April 13, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

A ‘sanctuary state’ bill is raising heated debate among California lawmakers.  Here’s how it would work — The proposal, known as the “sanctuary state” bill, was sparked by the Trump administration’s broadened deportation orders. It would expand so-called sanctuary city policies, prohibiting state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes. LA Times article

 California vaccine rates increase after Legislature toughens rules for children — School vaccination rates are the highest in California in more than 15 years after the Legislature toughened requirements. A new report by the California Department of Public Health found that 95.6 percent of kindergartners in the current school year completed vaccinations requirements. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Nunes won’t hold town hall? Opponents schedule one anyway — Fed-up opponents of Rep. Devin Nunes are tired of waiting for their congressman to hold a town hall meeting in his district, so they’re holding one without him. Billed in a flyer as “People’s Town Hall For a Better Future,” the meeting will be 6 to 8 p.m. April 19 at the Ponderosa lecture hall of the College of the Sequoias in Visalia. Fresno Bee article

Former Manteca trustee’s election fraud trial goes to jury — A jury of mostly women began deliberations Wednesday to determine if Ashley Drain, a former Manteca Unified School District trustee, is guilty of election fraud that is linked by an alleged 2014 conspiracy. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Joel Fox: Could a Dem vs. Dem governor’s race save some congressional Republicans? — Despite all the anti-Trump resistance in California that quickens the heartbeat of Democrats hoping to knock off a number of California’s congressional Republicans their survival hinges on turnout and just maybe could be influenced by California’s unique top two primary system. Just a theory here, but if the top-two primary delivers a Democrat vs Democrat final in the November election for the top job in California, might that lower Democratic voters turnout to help some Republicans?  Fox in Fox & Hounds


Police departments say they don’t enforce immigration laws.  But their manuals say something different – Like many law enforcement agencies across California, Culver City police say officers don’t enforce federal immigration law. The City Council declared the town a so-called sanctuary city last month, promising to protect the public safety of all city residents, regardless of immigration status. But the Police Department’s manual seems to suggest something different, offering officers guidance on how to stop people suspected of illegally entering the U.S., a misdemeanor under federal law. LA Times article

Trump administration moving quickly to build up nationwide deportation force — The Trump administration is quickly identifying ways to assemble the nationwide deportation force that President Trump promised on the campaign trail as he railed against the dangers posed by illegal immigration. Washington Post article

Detained immigrants may face harsher conditions under Trump – According to two Homeland Security officials who had knowledge of the plans but declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly, new jail contracts will contain a far less detailed set of regulations. They will make no mention of the need for translation services, for example. A current rule that detainees’ requests for medical care be evaluated by a professional within 24 hours will be replaced by a requirement that the jails merely have procedures on providing medical care. New York Times article

First lawsuit filed to block Trump border wall that would start in San Diego — The Center for Biological Diversity, a nationally known environmental group, on Wednesday filed a legal challenge against the Trump administration over its proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall that would start in San Diego County. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Protestors say Sheriff Mims should stop helping deportation efforts —Protesters gathered Wednesday morning outside Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims’ office to protest the sheriff’s collaboration with deportation officials and to support a “Caravan Against Fear” tour to defend immigrant rights. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

‘Bathroom bill’ gone, but California keeping ban on travel to North Carolina – Attorney General Xavier Becerra won’t lift a ban on publicly funded travel to North Carolina even though the Southern state repealed the law that California Democrats condemned as discriminatory against gay and transgender people. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

George Skelton: Should California move up its primary to gain clout in presidential election? – California voters had virtually no voice in who was nominated for president last year. That’s plain wrong. And hopefully it can be made right for 2020. Yes, that’s an eon away, although for millions of voters in this deep-blue state, the next presidential election probably can’t come soon enough. Skelton column in LA Times

A rich reformer lobbies California for merciful justice – A cattle-ranching billionaire headed into Gov. Jerry Brown’s office last week with redemption on his mind. Redemption for prisoners who wind up behind bars because their own tortured childhoods lead them to lives of crime. Redemption for veterans who bring home wartime scars that cause addiction and violence. And redemption, perhaps, even for himself—born into privilege, born again as a Christian, and determined to make a difference with his wealth. CALmatters article

Would a $100 tax break encourage more animal adoptions — Adopting an animal from a shelter could potentially bring benefits beyond companionship, especially during next year’s tax season. Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, D-Rancho Cucamonga, has proposed a bill that would give a tax deduction of up to $100 for people who adopt pets from shelters. Merced Sun-Star article

