April 21, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

California voters back income tax extension, school bonds, poll says – California voters are inclined to extend extra taxes on the state’s high-income residents to support public education and pass a new school construction bond issue, a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California has found. Sacramento Bee articleSan Jose Mercury News articleEdSource article

Does Trump’s road to Republican nomination run through Fresno? — Fresh off his victory in New York’s GOP primary, billionaire businessman Donald Trump turn his sights to other primaries, including the June 7 contest in California. And for him to succeed in the Golden State, with its trove of delegates, Trump may well need to win over voters in places like Fresno. Fresno Bee article

Can a small-town Latina mayor push Central Valley millennials to polls? — Amid all the festivities, Amy and Lindsay Mayor Ramona Padilla have an important date during Orange Blossom week: They’re going to meet up to talk about voting. KQED report

Gov. Brown 

Joel Fox: Will Brown sign bill to closely monitor the bullet train? – Brown is the bullet train’s greatest advocate. He’s also been the state’s leading preacher within the government hierarchy on fiscal responsibility. If AB 2847 clears committee and floor votes and ends up on the governor’s desk will he sign it? Fox in Fox & Hounds

Jerry Brown selling house in Oakland Hills — Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, are selling their house in the Oakland Hills. Brown’s office on Wednesday confirmed a report in the East Bay Times that the house will be listed this week for about $2.6 million. Sacramento Bee article 

Valley politics

Interview: Holly Carter wants to be Fresno’s newest city councilmember — Holly Carter wants to replace Lee Brand on the Fresno City Council. “I never wanted to run for office, I actually still don’t want to run for office,” Carters says. “It’s more of a gravitational pull.” KVPR report 

Stockton council District 6 candidates bemoan disconnect – The District 6 campaign is the most crowded of any of the City Council races this year. The candidates are Stockton Unified board member Gloria Allen; community organizer Jesús Munguia Andrade; Manteca Unified board member Sam Fant; Weston Ranch activist Zoyla Moreno; and south Stockton resident Andrea Torres. Stockton Record article 

New Fresno County polling place? Your neighbor’s garage — Fresno County’s elections department needs a few good garages. Brandi Orth, county clerk and voter registrar, is in a race against time to find new polling places so voters can avoid long lines for the June 7 primary election. Fresno Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

On 4/20, marijuana legalization headed for California ballot — The November initiative to legitimize recreational pot for adults 21 and over is gaining momentum as we approach the end of the signature-gathering process. Supporters, ranging from drug policy reformers to state medical doctors and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, are approaching Tuesday’s suggested deadline set by the Secretary of State for campaigns to file signatures with county election offices. Sacramento Bee article 

George Skelton: California’s voter registration forms don’t make sense – it’s time for the state to change them — About 400,000 Californians who might be planning to vote in the state’s pivotal Democratic presidential primary June 7 could be in for a shock. They’ll be told, “Sorry, your vote’s no good here.” They’re getting rooked, although they primarily rooked themselves. The state also is to blame, however. Skelton column in LA Times 

On schools, Villaraigosa parts with Gov — Villaraigosa, who got into politics as a union organizer for teachers in Los Angeles, did not want to criticize the governor, but his comments differed sharply from Brown’s view that the academic performance gap between African Americans and Latinos to other student groups is likely to persist despite government interventions. CALmatters article

How the Republican candidates compare on immigration issues – Immigration has played a central role in the presidential campaign. The three remaining Republicans in the race take varying stands on how the United States should treat immigrants living in the country illegally, whether it’s possible to have Mexico pay for a wall at the Southern border and whether undocumented immigrants should be able to stay in the U.S. legally. McClatchy Newspapers article

How the Democratic candidates compare on immigration issues — Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agree that the nation needs to rewrite its immigration laws, but they disagree on some of the specific proposals. Both candidates want to go further than President Barack Obama to protect immigrants in the country illegally from deportation, but Sanders accuses Clinton of being inconsistent and not compassionate on the issue. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Frustration by new U.S. program to take in migrants, Central American parents turn to smugglers – Advocates say Sorto is not alone — that other parents frustrated by delays in the Central American Minors program are turning to smugglers. State Department officials said it takes about eight months on average to vet families but acknowledged that after more than a year, only a fraction of the 8,001 who applied came to the U.S., fewer than 200. LA Times article

