May 2, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Chukchansi Park proves to be potent political issue in Fresno elections — Fresno’s 12,500-seat stadium at Tulare and H streets, it is widely agreed, is a diamond in the downtown rough and a beautiful place to watch baseball on one of the city’s hot summer evenings. It also is a drag on city coffers and its sole tenant, the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, has struggled financially almost since day one. Now, almost a decade and a half after its 2002 opening, the stadium has become one of the top campaign issues in this spring’s Fresno mayoral race and District 6 council race. Fresno Bee article

Dan Walters: California budget flunks Moody’s ‘stress test’ — Moody’s Investor Service last month delivered what should be a sobering message about California’s vulnerability to a massive fiscal meltdown. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Candidates blend in at Bakersfield mayoral forum – More similarities than differences emerged Sunday at a forum that attempted to distinguish the 25 people running to become Bakersfield’s next mayor. Bakersfield Californian article

Bakersfield mayoral candidate profile: Roy Charles Keenan — Roy Charles Keenan, 47, jeweler and silversmith at Don Lucas Silver Jewelry and Keenan Silver Jewelry.  Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California GOP opposes marijuana, gun-control, tobacco initiatives — California Republicans endorsed a proposed ballot initiative to hasten death penalty appeals and another to boost transparency in the Legislature, but they voted Sunday to oppose legalized recreational marijuana, higher taxes on cigarettes, and a crackdown on guns and ammunition. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article 

Kamala Harris picks her fights as criminal justice crusader — On issues that have reshaped the state’s criminal justice system – including historic prison realignment, an initiative changing certain felonies to misdemeanors, and scores of public safety bills in the Legislature – Harris’ role has not been pivotal. The pyramid shook, but often it wasn’t her doing the shaking. Sacramento Bee article

Republican U.S. Senate candidates clear the room at convention — Most of the seats were empty by the time the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate addressed their state convention on Sunday. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

California Republicans change rules to keep Jim Brulte at helm — California Republicans recruited Jim Brulte, a prominent former lawmaker, to revive a dilapidated party following the 2012 elections in which Democrats seized two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature. On Sunday, party activists voted to extend term limits for Brulte to keep him at the helm. Sacramento Bee article

Capitol Weekly Podcast at the 2016 CA GOP convention — Join Capitol Weekly’s John Howard as we take the podcast on the road to the 2016 California Republican Convention in Burlingame. No, we didn’t get to interview Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or even John Kasich, but we did chat with a variety of fascinating folks on the floor. Capitol Weekly podcast


AP Exclusive: Migrant children kept from enrolling in school — The Associated Press has found that in at least 35 districts in 14 states, hundreds of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been discouraged from enrolling in schools or pressured into what advocates and attorneys argue are separate but unequal alternative programs — essentially an academic dead end, and one that can violate federal law. AP article

Other areas

Rising confidence in California’s economy is a challenge for GOP presidential candidates – The Republican candidates for president have campaigned all over the country lamenting the rough recovery from the recession and condemningPresident Obama — and by extension Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton — as failures when it comes to jobs and the nation’s well-being. Then they come to California. LA Times article

Trump’s message to California Republicans good news for Democrats– Donald Trump was autopiloting his way through one of his “We’re going to win, and we’re going to win in a way nobody has seen before” riffs at the California Republican convention in Burlingame when he said something that should thrill Democrats — and crush the hopes of the state’s Republicans. San Francisco Chronicle article

Here’s what Trump contributed to Kamala Harris, Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom – It looks like one of Sen. Ted Cruz’s central tactics in California will beattacking Donald Trump for his political contributions to three of California’s top Democrats: Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. LA Times article

California GOP leader sees a distraction in hot presidential race – Former Gov. Pete Wilson rarely makes big speeches these days. But the 82-year-old Republican made a surprise appearance at the GOP convention Saturday to give an impassioned endorsement of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — that sounded just as much like an indictment of Donald Trump. KQED report

Thousands of California Democrats vie to be presidential delegates— About 4,600 registered Democrats ran for district delegates in the state’s 53 congressional districts Sunday, compared with 3,400 in 2008, the last time the party had primary election choices – Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Sacramento Bee article 

Were they lying? Fact-checking the California GOP convention – The Republican presidential candidates addressed California Republicans at their convention in Burlingame over the weekend. The Sacramento Bee’s David Siders and Christopher Cadelago analyze some of their claims. Sacramento Bee article 

George Skelton: When it comes to paying taxes, California is Bernie Sanders’ kind of state – Bernie Sanders wags his finger and shouts that the richest 1% should pay their fair share. No one can argue they aren’t already in California, at least in state taxes. Skelton column in LA Times

Stricter rules for Voter IDs reshape races – As the general election nears — in which new or strengthened voter ID laws will be in place in Texas and 14 other states for the first time in a presidential election — recent academic research indicates that the requirements restrict turnout and disproportionately affect voting by minorities. The laws are also, as in the case of Mr. Gallego, reshaping how many campaigns are run — with candidates not only spending time to secure votes, but also time to ensure those votes can be cast. New York Times article 

Oakland May Day march fuels economic, political passion — The May Day march Sunday in Oakland was all about the issues — there wasn’t a representative of any issue that didn’t show up. San Francisco Chronicle article
California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories 

