August 13, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Who’s bankrolling or making bank on California ballot measures? — Over the next three months, California voters will get their fill of advertising by campaigns supporting or opposing many of the 17 measures that have qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot. What often won’t be clear in the TV ads and stacks of campaign mailers are the donors and political pros making it all possible. Sacramento Bee article 

Judge orders changes to arguments over California pot measure — Language in the voter information guide for and against an initiative to legalize marijuana use in California will undergo a few revisions, in response to court rulings Friday that found both sides of the issue making some questionable claims in their arguments. San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley politics 

It’s official: Three contested Bakersfield council races — The busy election season officially got even busier Friday as two Bakersfield City Council races became three-way contests and council veteran Jacquie Sullivan drew her first opponent in 12 years.Bakersfield Californian article 

Mayor Silva calls for Brown Act investigation, says news conference violated law; lawyers disagree – Mayor Anthony Silva, who was arrested last week and had become engulfed in a major separate controversy the week before that, has taken the offensive. The 41-year-old Silva sent an email to District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar early Friday morning alleging that challenger Michael Tubbs and four other council members violated California open meeting laws when they held a joint news conference Monday afternoon outside City Hall. Stockton Record article 

Deadline passes for most elected offices — The deadline to file to run for a public office in Merced County has come and gone, and ballots in three districts in Merced will be particularly heavy with names. Merced Sun-Star article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Opponents of legal pot can argue kids could be exposed to candy, brownie ads – A Sacramento Superior Court judge agreed Friday to let opponents of a proposition legalizing marijuana in California warn voters that children could be exposed to ads promoting marijuana gummy candy and brownies. Sacramento Bee article 

California Politics Podcast: An early end? Or just pausing? — Are things in the state Capitol winding down, weeks ahead of schedule? Are mega-deals just not going to happen? We discuss in this week’s episode, plus we check in on election items like the very quiet U.S. Senate race. With John Myers of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of KQED News. California Politics Podcast 

Kevin Faulconer: The GOP’s statewide future? — California Republicans don’t have a deep statewide bench. But they may have a rising star in San Diego — Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Capitol Weekly article 

Joel Fox: An offer for LAO’s 75th anniversary it won’t want — Here’s my salute to celebrate the 75 years of the Legislative Analyst’s Office—I think it should be put in charge of ballot titles and summaries. Probably the last thing that office wants but its a sign of my respect for an office that does diligent, fair work and can avoid political questions as a non-partisan office. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Foon Rhee: A roadmap to improving California’s elections — Step by step, California is making it as easy as possible for eligible voters to have their say. But there’s work to do. Rhee column in Sacramento Bee

Other areas 

Fresno’s Republican mayor joins Democrats supporting climate-change measure — Fresno’s Ashley Swearengin is one of eight California big-city mayors – and the only Republican of the bunch – to sign onto a letter supporting legislation that would toughen the state’s greenhouse-gas reduction goals over the next 14 years. Fresno Bee article 

California gun owners begin drive to repeal weapon laws signed by Gov. Jerry Brown — Gun rights advocates started a petition drive today seeking to overturn the seven gun control laws Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last month. The newly formed Veto Gunmageddon is circulating its petition at gun stores and firing ranges across the state. San Jose Mercury News article 

New proposal would beef up California’s electric vehicle mandate – With the extension of California’s landmark climate change law stalled, a legislative plan is emerging to significantly up the ante on California’s commitment to electric vehicles by requiring that 15 percent of all new automobiles be emission-free within a decade. AP article 

Lois Henry: CPS secrecy amended out of bills – It looks like legislation that would have shrouded how child protective agencies handle abuse and neglect cases where children nearly die has been amended to keep the public in the loop. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian 

Prosecutors say Rep. Ami Bera’s father should serve a year in prison for campaign money crimes – The father of Sacramento County Rep. Ami Bera should serve a year in federal prison and pay a fine of $130,200 for his role in a multi-year campaign donation scheme, according to a recommendation filed by federal prosecutors on Thursday. LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article 

