April 17, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Central California agriculture sees failed crop of presidential hopefuls — Many in the Valley’s agriculture community are watching with a growing level of concern, as they feel increasingly backed into a corner by policy stances among the leading contenders that are anti-trade and anti-immigration.Other important issues such as water don’t even appear to be on the candidates’ radar. Fresno Bee article

Are you an independent voter? You aren’t if you checked this box — With nearly half a million registered members, the American Independent Party is bigger than all of California’s other minor parties combined. The ultraconservative party’s platform opposes abortion rights and same sex marriage, and calls for building a fence along the entire United States border. But a Times investigation has found that a majority of its members have registered with the party in error. Nearly three in four people did not realize they had joined the party, a survey of registered AIP voters commissioned by The Times found. LA Times article


In last big test of Obama era, Supreme Court to take up immigration policy — The Supreme Court‘s last great case of the Obama era comes before the justices Monday when the administration’s lawyers defend his plan to offer work permits to as many as 4 million immigrants who have been living here illegally for years. LA Times articleSamuel Rodriguez op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

Steinberg role in redevelopment agencies’ demise emerges as campaign issue – Former state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg prides himself on having survived the longest as a legislative leader among those who negotiated unpopular budget deals during the recession. One particular move – Steinberg’s part in eliminating local redevelopment agencies in 2011 – has emerged as a campaign issue as he runs for Sacramento mayor in a city pushing hard to develop its urban core. Sacramento Bee article 

Bakersfield Californian: It’s good to trust in God, just as long as it’s legal – If Bakersfield Republican Assemblywoman Shannon Grove continues to promote a special interest license plate that includes the wording “In God We Trust,” it should fit the state’s present approval criteria. It should be sponsored by a state agency, with proceeds from the sale of the license plate going to support a state program or mission. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Dan Morain: Bernie Sanders, Loretta Sanchez and gun industry protection – As Ismael Ileto delivered packages on that awful August day in 1999, every television in every office was tuned to the news of yet another mass shooting, this one of children at a Jewish community center in the San Fernando Valley. Morain in Sacramento Bee

State’s primary a losing proposition to some Bay Area Republicans — UC Berkeley law Professor John Yoo is a hero in conservative circles for writing the Bush administration’s legal opinion that OKd waterboarding as an interrogation technique. Republican front-runner Donald Trump is sympathetic to that view in that he favors “a lot more than waterboarding.” But it doesn’t go both ways: Yoo would never vote for Trump. In fact, Yoo said that if Trump becomes the GOP nominee, the legal scholar would consider — consider — voting for a Democrat. San Francisco Chronicle article

Hillary Clinton pauses her New York primary campaign to raise money and rally in California — There may have been just one place that could draw Hillary Clinton away this weekend from the electoral brawl in New York, where the Democratic front-runner faces a defining moment in just a few days when voters there decide whether to clear the path for her nomination or send her campaign a destabilizing jolt. But California is that place. LA Times articleAP article

Sanders goes Hollywood, aiming for a California upset — If Bernie Sanders can pull off an upset in California, it will be a story that got its start on Hollywood Boulevard. AP article

Rob Stutzman: The Republican effort to stop Trump in California – The Republican political consultant and former aide to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger writes, “Why defeat Trump? Because he will lose in a historic landslide to Hillary Clinton in November. Trump will be the most unpopular nominee in history. Polling shows Clinton trouncing Trump largely because roughly 20 percent of Republicans would refuse to vote for the narcissistic, vulgar reality-TV star. With that in mind, my colleagues Ray McNally and Richard Temple and I are using our experience as veteran California consultants to direct an effort focused on beating Trump in California and ensuring the delegates in Cleveland are free to nominate a candidate who can beat Clinton.” Stutzman op-ed in Sacramento Bee

How Donald Trump could clinch the nomination in California – To all the political junkies yearning for a contested Republican convention this summer: not so fast. It’s still possible for Donald Trump to clinch the nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7. His path is narrow and perilous. But it’s plausible and starts with a big victory Tuesday in his home state New York primary. AP article

