April 11, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

California ballot measure signature bonanza continues — With a suggested filing deadline later this month, proponents of would-be November ballot measures continue to shell out big bucks to try to collect hundreds of thousands of voter signatures. As of late last week, signature-gatherers were paying $5.50 a signature for an initiative that would require that legislation be in print for three days before lawmakers vote. Sacramento Bee article

California protects pay by gender, is race next? – Just as California businesses begin to implement a law requiring equal pay for workers regardless of their gender, already the toughest of its kind in the nation, a state lawmaker is seeking to expand it to protect employees from racial discrimination. AP article

Race to the top in Stockton – The race to be Stockton’s mayor has begun in earnest, with several candidate forums scheduled in the coming weeks and voters heading to the polls June 7. The June ballot lists eight candidates who run the gamut from 1960s-era mayor Jimmie Rishwain to residents Gary Malloy, Tony Mannor, Sean Murray and Emiliano Adams, none of whom has held elected office. The three best-known candidates are current elected officials: incumbent Mayor Anthony Silva, City Councilman Michael Tubbs and San Joaquin County Supervisor Carlos Villapudua. Stockton Record article

Valley politics

Bakersfield mayoral candidate profile: Addison Chavez – Twenty-five people — yes, 25 — are running for mayor of Bakersfield. To help voters choose among them, The Californian is running candidate profiles based on questionnaires sent to them. Today: Addison Chavez, 26, a draftsman. Bakersfield Californian article

Deputy salaries the focus of Merced supervisor candidate forum — Candidates for the Merced County Board of Supervisors discussed their stances on law enforcement pay during a forum held Saturday evening by the county’s Deputy Sheriff’s Association at the Merced Elks Lodge No. 1240. The topic, which dominated the questions and discussion in the forum, revealed how candidates plan to address the declining number of sheriff’s deputies, many of whom are leaving the county for higher-paying jobs amid rising crime in the county. Merced Sun-Star article

Big turnout expected in June – With a controversial candidate leading the Republican presidential race, San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters Austin Erdman said he expects more voters to cast ballots this primary election. Stockton Record article

Merced Mysteries and Minutiae: California primary late in the game to cut costs — Elections are expensive. Lots of little things go into them, such as ordering ballots, having poll workers, and ensuring equipment is working properly and accurately. Late last year and very early this year, top California officials were considering moving the primary election up to March, said Barbara Levey, Merced County’s registrar of voters. Though the primary election remained in June, Levey said her staff had to prepare for the primary as if it would happen in March, just in case. Merced Sun-Star article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Mail-in ballots are convenient, but also present challenges — Voting by mail is becoming an increasingly popular choice. In California’s 2014 general election, more than 60 percent of votes cast came via mail-in ballots, an all-time high. The method has become so popular that a bill pending in the state Legislature would let counties conduct all-mail ballot elections. But Kim Nalder, with the Project for an Informed Electorate, says there are some shortcomings voters should be aware of. For instance, she says research shows mail-in ballots have higher error rates. KQED report


Hundreds of migrant teens are being held indefinitely in locked detention – When adults are picked up at the border, they are dealt with by the Department of Homeland Security. But unaccompanied children are turned over to a different agency, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As the number of migrant kids has multiplied, ORR’s job has grown. In 2011, the agency took custody of 7,000 children. In 2014 it was 57,000. KQED report

Minimum Wage

Dave Regan, key to minimum wage fight, divides labor family — On the day Gov. Jerry Brown gathered last week in Los Angeles with legislators and union members to sign a bill raising California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, Dave Regan was calculating the payoff for workers at his health care union’s office in Oakland. His organization, representing 85,000 hospital employees, spent about $1.6 million to qualify a minimum wage initiative for the fall ballot. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Schwarzenegger ally’s son freed from California prison – The son of a former California state Assembly speaker has been freed from prison after his manslaughter sentence was dramatically reduced in 2011 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, prison officials said Sunday. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Esteban Nunez, now 27, will live in Sacramento County on parole supervision for three years. AP article; LA Times article