Sacramento Bee: When a flawed remedy to drug prices looks better than none at all — Pharma scored another win last week, gutting a drug transparency bill in California. But a ballot initiative looms and consumers are getting fed up. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Shelved DNA bill had personal meaning for LA Assemblyman Mike Gatto — Of the California bills shelved Thursday amid the flurry of “suspense file” activitywas legislation that would have allocated $15 million for law enforcement agencies to analyze DNA evidence and investigate cold cases. AB 2440 by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) was not his most high-profile legislative proposal in his six years in office. But as the lawmaker prepares to leave the state Capitol after his term ends this year, it did hold a meaningful personal connection for him, he said. LA Times article

Presidential Politics 

Nile Kinney: Why Trump cannot be elected president – The Bakersfield attorney writes, “For me, like many Americans and fellow Republicans, Trump’s comments about the Khan family tore it. Like an unforgettable press photo which, once seen, is never forgotten, the Khan events froze an image of Trump in my mind that he cannot talk his way out of.” Kinney op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Warning of election fraud, Trump sparks fear that his backers may intimidate minority voters – In remarks with strong racial overtones, Donald Trump told a mainly white rural crowd in Pennsylvania on Friday that vote fraud could cheat him out of victory and vowed to dispatch police who support him to monitor polls in “certain parts” of the state. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

Fresno’s Hmong farmers suffer in drought as wells on rented land go dry — Chongyee Xiong has been sleeping in a tent on his Sanger farm since the commercial well went dry in April, when he hooked up the irrigation system to a shallower residential well. At night, he wakes up every three hours to turn the water pump on for different rows of crops because the pressure is too low to water them all at once. Fresno Bee article 

Back-to-school shoppers starting earlier, spending more in 2016 – The National Retail Federation recently projected that U.S. back-to-school spending for grades K-12 and college combined will hit $75.8 billion this year, a sharp 11.5 percent increase over $68 billion spent last year. By some analysts’ estimates, more than $9 billion of the 2016 total will be spent in California. Sacramento Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Turlock breakfast program focuses on promoting entrepreneurship – Entrepreneurship will be the theme of the Eggs, Issues & Economics breakfast being presented by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, the city and Opportunity Stanislaus next week. Opportunity Stanislaus, formerly the Stanislaus Business Alliance, is paying to bring in two nationally known economic and downtown revitalization specialists who will speak on becoming informed and innovative, said Karin Moss, CEO and president of the Turlock Chamber. Modesto Bee article 

Hyperloop One is in a massive legal fight.  Do investors deserve some blame? – Venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar made a bold promise two years ago as he sought funding for his new Los Angeles company, Hyperloop Technologies Inc. He would put $40 million of his fortune into the high-tech transportation start-up as soon as Airbnb, Uber Technologies or other companies in which he had invested went public. LA Times article 

New coffee shop, restaurants open at Campus Pointe — Collect Coffee Bar is one of several new businesses in a second wave of openings at the shopping center anchored by Maya Cinemas at Shaw and Chestnut avenues. TofasMediterranean Grill, Hino Oishi Japanese and teppanyaki restaurant, Nutrishop and Pieologyare open. Farm Fresh Bowls is coming soon, opening a second location of its little drive-thru in Visalia selling healthy breakfast and lunches in bowls. Fresno Bee article 

Farmers market helps low-income patrons stretch budgets – Some folks might not have much cash in their pockets to spend at the Modesto Certified Farmers Market. Not to worry. It is among the markets that accept payments through the federal program that used to be called food stamps. And this year, it is taking part in Market Match, a federal-state effort that doubles the spending power of these benefits, up to $20 per household per market day. Modesto Bee article 

San Joaquin County supervisors cut code enforcement fees – The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-2 to cancel $5,666.59 in reimbursement fees owed to the Environmental Health Department by an Acampo man who said another department treated him like an adversary. Stockton Record article 

Tentative deal reached by Santa Clara County clerks; courts to end 8-day walkout — A tentative agreement was reached Friday that could end Santa Clara County’s first court strike in 14 years, court officials announced. San Jose Mercury News article 

Council members ask Rams to pay for LAPD at Coliseum games – As the Rams prepare for their return to Los Angeles on Saturday with a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, L.A. city officials are scrambling to figure out who will pay for the substantial police presence required at a National Football League game. LA Times article 

