April 27, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


Fresno State survey: Nearly half of Valley adults worry about deportations for family or friends — Nearly half of adults in the central San Joaquin Valley say they are worried a family member or close friend could be deported by immigration officers, according to survey findings released Wednesday by Fresno State’s Institute for Leadership and Public PolicyFresno Bee article


Kern sheriff’s anti-sanctuary proposal nixed, won’t be heard from supervisors – Sheriff Donny Youngblood’s proposal to make Kern County a “non-sanctuary” county has been shot down before even making it to the Board of Supervisors for a vote. The county’s top lawyer, Mark Nations, blocked the sheriff’s request to put the item on the agenda because the proposal is outside the supervisors’ jurisdiction. Bakersfield Californian article


A ‘quick yes’ on Delta tunnels? Advocates concerned over new language — Proposed changes to a plan that is supposed to guide the Delta through the 21st century have advocates on red alert, as they worry that the new language locks in Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15 billion twin tunnels. Stockton Record article


Valley politics


Cynthia Zimmer officially announces candidacy for Kern district attorney – Supervising Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer on Tuesday officially announced her candidacy to succeed Lisa Green as the county’s top prosecutor. Bakersfield Californian article


Cheri Grevin: Women could get sick just because of Jeff Denham’s ‘personal views’— The director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte writes, “Congressman Jeff Denham made it abundantly clear at his April town hall that he doesn’t put a priority on the health of women in his district.” Grevin op-ed in Modesto Bee


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures


Nancy Pelosi just got a challenger and he’s a ‘pretty hard-core’ Bernie Sanders supporter – San Francisco attorney Stephen R. Jaffe is a lifelong Democrat and he intends to do what no Democrat has been able to do so far: make it to a runoff election against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. LA Times article



In Trump’s first 100 days, a dramatic reduction in immigration – Nearly 100 days into his administration, President Trump has drastically reduced the flow of immigration, both legal and illegal, to the U.S. He’s been able to accomplish that without any new legislation — and without many of his signature ideas solidly in place, including executive orders that have been put on hold by the courts, and a proposed wall on the Mexican border. NPR report


‘We’ll see them in the Supreme Court’: Trump plans to defend his order threatening funding for ‘sanctuary cities’ – President Trump plans to fight a U.S. judge’s decision to freeze his order threatening funding to state and local governments that refuse to cooperate fully with immigration agents. LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article


Trump era has Merced County residents flocking to citizenship classes – The class, offered by Merced Adult School, helps people prepare for the citizenship test. It’s free, and childcare is offered for those who need it. In the 2015-16 school year, 59 people were enrolled, said Steve Hobbs, the adult school principal. This year, more than 100 students are enrolled, and that number is expected to increase. Merced Sun-Star article


Babies and children are listed in Homeland Security’s immigrant database of alleged criminals – A database the Trump administration said would help victims of crimes track the custody of suspected criminal immigrants mistakenly listed babies and other children. The public database included the names of children, from infants to underage teenagers, in immigration custody. LA Times article


Justices alarmed by government’s hard-line stance in citizenship case — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. tried to test the limits of the government’s position at a Supreme Court argument on Wednesday by confessing to a criminal offense. New York Times article


Office to aid crime victims is latest step in crackdown on immigrants — The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday announced the creation of an office to help families that have been the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, part of an effort by President Trump to aggressively crack down on illegal immigration. New York Times article; LA Times article


Democrats turn the screws on border wall builders — Funding isn’t the only thing standing in the way of Donald Trump’s promise to build a border wall with Mexico. Democrats in cities and statehouses across the country are pressing forward with a calculated, long-range effort designed to undermine Trump’s plan by turning the screws on the businesses that work on the project. Politico article

Other areas


California single-payer healthcare bill passes first committee test – A sweeping measure that would establish government-run universal healthcare in California cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday as scores of supporters crammed into the Capitol to advocate for a single-payer system. LA Times article; AP article


California senator facing recall election for tax vote argues election would be too costly — Freshman Sen. Josh Newman, the subject of a recall effort following his vote for legislation raising fees and taxes by billions of dollars to pay for road repairs, says he should be allowed to remain in office in part to avoid a costly off-cycle election.  Sacramento Bee article


Ann Coulter backs out of UC Berkeley speech — Ann Coulter has backed out of her plans to speak at UC Berkeley Thursday, saying she is canceling her visit after groups sponsoring her event no longer supported the appearance.  San Francisco Chronicle article; New York Times article


Coulter’s free-speech fight and the right’s new battle cry – Conservatives like Ann Coulter are eagerly throwing themselves into volatile situations on college campuses, inspired by a backlash against political correctness.  New York Times article