Victor Davis Hanson: Is NATO worth preserving? — Greater European military expenditures will not only keep the U.S. in the alliance, but also protect Europeans themselves, who lack the two-ocean buffer of the United States. Constitutional nations with common traditions of freedom of the individual, self-criticism, and tolerance of dissent and difference are becoming rare these days. Without shared military power and cooperation, Westerners can either all hang together or surely we will hang separately. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Teresa Casazza: Cap-and-trade spending proposals require a two-thirds vote – The president and CEO of the California Taxpayers Association writes, “AB 32 passed with just a majority vote of the Legislature. For auction revenue to be treated like tax revenue – and used on programs that serve the general public – the cap-and-trade auction program must be approved by a two-thirds vote, as is required by the California Constitution for any tax increase.” Casazza op-ed in Sacramento Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

Dan Walters: California’s school gap wider than thought – For years, California politicians and educators – who are sometimes the same – have talked about the “achievement gap” that separates poor and “English-learner” students from more advantaged classmates. For years, they have pledged to close the gap that is exposed in periodic testing. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Delta pumping to Southern California restricted despite rainy weather — For the first time in five years, Northern California’s rivers are roaring and its reservoirs are filled almost to the brim. But you’d hardly know it, based on how quiet it’s been at the two giant pumping stations at the south end of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Sacramento Bee article

Modesto City Schools faces federal civil rights investigation – Modesto City Schools said Friday it is cooperating with a U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights investigation of its handling of a race-based bullying incident and the district’s long history of higher discipline rates for black students. Modesto Bee articl

Jobs and the Economy

Lynne Ashbeck: Helpless about the homeless? Don’t sit at the intersection, step up – The vice president of population health for Community Medical Centers writes, “It is easy to sit at almost any intersection in our community, spot a person we presume to be homeless, mentally ill (or both), and think to ourselves ‘No one is doing anything about this.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.” Ashbeck op-ed in Fresno Bee

Willie Brown: San Francisco’s homeless problem is bad, but LA’s is eve worse — If you think the homeless problem in San Francisco is out of control, go down to Los Angeles. I did a tour of their downtown the other day with L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and it looked like the slums of Kolkata. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle

UC Davis pepper-spray burial effort spotlights online image gurus – UC Davis’ decision to pay consultants $175,000 to sink negative online postings spotlights an industry functioning under the surface of traditional public relations. Those operating such businesses say the first page of search results has become the equivalent of the front page of a newspaper, or the lead story on a nightly news broadcast. The first few hits can decisively shape perceptions; people rarely venture to the second page. Sacramento Bee article

Judge rules Fresno Bee carriers are independent contractors – A group of newspaper carriers who delivered The Fresno Bee between late 2004 and mid-2009 worked as independent contractors, not as employees of the company, and are not entitled to automobile mileage reimbursements potentially adding up to millions of dollars, a Fresno County Superior Court judge has decided. Fresno Bee article

Turlock conducts survey on downtown parking needs – Turlock is conducting a survey and will hold a community meeting May 9 to discuss ways to improve parking downtown. The city wants to know what folks would be willing to pay to park and how far they would walk to avoid feeding the meter. The survey also asks if people would use a nearby parking structure, should the city build one. Modesto Bee article

Stalk-town, California: Thousands flock to Asparagus Festival for signature spear – Tens of thousands came from all over Northern California on Saturday and converged on the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds to enjoy one of Stockton’s most celebrated traditions. Stockton Record article

Phil Angelides: No consequences, no justice in Goldman Sachs settlement – The former California state treasurer writes, “What’s most troubling is that this settlement agreement – like previous deals between the Justice Department and big financial institutions – contains no consequences for the executives who drove or condoned wrongdoing. As a result, it will not deter future financial lawbreaking and will further undermine the public’s faith in the fairness of our legal system.” Angelides op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Roger Niello: California should capitalize on global trade with TPP – The former assemblyman and former president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber writes, “California long has been a leader on the world stage. Political, business and, yes, labor and environmental leaders cannot ignore the growing influence of the Asia Pacific region. Rather than fear competition and try to hide from it, we should capitalize on global trade to grow our economy and benefit American workers and consumers.” Niello op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Sport Chalet closing stores — Sporting goods retailer Sport Chalet is closing its 51 stores, including three Sacramento-area locations, the company announced Saturday. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

The new corporate workplace: Beers on tap, bring your dog to work and a short-term lease — Long the domain of tech start-ups and individual workers, large companies such as FactSet, Delta Air Lines and home builder Lennar Corp. are now leasing co-working offices. And many are looking to do so for the same reason start-ups find the concept attractive: a hip environment and the lack of commitment a short-term lease offers. LA Times article

