August 19, 2016


Top stories 

Affordable housing proposal ‘dead’ for year, Assembly leader says – Attempts to craft an end-of-session affordable-housing package are “dead” for the year, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said Thursday, saying there continues to be intense opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to relax local land-use rules in return for $400 million for housing projects. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Poll shows gains in support to retain the state’s death penalty – With surveys showing declining public support for capital punishment, opponents of the death penalty in California have expressed confidence in repealing it at the ballot box in November, after narrowly falling short four years ago. But a new poll released Thursday suggests voters may not go along. San Francisco Chronicle article

Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva: ‘I am innocent of these charges’ — Moments after he pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges he is facing, Mayor Anthony Silva said Thursday afternoon that the allegations are nothing more than a political smear campaign being waged because he is a “threat” to Stockton’s establishment. Stockton Record articleSacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Michael Eggman: Backing Donald Trump isn’t standing up for Valley families – The Democrat running against Jeff Denham in the Congressional District 10 race writes, “It’s clear that Donald Trump must not be president. As our congressman, Jeff Denham should be standing up to him, but instead he has just stood by him. That’s not leadership. It’s partisanship.” Eggman op-ed in Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County poll workers can earn $95 to $135 on Election Day – Stanislaus County’s Registrar of Voters office is looking for poll workers for the Nov. 8 presidential election. The election office has 180 polling places to staff for people who cast their votes the old-fashioned way, instead of using mail ballots. It takes about 800 workers to run polling places in the county on Election Day. Modesto Bee article

Recall aimed at Oakdale Irrigation District’s Linda Santos — Water customers frustrated with controversy at the Oakdale Irrigation District have begun a petition drive aimed at recalling board member Linda Santos. Modesto Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Robin Abcarian: Legalizing marijuana in California: Proposition 64 is complicated, but highly likely to pass – This week, I spent a couple days listening to advocates on both sides of Prop. 64. I support legalization, but it’s complicated. And I would not underestimate the potential ramifications. Abcarian column in LA Times

California Democratic voter count hits all-time high – New data show nearly 18.1 million Californians are registered to vote, the second-highest statewide voter registration total ever. Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Thursday that 45 percent of registered voters are now registered Democrats. That’s nearly 8.2 million voters and the highest number of Democrats ever recorded. Republican registration has continued to slide and now stands at 27 percent. AP article

Bill Whalen: Initiative system needs some fixes — With all due respect to the terrible wildfires, there’s another tragedy awaiting California’s landscape: A vast number of trees giving their lives to November voter information guides. Whalen column in Sacramento Bee


DOJ private prison phase-out doesn’t affect immigration detention, but a California bill could — An announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice this week that it will phase out its use of private prisons for inmates doesn’t affect immigration detainees — and immigration officials said Thursday that they don’t plan to stop using private contractors. But a state bill that’s up for an Assembly vote next week could put a wrench in some private detention contracts in California. KPCC report

Other areas

Babulal Bera gets one year prison sentence for election fraud — Babulal Bera, father of Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison Thursday for election fraud involving the finances of his son’s campaign committee. U. S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley ignored the advice of a probation officer who recommended to spare the 83-year-old prison because of his age and health. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times articleSacramento Bee editorial

Dan Walters: LA politicians use Capitol power to affect local issues – No legislative session is complete without some effort by Los Angeles legislators to intervene in a local matter, often big-footing those on lower rungs of the political ladder. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

No respite for rapists under California bill tied to Cosby case – Rape charges could be brought against alleged perpetrators no matter how much time has elapsed under a bill that passed the California Assembly on Thursday. Sacramento Bee article

Electric car bill gets unplugged — A hasty attempt to boost electric vehicle sales in California – an idea the governor likes – died in the final days of the legislative session amid intense lobbying and fast-approaching deadlines. Capitol Weekly article

Assembly acts to end criminal charges against minors trafficked in sex trade – A bill that would eliminate criminal charges for minors who have been sexually trafficked in California survived a tight vote in the Assembly Thursday. KQED reportLA Times article