Cruz outmaneuvering Trump in behind-the-scenes battle for delegates — Donald Trump has won more votes and carried more states than any Republican. Still, he stands a fair chance of losing the GOP nomination because up to now he largely ignored one of the most rudimentary aspects of a presidential run: securing loyal delegates. LA Times article

George Skelton: Delegate math doesn’t add up for Bernie Sanders in California – Reformers can kill all the fun. There’s no better example than the California battle shaping up between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Because of past do-gooders, neither candidate can really run up a big score in the June 7 presidential primary. Skelton column in LA Times

Prayers sent from Fresno to Armenians attacked in breakaway region — The halls of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in downtown Fresno echoed with somber prayers during a special Sunday service for the Armenian soldiers killed during fighting in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Fresno Bee article

California Government Today:
Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Report: California traffic stops, arrests hit minorities harder – Black and Latino Californians are disproportionately likely to have their driver’s licenses suspended and face arrest as a result of traffic stops, according to a new report. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article

The rich live longer everywhere. For the poor, geography matters — In some parts of the country, adults with the lowest incomes die on average as young as people in much poorer nations like Rwanda, and their life spans are getting shorter. New York Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Asparagus festival is bigger, better and back in Stockton — Last year, Stockton natives and promoters Tony and Carol Noceti rescued the Stockton Asparagus Festival from oblivion, just as they did the Stockton 99 Speedway in 2009. Last year’s inaugural festival drew 70,000 people, compared with 55,000 at the previous festival’s final year. It returns to the San Joaquin Fairgrounds April 15-17. Sacramento Bee article

Serial ADA lawsuit filer striking Bay Area — Johnson, a Carmichael attorney who is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair, has moved his focus from the greater Sacramento area to the East Bay and South Bay. Since October, he has sued 39 businesses in various cities and towns, including San Ramon, San Jose, Campbell, Pacheco and Pleasant Hill. San Jose Mercury News article

Brown’s long road to retiree health cost relief — Gov. Brown’s plan to reduce state worker retiree health care costs got only a small nod in a tentative CSU faculty contract agreement last week. But three unions have agreed to begin paying down one of the state’s fastest-growing costs and largest debts. Calpensions article

Despite the hype for Tesla’s Model 3, electric car sales are far from robust – The recent hoopla around Tesla’s planned Model 3 might lead one to think electric-car sales are surging. They’re not. LA Times article

A sprawling network of startups pops up in Uber’s wake — As it plows forward in its industry-busting zeal, and prepares to make a big move into downtown Oakland in 2017 where it could add as many as 3,000 employees, Uber has inspired a host of dreamers like Bellefeuille. He is just a part of a burgeoning cottage industry of small and medium-sized businesses whose founders see gaps in Uber’s business model and then figure out ways to make money by filling them. San Jose Mercury News article

The future of food among many topics discussed at Los Angeles Times Festival of Books — Describe the future of food in one phrase. The question was posed at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Sunday by Mas Masumoto, a writer and organic peach farmer who moderated the panel on “Food Futures.” LA Times article


Ask TBC: Why, in a drought, is this water being let out of the river? – As for the water flows in the Kern River channel near the Stockdale Highway bridge, Ryan said, the city’s Water Resources Department has been diverting Kern River water via its Kern River Canal at Bellevue River Weir, Aera Park Recharge Basin and the Wilson Ditch Recharge Facility along the bike path, west of Stockdale Highway, due to unstorable water condition within Lake Isabella. Bakersfield Californian article

New groundwater laws discussed – New groundwater laws passed in 2014 won’t just affect ag and oil. Many other businesses and municipalities could be affected, according to the Water Association of Kern County which will hold a forum to discuss the new laws. Bakersfield Californian article

Don Curlee: Price swings big for nut crops — Walnut growers in California can expect payment for this year’s crop to be about half the amount they were paid for the 2015 crop. And growers of the state’s gigantic almond crop, as well as pistachio growers are taking what steps they can to avoid getting whiplashed in a similar market crunch down the road. Curlee column in Visalia Times-Delta

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Modesto fatal officer-involved shooting tied to domestic dispute – Police fatally shot a man they say was armed with a loaded handgun early Sunday after an apparent domestic violence incident in east Modesto, the second officer-involved shooting of the year for the city. Modesto Bee article

