April 12, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

California Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill to boost paid family leave — Continuing his recent embrace of liberal-backed policies to put more money in workers’ pockets, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation boosting the compensation of Californians taking paid family leave. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; AP article; San Francisco Chronicle article

Would a California ballot measure cut drug costs? Nobody knows — What looks like a straightforward framework to protect California’s budget from escalating drug costs has policy experts perplexed, and potential allies on the sidelines. Critics and consumer advocates alike say the initiative’s language is flawed, and may lead to higher drug prices and access problems for patients. CALmatters article

State budget

Jerry Brown: ‘I can clean up’ sentencing problems he created – Gov. Jerry Brown, condemning the tough sentencing law he signed as governor nearly four decades ago, declared Monday “the problems that I create; I can clean up.” Sacramento Bee article 

Superdelegate Jerry Brown ‘super interested’ in presidential race — A contested presidential campaign has imbued California’s last-in-the-nation primary with new significance and highlighted the role of party “superdelegates.” Gov. Jerry Brown has a hand in both. The leader of a state that could play a decisive role in the nominating process, he is also one of several hundred elected officials, party elders and other superdelegates who help pick the Democratic nominee. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article (scroll to article); San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley politics 

Speed-dating with Bakersfield mayoral candidates – With 25 candidates running for mayor of Bakersfield this year, it can be challenging to make a lasting impression on the community. That’s why on Monday, hosts of “First Look with Scott Cox,” TBC Media’s daily simulcast with NEWSTALK 1180 KERN, interviewed individually seven of the baker’s-two-dozen candidates. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno fire chief takes issue with candidate news release – Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis isn’t happy with a recent news release from Holly Carter, one of four candidates for the District 6 Fresno City Council seat. Fresno Bee article 

Stockton mayor fined $307 for filing papers late — The California Fair Political Practices Commission has recommended a fine of $307 against Mayor Anthony Silva for his late filing of required disclosure papers. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

California Counts: How signature-gathering draws big bucks in election season — The business of signature-gathering has become a multi-million dollar fixture of California politics. Democratic political consultant Steve Maviglio says this is the only way to qualify an initiative. Capital Public Radio report

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Political Data Inc’s Paul Mitchell joins John Howard and Tim Foster to chat about new numbers from the Secretary of State and the effects of purging the voter rolls. He also digs into a hot topic – how the party delegate system works, with a look at the historical evolution of the primary process. All that, AND his connection to the Zodiac Killer – only at Capitol Weekly! Capitol Weekly Podcast


‘What happened in World War II is happening again’: Immigration detention centers through the eyes of a therapist — The metal fence was what she noticed first, miles of tall barrier topped by barbed wire strung across the south Texas pastures — just like the internment camp nearby where she had been held as an infant. And on the other side of the fence, again, 71-year-old Satsuki Ina saw mothers and children: this time, Central Americans. LA Times article

Minimum Wage

Daniel Weintraub: California minimum wage hike has winners and losersNo state has ever raised its minimum wage by so much so quickly. As this change rolls out, it will be important for California to try to track the number of winners and losers and their demographics. At least then, future policymakers can have some data to help them decide whether the risk was one worth taking. Weintraub in Sacramento Bee

Other areas 

Carol Tavris: Don’t end time limit on sex crime charges – The social psychologist and writer in Los Angeles writes, “When I was in college, I was sexually assaulted. I ended up bruised and distraught. I didn’t talk about the experience for many years, but when I finally did, I realized that many if not most of the details were lost to my memory. The well-documented problem with memory is why I urge the Legislature to reject Senate Bill 813, which would end the 10-year statute of limitations for prosecuting most sex crimes. Tavris op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Ted Cruz: ‘California is going to decide the Republican nomination’ — Ted Cruz, launching his presidential campaign into a state whose late-arriving primary could prove decisive for the first time in decades, on Monday claimed momentum from recent victories in Wisconsin and Colorado and yoked himself to the legacy of Ronald Reagan, the former president and California governor idolized by conservatives. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

These 50 California Republicans are endorsing Ted Cruz — On a day he campaigned across Southern California, a sight few predicted just a few months ago, Republican Ted Cruz blasted out a list of 50 GOP elected officials now supporting his candidacy. The list includes several dignitaries and party elders from across San Diego and Orange County, GOP-rich regions Cruz hopes will be crucial in his June 7 effort to keep Republican rival Donald Trump from reaching the requisite number of delegates for the party nomination. Sacramento Bee article