Losing backers, Coulter cancels Berkeley speech, still on for Modesto — Coulter is set to speak in Modesto on Friday at the GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Jim DeMartini – a member of the county Board of Supervisors and Republican Central Committee chairman – said about 600 tickets – starting at $125 each – have been sold. He said Coulter’s $25,000 fee is being paid by donations. Modesto Bee article


Hard-line GOP caucus backs revised health bill – The support of the House Freedom Caucus breathed new life into efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act, but it was not clear whether it could garner the Republican votes needed to pass. New York Times article


GOP’s Obamacare-repeal plan would give Congress and its staff special treatment – The latest Republican plan to replace Obamacare exempts members of Congress and their staff from key changes to the health care system the GOP is trying to unravel. McClatchy Newspapers article


Republicans rethink their disdain for the Paris accord – creating a political headache for Trump – Supporters of Donald Trump worried he has lost his appetite for poking the establishment would probably be reassured if he were to make good on his promise to swiftly kick to the curb the Paris agreement on climate change. But the promise to snub Paris is fast becoming a political albatross for the president. LA Times article


The fight against climate change in California gains an unlikely ally: Republicans – California’s ambitious efforts to fight climate change have been almost exclusively supported by Democrats, but that could be changing. A top Republican and some of his colleagues are taking the unusual step of embracing the state’s complex system of regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, pledging to work with Democrats at the same time President Trump rolls back national policies on global warming. LA Times article


Democrats hitting California Republican lawmakers on proposed exemption for Congress in new health bill — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is up with digital ads dinging Republicans over a proposal to exempt members of Congress from some changes to the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats’ ads will target seven California Republicans who represent districts that backed Hillary Clinton for president: Reps. Jeff Denham (Turlock), David Valadao (Hanford), Steve Knight (Palmdale), Ed Royce (Fullerton), Mimi Walters (Irvine), Dana Rohrabacher (Huntington Beach) and Darrell Issa (Vista). LA Times article


Purple reign: Two legislators from opposite parties host town halls together — The right-leaning Democrat, Sen. Steve Glazer, and the left-leaning Republican, Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, represent overlapping suburban districts some 40 miles east of San Francisco. Once opponents who ran for the same seat (she won), the pair have forged an unusual bipartisan alliance driven by their centrist approach to politics. CALmatters article


Speed-camera trial for San Jose, San Francisco dies in Assembly — Legislation for a pilot program that would install speed-detecting cameras on the most dangerous traffic corridors in San Jose and San Francisco has been shelved after facing vociferous opposition and tepid support. San Jose Mercury News article


Pet ferrets still prohibited in California after Fish and Game panel denies petition — The California Fish and Game Commission unanimously rejected a petition Wednesday to issue permits for neutered and vaccinated pet ferrets in a blow to illegal owners of the weasel-like creatures. Sacramento Bee article


Presidential Politics


Trump backs down: Obamacare subsidies can stay – for now – With barely two days to go before the federal government would run out of money, lawmakers remained at odds Wednesday over a few details, although one major sticking point between the White House and Democrats was resolved, reducing the likelihood of a shutdown on Friday.McClatchy Newspapers article


White House unveils tax plan that’s broad on goals, short of specifics — The White House announced a broad tax overhaul plan on Wednesday that would dramatically cut taxes for corporations, but it did not explain how the government would pay for the massive tax reductions. McClatchy Newspapers article; LA Times article


Economic realities and contradictions beset Trump’s tax plan – In proposing to slash business taxes and enact a tax reform of historic proportions, Trump administration officials say they will rely largely on economic growth to make up for the trillions of dollars of lost tax revenue. LA Times article


How Trump’s tax plan would affect Californians – President Trump’s tax proposal for individuals would give California taxpayers some tax breaks but take away others. Without more details, it’s impossible to say what the net effect would be, but here are a few things we can surmise from the bare-bones plan released Wednesday. San Francisco Chronicle article; San Jose Mercury News article


Indian tribes fear Trump will be a buzzkill for their marijuana business — When the Yakama Nation announced in 2013 that it had no interest in selling pot, its chairman said the tribe had “a long and unpleasant history with marijuana, just as we have had with alcohol.” But other tribes are raring to gain a foothold in the multibillion-dollar marijuana industry – and they say it would be a mistake for President Donald Trump’s administration to try to stop them. McClatchy Newspapers article

Fresno Bee: Trump is just another Obama on the Armenian genocide — President Donald Trump, just like Clinton, Bush and Obama, kowtowed to Turkey and declined to use the word “genocide” in the White House’s annual April 24 statement on the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I.Fresno Bee editorial


