April 8, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Jerry Brown: California prisons ‘too often run’ by criminal gangs — Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday that criminal gangs “too often run” California prisons or hold undue influence over them, as he scrambles to qualify a ballot measure to make certain prisoners eligible for early parole. Sacramento Bee article 

Dan Walters: Politicians gone wild over pro sports – What is it about sports that makes California politicians act even more irrationally than usual? The political panic in San Diego and Oakland over the potential losses of professional football teams is just the latest example of the phenomenon. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

State budget

California business leaders push for workforce training support in state budget — Employers continued to press state lawmakers to use this year’s state budget to make investments in successful workforce training programs, making the case in a Senate budget committee hearing for $250 million in new funding for career technical education (CTE) programs offered by community colleges. California Economic Summit website

Valley politics

AD 12: Campaign dispute over ‘farmer’ bragging rights ends up in court – Candidates in the 12th Assembly District aren’t calling each other names. But a dispute has arisen over what they call themselves. Ken Vogel persuaded a judge to strike the word “farmer” from Heath Flora’s description of himself on official printed ballots, an order that Flora “emphatically disagree(s)” with. The ruling leaves Vogel as the only candidate among five in the June 7 primary race with the “farmer” status label under his name. Modesto Bee article

Patterson claims councilmember abandoning her seat – The ongoing battle between the city of Patterson and Councilwoman Sheree Lustgarten took yet another turn this week when a city report claimed that Lustgarten is in danger of abandoning her seat on the council by failing to prove she still lives within the city limits. Modesto Bee article

Dossetti will not run again for Merced City Council — Councilman Tony Dossetti announced Thursday he will not seek re-election in November. The retired Merced police chief, who has been on the Merced City Council since 2011, said he made the decision “some time ago,” according to a statement issued to the Sun-Star. Merced Sun-Star article

Political scramble: The inside scoop on this year’s elections — Campaign signs for Bakersfield’s mayoral race are emerging and if one looks familiar, there’s a good reason. Mayoral candidate Kyle Carter’s signs resemble Bakersfield’s famous “Sun, Fun, Stay, Play” signs that went up on Highway 99 in 1966 and 1968. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Five California pot legalization tips from Washington and Colorado – California likes to trumpet its record of pioneering public policy, but the state is a follower when it comes to legal cannabis. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown, crime victims and the elephant on the Capitol steps – When Gov. Jerry Brown joined California crime victims on the steps of the state Capitol Thursday for their annual rally, not a single speaker – not even the governor – mentioned his November ballot proposal to overhaul criminal justice sentencing. The annual Crime Victims United of California rally is not the first place you’d expect to find support for a proposal to shorten sentences for criminals. Capital Public Radio report

New California marijuana czar on pot use: ‘It appears there is a medical need’ – Lori Ajax has two years to set up California’s first system to license, regulate and tax medical marijuana. Gov. Jerry Brown recently appointed the Republican to become the first chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. LA Times article

Nicki Stallard: Pink Pistols to Gavin Newsom: Don’t take away our gun rights – The Fresno resident and member of Pink Pistols writes, “The LGBT community cannot afford to let Newsom’s rhetoric fool them. His proposition will seriously impact the ability to protect ourselves and our families by reducing our Second Amendment rights.” Stallard op-ed in Fresno Bee

Joe Mathews: Would someone wake Loretta? — Did someone cancel the U.S. Senate campaign without making an official announcement? It’s a fair question. The first race in 24 years for an open U.S. Senate seat from California was supposed to provide a rare moment of competition, entertainment and political engagement for the state. Instead, it’s barely being covered. And there’s one person who deserves the blame for this: Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

Sheriff, San Francisco supervisors disagree on immigration sanctuary – San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said Thursday that city jail officials should be allowed to turn over some serious criminal offenders to federal immigration agents — a proposal she put forth at a public hearing during which Supervisor John Avalos introduced legislation seeking to make sure there is almost no such cooperation. San Francisco Chronicle article


