April 1, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

California lawmakers send Jerry Brown historic $15 minimum wage — California lawmakers moved swiftly Thursday to ratify a deal boosting the state minimum wage to $15, sending legislation to Gov. Jerry Brown just days after the governor announced a deal with labor leaders. Sacramento Bee articleAP articleLA Times articleKQED reportSan Francisco Chronicle article‘How California’s Legislature voted: Did your lawmaker support raising the minimum wage?’ in LA Times

Cathleen Decker: Will Dianne Feinstein run again for Senate? ‘Ask me that in about a year’ – Don’t ask Dianne Feinstein just yet whether she plans to run for a fifth full term in the U.S. Senate, a seat that will be on the ballot in 2018. “I’ve got two years and nine months — ask me that in about a year,” Feinstein said with a grin Thursday during a meeting with Los Angeles Times editors and reporters. “I’ll give you the answer then.” Decker in LA Times

Gov. Brown

Gov. Brown joins heads of state at nuclear summit — Acting as much like a head of state as the head of a state, Gov. Jerry Brown joined President Obama and leaders of more than 50 nations in Washington on Thursday for a two-day global summit aimed at stopping nuclear proliferation. San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley politics 

April filled with Merced County Board of Supervisors candidate forums — Multiple candidate forums for the Merced County Board of Supervisors race are scheduled this month. Merced Sun-Star article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Villaraigosa’s made a decision on California governor’s race, but he’s not sharing it —Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been up and down California as part of a 38-day listening tour. His outreach lays a foundation for a run for governor, right? Well, he’s not exactly revealing the answer. KPCC report

Regular pot users wind up earning less money, new study says — Chronic marijuana smokers, who use cannabis four or more days a week for many years, are more likely to wind up in a lower social and economic class than their parents, according to a recently published study led by a UC Davis epidemiologist. Sacramento Bee article

California U.S. Senate candidate wants to fistfight Koch brothers — This week, Mike Beitiks, a 32-year-old attorney, surfer and father of two, upped the comedy quotient with a new video in which he “reluctantly” offers to fistfight billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch, aged 75 and 80, who he says pay large sums of money to successfully thwart climate change legislation. Sacramento Bee article

Minimum Wage

Fact check: No consensus that minimum wage raises boost unemployment – There is no clear evidence that raising the wage “almost invariably” drives up unemployment. The record is mixed. Sacramento Bee article

Beatris Espericueta Sanders: Unintended fallout of state’s minimum wage increase could be major – The executive director of the Kern County Farm Bureau writes, “In Kern County, agriculture is the second highest job producing industry behind oil, accounting for roughly 35 percent of total jobs. California’s implementation of an uncompetitive minimum wage puts a substantial portion of those agricultural jobs at risk of being automated or outsourced to more competitive labor markets like our neighboring states or international markets.” Sanders op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Minimum wage rises to $15 in New York budget deal — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislative leaders announced on Thursday that they had reached a budget agreement that would raise the minimum wage in New York City to $15 by the end of 2018, but initiate slower increases elsewhere, even in the city’s wealthy suburbs.  New York Times article 

Other areas

New Assembly speaker questioned by once-familiar Capitol figure – Anthony Rendon, the new speaker of the state Assembly, made an appearance Thursday at the Sacramento Press Club, talking mostly about his new role and the tragedy of corruption at various local governments in his Los Angeles-area district. As is the club’s custom, he fielded questions from the audience. Sacramento Bee article

 Documentaries like ‘Blackfish’ influence California’s Capitol – For lawmakers and advocates alike, movies have become a popular way to generate public awareness, promote legislation and reach those under the dome who have a say on the issues they care about. Sacramento Bee article

More products to be added to Assembly ‘tampon tax’ bill – A state Assembly bill to exempt sales tax on menstrual products is about to get amended because its sponsor overlooked a couple of feminine hygiene necessities. San Francisco Chronicle article

Sacramento Bee: Time for California companies to speak up on Trump – Republicans have a right to nominate the candidate of their choice. Corporations have the right to fund the convention. And consumers have a right to be dismayed by it all, and vote with their wallets. Sacramento Bee editorial

‘Dump Trump’ rally held in downtown Fresno – About 50 people opposing Donald Trump’s candidacy for president protested near the federal courthouse in downtown Fresno on Thursday afternoon, urging passing motorists not to vote Trump, who they say is “full of hate.” Fresno Bee article