Trump will not terminate NAFTA, instead he’ll ‘renegotiate’ with Canada and Mexico – President Donald Trump announced Wednesday night that he would not terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement, but would instead work with Mexico and Canada to “renegotiate” the agreement. McClatchy Newspapers article


With a cudgel and some code words, Trump goes after the judges who displease him — President Donald Trump’s latest legal defeat has provoked him into another round of judge-baiting. It’s a case potentially headed for a Supreme Court whose newest member had to distance himself from Trump’s prior judiciary bashing.  McClatchy Newspapers article


Trump’s executive order on national monuments includes Giant Sequoia National Monument — President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday questioning the future of 24 national monuments created since 1996. One of those is Giant Sequoia National Monument in the Southern Sierra. Valley Public Radio report; Bakersfield Californian article; LA Times article; Visalia Times-Delta article; Sacramento Bee editorial


Think Trump didn’t accomplish much in his first 100 days? Think again – President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office have been defined more by what he’s undone than what he’s done. Gone, with the stroke of Trump’s pen or publication of a memo, are a host of Obama-era rules aimed at protecting consumers and workers. McClatchy Newspapers article


Will Trump’s frenzied 100-day dash trip up California? — President Donald Trump is both dismissing his first 100 days in office as a “ridiculous standard” and doing everything he can to convince the public that he “has accomplished more in his first 100 days than any other President since Franklin Roosevelt.”  KQED report


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories


Judge allows California high-speed rail project to proceed — A California judge allowed the state’s bullet train project to go forward Wednesday but delayed a final ruling on a legal challenge asserting the state is not keeping its promises to voters. AP article


Despite drought’s end, conservation rules were still in place in California – until now — First the drought ended. Now the last vestiges of mandatory conservation rules are over, too. California’s main water regulatory agency ended mandatory conservation regulations for urban residents Wednesday, following Gov. Jerry Brown’s official declaration that the drought ended April 7. Sacramento Bee article


Jobs and the Economy


Fresno County, eager to attract jobs, aims to foster industrial growth after earlier efforts stall — An on-again, off-again effort by Fresno County to encourage development for industrial projects – and the jobs they can provide – could be back on again with the encouragement of the Board of Supervisors. Fresno Bee article


Is this a renaissance for downtown’s Selland Arena and Convention Center? — Earlier this month, more than 7,000 people crowded into downtown’s Selland Arena on a Wednesday night to see underground rapper Tech N9ne on his Strictly Strange tour. The concert, promoted by the Los Angeles Company Diamond Productions Live, was a surprise success, generating both industry buzz and profits. The show made more than $73,000 for the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center, which operates Selland and co-promoted the event.  Fresno Bee article


Report on best places for Latino businesses doesn’t like much about Modesto — A report released Wednesday on the “Best Cities for Hispanic Entrepreneurs” ranks Modesto 123rd out of the nation’s largest 150 cities.  Modesto Bee article


Churches could become year-round homeless shelters under Sacramento mayor’s plan — Churches could serve as year-round homeless shelters under a new proposal from Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. Steinberg’s plan would allow churches and community-based organizations to temporarily house up to 20 people each in neighborhoods throughout the city. Sacramento Bee article


Not so fast on homeless tent city. Group serving vulnerable women stalls plans — Sacramento officials thought they had a perfect spot for a homeless tent city until they learned Tuesday that an organization serving vulnerable women and children is nearby. That stalled plans to create the tent village in a north Sacramento area park, the latest example of how difficult it is to locate a sanctioned homeless camp in any city neighborhood. Sacramento Bee article


Joel Fox: The impact of minimum wage increases — The debate over the minimum wage did not end when the state followed the lead of a number of local governments in agreeing to boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Now we are watching the impact of the increase. Even before workers achieve the $15, there are signs that the increase in minimum wage is hurting many it was intended to help. Fox in Fox & Hounds


Fresno AT&T workers protest for better wages and benefits — AT&T employees in Fresno protested outside of the Blackstone Avenue store Wednesday as part of a statewide movement for better wages and benefits at the company. Fresno Bee article


Suit: Wells Fargo targeted ‘undocumented immigrants’ for accounts — Wells Fargo branches across the country deliberately targeted “undocumented immigrants” to open savings and checking accounts in order to meet aggressive sales goals, according to court documents. San Francisco Chronicle article; San Jose Mercury News article