Stockton Record: Proposed law would put dent in prostitution, trafficking — Rep. Susan Eggman’s bill that would allow authorities to impound the vehicles of people involved in sex crimes has passed the California Legislature. Gov. Jerry Brown should sign it into law. Stockton Record editorial

Legislator seeks to revive bill that would ban behind-the-scenes communications at the Coastal Commission — The author of a bill to ban behind-the-scenes communications at the California Coastal Commission said Thursday that she will seek to revise amendments an Assembly committee recently made to moderate the reform measure. LA Times article

Presidential Politics

Cathleen Decker: New poll analysis finds a wasted summer for Donald Trump and a boost for Hillary Clinton – The last six weeks have been a time of tumult in the presidential campaign — two conventions and a fistful of controversies, many of them created by Republican nominee Donald Trump himself. Decker in LA Times

Trump rally in Kern still a possibility – Former state Sen. Tony Strickland, the California chairman of a Donald Trump super PAC, visited the Kern County Raceway on Thursday to officially launch the energy shot TrumpStart — but said there’s no immediate plan to hold a Trump rally at the raceway. Bakersfield Californian article

Victor Davis Hanson: How the establishment protects insider Hillary Clinton — Hillary Clinton is a fixture of the foreign policy establishment and thus is considered exempt from being judged empirically on her serial deceit and her disastrous foreign policy record. In the world of elite Washington, crude bluster from an uncouth outsider like Trump is deemed more hazardous than the prevarication, dishonesty and incompetence of a familiar insider. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

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To get threat of lead out of water, Fresno council bans galvanized pipes — Fresno will join several other major California cities to ban the use of galvanized pipe for plumbing in new residential and commercial construction and major renovation work. At its meeting Thursday afternoon, the Fresno City Council formally adopted changes to its building ordinance that prohibit the zinc-coated metal pipes. Fresno Bee article

Spreading the word on Stanislaus transportation tax – People living in Stanislaus County have begun receiving publicly funded fliers on Measure L, a transportation tax appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot that needs two-thirds’ voter approval to pass. Supporters, meanwhile, are making the rounds, pitching expected benefits – better roads, new highways and less traffic – to clubs and organizations. Modesto Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Turlock businesspeople hear about local and global trends – Most new jobs come from building on local strengths rather than recruiting outside companies, two experts told a breakfast audience on Wednesday. And it’s all the better if the locals include young people with an “entrepreneurial mindset,” the speakers said. Modesto Bee article 

Dave & Buster’s sets tentative opening date, is hiring – Dave & Buster’s has set a tentative grand opening date: Oct. 17. This is probably the most highly anticipated opening of any business in Fresno this year (yes, even bigger than Hobby Lobby’s opening). Fresno Bee article 

Marek Warszawski: Meet San Hansen, the marketing mind who transformed Fresno Grizzlies into Tacos — To understand Sam Hansen, the unassuming, idea-generating, scruffy-bearded, Nike-wearing Fresno Grizzlies resident marketing whiz, you have to know about Billy Ripken. Not necessarily Ripken the baseball player. More Ripken the baseball card. Warszawski in Fresno Bee

Bakersfield city manager gets ‘satisfactory’ review, no raise – The Bakersfield City Council finished City Manager Alan Tandy’s performance evaluation Wednesday after beginning it June 29. Tandy — who started as city manager 24 years ago Wednesday — got a satisfactory rating and won praise from Vice Mayor Harold Hanson for his lengthy time at the helm. Unlike in previous years, the former city administrator for Billings, Mont., did not receive a salary increase. Bakersfield Californian article

Visalia council says yes to microbrewery, winery district – Visalia City Council members recently approved plans for an overlay district that will allow microbrewery and micro-winery businesses to open in the east downtown area. The Business Journal article 

New beginning for south Stockton’s New Grand Save Market site? –  While south Stockton residents suggested about two dozen uses for the New Grand Save Market site, they all agreed on one final outcome at a Thursday night community meeting: Tear the building down. Stockton Record article

