April 30, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Jerry Brown gives counties $16.3 million more for election costs – Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday that directs $16.29 million to counties to help pay for expected high turnout in the June 7 presidential primary and to process a coming deluge of petitions from groups seeking to qualify November ballot measures, including one championed by the Democratic governor. Sacramento Bee article

Trump takes off gloves in aggressive GOP convention speech – After winning the New York primary and following it up with a five-state string of victories last week, it was noted that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was acting more presidential. Gone was “Lyin’ Ted,” the nickname he gave his rival for the nomination, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the third candidate still in the race, was “Governor Kasich.” Forget all that. Fresno Bee article

Valley politics

Bill McEwen: A wickedly crazy but best-for-Fresno mayoral idea – What I am about to propose is radical. But if Lee Brand, Henry R. Perea and H. Spees were to commit to my idea, they would generate positive national attention and maybe knock Donald Trump off the front pages – for one news cycle, anyway. Moreover, they would stamp Fresno as one of the most innovative and collaborative cities in America, and position our city to finally, after decades of fits and starts, realize its potential. McEwen column in Fresno Bee

Mathis admits not listing rental property as economic interest — Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, failed to list a rental property on his Form 700 statement of economic interests that politicians must file. The Fair Political Practices Commission received a written complaint about the alleged violation and sent a letter to Mathis. Fresno Bee article

Discretionary funds targeted at candidates’ Merced County forum – Merced County District 1 and 2 supervisor candidates squared off in a League of Women Voters forum on Thursday night. The discretionary funds that each of the five supervisors receives every year were a point of contention during the question-and-answer session, which also covered crime rates and economic development in the county. Merced Sun-Star article

Bakersfield mayoral candidate profile: Antonio Martinez — Antonio “Tony” Martinez, 73, Special events and projects at United Farm Workers, president’s office, in Keene. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Tim Donnelly says Gavin Newsom’s gun bid ‘disaster’ for Democrats — Hours after Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom began submitting signatures to place on the fall ballot his gun-control measure, former Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly savaged the effort as a “disaster,” and predicted it would cause a surge of GOP voters in November. Sacramento Bee article


The government wants your fingerprint to unlock your phone. Should that be allowed? — As the world watched the FBI spar with Apple this winter in an attempt to hack into a San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, federal officials were quietly waging a different encryption battle in a Los Angeles courtroom. There, authorities obtained a search warrant compelling the girlfriend of an alleged Armenian gang member to press her finger against an iPhone that had been seized from a Glendale home. LA Times article 

Other areas

Fresno Mayor Swearengin endorses Kasich for president– Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin endorsed Republican presidential candidate John Kasich on Friday. The Kasich campaign made the announcement, saying Swearengin was joining its California leadership team. Interestingly, Donald Trump’s state director is Tim Clark – who guided Swearengin’s 2014 unsuccessful bid for state controller as well as her two successful runs for mayor. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

Trump compares backdoor entrance to Bay Area speech to ‘crossing the border’ – If Bay Area protesters wanted to get Donald Trump’s attention during his Friday appearance at the California Republican Convention in Burlingame – mission accomplished. “That was not the easiest entrance I ever made” Trump said after taking the stage at the Hyatt Regency. “It was like crossing the border.” San Francisco Chronicle articleSan Jose Mercury News article

Donald Trump’s confident pitch to California’s GOP — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump warmed up a packed house at the California Republican Party convention by telling the audience that his victory in the race for the GOP nomination is inevitable. LA Times article 

Cathleen Decker: Trump’s California visit shines spotlight on California Republican Party’s immigration dilemma – Donald Trump’s emphasis on illegal immigration has propelled his presidential campaign to the threshold of winning the Republican nomination, but it risks huge collateral damage to a California state party that has worked to distance itself from the immigration wars of two decades ago. Decker in LA Times article

Dan Morain: Trump touts himself, not his party – Donald Trump, himself larded with awful unfavorable ratings, did nothing to build up the diminished California Republican Party and much to undermine it during his first trip here as the GOP’s presidential front-runner. Morain in Sacramento Bee

