August 21, 2016


Top stories

California lawmakers expect another showdown on overtime pay for farmworkers — The proposal would roll out new rules for farmworker overtime in 2019, lowering the current 10-hour-day threshold for overtime by half an hour each year until it reaches the standard eight-hour day by 2022. It also would phase in a 40-hour standard workweek for the first time. The governor would be able to suspend any part of the process for a year depending on economic conditions. LA Times article

Dan Walters: Politicians protect rights of accused, not law-abiding gun owners — California legislators are congratulating themselves for legislation to curb police seizures of property from people who haven’t been convicted of crimes – and for a change, their celebration is justified. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Fresno’s alliances split as Brand, Perea seeks campaign cash — Lee Brand and Henry Perea, who are vying to be Fresno’s next mayor, have found campaign cash from tried and true donors based on their political identities. But there also are lots of surprises as the lines blur in a local election that is, at least officially, nonpartisan. Fresno Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Why Lorettz Sanchez is struggling to wake up sleepy California U.S. Senate race – Sanchez’s absence from the campaign trail in recent weeks, a noticeable lull even for the sedate summer months of the political season, only adds pressure on the Orange County congresswoman to show voters and donors — soon — that she has a legitimate shot to win in November. LA Times article

California Politics Podcast: Of drugs, deals and Democrats — This week, we talk the demise of the drug pricing measure in the Capitol. We also examine the latest climate change negotiations and new voter registration data showing big pickups for California Democrats. With John Myers of the Los Angeles Times, Marisa Lagos of KQED News and Anthony York of the Grizzly Bear Project. California Politics Podcast

Tim Ward: Support Proposition 66: Mend the death penalty, don’t end it – Tulare County’s district attorney writes, “Prop 66 would allow a reliable, fair and meaningful process to bring those victim’s families justice. That’s why the California District Attorney’s Association, law enforcement leaders, and victim’s rights advocates across this great state join me in supporting Prop 66.” Ward op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Other areas

Marcos Breton: The doctor vs. the lawman. Is this Sacramento’s shadiest election? — What a choice for the voters of Sacramento’s 7th Congressional District. On one side you have incumbent Ami Bera, a Democrat, whose 83-year-old father was sentenced last week to a year and a day in prison for election fraud. Then you have his opponent, Sheriff Scott Jones, a Republican whose law enforcement buddies could cost the county millions of dollars in legal fees and payouts. Breton column in Sacramento Bee

Presidential Politics

Willie Brown: Trump team will hit hard to reap rewards of split votes — Within the next two weeks, you are going to see a wholly different campaign. Former Fox News chief Roger Ailes will handle Trump in the same fashion he made a conservative TV network the force it is today. My fear, as a Democrat, is that the Ailes’ strategy will be to reduce the message during the final months down to trustworthiness — the single issue where polls show Trump stands a chance of besting Hillary Clinton. And that is a frightening prospect. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle article

News Stories

Top Stories

Huron moves to medical pot; other Fresno County cities stand firm — Huron could be the second city in Fresno County to allow medical marijuana cultivation, manufacture and distribution, city documents show. Meanwhile, growers already are lining up to court neighboring Coalinga, which approved medical cannabis in July. But other cities in conservative Fresno County, which has opposed all marijuana use for decades, remain in opposition to medical cannabis. Fresno Bee article

Modesto in talks to restart airport flights, with focus on LA — Modesto may have landed its best prospect in its effort to restart commercial passenger service at its airport since those flights ended more than two years ago. City officials confirmed they have been talking with Great Lakes Airlines – a small regional carrier based in Cheyenne, Wyo. – about offering flights, with service to Los Angeles the city’s top choice. Modesto Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Modesto to weigh budget review panel’s recommendations – A City Council committee on Monday will consider a proposal regarding how Modesto can implement some of the recommendations from Mayor Ted Brandvold’s 100-day budget review committee, which was charged with finding ways to improve the city’s long-term financial health. Modesto Bee article

Hanford seeks new life for former jail now known as the Bastille — In the center of town next to Civic Center Park is a distinctive building called the Bastille. It’s the former Kings County Jail. Opened in 1897, the red brick front has a Romanesque tower with a jagged top like an old castle, while the rear walls – where the cells were – are made of solid granite blocks. Today, the Bastille stands unused, but the city hopes to breathe new life into it. Fresno Bee article

Deke Farrow: It’s a crime that retirement study didn’t give more weight to safety – Will my wife and I, if we’re fortunate enough to have a choice, retire in Modesto? I don’t know. Just as I think the WalletHub analysis didn’t give enough weight to crime, I think it didn’t nearly capture in “activities” all that the city has to offer. Farrow in Modesto Bee