Assemblymembers Luis Alejo and David Chiu: State must be ready for deportation relief ruling – Salinas Democrat Alejo and San Francisco Democrat Chiu write, “It is critical that California build on last year’s investments in One California and bolster support for immigration services so that we can advance shared prosperity for all.” Alejo/Chiu op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Border drug tunnel is the longest ever in California, feds say — Federal authorities said Wednesday that a half-mile, cross-border tunnel discovered in San Diego’s Otay Mesa neighborhood Saturday is the longest drug tunnel to be found along the California-Mexico border ever. LA Times article


Apple obliging most of government’s user-data requests — Even as Apple continues its high-profile campaign of resistance to the FBI’s attempts to hack into one of its iPhones, the release Tuesday of the company’s biannual transparency report shows law enforcement agencies in the second half of 2015 quietly made 4,000 requests for user data from more than 16,000 devices and that Apple in most cases obliged them. San Jose Mercury News article

Other areas

California bill to regulate prices for ride-sharing services fails – In a victory for the ride-for-hire tech industry, a California bill to regulate ride pricing and mandate broader background checks failed in committee on Tuesday and could be done for the year. Sacramento Bee article 

California PUC tear-down measure clears first hurdle – California’s embattled utilities regulator moved one step closer to losing its autonomy Wednesday as an Assembly panel passed a measure to overhaul the Public Utilities Commission. Sacramento Bee article

In wake of San Francisco tour bus crash, safety bills get nod from legislative panels – Three bills to increase inspection of tour buses in California, inspired by a high-profile bus crash in San Francisco’s Union Square last November, are advancing in the state Legislature. KQED report

Cathleen Decker: With New York wins, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump aim at November — With swamping victories in New York, Donald Trump and Hillary Clintonhave turned to their next target: the general election. Decker in LA Times

Donald Trump plans California campaign headquarters in Sacramento – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, looking ahead to the June 7 primary here, is preparing to open his California headquarters in the Natomas area of Sacramento, a spokesman said Wednesday. Sacramento Bee article 

Joe Mathews: Donald Trump is America’s problem, not California’s — Sorry, America, but we Californians are not going to stop Donald Trump for you. To believe otherwise is to misunderstand us. Mathews in Sacramento Bee 

Fresno’s first female mayor says nation may be ready woman president – In 1989, Karen Humphrey broke a glass ceiling in Fresno, becoming the city’s first female mayor. She believes the nation may now be ready to break a much more daunting glass ceiling. Fresno Bee article 

Supreme Court upholds Arizona’s redrawn legislative map – The Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously upheld an Arizona state legislative map drawn by an independent redistricting commission, rejecting a challenge from Republicans who said the map was too favorable to Democrats. New York Times article

Should Congress require a hearing on gun violence after each moment of silence for victims? – U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Los Angeles) and more than 100 House Democrats want to change the chamber’s rules to require a congressional hearing each time its members stand in silence to recognize gun violence victims. LA Times article 

Chris Bohjalian: The forgotten hero who killed the Armenian genocide’s mastermind — Friday morning, Rep. Jim Costa will lay a wreath in Fresno’s Masis Ararat Cemetery at the grave of an Armenian who died peacefully in San Francisco 56 years ago. Most Americans are more familiar with the Peloponnesian War than they are with the fellow Costa will remember. Even in the San Joaquin Valley, home to roughly 50,000 Armenian-Americans, most Californians would be hard-pressed to pronounce the man’s name correctly. And yet for Armenians around the world, Soghomon Tehlirian’s name inspires pride and awein equal measure. Bohjalian op-ed in Fresno Bee

