April 27, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Here are all the sports events California lawmakers attended for free — Being an elected official in California has its perks. Want proof? Consider all the free tickets to sporting events that members of the Legislature accepted last year as gifts from utilities, unions, law firms and other firms. LA Times article

Dan Walters: No wounds inflicted by California U.S. Senate debate – Monday night’s real winner, therefore, was Sanchez, because nothing happened that would threaten her No. 2 position. And that means the real loser was Harris, because Sanchez, as mentioned earlier, is the only other candidate who could pose a threat in November by drawing Republican and independent voters, as well as support from her fellow Latinos. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

State budget

California Senate Republicans want tax breaks for veterans, students – Perhaps it’s an issue of messaging that plagues California Republicans, who have struggled to retain a foothold at the Capitol in recent years. The Senate’s minority caucus on Tuesday called a press conference to highlight its priority legislation for the session, touting a package of tax breaks in terms of uplifting California’s most vulnerable residents rather than the typical discussion of boosting the economy. Sacramento Bee articleAP article
Valley politics

Silva shrugs off bathrobe photo: ‘Yeah, it was me’ — Anthony Silva, Stockton’s mayor and a fashion trendsetter, has confirmed he was out in public at 2 a.m. Monday wearing a white bathrobe while posting campaign signs. Stockton Record article

Karen Goh on why she should be Bakersfield’s next mayor — There are 25 candidates who hope to become the next mayor of Bakersfield, including a hula-hoop instructor, a tattoo artist and a former Kern County Supervisor. Karen Goh is the latter, as well as the President and CEO of the local non-profit Garden Pathways, and a former publishing executive. She joined us on Valley Edition to talk about her vision for Kern County’s largest city.  KVPR report

Interview: Elvis impersonator Jeremy Pierce vies for Fresno City Council seat — He now hopes to parlay his fame as an entertainer into a seat on the Fresno City Council representing District 6, in Northeast Fresno. He joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his vision for the city in issues from how to pay for hiring more cops, to downtown revitalization to homelessness. KVPR report

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California U.S. Senate candidates quarrel over illegal immigration – Democrats Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris, as they’ve campaigned for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat, have time and again advocated for a federal immigration overhaul – with Sanchez calling it a “moral imperative,” and Harris arguing it’s the civil rights issue of the current age. There was little distance between the rivals’ broader immigration policy pronouncements at Monday night’s televised debate in Stockton, but there were clear differences on the finer points. Sacramento Bee article

California U.S. Senate candidates all over the map on crime plans — How can a U.S. senator from California fight crime from Washington? Let the candidates for the office, appearing in their first televised debate Monday, count the many, many supposed ways – with little consensus. Sacramento Bee article

Were they lying? Fact-checking the California U.S. Senate debate – California’s five major candidates for the U.S. Senate engaged Monday night in a mostly cordial debate at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. The Sacramento Bee’s Christopher Cadelago analyzes some of the claims made. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Loretta Sanchez says relaxing species law ‘on the table’ to help state – Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, campaigning for U.S. Senate, said Tuesday that she would consider amending the federal law governing endangered species to help improve the water supply across the parched state of California. Sacramento Bee article

U.S. Senate candidates debate Obama’s foreign policy record – In their Monday night debate in Stockon, five candidates for the U.S. Senate offered pretty different viewpoints of President Obama’s record on foreign policy, except for one almost constant refrain: Some things could have been done better. LA Times article

Debra Saunders: Harris couldn’t lose this Senate debate — Purely as an act of political mischief, this Republican has toyed with the idea of voting in June for Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, in the race to fill U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat. Attorney General Kamala Harris, the Democratic front-runner, leans way too far left. Given Harris’ ties to national party biggies, I’d rather see the gaffe-prone Sanchez win the seat, as a Sanchez win would deprive Harris of a spot on a not-too-distant national ticket. Bonus points: Sanchez would be easier than Harris to take out in six years. After watching Monday’s Senate debate at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, I no longer feel so frisky.  Saunders column in San Francisco Chronicle 

David Guy: Bad ballot measure would block local water projects – The president of the Northern California Water Association writes, “Californians concerned about the drought and who want to build more water storage and other critically needed infrastructure should be extremely concerned with an initiative that has qualified for the November ballot.” Guy op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

