April 15, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Which California Republicans represent pro-Clinton districts? — Bates and 16 other legislative Republicans represent districts where Democrat Hillary Clinton outpolled Republican Donald Trump for president, according to California’s recently released supplement to the statement of vote for last fall’s election. Besides Bates, Republican state senators in pro-Clinton districts include Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita; John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa; Anthony Cannella, R-Modesto; Andy Vidak, R-Hanford; and Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove. Sacramento Bee article

Mayor Tubbs’ first 100 days – One hundred days may not seem like a long time, but 100 days in Stockton can feel like an eternity. Michael Tubbs’ three-plus months as mayor serve as a prime example. Stockton Record article

Valley politics

Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager will have competition in 2018 election – A Modesto attorney whose primary practice is immigration law and criminal defense will challenge District Attorney Birgit Fladager in the 2018 election. Attorney Patrick Kolasinski filed the initial papers March 31 with the Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters’ office. Modesto Bee article

Drain convicted of election fraud after juror replaced during deliberations — A jury convicted Ashley Drain of election fraud on Friday after a juror was replaced during deliberations. When the guilty verdict was delivered about 3:45 p.m., the jury agreed Drain used a fake address while running for the Manteca Unified School District school board in 2014, but the verdict was not without controversy. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Jim Brulte: The case for a Republican governor in 2018 – The chair of the California Republican Party writes that nearly two decades ago Democrats began their upward swing to a legislative supermajority, and California was in great shape. Now, the last two years have exposed the Democratic Party’s failures across California. We need reform, we need changes, and we need accountability. Brulte op-ed in Sacramento Bee

California Politics Podcast: Third in the nation — This week: Lawmakers consider moving the California presidential primary in an effort to make the Golden State third behind Iowa and New Hampshire in 2020. Plus, the fallout from last week’s big transportation tax and fee vote — from constituents back home to the impact on 2017’s climate change efforts. With John Myers and Melanie Mason of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of KQED News. California Politics Podcast


U.S. prosecutors are geared to target border crossers – Through Republican and Democratic presidential administrations, the top federal prosecutor on California’s border with Mexico has resisted going after people caught entering the U.S. illegally on their first try and instead targeted smugglers and serial offenders. That approach may face a day of reckoning under President Donald Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ new directive on border crimes suggests prosecutors in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas will be forced to tow a narrow line. AP article

Trump’s plan to cut ‘sanctuary’ funds threatens San Francisco, Santa Clara counties, judge says – A federal judge says San Francisco and Santa Clara counties are at risk from the Trump administration’s threat to cut funding for local governments with sanctuary policies. KQED report

Lawyer: Little money involved in Trump sanctuary order — President Donald Trump’s executive order withholding funding from communities that limit cooperation with immigration authorities applies to a small pot of grant money, not the hundreds of millions of dollars that local governments say is at stake, a lawyer with the Department of Justice said Friday. AP article

Other areas

Battle over rent control in California expected to drag into next year — Under pressure from the California Apartment Association and other real estate interests, Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, has put on hold a bill that seeks to increase renter protections amid California’s widening housing crisis. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Lawmakers face a new decision that will affect your wallet – Legislators need to resolve lingering questions about the cap-and-trade program. It won’t be easy, not after legislators agreed earlier this month for the first time in two decades to raise gasoline taxes and other fees to generate $5 billion a year pay for road maintenance and transit. The costs of cap and trade ultimately fall on us all. Sacramento Bee editorial

BOE member wants to curb troubled tax agency’s mega-conferences — A member of the California tax board that’s under fire for its alleged misuse of staff and money on Friday called for a complete halt to the extravagant taxpayer outreach events that caught the attention of investigators in a recent audit. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Trump won’t release White House visitor logs; legal fight already underway — Reversing a policy of the Obama era, the Trump administration announced Friday it will not release records on visitors to the White House, claiming that doing otherwise would risk “grave national security risks and privacy concerns.” Under the new policy, visitor logs of people entering the White House to lobby or meet with the president or his aides will not be made public until five years after Trump leaves office. McClatchy Newspapers article

Foon Rhee: Is President Trump misfiring on trade? – Besides promising to build a big, beautiful wall and to lock up Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump loved to lob threats on trade on his way to the White House. But there’s a school of thought that his protectionist America First policy is all wrong – that his executive order to identify “every form of trade abuse” by country and product to reduce the U.S. trade deficit won’t help American workers. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

Trump’s reelection stockpile grows as small donors keep giving – President Trump’s supporters kept up a robust stream of donations in the first quarter of 2017, pouring more than $42 million into the coffers of his campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to new Federal Election Commission filings and party officials. Washington Post article

Andrew Fiala: The Syrian missile attacks: morally, no piece of cake, but justifiable – The professor of philosophy and director of The Ethics Center at Fresno State writes, “International human rights doctrine and the just-war theory provide ethical guidance amid the chaos of war. But these are complex ideas. There are no cakewalks in the world of war. And morality is always difficult and demanding.”