Coastal Commissioner to pay $3,000 ethics fine for SeaWorld vote — Gregory Cox, a member of the California Coastal Commission, has agreed to pay a $3,000 fine for voting on a high-profile SeaWorld permit at a time his wife owned stock in the San Diego-based attraction, according to records released Monday. LA Times article

Field Poll: Merrick Garland should get confirmation hearings — A new poll finds that 64 percent believe federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland, Obama’s selection to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, should receive Senate confirmation hearings rather than hovering in election-year limbo. Sacramento Bee article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories 

Southern California water agency signs $175 million deal to buy Delta islands – Southern California’s most powerful water agency said Monday it has struck a $175 million deal to buy five islands in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a move that has sparked accusations throughout the Delta and Northern California of a south-state “water grab.” Sacramento Bee article; Stockton Record article;

Kingsburg High to allow teachers to carry guns on campus — Kingsburg Joint Union High School District will now allow teachers to carry guns on campus. The school board on Monday unanimously approved a new policy that allows up to five district employees – designated by the superintendent – to carry a concealed firearm on school grounds. Fresno Bee article; “Video: Kingsburg police chief on teachers carrying gun: ‘I’m all for that’” in Fresno Bee

Jobs and the Economy

Merced leaders say no progress in tax-share agreement with county – Long-standing efforts to reach a revenue-sharing agreement between Merced County and its largest city may require a mediator to strike a deal after years of failed talks, officials said Monday. Merced Sun-Star article

Modesto reaches deal with its firefighters – The city of Modesto has reached a proposed deal with its firefighters that calls for them to receive raises totaling 8.5 percent over the next 15 months as well as other benefits, such as the city paying more for their health insurance, while the firefighters pick up the full employee cost of their pensions. Modesto Bee article

Sounding Board: How would you diversify Kern County’s economy? — The Bakersfield economy is tremendously reliant on two industries: oil and agriculture. In recent years both have experienced great challenges, agriculture from drought and regulation, and oil from climate change mitigation and price downturns. It would seem prudent for our business and political leaders to look for ways to diversify the local economy. Which new industries should we in Bakersfield seek — industries that would realistically consider coming in here in the next 10 years? We asked members of The Californian’s Sounding Board to respond. Bakersfield Californian article

CCPOA contract puts cash in prison guards’ wallets beyond raises — The latest tentative labor agreement with California’s correctional officers proves that there’s more than one way to boost employee compensation without calling it a “raise.” While the new contract proposal for the 29,000 members of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association contains modest salary bumps, other provisions put more money in their pockets now and later by changing everything from fitness pay rules to making some paid leave count toward the threshold for overtime. Sacramento Bee article

In California, marijuana is smelling more like big business – After decades of thriving in legally hazy backyards and basements, California’s most notorious crop, marijuana, is emerging from the underground into a decidedly capitalist era. New York Times article

New gender pay-gap studies are challenging conventional wisdom – The number is trotted out so often to make a point that it’s become unambiguous: Women in the U.S. earn about 79 cents for every dollar that men do. But recent studies paint a more nuanced picture of the wage gap. Bloomberg article

Sue Miller: More work to do on equal pay for California women – The co-chairwoman of the Public Policy Committee of University Women of California writes, “Members of the American Association of University Women have worked tirelessly to urge lawmakers to close the gender pay gap once and for all. But additional legislation is needed to give employers and employees the tools to prevent wage discrimination in the first place – and we’ve been waiting too long for that.” Miller op-ed in Sacramento Bee

$28-billion LA County budget proposal aims to address homelessness, improve jails — Los Angeles County officials on Monday released a proposed $28.5-billion budget for the next fiscal year — a plan that would boost overall spending by about 1% but does not spell out how shortfalls in the coroner’s office and some other key programs will be solved. LA Times article

Construction slow in Visalia, Tulare – Residential construction permits are off to a slow start in the county’s two largest cities this year. Visalia Times-Delta article 

BART announces 10.8 percent pay hike to head off labor conflict — Seeking to avert another messy fight with employees, BART officials announced Monday that they reached a tentative deal with workers to boost pay over four years — an unexpected agreement that arrives well ahead of the current labor contract’s expiration. San Francisco Chronicle article

What’s next for SpaceX and the Falcon 9 rocket that landed on a barge — SpaceX finally stuck a sea landing Friday, when the company’s first-stage booster glided smoothly to a hover before landing on a floating droneship. Now the aerospace company will prepare the booster for a second flight — a move that could be key to the company’s plans for cheaper space tourism, satellite launch and eventually flights to Mars. LA Times article

