August 14, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Swearengin to head community foundation after Fresno mayoral term ends — Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin still has more than four months remaining before she leaves City Hall, but she’s already giving plenty of thought to her next challenge. Swearengin, who will wrap up her second mayoral term in the first week of January, has been hired to become the new president/CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation, a local nonprofit clearinghouse for charitable contributions, grants and bequests from philanthropists.“Political ambitions are off the table,” she said. Fresno Bee article 

Racial and partisan divides shape American views of poverty and the poor – Sharp differences along lines of race and politics shape American attitudes toward the poor and poverty, according to a new survey of public opinion, which finds empathy toward the poor and deep skepticism about government antipoverty efforts. LA Times article

Valley politics 

Mike Klocke: Let’s build a mayor — We’re going to take some of the most positive traits of local elected officials over the years and construct a mayor — one word at a time — to take Stockton forward. My apologies to those who were left off this list. Klocke column in Stockton Record 

Donald W. Blount: Same old strategy – blame the messenger – It is a consistent cry from public officials whose names end up in the news because of their alleged or actual misdeeds. The media is out to get me. Blount column in Stockton Record

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

California’s U.S. Senate race looks lopsided despite matchup — With less than three months until Election Day, Loretta Sanchez is running out of time to narrow the gap with front-runner Kamala Harris in California’s U.S. Senate race. What was once expected to be a tough, barrier-shattering contest between two minority women is looking increasingly lopsided. AP article


California ranks 11th in DACA applications — California, at 379,000 people, has by far the most people eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — but ranks 11th in the nation in application rate, according to a report released Thursday by the Migration Policy Institute. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Other areas

What’s at stake in the latest legal battle over bathroom rights for transgender students – Texas and 11 other states have asked a federal judge to halt an Obama administration directive on bathroom rights for transgender students in U.S. public schools. But no immediate ruling was issued during the Friday hearing — even with the first day of school looming in much of the country. Here’s what you need to know. LA Times article 

Bill McEwen: Northeast Fresno water history is clear as mud — Around the world of politics faster than a burly bodyguard can politely escort a Sandersnista protester out of a Donald Trump rally. McEwen column in Fresno Bee 

Dan Morain: Elon Musk seeks more California gold — Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, looked up from her cellphone to answer a simple question: What did she think of what Elon Musk had said the other day? Morain in Sacramento Bee 

Will Assemblyman Roger Hernandez return to Sacramento before the legislative session ends? – With less than 90 days until voters in the San Gabriel Valley go to the polls to decide if he will become a member of Congress, Hernández has been absent from the campaign trail and his work at the statehouse.  LA Times article

Tax break for state’s Olympic medalists dies in Senate committee – Amid the hype of the Olympic Games, a bill in the California Legislature to make bonuses awarded to Olympic medalists tax-free had appeared headed for its own win. The legislation had no registered opposition, even passing the Assembly 80-0, before it was killed without comment Thursday in a Senate committee process known for its secretiveness. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Will congressman’s father, who lived an American dream, go to prison at 83? — The stooped octogenarian in a striped tie clenched his teeth and leaned on a cane as he prepared to admit guilt to committing election fraud to assist his son’s campaign committee. Babulal Bera, the 83-year-old father of Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, recruited family, friends and acquaintances to donate to the committee, then reimbursed them with his money. Standing before U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley in May, with a Gujarati interpreter by his side, he entered his plea. Sacramento Bee article 

Lanny Larson: What’s the gospel truth about who’s liberal, who’s conservative? – The retired Fresno Bee editor and reporter writes, “I’ve never – in a half-century of voting – cast a ballot for or against anyone based on their faith, nor will I on Nov. 8. A person’s deeply held personal religious beliefs are sufficiently complex that simply labeling them liberal or conservative is confusing at least and possibly misleading at worst.” Larson op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Assemblymember Christina Garcia: Women won’t be heard if they aren’t in the room – The Bell Gardens Democrat writes, “As the first woman presidential nominee from a major party, Hillary Clinton isn’t merely a symbol of another barrier falling. She is an example of how hard a woman has to work to achieve the same respect as a man. Her nomination gives me a mix of joy, fear and exhaustion.” Garcia op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

John Hein: Public policy must address technology’s impact – The public policy consultant and former director of governmental relations for the California Teachers Association writes, “Dramatic advances in science and technology are leading us into an unknown future with little citizen awareness, and a public policy framework that is behind the curve.” Hein op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

How Texas governments are trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to keep guns out of public buildings — As gun rights advocates have successfully pushed for greater access to public spaces in Texas, some localities are pushing back, citing safety and cost concerns — even otherwise gun-friendly officials in Hempstead. LA Times article