Florida Gov. Scott wants to use minimum wage hike to steal California businesses – Florida Gov. Rick Scott is back, and he is again gunning for California’s businesses. On Sunday, Scott arrived in Los Angeles, where he will spend three days trying to persuade companies and regular Californians to pack up and head for Florida. He made a similar trip last year, to entice shipping companies to move goods through Florida’s ports. LA Times article 

Fresno Unified offers free SAT, aims to break barriers to testing — Fresno Unified is among a dozen school districts in California now offering the SAT for free in an attempt to break barriers that prevent students from taking the test. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Merced set for tax-sharing talk — The lack of a tax-sharing agreement between the city of Merced and Merced County will be the focus of the first City Council meeting of May. Merced Sun-Star article

Why bankrupt San Bernardino didn’t cut pensions – San Bernardino follows the path of previous bankruptcies in Vallejo and Stockton by limiting the main cuts in long-term debt to bonds and retiree health care, while raising taxes, slowly rebuilding reduced services, and leaving pensions untouched. Stockton Record article

One-third ponder leaving Bay Area amid costs, congestion – Housing costs and a lack of availability, high prices in general and traffic topped the list of concerns in the latest of a series of surveys of residents in the nine counties surrounding San Francisco Bay. Optimism was, in fact, pretty hard to find in the poll of 1,000 residents by the Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored public policy advocacy group. San Francisco Chronicle articleSan Jose Mercury News article

Measure AA seeks Bay Area-wide parcel tax to restore wetlands — The measure would create a parcel tax across the Bay Area of $12 per parcel for the next 20 years. The money raised would be dispensed across the region on an annual basis to projects with measurable environmental benefits in terms of wildlife habitat, public access and “protecting communities from flood.” Like other such tax proposals in California, it needs a “yes” from two-thirds of voters to become law. San Francisco Chronicle article


Almond industry growth continues despite drought — Despite California’s drought, almond growers expanded their orchards by an estimated 60,000 acres in 2015, marking the 12th consecutive year of growth for the crop, which now covers more than 1.1 million acres, or more than any other fruit, nut or vegetable crop in the state. Why? Because almonds make money. Stockton Record article

Judge refuses to halt Delta land sale to Southern California agency — A judge has refused to block a Southern California water agency’s controversial purchase of five islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Sacramento Bee articl

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

On Duty with the CHP: There’s a person behind the badge — I know a lot of you are thinking exactly what my friend thought: Cops are less than friendly. I have to say, I had the same preconceived ideas about law enforcement officers. One thing I can assure you – we are all human and have good days and bad days, just like you. On Duty with the CHP column in Fresno Bee 

Top LA County sheriff’s official resigns over emails involving Muslims and others – A top Los Angeles County sheriff’s official has resigned amid mounting criticism over emails he sent mocking Muslims, blacks, Latinos, women and others from his work account during his previous job with the Burbank Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department announced Sunday. LA Times article


Broad alliance formed to expand preschool at local level – Despite strong support for universal preschool for 4-year-olds in the state Legislature and among the public at large, getting programs started – and funded – on a local level is another matter altogether. EdSource article

Jose Banda: To help students and teachers, district must be financially stable – The superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District writes, “That need for long-term fiscal stability is a critical issue in our negotiations with the Sacramento City Teachers Association over raises, with a fact-finding hearing scheduled for Monday.” Banda op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Greener generation begins with CleanPowerSF — CleanPowerSF is delivering electricity to more than 7,800 residences and businesses. For a program that faced multiple hurdles, including resistance from Mayor Ed Lee and attempts by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to undermine it, the launch is considered a victory. San Francisco Chronicle article

Land Use/Housing

Housing Authority may have small fix to big problem — The Housing Authority is embarking on a pilot program that could provide rental housing for chronically homeless veterans in what are called “small houses” on a roughly quarter-acre vacant lot in Modesto. Modesto Bee article


Why a historic highway that united California’s two halves may never reopen — Harrison Scott discovered the Ridge Route in 1955. Then 18, he was out freewheeling in a brand new Ford he’d bought with a loan from his parents. The sinuous route, an engineering marvel that tamed the San Gabriel Mountains through the highway corridor that is now known as the Grapevine, was already a relic. LA Times article

Other areas

Jose Gaspar: Good leadership needed more than ever at Lamont PUD – The Lamont Public Utility District, which provides water, sewer and street lighting services to the good people of the area, is looking to hire yet another general manager to run this agency that is so plagued with problems that it is difficult to know where to begin. Gaspar column in Bakersfield California 

Modesto-area drivers: Here’s what to do when you hear a siren – Whether it be a fire engine, a police officer or an ambulance, if it’s going Code 3, meaning lights and sirens are on, here are the basics. Modesto Bee article

Merced Sun-Star honored by publishers association – The Merced Sun-Star received top honors for best column and best editorial comment among daily newspapers of similar size in California. Merced Sun-Star article

Stockton Record honored in state newspaper contest – The Record received 25 recognitions for its work in the 2015 Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Stockton Record article 

New book by Fresno children’s author illustrates California history — The south wall of the room in Doug Hansen’s house, which has been converted into an office, is loaded with so many books it could be a satellite of the public library. Despite all of the volumes that line the shelves, Hansen easily finds the book he needs to illustrate a point while talking about his new children’s book, “California, the Magic Island” ($17, Haydey). Fresno Bee article