Assembly Speaker Rendon pitches the big tent – New Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon doesn’t believe the emergence of a less-liberal, more pro-business wing of his big Democratic caucus is going to set off a high-visibility war among Democrats. Capitol Weekly article 

With Uber battle raging, one state lawmaker wants to deregulate the taxi industry – Taxi companies and the ride-hailing industry agree: Stricter regulations on taxis are strangling cabs’ ability to compete. But rather than adding to the rules governing Uber and Lyft, an effort that has seen limited success in Sacramento in recent years, Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) wants to deregulate the taxi industry. LA Times article

Clash over anti-Trump motion boils over in Anaheim: ‘Keep your noses out of the national election’ – A divided Anaheim City Council voted late Tuesday to take no action on a resolution to formally denounce Donald J. Trump, capping a heated nearly four-hour debate that followed clashes outside City Hall between supporters and opponents of the Republican presidential candidate. LA Times article

State’s Democratic superdelegates feel heat from Sanders backers – In a year when the acrimonious Democratic presidential primary battle is likely to continue all the way to the July convention, being a party superdelegate sounds like way more fun than it is. Just ask Shawn Bagley. San Francisco Chronicle article

Steve Lopez: Loyola Marymount’s ‘Trump’ wall sparks strong feelings on campus – Diana Delgado Cornejo, now 21 and about to graduate from Loyola Marymount University, says her father delivered the shocking news to her about 10 years ago. The family had no papers. Lopez column in LA Times

Supreme Court strengthens free-speech rights of public employees — Just in time for the election season, the Supreme Court has strengthened the rights of the nation’s 22 million public employees to protect them against being demoted or fired for supporting the wrong political candidate in the eyes of their supervisors. LA Times article

LA County supervisors pass ban on travel to North Carolina — Los Angeles County joined the growing number of jurisdictions that have banned official travel to North Carolina following the state’s passage of a controversial bill restricting the bathrooms transgender people can use in public facilities. LA Times article 

San Francisco could ban business with firms in states hostile to LGBT rights – San Francisco would have to stop entering into contracts with companies based in states that bar civil-rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people under legislation introduced Tuesday at the Board of SupervisorsSan Francisco Chronicle article

F-35 remains late and over budget, but doing better – Defense Department officials defended the embattled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program Tuesday, insisting the warplane is still on track despite continued financial and technical glitches. Medill New Service article in Fresno Bee

6 day in, California hunger strikers weak but undeterred — On their sixth day without food, hunger strikers outside the Mission District police station said Tuesday their bodies were weak but that no bites would be taken until San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee steps down or fires Police Chief Greg SuhrSan Francisco Chronicle article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Medi-Cal will soon cover immigrant children here illegally, but adults pose a bigger test — Next month, California will make a sizable dent in that effort when immigrants younger than 19 who are here without papers begin receiving free health coverage through Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health program. State officials estimate that 170,000 residents will be eligible. But insuring children is an easy battle to win, experts say, because of kids’ emotional appeal and their low medical expenses. LA Times article

LA sludge case ‘about risks to Kern County,’ lawyer tells court — After nearly a decade of court battles, the legal fight between the City of Los Angeles and the County of Kern over the land application of biosolids — treated sewage sludge — finally went to trial Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article

Merced sheriff, DA join in criticism of county law enforcement funding – Calling gang violence a “public safety crisis,” Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II teamed up with Sheriff Vern Warnke on Tuesday to criticize the Board of Supervisors for its failure to stem the crime wave or improve pay for the short-staffed Sheriff’s Office.  Merced Sun-Star article

Jobs and the Economy

Employment distress affects 2.9 million Californians – Officially, 1.1 million Californians are unemployed, half as many as the state had during the depths of the Great Recession. However, a new analysis of employment data by the Legislature’s budget adviser suggests that when the underemployed and labor force dropouts are added to the official number, job distress affects nearly three times as many Californians. Sacramento Bee article

Atwater, Merced County support half-cent tax – Two governing boards in Merced County this week threw their support behind plans to put a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot. Merced Sun-Star article