The man who’s trying to clear the tents from San Francisco’s streets — The man tasked with leading the most ambitious effort in years to clear San Francisco’s streets of tents began his mission on his knees. Jason Albertson knelt the other day before a wary crowd of hard-core homeless campers along the waterfront near Cesar Chavez and Indiana streets after asking them to gather together for a few moments, and as he opened his mouth they didn’t really know what to expect. San Francisco Chronicle article


California’s summer of slime: Algae blooms muck up waterways across state – The problems at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County are emblematic of a troubling number of unusually large blue-green algae blooms that have formed in waterways across California and the United States this summer. In California, water quality officials say the frequency and size of the blooms offer another sign that the state’s drought never went away, despite the near average precipitation that soaked the north state earlier this year. Sacramento Bee article

John Holland: Banana industry may slip into history— The world’s supply of bananas – a fruit you might have in hand as you read this – could vanish within a decade because of disease. Why should this matter to an ag columnist in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, thousands of miles from the nearest banana plantation? Because we eat a whole lot more of them than peaches, cherries, melons or other local fruit. Holland in Modesto Bee 

Alicia Rodriguez: Crops –and dignity – grew in our fields – The associate professor of history at CSU Bakersfield writes, “Farm laborers have been the backbone of Kern County’s lucrative farming industry since large-scale agriculture’s introduction to the region. Large corporate farms dominated Kern County agriculture early on, and like Eastern industrialists, growers sought to maximize their profits by paying low wages and pushing their workers hard.” Rodriguez op-ed in Bakersfield Californian; Rodriguez op-ed: ‘Kern’s bounty has always drawn seekers’ in Bakersfield California

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Merced County law enforcement failing, report says – Merced County is failing at curbing mass incarceration, upholding police accountability and preventing gun violence, according to a report issued from PICO National Network. Merced Sun-Star article

Lawsuit prompts California to reduce some cellphone prison penalties – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has tried for years to keep cellular phones out of inmates’ hands. But an inmate lawsuit has prompted the department to change its interpretation of a 2011 law and to reduce the penalty for inmates caught with cellphone accessories such as chargers.Sacramento Bee article 

PolitiFact CA: Truth be told: California has ‘largest death row in Western Hemisphere’ – As of August 5, the California Department of Corrections lists 746 prisoners on the state’s death row. That’s nearly double the next largest total — Florida’s 388 — according to figuresfrom that state’s department of corrections. Texas’ total is nearly 250, the third highest. Beyond Florida and Texas, there aren’t any states in the United States that are even close, Dunham said. PolitiFact CA article

Crime in Fresno’s Tower District drops due to police focus — Fresno police are reporting major declines in crime in the Tower District, the result of a round-the-clock focus on the eclectic central Fresno neighborhood. Lt. Mark Salazar, commander of the department’s Southwest District, said there has been a 40 percent decrease in robberies, a 36 percent drop in burglaries, a 35 percent decline in car break-ins and a 64 percent reduction in stolen cars in the Tower District. Fresno Bee article 

Sacramento Bee: In the name of transparency, release police videos – In an era when the U.S. Justice Department is hammering police departments across the country for civil rights violations, as it did this week in Baltimore it’s not enough for officers to use cameras. To ensure transparency and restore trust, they also must release the footage in a timely and predictable manner.Sacramento Bee editorial 

Final suspect captured in human trafficking bust – Jose Manzo, 23 of Visalia has been captured byTulare County sheriff’s detectives. A teenage girl was with the man suspected of being involved in a human trafficking ring based in Tulare County and also run in Fresno. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Family of 14-year-old boy shot by LAPD calls for release of body cam footage – Lawyers representing the mother of a 14-year-old boy who was shot and killed by police in Boyle Heights are calling on the LAPD to release all videos, photographs and other evidence of the shooting. LA Times article 

Sacramento Police Department offers safer place to complete online sales — For many people, the only downside to finding a great buy on Craigslist is the potential danger that comes from having to meet with a total stranger carrying a pocket full of cash. The Sacramento Police Department wants to make such transactions safer by creating an “online exchange zone” in the parking lot of its Franklin Boulevard headquarters. Sacramento Bee article 

Former Kern deputy Edward Tucker recaptured — Former deputy Edward Tucker was recaptured in Lake Isabella on Friday, five days after he walked away from a rehabilitation facility where had been ordered to spend a year following drug-related arrests.Bakersfield Californian article 

