August 28, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

This wealthy farmer is taking on Sacramento: ‘God help you if you disagree’ — The state Capitol, Stockton-area farmer and food processor Dean “Dino” Cortopassi said, has been overrun by “porkers feeding at the public trough,” and if long-term debt is not constrained, he said his grandchildren’s generation will bear the cost. He called his November ballot initiative – a proposal to require voter approval before the state issues revenue bonds for public works projects costing more than $2 billion – his “moral obligation.” Sacramento Bee article 

Assemblymember Devon Mathis: Farmworkers overtime pay proposal would devastate Valley ag – The Visalia Republican writes, “Assembly Bill 1066 by San Diego Democrat Lorena Gonzalez would devastate the ag industry and make it difficult to find enough workers to help on farms throughout the state.” Mathis op-ed in Fresno Bee

Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula: Farmworkers deserve to be paid for overtime – The Fresno Democrat writes, “I respect the views of those who oppose AB 1066. However, I don’t believe it is fair that those who package carrots for our supermarkets get overtime, but those who pick the carrots do not.” Arambula op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Bakersfield Californian: Prop 61 is the wrong way to fight Big Pharma; vote no – Californians could and likely would suffer if Prop. 61 passes. The only real way to fight Big Pharma is for Californians to elect politicians who have the guts and willingness to stand up to those greedy drug manufacturers. Bakersfield Californian editorial 

California Politics Podcast: Deals Made, Deals Planned — This week: A deal is made on climate change legislation in Sacramento. We also examine deals in the works on other bills, we answer your questions via Twitter, and remembering some state Capitol class acts. With John Myers of the Los Angeles Times, Marisa Lagos of KQED News and Anthony York of the Grizzly Bear Project.  California Politics Podcast


Mother was deported to Mexico and her kids remain in the U.S.  Here’s how this family works – Their cross-border lives form part of the national debate over U.S. immigration policy. Activists point to the human cost of keeping families apart, while critics say the families could stay together if they choose to live in a place where the parents have legal status. LA Times article 

Unscrupulous attorneys prey upon immigrants held in federal detention, advocates say — There is no guarantee of counsel in immigration court, and although groups of pro bono attorneys have been organized to represent migrants, opportunists have exploited immigrants desperate for help, advocates say. LA Times article 

Other areas 

Marcos Breton: Farmworkers give up day’s pay to see leaders say ‘no se puede’ – The farmworkers showed up at the Capitol on Thursday, giving up a day’s earnings to witness history made. And then it wasn’t. It was a disgrace.  Breton column in Sacramento Bee 

Dan Morain: Christian colleges receive a baptism by legislation — Tobacco, gambling and alcohol have had representation for as long as there has been a Legislature. Everyone else affected by legislation, from acupuncturists and pawnbrokers to adult entertainers and the Church of Scientology, comes prepared for battle. This year, it was small Christian colleges’ turn. But when the culture wars flared, the colleges, which didn’t have a presence in Sacramento, found it wasn’t so easy to find help. Morain in Sacramento Bee 

Tom Steyer: Lawmakers made the right call in passing SB 32 – The founder of NextGen Climate writes, “Against fierce opposition from oil industry lobbyists, lawmakers in Sacramento made history this week. They took a bold stand to pass Senate Bill 32, extending California’s signature clean air law.” Steyer op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Mariko Yoshihara: New parents deserved guaranteed parental leave – The policy director & legislative counsel for the California Employment Lawyers Association writes, “It is understandable for businesses to take issue with a new workplace requirement, but that is no excuse to stall on important legislation that would provide parents with secure employment at a time when they need it the most.” Yoshihara op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Ron Agostini: Kaepernick sits during national anthem – and is willing to take the hit — Make no mistake, Kaepernick doubled-down on his defiance by refusing to stand for the national anthem before Friday night’s preseason game. The man who’s fighting for his NFL life with the San Francisco 49ers said he’s making a statement against racial oppression. Agostini in Modesto Bee; Sacramento Bee article; New York Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article 

Stockton celebration: Showing lots of pride — More than two months have passed since a gunman opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others. The victims who perished in the deadliest attack against LGBT people in United States history are gone, but they were not forgotten at the fifth annual Stockton Pride Festival on Saturday at the Weber Point Events Center. Stockton Record article

