April 3, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories 

For struggling Kern County, Trump means hope and change — The fundamental disagreements that made the 2016 election so divisive — and continue to roil the country into the third month of Trump’s presidency — are dotted all over the dusty landscape. For Kern County, how Trump’s presidency plays out could be a matter of economic life or death. San Francisco Chronicle article

Dan Walters: California GOP continues its plunge into irrelevance — The decline of California’s Republican Party, as underscored by the most recent voter registration data, is a truly remarkable, even historic, phenomenon. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Gov. Brown 

George Skelton: Gov. Brown’s proposal to fix California’s roads isn’t perfect, but lawmakers should give the plan a shot —  A road repair kit would make a nice birthday present for Gov. Jerry Brown. And that’s what he’s asking for from the state Legislature. But never mind Brown. This would be a gift we all could enjoy, even with the attached tax increases. Skelton column in LA Times


San Francisco courts anything but safe for some immigrants in sanctuary city — San Francisco’s public officials constantly say the city must remain a sanctuary for immigrants living in the country without documentation so they’ll come forward if they’re a victim of or witness to a crime. But some who have come forward have found the city’s courtrooms anything but a safe harbor. San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas 

Supreme Court confirmation drama enters its final act, with Gorsuch still the star – Absent a thunderbolt from the blue, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday will likely vote 11-9 along party lines to approve Judge Neil Gorsuch for a Supreme Court seat kept open last year by Republican hardball. Then comes the real storm, as unified Senate Republicans, joined by some red-state Democrats, push to confirm Gorsuch by the end of the week. One way or another, they seem likely to succeed, with consequences both predictable and unforeseen. McClatchy Newspapers article 

A tax at the border could be the next big Republican disagreement in Congress – The current proposal, trumpeted by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, also a Texan, imposes a border adjustment tax on imported goods. The tax will supposedly raise $1.2 trillion over 10 years to offset decreased federal revenues due to lower corporate and personal taxes, and its proponents argue the tax will benefit American-based manufacturing. But the border adjustment tax is a non-starter for Williams and some Senate Republicans. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Are your housing costs sky high? A new fight over California rent control is coming — A Santa Monica lawmaker is preparing to battle California’s powerful real estate industry, going after a state law that for two decades has blocked cities from adopting stronger rent control measures. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics 

Bit by bit, Trump methodically undoing Obama policies — Amid the turmoil over staff shake-ups, blocked travel bans and the Russia cloud hanging overhead, President Donald Trump is steadily plugging away at a major piece of his agenda: Undoing Obama. AP article

Trump aides’ disclosures reveal surge in lucrative political work — Those disclosures, contained in 92 personal financial statements of Trump administration staff members released starting Friday night, offer a hint of how an explosion in spending has expanded the lucrative array of private political work in Washington, enriching even the anti-establishment activists and operatives who sided with Mr. Trump. New York Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories 

California ‘student success’ initiative slow to increase community college completion rates — California has seen no substantial increases in community college completion rates despite passing a much-anticipated reform law and spending nearly $890 million in subsequent state appropriations, all aimed at bolstering student progress. EdSource article 

Surge of hydropower could cut force cutbacks of wind, solar — An abundance of rain and snowfall this winter has teed up what’s expected to be a bountiful year for hydroelectricity production in California, as reservoirs recover from five years of drought. But the projected rise in hydropower could force the state to sharply cut back on the amount of power produced from other sources, particularly renewable energy, according to the California Independent System Operator, the organization that manages most of the state’s vast energy system. San Francisco Chronicle article

Jobs and the Economy

LA City Council is considering a plan to borrow money to cover lawsuit settlements. Some think that’s borrowing trouble – On the advice of budget officials, the Los Angeles City Council agreed earlier this year to consider borrowing tens of millions of dollars to pay for high-profile legal settlements and court judgments. The money would help offset several multimillion-dollar settlements approved by the city in recent years, including a $200-million agreement to end a lawsuit brought by disability-rights groups over the lack of accessible housing. LA Times article 

