April 18, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Dan Walters: California Legislature ignores problems, occupied with trivia — Poverty, water supply, educational shortcomings, traffic congestion and housing shortages are just a few of those knotty issues that seem to limp along year after year without resolution. Much of the Legislature’s time and energy, however, is consumed by what most of us would consider picayune matters, and none of its preoccupations is less worthy than two relics of a bygone era – prescribing the minute details of horse racing and liquor sales. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Voters, particularly Republicans, say they pay too many taxes – As procrastinators race to file their taxes by Monday’s deadline, a majority of California voters say the amount they pay is too high, according to a new Field Poll that reveals just how divided liberals and conservatives are on the issue. San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley politics

Stockton mayoral candidate’s 97-year-old mom is his biggest fan – Once upon a time, Gary Malloy was the kid who changed the numbers on the Billy Hebert Field scoreboard during the baseball games of his beloved Stockton Ports. On other days, young Gary and his friends would play croquet or board games at Oak Park or spend hours at Pardini’s Toy Box or walk down to the Stockton Theater on the Miracle Mile to catch a 25-cent Saturday matinee. Stockton Record article

Bakersfield mayoral candidate profile: Marc DeLeon – Twenty-five people are running for mayor of Bakersfield. Today’s profile: Marc DeLeon, 46, owner of Mad Dog Tattoo. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno’s League of Women Voters to celebrate 75 years — Seventy-five years after its founding, the Fresno chapter of the League of Women Voters focuses on many of the same issues it began with in those early years. Fresno Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

George Skelton: John Chiang is cool, calm and collected. So why’s he ‘leaning toward’ running for governor? – State Treasurer John Chiang is soft-spoken, reflective, substantive and a numbers geek. So why in this political era of shouting and showboating is he even thinking about running for California governor? He doesn’t pander, preen or pounce. Skelton column in LA Times

Ron Unz’s U.S. Senate race raises concerns of splintered GOP vote — Republican Ron Unz may have jumped into the high-profile race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, but he’s not drafting the speech he’s planning to deliver on the Senate floor in January. San Francisco Chronicle article

All eyes on chief justice in immigration challenge — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. twice voted to save President Obama’s health care law, infuriating his usual allies on the right. Now, conservatives are nervous that the chief justice will disappoint them again in a challenge to another major Obama initiative, this one on immigration. New York Times article

Other areas

Legislation aims to curb serial ADA lawsuits – State and federal lawmakers have launched several pieces of legislation aimed squarely at people they believe are manipulating well-intentioned discrimination laws to pad their own bank accounts. San Jose Mercury News article 

Sacramento Councilman Allen Warren faces challenge from community leaders — Sacramento Councilman Allen Warren faces two challengers in June after a tumultuous year in which violent crime spiked and a city employee accused him of sexual harassment before withdrawing her claim. Sacramento Bee article

The Trump campaign has landed in California.  Are you ready? — If you’re a Donald Trump supporter in California, what is more worrisome to you: that the candidate just hired his state director last week, less than two months before the nation’s largest state’s primary puts 172 delegates up for grabs, or that the new director has never met Trump? San Francisco Chronicle article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Immigrants, the poor and minorities gain sharply under health act – The first full year of the Affordable Care Act brought historic increases in coverage for low-wage workers and others who have long been left out of the health care system, a New York Times analysis has found. Immigrants of all backgrounds — including more than a million legal residents who are not citizens — had the sharpest rise in coverage rates. New York Times article

Merced plans pot meeting on ‘4/20’ – City leaders say they’re not joking about loosening the restriction on medical cannabis in Merced, and to show they’re open to it, they’ve scheduled a meeting on the unofficial marijuana holiday. Merced Sun-Star article

Jobs and the Economy

San Francisco’s new family leave rules put some businesses in a bind – On April 5, San Francisco passed a paid family leave ordinance meant to alleviate the financial concerns of new parents like Story. At the same time, it will put new strains on some business owners — like Story’s boss, Pete Sittnick. San Francisco Chronicle article

Pushing the case for cost-cutting pension reform – A leading advocate of the view that public pensions are alarmingly underfunded thinks rising costs could, in the next five to ten years, push some cities into bankruptcy and some states into insolvency. Calpensions article