Ex-LA County Sheriff Lee Baca pleads not guilty to new obstruction charges — Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon to felony charges arising from an FBI probe into county jails. At an arraignment in a downtown federal courtroom, Baca entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson and told the judge he suffers from periods of “cloudiness in my brain” brought on by Alzheimer’s disease. LA Times article 

Banks are ‘commercial establishments’ — so an inmate is freed — A bank is a “commercial establishment,” a state appeals court said Friday — which meant that a convicted check forger, despite prosecutors’ objections, doesn’t have to return to jail. It was another case about the meaning of Proposition 47, the 2014 initiative that reduced a number of felony crimes in California to misdemeanors, shortening their sentences considerably. San Francisco Chronicle article


Merced Sun-Star: Walsh isn’t suited to lead Merced College into the future – As long as Susan Walsh remains the interim or acting president of Merced College, the unpleasant aroma of paranoia will be wafting from her office. Merced Sun-Star article 

Mike Villines: How David Provost changed my life and yours – The former assemblymember and current CEO of the Villines Group, LLC writes, “When I read about the passing of David Provost, I felt a great personal loss. He was such a great teacher, mentor and role model in many, many ways. Like a lot of students who were political science majors, he had a big impact on our lives. Provost gave me the practical application and wisdom to go along with it that changed my life forever.” Villines op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Scores of students without vaccine proof sent home on first day of school – Scores of Sacramento area students were sent home from school this week after they showed up for kindergarten and seventh grade without proof of vaccination. Sacramento Bee article 

Sacramento Bee: On lessons, and choosing the next UC Davis head – It’s natural after an upheaval to look for lessons. But as the University of California gears up to replace UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, it will be important to remember what the lessons of her resignation are not. They are not, for example, that the next chancellor should be her opposite in every aspect. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Colleges try to ease classroom congestion — Each year many college students face the dilemma of not being able to register for classes they need to graduate. West Hills College Lemoore and College of the Sequoias administrators work hard to address that problem with individual semester registration at COS and yearly registration at WHCL.  The first day of instruction is Monday at both schools. Hanford Sentinel article 

Huskies welcome younger students in mentorship program — Thanks to their elder Huskies, Hoover seventh-graders will start school next week already familiar with their new middle school campus and the students they’ll see. Through a program called “Where Everybody Belongs,” eighth-grade students welcomed hundreds of incoming students and told them what to expect in middle school.Merced Sun-Star article 


Westlands Solar Park completes first demonstration project – Westlands Solar Park, an approximately 20,000-acre solar project located near Lemoore, marked the completion of its pilot project, a 2-megawatt solar facility, and announced its contract with the Anaheim Public Utility with a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 26. The Business Journal article 

Smoke polluting Kings County air — Several fires burning around the San Joaquin Valley are bringing smoke into Kings County and causing breathing problems for people with respiratory issues. Perhaps the biggest contributor of smoke is the massive Soberanes fire in Monterey County that continues to burn weeks after it started. Hanford Sentinel article 

Mineral Fire near Coalinga now 50 percent contained – Containment for the Mineral Fire burning west of Coalinga has increased to 35 percent, Cal Fire said Friday evening. A home and an outbuilding have been destroyed by the fire, which has burned through 7,050 acres. No other structures were damaged or threatened Friday. Fresno Bee article 

Steve Lopez: How birds, butterflies and bureaucracy have bedeviled one eco-developer — Developer Ed Ghandour has tried for more than 20 years to get clearance for a 368-unit hotel and condo development on a beachfront sand dune he owns. But the Monterey Bay Shores eco-resort, as he calls it, has been blocked by regulatory hurdles and opposition from environmentalists. Lopez column in LA Times 

California fox makes fastest endangered species recovery — A diminutive California fox, near the brink of extinction just 12 years ago, is being removed from the endangered species list. It’s the fastest recovery of any mammal on the list, according to federal wildlife officials. KQED report 

Health/Human Services 

Nurses face major delays getting licenses in California – State officials claim that hiring new nurses is a crucial workforce concern for California, yet at least 2,000 recent nursing graduates like Russo remain in licensing limbo, with their applications taking as long as 24 weeks for the Board of Registered Nursing to process. Experienced nurses from other states who apply for California licenses also wait months for the go-ahead to work. KQED report 