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Medi-Cal set to expand coverage to undocumented children – Starting May 1, Felix and roughly 170,000 other undocumented children in California will have more options during such crises. They’ll gain access to not just emergency coverage but also dental care, checkups, mental health treatment and other vital services following an unprecedented Medi-Cal expansion that provides full coverage to all low-income children in the state, regardless of immigration status.  Sacramento Bee article 

Merced council says ‘yes’ to medical cannabis dispensaries, deliveries — The city of Merced appears to be on its way to having four medical cannabis dispensaries, but the future of cultivation remains uncertain. During a special meeting on Wednesday, which was also the unofficial holiday of marijuana, the council gave staff direction for a new ordinance that would allow dispensaries and deliveries of medical cannabis in town. Merced Sun-Star article 

Bullet train agency is expected to go forward with business plan despite widespread criticism — The state high-speed rail authority is poised to adopt a new business plan at a board meeting Thursday, despite concerns voiced by lawmakers, regional officials and independent experts. LA Times article

Appeals court denies constitutional right to minimum K-12 funding – The state Constitution does not guarantee children in California a minimally funded quality education, a divided California Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday in a landmark decision closely watched by proponents of more K-12 spending. EdSource articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Jobs and the Economy 

Merced County trying to woo cities on half-cent tax – Representatives of the Merced County Association of Governments have launched an informational campaign they hope will build support for a sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. Modesto Bee article

Hanford Costco project officially breaks ground – A backhoe ripping into the ground Wednesday was the surest sign yet that Costco is coming to the empty field at the southwest corner of East Lacey Boulevard and Highway 43. Wednesday was the ceremonial groundbreaking for the major new east Hanford retail development that could, at full build-out, rival the 12th Avenue commercial corridor. Costco is the first link in the chain. Hanford Sentinel article 

Local businesses, advocates welcome ADA bill – New federal and state bills are in the works to help small businesses meet American Disabilities Act (ADA) standards while putting an end to lawsuits that can give quick money to the disabled filing the lawsuit. Hanford Sentinel article 

Modesto previews its Amgen Tour of California commercial — Here’s your chance to see how the city wants to portray Modesto to the world. The city has put out a preview of its 30-second commercial that will be broadcast in May during the Amgen Tour of California, the annual road race featuring some of the world’s best professional cyclists. You can view it at modbee.com/videoModesto Bee article

CalPERS sets higher pension contribution rates – CalPERS approved another round of rate increases Thursday, requiring higher contributions from state agencies and school districts for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Sacramento Bee article

CalPERS puts off decision on tobacco reinvestment – It turns out CalPERS isn’t quite ready to take up the tobacco habit after all. The big California pension fund Wednesday unexpectedly postponed a plan, adopted two days earlier, to launch an extensive study of whether it should reinvest in tobacco companystocks. Instead, the CalPERS investment committee will discuss the issue again May 16, said CalPERS spokeswoman Rosanna Westmoreland. Sacramento Bee article

Homeless measures take center stage in Mayor Garcetti’s 2016 budget proposal — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday released his proposed budget for the final year of his first term, advocating for significant increases in funding for anti-homelessness programs as part of a 2% increase in overall spending. LA Times articleKPCC report

Visalia ranks ‘bad’ on credit score — If you know what your credit score is, you’re ahead of the game compared to roughly 58 percent of Americans. But that’s merely a moral victory if the result isn’t excellent. Unfortunately, that figures to be the case for many folks, considering the average credit score for aVisalia resident, 649, ranks 1,962nd among U.S. cities and is classified as “bad.” What’s more, the average Visalia resident with credit card debt owes roughly $5,522, which ranks 1,390th nationally. Visalia Times-Delta article

Source: VW to pay $1 billion to diesel owners, buy back some cars – Volkswagen, the U.S. government and private lawyers have reached a deal for the automaker to buy back some of the 600,000 diesel cars that cheat on emissions tests and spend just over $1 billion to compensate owners, according to a person briefed on the matter. AP article