Trump protestors, Mexican flag wavers could bring unintended consequences for GOP race – The protests outside Donald Trump’s rally in Costa Mesa on Thursday night appear to point to an upcoming month of activism by Latinos and others as the GOP front-runner tries to seal the presidential nomination in the state. LA Times article

A call for unity delivered Trump-style – with insults – After struggling to make it through a crowd protesting his lunchtime speech to the California Republican Party convention at the Burlingame Hyatt on Friday, Donald Trump sounded a note rarely heard from his presidential campaign: unity. But it was a plea for unity delivered Trump-style, salted with insults about his competitors. San Francisco Chronicle articleKQED reportLA Times articleSacramento Bee articleNew York Times article

Presidential campaigns come to Kern – Presidential candidate Donald Trump flirted briefly with the Central Valley — mulling a stop in Fresno, presumably en route to the GOP convention starting Friday, before deciding against it. But Trump’s California operatives have already reached out to Kern, and specifically to Bakersfield-based Western Pacific Research, according to Tim Clark, Trump’s California director. Bakersfield Californian article

John Kasick says he could ‘expand the field’ in California – Not even Donald Trump, the Republican presidential frontrunner, included California in a list of Democratic-leaning states that he boasted Friday he could carry in a general election. But John Kasich, who is running a distant third? Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Kasich’s California chairman returns to GOP spotlight for first time since 2006 — The man who introduced Ohio Gov.John Kasich at Friday night’s GOP convention dinner made it feel like it was 2006 all over again. “Folks, this man can win in November,” said Steve Poizner as he wandered the stage with a hand-held microphone. “This man must win in November.” LA Times article

Sen. Ted Cruz’s father warns Fresno churchgoers that conservative values are under attack – The father of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz told Fresno residents Friday night to “come out” from behind the pulpit and cast a righteous vote in the presidential primary in June. Fresno Bee article 

May Day, Trump, Sanders: LAPD braces for weekend of political protest — The Los Angeles Police Department is bracing for a long weekend of political demonstrations following the California arrival of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump and boisterous protests in Orange County. LA Times article

Joel Fox: Political season a headache for business – Businesses sensitive about their public image often feel whipsawed during the political season when being pressured by both activists and bottom-line shareholders. This political year, politics and business mix into a troublesome concoction of protest petitions, boycotts and quarrels over candidates and causes. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Ex-Schwarzenegger communications aide Julie Soderlund dies at 38 — Julie Soderlund, a communications specialist who worked for former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carly Fiorina and other Republican causes ​in a career spent largely in Sacramento, died Thursday evening after a nine-month battle with melanoma. She was 38. Sacramento Bee article

California state spokesman and ex-journalist Jim Zamora dies at 57 — As a reporter, he covered some of the biggest stories for California’s largest newspapers. As a labor spokesman, he represented California’s largest state-employee union. As a public official, he hoped to improve the nation’s largest state civil-service system – even if just a little. James Herron Zamora, well-known in Sacramento media, union and government circles, died Thursday evening while recovering from a stroke and a severe bacterial infection. He was 57. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

The Numbers Crunch: What’s so wrong about playing the ‘woman’s card’? — So if a woman’s card actually existed, where’s the best place in California to use it? There’s now a much more comprehensive tool to figure that out, a joint production of the California Budget & Policy Center and the Women’s Foundation of California. Theinteractive online index is a wide-ranging look at women’s well-being in all 58 counties. The Numbers Crunch in Sacramento Bee

News Stories

Top Stories 

Bullet train agency recommends city-preferred rail route – State bullet train officials believe high-speed rail’s best route into Bakersfield is one first identified in 2014 by city staffers, and will ask their board of directors to agree May 10 at a meeting in City Council chambers. Bakersfield Californian article

Judge rejects restraining order to block SoCal agency’s purchase of Delta islands – A San Joaquin County Superior Court judge on Friday declined to grant a restraining order that would have temporarily blocked a Southern California water agency from purchasing more than 20,000 acres of land in the Delta. Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy 