Daniel Borenstein: BART bought off well-paid workers despite large deficit — BART officials claim they reached peace with their workers. In fact, they bought them off — at taxpayer and rider expense. Borenstein in East Bay Times

New midtown Sacramento coffee café, roaster aims to carve niche in growing market — Over the past decade, Sacramento has seen a proliferation of independent coffee purveyors, a sector seemingly surpassed only by the region’s exploding craft beer segment. Sacramento Bee article


Borba daily sale milked the Kern farmland boom — When one of Kern County’s largest dairies sold in April of last year, followed shortly thereafter by the auction of its 8,000 cows, speculation was that it had succumbed to low milk prices, high feed costs and stiffening environmental regulations. Industry observers say that while each of those considerations probably played a role, another trend may have been the deciding factor: California’s farmland boom. Bakersfield Californian article

Central San Joaquin Valley farmers, packers bet big on solar to cut power costs – Lower utility costs, federal incentives and business-friendly regulations are helping to drive the growth of solar power among central San Joaquin Valley farmers. Fresno Bee article

Gerawan workers’ vote to decertify UFW nullified by ag labor board – The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board has upheld an administrative law judge’s decision to dismiss a petition by workers for Gerawan Farming of Fresno who sought to decertify the United Farm Workers as their bargaining representative. As a result, the balloting by Gerawan workers will be nullified, the ALRB said. Fresno Bee articleAP article

Matt Weiser: Drought proposals in Congress are so last century – The freelance writer based in Washington, D.C., writes, “The solutions offered by Feinstein and Valadao are really about nostalgia. They want to pretend we still live in an era when natural resources seemed limitless – when a river could be dammed or diverted without considering water quality, fishing harvests or economic reality. California’s water managers know we don’t live in that world anymore. Unfortunately, our politicians live in a world of their own.” Weiser op-ed in Sacramento Be

Criminal Justice/Prisons

A repeat Fresno bank robber’s long struggle with mental illness — His inability to cope in society on prescribed drugs often turns into a vicious cycle: As his symptoms are brought under control, he cannot tolerate the way the drugs make him feel, so he stops taking them, only to return to behavior that puts him in trouble with his family and the law. Fresno Bee article

Stockton police investigating overnight homicide, the city’s fourth in 9 days — Stockton police were investigating the city’s fourth homicide in nine days Saturday after a 26-year-old man was fatally shot during the overnight hours just north of downtown Stockton. Stockton Record article

 Stockton Record: Another incident in north Stockton amps up continued concern — What we know is that we an excessive amount of crime in Stockton. And we know that when a fleeing suspect puts someone at risk, such as what happened Wednesday, that police will do what they can to protect her. Stockton Record editorial

San Bernardino struggles to remain ‘SB Strong’ in face of rising violence — Since the attack there’s been much less attention given to 17 other people who have been slain on the streets of San Bernardino in the first three months of this year. That’s more than double the number of people murdered in San Bernardino in the first three months of 2015. It’s a torrid pace for a city of just over 200,000 people, and one that could make 2016 one of the bloodiest years in recent memory. KQED report

LA joins debate on force after police killing of homeless man — As the district attorney, Jackie Lacey, considers whether to bring charges against an officer who shot a homeless man last year, the atmosphere in Los Angeles demonstrates the growing pressure that prosecutors now face to move aggressively against officers who kill civilians. New York Times article


State investigating Stockton Unified over ‘juvenile’ arrests – For the past four months, the Stockton Unified School District Police Department has been under an investigation by the state Department of Justice, putting personnel files of officers under a microscope and reviewing arrest data of children younger than 18. But SUSD Police Chief Bryon Gustafson says it’s an unnecessary and wasteful investigation based on bad data. Stockton Record article

Calls for UC Davis chancellor’s ouster grow amid Internet scrubbing controversy – The University of California‘s student association late Friday called on UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to resign amid revelations that the university paid to remove Internet references to a 2011 incident in which police pepper-sprayed students. The group is the latest to join a growing call for Katehi to step down. LA Times articleSacramento Bee article‘Video: Katehi rebuffs question about calls she resign’ in Sacramento Bee

