April 25, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

George Skelton: Lawmakers pump the brakes after Jerry Brown goes full throttle on pet projects — Gov. Jerry Brown’s two very pricey legacy projects took hits in the Legislature last week. They were light jabs, and he didn’t even flinch. But the fact that some fellow Democrats had the temerity to challenge the popular governor was a sign of growing legislative — and public — skepticism about these highly controversial pet projects. LA Times article

Dan Walters: California’s tax breaks finally get some scrutiny — California’s state and local governments collect a quarter-trillion dollars in taxes each year, equivalent to about 12 percent of the state’s personal income. However, were California to eliminate all of its “tax expenditures” – special tax treatment for certain kinds of income or transactions – it could collect about $70 billion more, according to the latest annual report on such provisions. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Gov. Brown

With governor’s house for sale, folks turn up for the open house — It’s unclear how many of those touring the four-level home in the Oakland hills Sunday had the intent or the $2.6 million to buy the place or were looky-loos, wanting to see where a California governor brushed his teeth or a more famous first dog slept. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Valley politics

Candidate profile: Stebbins believes compassion should guide leaders – A longtime community activist with a passion for improving the quality of life for residents has thrown her hat in the ring for the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. “I’ve always had an interest (in the Board of Supervisors), as well as learning more about where I live and about this county,” Jennet Stebbins said of her decision to run for the board’s District 1 seat. Stockton Record article

Bakersfield mayoral candidate profile: Nannette Gonzalez — Nannette Gonzalez, 57, full-time student at Bakersfield College. Employee at BC: Renegade Pantry coordinator, help students with food, hygiene items and clothing. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

How California’s U.S. Senate ballot could cause problems for June 7 primary — If elections officials could send just one message to California’s 17.2 million registered voters about the U.S. Senate primary in June, it would probably be this: Read the instructions carefully. LA Times article

Presidential race drives surge of new registrations – from Democrats, not Republicans — California is seeing a surge in voter registration ahead of the state’s June 7th presidential primary election – but necessarily the way you might expect. Capital Public Radio report

TV Senate debate offers rarity: Dems, Republicans on same stage — Californians will witness a rare political moment Monday: Republican and Democratic U.S. Senate candidates debating on the same stage at the same time. At 6 p.m., two Democratic and three Republican Senate candidates will meet for a 90-minute debate at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. San Francisco Chronicle article

Controversial English-only crusader sets his sights on California’s Senate race — Ron Unz has a knack for wading into controversy. In the 1990s he fathered the English-only campaign for California’s public schools. This year, Unz launched a racially charged crusade to upend Harvard University’s admission and tuition policies. LA Times article

Border Patrol sees increase in number of migrants being detained at Mexico border — Apprehensions of undocumented migrants at the Mexican border increased last month after dipping during the winter, immigration authorities said, and they’re expected to continue climbing this summer. LA Times article

Other areas

Californians’ donations to 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls haven’t paid off – California’s Republican donors have invested heavily in the 2016 presidential race, with little return. The vast majority of the $55 million they have spent boosted candidates who have dropped out, according to a Times analysis of financial disclosure documents. LA Times article

California jurors misusing the Internet could face fines — Jurors who threaten to derail trials by researching them on Google or posting comments about them on Twitter are often dismissed with nothing more than a tongue-lashing from a judge. But that may soon change in California. Legislation supported by state court officials would authorize judges in some counties to fine jurors up to $1,500 for social media and Internet use violations, which have led to mistrials and overturned convictions around the country. AP article

Roslyn Layton: PUC: Too big to succeed? – The former California resident and Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington writes, “It is time to refocus and reboot the CPUC, clearing the way for progressive innovation that will ensure public safety, protect the environment and benefit consumers.” Layton op-ed in Fresno Bee

Russell Rawlings ends Sacramento mayoral bid, endorses Steinberg — Russell Rawlings, whose run for Sacramento mayor allowed him to advocate for homeless rights, affordable housing and pay equality on a big stage, said Sunday he was ending his campaign and endorsing former state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg. Sacramento Bee article 