How’s this for a trade-off: End sales tax on tampons and diapers, but raise liquor taxes —  The slogans are simple, and meant to convey a clear choice. “It’s time to tax liquor before ladies,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) said. LA Times article

Presidential Politics

Trump shifting positions at breakneck pace – On everything from NATO to health care, Trump has demonstrated a willingness to bend his views. But there’s one flip-flop he won’t make. Politico article; New York Times article

Meet Trump’s nemesis on Russia: California Rep. Adam Schiff — Rep. Adam Schiff, seemingly so mid-mannered and calm, is emerging as the unlikely face of Congress’ fiercest opposition to President Donald Trump. His role as the Democratic Party’s most visible investigator in the probe of President Donald Trump’s Russia ties puts him squarely in a spotlight that could make him a political star for years to come. McClatchy Newspapers article

News Stories

Top Stories

Fresno State says FBI, Secret Service probing professor’s tweets about President Trump — Fresno State President Joseph Castro said Wednesday that he and his staff will continue to cooperate with federal investigators in their probe of a German-born history professor who ignited a firestorm when he said on Twitter that President Donald Trump must hang to save democracy. In a conference call with reporters, Castro said has been in frequent contact with the FBI, Secret Service and Homeland Security since last Saturday when professor Lars Maischak made national headlines after a report surfaced that he had tweeted “to save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better.” Fresno Bee article

Valley fever killed six, infected 1,900 last year in Kern County — Valley fever is reaching epidemic proportions and researchers aren’t sure why. The airborne fungal spores that cause the illness killed six Kern County residents in 2016 and infected 1,905 others, a 62 percent surge over the number infected the year prior. That makes 2016 the worst year for the respiratory disease since 2012, Kern County Public Health officials announced Wednesday. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Reasons to love Fresno — Fresnans talk about their city’s lively arts scene, fine state university and easygoing vibe. The city is situated in the middle of the state, allowing residents to get into the Sierra Nevada in under two hours and to the Pacific in under three. And then there is affordability. New York Times article; Fresno Bee article

Survey finds you can live comfortably in Fresno if you make at least $44,648 yearly — Fresno has long been one of California’s most affordable areas to live in thanks to low housing prices and a cheaper cost of living when it comes to other necessities. So it’s not exactly a surprise to see Fresno on GOBankingRates’ cost-of-living comparison survey as one of America’s most affordable cities to live in. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

Police overtime bill for Stockton City Council meeting security: $18,000 – Extra police officers dispatched to disturbances at three chaotic City Council meetings the past two months accumulated more than $18,000 in overtime pay according to information provided by the city in response to a California Public Records Act request by The Record. Stockton Record article

Kevin Valine: Modest revisits $240,000 settlement with manager — The city is revisiting its roughly $240,000 settlement agreement with its longtime solid waste manager after the California Public Employees’ Retirement System said it won’t count toward the manager’s pension.Modesto Bee article

Sacramento Bee: A factory closes, and California seems to shrug –Aerojet’s departure leaves us to wonder what California leaders’ vision is for the Sacramento region. The list of companies that have left is too long. Some companies have moved in. But what is the plan? Sacramento Bee editorial

No public information officer for San Joaquin County supervisors —The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday quashed a proposal to create a new public information officer position to represent them, saying department heads and their own legislative aides already undertake those duties. Stockton Record article 

New funding to house California’s homeless must first clear hurdles – Counties around California are preparing for an influx of state funding to add new housing for homeless people with mental illness. But it will likely be at least two years before they’re ready to hand out new house keys. Capital Public Radio report

San Francisco lawmaker seeks to speed up homeless housing — Assemblyman Phil Ting says he wants to hammer down the regulatory delays that can turn constructing housing for homeless people into a slog through bureaucratic molasses, and he’s come up with an aggressive approach: a measure that would let San Francisco rewrite the rules to supply roofs quickly for the 7,000 people in the city with no long-term home. San Francisco Chronicle article

Bay Area companies rank among highest paying in U.S. — Several Bay Area tech companies, including search giant Google and cloud software firm VMware, rank among the top 25 highest-paying companies in the nation, according to a new Glassdoor.com survey. San Jose Mercury News article

Foon Rhee: Should a performer’s politics matter? — A pro-Israel activist wants the city and Kings to cancel the show by Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd frontman set to play Golden 1 Center on June 12, because Waters is a vocal critic of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians. The city and Kings say political views don’t decide who gets to play at the new arena. Rhee in Sacramento Bee


