April 24, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


Dan Walters: It’s time to abolish California’s dysfunctional tax board — The Board of Equalization’s rationale for being expired decades ago, and the recent revelations just underscore that to the larger public. It’s time for it to vanish. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


George Skelton: It’s time for California to stop leaning on the rich and take up state tax reform — California’s state tax system is a rickety relic of the mid-20th century. And it’s long past time to lift it into the 21st. The revenue stream has become unreliable because it depends too much on high-income earners, especially their capital gains. During an inevitable recession, capital gains go bust and the revenue slows to a trickle, creating massive budget deficits. Skelton column in LA Times


State budget


Assemblymember Vince Fong: Budget transparency a must to change the status quo – The Bakersfield Republican writes, “In order to change the status quo, we need more light on state spending in order to push back when Sacramento politicians say they have no choice but to raise taxes over and over again that hurt ordinary Californians trying to live and work in our communities. I am working with my colleagues to develop ways to reform the budget process and to make this a top priority issue now and in the future.” Fong op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


Joel Fox: Split roll property tax proposal is really a pension tax — When state Sens. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, introduce a split roll property tax to increase taxes on business property, you’ll hear arguments from advocates that the tax money is for the schools and local services such as libraries and police. In actuality, the measure is a tax to fund public employee pensions and health care costs. Fox in Fox & Hounds


Valley politics


Bill McEwen: ‘Grinder Lee’ mostly avoids spotlight in first 100-plus days as mayor — After more than 100 days of going about his job effectively but without much notice, Brand needs a nickname. A little more personality could be a good thing, and it certainly couldn’t hurt. Mr. Mayor, I dub thee “Grinder Lee.”McEwen column in Fresno Bee


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures


Meet the Republican who wants to be California’s next governor — Republican businessman John Cox jokes that he made his fortune in potato chips, a reference to the purchase and turnaround of Jays Foods by his venture capital company in the 1990s. KQED report




Jeff Sessions and Xavier Becerra trade barbs over California’s immigration policy on ABC’s ‘This Week’ — U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions on Sunday disputed criticism from California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra that a federal immigration crackdown is “reckless,” and accused state officials of jeopardizing public safety with so-called sanctuary city policies that restrict cooperation with federal agents. LA Times article;Sacramento Bee article


This California sheriff bucks trend, calls for ‘anti-sanctuary’ policies on immigration — More than three years ago, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood made headlines when he defied the California Trust Act, a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that restricts cooperation between local law enforcement officials and federal immigration agents. His stance riled the governor and California’s immigrant-rights groups. Now, Youngblood is making headlines once again over immigration. LA Times article


In a California farm town, the border is just a line that must be crossed every day — The schoolyard at Calexico Mission School is quiet, save for a stray giggle here and there. Third-graders huddle for reading time: the girls lying beneath a shade tree, the boys under a blazing pink bougainvillea. Just beyond the school’s white picket fence looms the rusted 16-foot-tall steel fence that separates this farm town from the sprawling city of Mexicali, Mexico.  LA Times article


Other areas


Will the government be open in a week? Here are the dividing lines — Congressional leaders and White House officials have steered the nation to the brink of a government shutdown that virtually all parties agree would be a terrible idea. New York Times article


Anti-Semitic incidents have reached levels unseen in recent years, Anti-Defamation League report says — The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. skyrocketed by 86% in the first three months of the year, according to a new report released Monday by a prominent Jewish civil rights organization. LA Times article; AP article


Presidential Politics


Shutdown looms as Trump demands funding for wall for U.S. border — President Trump and White House officials pressed congressional Republicans on Sunday to use the looming threat of a government shutdown to win funding for a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico, a top priority for the administration as it nears the symbolic 100-day mark. Washington Post article


Trump on new poll results: ‘Would still beat Hillary’ – President Trump commented on the results of a Washington Post/ABC News poll in which 53% of respondents characterized him as a strong leader. LA Times article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories


Fee for bad air might remain — A special DMV fee paid by San Joaquin Valley drivers to clean up the notoriously polluted air may not be going away, despite the fact that the region finally has met the outdated federal standard that prompted the fee in the first place. Stockton Record article