Sacramento city employees generally earn less than their suburban counterparts – The city of Sacramento has more people, employees and demand for services than any other city in the region. But Sacramento generally pays its employees less than workers in nearby suburbs, potentially creating recruitment and retention problems, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of more than 13,000 local government employee salaries. Sacramento Bee article

Despite fears, Mexico’s manufacturing boom is lifting U.S. workers – Mexico is in the throes of a manufacturing boom. Exports from Mexican factories have jumped 13% since 2012. The country already ranks as the seventh-largest producer of cars in the world, and Chrysler, Honda and Volkswagen have major operations there. Over the next five years, another wave of big automakers, including Ford, Audi and Toyota, plan to bring new plants online. LA Times article

A manufacturing boom lifts Mexico — Chargers dispute risks of stadium measure — Opponents say the Chargers stadium ballot measure is fraught with a variety of risks for taxpayers and local tourism, but team officials say each of the concerns raised is either misleading, overblown or flat-out false. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Sunne Wright McPeak: Why smartphones alone won’t close the digital divide – The president and CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund writes, “California remains the Golden State when it comes to advanced technology, but it is also a place where the gulf between rich and poor has widened. We can help narrow that gap by closing the digital divide – yet we cannot do it with smartphones only.” McPeak op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Water agencies coming along on Stanislaus groundwater vision – The tricky task of getting public agencies on the same page for a topic as controversial as groundwater may have turned an important corner in Stanislaus County. Modesto Bee article

Expert: Red water part of galvanized pipe; some lead fears overblown — One of the nation’s leading experts in corrosion problems in public water supplies said that despite considerable concern over discoloration of water coming from galvanized pipes in a growing number of northeast Fresno homes, “at present there’s really no indication at all that there’s a lead problem” in the city’s water under federal law. Fresno Bee article

‘Blob’ may help drug-stricken California — As a series of marine heat waves linked to climate change has thrown ocean ecosystems out of whack from Australia to the coast of California, a cooling trend called La Niña has given scientists hope that water temperatures could come back into balance. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Mike Dunbar: After releasing water for steelhead, not enough left for trout — The equation “more water equals more fish” has been pushed as an unequivocal truth by the environmental community and their friends among government scientists for so long that it has passed from theory to dogma. But is it correct? Dunbar column in Modesto Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

A woman was wrongly arrested and jailed as a fraud suspect.  The reason? Her name — Incarcerations of innocent people mistaken for wanted criminals represent a tiny fraction of the roughly 16,700 people locked up in L.A. County, and they have declined sharply from a decade ago. But, from May through July, records show, at least six people were released from jail in Los Angeles County after authorities determined they had arrested the wrong person. LA Times article


Jeff Jardine: Death threat to Hughson student deserve strong message in return – The message popped up on her cellphone screen Wednesday afternoon, telling the 13-year-old to “wachout” and that “Tomorrow at Emily j Ross middle school you die …” Disturbing? Of course. What child wouldn’t be bothered by a death threat, presumably from a schoolmate? What parents wouldn’t be upset that their child received such a threat? Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Many on UC Berkeley faculty don’t want leader to linger – A group of faculty at UC Berkeley is trying to build momentum for an effort to immediately oust Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, who is expected to step down from the top post next spring, at the end of the school year. San Francisco Chronicle article

Super no-go: Planetarium won’t be built — San Joaquin Delta College will not build a new planetarium after all, officials said last week, marking the end of one of the college’s unique traditions. Stockton Record article

As enrollment declines, LA public schools borrow a tactic from charters: marketing — As enrollment in traditional public schools around the city has declined and charter schools have mushroomed, Ramos and other principals are having to compete for students or risk school closure. To do this, they are turning to marketing tactics long employed by charter schools: handing out glossy fliers and creating Facebook pages to promote their after-school activities. The time and attention they are pouring into recruitment is fundamentally changing the nature of their jobs. LA Times article

Casino tycoon launches multimillion-dollar effort to boost Israel’s image on campuses — The effort kicked off this last semester at six California campuses, including UCLA, UC Irvine and San Jose State University, and will expand to 20 more college campuses this fall. The Adelsons and other supporters of Israel are alarmed by the precipitous growth in young Americans’ support for Palestinians. LA Times article


Cedar Fire grows to 14,542 acres, remains 5 percent contained — The Cedar Fire burning at the Tulare and Kern county lines west of Kernville has grown to 14,543 acres and was only 5 percent contained Saturday morning. Fresno Bee articleBakersfield Californian article