North Fork casino near Madera under fire in federal bill – A bill introduced in Congress this week and backed by the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians will attempt to stop the North Fork Mono Indians from building a casino on property the tribe has in federal trust near Madera. Fresno Bee article

Carmen George: Think philanthropy is just for older, wealthy people? Think again – Renee Rees is the kind of person who sticks up for her city. She gets upset when she hears out-of-towners bad-mouth Fresno. Of the haters, she says: “They don’t know all of the wonderful things that are happening in town.” She’s part of a growing movement trying to make it more wonderful through a yearlong program called Next Generation Philanthropy, focused on mobilizing the “next generation” to get more involved in helping their community. Participants are between the ages of 21 and 40. George in Fresno Bee

See where in California parents are most likely to take paid family leave — The Bee’s analysis found that areas with high average wages also tended to have a high proportion of residents taking family leave. Sacramento Bee article

Central Valley Community Bank merges with Folsom bank — Fresno’s Central Valley Community Bancorp announced Friday that it is planning a merger with Folsom-based Sierra Vista Bank in a deal worth an estimated $24 million. Fresno Bee article

Market Place gets a makeover — With Thursday Night Market Place returning May 5 for its 16th year, Main Street Hanford – the downtown promotion organization that runs the event – is making some changes. Hanford Sentinel article

Mission hits 68th consecutive profitable quarter – Mission Bancorp posted net income of $1.2 million during the three months that ended March 31, a 65 percent increase over a year earlier. It was the Bakersfield-based bank company’s 68th consecutive profitable quarter. Bakersfield Californian article

As venture capital dries up, tech start-ups discover frugality – Small and midsize start-ups are trying to outlast the downturn by cutting back on one of tech’s trademark innovations: outlandish spending. LA Times article

Yahoo CEO could get $55 million in severance pay in potential sale – Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will walk away with a $55 million severance package if the company’s auction of its Internet operations culminates in a sale that ousts her from her job. AP article

Michael Hiltzik: California is a magnet – and a graveyard – for supermarket competitors — While industries all over the country are merging and consolidating, the region’s grocery market remains a model of how vigorous competition can serve the consumer. A 2014 merger brought the full-service supermarket chains Vons, Safeway and Albertsons under one corporate roof. Hiltzik column in LA Times

Despite concessions, SeaWorld remains under pressure from animal activists – SeaWorld Entertainment won the praises of animal rights activists last month when it made a surprising policy reversal and agreed to end the breeding program for its captive killer whales. But don’t think that the change of heart sparked warm relations between the Orlando, Fla.-based theme park operator and animal rights advocates. LA Times articl


Feds say water could flow from Friant Dam to the ocean this summer – Federal officials say water from Friant Dam may connect to the ocean this summer.  But some people aren’t so sure it’ll happen. KVPR report 

Water bank project in southern San Joaquin Valley nearing approval — It’s too late for the current drought, but an ambitious water bank project in the southern San Joaquin Valley would give farmers a supplemental supply in future dry spells. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation kick-started the water bank with a $6.65 million pledge toward a 560-acre recharge basin between Earlimart and Tulare east of Highway 99. Fresno Bee article

California almond acreage continues to grow – California almonds, one of the state’s largest crops, increased in acreage by 6 percent last year. Statewide, a recent federal survey estimates the acreage to be 1.1 million acres. Of that, 890,000 acres of trees are producing nuts and 220,000 acres are young trees. The leading almond growing counties include Kern, Fresno, Stanislaus, Merced and Madera. The five counties represent 73 percent of the producing acreage in the state. Fresno Bee article

Honey Nut Cheerios maker aims to help bees — The makers of Honey Nut Cheerios have come to the aid of the beleaguered bees that are vital to this product. Bees make honey, of course, and they pollinate the almonds that flavor the cereal. For about a decade, commercial hives have been dying off for reasons that remain a mystery. Modesto Bee articl