Shopping center concept advances in Lemoore – A developer’s vision for a huge shopping center south of Lemoore moved forward this week, but it wasn’t a slam dunk. Hanford Sentinel article

In-Shape to pay $23 million in restitution for illegal business practices — In-Shape Health Clubs, which owns eight clubs in Kern County, has agreed to pay $23 million in restitution and make other amends to victims of deceptive membership promotions and other illegal business practices, the Kern County District Attorney’s office announced Thursday. Bakersfield Californian article 

Kings offer prime parking to season ticket holders – The Sacramento Kings began doling out parking spots to higher-priced ticket holders this week around Golden 1 Center, starting Thursday with $25 nightly slots in a “premium” garage a block from the arena. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento County home prices hold steady in June; sales slide – Housing prices in Sacramento County held steady in July, and as in other parts of California, home sales fell year-over-year. The median resale price for single-family homes in Sacramento County stayed pegged at $310,000 in July, according to Thursday’s report by Irvine-based real estate market tracker CoreLogic. Sacramento Bee article 

Bay Area homes: Median price now $735,000 but July sales are lowest in 5 years – Faced with famously high prices and a tight housing supply, homebuyers grew shy last month. Across the Bay Area, single-family home sales in July fell 13.4 percent from the year before — the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines in the number of houses sold. East Bay Times article

To win business travelers, airlines rush to Silicon Valley – When Virgin America was founded in 2007, the Burlingame company worked hard to pitch itself as the unofficial airline of Silicon Valley. San Francisco Chronicle article

City, county government salary database for Sacramento region — This database allows you to search the salaries of the Sacramento region’s 30,000-plus city and county government workers. The database includes Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties, as well as the cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, Roseville, Rocklin, Folsom, West Sacramento, Davis and the rest of the cities in the four-county region. Sacramento Bee database

Federal judge denies proposed settlement in Uber class-action suit — An up-to $100 million proposed settlement to a lawsuit over whether Uber drivers are employees or contractors is not “fair, adequate, and reasonable,” the federal judge presiding over the combined, sprawling class-action litigation ordered Thursday. KQED report; San Francisco Chronicle article


When cows fly, mandarins shine — Milk commodity prices are up this month led by cheddar cheese at $1.88 for barrels, highest since late 2014. With this year’s feed cost down, milk checks are up for a change. California’s big world competitor, New Zealand’s dairy farmers, have cut their herd size — as have we — so there is the prospect of less milk sloshing around world markets. Visalia Times-Delta article

California wine country says goodbye to crop-threatening moth – A moth that sparked quarantines and expensive pest-control measures in California’s wine country has been eradicated from the state, agricultural officials said Thursday. LA Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Dyer: Physical struggle between officer, student caught on video will be reviewed – Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said his internal affairs unit will investigate a scuffle between a traffic officer and a Hoover High School student that occurred Monday after the student repeatedly ignored orders not to jaywalk across a busy intersection next to the northeast Fresno campus. Fresno Bee article

 Man shot dead in gun battle with Bakersfield police – An attempted traffic stop early Thursday morning ended with one man’s death and the arrest of two other individuals following a gun battle with officers, the Bakersfield Police Department said in a news release. Bakersfield Californian article

 Stockton Record: Positive momentum for Stockton police staffing — Gradually. Steadily. Consistently. The number is creeping higher and higher, and that is excellent news for the city of Stockton and its police department. Stockton Record editorial

 Santa Rosa residents ask:  Why promote deputy who killed teen? — Dozens of people took to the streets in downtown Santa Rosa last week to protest the news that Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas had promoted Erick Gelhaus, the deputy who was not charged with any criminal wrongdoing after he shot and killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez in 2013. KQED report

 U.S. to phase out federal use of privately-operated prisons – The U.S. Justice Department plans to phase out its use of privately-operated prisons, which it called less safe and less effective than government-run facilities, according to a memo released publicly by the department on Thursday. That includes a facility in Taft. Reuters articleNew York Times article