Marcus Breton: UC Davis muddles messages it paid to have massaged – One of the great movie lines ever spoken is from “Cool Hand Luke,” the 1967 action classic in which Strother Martin sizes up Paul Newman and says: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” For all her accolades, corporate support, academic credentials and fundraising prowess, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has faced more than one crisis due to consistent failures to communicate. Breton column in Sacramento Bee

Schools buying water filters even though fountains are fine — A growing distaste and distrust of tap water has prompted many school districts to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on heavily marketed filters — some of which use a process that discards some water as waste — even though the schools say there’s nothing wrong with what’s currently flowing from their pipes. San Francisco Chronicle article

Fresno State’s Vintage Days has something for everyone, students say — Marcus Castro never had volunteered for Vintage Days at Fresno State until this year and wasn’t sure what to expect. Castro, a third-year student, wanted to get involved, so he signed up to help out Saturday with an all-ages sidewalk chalk competition. Fresno Bee article

Retiree benefits become a flashpoint in the battle between charters and traditional schools – A Woodland Hills charter school recently made an unusual offer to its veteran teachers: We’ll give you $30,000 if you return to the Los Angeles Unified School District before you retire. It wasn’t the teachers that El Camino Real Charter High School wanted to get rid of. It was the cost of their retirement benefits. The school’s cost-shifting strategy is one of many flashpoints between traditional public schools and the independent charters they compete with for students and money. LA Times article 

Sierra Middle School students get into the giving spirit — On the shelves of Irene Dillon’s language arts classrooms are the typical books and school materials, but there also are cans of fruits and vegetables, boxes of macaroni and cheese and ramen soups, and jars of peanut butter and jelly. Stockton Record article


Lois Henry: Testing shows food and oil field water are a good mix — Initial testing of grapes and nuts that have been irrigated for the past 20 or so years with water produced from nearby oilfields shows (drum roll) a…BIG…FAT…NOTHING. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Modesto Irrigation District critics welcome class-action lawsuit over electricity subsidy — News of a class-action lawsuit against the Modesto Irrigation District brought similar reactions from its most frequent critics, all of whom said it’s about time. Modesto Bee articleJeff Jardine column, “Will lawsuit become a jolt to MID’s farm-water subsidies,” in Modesto Bee

Health/Human Services 

STDs on the rise in San Joaquin County — San Joaquin County Public Health Services presented its first report to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, and noted that clinics treated more residents than anticipated and nurses made more home visits to patients than expected in 2015. Stockton Record article

Land Use/Housing

Modesto challenged over planned sale of McClure property — The estate of the couple who some 40 years ago sold Modesto farmland with an 1880s-era farmhouse with the understanding that the city would turn the property into a museum wants to rescind the deal because the city is trying to sell the property. The city never developed the site, citing budget constraints. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

Petition drive underway to open more pot dispensaries in Stockton – There is only one legal medical marijuana dispensary in 300,000-resident Stockton, the difficult-to-find Stockton Patient Clinic tucked away in an obscure corner of the Eastland Plaza shopping center at Wilson Way and Fremont Street. Hillbrant is a member of a group of 36 medical marijuana users working to place an initiative before Stockton voters in November. A petition drive is underway. Stockton Record article 

Kern’s diversity was on full display at county’s 150th birthday bash – The County of Kern didn’t blow out 150 candles on its birthday cake Saturday, but the county threw a huge party anyway — and hundreds, maybe thousands of friends showed up. Bakersfield Californian article

Kern Turns 150: What remains of Kern’s first capital city — The narrow strip of asphalt winds up the face of the ridge that juts above Bodfish, taking the traveler out of a world of fast food joints, hardware stores and freeway traffic. Behind glimmers a sweeping vista of the hamlets and towns around the shores of Isabella Lake. Ahead the hills open their arms on a green mountain valley. Bakersfield Californian article‘Courts had to settle messy county seat election’ in Bakersfield Californian‘The father of Kern County’ in Bakersfield Californian 

Michael Fitzgerald: A treasure trove of Stockton boat photos — I got to wondering about San Francisco’s Maritime Museum: is there Stockton stuff in there? After all, Stockton is a nautical neighbor. Turns out the museum is part of a national park complex that includes an archive a few blocks to the west called the San Francisco Maritime Research Center. That place is chock full of Stockton items. Stockton Record article