1 in 8 children in California schools have an undocumented parent — Posing significant challenges for educators, about 1 in 8 students in California schools has at least one parent who is undocumented, according to a new brief from the Education Trust-West. EdSource article
Jobs and the Economy


Underfunded CalPERS, CalSTRS dislike divestment – A bill that began life as a requirement that CalPERS and CalSTRS divest holdings in Dakota Access Pipeline firms emerged from a legislative committee last week reborn — a requirement that the pension funds only report on their “engagement” with the firms.Calpensions article


Tribal law expert: Elk Grove casino in ‘holding pattern’ — Wilton Rancheria’s bid to build a $400 million Indian casino in Elk Grove is in a holding pattern while the Trump administration formulates Indian gaming policy and reviews Obama administration approvals that ushered the project forward, according to tribal-law attorney Howard Dickstein. Sacramento Bee article


As industry struggles, San Francisco cabdrivers at odds over dividing big fund — Back in 2010, when Uber was just rolling to a start and no one had heard of Lyft, the idea of selling San Francisco’s much-wanted licenses to operate cabs and creating a fund with some of the proceeds to benefit taxi drivers seemed like a good one. Since then, however, the taxi industry has collapsed as ride-hailing services have flooded the streets of San Francisco offering cheaper rides. The licenses, known as taxi medallions, once sold for $250,000. Today they are nearly impossible to sell. San Francisco Chronicle article


Criminal Justice/Prisons


California moves – slowly – toward resuming executions — California has long been what one expert calls a “symbolic death penalty state,” one of 12 that has capital punishment on the books but has not executed anyone in more than a decade. Prodded by voters and lawsuits, the nation’s most populous state may now be easing back toward allowing executions, though observers are split on how quickly they will resume, if at all. AP article


Black man beaten by officer filing suit alleging abuse by police, jail deputies — The Del Paso Heights man repeatedly punched by a Sacramento police officer during a questionable jaywalking stop alleges he was abused in the Sacramento County Main Jail during his subsequent arrest. Sacramento Bee article


Deputy shoots at vehicle in Le Grand, police say — After a vehicle chase on Sunday morning led Merced County sheriff deputies and Merced police officers to Le Grand, sheriff officials said, a deputy fired at a suspect in the vehicle. No injuries were reported. Merced Sun-Star article


Merced police recover thousands of dollars in stolen property. Now, they’re looking for the rightful owners — Merced police on Thursday served a search warrant that led them to two storage units full of stolen property. Now, police are hoping to return the items to their rightful owners. Merced Sun-Star article




New report names Fresno among best places to live if you’re a teacher — According to a new report, Fresno is among the most affordable cities for teachers in the U.S. The report, released by Apartment List – a company that helps people find homes – compared teacher salaries and cost of rent in 50 U.S. cities. Fresno teachers spend an estimated 15 percent of their income on rent – making it the most affordable city for the profession, except for Wichita, Kansas, according to the report. Fresno Bee article


Too many buses, not enough cash — Some San Joaquin Valley school districts are getting nervous about an upcoming Jan. 1 deadline to replace older, polluting school buses. Theoretically, buses that aren’t compliant by then would have to be taken out of service, potentially stranding students. Stockton Record article


New K-8 charter school slated for fall — Trustees of the New Jerusalem Elementary School District last week approved a new K-8 charter school focusing solely on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) in Stockton set to open this fall. Stockton Record article


Other areas


Mega Adopt event lived up to its name and then some — Within a half hour of opening the gates to the first-ever Mega Adopt event in Bakersfield, it was clear the creators had a mega success on their hands.Bakersfield Californian article


New library opens in Farmersville — Marissa Torres’ trips to the library will be shorter –– a lot shorter. The Farmersville resident and her four children won’t have to go to Exeter or the downtown Visalia branch from now on to check out a book or use a computer to play games. On Saturday, Farmersville administrators, representatives and residents celebrated the opening of the county’s newest library. It’s Tulare County’s 17th location. Visalia Times-Delta article