Five Guys burger chain plans opening in May for Merced location — With the new year well underway, Merced residents eagerly await the opening of new businesses that announced they were coming to the city last year. One of those businesses is Five Guys, a burger joint planned for the 2,100-square-foot space near G Street and East Yosemite Avenue. Merced Sun-Star article 

Inside Tesla’s mysterious desert battery factory — Telsa’s Gigafactory is a lot like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory: it’s mysterious, it’s big and few people have been inside. KQED report


Hundreds rally in Delano to honor Cesar Chavez’s legacy — Hundreds of people joined members of the United Farm Workers as they marched through the streets of Delano on Sunday to honor Cesar Chavez’s legacy and to support efforts by the union to give overtime pay to farmworkers. Fresno Bee articleBakersfield Californian articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Don Curlee: Better fruit is breeder’s goal — Consumers who cherish crisper, tastier, more colorful fruit with better keeping qualities are not alone; they have a nationwide brigade of professional researchers and fruit breeders behind them. Federal funds for specialty crops are helping them achieve their goal. Visalia Times-Delta article

Congress hears from 4-H leader from Ceres — Dominique Germann, a young member of a dairy family near Ceres, spoke to a congressional panel this week about the value of 4-H. Germann was a longtime member of the youth development program, which has about 6 million members ages 5 to 19. She now attends California State University, Fresno, and served as a “collegiate facilitator” at the National 4-H Conference. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Tulare supervisors to award $52.4 million jail construction contract – The Tulare County Board of Supervisor is expected to award a $52.4 million contract for the construction of the South County Detention Facility during a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday morning. Visalia Times-Delta article

Santa Clara County: High-tech police spying rules take shape – Santa Clara County officials are poised to approve sweeping rules governing police use of cell phone trackers and other spying technology that advocates say will be a model for the nation but that cops worry could hamper investigations. San Jose Mercury News article

LA’s effort to equip officers with body cameras stalls – Los Angeles’ much-touted plan to equip thousands of police officers withbody cameras has stalled amid controversy at City Hall over the program’s price tag and whether the Police Department got the best deal possible. LA Times article 

Manson follower Leslie Van Houten faces fight from victim’s family to gain freedom – Opposition is forming for the release of Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, whom a state board last week recommended for parole. Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has vowed to fight against the release of Van Houten, and several family members of her victim, Rosemary LaBianca, have also spoken out. LA Times article 

On Duty with the CHP: Dangers of distracted driving — Every day in the United States, adults and teenagers are killed by these words, “where r u, lol, almost thr, k, yep, and yeah.” It is not from speaking these words, but rather texting these words. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The California Highway Patrol, along with more than 200 law enforcement agencies in the state, has been focused on the zero-tolerance enforcement of the distracted driver. On Duty with the CHP in Fresno Bee


Trial program takes new approach to teaching English learners – Their teachers would receive extra training and the students would be paired with high school students to help ease the big step from middle school. Parents would need to sign a contract agreeing that they would attend workshops and that they and their children would take part in a research study. LA Times article 

New measuring cup for success:  College doesn’t have to be about earning a degree — John Shaughnessy might not earn a degree at San Joaquin Delta College. And he doesn’t intend to transfer to a four-year university. But don’t think for a second that he won’t benefit from his time at Delta. Shaughnessy, 21, has already used the skills he’s learned through the college’s culinary arts program to move up from dishwasher to cook at a Manteca restaurant. And he aims higher, hoping to open his own business someday. Stockton Record article

Bobcat Day shows off UC Merced – UC Merced may not have the name recognition of other colleges, but potential Bobcats who toured the UC system’s newest campus over the weekend said they were impressed with what it has to offer. Merced Sun-Star article 

After years of helping kids manage trauma, one school’s unique program faces budget uncertainties – Sacramento’s Oak Ridge Elementary created Room 30 to help at-risk kids manage stress and trauma. But the program’s financial future is uncertain. KQED report