Clean tech industry ‘on a roll’ in Sacramento region — CleanStart Inc., the Sacramento-based nonprofit that works to foster the growth of clean tech companies throughout the region, said Wednesday that 94 area firms generated $3.2 billion in revenue in 2016. That was up 26 percent from $2.54 billion in 2014. Statistics were not compiled for 2015. Sacramento Bee article




Drought-relief well in Porterville nearly done — The $2.2 million well to bring drought relief to East Porterville residents is nearly done. Denise England, the county’s water resources program director, said the project is 99 percent complete. What’s missing is mainly administrative tasks and paperwork to make the project complete. Visalia Times-Delta article


New bill would change CDFA’s relationship with farmers of color — A new bill unanimously approved by the Assembly Agricultural Committee Wednesday could significantly alter the way the California Department of Food and Agriculture works with farmers of color. Valley Public Radio report


Criminal Justice/Prisons


In call from jail, Fresno rampage suspect talks black justice and ‘no pity party’ for the dead — In a telephone interview from jail, Fresno shooting spree suspect Kori Ali Muhammad said Wednesday that he went on his deadly rampage near downtown to draw attention to the plight of black women and children who have been kidnapped, raped, and killed by white people. Fresno Bee article


Before 3 men were killed in rampage shooting, Fresno was already seeing a rise in hate crimes – Before the shooting that killed three men earlier this month – in which the black perpetrator told police he targeted white victims – Fresno was already facing higher-than-usual reports of hate crimes. According to a new report released by California State University, San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, 12 hate crimes were reported in Fresno in 2016 – up one from 2015. Fresno Bee article


Kori Ali Muhammad charged with 3 murder counts for Fresno shooting spree — Confessed killer Kori Ali Muhammad was charged Wednesday with three counts of murder in connection with a downtown Fresno shooting rampage that left three people dead on April 18 – a crime that makes him eligible for the death penalty.  Fresno Bee article


‘Women in Blue’ show they’re up to the challenges – A different perspective, a sense of calm and a sense of empathy are some of the things women bring to the law enforcement arena, according to experts in the field who just happen to be women. Stockton Record article


Man slain near Victory Park had been gang kingpin, FBI informant – In spring 2008, multiple law enforcement authorities held a joint news conference at the Stockton Police Department to describe a months-long criminal investigation dubbed Operation Monster, culminating in 15 raids and multiple arrests earlier that day. Among the weapons, drugs and cash on display for the media was an organizational chart showing who was in charge of the local Norteños, a notorious criminal gang ultimately controlled by the Nuestra Familia prison gang. Stockton Record article


Police: Officers shoot, critically wound driver of stolen minivan who tried to back into them – Two Tulare County law officers shot and critically wounded a man who allegedly tried to back up into a Woodlake police car that was pursuing him Wednesday afternoon, Woodlake Police Chief Mike Marquez said. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article


Why was ‘Hot Felon’ Jeremy Meeks detained in London, deported back to U.S.? — Jeremy Meeks, the Stockton con who turned fashion model, has reportedly arrived back in Los Angeles after being deported from England. Meeks, 33, was traveling with his wife and manager when he was stopped on Monday by Border Force officials upon arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport, according to The Daily Mail. Sacramento Bee article


BART seeking arrest warrants after identifying teens in mob – BART has identified some of the estimated 40 to 60 juveniles suspected of swarming a train and robbing riders at an Oakland station and is working to obtain warrants for their arrest, agency officials said Wednesday.  San Francisco Chronicle article


Federal prosecutors seek two-year prison term for convicted former Sheriff Lee Baca — Federal prosecutors will seek to put former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca in prison for two years when he is sentenced next month for obstructing a probe into abuses at county jails, according to court documents. LA Times article



UC should reverse planned tuition increase, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon says – A day after the state auditor blasted the University of California for raising tuition while its administration sat on a secret $175 million reserve, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon became the second member of UC’s governing Board of Regents to call for a reversal of the fee hike. Sacramento Bee article


George Skelton: Big changes needed at UC – starting with the Kool-Aid-drinking Board of Regents — Even the most devoted Old Blue, Bruin alumnus or Santa Cruz Banana Slug must be cringing at what the state auditor reported about University of California fiscal failures. Skelton column in LA Times


Records show responses to state auditor’s surveys were altered after intervention by UC Office of the President – Hit with a surprise survey by state auditors, officials at University of California campuses changed their responses and dropped criticism of the UC Office of the President after it contacted them, instead offering more positive reviews of its effectiveness, according to documents released as part of the audit. LA Times article


Delta College of the future unveiled – Step onto the San Joaquin Delta College campus in 20 years and you may find a very different place. A college master plan up for possible approval next month envisions hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of improvements, including a new health science building to prepare students for high-demand careers, and a building specifically for career technical education. Stockton Record article