Sacramento prosecutors help force Goldman Sachs to pay $5 billion — The numbers alone are staggering: $13 billion paid out by JPMorgan Chase to atone for its role in the economic meltdown of 2008, and more than $5 billion to be doled out by Goldman Sachs. Hundreds of millions of dollars from those banking giants will flow back to the pension funds of California’s state workers and teachers, with millions more directed to help distressed homeowners in Sacramento and 24 other Central Valley counties ravaged by the housing collapse. Sacramento Bee article; Sacramento Bee editorial; New York Times article

San Francisco police sweep homeless camp where resident was shot — The Shotwell Street homeless encampment where a man recently was shot and killed by San Francisco police was quiet Monday, after a weekend of sweeps to clear out the tents and force residents to leave. San Francisco Chronicle article

Chinese investors love California, but they’re putting money elsewhere in U.S, too — Chinese investments in U.S. businesses hit a record $15 billion last year, with California remaining a top destination, but the money increasingly is being spread throughout the nation as investors expand their spending into hospitality, auto parts and other industries. LA Times article

Southern California apartment rents expected to continue rising through 2018 — Sky-high apartment rents in Southern California are expected to climb further in coming years, as construction fails to keep up with population and job growth, according to a forecast released Tuesday. LA Times article


Federal government to probe state spending on delta tunnels – The Interior Department’s inspector general has opened an investigation into possible funding irregularities involving the proposed delta tunnels, a $15 billion plan to dig giant twin pipes to siphon water directly from the Sacramento River and send it underground to farms and cities in the southern part of the state. San Francisco Chronicle article

Ellen Hanak and Jeffrey Mount: How we did: A California drought report card – Hanak, center director and senior fellow, and Mount, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Center, write, “The end of the rainy season is a good time to evaluate our drought response. So, how did we do last year, and what changes could help us better manage another dry year — or more?” Hanak/Mount op-ed in San Francisco Chronicle

Merced a ‘big winner’ in weekend storm – Not even halfway through April, Merced has been soaked with more than twice the rainfall than is typical for the entire month, forecasters said Monday. Beginning Friday night, Merced saw 2.44 inches of rain through the weekend, which is the only rainfall since April 1. Merced Sun-Star article

Clovis water rates will rise for the city’s most thrifty users — Some of Clovis’ most conservation-minded water users urged the City Council Monday to abandon a new water rate system that even the council acknowledged could hamper water conservation efforts. In the end, a reluctant City Council voted 4-0 to approve the rates anyway. Fresno Bee article

Snow in Sierra Nevada won’t end California’s thirst – Despite the better news this year, there are plenty of worrying signs about the Sierra snowpack, which provides about 30 percent of the water Californians use after it melts and flows into rivers and reservoirs, according to the state Department of Water Resources. New York Times article

Valley ag employers trained to prevent heat illness – State labor officials were in Easton on Monday to remind agriculture employers about the dangers of heat illness and how to prevent it. Fresno Bee article

Turlock, Ceres could take next step on water treatment plant – Turlock and Ceres could take the next step Wednesday toward a Tuolumne River water treatment plant that reduces their reliance on wells. City officials will consider a $2.007 million contract with West Yost Associates, an engineering firm based in Davis, to refine construction cost estimates, demand projections and other facets of the long-discussed project. Modesto Bee article

A peek into the mysterious art of citrus flavoring — Geoff Marshall-Hill finds the tango mandarin’s scent “a bit catty.” He can’t even imagine a market for the Indio mandarinquat. But the rich wine and berry undertones of the sanguinelli blood orange elicits a string of superlatives. LA Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

City attorney: Police proposal conflicts with Stockton charter – Stockton City Attorney John Luebberke on Monday said a proposed ballot measure to increase the city’s sworn police officers should be withdrawn because it conflicts with the city charter. Stockton Record article

Visalia Police Department service calls on the rise – The Visalia Police Department’s Communications Unit handled more than 168,000 calls for service last year, up seven percent compared to 2014. Visalia Times-Delta article

Women sues Modesto, saying police broke her hip — A woman and her adult son are suing the city of Modesto and Police Chief Galen Carroll, saying police officers broke her hip and threatened her son after entering their Modesto home without a warrant or a good reason. Modesto Bee article

How much should public know about police officer misconduct? — On Tuesday morning, one of the most sweeping policing bills in the Capitol will get its first test. Sen. Mark Leno’s bill to unwind some of the state’s longstanding restrictions against the disclosure of police misconduct records will face a legislative committee hearing. Leno, a San Francisco Democrat, says his bill will improve police-community relations, something he says recent high-profile incidents have left frayed around the country. LA Times article (scroll to article)