Study: Black and Hispanic kids less likely to receive mental health care – One in five Americans is estimated to have a mental health condition at any given time. But getting treatment remains difficult — and it’s worse for children, especially those who identify as black or Hispanic. KQED report 

Cost, not choice, is top concern of insurance consumers — Millions of people looking for health insurance in the federal marketplaces are more concerned with cost than with finding a favorite doctor or trusted company. New York Times article 

Amid meningitis outbreak, officials urge vaccination – but not for everyone – Health officials in Los Angeles and Orange counties are racing to vaccinate gay men for meningitis, as a growing outbreak in the region appears to be hitting them particularly hard. LA Times article 

Kern County has its first Zika patient – Kern County has its first Zika patient. The Kern County Department of Public Health Services confirmed Friday that a Kern County resident has contracted the Zika virus, but the illness is travel-associated and was not contracted in the county. Bakersfield Californian article 

San Luis Obispo County removes bacteria advisors at Avila Beach locations — San Luis Obispo County officials have removed health advisories from two Avila Beach locations that tested above the state standard for fecal bacteria levels earlier this week. Samples taken Monday showed locations near the mouth of San Luis Obispo Creek and at the end of San Luis Street near the pier exceeded the standards. Beach advisories had been posted at those locations. San Luis Obispo Tribune article

Land Use/Housing 

Judge restarts part of 24th Street widening – A judge on Friday allowed some work to resume on the widening of 24th Street, specifically the designing of its western segment and the seeking of around $7 million to help pay its estimated $46 million construction cost. Bakersfield Californian article

Warehouse or pot grow house? Neighbors can’t tell — Neighbors of the nondescript, neatly painted, corrugated-steel warehouse probably have no idea what’s going on inside the South of Market building. And that’s exactly how the building’s operators want to keep it. San Francisco Chronicle article

Los Banos residential development passes Planning Commission — The Los Banos Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of a tentative tract map for a residential development of 231 single-family homes Wednesday, despite concerns from residents neighboring the property. Los Banos Enterprise article


AC Transit launches suspicious activity reporting app, but civil rights groups worried about racial profiling, privacy — The East Bay’s largest bus operator on Friday announced the release of a smart phone app that allows riders to more easily report suspicious or disruptive behavior, but civil rights groups are worried the tool will lead to more racial profiling and less privacy, not a safer ride. East Bay Times article

Other areas 

Modesto Bee: World doesn’t revolve around Anne DeMartini — Anne DeMartini has been a good YCCD board member but her censure was appropriate. Anne DeMartini apologized to Mathies and insisted she was not trying to intimidate. But she didn’t appear very contrite. We’re sorry DeMartini acted in such a manner. Truly, she should be, too. Modesto Bee editorial

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno BeeThumbs up, thumbs down. 

Merced Sun-Star – We needed clarity on marijuana, which controlled studies would provide. Instead, we got more fuzzy-brained regulatory nonsense; As long as Susan Walsh remains the interim or acting president of Merced College, the unpleasant aroma of paranoiawill be wafting from her office.

Modesto Bee – We needed clarity on marijuana, which controlled studies would provide. Instead, we got more fuzzy-brained regulatory nonsense; There’s nothing ambiguous about the unrestrained anger rising in Trump’s most zealous followers; we’ve seen it. And there is nothing ambiguous about the danger in making such threatening suggestions; Anne DeMartini has been a good YCCD board member but her censure was appropriate. Anne DeMartini apologized to Mathies and insisted she was not trying to intimidate. But she didn’t appear very contrite. We’re sorry DeMartini acted in such a manner. Truly, she should be, too.

Sacramento Bee –It’s natural after an upheaval to look for lessons. But as the University of California gears up to replace UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, it will be important to remember what the lessons of her resignation are not. They are not, for example, that the next chancellor should be her opposite in every aspect; In an era when the U.S. Justice Department is hammering police departments across the country for civil rights violations, as it did this week in Baltimore it’s not enough for officers to use cameras. To ensure transparency and restore trust, they also must release the footage in a timely and predictable manner; Pharma scored another win last week, gutting a drug transparency bill in California. But a ballot initiative looms and consumers are getting fed up.