths, Stockton lawmaker calls for state oversight of parachuting — A Stockton lawmaker is proposing state oversight of the parachuting industry following an August tandem jump that killed two men outside Lodi. Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman said Yong Kwon and Tyler Nicholas Turner were the 12th and 13th people killed in flights out of Lodi Parachute Center since 2000. Kwon, 25, was the instructor and Turner, 18, was a first-time jumper in the tandem parachute crash. Sacramento Bee article

Fourth Muslim group rejects federal grant to fight extremism — A California Islamic school wanted to keep an open mind before Donald Trump took office. But less than a month into Trump’s presidency, the school rejected $800,000 in federal funds aimed at combatting violent extremism. AP article

Presidential Politics

Trump undertakes most ambitious regulatory rollback since Reagan – President Trump has embarked on the most aggressive campaign against government regulation in a generation, joining with Republican lawmakers to roll back rules already on the books and limit the ability of federal regulators to impose new ones.  Washington Post article

‘Not on our watch’: Trump resistance catches fire in Bay Area — Strangers connecting through social media and Slack are crowding into living rooms in Concord and San Jose. They’re spilling out of rented church space in Berkeley and gathering at co-working office spaces in Oakland. What they all have in common is their visceral reaction to Trump and fears that he is leading the country down a dangerous and authoritarian path. San Jose Mercury News article

Police chiefs say Trump’s law enforcement priorities are out of step – Not surprisingly, President Trump’s approach to crime, which began to take shape in a series of moves last week, generated swift criticism from liberals and civil rights groups. But it also stirred dissent from another quarter: prominent police chiefs and prosecutors who fear that the new administration is out of step with evidence that public safety depends on building trust, increasing mental health and drug addiction treatment, and using alternatives to prosecution and incarceration. New York Times article

For religious right, success and access at the White House – The relationship between religious conservatives and Mr. Trump has consequences for policy on issues like health care, education and free speech, and how the federal courts will decide cases. New York Times article

Trump changes stance on president’s right to golf – As a private citizen, Donald J. Trump used to criticize President Obama’s fondness for golf. But with two trips this month to his Florida golf clubs, President Trump appears to have reversed his thinking. New York Times article

Turmoil at National Security Council, from the top down –These are chaotic and anxious days inside the National Security Council, the traditional center of management for a president’s dealings with an uncertain world. Three weeks into the Trump administration, council staff members get up in the morning, read President Trump’s Twitter posts and struggle to make policy to fit them. Most are kept in the dark about what Mr. Trump tells foreign leaders in his phone calls. New York Times article

Top Trump aide again asserts widespread voter fraud, cites no evidence — The Trump administration continued Sunday to assert a widely debunkedclaim that massive vote fraud helped deprive the president of a popular-vote victory in November’s election. LA Times article

Trump impeached? You can bet on it — There’s already talk of impeachment, just three weeks into Donald Trump’s turbulent presidency. In fact, many are already betting on it. Gambling houses all over the world are taking in action on whether Trump, inaugurated just last month, will resign or be impeached. And the odds aren’t as long as you might think. Politico article

Trump friend suggests Reince Priebus is in over his head — A longtime friend of President Trump’s who met with him this weekend in Florida issued a public rebuke of the president’s chief of staff on Sunday, blaming him for the botched rollout of Mr. Trump’s targeted travel ban and saying the early chaos in the White House may not ease until he departs.  New York Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

188,000 under evacuation orders near Northern California dam — At least 188,000 people remain under evacuation orders after Northern California authorities warned an emergency spillway in the country’s tallest dam was in danger of failing Sunday and unleashing uncontrolled flood waters on towns below. AP articleSacramento Bee articleLA Times articleSacramento Bee editorialSan Francisco Chronicle article

Water managers try to bust drought using ground game – As storms hit California and the Sierra Nevada snowpack keeps building after years of punishing drought, water managers on the San Joaquin Valley floor are replenishing groundwater supplies while the getting is good.  Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Modesto councilwoman pitches public safety tax — Modesto Councilwoman Kristi Ah You would like to see a sales tax increase on the November ballot to pay for hiring more police officers and for other public safety resources. She is proposing a half-cent special tax that could be spent only on public safety and would end after seven years. Unlike general taxes, which require majority approval and can be used for a variety of purposes, a special tax requires two-thirds approval and can be used only for its designated purpose. Modesto Bee article

CalPERS cuts hundreds of misreported pensions – Triggering at least two lawsuits, CalSTRS has cut the pensions of hundreds of retired teachers because extra work or pay was misreported as earnings for pensions, not for a 401(k)-style individual investment benefit with a guaranteed minimum return. Calpensions article

FHA home loans were getting cheaper until Trump suspended a rate cut.  What comes next? – An hour after Donald Trump took the oath of office last month, his administration caught the attention of the real estate industry when it abruptly suspended a planned cut in Federal Housing Administration mortgage-insurance premiums. LA Times article

Think you didn’t deserve that parking ticket? Here’s why you may be right — Two downtown Sacramento visitors report they got parking tickets last week under mysterious circumstances. They paid the meter. But when the came back to their cars – with what they thought was plenty of time to spare – the meter was back at zero, and there was a ticket on the windshield. How is that possible?  Sacramento Bee article