Fresno County supervisors add 45 new health positions – Fresno County supervisors added 45 new positions on Tuesday, including three targeting communicable diseases and one overseeing tree mortality. Fresno Bee article 

Modesto downtown music festival X-Fest lives another year – X-Fest lives. The Modesto City Council voted 4-3 early Wednesday to grant a permit for this year’s X-Fest, the annual musical festival that draws about 15,000 people downtown one day in August. Modesto Bee article

Joel Fox: Maybe-finally-relief for lawsuits against small business — It’s been a long time coming with much damage done to small business owners but legislators seem to be zeroing in on corrective measures to give business owners a chance to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) without facing destructive lawsuits. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Renovations are underway, but can the Manchester Mall survive? – All across the country an iconic American symbol of success is finding it harder and harder to survive. Dozens of once crowded bustling shopping malls, are for lack of a better term, dying. Industry research predicts that 15% or more of malls could die in the next ten years. But one company thinks there is a path back to success for a Fresno Mall that is on life support. KVPR report 

Report finds Valley foreclosure rates continue to fall – The four Central Valley counties continued to see lower foreclosure and mortgage delinquency rates in February, according to new data from real estate information firm CoreLogic. The Business Journal article

Hiring outlook for college graduates is the strongest in 10 years – new CareerBuilder survey of employers indicates that 2016 college graduates will enjoy the strongest hiring market in 10 years. That’s great news for graduates who have business, computer and information science, or engineering degrees. Those professions and others that require math, statistics, clinical health and other high-tech training have well-paying openings. Kansas City Star article 

No Modesto Irrigation District move on solar incentives leave Modesto industry in limbo – Incentives will continue for the Modesto Irrigation District’s new solar customers – not because MID board members like the solar subsidy but because they couldn’t agree Tuesday on how to change it. Solar vendors and employees packing the board chamber were happy with the reprieve, but they know it might not last. Modesto Bee article

Empire residents approve assessment for sidewalks, better drainage – Empire residents and business owners have voted in favor of sidewalks, a storm drainage solution and safer routes to schools. Modesto Bee article

Sacramento City Council frowns on homeless tent city, prefers triage center – As homeless rights activists prepare to drive stakes into the ground for a tent city on a downtown Sacramento lot, members of the City Council expressed skepticism for that model of homeless shelter during a special City Hall hearing Tuesday. Sacramento Bee articleMarcos Breton column in Sacramento BeeSacramento Bee editorial

Earlimart gets McDonald’s, a small-town milestone – As anyone who grew up in a small town knows, getting a McDonald’s is a big deal. Earlimart in southern Tulare County is no exception. Fresno Bee article

Apple revenue declines for first time in 13 year – Apple reported Tuesday that its revenue fell 13 percent to $50.6 billion in its second fiscal quarter, ending the Cupertino tech giant’s streak of year-over-year sales growth that dated back to 2003. San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times article

Twitter misses revenue goals in quarterly earnings report – Twitter Inc. reported user growth in its first-quarter earnings statement Tuesday, but the good news was overshadowed by weaker than expected revenue and a dramatically reduced forecast for earnings later this year. LA Times article

Las Vegas seeks a ‘pledge’ from Raiders owner Mark Davis – While the Raiders close in on their first waiting list for season tickets at the 53,000-seat Oakland Coliseum, owner Mark Davis will be in Las Vegas on Thursday, reportedly set to “pledge” to move the team there. San Francisco Chronicle article

105-year-old San Joaquin Lumber Co. closing – After more than a century of supplying structural lumber and hardware for the construction of schools, homes and commercial buildings in San Joaquin County and beyond, San Joaquin Lumber Co. is shutting down. Stockton Record article 

LA ports face a sea of rivals – Ports in other parts of the country, from Houston to New York, have poured money into infrastructure projects to make their coastlines deeper and their terminals more efficient. Now they are slowly eating into the L.A. area’s dominance as a gateway to U.S. markets. LA Times article 

Governments struggle to enforce ‘living wage’ laws – States and cities whose lawmakers proudly passed “living wage” laws are finding it difficult to make sure employers actually pay their workers accordingly. AP article

LA County approves program to strengthen minimum wage enforcement — The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve a mechanism to enforce the new countywide minimum wage and ensure that employers are abiding by the changes. KPCC report