FBI director says its hack is for iPhone 5C only; feds debate sharing method with Apple — The FBI has not decided whether to share with Apple Inc. details about how the bureau hacked into an iPhone linked to a California terrorism investigation, the bureau’s director said Wednesday. LA Times article

Minimum Wage

Jim Mayer: Don’t forget the median wage – and higher – While lawmakers were cutting themselves up over the thorny minimum wage bill this week, a powerful conversation took place three blocks away from the capitol. Industry, union and college leaders were working through the pragmatic next steps on a modest proposal to move more Californians from minimum wage to medium wages and higher. Mayer in CA Fwd

Restaurant association leader criticizes minimum wage increase — Higher prices, fewer employees, more labor-saving technology and shorter hours of operation are expected within the restaurant industry from California’s new law to boost the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

California Politics Podcast: Just say no – This week: organized labor turns its back on business-friendly Democrats. Also, we discuss this week’s Assembly special election and the Legislature vs. UC. With John Myers of the Los Angeles Times and Anthony York of the Grizzly Bear Project. California Politics Podcast 

Steinberg moves $1.4 million into Sacramento mayoral account – Sacramento mayoral candidate Darrell Steinberg has transferred more than $1.4 million into his mayoral campaign account from a statewide committee he established for a potential lieutenant governor run. Sacramento Bee article

Ashby, police release new data showing 13 percent crime drop in first term – Crime in Sacramento Councilwoman Angelique Ashby’s district fell 13.1 percent during her first term in office, according to numbers released by her campaign and newly verified by the Police Department on Thursday. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Under pressures, Angelique Ashby picks a petty fight – Imagine our surprise when City Councilwoman and candidate for mayor Angelique Ashby announced a press conference Thursday and her campaign manager, Josh Pulliam, sent a note to a Bee editor barring Ryan Lillis, our lead reporter covering the campaign. Sacramento Bee editorial

State Senate votes to expand conflict-of-interest law for government contracts – The state Senate voted Thursday to expand a law that requires public officials to disclose when they have a conflict of interest and to recuse themselves from voting on a government contract involving a relative. LA Times article (scroll to article) 

Rep. Mimi Walters’ chief of staff resigns after federal indictment – Rep. Mimi Walters’ chief of staff, David Bowser, has resigned following news of federal corruption charges related to his work in another congressional office. LA Times article 

Sanders gaining on Clinton in California poll – Rallying a crush of young people and independent voters to his campaign, Bernie Sanders has cut deeply into Hillary Clinton’s lead in California two months before the state’s Democratic presidential primary, according to a new Field Poll. Sanders, who trailed Clinton by double digits in January, now lags just 6 percentage points behind. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Donald Trump cancels California trip amid signs of campaign troubles — Donald Trump has canceled a planned visit to California this week amid mounting questions on whether he can capture the Republican presidential nomination without a contested party convention this summer in Cleveland. LA Times article (scroll to article)

Battle joined for East Bay Senate seat — The race to represent the East Bay in the California Senate is going to be a doozy. Incumbent Loni Hancock, a Democrat, is barred by term limits from running again for her 9th District seat. A former mayor of Berkeley, Hancock, who turns 76 on April 10, was elected to the Assembly in 2002 and to the Senate in 2008. Capitol Weekly article

How do you change voters’ minds? Have a conversation – Going door to door, a Los Angeles-based activist group tries to reduce prejudice against transgender people. A new study finds that it works. New York Times article

Ferret PAC wants legislators to legalize ownership of ferrets — A group of ferret loving folks has formed a political action committee with the intent of pressuring California legislators to put forward a bill legalizing their furry friends. California law prohibits residents from owning or transporting ferrets. The Department of Fish and Wildlife says that ban exists to protect the state’s ecosystem. Bakersfield Californian article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