Donald Trump is enduring one of the worst weeks of his campaign. Is it a bump or a turning point? — After months of dominating the Republican race, Donald Trump has endured one of his worst weeks since launching his presidential bid, and while he remains the GOP front-runner, his struggles have underscored his weaknesses and increased the possibility that he might fall short of seizing the nomination. LA Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Dan Walters: Showdown looming on California schools — A loose coalition of education reform and civil rights groups has been jousting for three years with state officials over how local schools will be held accountable for spending state aid meant to benefit poor and “English learner” students. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

How did a SUV get through Lemoore base security and crash into a warplane? — The commander of Lemoore Naval Air Station said Thursday “many investigations” will follow a fatal overnight incident in which an SUV breached security and crashed into an FA-18E warplane on the base. The two occupants of the Jeep Cherokee, a male driver and a female passenger, died in the crash. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta articleHanford Sentinel articleKVPR report

Jobs and the Economy

Groups get names removed from Measure F opposition statement — Four business-friendly groups whose names were included in a statement opposing Measure F, the Kern County library sales tax measure, have had their names pulled from the document. Bakersfield Californian article

Ben Carson joins roster of Bakersfield business conference speakers – Former presidential hopeful Ben Carson will be among the speakers at the Bakersfield Business Conference later this year, event organizers announced Thursday. He will be joined by two well-known political columnists, Dan Walters and Debra Saunders, it also was announced. Bakersfield Californian article

Hanford’s top cop plugs tax measure – About 25 local residents showed up to a public forum this week to hear Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever deliver a speech in favor of Measure K, the public safety sales tax proposal that goes before Kings County voters in June. Hanford Sentinel article

Future is on San Joaquin County’s doorstep, Westley tells group – People looking for the future should know it’s already here and on San Joaquin County’s doorstep, Steve Wesley said as he spoke Thursday to the San Joaquin Partnership and Business Council Inc. annual meeting. Stockton Record article

Stockton Record: It all adds up for United Way and its 2 angels – We’ll start with a simple mathematical equation then explain why the numbers have helped San Joaquin County immeasurably over the years. Stockton Record editorial

Downtown Bakersfield says goodbye to longtime ‘neighbor’ — Businesses come and businesses go. It’s one of the laws of the urban jungle. So when Pankaj Patel closed the doors for the last time Thursday at his Downtown Deli Market, a business he built and operated for 20 years, one might assume his departure didn’t cause much of a stir. One would be wrong. Bakersfield Californian article 

LA County asks cities to help pay for programs to combat homelessness – Los Angeles County officials are studying how to come up with as much as $500 million a year they say is needed to help address the region’s spiraling homelessness crisis. They’re hoping that some of it will come from the county’s 88 independent cities, even if it’s only in increments of $500 a month for each homeless person or family in need of a temporary housing subsidy. LA Times article

LA leaders limit how much homeless people can keep on the streets — The Los Angeles City Council voted Thursday to limit homeless people’s belongings to 60 gallons worth, roughly the size of a large recycling bin. KPCC report

Walmart renovating former Camp America building in Fresno – Contractors have been renovating the cavernous former Dan Gamel Camp America building at 4080 W. Shaw Ave. in Fresno, reportedly in advance of Walmart’s intention to open a new “supercenter” at the site. The Business Journal article 

Lodi winegrape director takes new job — Camron King, executive director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission since 2012, will leave that post to become the new president of the National Grape & Wine Initiative, which is based in Sacramento. Stockton Record article

California congressmen to CalPERS: Dump ExxonMobil stocks — Two California congressmen want California to sell its holdings in ExxonMobil, because, they say, investing in the oil company is “morally suspect” in light of climate change. Sacramento Bee article

Major League Soccer commissioner plans Sacramento visit in April — Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber has scheduled a visit to Sacramento in April for his first up-close tour of a planned stadium site in the downtown railyard and to meet with investors driving the city’s campaign to join the ranks of the nation’s top professional soccer league. Sacramento Bee article

Elon Musk unveils Tesla Model 3 to huge fanfare — Pre-orders for the electric vehicle — envisioned as Tesla’s first affordable electric car for the masses — began Thursday morning in stores around the world and online starting at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time. By 10 p.m., roughly 133,000 pre-orders had been placed. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