Presidential Politics

Willie Brown: Trump, Clinton are playing to same crowd – Donald Trump’s recent pronouncements about wanting to help blacks and immigrants are not really aimed at blacks and immigrants. Neither was Hillary Clinton’s speech the other day accusing Trump of pandering to bigots. Instead, both candidates’ messages were aimed at voters in the suburbs, most of whom are white. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle 

Donald Trump tries to clarify immigration stand, but avoids key issue — Mr. Trump said he would remove illegal immigrants who committed crimes, but he sidestepped what to do about the millions of others in the country. New York Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

Life in the ‘hood: Can lasting change come? — Of the 101 gang-related and likely gang-related shootings in Bakersfield last year, 45 occurred in a 2- square-mile area bound by California Avenue to the north, Brundage Lane to the south, Washington Street to the east and Chester Avenue to the west. In this sprawling city of 143 square miles, 44 percent of gang-related and likely gang-related shootings in the city occurred on a chunk of real estate representing less than 1 1Ž2 percent of the city’s land area and less than 5 percent of the population. Bakersfield Californian article

Dan Walters: California still has a big, and growing, education achievement gap — Education reform and civil rights groups have pressed, so far in vain, for a more focused accountability system to guarantee that the extra money meant for “at-risk” students is not squandered. The new test results indicate that they are at ever-greater risk of failure, and that allocating billions of extra dollars for them without strict accountability is not only foolish but downright cruel. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Jobs and the Economy 

Mike Klocke: Homeless issue gets boost from positive meeting — Here are excerpts of news stories on homelessness for your consideration.  Klocke column in Stockton Record 

Food bank hopes to find security solution – A series of break-ins at the Emergency Food Bank have caused the nonprofit to divert money that could have been used for its clients to address ongoing security concerns. Stockton Record article 

Bank with social mission adds Modesto branch — A billionaire stopped by Modesto to talk about helping working-class families get loans. Tom Steyer, co-founder of Beneficial State Bank, joined a celebration of its new branch on McHenry Avenue. The Oakland-based bank finances renewable energy and other green ventures along with the loans for lower-income people. Modesto Bee article


East Porterville residents, tired of drought, say end is in sight — Juana Garcia takes a shower every night to cool off from the day’s heat before getting in bed, then does something else she previously couldn’t – she sleeps until morning. Tulare County installed a 2,500-gallon water tank outside Garcia’s home in October, which is refilled weekly. For almost a year before that, she and her three children lived without running water. Fresno Bee article 

State lifts water saving mandate — It’s official: The state-mandated drought water conservation targets that Hanford and Lemoore have struggled to try to meet are being suspended. Hanford Sentinel article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Hundreds gather to honor Dyer’s 15 years as Fresno police chief – nside the Fresno Convention Center on Saturday, nearly 800 people gathered to honor Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer for his 15 years of service as Fresno’s top cop. Meanwhile, 60 people gathered outside the convention center with protest signs to demand justice for Dylan Noble – an unarmed teen who was shot and killed by Fresno police in June – and to protest the gala honoring Dyer. Fresno Bee article 

Tulare County sheriff: Deputy shoots suspect who attacked him — During a traffic stop west of Tulare on Saturday, a sheriff’s deputy shot a male suspect who allegedly attacked him, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article

Victim still struggles as escapee is nabbed 26 years after sexual assault — A man who 26 years ago escaped from the now defunct Honor Farm just before his sentencing for a violent sexual assault in Turlock was arrested this month in Texas and returned to Stanislaus County to face justice. Modesto Bee article 

Lying under oath draws California prosecutor’s ire — A 12-year-old girl’s lie on the witness stand cost Luther Jones 18 years. A judge in California’s Lake County ordered Jones released from prison earlier this year after the girl — now 30 — came forward and said her mother told her to falsely testify in 1998 that Jones molested her. AP article


Fresno Bee: Fresno Unified moves in the right direction – By many measures – test scores, graduation rates, college readiness – California’s fourth-largest school district is better meeting the needs of students and the community. Fresno Bee editorial 

Lodi, feds resolve civil rights claim – The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and the Lodi Unified School District reached a resolution agreement earlier this week to end racially discriminatory impacts of the district’s disciplinary policies. The agreement also addresses concerns that the district was disciplining black students more harshly than white students. Stockton Record article 

Michael Fitzgerald: Atheists question church in schools – An atheist group became suspicious that a local school district’s cozy relationship with a big Baptist church may amount to a school-to-Jesus pipeline. So Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers submitted two Public Records Act requests to Lodi Unified School District probing its relationship with Lodi’s First Baptist Church. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record 