California State University, faculty reach tentative salary agreement — California State University and its faculty union jointly announced Thursday that they have reached a tentative agreement in their months-long standoff over salaries. CSU Chancellor Timothy White and representatives from the California Faculty Association plan to announce the terms of the deal Friday morning, averting a massive strike of teaching staff that was set to begin next week. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times articleAP articleSan Francisco Chronicle article 

Valley communities get lower state water conservation goals — Central Valley water suppliers and customers got a break Thursday when new conservation goals for the coming months were announced by the state Water Resources Control Board. Sacramento Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

California drivers pay 11 cents more per gallon thanks to state’s cap and trade rules, study finds – Californians are spending $2 billion more at the gas pump because of the state’s carbon rules, according to the state’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office. LA Times article (scroll to article)

Robert Price: Beneath the layoffs, justifiable confidence in local economic growth – In Bakersfield, it’s all about the oil industry — in good times and bad. Right now it’s bad. Thousands of jobs have been lost in oilfield and oilfield dependent employment. Those jobs tend to be well-paying and therefore all the more significant as drivers of the local economy. Surely the oil industry’s slump portends bad things for Bakersfield, right? Not if we listen to the retail-economy equivalent of Las Vegas oddsmakers. The impartially detached people who put their money on the line over such things are bullish on Bakersfield. Price column in Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield council committee calls for food truck ordinance – The city will begin rewriting its municipal code to clearly define modern food trucks, the permits they need and the regulations that apply, a Bakersfield City Council committee decided Thursday. Bakersfield Californian article

Michael Fitzgerald: New Stockton slogan keeps it real – Stockton has a new logo — “Stockton” in artfully quirky typography — and a new slogan: “Stockton: Stocked Full of Flavor.” Let the commenting begin. Or the eye rolling. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Fulton Mall art on the move from downtown Fresno – Workers wrapped protective plastic around a stone sculpture entitled “Mother and Child” Thursday in preparation for moving it from the Fulton Mall. Fresno Bee article

Bakersfield rents fall – Following a notable increase in March, Bakersfield one-bedroom rental prices posted the third-largest drop in the nation this month, according to a new ranking. Rents here pulled back 9 percent to $624, apartment information service Adobo reported. Las Vegas saw the largest drop, 11 percent, followed by the 10 percent decline in Fort Worth, Texas. Bakersfield Californian article

PacSun files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, plans to go private — Beachy teen retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the latest in a string of California activewear companies that have struggled to adjust to changing fashion trends. LA Times article

In search of cheaper housing, Silicon Valley workers face long commutes — Sean MacDonald’s shift as a Palo Alto fire captain starts at 8 a.m. By 4 a.m. he’s out the door and on the road. It’s 147 miles from his home in Roseville — northeast of Sacramento — to the fire station. Leave any later, and he risks getting stuck in traffic. KQED report

Tesla Model 3 update: 325,000 reservations in a week — Temperature check on Tesla’s Model 3: still scorching hot. The company has received more than 325,000 reservations, it said in an update Thursday morning. San Jose Mercury News articleNew York Times article

Sacramento Kings cut off Golden 1 season ticket sales – The Sacramento Kings said Thursday they’ve cut off season ticket sales for the inaugural year at Golden 1 Center in order to hold seats back for individual games and partial season packages. Sacramento Bee article

Construction-defect litigation bankrupts Clovis homebuilder – A Clovis homebuilder was forced to file for bankruptcy protection earlier this month after being swamped with a flood of construction-defect lawsuits, a growing trend impacting the bottom line of virtually every Valley homebuilder. The Business Journal article

Uber agrees to $25-million settlement in misleading-advertising suit – Uber agreed to a $25-million settlement in a lawsuit alleging the ride-hailing company misled and overcharged customers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Judge rejects $12.25-million Lyft lawsuit settlement – A U.S. district judge rejected a $12.25-million lawsuit settlement between Lyft and its drivers Thursday, saying that the amount offered shortchanges drivers who sought to be treated as employees. LA Times article 