McClatchy Co. reports smaller first-quarter loss – The McClatchy Co. reported a narrower first-quarter loss Wednesday, although the owner of The Sacramento Bee continued to struggle with declining revenue. Sacramento-based McClatchy said it lost $7.9 million in the quarter, excluding certain one-time adjustments. That compared with a loss of $8.7 million a year earlier. Sacramento Bee article

Central Valley Community Bank earnings up 38 percent in Q1 — Central Valley Community Bancorp, parent company of Fresno’s Central Valley Community Bank, reported net income of $3.4 million in the first quake, up 38 percent from the same quarter of 2015. The Business Journal article 

Kern County Fair: Bid adieu to barbeque, hello to parking increase — Bad news for lovers of dirt-cheap parking and deep-pit burritos: The Kern County Fair Board has approved a $3 parking increase, and longtime local concessionaire Strasner’s Bar-B-Que has fired up the grill for the last time, ending an epic 60-year run at the region’s most popular entertainment event. Bakersfield Californian article

Business Roundup: GlassPoint expands into Bakersfield, more – A Fremont-based company that builds solar installations to generate steam for oil production announced Wednesday it has opened an office in Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article

The State Worker: Why a judge said Cal Fire do-over demotions were OK — Last week the State Personnel Board approved Judge Gregory Brown’s decision that Cal Fire’s punishment, a two-rank demotion from fire captain to fire fighter II, was appropriate given the nature of the infraction and the three employees’ apparent refusal to accept responsibility. Here are some of the most pertinent lines from the decisionThe State Worker in Sacramento Bee 

Arizona company acquires rights to Kern placer gold mining claim — An Arizona company announced this week it has acquired rights from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to operate a 160-acre placer gold mining claim about 50 miles north of Mojave. Bakersfield Californian article

Young entrepreneurs to launch new businesses to public – Twelve middle and high school students have worked for more than six months creating their own businesses, and now they will present their hard work to the public. Visalia Times-Delta article

‘It’s not like we’re just drug dealers’ — Patrons of CannaCanHelp in Goshen celebrated Wednesday, 4/20, with a free barbeque. Customers ate tri-tip sandwiches, nachos and cooled off with soda. While April 20 is nationally known as a celebration of the cannabis culture, many CCH staff members and customers don’t have much cause for celebration. Visalia Times-Delta article

Oakland to impose impact fees on new housing developments — Oakland has a new solution for its affordability crisis: Beginning in September, the city will impose impact fees on new housing developments, adopting a mechanism that many Bay Area cities use to generate money for transportation, infrastructure and affordable housing. San Francisco Chronicle article


California rethinks approach to conserving water in drought – Water providers throughout California said Wednesday they want to decide how much water their customers need to conserve during the ongoing drought rather than take orders from the state. AP article

Sacramento water agencies push to be exempt from drought conservation rules – Sacramento-area water districts are urging state regulators to release their customers from Gov. Jerry Brown’s urban water conservation order, contending a relatively wet winter has made the cutbacks unnecessary. Sacramento Bee article

Fresno appeals court hears ALRB mediation access case – Lawyers representing Gerawan Farming, media organizations and the Agricultural Labor Relations Board presented their arguments before the Fifth District Court of Appeal Wednesday in a case that could give the public access to a previously closed labor mediation process. Fresno Bee article

Waterwise: Improvement project around Tulare County costly – It would cost nearly $30 million to pay for a water improvement project benefiting Alpaugh and Allensworth and a sewer collection system at Matheny Tract. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Lawsuit still pending against Crisp — One major lawsuit has ended against troubled Stratford walnut processor/marketer Crisp California Walnuts, but a second is ongoing. The biggest lawsuit, which included 26 growers (many of them local), has been settled, according to Michael Miya, a Kings County grower whose farming company was a plaintiff in the suit. Hanford Sentinel article