LA is losing out on $41 million in taxes from Airbnb, study says – If property owners who rent out homes and apartments on the popular home-sharing site Airbnb were to pay taxes as hotels do, the city of Los Angeles would collect an extra $41 million each year. LA Times article

Editor and 70-plus others fired at Orange County Register — Rob Curley, editor of the paper, confirmed Thursday that it would be his last day. He was among 70-plus staff members who were being let go from the editorial, circulation, advertising and marketing departments, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing the Register. LA Times article

The cities on the sunny side of the American economy — In places like Denver and Atlanta, employers are hiring, housing prices are up and consumers are spending. New York Times article 

Rams roll out ticket pricing plan, with packages ranging from $360 to $2,025 — The Rams, who received 56,000 season-ticket deposits for their first year back in Los Angeles, are planning to offer eight tiers of tickets, with nine-game packages ranging from $360 to $2,025 for the fall of this year. LA Times article

Amazon plans fifth fulfillment center in Inland Empire — As Amazon Inc. moves to shrink delivery times from days to hours, it’s spreading its enormous inventory across a growing network of fulfillment centers on the outskirts of the nation’s biggest cities. Within this strategy, San Bernardino has emerged as a key player thanks to its abundance of affordable land, proximity to ports and access to one of the nation’s biggest consumer markets. LA Times article

Mercedes-Benz of Fresno named a ‘Best Place to Work’ — Mercedes-Benz of Fresno was recently named “Best Place to Work” by Mercedes-Benz USA. According to the survey, Mercedes-Benz of Fresno scored among the top 5 percent of the entire dealer network. The Business Journal article


 Feds to announce water allotment for some California farms – Federal officials will say how much water some California farmers can expect to receive this year in one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions. AP article

Steve Worthley: Temperance Flat reservoir could help solve water crisis – The Tulare County supervisor and president of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority writes, “We know any new reservoir will be challenging and expensive. However, having already seen what happens when water supplies run dry for so many Valley people, we simply can’t afford not to make such an investment.” Worthley op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Robert Merrill: Groundwater storage isn’t sexy, but it beats Temperance Flat – The Fresno State professor emeritus of geology writes, “Climate change will increase the probability of droughts by altering precipitation patterns. Building Temperance Flat to capture small amounts during infrequent flood years is unlikely to significantly improve sustainability. But, expanding groundwater recharge capacity will undoubtedly create a sustainable water supply for future generations.” Merrill op-ed in Fresno Bee

Fresno County farmer’s organically raised pork in demand — When Fresno County farmer John Teixeira delivers his prized pork to The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, owner Aaron Rocchino has a list of customers to call. Fresno Bee article

AgFest returns for third year — A dispute over county fairgrounds logistics between two popular groups has been resolved, and a beloved livestock show and auction will continue this summer as it has for years. Stockton Record article

Water agency: ‘Relax’ conservation mandate for northern California — Some water providers in northern California say that with near-normal northern Sierra snowpack, state water managers should “relax” conservation mandates for the region. Capital Public Radio report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

First Look: Bakersfield police chief hopes to avoid budget cuts despite downturn in oil industry – Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson said Thursday he hopes the police department can avoid budget cuts given this year’s fluctuations in oil prices, which have seriously impacted the local economy. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno council halts purchase of data software wanted by Fresno police — Fresno City Council members put the brakes on a proposal by police Chief Jerry Dyer for specialized computer software to scour online public records databases to quickly provide officers with information about addresses on 911 emergency calls. Fresno Bee article

New set of San Francisco cops implicated in racist and homophobic texts — A new group of San Francisco police officers was implicated in exchanging bigoted text messages, fueling increased scrutiny of the city force and prompting a review of court cases handled by those officers for potential bias, authorities said Thursday. San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times articleKQED report


Fresno State’s new plan increases opportunity – California State University, Fresno’s new five-year strategic plan is designed to increase student success by providing them better learning opportunities. Hanford Sentinel article

Stockton Record: UC must fix admissions policy — University of California President Janet Napolitano has some explaining to do. The answers had better be good. Stockton Record editorial