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Sheriff, DA say dormant committee not answer to Merced County crime – Since the last time Merced County’s public safety committee met in 2012, the slaying rate has hit a record high and topped the state rankings, prompting top law enforcement officials to declare a “public safety emergency.” Merced Sun-Star articleMerced Sun-Star editorial

Lyell finds new role gratifying, exciting — Miriam Lyell is seeing a positive shift in the justice system, not only in regards to decriminalizing mental health and poverty, but by seeing more women leading departments. In fact, she’s part of that wave. Lyell was appointed San Joaquin County public defender on April 12, taking over for Peter Fox, who retired in January. The first woman in San Joaquin County history to hold the post, Lyell will make $175,240 a year. Stockton Record article

Former Ceres cop cleared in officer-involved shooting at Modesto’s Beyer Park — The former Ceres police officer who fatally shot the man whose wife he was with in a Modesto park late at night has been cleared of any legal wrongdoing, according to letter released by the District Attorney’s Office on Friday. Modesto Bee article

Fresno City College student booked after campus stabbing — A Fresno City College student was booked on assault with a deadly weapon charges Thursday night after another student was stabbed outside a welding class, police reported. Willie Jenkins, 51, of Fresno was booked into the Fresno County Jail. The 29-year-old victim was treated for a knife wound to the chest that was not life-threatening. Fresno Bee article

Under pressure over officers’ racist texts, San Francisco Police Department chief releases transcripts — San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr released transcripts Friday of racist and homophobic text messages that were allegedly exchanged between a former Taraval Station lieutenant and two former officers — messages that came to light after a woman accused one of the officers of raping her. San Francisco Chronicle article


CSU chancellor talks salary increase, ‘degree drought’ in Bakersfield visit – California State University Chancellor Timothy White touched on myriad topics ranging from statewide “degree drought” to defending his position on planned salary increases for CSU management during a visit Friday to Cal State Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article

Three-day drama led to UC Davis chancellor’s suspension – UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi was in the midst of another redemption effort just one week ago. Then the call came in: UC President Janet Napolitano wanted to see her Monday in her Oakland offices. Sacramento Bee article

‘This is a good and strong district’ — After serving as interim superintendent since January, Todd Oto was named officially as Visalia Unified School District superintendent starting June 1. Visalia Times-Delta article

Fresno High adds breast-feeding room for teen moms – Legislation passed last year requires public schools to provide breast-feeding students with access to a private room other than a bathroom. Fresno High is the only school in the district to have a designated area of its kind, but a Fresno Unified spokesman said Friday all schools make accommodations to provide breast-feeding students with a secure space when needed. Fresno Bee article

Tutelian transforming century-old downtown landmark into new charter school – A Downtown Fresno landmark, the century-old Parker-Nash Building, is in the process of being transformed into a state-of-the-art charter school. Local developer Cliff Tutelian’s company has taken on the project, located at the corner of Broadway and Stanislaus streets, and is painstakingly renovating the structure in an effort to preserve the neighborhood’s character and historic architecture. The Business Journal article

San Jose State promises admission for qualified East Side graduates — Hoping to pave the way to college for thousands more local students, San Jose State is inking a pact that will guarantee admission to qualified graduates of the city’s largest high school district. San Jose Mercury News article

Some Fresno schools will double as parks on weekends – Fresno hopes to augment its documented shortage of open city park space by working with school districts to open their campuses for recreation use on weekends starting this summer. Fresno Bee articl 

Livingston principal headed to Harvard – William Marroquin, the principal at Livingston Middle School, will be one of only 25 people in the nation to begin an education doctorate program at Harvard University this summer, a step forward to realizing his personal “American dream.” Merced Sun-Star article

At small colleges, harsh lessons about cash flow — In the last few years, small liberal arts colleges struggling under financial siege have been forced to re-examine their missions and justify their existence. New York Times article 