‘Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm’ documentary to air nationally — The Masumoto family is known throughout the country as one of the nations foremost producers of organic peaches. But also known for their literary pursuits and intellectual pursuits which combine in this new documentary “Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm.” The documentary airs nationwide on PBS stations in May, including in Fresno on Valley Public Television. KVPR report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Lawsuit says ‘code of silence’ hid California inmate’s death – A psychologist who spent seven years working inside California’s correctional system filed a federal lawsuit against state prison officials Wednesday, alleging they routinely covered up how inmates died. Sacramento Bee article

Fresno leaders unveil Manchester Central Policing District — City officials Wednesday unveiled a planned Central Policing District, based at Manchester Center, which they say will help restore a gap torn in policing effectiveness by the Great Recession. Fresno Bee articleKVPR report

New tomorrow for parolees: Graduation a milestone for those turning their lives around – On Wednesday, Berger and other parolees were honored during a graduation ceremony, or “transition celebration,” hosted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Division of Adult Parole Operations and BI Incorporated, an operator of a community-based day reporting center for parolees in Stockton. Stockton Record article 

Hanford Police Department lawsuits in limbo after lawyer goes silent — A Kings County Superior Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit against the Hanford Police Department after the plaintiffs and their attorney failed to comply with a court order. Hanford Sentinel article

Stockton Record: Get involved – violence prevention efforts important to Stockton — We urge Stocktonians to attend today’s meeting (of the Office of Violence Prevention’s community engagement coalition) and get involved. We also urge them to help police when they have tips that could lead to arrests for violent crime. Stockton Record editorial

Jeff Jardine: When murder cases past and more recent have plenty of appeal(s) – Hang around long enough in this business and you’ll be able connect the dots between any two stories or events. A case – or cases – in point. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Suspect in Capitol standoff makes brief court appearance — No longer smiling, Edgar Napoles Rodriguez – the man who made headlines Monday for anhours-long standoff in front of the state Capitol – was arraigned quietly in Sacramento Superior Court Wednesday. Sacramento Bee article

Parks employee shot in hand during southwest Fresno gunfight — A shooting in southwest Fresno Wednesday ended with a parks employee being shot in the hand, the Fresno Police Department said. Fresno Bee article 

Councilman seeks review of LAPD body camera plan, but prolonged delay is averted — Amid mounting concerns over delays in putting body cameras on thousands of Los Angeles police officers, a City Council member formally asked Wednesday for several reviews to determine whether the Police Department selected the best product at the best price. LA Times article

San Francisco police told to submit regular reports on rape-kit backlog — The San Francisco Police Department will be required to submit public semiannual and annual reports regarding the agency’s collection and analysis of rape kits, according to a resolution passed unanimously by the Police Commission on Wednesday. San Francisco Chronicle article

On the Johnny Cash Trail at Folsom Prison, people need to keep a movin’ — When city officials here started planning a new nature trail winding through prison grounds, they made sure it didn’t run too close to the 2,300 inmates who live behind the walls of Folsom State Prison, where Johnny Cash famously performed. Still, some in town worried a 40-foot steel statue of Johnny Cash and other art planned for the trail might glorify the prison. A corrections official wondered if bike racks and benches could encourage loitering. Wall Street Journal article


Sacramento Bee: CSU faculty union, senators turn backs on students — Two weeks after negotiating a 10.5 percent pay hike, the union that represents California State University faculty helped lead an effort to kill legislation that might have helped some students graduate within four years. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Black students protest CSU chancellor’s visit to Fresno State – Student groups at Fresno State are demanding administrators do more to attract and retain African Americans, pointing out that only 3 percent of the student body is black. Fresno Bee article 

As UC Berkeley tries to close its deficit, administrators feel the ire of traditional faculty allies –  As top UC Berkeley officials lead an ambitious effort to reshape the nation’s premier public research institution, they are facing increasingly fierce reactions from their usual allies — the faculty. LA Times article

Enochs only Modesto high school to rank in US News best list … at #2120 — Ripon High in Ripon and Central Valley High in Ceres top this area’s contenders in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings. Enochs High, the only Modesto school to reach a national and state ranking, came in fifth. Rounding out the top local performers are Bret Harte High in Angels Camp, Escalon High in Escalon, Pitman High in Turlock and Hughson High in Hughson. Modesto Bee article