Presidential Politics 

Willie Brown: Trump isn’t looking to change minds: He’s rallying his troops – In Washington, the mood among Democrats has gone from fearing Donald Trump to laughing at him. Big mistake. Liberals think his statements about President Obama “founding ISIS” are a joke. But it’s no laughing matter, because that kind of stuff really energizes his supporters — and Trump knows that well, even if he tries to have it both ways by saying it was sarcasm. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle

Trump upsets Filipinos with proposal to block immigration — When GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested that immigration from the Philippines should be stopped because it’s a terrorist nation, he likely ended any chance he may have had to compete for the Daly City vote. San Francisco Chronicle article

Joyce Terhaar: How should journalists cover this unreal presidential campaign? With strong values – Our journalistic credibility is on the line. Journalists who understand our vital role in a civic democracy will respond with the highest of standards – a commitment to truth telling that includes detailed fact checking, stringent accountability and exhaustive reporting of decisions and behavior. Terhaar column in Sacramento Bee 

David “Mas” Masumoto: My grandmother became a Gold Star Mother while held captive — No one asks to be a Gold Star Family. You have a family member in the military service, they fight in a war and die, and only then do you receive the title. The recent controversy of Gold Star families and the presidential election compel me to reexamine the significance of my family’s story. The context of a photograph taken at a family memorial service for a fallen soldier son challenges my sense of history and definition of being an American. Masumoto column in Fresno Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

Dan Walters: California’s jobless rolls cut in half, but gains have been uneven – A deeper data dive provides a more nuanced view, indicating that the state’s recovery has been very uneven. For one thing, although our job creation rate was the nation’s seventh highest over the last year, the growth in middle-income private sector jobs has been scant, and manufacturing employment has dropped. For another, California is still tied with South Carolina for the 15th highest jobless level. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Lois Henry: The backstory of a water scare you never knew about — Millions of Californians nearly had their water shut off late last month because the federal government ran out of water — sort of. Yes, you read that right. The federal Bureau of Reclamation ran out of water in the San Luis Reservoir and sent shutoff alerts (giving three days notice) to 26 districts it serves in the northern San Joaquin Valley and Bay Area. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Jobs and the Economy 

Carr brothers expanding business footprint in Central Valley — David and Derek Carr are picky about their business ventures. The brothers, both former standout quarterbacks at Fresno State, say they want partnerships that say something about their strong family values and the place they call home – the San Joaquin Valley. While each brother had or has shoe and athletic apparel endorsements of their own, they are making a mark in the Valley business (and philanthropy) scene together from their hometown of Bakersfield to Fresno. Fresno Bee article 

Kings supervisors consider giving themselves a pay raise — The Kings County Board of Supervisors are scheduled Tuesday to vote on a 2-percent pay raise for themselves. A 2-percent raise would put supervisor’s salaries at $65,292 per year. The last time the board’s salary was upped was in 2008. Hanford Sentinel article 

Sacramento County struggles to keep social workers due to heavy workload – Sacramento County has struggled to retain social workers in its Child Protective Services agency because they face massive caseloads and too little time. More than 50 percent of caseworkers hired by CPS quit within a year due to the workload, officials told the Board of Supervisors in June. Sacramento Bee article

Wine bloggers gather in Lodi – Rachel Von Sturmer came all the way to Lodi for the Wine Bloggers Conference from Vancouver, British Columbia. Her thoughts about the four-day conference that attracted close to 300 wine writers and bloggers from all around the county and the world would be music to the organizers’ ears. Stockton Record article 

Shopping center possible south of Lemoore — A developer is seeking to bring a new retail shopping center to the industrial park south of Lemoore, according to city documents. The property is located at Highway 41 and Idaho Avenue. Hanford Sentinel article 

San Diego officials are seeking more federal aid for the homeless — Civic leaders in San Diego are preparing to make a case to get more federal funding to help the homeless after years of receiving less than other cities with fewer people on the street. LA Times article 

Feds expand hunt for laundered money to buy pricey Bay Area homes — The federal government is expanding to the Bay Area its hunt for people who hide cash by purchasing expensive homes through shell companies. San Francisco Chronicle article


California farm communities pay price for decades of fertilizer use — A pollutant that has leached into California aquifers since farmers first began using synthetic fertilizer continues to accumulate and would not be removed from groundwater even if the state’s agriculture businesses abruptly quit using nitrogen-based materials to boost the productivity of their crops. Sacramento Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Kern sheriff’s deputies get powerful tool against overdoses — Kern County paramedics have carried opiate blockers like Narcan, which stop the effects of opiate-based drugs, for years. But Sheriff’s Office deputies only started carrying a Narcan nasal spray in February and made their first “save” on July 17 — reviving a 23-year-old woman at Space 1 in the Manes RV Park. Bakersfield Californian article 