Central Valley Angel Group makes first investment – The Central Valley Angel Group announced its first investment today, committing an undisclosed sum to San Luis Obispo-based Boost Acquisition, Inc. The data analytics business seeks to bring efficiency to the used-automobile sales market through actionable lead generation platform connecting sellers and buyers. The Business Journal article

Most Airbnb hosts flour San Francisco laws, report says – More than a quarter of San Francisco homes listed as vacation getaways on Airbnb violate the city’s 90-day annual limit on such rentals, while the vast majority of Airbnb hosts have yet to register their properties, flouting a law enacted last year, according to a report released late Thursday by the San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office. San Francisco Chronicle article

Popular Merced restaurant owner dies at age 44 — A prominent business owner and restaurateur was found dead Wednesday at his home in Delhi. Florencio Aguilar, 44, the owner of two popular Merced restaurants, La Morenita and Florencio’s, was found dead by family members around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at his home on Carob Court in Delhi, the Merced County Coroner’s Office confirmed to the Sun-Star. The cause of death was under investigation Thursday. Merced Sun-Star article

For just $309, you too can hide your assets – in the U.S. — Nevada is among a handful of U.S. states with liberal incorporation laws that offer many of the same benefits that have drawn business tycoons, politicians and money launderers from around the world to hide their wealth in exotic locales — a secret economy revealed this week in a series of reports based on leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm. LA Times articl


Robin Abcarian: Rainfall, snowpack – and a paltry allocation to a powerful water district – For one small but powerful group, however, the bureau’s allocation was infuriating. The Westlands Water District, known for its affluent Republican farmers, its political clout and its bedeviling lack of water, would receive a paltry 5% of its federal water allocation. Abcarian in LA Times

Stockton Record: Faucets off (again) for San Joaquin districts – Circumstances aside, it’s past time for San Joaquin County to get more breaks and positive news when it comes to governmental decisions on water. Stockton Record editorial

Hanford meter confusion addressed — Hanford officials say there’s been confusion among non-metered water users about what they need to do to get a meter. Starting in January, city leaders began charging the approximately 2,500 customers without meters a $13.33-a-month fee. Hanford Sentinel article

Los Banos water tests high in contaminant for state standards — The chromium-6 levels of water flowing from Los Banos residents’ faucets hasn’t changed. But water sample results from March show that the city’s water is now non-compliant under state standards that were changed two years ago, according to a city public notice. Los Banos Enterprise article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Prop 47 supporters fear treatment fund has been shortchanged – The 2014 measure reduced penalties for drug offenses and other low-level felonies with the promise of saving hundreds of millions of dollars a year on prisons. Those savings will be used for drug treatment and other rehabilitation programs, starting this year. But now advocates are wondering: What happened to the money? KQED report

Hanford sees spike in robberies, car thefts – Hanford saw a sharp increase in robberies and stolen vehicles last year, and local police don’t think it’s just a coincidence. Hanford police Chief Parker Sever said he believes the increase is a reflection of AB-109 and Proposition 47. Hanford Sentinel article

Fresno judge orders Three Strikes poster boy to face domestic violence charges – A career criminal whose role in the killing of a young woman outside a trendy Fresno restaurant in 1992 inspired California’s Three Strikes Law will stand trial on felony charges of domestic violence – a crime that could send him to prison for life, a judge ruled Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court. Fresno Bee article

Criminal hackers now target hospitals, police stations and schools – The security breaches – which temporarily disable digital networks but usually don’t steal the data – not only have endangered public safety, but revealed a worrying new weakness as public and private institutions struggle to adapt to the digital era. LA Times articl

Former Kern deputy who escaped custody sentenced – A former Kern County sheriff’s deputy who managed to escape from custody following his second of three arrests in a week’s span last year was sentenced Thursday to time served and felony probation and was ordered to check into a rehabilitation facility by the end of the day. Bakersfield Californian article