Larry White: Teaching politics in an election year – Teaching government and politics in an election year is an exciting endeavor. Almost all of the material that is presented in the course work is correspondingly taking place each day in the media. This presents a wonderful opportunity for students to see how their learning applies. The challenge is to open up the gray matter of their brains to the gray areas of issues and candidates. White column in Stockton Record 

Donation will expand Pacific gymnasium — Kathleen Lagorio Janssen and Dean Janssen, prominent Central Valley philanthropists and business leaders, have donated $1 million to University of the Pacific to expand the Janssen-Lagorio Gymnasium on the Stockton campus, representing one of the most significant gifts to the Athletics Department in the university’s history. Stockton Record article 

Guns on campus: A new worry or added protection? – At the University of Texas, students, professors and administrators talk about how they’re grappling with a state law allowing concealed handguns on college campuses. New York Times article 

Folsom venture firms sees viral potential in Chico State startup — Folsom-based venture capitalist Lokesh Sikaria initially passed up an investment in a startup pitching a promising mobile app that was inducing college students to turn off their smartphones in class. Why? He wasn’t certain the inventors of the Chico-based Pocket Points would be able to monetize the technology. Sacramento Bee article


More electric cars, more solar power expected as state struggles to reach tough new climate standards — Among the possibilities, experts say: Rules requiring automakers to make hundreds of thousands of electric cars. Penalties for people who buy gasoline-powered vehicles. New tax credits and incentives for solar farms and wind power. Tighter building-efficiency standards on windows, heating and water systems in homes and businesses. San Jose Mercury News article 

New fast-moving fire in Havilah as work continues on two other Kern fires — A new fire erupted in the Kern River Valley area Saturday, this time near the old gold mining town of Havilah. Heavy brush and high winds blew the fire up to 130-plus acres in just a few hours and evacuations were quickly underway. Bakersfield Californian article

Health/Human Services 

Lois Henry: Liver transplants hard to come by in California — When Laura McKay was diagnosed earlier this year with end-stage liver disease and told she had one, maybe two, years tops, that was bad enough. Then she went down the bleak and confusing rabbit hole that is the liver transplant world only to arrive at what appears to be a dead end. Not because she’s too old, horribly unhealthy or an inveterate alcoholic. It’s her address. She lives in California. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian 

Sacramento County foster care agencies band together to help LGBT youths find homes — Sacramento County Child Protective Services and other local foster youth and adoption agencies formed a collaborative last year to increase recruitment of parents who are open to housing LGBT youth. Sacramento Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Endangered kit foxes dig in, delaying road project – In this round, it’s Vulpes macrotis mutica over homo sapiens by technical decision. Multiple dens of protected San Joaquin kit foxes along a former Ming Avenue on-ramp to southbound Highway 99 have caused a delay of several weeks for Bakersfield’s Beltway Operational Improvements Project. Bakersfield Californian article 

Lewis Griswold: Visalia Senior Housing pays off 40-year HUD mortgage — Visalia Senior Housing celebrated a major milestone last week by burning the 40-year mortgage papers for The Meadows, the first affordable housing project for seniors in town. The 100-unit development on West Tulare Avenue opened in 1974. Griswold in Fresno Bee


Flights between U.S. and Mexico to soar under bilateral agreement – If you’re planning a trip south of the border, you can expect to save a little on your flight to Mexico. An agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that took effect Aug. 21 will drop restrictions on the number of airlines that can fly between the two countries, thus increasing competition and lowering fares. LA Times article 

Other areas 

Artists sues Fresno Fair for banning his Civil War painting — A Fresno artist is suing California state officials, accusing them of violating his free speech rights by keeping his Civil War painting that shows a soldier holding a Confederate flag from being exhibited at The Big Fresno Fair last year. Fresno Bee article 

Jeff Jardine: Mystery over, but not misery, for family of missing Modesto woman — They simply did not know, and that alone brought them to tears: What happened to Lisa Toledo Valdez? Where did she go? Was she alive? Had something horrible happened to her? Was that their daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend they thought they saw walking down the road, slipping out of sight before they could approach her?Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian Prop 61 is the wrong way to fight Big Pharma.  Vote no.

Fresno Bee – By many measures – test scores, graduation rates, college readiness – Fresno Unified, California’s fourth-largest school district, is better meeting the needs of students and the community.