Kern pine forests ravaged by drought, insatiable beetle — Pine forests in Kern County’s mountains are dying, weakened by years of drought and then killed by a massive infestation of bark beetles. Bakersfield Californian article

Hearst Castle threatened by fast-moving Chimney Fire —  The Chimney fire, a 17,000-acre fire in San Luis Obispo County, is threatening Hearst Castle and the buildings around it, Cal Fire authorities said Saturday afternoon. LA Times articleSan Luis Obispo Tribune article

Destructive Blue Cut fire is 68 percent contained as flames continue to rage across the state – Firefighters tightened their grip on the fast-moving Blue Cut fire overnight Friday, capitalizing on humid weather conditions to gain greater control over the 37,020-acre blaze, authorities said Saturday. LA Times article

Big Sur fire not expected to be contained until end of September — A stubborn fire in the Big Sur region grew more than 2,000 acres to almost 84,000 acres after starting nearly a month ago, officials said Saturday. The fire is not expected to be fully contained until the end of September, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Officials had initially expected the blaze to be contained by the end of August. San Francisco Chronicle article

California’s electric car program may be running out of gas – California’s Zero Emission Vehicle program — which pushes automakers to sell an increasing number of electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles in the state — has become a source of increasing concern to environmentalists, who say it risks falling short of Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of having at least 1.5 million emissions-free vehicles on the streets by 2025. San Francisco Chronicle article

Campaign underway to turn Sierra National Forest into national monument – A campaign is underway to change the 1.3 million-acre Sierra National Forest to Sierra National Monument between Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Fresno Bee article

Droughts and wildfires threaten the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog — Now, as the third major wildfire in a month strips slopes overlooking the frogs’ ancestral habitats of vegetation, there is mounting concern that winter storms could inundate their last outposts with mud, debris and ash. LA Times article

Spreck Rosekrans: Make restoring Hetch Hetchy a goal for second century of National Park Service – The executive director of Restore Hetch Hetchy writes, “What better way to begin the second century of our national parks than by undoing the destruction done to Yosemite and by bringing Hetch Hetchy Valley back to life?” Rosekrans op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Health/Human Services 

Scientists unlock a key to Latinos’ longevity, with hopes of slowing aging for everyone – A new way to measure how humans age suggests that Latino Americans withstand life’s wear and tear better than non-Latino whites — and that they may have their Native American ancestors to thank for their longer lives. LA Times article

Health clinic opens for poor, underserved – The dire health needs of the neighborhood surrounding southeast Stockton’s Dorothy L. Jones Health and Community Center have been reported, discussed and fretted over for many years. In fact, a medical clinic was constructed there nine years ago as part of the larger service center. But it was never staffed — until now. Stockton Record article

Bakersfield couple battles daughter’s cancer – and insurance company — The Segundos have chosen an aggressive course of treatment that is nearly as dangerous as the rare form of medulloblastoma diagnosed last spring in the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, Abigail. At the 11th hour — just days before a ramped-up treatment regimen was scheduled to begin — the parents received word from Health Net, their insurance carrier, that it had decided it will not cover the course of treatment chosen by the Segundos and their daughter’s doctors, a treatment plan that began last May. Bakersfield Californian article

Sorry, the therapist can’t see you – not now, not anytime soon — More than 43 million Americans have depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition. But more than half never get help. Recent laws were supposed to make it easier for Californians to access treatment, but many still face roadblocks, even with insurance. In this special series by KQED’s The California Report and State of Health we travel across the state to find out why it’s so difficult to get mental health care. KQED report

Land Use/Housing

Dusting off a General Plan — City officials were on hand at the downtown Stockmarket on Saturday distributing information on the coming General Plan update process. The city’s presence at the Stockmarket was intended to raise community awareness of the public’s role in the General Plan update. Stockton Record article

Other areas

Meet 20 rising stars helping build the future of Modesto, Stanislaus County — Are you weary with the drumbeat of negativity about our region’s “brain drain” of young professionals to the Bay Area and elsewhere? This section is your antidote. Modesto Bee article

Mike Klocke: Events galore, mayoral drama, Olympic thoughts – Random thoughts for a Sunday morning. Klocke in Stockton Record

Michael Fitzgerald: Local radio tries to reboot — If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody hears it, does it make the sound of radio station KXVS 92.1? KXVS, “The Voice of Stockton,” is broadcasting again. The station is attempting a resurrection. It was summarily unplugged in May at San Joaquin Delta College. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record