High school diplomas at last for students who failed exit exam – Nearly a decade of frustration, anxiety and disappointment ended for Marisa Herrera this month when her long-awaited high school diploma arrived in the mail. EdSource article

School program gives kids a Head Start – The Head Start and Early Head Start programs support families while educating children and fostering their mental, social, physical and emotional development from birth through age 5. The program also provides services for low-income children and their families, children with disabilities and children in foster care. Homeless children and dual-language learners are also served. Stockton Record article

Angela Frantz: Special ed kids: They’re really more alike than different – The Bakersfield wife, mom and advocate writes, “The community needs intervention – now. Children with special needs have, by law, the same rights to education afforded to all children. They will not live in a “special” world when they are adults, so they should not be expected to learn in a “special” school. Get to know my child. Appreciate him for who he is and not for what makes him “different.” You might be surprised to find he really is “more alike than different.” Frantz op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Porterville High School named ‘model school’ — Citrus High School in Porterville has been honored in the 2015-16 Model Continuation High School Recognition Program. Visalia Times-Delta article 

San Ramon: LGBT curriculum riles some middle school parents — LGBTQ Acceptance Week apparently isn’t gaining acceptance from everyone in the Windemere Ranch Middle School community, as some parents are circulating a petition decrying what they consider an over-emphasis on lesbian, gay and transgender issues. Oakland Tribune article


Tom Dalzell: Diablo Canyon is needed for clean energy transition – The business manager of IBEW Local 1245 writes, “There is no path to consistently reduce greenhouse gases without Diablo Canyon’s contribution of clean power. Extension of the leases will make that possible.” Dalzell op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Study reveals hidden value of Baja California mangroves in climate change fight —As climate change has heightened concerns about the global decline of mangroves, a study released this week found that such ecosystems along the desert coast of Baja California may be more important than previously thought for keeping heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. LA Times article 

Bio-engineering fish are target of lawsuit — Bay Area fishing groups joined environmental and consumer advocates Thursday in a lawsuit that aims to stop a genetically engineered fish infused with genes from other species from finding its way onto dinner plates. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services 

Fentanyl overdose cases rise to 29, including death of El Dorado Hills teen – The potent painkiller fentanyl widened its reach Thursday, as a new overdose case appeared and law enforcement officials confirmed the fentanyl-related death of an 18-year-old El Dorado Hills resident. Sacramento Bee article

Christina A. Roup and Jack Moore: Save Mart slaps down stigma – The NAMI Fresno officials write, “The Fresno Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness thanks Save Mart for its leadership in supporting people affected by mental illness.” Roup/Moore op-ed in Fresno Bee

April focuses on sexual assault awareness in Merced — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Valley Crisis Center is planning several events, including a Denim Day fundraiser to help survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Merced Sun-Star article

Orthopedic interns at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto score near the top — The orthopedic surgery residents at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto scored in the top 2 percent in an important examination of training programs in North America. Modesto Bee article


Bright idea: Caltrans explores solar roads — Caltrans is partnering with a Dutch company to explore the possibility of installing solar panels beneath one of the state’s busiest highways — including in Kern County — recreating a project that thus far has been tested only on a bike path in the Netherlands, officials announced this week. Bakersfield Californian article

Southwest to launch new service from Long Beach to Oakland — The newest carrier at Long Beach Airport plans to start its service with routes to the Bay Area. Southwest Airlines, which was awarded four slots to operate out of the 1,166-acre facility, announced Thursday its plans to start four daily flights to Oakland International Airport on June 5.  LA Times article

Other areas

Judge says ‘no’ to seeking legalized prostitution in California – Americans may have a constitutional right to engage in consensual, intimate relationships, but that doesn’t mean they have a right to buy or sell sex, a Bay Area federal judge ruled Thursday in upholding California’s 144-year-old ban on prostitution. San Francisco Chronicle article

Death halts Knights Ferry mail service — One hundred and sixty-three years of mail service to the historic town of Knights Ferry abruptly stopped this week when the contractor in charge passed away. Modesto Bee article 

Blind boy takes the field for youth baseball team in Modesto — Jasen Bracy, who was diagnosed with cancerous eye tumors when he was 1 1/2 , survived harrowing rounds of chemotherapy before losing his sight three years ago. The 9-year-old Modesto boy is a blind player on the Sonoma Dolphins youth baseball team. Modesto Bee article