Tesla reports a record deliveries of vehicles in first quarter — Electric car maker Tesla Inc. says it delivered a record 25,000 vehicles in the first quarter, up 69 percent from the same period last year. AP article


Trump extends FEMA relief for flooded California counties — After approving federal disaster funds to help California counties recover from weeks of flooding in January, President Trump has extended the aid to include damage from storms in February. The decision will make aid available to 42 counties where winter storms, flooding and mudslides have damaged homes and other property. Sacramento Bee article

Keeping Cesar Chavez’s legacy alive — Had he lived, Cesario Estrada Chavez — better known as Cesar Chavez — would have turned 90 years old last Friday. He died April 23, 1993. In his 66 years on Earth, he led a life of nonviolent activism bringing worldwide attention to the plight of farmworkers in an effort to improve their treatment, working conditions and pay. Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Wiretaps of Fresno’s deputy police chief discussing drugs are authentic, his lawyer says — A key issue in the approaching Keith Foster criminal trial has been cleared up: His lawyer has stipulated that Fresno’s former deputy police chief was caught on federal wiretaps talking about drugs. Fresno Bee article 

Jose Gaspar: McFarland cops claim obstruction of justice, retaliation for speaking out — A lawsuit being settled alleges McFarland Police Department officials quashed a search warrant at the request of city leaders to protect the son of a city councilman suspected of being in possession of a stolen firearm. Gaspar in Bakersfield Californian 

Victims, advocates help pull human trafficking out of the darkness — When she was 12, Brianna Williams was a driven, young entrepreneur who wrote a 30-page business plan for her future party-planning endeavor. But by the time she was 15, she was being trafficked by a man more than twice her age and had forgotten all the dreams she once had of owning her own business. Modesto Bee article


Modesto school associated with tennis great Agassi clears hurdle – A charter school proposed to replace the Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club — a Modesto institution and a sports and recreation pioneer in its prime — has cleared a hurdle at City Hall and more details have been released about the project. Modesto Bee article 

Inspiring future ACTivists –Dozens of Tulare County students and their parents attended the 2017 ACTivist Conference on Saturday at Woodlake High School. While parents discussed topics such as social media safety, suicide awareness and immigration and school policies, students were taught #KnowYourRights. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Most college head chaplains are Christian. At USC, a Muslim leads the way — Varun Soni straightened his shoulders and grasped the podium, his dark suit flanked by the stately white robes of priests and ministers. A beloved professor had been stabbed to death. As USC’s head chaplain, it fell to Soni to help the hundreds gathered outside that day to process their loss. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Memorial Hospital in Los Banos named as a leader in LGBTQ health care equality — Memorial Hospital in Los Banos earned recognition as a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality,” from a LGBTQ civil rights foundation, according to a statement from Sutter Health. Merced Sun-Star article


Dibs program sets sights on Smart Travel — A transportation program aimed at encouraging commuters to find new ways to travel has been re-launched with a new name. Formerly known as Commute Connection and launched by the San Joaquin Council of Governments in 1978, the program has been renamed Dibs, and is designed to reduce traffic congestion in San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties, as well as improve air-quality. Stockton Record article

Other areas

Veterans center in north Modesto is now home to several county offices – Several county offices are relocating and will open Monday at the Stanislaus Veterans Center at the northeast corner of Sylvan Avenue and Coffee Road in Modesto. Modesto Bee article 

Sewer systems and police laptops are topics at Merced meeting – Merced plans a study session on its sewer master plan at its Monday meeting, and City Council will be asked to spend more than $100,000 on new police equipment. Merced Sun-Star article

Making Bakersfield ‘softer and safer’ through Jai’s library — In Jai’s Library there are all kinds of books: picture books for children, memoirs, essays, fiction and histories. But what they all have in common is the much-needed support they will give to the local trans community, both in their words and in the fact that they were donated by people who care. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup 

Fresno Bee – There are problems with the federal tax code, which is complicated and filled with loopholes. But there are ways to simplify it without an outrageous giveaway to those who need it the least.