California Virtual Academies: Is charter school network cashing in on failure? — Launched with fanfare and promise, online schools such as K12 are compiling a spotty record nationwide, but highly motivated students with strong parental support can succeed in them. In California, however, those students make up a tiny fraction of K12’s enrollment. The result — according to an extensive review of complaints, company records, tax filings and state education data — is that children and taxpayers are being cheated as the company takes advantage of a systemic breakdown in oversight by local school districts and state bureaucrats. San Jose Mercury News article

Turlock teacher tapped for national panel, training video — When a lesson really cooks in Leisa Machado’s class, her seventh-graders are teaching themselves. She is just there to stir the pot. Prod any bits stuck to the pan. Throw in a pinch of seasoning now and then. Modesto Bee article

Sacramento City Unified searching for game plan to build central kitchen — How do district officials deliver the combinations of breakfasts, lunches and snacks to thousands of students daily without a central kitchen? At elementary and middle schools, they rely heavily on prepackaged foods and frozen entrees from third-party vendors. Sacramento Bee article


It could cost $3 billion to prevent disastrous earthquake damage along San Francisco’s Embarcadero – New studies have found that a massive sea wall along the Embarcadero could be shoved toward the bay by more than several feet in a massive earthquake, taking with it some of San Francisco’s most famous and expensive real estate. LA Times article 

Steve Lopez: Forget El Nino: California’s coast is in danger from a soulless commission — My California tale of beauty and the beast began last week near Half Moon Bay, followed by a stop in Bodega Bay. That’s the “beauty” part of the story. Then I went to a California Coastal Commission hearing. Lopez in LA Times

San Francisco Bay: Massive effort to remove aquatic invader nearly finished — Now after what is believed the most extensive campaign ever launched to eradicate a non-native species in San Francisco Bay, the invader has been sent into retreat, its area reduced 97 percent, from 805 acres in 2005 to 28 today. San Jose Mercury News article

Health/Human Services 

North Modesto site chosen for Stanislaus Veterans Center – After seven other proposals were considered, a north Modesto shopping center has been chosen for the long-awaited Stanislaus Veterans Center. Modesto Bee article

Disturbing stories emerge after nursing facility sued – The reviews from patients and their families are not good for one of Stockton’s largest nursing homes. “It’s an absolute hell hole,” said Joyce Griffin, 82, of Linden, whose son Reed McCormick, 57, spent time at Wagner Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation Center a few years ago. McCormick was recuperating from being hit by a car while walking in a parking lot and had previously been living with brain damage. Stockton Record article

Marek Warszawski: Kidney donation links two of Valley’s best-known golf families —  The question Jon DeChambeau has been mulling for weeks is the one he can’t answer. Not until the next time he sees Mike Watney, wraps his arms around his friend and finds the words. How do you thank the person who’s giving you a kidney? Warszawski in Fresno Bee

Other areas

Cities consider changes to massage ordinances to counter illicit sex trade – The organization that certifies massage therapists says its certification process can help communities weed out illicit massage parlors. Ahmos Netanel, CEO for the California Massage Therapy Council, said the organization’s certification process for massage therapists helps root out the “bad apples.” Cities including Roseville and Citrus Heights are looking to update their ordinances. Sacramento Bee article

As TBC: What is Kern County’s 150th anniversary celebration costing us? – About $55,000, give or take. Here’s how it breaks down. Bakersfield Californian article

California Capitol’s aging annex eyed for upgrade or tear-down – The workhorse appendage to the historic old Capitol, the annex houses two constitutional officers, most of the 120 legislators, 1,400 legislative and executive branch staff. It also hosts more than 1.5 million people who visit the building annually for work or pleasure. Sacramento Bee article

Lewis Griswold: Farmersville to dedicate bench for abused children — Farmersville – small, low-income and mostly Latino – is the first community in Tulare County to declare itself a Community for Child Well Being. Griswold in Fresno Bee

Fitz’s Stockton: Reader poll: Which Stockton logo is best? — I’m not criticizing North Star’s logo. But I will say it’s pretty impressive that Barnard did alone, in a few days and for free, what North Star took 10 months to do at a cost of $10,000. Let’s take a vote on it. Go to recordnet.com and vote for the logo you think is best. Fitz’s Stockton in Stockton Record