Two Stockton schools named among nation’s best — Two Stockton schools have been named among the top 200 in the nation and the top 25 in the state by U.S. News and World Report, which compiles the list annually. Stockton Collegiate International Secondary is ranked No. 2 in the state (21st in the nation), and Stockton Early College Academy is ranked No. 23 in the state (193 in the nation). Stockton Record article

Marty Wormuth: The Central Catholic I know does not tolerate racism – The Central Catholic High School graduate writes, “As I went to visit my grandfather in his nursing home, I opened the door for another person who looked at me and said, ‘At least you’re not a criminal, like the rest.’ Initially, I was confused. Then I realized I was wearing an old Central Catholic High School football shirt.” Wormuth op-ed in Modesto Bee


Valley has ‘F’ air, Lung Association says; data outdated, locals say — San Joaquin Valley’s air quality got an “F” in the latest American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report. The report, released Wednesday, issued the failing mark to all eight Valley counties. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, however, says the report uses old data. The district is touting its best air year in its more than 40 years of existence. Fresno Bee article 

Clean air advocate: California has nation’s dirtiest air — Millions of Californians live in places with dirty air, according to an annual report card issued Wednesday that ranks two major urban areas in the state as the nation’s most polluted. Bakersfield tops the list for having the most unhealthy days from airborne particles spewed by highway traffic, diesel trucks, farm equipment and fireplaces, the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2016 report says. Los Angeles remains the nation’s leader in harmful ozone pollution from car tailpipes emitting smog, the report says. AP articleLA Times article

Merced’s air best in Valley, but still unhealthy, report says – Merced was the only county in the Valley to receive a passing grade on the amount of airborne particles spewed by highway traffic, diesel trucks, farm equipment and fireplaces, according to the annual State of the Air 2016 study released Wednesday by the American Lung Association. Merced Sun-Star article 

Taking the Pulse of Kings County: LA County changes name of Kings County compost facility — LA County’s Department of Sanitation has changed the name of their Kings County compost facility just as it has finally become operational. Approved by the Kings County Board of Supervisors in 2004, it has taken 12 years to make this happen in what is a remote part of the old lake bed. No longer part of Westlake Farms, the $130 million facility is now called Tulare Lake Compost. Hanford Sentinel article

San Francisco requires new buildings to install solar panels – San Francisco will soon begin requiring new buildings to have solar panels installed on the roof. It’s the first major U.S. city to have such a requirement, according to Scott Weiner, the city supervisor who introduced the bill. KQED report

State Senate panel plans a hearing on the blackout claims from the Aliso Canyon report – A state Senate committee plans to question California energy agencies about a report they produced that warns of blackouts in Southern California if the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility remains closed this summer. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Can transparency drive down drug prices? – Two bills moving through the state legislature would require more transparency around prescription drug costs. KPCC report

Google wants to take your temperature and count your heartbeat — Google has filed a patent application for technology that would allow it to monitor mobile-device users’ vital signs and facial expressions, so it can adjust search results according to the emotional reactions they generate. San Jose Mercury News article

Happy Hearts program raises money for hospital — Best Buy Market owner Skip Nugent and his staff are again raising money for the Happy Hearts campaign in honor of his daughter, Heather, who died a few days before her 18th birthday from injuries in a car accident. In the 14 years of the fundraising event, Happy Hearts has raised more than $1.2 million with all proceeds benefiting the pediatric intensive care unit at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera. Hanford Sentinel article

Mailer heats up hospital bond election in Visalia — A campaign mailer attacking Lindsay Mann, chief executive officer of Kaweah Delta Health Care District, is heating up the Measure H hospital bond election. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

VA study of service dogs for vets with PTSD faces questions — Since 2002, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has paid veterinary bills to veterans with guide or service dogs for physical disabilities. Now, the agency is in the midst of a $12 million study to gauge the efficacy and costs of using dogs to help those who suffer from post-traumatic stress. AP article 