News Stories – Top Stories

Hanford considers cannabis tax – Now that Hanford officials appear willing to grant an operating permit to a medical marijuana cultivation business by the end of 2017, attention is turning to the idea of taxing the business to generate money for other projects the city wants to pursue. Hanford Sentinel article

$3 million coming to the Valley: Where will it go? — A San Joaquin Valley-based health foundation is investing $3 million in 70 regional nonprofits with the ambitious goal of improving health outcomes through policy work, but there are varying levels of detail as to how the money will be used. Some groups have very specific plans for the funds; others not so much. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Tulare struggles with its downtown – What was once a vibrant community filled with charm and character has dulled over the years. But, Tulare residents, businesses and property owners have faith their hometown can live up to its potential. Visalia Times-Delta article

Hashtag relocates to new basement digs in downtown Fresno — Hashtag, a membership-based collaborative workspace for budding technology entrepreneurs, has moved into its third different location since it was founded in Fresno’s Tower District about six years ago. Fresno Bee article

Leaving coastal California is a ‘no brainer’ for some as housing costs rise – Residents of coastal Southern California are increasingly making the same decision to move away — a trend many economists blame on a housing shortage driving rents and home prices sharply higher during the economic recovery.  LA Times article

Feeling sting of Aerojet’s departure, Sacramento group calls for statewide jobs plan– The Greater Sacramento Economic Council on Friday called on the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown to develop a comprehensive statewide plan to prevent other states from poaching California companies and jobs. Sacramento Bee article

Elvin C. Bell: Salvation Army’s well-equipped to help with the homeless – The former board member of the Salvation Army in Fresno writes, “a real “long-term solution to the homeless problem” should be a priority task by an organization that has branch citadels and service centers in 126 countries throughout the world, including the United States and Fresno. The organization was established in 1865 and has a 152-year history of ‘providing shelters for the homeless and bringing salvation to the poor, destitute and hungry by meeting both their physical and spiritual needs.’” Bell op-ed in Fresno Bee

Official: Bastille proposal was unauthorized – When a Hanford Carnegie Museum volunteer submitted a proposal to the Hanford City Council last month for the museum to buy or lease the Bastille from the city and renovate it, the museum’s board of directors hadn’t authorized her to do so, according to a museum official. Hanford Sentinel article

Fresno Bee starting to look for new office locationThe Fresno Bee is in early stages of looking for a new headquarters to replace its current home at 1626 E St. in downtown Fresno. The reason: The building was designed during the print era and no longer fits The Bee’s digital-era business needs, said Publisher Tom Cullinan. Fresno Bee article

General Motors to expand self-driving car unit in San Francisco, hire more than 1,100 people — Automaker General Motors will spend $14 million to expand its Cruise Automation self-driving car unit in San Francisco, and will hire 1,100 workers over the next five years, the firm announced April 14. San Jose Mercury News article


State will send more water to Southern California as it boosts deliveries to highest levels in 11 years —  The post-drought good news continued Friday as the State Water Project announced that it was boosting deliveries to the highest levels in 11 years. Most agencies, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, will get 85% of the amount they request. Water districts north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will get 100%. LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article

Experts spread the word about healthy soil — Experts probe with high-tech gadgets to see if farm soil is fertile. They run leaf samples to check if a crop is getting the needed nutrients. This week, one expert simply shoveled up some dirt and ran his hands through it. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Clovis PD now has the most electric police vehicles on the road — The Clovis Police Department on Friday added two Zero Electric motorcycles to its fleet, which now numbers seven. That makes it the largest fleet of Zero Electric police motorcycles in the United States, the department said. Fresno Bee article

‘Racial profiling’? Jaywalking tickets snare hundreds of blacks in Sacramento – Sacramento police issued 233 tickets for jaywalking last year in the police district that includes North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights – nearly triple the number handed out in the entire rest of the city. Black people received 111 of those citations, nearly 50 percent, but account for about 15 percent of the area’s residents. Sacramento Bee article

Slain Merced officer remembered in annual ceremony – On Good Friday, family, friends and supporters of Stephan Gray gathered at the Merced Police Department to honor the police officer who was gunned down on duty in 2004. Merced Sun-Star article


CSUB selects Penn State professor to lead Kegley Institute of Ethics next year – Michael D. Burroughs, an associate director of one of the nation’s leading ethics centers, will become the executive director of Cal State Bakersfield’s Kegley Institute of Ethics when Christopher Meyers retires this fall, university officials announced Friday. Bakersfield Californian article