Two days or three? How often could Fresno water customers get to sprinkle their lawns? – Fresno’s stringent one-day-a-week watering schedule will come to an end later this month. What replaces it – and whether Fresno residents will get to start watering their lawns two days a week or three – could be decided Thursday. Fresno Bee article

News of full water allocation for Westside farmers is good, but late — Westside Merced County farmers are happy that, for the first time since 2006, they’ll receive their full water allocation from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. But some feel the news came too late. Los Banos Enterprise article; Modesto Bee article

The drought is over, right? Not in these four counties – Gov. Jerry Brown recently lifted his emergency drought declaration for all of California except four counties: Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne. These counties tend to rely on groundwater, which takes longer to recharge after a drought than surface water. But that’s not really what keeping the emergency declaration in place is about. KQED report

Waterwise: Conservation by the toilet flush — Hector Uriarte wants locals to conserve water one toilet flush at a time. Through a program from the Community Service and Development, Proteus Inc. is offering free replacement of water inefficient toilets.  Visalia Times-Delta article

EPA fines Simplot for incorrect storage, labeling of pesticides — One of the largest agribusiness companies in the nation with a location in Stockton has been fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for improperly storing and labeling pesticides.  Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Jaywalker in Sacramento police takedown had Fresno arrest warrant — The 24-year-old jaywalker whose arrest by a Sacramento police officer was caught on video and led to a probe of the officer’s behavior has a warrant for his arrest stemming from a Fresno incident nearly five years ago in which he resisted arrest and threatened to headbutt officers, court records say.Fresno Bee article; Sacramento Bee article

Fresno police focus on surge of vehicle burglaries — Window smash vehicle burglaries are on the rise in Fresno, with police reporting 364 throughout the city in the last 28 days, Fresno Chief Jerry Dyer reportedTuesday after reviewing crime data with his command staff and the news media. Fresno Bee article


Fresno State professor apologizes for ‘Trump must hang’ tweet – Lars Maischak, the Fresno State history professor who became the subject of nationwide controversy following his “Trump must hang” tweet, apologized for his actions in a written statement given to The Bee on Wednesdaymorning. In addition, Maischak said that he has deleted his Twitter account and is “prepared to take full responsibility for my statements.” Fresno Bee article; Kathryn Forbes op-ed in Fresno Bee: ‘When employer power reaches into our private lives’

Sandy beach: No, CSUB team spending spring break swinging hammers for a cause — A group of 18 sophomores from Cal State Bakersfield – mostly women – gave up their spring break to help Tatum renovate the house his family will call home. So instead of heading to the beach and sinking their feet deep into warm sand, they took scythes to tall grass and cleared the backyard. Rather than putting on sunglasses, they strapped on safety goggles and respirators. Bakersfield Californian article

Visalia, Tulare graduation rates well above the state average –  California’s high school graduation rate has increased yet again, with 82.3 percent of high school students graduating in 2016. While several local school districts are following suit, others are falling behind. Visalia Times-Delta article

Million-dollar teachers: Cashing in by selling their lessons – Miss Kindergarten is in the million-dollar club. So are Lovin Lit, the Moffatt Girls and about a dozen other teacher-entrepreneurs who are spinning reading, math, science and social studies into gold by selling their lesson plans online to fellow teachers around the world. Despite worries from some educators, such online marketplaces are booming, driven by rising standards and the willingness of teachers to pay out of their own pockets for classroom-tested materials. AP article

Fresno Unified not responsible for porn comments made about teacher, jury says – Mai Summer Vue, a fourth-grade teacher falsely accused during a Fresno Unified School District Board meeting of acting in pornography, has failed in her bid to force her bosses to pay her thousands in damages for the embarrassing affair. Fresno Bee article

UC Merced names new chief. And, he’s the first chief of Hmong descent at any UC campus – UC Merced named a new chief of police effective immediately, officials said Wednesday. Chou Her is the first person of Hmong descent to lead a public safety agency at any campus in the University of California system, and has nearly two decades of law enforcement experience, according to officials. Merced Sun-Star article 

UC: Locals vs. out-of-staters — It’s a common story. California high school graduates with top grades and scores still aren’t able to get into the University of California campus of their choice. Capitol Weekly article

UC Berkeley Republicans test limits again with Ann Coulter speech –The Berkeley College Republicans have no problem inviting the nation’s most provocative conservatives to speak on campus — and the more outrageous the better, they say. It’s good for business. Now the Republicans are hosting another columnist and provocateur: Ann Coulter, who labels herself a “mean-spirited, bigoted conservative” (but “a Christian first”). San Francisco Chronicle article