Loren LeBeau could withdraw plea, get new trial in DUI crash that killed 7-year-old Donovan Maldonado — Loren LeBeau, the former Central High School boys basketball coach serving a 12-year sentence for a drunken-driving crash that killed a 7-year-old boy, could get a new trial. Fresno Bee article


Robert Birgeneau: Auditor is wrong on UC admissions – The professor physics and public policy and chancellor emeritus at UC Berkeley writes, “When institutions are under stress, they often find themselves under attack by those responsible for the stress in the first place. This is dramatically illustrated by the recent state auditor’s report that heavily criticizes the University of California for many supposed faults, especially admissions policies and administrative inefficiencies.” Birgeneau op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Beyond Redskins: Tulare Union High School surveys public on new school mascot – A committee at Tulare Union High is surveying the community on the proposed new mascot to replace the soon-to-be-banned Redskins. Fresno Bee article 

Racist video makers suspended, criminal probe ongoing – A racist death threat video posted on social media by a Central Catholic High junior has led to the suspension of students involved and a criminal investigation, but an African American community group is calling for calm while police do their work. Modesto Bee article

Fences, higher user fees coming for Turlock campuses — Open school grounds dotted across Turlock will bow to safety concerns of today’s national landscape, trustees signaled, with a vote to design fences for four elementary schools. At its meeting Tuesday, trustees also raised fees for use of its facilities and heard a consultant’s appraisal that a school bond for improving campuses would likely pass. The decision to pursue a bond will be put to a vote at a later meeting. Modesto Bee article

Merced parents upset by downsizing of child care program – The Merced City School District has decided to end an extended-hours child care program for parents who earn too much to qualify as low-income, meaning at least 40 children will need to be in new care services next school year. Merced Sun-Star article

Conservative student can sue over free speech rights, court rules – A conservative student activist who was sanctioned for violating a prohibition on harassment can try to hold a California university liable for retaliating against him for expressing his free speech rights, a federal appeals court decided Thursday. LA Times articl 

Is UC Davis delaying access to public records during student protest? — As UC Davis officials grapple with how to address controversy swirling around Chancellor Linda P.B Katehi and a nearly monthlong sit-in outside her office, one approach appears to be limiting release of public documents, salaries and calenders involving Katehi and others. Sacramento Bee article

Stein earns Model Continuation status with innovative programs, comprehensive services – George and Evelyn Stein Continuation High School principal Cynthia Johannes was unaware her school was named a Model Continuation school until her mother broke the news during a spring break lunch at Papapavlo’s in Stockton. Stockton Record article

Southern California community colleges to give needed boost to global trade workforce — In Southern California, seven community colleges from Los Angeles and Orange Counties have formed theGlobal Trade and Logistics Consortia to address the issue of educating and preparing the workforce in this vast sector. California Economic Summit website

LA Unified looks to income tax renewal to offset budget woes — If voters in November approve extending what were intended as temporary income tax hikes on high-earning Californians, school districts around the state will be the chief beneficiaries —  and none more so than the largest, Los Angeles Unified. EdSource article

Health/Human Services

Undocumented could be allowed to buy Covered California policies – In a move called both symbolic and practical, the Covered California board took the first step Thursday toward allowing undocumented residents to purchase health plans – with no state or federal subsidies – through California’s Obamacare marketplace. Sacramento Bee articleModesto Bee article

Measure H debated at public forum – Neither the supporters nor the opponents of the Measure H bond measure dispute that a new building needs to be built to replace the 237-bed original hospital building constructed in 1969. What is in dispute is how to pay for a new acute-care building that would be constructed near the southeast corner of South West Street and West Acequia Avenue, on an expanded hospital campus. Visalia Times-Delta article

Valley fever health risks topic of Fresno conference – The UC Merced Health Sciences Research Institute will hold a Valley Fever Community Awareness Day from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Friday at the UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research, 155 N. Fresno St. Fresno Bee article