Police ID man in officer-involved shooting near Fresno High –A 25-year-old man Fresno police say was armed with a handgun was shot by officers early Sunday in the Fresno High area. The man, identified Sunday afternoon as Sawon Samboon, 25, was taken to Community Regional Medical Center in stable condition, Lt. Joe Gomez said. He remained there Sunday afternoon. Fresno Bee article

Stockton officers struck by teen driver — Two police officers were struck by a vehicle on Pacific Avenue being driven by a 16-year-old boy who ignored their instructions and attempted to flee the scene. The driver was eventually caught and arrested early Sunday, according to police. Both officers were reported to be fine Sunday afternoon, Stockton police spokesman Officer Joe Silva said. Stockton Record article


Early education advocates taken $800 million ‘ask’ to Sacramento – Early childhood education advocates and providers head to budget hearings in Sacramento this week with a big “ask”: $800 million for preschool and other early learning programs. That would put early education spending somewhat higher than it was before the 2007-08 economic collapse, though still with about 75,000 fewer preschool and child care slots than in 2008. EdSource article

Report: Immigrant students blocked from enrolling in school – Immigrant children living in the U.S. without legal status have been blocked from registering for school and accessing the educational services they need, according to a report on school districts in four states by Georgetown University Law Center researchers. AP article

Schools target Asian parental expectations – Asian teens openly joke, lament and mostly endure the intense academic pressure from their families — the expectation of perfection, and the drive to keep up with the Zhangs and Kumars. Now, propelled by clusters of teen suicides and evidence of student distress, many of their parents are confronting and examining those cultural differences. San Jose Mercury News article

Turlock charter school brings jobs message home – Fusion Charter held its first career fair, bringing businesses, health care, fire departments and local military recruiters to speak with at-risk teens about their futures. Modesto Bee article

Parlier High student is on target, becomes national shooting champion — It was the culmination of two years of practice involving hundreds of hours of shooting: Parlier High School senior Cassandra Rodriguez was named winner of the 2016 National JROTC Three-Position National Championship. Fresno Bee article

Jose Gaspar: Arrest of Delano school employee raises host of questions — To borrow a phrase from Denzel Washington in the movie “Philadelphia,” “Explain this to me like I’m a 6-year-old.” That’s what’s been going through my head since my colleague Adam Herbets at Eyewitness News uncovered information about the history of Bobby Scott Perigo, a married 28-year-old Delano High School employee recently charged with four felony counts of having sex with a minor. Gaspar column in Bakersfield Californian

Health/Human Services

White women are dying faster, and there are many reasons why — White women have been dying prematurely at higher rates since the turn of this century, passing away in their 30s, 40s and 50s in a slow-motion crisis driven by decaying health in small-town America, according to an analysis of national health and mortality statistics by The Washington Post. Washington Post article

Cancer survival in California: Marriage helps, but benefit varies with demographics — It’s widely known that your chances of surviving cancer are better if you’re married. But a new California-based study released today reports that the benefits of being married also vary by sex, race, ethnicity and birthplace, with white bachelors and white single women in the Golden State doing worse than their married counterparts. San Jose Mercury News article


Travel group, lawmaker call for investigation of airlines over new booking policy – Airline critics believe that a new policy that raises the fares for passengers who book multi-stop trips is evidence of collusion between the nation’s biggest carriers. LA Times article

Caltrans makes room for taller trucks by raising I-80 overpasses — After a year of heavy lifting, California highway officials are nearly done with an improbable task on Interstate 80 in Placer County: raising seven freeway overcrossings between Loomis and Weimar, in some cases by more than two feet. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

California watchdog agency dismissed 90 percent of complaints about judges’ conduct in 2015 — The Commission on Judicial Performance, a state watchdog agency, has concluded reviews of 1,231 complaints about how judges conducted themselves in 2015 and dismissed 90% of them after initial checks concluded they were unfounded. LA Times article

Monday Q&A: Turlock IT team worked to make city website citizen-friendly — Later this month a new site will replace the old, the 18-month endeavor of Senior Information Technology Analyst Carlo Grossman and a team he assembled of boots-on-the-ground members from every city department. Modesto Bee article