A pot smuggler’s story: The fast rise and dramatic decline of ‘Papa Winks’ — Out of work and angry after the worst years of his life, David Winkle didn’t have to look far from his property in Humboldt County to see his comeback. Beneath old growth forests in the Mad River Valley, in a town that had witnessed the decline of the timber industry, “everyone around me was growing weed and making good money, too,” he said. Sacramento Bee article


West Hills Community College District receives grant to help migrant students — The West Hills Community College District received a five-year $425,000 grant to help migrant students succeed in college. The College Assistant Migrant Program (CAMP) grant will provide $2.125 million over the next five years and will help 45 migrant students districtwide each year to complete their first year in college and continue to further their education. Hanford Sentinel article 

Marcos Breton: The one person whose reputation was enhanced by UC Davis scandal – What if I told you that the one person whose reputation was enhanced in this whole mess is the daughter of a railroad mechanic who had no formal education – an immigrant who raised all four of his girls to be graduates from where? Yes, UC Davis. Decades before she was recruited to represent Katehi against allegations of nepotism and mismanagement alleged by Napolitano’s office, Melinda Guzman used to study in the Davis library as an undergraduate majoring in political science. Breton in Sacramento Bee 

Trio of CSU campuses look to keep first-year students in school – Thousands of Southern California teenagers will become college freshmen later this month, and three local university campuses are participating in a nationwide project intended to make sure they continue studying into their sophomore years and beyond. The Cal State University campuses of Long Beach, Dominguez Hills and Northridge are among the 44 U.S. institutions participating in a project called “Re-imagining the First year of College.” LA Daily News article 

Modesto Central Catholic official unveils new fitness center — Central Catholic High School’s boys basketball team won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV basketball title last season playing in a cracker-box home gymnasium. But when the Raiders begin defense of their title a few months from now, they’ll do it in the new Mark Gallo Health and Fitness Center, a facility with which the term cracker-box cannot be associated. Modesto Bee article 

Denair teachers schooled by classroom expert — High school instructor Griselda Valencia already knew how to teach, but emerging from a four-hour workshop provided by the Denair Unified School District, she felt inspired. Gesturing to pages of scribbled notes and titled squares, Valencia said, “I’m getting my to-do list ready.” Modesto Bee article 


Latest Butte Fire concern: Burned trees — Eleven months after the Butte Fire torched portions of Calaveras County, thousands of dead and dying trees are at risk of toppling onto public roadways — and that risk is growing every day. Stockton Record article 

Health/Human Services 

Cocci truism: You’re your own best valley fever expert – Experts and advocates say that early detection is key to beating valley fever. Paula Einstein, daughter of pioneering valley fever doctor and researcher Hans Einstein, contracted the disease while in grade school. Her father recognized it immediately, she said. Bakersfield Californian article 

Sanger woman dies, but her legal battle with HealthComp continues — Debora Rose of Sanger was a hardworking single mother who enjoyed a good laugh and never missed a sports event involving her grandchildren. When Rose died last month at age 60, she was in the midst of a legal fight with HealthComp Inc., a health-plan administrator for private companies. Fresno Bee article

Land Use/Housing 

Military families are unlawfully evicted from rental homes – In a landmark case, two companies that manage military housing have been fined for illegally evicting service members and their families from rental homes. LA Times article


Long Beach awaits word on adding international flights — The city of Long Beach is studying whether to add international flights at its airport, but the idea hasn’t gotten a warm reception from residents. LA Times article 

Other areas 

Jeff Jardine: No ‘Queen for a Day’ among counties pleading for courthouse bucks – The meeting of the Judicial Council of California’s facilities committee Thursday in San Francisco rekindled memories of that show. Why? Because it literally pitted representatives of 16 counties against each other as they pleaded for funding for their new courthouse projects even though they all knew going in that the money simply does not exist. Jardine column in Modesto Bee 

Plans to move Fresno County Recorder’s Office on hold due to projected costs – Saddled by high costs for improvements, Fresno County Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos has decided to abandon his plans to move the Recorder’s Office into a free-standing downtown Fresno building. Fresno Bee article

PETA seeks memorial to chickens killed in crash on Highway 99 — PETA has sent a letter to the Stanislaus County Department of Public Works requesting approval to erect a 5-foot-tall tombstone memorial at the scene of a big-rig crash Aug. 5 on Highway 99 near Lander Avenue. Modesto Bee article 

City hopes Modesto will rally around official flag contest — As Modesto grapples with crime, poverty and a host of other vexing social problems, city leaders believe they have a positive proposal the community will rally around – a contest to design the city’s first official flag. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – We needed clarity on marijuana. And we need a lot more information on its effects – both in the short time while people are under its influence and over a decade or a lifetime of habitual use. Instead, most of what the DEA gave us was just more smoke. 

Modesto Bee – Visiting editors on college students overcoming fear and whether it will be paper or plastic at the store.