10 things you need to know about Valley farmers markets – Farmers markets have become a hotbed for buying locally grown produce. And in the central San Joaquin Valley, where more than 200 different fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown, farmers markets provide consumers with a one-of-a-kind opportunity. But how do you get the most out of the region’s farmers markets? Fresno Bee article 

Start date moved up for veterans highway cleanup program – Local unemployed veterans could be hired as soon as this summer to collect highway trash and clean up landscaping, Caltrans officials told a Keep Bakersfield Bakersfield committee Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article

Mall food court shut down indefinitely — A health inspector eating lunch at Valley Plaza on Tuesday got some unappetizing news from a restaurant staffer: Mall management had told food court tenants not to use water or put anything down their sinks because of a plumbing issue. Bakersfield Californian article


Lois Henry: ‘Extra’ Kern River water is in the eye of the beholder – After five years and millions of dollars in attorneys fees, the North Kern Water Storage District won an appellate court decision last week that, basically, says Bakersfield must continue selling it Kern River water when it has water to spare. Hmmm. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

This gated community insists California’s drought is over, wants green lawns again — With El Niño-fueled storms drowning out reminders that most of California remains in a state of severe drought, a growing number of communities and water associations are demanding an end to emergency water restrictions that were first imposed more than a year ago. The outcry is particularly strong among those in the Northern California, where El Niño storms have hit hardest and filled reservoirs nearly to the brim. LA Times article

East Bay water district will stop fining water guzzlers — The hefty drought fines that hit many East Bay residents this past year, and outed a number of unsuspecting celebrities as water hogs, are soon to be no more. The Bay Area water agency that blazed the concept of drought-shaming determined Tuesday that financial penalties for those who exceed the district’s conservation quotas are no longer necessary. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Northeast Fresno residents hear findings on water quality study – Over 100 concerned residents gathered inside the Kastner Intermediate School cafeteria Tuesday evening to hear from water officials on their probe into discolored water appearing in northeast Fresno homes. Fresno Bee article

State grants aid San Joaquin County farm water projects – Three San Joaquin County water efficiency projects were among the 129 grants, totaling $16 million, announced Monday by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Stockton Record article

California drought: Plan to enlarge Los Vaqueros Reservoir gains momentum — For nearly two decades, Los Vaqueros Reservoir — a sprawling lake in eastern Contra Costa County nearly 3 miles long and 170 feet deep — has been a popular spot for boating, fishing, hiking and a key source of water for local residents. San Jose Mercury News article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Michael Fitzgerald: San Joaquin County DA investigates Sheriff’s Office ‘Gungate’ – The district attorney is investigating whether Sheriff’s Office employees, including Sheriff Steve Moore, conspired to buy an estimated $100,000 worth of county-owned guns at a fraction of their value. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Gun, ammunition missing from state prison hospital in Stockton – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is trying to determine how a gun and ammunition went missing from its Stockton facility. Stockton Record article

New details of San Francisco police texts made public — Texts recovered from a San Francisco police officer’s cellphone during asexual assault investigation last year contained racist messages describing African-Americans as “barbarians” and “wild animals,” as well as derogatory descriptions of gay police officers. KQED reportSan Francisco Chronicle article

Lindsay family sues police over in-custody death of son – A Lindsay man is suing the city, alleging wrongful death and use of excessive force after his grown son stopped breathing in the back of a police car while reportedly hog-tied and unable to breathe. Fresno Bee article
Fresno County Jail officer who attacked officer hangs himself — A Fresno County Jail inmate who attacked a correctional officer with a jail-made weapon Saturday has taken his own life, Sheriff Margaret Mims announced Tuesday night. Fresno Bee article

Fresno police part of polling system that launches today — The Fresno Police Department is an early adopter of a polling system developed as part of a social media network aimed at keeping neighborhoods safe. Nextdoor today announced the launch of Nextdoor Polls, which allows partner agencies to gauge the concerns of citizens. The Business Journal article


Bill would give legislators a say in shaping new accountability system – With concern that a proposed accountability plan won’t go far enough to measure school progress, a split Assembly Education Committee last week approved a bill that appears different from a plan the State Board of Education is creating. EdSource article