 Parole board accused of violating settlement with life prisoners – The California parole board agreed more than two years ago to tell all life prisoners, at their first hearing, the appropriate sentence for their crime,but inmates’ lawyers who negotiated the settlement says the board has violated its pledge more than 1,600 times. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Charges over racist tweets against San Francisco police chief dropped – A 60-year-old man suspected of making a racist Twitter threat against Acting San Francisco Police Chief Toney Chaplin had his charges for the offense dismissed, officials said Thursday. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Why do arsonists set fires? ‘Life’s not going the way they planned’ — In separate courtrooms at opposite ends of California, two men faced charges Wednesday, accused of being serial arsonists. Sacramento Bee article


Kern High School District police force could face major overhaul after scandal – Kern High School District officials are exploring the possibility of shuttering access to a police information database system, or even doing away with its independent police force, following allegations that top-level administrators misused the system, board President Mike Williams said Thursday. Bakersfield Californian articleBakersfield Californian editorial

 Want to carry a gun to school? Kern High School District says it will cost you — Kern High School District officials began allowing non-employee concealed carry weapon permit holders to bring firearms on campus Wednesday, but with a cost that at least one trustee said presents “obstacles” to armed citizens. Applicants must carry at least $1 million in liability insurance coverage, agree to have their names and applications disclosed if somebody files a California Public Records Act request for the information, and undergo an interview with the Kern High School District Police Department chief prior to approval. Bakersfield Californian article

 “We don’t sit around saying ‘Woe is me.’ Napolitano prepares to fill sudden vacancies at UC Berkeley, UC Davis – “One of the things I’m here to do is identify issues and address them,” Napolitano said in an interview. “We don’t sit around saying ‘woe is me.’ This is an exciting opportunity to bring in fresh leadership to help two of the nation’s best research universities reach even greater heights.” LA Times article

 Stockton Unified: Union continues teacher pay raise negotiations — Two weeks into the start of a new school year, the Stockton Unified School District and Stockton Teachers Association continue to butt heads over a new collective bargaining agreement. Salary and instruction time remain among the largest sticking points. Stockton Record article

 Districts see little fuss over new vaccination law – For some local school districts, the response to have all students immunized with the new vaccination law in effect has been smooth. Hanford Sentinel article

 Elizabeth Smith: Homeless kids going back to school this week too – The concerned community member regardless the homeless population writes, “Approximately 181,393 students are enrolled in K-12 within Kern County schools alone and will be returning or entering the new school year within the next couple of weeks. However, with the new school year quickly approaching, there are some children who are more stressed than others and are worried how they will prepare for the new school year while being homeless.” Bakersfield Californian article


 Dead trees fueling dangerous Cedar Fire – The Cedar Fire west of Kernville continued to burn through heavy forests full of drought-killed trees Thursday afternoon, fire officials said. The blaze, fueled by the dry, desiccated timber, grew from 1,619 acres Thursday morning to 9,500 acres by 7:30 p.m. Bakersfield Californian article

 Cedar Fire marches into Tulare County, evacuations urged — Residents of sparsely-settled Sierra communities in Tulare County were urged Thursday to evacuate as the Cedar fire continued to spread toward them, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman said. Fresno Bee article

 Valley air quality suffers at the hand of fires — Wildland fires burning around the state are worsening air quality in the Central Valley, officials with the pollution control district said Thursday. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Sierra National Forest approves Rim Fire replanting plan – The Stanislaus National Forest gave final approval to a plan for replanting part of the Rim Fire acreage. Forest Supervisor Jeanne Higgins signed off Wednesday on the plan, which calls for planting conifers on 21,279 acres. It is little changed from a proposal she released for public review in May. Modesto Bee article

State wildfires make local fire officials nervous — As wildfires burn across the state, Sierra fire officials are praying the millions of dead trees in Merced’s backyard don’t catch on fire. Merced Sun-Star article