Soda industry challenges proposed San Francisco warning labels in court – The beverage industry challenged San Francisco’s proposed warning label on ads for sugary drinks — that they increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay — in federal court Thursday, arguing that the city is unfairly and illegally implying that sodas are more health-damaging than cheeseburgers or pizzas. San Francisco Chronicle article

A ray of hope for stage 4 appendix cancer patients at Fresno hospital – Last week Meza-Alfonso, 48, became the first patient to undergo hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno. Community is the only hospital in the central San Joaquin Valley to offer HIPEC and is among only a handful of hospitals in the state to provide it, including University of California medical centers at Irvine and San Diego. Fresno Bee article 

Social workers charged with child abuse in case involving torture killing of Gabriel Fernandez — In a rare criminal case filing against social workers, Los Angeles County prosecutors allege that the social workers minimized “the significance of the physical, mental and emotional injuries that Gabriel suffered… [and]  allowed a vulnerable boy to remain at home and continue to be abused.” LA Times article

New executive director at Visalia Rescue Mission — Al Oliver is the new executive director for Visalia Rescue Mission. The board made the appointment official as of April 1. Oliver is a Southern California native and graduate ofCerritos College, the University of California at Los Angeles and the Talbot Theological Seminary. Visalia Times-Delta article 

James Gomez: State not prepared to handle mentally ill and aging population – The CEO and president of the California Association of Health Facilities writes, “California, by conservative estimates, is several thousand beds short of adequately serving those with mental illness or behavioral issues. The shortage of 24-hour care – and the beds required for that treatment – places a strain throughout the health care system, and specifically in long-term care and skilled nursing facilities.” Gomez op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Land Use/Housing 

Chowchilla City Council adopts neighborhood infill program — The Chowchilla City Council this week approved a new measure to enhance many of the city’s older, more established neighborhoods.  By a unanimous vote, the council agreed to waive 100 percent of building impact fees when a builder constructs new homes on vacant lots in the city’s older, more established neighborhoods, providing that the builder secures 30 percent of its goods and services from within Chowchilla. The Business Journal article


High-speed rail demolition work in Kings – Construction workers acting on behalf of the California High-Speed Rail Authority were on the west side of Ponderosa Road in a neighborhood off East Lacey Boulevard Thursday demolishing homes to make way for the rail alignment. Hanford Sentinel article

Seventh Amtrak train coming in June — The Central Valley-based San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority that now runs Amtrak is ready to launch the seventh daily round-trip train along the San Joaquin corridor. The new train would connect Bakersfield and Oakland with a stop in Hanford. Hanford Sentinel articleBakersfield Californian article (scroll to item)

Flights to San Diego from Stockton take off – Stockton Metropolitan Airport and Allegiant Travel Co. celebrated Thursday the inaugural flight of two-day-a-week service to San Diego with giveaways and refreshments for passengers and a traditional water salute for the departing jetliner. Stockton Record article

Fresno airport introduces ambassador service — Fresno Yosemite International Airport has introduced a new customer service ambassador program to enhance services for the traveling public. The Business Journal article

Other areas

Herb Benham: He grew up in an oil town, and Haggard’s gusher did come in — “Kern River” was the first thing that flashed through my mind Wednesday morning when I heard Merle Haggard had died. The song showcases the warmth and richness of his voice. Although “Kern River” is about losing a friend in its treacherous waters, by the time the river runs through Oildale, it moves slowly and inexorably toward its ancient home in Buena Vista Lake. Benham column in Bakersfield Californian‘Haggard fans gather at Kern County Museum to pay respects’ in Bakersfield Californian

Investigation controversy prompts changes – The Hanford City Council has established a new investigations policy after a controversy over Councilman Russ Curry requesting an inquiry into two of his colleagues. Hanford Sentinel article 

Christian cross has no place on LA County seal, judge rules — In a long-awaited ruling, a federal judge has sided with plaintiffs who argued it was unconstitutional for Los Angeles County supervisors to place a Christian cross on the county seal. LA Times articleAP article