Vineland superintendent blames teacher absences for low performance – When Vineland School District Superintendent Matthew Ross calls his teachers “lazy” and undeserving of raises, he justifies it by pointing to his standby argument: absence rates. Not those of students, but educators. Bakersfield Californian article

Nan Austin: Billion-dollar question: Can Modesto rebuild and do it better? – Modesto City Schools is pushing forward to transform teaching into an interactive, collaborative process. But its early-grade campuses are stuck in another century, and as the district makes plans for major repairs, there seems to be little appetite to shake the status quo. Austin in Modesto Bee 

Stockton Record: Moving forward: Manteca Unified still prospers while some current, former trustees face legal issues — Manteca Unified is a visionary and proactive school district that, as a whole, focuses on what’s important in education: its students. Stockton Record editorial

Sacramento Bee: A power play that would only hurt UC – Sen. Ricardo Lara wants it to be easier for state lawmakers to pressure the University of California Board of Regents. His proposed constitutional amendment, SCA1, passed out of the Senate Education Committee this month and, with enough stirring of the pot, could end up on the ballot. For Californians, this should not be welcome news. Sacramento Bee editorial

Test scores show a decline in math among high school seniors – The average performance of the nation’s high school seniors dropped in math from 2013 to 2015, but held steady in reading, according to results of a biennial test released Wednesday. New York Times article

Students gain knowledge in real-world experiences — Sophomores in the Sierra Pacific High School business program got a chance to visit Menlo College and Levi’s Stadium — home of the San Francisco 49ers — and learned about how a multi-billion dollar operation, like the stadium, works. Hanford Sentinel article


Wilderness area master plan gains approval – After months of community and commission meetings, a plan to revitalize a park in northern San Joaquin County is finally moving forward. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-0 to approve the Woodbridge Wilderness Area Master Plan, but with the stipulation that suggestions to expand operational hours be tabled until a more cost-effective plan can be determined. Stockton Record article

Solar power Oakdale cheese plant, shades visitors — Solar panels will provide most of the electricity for the cheese plant along Highway 120. And some of them will shade the cars of visitors to this popular spot. Modesto Bee article 

Dairymen join birders to help save the tricolored blackbird — Late last year the Tricolored Blackbird became a candidate for the California Endangered Species List. The population of the bird mostly native to the Golden State has plummeted making flocks harder and harder to find. Both bird enthusiasts and farmers are working to keep the colorful bird from extinction. KVPR report

Health/Human Services 

Jesus Gamboa: Planning for a new hospital – not a new topic – The former Visalia mayor and city council member writes, “As your ballots begin to arrive in early April to vote on Kaweah Delta’s hospital bond, Measure H, think of the role your hospital plays in our community. While the primary focus of our hospital is to provide a variety of medical services to its residents, it is also an important partner in job creation, economic development and how the city grows.” Gamboa op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

YMCA camp for disadvantaged will go on — Vandalism that will render the city’s McKinley Pool unusable this summer also seemed certain until this week to ensure cancellation of a YMCA camp for disadvantaged youths in south Stockton. But it now appears the summer camp, which serves about 150 school-age children, will be salvaged because of a chance encounter Tuesday morning between YMCA CEO April Lewallen and Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones. Stockton Record article

Fentanyl overdoses in Bay Area linked to counterfeit painkiller — At least a dozen people in the Sacramento, California, area have fatally overdosed on a pill disguised as a popular painkiller, and now the drug has turned up in the San Francisco Bay Area. AP article

Land Use/Housing 

Summerset Village Apartments owner appealing $290,000 in city fines — The out-of-town owner of Summerset Village Apartments in Fresno, where approximately 1,000 residents went without hot water or heat for several weeks last fall, filed an appeal of the $290,000 in fines that he owes the city. Fresno Bee article


Sacramento streetcar proponents are back with a pricier plan — Undaunted by their failure to win voter approval last year, Sacramento streetcar advocates are back this spring with an even more ambitious plan, new funding strategies and a bigger price tag. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Nav Gill unanimously named Sacramento County’s top executive — Sacramento County supervisors have named Nav Gill as county executive, replacing Brad Hudson, who left earlier this year. Sacramento Bee article