Hans Johnson: State universities are in a bind – The senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California writes, “Unlike K–12 education, higher education is not a state constitutional right. In many states, it is not politically feasible to raise additional revenue. There are no supporting or matching funds from the federal government, as there are for social services and health care. And, in higher education, it is possible to ask the customer to help cover costs. The colleges are in a real bind.” Johnson op-ed in New York Times 

Paolina Cuevas: State institutions should serve in-state residents – The senior at Chino High School writes, “I was personally surprised to be rejected from so many of the University of California schools. I’m disheartened by the news that so many out-of-state students are being accepted into California schools. I believe that our state institutions should be able to serve those of us who have grown up here.” Cuevas op-ed in New York Times 

Tietjan approved as top Merced County educator – Steve Tietjen was appointed Monday by the Merced County Office of Education governing board as the superintendent of schools to complete the remaining two years of Steve Gomes’ term. Merced Sun-Star article

2 Central Catholic students arrested on hate crime charges in threatening video – Authorities on Monday arrested two 16-year-old boys in connection with a racially charged death threat video sent to one of their classmates at Central Catholic High School. Modesto Bee article

Attorney readies civil suit, alleges Delano counselor ‘groomed’ victims – An attorney representing a 17-year-old Delano girl who had sex with her high school counselor filed a government claim Monday — a precursor to a civil lawsuit — alleging that the district knew about the employee’s history of sexual misconduct with minors and put children in danger by hiring him.  Bakersfield Californian article

UC students take harassment concerns to agency – Two graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley took their allegations that a professor sexually harassed them to the state agency that investigates discrimination claims on Monday, saying they were frustrated by the campus administration’s failure to discipline the faculty member. AP article; San Francisco Chronicle article

Gifted, but still learning English, many bright students get overlooked — Parents are usually the first ones to figure out that their child is gifted, but that message often doesn’t get to the educators in schools. Many schools don’t even test ELLs for giftedness, and most teachers aren’t trained to identify those students. KPCC report

Teacher career pathways growing, but not fast enough to tackle state’s teacher shortage – The Century High program is one of more than 50 education pathways in California high schools. But these academies are likely to only produce a small fraction of the teachers the state needs going forward. Increased state investments and more partnerships between higher education and high schools are necessary to increase the number of quality programs, educators say. EdSource article

Credit union branch under construction at Clovis West High School — A new Educational Employees Credit Union branch is part of a $3 million construction project at Clovis West High School and will be staffed by students when it opens in August. The EECU branch is part of a Clovis Unified School District program to develop a “career technical education” pathway focused on banking and financial work for students who want to learn skills to prepare them for jobs after high school or to continue their education in college, said Clovis West Principal Marc Hammack. Fresno Bee article

EXPO connects students to careers – Tulare and Kings counties students explored different technical careers at the College and Career EXPO hosted at College of the Sequoias. Visalia Times-Delta article

Charter school awarded $7.1 million in case against LA Unified — The Los Angeles Unified School District must pay $7.1 million to a San Fernando Valley charter school for failing to provide the school with rent-free classroom space, a violation of state law. LA Times article


Longtime San Francisco environmental leader Blumenthal leaving EPA — It can take a while to settle into a new job in a federal bureaucracy, but Jared Blumenfeld managed to get his feet wet within months of taking over as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s activist administrator announced to his staff Monday that he will be stepping down next month. His last day will be May 6. San Francisco Chronicle article

Blackout warnings are a scare tactic to keep Alison Canyon open, critics say – Doubts are growing about warnings that Southern California could face blackouts this summer without Aliso Canyon, contained in a report released last week by California energy agencies. LA Times article

Strengthening the Embarcadero an expensive proposition — The next time you stroll the Embarcadero, consider this: The cost of strengthening it to ride out a major earthquake could top $2 billion. San Francisco Chronicle article

Michael Dorsey: Diablo Canyon isn’t part of clean energy future – The member of the Sierra Club board of directors writes, “California’s goal to derive half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 is ambitious, but important. Unfortunately, according to Greenpeace and others, operating nuclear plants actually blocks the large-scale integration of renewable energy into the electricity grid by crowding out the market.” Dorsey op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Drones banned at state parks? Not necessarily — “California State Parks does not currently have regulations or policies specific to drone operation,” said Dennis Weber, a spokesman for the parks system. District superintendents, however, can supplement state rules with “special orders banning drones in specific parks to protect visitors, wildlife or resources.” Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services