State Sen. Ben Allen: California must emphasize arts in public schools – The Santa Monica Democrat writes, “I’ve authored Senate Bill 916, the Theatre and Dance Act – TADA – to establish single-subject credentials in theater and dance. Under this proposal, new teachers entering the profession will no longer be required to earn a credential in an unrelated subject. And for teachers who have completed the required coursework to teach theater or dance in addition to another subject for which they’ve earned a credential, nothing will change.” Allen op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Dan Walters: California has other calamities to worry about – Gov. Jerry Brown says California’s drought and the wildfires it has spawned are wake-up calls about the potentially cataclysmic effects of climate change. That may be true. But they are not the only indications of potential disaster that could devastate a state perched, however precariously, on the continent’s western edge. California has been experiencing a series of moderate earthquakes this month – coinciding, somewhat eerily, with the first anniversary of a temblor that severely damaged downtown Napa. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Reforesting plan for area hit by Rim Fire advances — A plan for reforesting part of the Rim Fire area took a major step forward Friday. Jeanne Higgins, supervisor of the Stanislaus National Forest, approved a proposal to plant conifer seedlings on 21,300 acres. Modesto Bee article

Historic shipyard may see cleanup — State officials are preparing to remove tons of contaminated soil from the site of a historic downtown shipyard, a small step toward possible future development at the prime waterfront location. Stockton Record article

Health/Human Services 

Finally, long overdue progress in hospital seismic safety — After years of delay, retrofitting and rebuilding, more than 90 percent of California’s acute care hospital buildings are no longer at risk of collapse during an earthquake, according to the most recent data from the state’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD). KQED report 

Benny Benzeevi, MD: Why I oppose Measure H: It ‘greatly exceeds’ KD’s needs – The CEO of Tulare Regional Medical Center writes, “I am a supporter of Kaweah Delta and every other hospital in the region. We need all the hospitals we can get in our already underserved area. We certainly need appropriately sized bonds to build the buildings necessary for our hospitals. That said, I do not support Measure H. It requests much more money than its stated purpose – to build an appropriately sized, seismically mandated structure that will meet the needs of our Visalia community.” Benzeevi op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Robert A. Harvard Jr., MD: A vote for Measure H — The importance of a strong hospital for the health of our community is indisputable. We have one now and some say it doesn’t need to be replaced. If you are among those, be angry with the state government which has mandated that it be replaced. If you are unhappy about the state of health care and the high cost of drugs as I am, be angry with the federal government. But this is Visalia. This is our healthcare. This is something we can do something about. Harvard op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Land Use/Housing

Commission upholds approval of contested apartments — The Hanford Planning Commission has upheld the planning department’s approval of a proposed apartment complex amid claims that the project may threaten remnants of the Mussel Slough drainage basin. Hanford Sentinel article


 Bay Area traffic ignites backlash against boom, new poll suggests — “Beat L.A.” is a familiar refrain in Bay Area sports, but it now appears Northern California is on its way to being a rival for Southern California in an unwelcome fashion: traffic jams. San Jose Mercury News article

Other areas

Tami Crawford: Valley Oak SPCA celebrates 25 years by becoming no-kill shelter – The capital campaign manager for Valley Oak SPCA writes, “The Valley Oak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will celebrate 25 years of making a difference in the lives of pets and their owners this year. It is only fitting this will also be the year we are able to transition to a no-kill animal shelter.” Crawford op-ed in Fresno Bee

Rory Appleton: Stop dumping generational baggage on millennials: We’re working with the tools available – “You young whippersnappers don’t know how good you have it. In my day, we walked 15 miles in the snow – uphill, both ways – to get to our full-time jobs with benefits and diverse 401k options.” That’s basically what we millennials hear every time a teacher, parent or otherwise established “adult” talks to us about our generation. Appleton column in Fresno Bee

Ned Ruhstaller, member of well-known Stockton family, has died — Ned Ruhstaller, a nurse, estate salesman, and member of a well-known Stockton family, has died. He was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Stockton Record article

Legendary Kern lawman finally gets a marker — Former lawman Harry W. Bludworth may have died 103 years ago but you don’t have to look far to see his spirit, said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood. Bakersfield Californian article