Paul Garcia: Why Emilio sees three C’s in ‘succcess’ – The retired Fresno educator writes, “It has been 23 years since a young woman educator from Fresno City College commented at the regular meeting of the Association of the Mexican American Educators that she was concerned about the lack of success among Latino males at her college.” Garcia op-ed in Fresno Bee

Fresno State merchandising students get real-world retail experience – Local retailer Top Drawer is partnering with the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to give students in Fresno State’s retail merchandising class a unique hands-on experience. The Business Journal article

UC Berkeley settles suits over law deal sexual allegations – A legal settlement has been reached between the University of California, Berkeley, the former dean of its law school, and his former assistant, who said he sexually harassed her. AP article


Interior secretary talks national park worries on visit to Kings Canyon National Park – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke toured Kings Canyon National Park Friday and met with staff to discuss pressing issues within California’s national parks, including mounting infrastructure woes, forest fire prevention and claims of sexual harassment within the Parks Service. Fresno Bee article

In Sequoia visit, Interior secretary Ryan Zinke pledges park support – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is defending the Trump administration’s policies on public land. The secretary took his message Friday to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  Zinke says he came out west to reaffirm his commitment to federally managed lands, including national parks. He spoke with reporters at an event in Kings Canyon National Park, a day after meeting with California Governor Jerry Brown, one of the president’s harshest critics. Valley Public Radio report

Trump is creating a void on climate change. Can California persuade other states to help fill it? – California made no secret of its ambitions when it enacted a landmark law on global warming just over a decade ago. Progress here on slashing greenhouse gas emissions, the law said, would have “far-reaching effects by encouraging other states, the federal government and other countries to act.” LA Times article

California’s war on carbon: Is it winning? — The centerpiece of California’s effort to reduce carbon emissions, an auction system for pollution credits known as cap and trade, has faltered badly in the past year. Businesses have bought far fewer credits than expected, depriving the state of an expected windfall for such big-ticket items as high speed rail. Sacramento Bee article

California’s carbon market in the clear? Not so fast – Opponents of California’s “cap and trade” carbon market said Friday they will take their fight to the state Supreme Court. The Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative nonprofit law firm based in Sacramento, announced it will appeal the case to the Supreme Court. Sacramento Bee article

California tribes fear abysmal salmon run may trigger public health crisis – Native American communities are bracing for a public health crisis this year in California’s misty, rugged northwestern corner. In the Pacific Ocean off the mouth of the Klamath River, record-low numbers of fall-run adult Chinook salmon are ready to make their annual migration up the river and its primary tributary, the Trinity River, to spawn. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services

Can California’s ‘right to try’ law help save terminal patients? — “Right to try” laws allow patients to request drugs that have been proved safe for human consumption and passed a phase 1 clinical trial but have not undergone the next three phases, which test for effectiveness. Getting a treatment from its first clinical trial to full FDA approval can take up to eight years, according to Kenneth Kaitin, director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. Sacramento Bee article


Road clears in California for Apple self-driving car — An Apple self-driving car may soon hit the road in California. The Cupertino tech giant is the latest entry on the list of some 30 companies authorized by the state Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicles. San Francisco Chronicle article

Delta Oks offers of up to $9,500 to flyers who give up seats — Delta is letting employees offer customers nearly $10,000 in compensation to give up seats on overbooked flights, hoping to avoid an uproar like the one that erupted at United after a passenger was dragged off a jet. AP article

Other areas

Bill McEwen: 10 things to know – and love – about Fresno — Along with affordability, The New York Times cited Fresno’s mid-California location, lively arts scene, CSU campus, abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, growing tech economy and potential link to San Francisco and Los Angeles via “the new bullet train.” That’s just the tip of the iceberg – not that Fresno has any of those. Here are other tidbits and opinions about the city where six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald was raised.  McEwen column in Fresno Bee

Modesto pays $80,000 after firefighter injures girl during fall at safety event – Modesto has paid $80,000 to settle allegations that one of its firefighters tripped and fell on a third-grader and broke her arm during a Fire Department safety event called the Clown Program, in which firefighters dress up as clowns to teach schoolchildren such basics as when to call 911 and how to get out of a burning house. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno BeeThumbs up, thumbs down.

Sacramento Bee –- Legislators need to resolve lingering questions about the cap-and-trade program. It won’t be easy, not after legislators agreed earlier this month for the first time in two decades to raise gasoline taxes and other fees to generate $5 billion a year pay for road maintenance and transit. The costs of cap and trade ultimately fall on us all; Graduation rates are at record highs in California. But Sacramento City schools appear to be backsliding. The next superintendent should get metrics and accountability.