Cruz and Kasich team up to stop Trump, saying they’ll each sit out future primaries —  In the latest effort to upend Republican front-runner Donald Trump‘s bid for the presidential nomination, the campaigns of rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasichannounced Sunday night that they would join for a divide-and-conquer strategy in three states as they scramble to seize remaining delegates in a rapidly dwindling primary season. LA Times articleNew York Times article

Tens of thousands rally in LA to commemorate Armenian genocide — Tens of thousands of protesters rallied outside the Turkish Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard on Sunday afternoon, waving flags and holding signs to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Armenian genocide. LA Times articl

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Modesto council to consider approving permit for X-Fest – City officials are recommending that Modesto’s City Council at its Tuesday meeting approve a permit for this year’s Xclamation Festival, the annual musical event that draws about 15,000 people downtown one day each August. Modesto Bee article 

Contractor opposes Fresno Unified’s motion to dismiss leaseback case – The contractor suing Fresno Unified over a no-bid construction project has asked a judge to deny the district’s recent motion to dismiss the case, calling district leaders “arrogant.” Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Sacramento enters era of parking meters with no time limits – For decades, each of the 4,300 parking meters in Sacramento’s central city has had a maximum time limit. Some give you 30 minutes. Others let you stay up to two hours before you must move along. That’s all about to be old school. Last week, the city began phasing in a system that allows parkers to stay as long as they want at any meter, if they’re willing to pay a premium price for the extra hours. Sacramento Bee article 

After years of slowing sales, Silicon Valley’s future takes shape – Silicon Valley firms, large and small, are stepping over their competitors and former tech giants to become the new dominant players. San Jose Mercury News article

CalPERS splits on studying tobacco reinvestment – Should CalPERS continue a 16-year-old ban on highly profitable tobacco investments or consider reinvesting after a lengthy study, risking a public-relations black eye and controversy? Calpensions article

$300 million in unclaimed life insurance benefits statewide — Thousands of Californians are owed money — in some cases more than $100,000 — in life insurance benefits because they did not know they were beneficiaries and insurance companies made no effort to notify them, state officials say. San Francisco Chronicle article

Tulare supervisors could approve new London library budget — Tulare County Supervisors are expected on Tuesday to approve a budget adjustment to pay for construction of a new library in London and to award a $221,500 contract to remodel the county Assessor’s Office. Visalia Times-Delta article

Helping the homeless in Stockton — Mary Foshee has come full circle from being homeless and living in a van with her then-4-year-old to where Sunday she and her son, now 12, eagerly volunteered with Stockton 209 Cares to provide free haircuts and other amenities to about 250 people in need of assistance. Stockton Record articl


Riverbank considers easing water restrictions – City leaders are expected to ease harsh restrictions on outdoor watering, even though Riverbank remains among California’s trouble spots for failing to conserve enough in the drought. If the City Council agrees on Tuesday, people will be allowed to water two days a week rather than one, and will be able to water before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m. rather than before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Modesto Bee article

Don Curlee: Oppressive rules hinder farmers — Talking with, learning and writing about California farmers and their associates has been at least a half lifetime experience. It tells me they are worth listening to. Many of them have come to the stark conclusion that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is their enemy. While its purported goals of protecting and preserving the environment seem commendable, its actions to achieve them often undermine farmers’ efforts to produce food. Curlee column in Visalia Times-Delta

Lake Yosemite, now filled with water, opens to boats — The park and boat launch at Lake Yosemite is now open, Merced County officials confirmed. After years of drought and little water, the lake was not open to boating last summer. It was the first year the Yosemite Lake Sailing Association did not host its annual regatta, an event that draws people from all over the state to compete. Merced Sun-Star article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

San Francisco torn as some see ‘street behavior’ worsen – San Francisco, America’s boom town, is flooded with the cash of well-paid technology workers and record numbers of tourists. At the same time, the city has seen a sharp jump in property crime, up more than 60 percent since 2010, though the actual increase may be higher because many of the crimes go unreported. San Francisco Chronicle article