Raging Blue Cut fire leave some homes in smoldering ruins, but scope of loss is still a mystery — For all the devastation that the Blue Cut fire has wreaked, officials have had difficulty determining the damage left by explosive flames that quickly overtook nearly 36,000 acres. Damage assessors have been hindered from surveying the destruction because of erratic fire behavior and intense flames that broke through retardants dropped by air crews. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Study projects 3 million uninsured Californians next year — More than 100,000 people living in the Sacramento region may be uninsured next year, according to projections by UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The findings show that majority of the state’s uninsured aren’t eligible for health insurance due to their immigration status. Capital Public Radio report

Saint Agnes plans to expand cancer center, Community plans for new one — The two biggest hospital systems in Fresno have plans for new cancer centers, consolidating services that have been scattered in several locations. Fresno Bee article

Sen. Fuller pushes to raise awareness of valley fever — The CA Senate Republican Caucus Thursday released Senator Fuller’s speech raising awareness about Valley Fever and how it affects the Central Valley. Bakersfield Californian video

Barbara Gladden/William Phelps/Stephen Schilling: Concerted effort making a big dent in teen birth rate – The Clinica Sierra Vista officials write, “In the last 24 years we have seen a dramatic reduction in our teen birth rate. In 1991, Kern County had 104.3 births per 1,000 females, ages 15 to 19. In 2014, Kern’s rate was down to 41.0 births per 1,000 – a nearly 61 percent drop. That is a dramatic improvement! The longterm trend seems to indicate that the rate will continue to drop. However, this dramatic reduction did not occur all by itself. It has happened because of a lot of hard work from multiple agencies throughout our county working on this issue every day.” Gladden/Phelps/Schilling op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Vacaville toddler declared brain-dead back in U.S.; parents back in court — In a medical saga that has ping-ponged from Roseville to Guatemala and now Southern California, the case of a child declared brain-dead by two Sacramento-area hospitals is back in court. Sacramento Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Ordinance could bring Bakersfield food truck seating – Food trucks, gourmet or not, have never been known as places to relax and enjoy a long lunch — mainly because they’re typically grab-and-go and don’t have seating. Bakersfield’s draft food truck ordinance could change that. For food trucks that set up shop on private property, it will likely allow them to have one to three tables. Bakersfield Californian article

GV Urban building one-bedroom apartments in Fresno’s Mural District — The builder quietly broke ground in June on a small bungalow project at 1752 L St., next to its Crichton Place development, south of Divisadero. Work has also started on a vacant lot across the street, sandwiched between the historic Helm Home and the Long/Black Home. Fresno Bee article


Bullet train plans to be aired – Bakersfield’s still-evolving plans for a bullet train station near F Street and Golden State Highway will get an airing 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the lobby and in the Potato Room at the Rabobank Convention Center, 1001 Truxtun Ave. Bakersfield Californian article

Uber is about to start giving rides in self-driving cars — The robot cars aren’t coming. The robot cars are here. A fleet of Fords and Volvos, capable of driving themselves, is fully equipped and ready to hit the streets of Pittsburgh within weeks. The cars will be deployed by Uber, the ride-hailing company. Experimental robot cars already prowl streets and highways. But in this case, Uber customers will be inside. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Michael Fitzgerald: When citizens distrust ‘The Man’ – One of Stockton’s defining characteristics is on full display this week: the deep, almost paranoid distrust of institutions. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Grants, donations help get animals ‘New Beginnings’ — What happens in Merced County when a tiny stray terrier needs an emergency cesarean section? Or if a kitten’s leg is crushed by a garbage bin? Or if a puppy suffers from heat stroke after being locked in a car parked at Merced Mall? Many times, New Beginnings for Merced County Animals does just that – gives a fresh start and proper medical care to animals in need. Merced Sun-Star article

Modesto parts ways with supervisor it had investigated — Modesto has parted ways with a wastewater supervisor it was investigating, including allegations that he had worked at a second job while calling in sick with the city. Modesto Bee article

Stockton Record – Rep. Susan Eggman’s bill that would allow authorities to impound the vehicles of people involved in sex crimes has passed the California Legislature. Gov. Jerry Brown should sign it into law; Gradually. Steadily. Consistently. The number is creeping higher and higher, and that is excellent news for the city of Stockton and its police department.