SECA among nation’s best schools again – Stockton Early College Academy Principal Josh Thom is thrilled that the small charter school in central Stockton has been nationally recognized as one of the best high schools in the nation for three straight years. Stockton Record article


Tulare Joint High School District superintendent Koligian to step down – Sarah Koligian, Tulare Joint Union High School District superintendent, will step down to take on the superintendent role at Folsom Cordova Unified School District. Visalia Times-Delta article


Defibrillator saves life of 14-year-old boy at Chipman Junior High — If it weren’t for a $1 million investment, Kenyati Thomeson may not be alive. The 14-year-old Chipman Junior High student has having a typical day last month, playing soccer at lunchtime and hanging out with friends. Then when he went back to class, he collapsed. Bakersfield Californian article


Two bills propose solutions to end intractable fight over districts’ reserve levels – Two bills to modify the limits on reserves are moving through the Legislature. The school boards association is sponsoring one and opposes the other. However, both would significantly ease what the association considers the restrictions’ great potential harm. EdSource article


Green Valley’s chances for state charter renewal are unclear — The Green Valley Charter School’s last ditch effort at surviving depends on the California Board of Education, if the school decides to continue fighting to renew its charter. And that process may stretch to September, state officials said. Merced Sun-Star article




LA County gets a ‘C’ on UCLA’s latest environmental report card – A new UCLA environmental report card gives Los Angeles County a “C” in energy use and persistent air pollution, while rating parts of the region slightly higher for addressing other challenges. LA Times article


Health/Human Services


Fresno’s ongoing doctor shortage gets a $2.2 million shot in the arm — A proposed Fresno medical residency program got a financial boost Wednesday with a $2.2 million commitment from the locally governed Medi-Cal managed care plan for Fresno, Kings and Madera counties. CalViva Health said it has agreed to help Valley Health Team, a federally qualified health center, launch a Teaching Health Center residency program to train family doctors in Fresno. Fresno Bee article


Merced health clinic pitted in legal battle with dueling board members — Board members leading the non-profit health clinic Horisons Unlimited are embroiled in a legal battle, with two sides pitting lawsuits against one another over allegations of mismanagement and misuse of financial assets. Merced Sun-Star article


Tulare Regional Medical Center audit: $10 million in accounting mistakes — An annual audit for the Tulare Regional Medical Center, released Wednesday, has discovered almost $10 million in accounting errors, many connected with payroll transactions between the hospital and its managing agency, Healthcare Conglomerate Associates. Visalia Times-Delta article




Study: High-speed rail will displace fire station — The planned high-speed rail route through Kings County will force the Kings County Fire Department to relocate the key Houston Avenue fire station, according to county officials. Hanford Sentinel article


United Airlines policy changes include paying bumped passengers up to $10,000 – United Airlines will offer up to $10,000 when a traveler voluntarily gives up a seat on an oversold flight, part of a policy overhaul following the passenger-yanking video seen around the world. LA Times article


Other areas


Atwater calls another closed session meeting on next city manager — A closed-door meeting to discuss the search for the next Atwater city manager is set during a special meeting on Thursday. The Atwater City Council called the special meeting for 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 750 Bellevue Road. Though the bulk of the meeting is scheduled for closed session, the public will have the opportunity to speak about the city manager search. Merced Sun-Star article


Illness hits 15 from latest Honor Flight. They’ll stay in D.C. while the rest come home — More than a dozen of the people who traveled to Washington, D.C., this week on the latest Central Valley Honor Flight for military veterans failed to make the scheduled trip home Wednesday because an apparent food-borne virus. Fresno Bee article


This rookie firefighter pulled a woman from her burning car.  She finally got to thank him — A rookie Fresno firefighter received a hug from a woman he rescued from a burning car last October as he was awarded a Medal of Bravery from Fresno Fire officials Wednesday. Rene Gonzales was only two months on the job last Oct. 21 and was off-duty and driving home on Highway 180 when he spotted a burning carFresno Bee article


Jeff Jardine: Downtown’s keyboard crosswalks credit strikes cord with creator Griswold — If you head into downtown Modesto on Thursday, you’ll see a crew applying the finishing touches to crosswalks they’ve painted to resemble piano keys and other music-related artwork. Jardine column in Modesto Bee


Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – President Trump’s “big” tax plan is a giveaway to big business and millionaires.


Sacramento Bee –- President Trump’s “big” tax plan is a giveaway to big business and millionaires; Donald Trump is all about states’ rights – that is until it comes to California and its national monuments.