San Diego taking criminal approach to illegal pot shops — Years of struggling to shut down illegal pot shops has prompted San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to shift gears and begin criminally prosecuting shop operators and their landlords. San Diego Union-Tribune article


State’s largest districts moving to stand-alone classes for traditional kindergarten — Two years after three-quarters of the state’s largest school districts combined classes for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten, most districts are now creating separate classes for the younger children. EdSource article

From kids’ heads to working models: Academy helps students go into video gaming, computer programming – Back in the fall, Lathrop High School teacher Kenneth “Scott” Myers strolled through an empty warehouse on campus with big plans to convert the space into a “Mythbusters”-like workshop. Fast forward to today. The be.tech Game Design and Digital Art Academy features the tools students need to see their characters and ideas come to life. Stockton Record article

FFA state conference in Fresno draws thousands of students — Fresno State’s campus was buzzing Sunday afternoon with around 6,100 high school agriculture students for the 88th California State Future Farmers of America (FFA) Leadership Conference. Fresno Bee article 

Ask TBC: Who’s paying for these school carports? — The Californian loves to watch out for taxpayers, especially when it comes to busting public agencies for government waste, but this isn’t one of those cases. Actually, those carports being constructed at Centennial High School and a few other sites throughout the Kern High School District are part of a solar panel project that’s projected to save the district $80 million in energy costs over 25 years. Bakersfield Californian article


Thousands of Sierra trees getting cut to prepare for summer – Once bathed in deep green, the forests in the foothills and Sierra east of the San Joaquin Valley are increasingly turning reddish-brown as drought- and beetle-weary trees die by the month. It is a somber warning of a potentially dangerous summer. Fresno Bee article 

If you have solar panels in Oakland, Prince might have paid for them — In the days since the death of music legend Prince, stories of his secret, wide-ranging philanthropy efforts are finally being told. Two of Prince’s major charitable endeavors were centered in the Bay Area: bringing solar panels to Oakland and helping young people of color learn how to code. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services 

Lindsay Mann: Answering your questions about Measure H – The chief executive officers of the Kaweah Delta Health Care District writes, “There has been healthy community dialogue about Measure H and Kaweah Delta’s need to meet the state’s earthquake safety mandate. I would like to respond to several persistent questions about this matter as follows.” Mann op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Lawsuit filed against Manteca care facility — An 84-year-old former resident has filed a damage suit against The Commons at Union Ranch, a 135-bed residential care facility for the elderly in Manteca, alleging elder abuse, negligence and negligent hiring and supervision. Stockton Record article 

Sacramento’s Sutter Health invests in San Francisco firm using Google Glass — Sacramento’s Sutter Health and four other health systems on Monday announced that they have made a combined $17 million investment in Augmedix Inc., a San Francisco startup that uses Google Glass technology to maintain electronic health records and free up doctors to spend more time with patients. Sacramento Bee article 

Long Beach program prepares young autistic adults for jobs and self-sufficiency — Called the College Internship Program, the nationwide effort was launched in 1984 to offer job training, social skills counseling and other services to help young adults with disabilities — including those on the autism spectrum — become as self-sufficient as possible. LA Times article


Sacramento RT draws red line against loiterers, fare cheaters – Sacramento’s transit agency is painting red lines around its light-rail stations – an effort to keep out fare cheats and loiterers without building walls and turnstiles. Sacramento Bee article

Bathrooms make air travel difficult for many with disabilities — Most people assume the Americans with Disabilities Act governs disabled accessibility on airplanes, said Washington resident Malcolm Cumming, but that’s not the case. Cumming cares for his wife, Deborah Livesey, who has multiple sclerosis and has been in a wheelchair for two decades. Modesto Bee article

Other areas 

Modesto spoken word scene gets the film treatment – twice — All the world will soon be Modesto poetry’s stage as two new film projects seek to highlight the city’s lively spoken word scene. Modesto Bee article