Experts: State left with few options while trying to avert disaster at Oroville Dam – As Oroville Dam operators worked into the night Sunday to try to prevent collapse of the emergency spillway, independent engineering experts said the state has few options at its disposal.  Sacramento Bee article

Evacuees jam roads heading away from Oroville Dam: ‘It’s a zoo’ – The unprecedented evacuation order for more than 100,000 people in eastern Sacramento Valley communities along the Feather River frayed nerves and jammed roads late Sunday.  San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times articleSacramento Bee article

Too much water: How Oroville Dam problems became a crisis – The mass evacuations underway below the Oroville Dam capped a week of frantic efforts to prevent flooding as America’s tallest dam reached capacity and its main spillway was severely damaged. Here is a brief explanation of the events so far. Sacramento Bee article

Honoring Chinese farmers in the Valley — Margaret Moholt says she’s proud to be an American because there’s no other country like it. “It gives the common man a good life,” she said. “This is the country where people get to write the script of their life and be the driver of their destiny.” Moholt, who was born in China, was one of two speakers at the opening reception of the exhibit “Happiness, Prosperity, Longevity: Chinese Experience in Tulare County.” The opening is the latest exhibit to debut at the Tulare County Farm Labor and Agriculture Museum at Mooney Grove Park. Visalia Times-Delta article


Fresno State’s Red Wave turns into Gray Wave as Bulldogs struggle to attract young fans — The empty seats at Bulldog Stadium and Save Mart Center for Fresno State football and basketball games are a troubling sign, but declining attendance is only part of a larger problem for an athletic department intending to get bigger and better. The famed Red Wave, which helped build those venues and has served Fresno State athletic interests so well for so long, is going gray. And as is the case for most of the nation’s Division I schools, the athletic department is struggling to entice younger fans to games and build a sustainable base of season-ticket sales that account for a significant portion of its revenue. Fresno Bee articleMarek Warszawski column in Fresno Bee: ‘Gray Wave can’t sustain Fresno State sports by itself much longer’

California renews push to promote environmental literacy in schools — Environmental education in California got another big push last November when the State Board of Education approved integrating five key environmental principles into the new science frameworks last November. The frameworks provide a blueprint for introducing the Next Generation Science Standards, which the state adopted in 2013, and are gradually being introduced in schools across the state. EdSource article

Delhi High students host Chinese exchange students for visit of fun and learning — Though one group of students spoke mainly English and the other Mandarin, they worked together in Delhi last week during a dissection lab that had them identify the internal organs of piglet fetuses. Using Chromebooks instead of worksheets and a translation app to better communicate, the students used the interaction to study science while learning about each other’s culture. Merced Sun-Star article

Gratton 7th-graders take winning plan for Detroit to D.C. – A reimagined Detroit – flying robo-cars whizzing between its skyscrapers, streets now parks and jogging paths – captured first place among middle school Future City presentations from Northern California. The kids who reimagined it, seventh-graders from Gratton School in Denair, will be flying their presentation to Washington, D.C., this week to compete in the national Future City competition Feb. 18-21. Modesto Bee article

Granite Bay High students used the service to get food delivered, then the principal banned it — Granite Bay High School students liked getting restaurant food delivered to campus by the startup DoorDash. But all the deliveries created a headache for the staff at the Placer County school.  Sacramento Bee article


LA’s mayor wants to lower the city’s temperature.  These scientists are figuring out how to do it — If you think the city is too hot, you’ve got company at City Hall. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti agrees, and he wants to do something about it. As part of a sweeping plan to help L.A. live within its environmental means, Garcetti has pledged to reduce the average temperature in the metropolis by 3 degrees over the next 20 years. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Why an 8-year-old boy’s death has social workers wondering, ‘Could I face criminal charges?’ — In a case that has sent a chill through the ranks of child protection workers nationwide, a Los Angeles County judge will soon decide if there is sufficient evidence to put four social workers on trial for criminal negligence in the death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy they were charged with protecting. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

John Diaz: California’s housing crisis: It’s a matter of will – In one sense, California’s housing crisis is a matter of simple math. This state was not building anywhere close to the number of homes that would be required to accommodate the addition of 300,000 residents a year over the past decade. Demand is greatly outstripping supply, and it’s only going to get worse with the anticipated population growth of 3.4 million by 2025. So why isn’t that construction happening? The causes are all political. Diaz in San Francisco Chronicle

Other areas

Civic leaders made honorary Air Force commanders in Fresno — Five community leaders from Fresno, Clovis and Sanger were inducted Sunday as honorable commanders of the Air Force’s 144th Fighter Wing as part of a program that aims to bridge the gap between military and civilian life. All five – Todd Suntrapack, president and CEO of Valley Children’s Hospital; Janet Young, Clovis Unified superintendent; Mathew Navo, Sanger Unified superintendent; Chris Pacheco, One Putt Broadcasting owner; and Tim Patendis, president of Alena Foods – accepted their honorary places in five squadrons, from medical to aircraft maintenance. Fresno Bee article

Fire burns parked Turlock transit buses — A blaze severely damaged four parked transit buses powered by compressed natural gas late Saturday at a city corporation yard directly not far from a fire station. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Sacramento Bee –- Oroville Dam makes clear: Nature is in control.