Land Use/Housing

Bakersfield City Council approves assisted living facility, points fingers over failed land deal – The Bakersfield City Council on Wednesday denied an appeal by residents of a proposed 112-bed assisted living facility in the northeast, but required the developer to test the soil for the fungal spores that cause valley fever and plan for their mitigation. Bakersfield Californian article

Public housing residents offended by agency’s depiction of low-income women — Renita Williams was stunned by the flier she found tacked to her door after she arrived home from her college class in February. It was a brightly colored notice from the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency advertising employment services for her and other residents in the low-income Alder Grove and Marina Vista public housing complexes. Sacramento Bee article


California high-speed rail board to consider latest plans – The board that oversees California’s high-speed rail project to link Northern and Southern California is expected to consider dramatic changes at a meeting Thursday in San Jose. AP article

North County Corridor loans Highway 132 Bypass $23 million – A Highway 132 bypass west of Modesto is nearly ready to build, if leaders could scrape up enough money. Planning for the North County Corridor, also a major regional priority, isn’t as far along, although leaders long ago secured a promise from state officials for $91 million toward that expressway. Modesto Bee article 

Benecia looks to federal regulators to resolve oil-by-train controversy – Benicia’s City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to postpone a decision on Valero’s plan to build a railroad terminal at its refinery near the Suisun Bay. Chris Howe, health and safety director for the Valero refinery, said the company asked to delay the decision until the federal agency that regulates railroads provides some guidance to Benicia officials. KQED report 

Self-driving cars seen as boon for people with disabilities — As self-driving cars move toward becoming a reality for the general public, many blind or aging people and those with disabilities see a new opportunity for mobility approaching. Medill News Service article in Fresno Bee

Other areas

Spanish declines and English is on the rise among U.S. Latinos – A declining share of Latinos in the U.S. are speaking Spanish and a growing share only speaks English at home, according to findings in a study released Wednesday by the Pew Research CenterLA Times article 

Lois Henry: Popular spay-neuter program suspended — A popular voucher system for low-income people to get their pets fixed will be suspended as of Friday for lack of funds, according to Nick Cullen, director of Kern County Animal Services. Bakersfield Californian article

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner leaving his post – Benjamin Wagner, the U. S. attorney in Sacramento, will step down at the end of April, The Bee has learned. Wagner, 56, was appointed by President Barack Obama on Nov. 6, 2009, as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California. Sacramento Bee article
Selma city manager steps down for new position – The City of Selma is facing a new transition with the announcement that City Manager Ken Grey has stepped down for a new position in city government. Grey will serve in a consulting capacity as Selma’s community development project director effective July 20. He has served as city manager for two years. The Business Journal article

Harriet Tubman goes on the $20 bill, Hamilton stays on the $10 — Harriet Tubman, who rescued about 70 slaves on the Underground Railroad over more than a decade, will replace President Andrew Jackson on the front of a redesigned $20 bill, news outlets reported Wednesday. Alexander Hamilton, whose place on the front face of the $10 bill had been imperiled, will stay on the currency, joined by women leaders on the back face of the same bill. McClatchy Newspapers article

San Joaquin County courthouse opening delayed after fire inspection — A grand opening for the county’s newest courthouse has been delayed indefinitely after poor marks from the Office of the State Fire Marshal this week. Stockton Record article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Harriet Tubman, helping U.S. currency stay current.

Sacramento Bee – Harriet Tubman, helping U.S. currency stay current; Two weeks after negotiating a 10.5 percent pay hike, the union that represents California State University faculty helped lead an effort to kill legislation that might have helped some students graduate within four years.

Stockton Record – We urge Stocktonians to attend today’s meeting (of the Office of Violence Prevention’s community engagement coalition) and get involved. We also urge them to help police when they have tips that could lead to arrests for violent crime; Sadly, horse racing is going away in San Joaquin County.