California searches for prescription to treat rising drug costs – Despite recent cost-cutting measures, such as putting tighter controls on which patients get coverage for which drugs and when, California’s spending on pharmaceuticals has gone up, and so has the number of pricey drugs it is covering. It’s not clear state agencies have the means to balance drug cost pressures in a way that serves the best interests of patients, taxpayers and public health. KQED report 

Clovis becomes new focus of medical school plans by Assemi family – The Assemi family, which had planned to build a medical school near Millerton Lake, has changed its mind and now hopes to anchor its health sciences university on land near Clovis Community Medical Center. Fresno Bee article

No new fentanyl overdoses, but eight deaths confirmed; probe is top priority for DEA – Calling it a hopeful trend, Sacramento County public health officials announced Monday that local hospitals have reported no new overdoses related to the painkiller fentanyl in nearly a week. Also Monday, the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office confirmed that eight of the region’s 10 overdose deaths over the past month were related to fentanyl. Sacramento Bee article

Jerrold Jensen: Thank you, Times-Delta, for Measure H adult discussion – The Visalia resident writes, “Well done, Visalia Times Delta and the Cellar Door Lounge. Thank you for sponsoring an adult conversation – forum – between speakers for and against Measure H, the $327 million Hospital Bondon Thursday night.” Jensen op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

U.S. officials: The more we learn about Zika, the scarier it is – The more researchers learn about the Zika virus, the scarier it appears, federal health officials said Monday as they urged more money for mosquito control and to develop vaccines and treatments. AP article

Patients increasingly relying on mobile health apps, but their reliability is an issue – Experts see almost unlimited promise in the rise of mobile medical apps, but they also point out that regulation is sometimes lagging the pace of innovation, which could harm consumers. LA Times article

Working out during pregnancy may lead to athletic offspring — A recent experiment on mice and their offspring suggests that women who exercise while pregnant may be installing a love for exercise in their unborn children. Sacramento Bee article

A day in the life of a mental health emergency responder – Cops don’t just enforce the law. They must also find ways to peacefully resolve mental health emergencies. Reporter Bob Moffitt rides along with Sacramento police officer Michelle Lazark. She’s part of a team that is trained to respond to the non-stop need for mental health services in the county. Capital Public Radio report

State junks $179 million Medi-Cal IT system, will start from scratch – Combine years of delay, ever-changing rules and requirements, state and federal red tape, and a once mighty company now in deep financial trouble, and what do you get? In California’s case, the junking of a $179 million computer modernization project to process claims for Medi-Cal, the state’s health-payment program for low-income residents. KQED report

Horses comfort people with early onset dementia, their caregivers — Schier Anzelmo and senior living consultant Paula Hertel helped found the Connected Horse Research Study, a collaboration between Stanford University and the nonprofit group Connected Horse, which was founded to raise money for the study. The goal is to build confidence in people with dementia and improve relationships between them and the loved ones caring for them. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas 

New Bakersfield commission looking for a few good youths – More than two months after the Bakersfield City Council established it, no one has yet applied to join the city’s new Youth Commission, an eight-member board comprised of high school students who are supposed to advise their elders on what young people need and want. Bakersfield Californian article

Dean Welliver: Bakersfield’s trans community demands justice – The community activist writes, “On Jan. 22, Bakersfield resident Jasmine Sierra was found murdered in her apartment. Friends did not learn of her death, however, until two months later because police reports used her male name with no mention of her transgender identity. Sadly, her murder and the indignity of being misgendered is a fate that has befallen too many in the trans community.” Welliver op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Marissa Osuna: The cycle of abuse can be broken – The foster youth advocate and former foster youth writes, “The cycle of abuse and neglect can be broken, and I am proof of that. I was placed in protective custody at age eight and spent 10 years in the foster care system.” Osuna op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Jeff Jardine: Inquiring mind can rest assured, ‘Love Modesto’ signs on solid ground — I combed the codes and didn’t see anything that suggests the “Love Modesto” signs are oversized, nor saturating in numbers on a specific property.  But if Love Modesto’s signs do blur the lines just a smidgen, who cares? It’s a one-day event that’s proven to create long-lasting impacts. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Goldman Sachs $5 billion penalty is great, but score isn’t settled.

Sacramento Bee – Goldman Sachs $5 billion penalty is great, but score isn’t settled; Sacramento should approve independent redistricting.

Stockton RecordCheers and jeers on immigrant achieving the ultimate American Dream of service, gas storage safety and other issues.