Stress, anxiety, relief and excitement — Most colleges and universities start sending out acceptance letters to high school seniors between mid-February and the end of March. By now, the anxiety for students about which colleges they got into has subsided and the excitement of getting into their “dream” school or choosing which school to attend has set in. Hanford Sentinel article

California bill aims to crack down on for-profit charter schools—Vowing to fight public school profiteering, Democratic state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would either block or seriously limit for-profit companies’ ability to operate charter schools in California. CALmatters article

Modesto OKs free bus rides for Modesto Junior College students –Modesto Junior College students are one step closer to riding Modesto and Stanislaus County buses for free. The city has approved the agreement for the program. The agreement will now go to the county Board of Supervisors. MJC would reimburse the city and county for the rides. Modesto Bee article

Jeff Jardine: Ripon, Stockton factor into Kansas kids’ investigation that led to principal’s ouster — Try a bunch of kids on a high school newspaper staff in Kansas, thanks to their story that includes links to Ripon and Stockton. They exposed the school’s newly hired principal by checking out her résumé and found that her college alma mater – purportedly with a Stockton campus – exists in website only. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Chicken nearly disappeared from LA school lunches.  Now it’s making a comeback — This month, the Board of Education finally cleared the way for a chicken comeback, approving contracts with three new vendors — including powerhouse Perdue Farms — that more closely meet its criteria. As soon as May, students should see the return of chicken frankfurters, patties and tenders.  LA Times article


There’s fear that the EPA’s request for court delay may lead to dirtier air – When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted a stricter smog limit in 2015, forcing states to reduce emissions, many people were disappointed. At the time, the agency reduced the ground-level ozone standard to 70 parts per billion, down from the 75-ppb standard adopted in 2008 under the George W. Bush administration. LA Times article

Sea-level rise in California could be catastrophic, study says – A state-commissioned report on climate change released Wednesday raises the stakes for fighting global warming, offering a clearer and, in some cases, more catastrophic picture of how much sea levels will rise in California.  San Francisco Chronicle article

California boosts funding for electric vehicle charging stations – Plans to build more electric vehicle charging stations in California received a boostWednesday in the form of a $15 million grant that state officials hope will grow much larger. Capital Public Radio report

‘Right in your backyard’: Nearly 80 bird species on overlooked river —  Some see a levee, others see a drainage ditch. But if all Stocktonians could spend an hour walking the banks with Ryan Hill and his biology students, they would see the Calaveras for what it really is: A river, teeming with life, more diverse than the casual passerby can possibly imagine. Stockton Record article

Health/Human Services

New chief of emergency medicine named for UCSF Fresno — Dr. Jim Comes has been appointed chief of emergency medicine at UCSF Fresno and vice chairman of emergency medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. Fresno Bee article

Kaweah Delta keeps ‘A’ grade hospital rating — Kaweah Delta Medical Center was recently awarded its fifth consecutive “A” rating – the top grade for patient safety – in the latest Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Los Banos’ Memorial receives an ‘A’ in national survey; Mercy slips to ‘C’ — Los Banos’ Memorial Hospital was among a handful of Valley hospitals awarded an “A” grade on patient safety, according to a national survey released this week. Merced Sun-Star article


Rail project forces relocation for Fresno Rescue Mission — Facing eventual dislocation by California’s high-speed rail project, the Fresno Rescue Mission has begun construction on a new, but temporary, $6 million facility on G Street to house its services for the homeless. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

How United could have avoided a PR mess: Check its own schedule —United Airlines, now under withering criticism for forcibly ejecting passengers from a plane it overbooked, has argued it had to make room for a flight crew needed elsewhere. But a McClatchy review of the airline’s service schedule found the carrier could have put that crew on as many as three other flights.McClatchy Newspapers article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Will Interior Secretary’s visit to Yosemite inspire him to protect our national treasures?; Stories like a doctor being forcefully dragged off a United Airlines jet because it was overbooked don’t go viral unless they have a ring of truth to them. What has been ringing this week is the sense that something ugly is re-accommodating human decency.

Sacramento Bee –- Aerojet’s departure leaves us to wonder what California leaders’ vision is for the Sacramento region. The list of companies that have left is too long. Some companies have moved in. But what is the plan?; We hold out hope that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will become an advocate for the environment. He did, after all, ride a horse to work on his first day as Interior secretary. Gimmicky, yes. But it sent a message.