August 29, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Almost 200 proposed laws await governor’s OK – or not — The fate of hundreds of bills will be decided by Wednesday, when state lawmakers wrap up their two-year session. There are already nearly 200 bills on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, including legislation to eliminate the statute of limitation on rape prosecutions, limit the use of solitary confinement at juvenile detention facilities, and eliminate sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Dan Walters: Achieving big cut in California carbon emissions will be chess game — Gov. Jerry Brown and other politicians celebrated last week when the Legislature passed two bills that require deeper reductions in California’s carbon emissions. As symbolically significant as the bills may be – including their effect on Brown’s political legacy – how the state achieves the 2030 goal, if it can, is a complex legal and political chess game. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Robin Abcarian: Latinos hold the key to pot legalization, but will people of color share in its economic riches? — Younger Latinos — millennials — tend to favor legalization. But they also tend to vote in fewer numbers than their elders. And though the gap between those for and against legalizing has narrowed, an overall majority of Latinos still oppose it. Which is why Gabriel Guzman, who runs the Monterey-area pot delivery service Namaste Wellness, describes the Latino electorate as a “waking giant.” Abcarian column in LA Times

Other areas 

Legislature whiffs on major issues like housing and transportation – Overcoming fierce opposition from Big Oil last week to pass sweeping new climate change legislation was a big win for Gov. Jerry Brown and other top Democrats. But as the legislative session enters its waning hours, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the victory is the exception, not the rule. East Bay Times article 

Even rivals say Mark Leno is one of Sacramento’s most accomplished lawmakers.  Now his time is up – Mark Leno flashes a broad smile when a conversation about his political legacy pivots to an earlier part of his life, when he was a restless young man who abruptly decided to walk away from rabbinical school without any plan for what would come next. LA Times article 

Even after reforms, the state’s energy regulator can still have private meetings with utility companies — The measure, part of a package of bills reforming the commission that remain under discussion in the final few days of this year’s legislative session, has worried some advocates and observers that it won’t do enough to break up the close relationship between power companies and those overseeing them. LA Times article

Jewelry, wine, clothing and sports tickets: LA County DA collects more than $10,000 worth of gifts —  Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has accepted more than $10,000 worth of gifts over the last four years from criminal defense attorneys, police unions, business owners, prosecutors in her office and others who could have an interest in influencing her decisions as one of the most powerful law enforcement officials in the county, according to state records.  LA Times article

Presidential Politics 

Small but vocal group of Latinos rally for Trump in Orange County — Chanting “Viva Trump,” several dozen Latino supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a peaceful rally Sunday in front of Anaheim City Hall. LA Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Skyrocketed cost of EpiPen upsets Valley families and pharmacists — Brenda Elensky of Fresno has two children who have allergies. Her daughter, Rachel, 8, had her first allergic reaction to food before she could barely walk. Her son, Dathan, 17, had an allergic attack about five years ago. Each had to be rushed to the hospital for lifesaving care. Now Dathan and Rachel each carry an EpiPen, a prefilled injection device that dispenses the hormone epinephrine, which can rescue a child or adult from anaphylactic shock that could be deadly. Fresno Bee article 

As U.S. cuts ties with private prisons, California to keep using them – The Justice Department recently decided to phase out the confinement of federal inmates in private prisons, but tens of thousands of state prisoners — including 10,700 from California — will remain in the corporate-owned institutions that a government report has criticized over safety and security. San Francisco Chronicle article

Jobs and the Economy 

What’s next for Sam Lynn? – When the Bakersfield Blaze leave town for the Carolina League at the end of this baseball season, the team will leave 75-year-old Sam Lynn Ballpark empty. The County of Kern — which owns the park — will need to figure out what to do with it. Bakersfield Californian article 

Baseball at its most democratic just couldn’t survive – If absence truly makes the heart grow fonder, then Bakersfield is really going to love the Blaze come September. Just the anticipation of the team’s absence is already moving more people into the stands and more Blaze jerseys and ball caps out of the little merchandise store at Sam Lynn Ballpark, said Jordanne Candela, who was working behind the cash register Sunday, the night of the last regular-season game the Bakersfield Blaze will ever play. Bakersfield Californian article 

Zach Ewing: Blaze meant a lot to this town – right? — It doesn’t quite feel real, this announcement that the Blaze is leaving, which came Monday from Minor League Baseball. Maybe it’s because the Blaze has been threatened so many times before and managed to survive, or maybe it’s because driving up Chester Avenue and seeing the little orange “GAME TODAY” sign beneath the out-of-the-way stadium that faces the wrong way has become a way of life in Bakersfield. Ewing column in Bakersfield Californian 

State makes liquor licenses available — If you own a new restaurant or are planning to open one in 2017, your opportunity to apply for alcohol permits is just around the corner. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will be accepting applications for new on-sale and off-sale licenses to sell alcohol between Sept. 12 and 23. Licenses are available in 36 of California’s 58 counties, including San Joaquin County, where 25 on-sale licenses and nine off-sale licenses can be issued. Stockton Record article 

This woman chose to go homeless in San Francisco instead of paying high rent — “Looking at me, you’d never guess that in 2015, while working full-time as a reporter for KGO Radio, I became ‘intentionally homeless,’ begins Kristin Hanes in a post in San Francisco blog The Bold Italic. She was in her mid-30s and living on a journalist’s salary in a city where the median rent price for a one bedroom is about $3,500. She hated that she didn’t have enough cash to pay down debt and save money, too. So, she joined a gym, put her stuff in storage or otherwise disposed of it, and moved into her car with her boyfriend where they drove to various campgrounds at night.  San Francisco Chronicle article


Drones meet drought in skies of storied California farmland – In the drought-prone West, where every drop of water counts, California farmers are in a constant search for ways to efficiently use the increasingly scarce resource. And Cannon Michael is putting drone technology to work on his fields at Bowles Farming Co. near Los Banos, 120 miles southeast of San Francisco. AP article 

Don Curlee: California’s beans begin recovery — Since all four varieties of beans grown in California are identified as dry, you’d think the just concluded drought would not have affected them, but it did. Recovery is underway. Curlee in Visalia Times-Delta 

Drought is reducing beach bacteria in Southern California, data shows — California’s record-setting drought might be making area waters less prone to bacteria, according to government data. LA Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Matier & Ross: San Francisco sets the bar low for police chief’s job — Acting San Francisco Police Chief Toney Chaplin’s bid to win the job permanently is getting plenty of political support — even encouragement from Mayor Ed Lee — but his biggest ally may be the city’s loose job requirements. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Despite reform pressure, at least 25 want to be San Francisco Police Department chief — The jostling to become San Francisco’s next top cop has intensified, with the acting chief and at least 24 other applicants working to line up support while asserting they have the skill to guide a police force under pressure in the wake of controversial shootings and accusations of bias. San Francisco Chronicle article


Crackdown on for-profit colleges may free students and trap taxpayers – The goal of relieving students saddled with onerous debt and a subpar education can be at odds with reducing the cost to taxpayers who are likely to be stuck with the bill. New York Times article 

Oakland schools nearly fully staffed after starting summer with teacher shortage — At the end of the school year in June, Oakland Unified faced a daunting teacher shortage, with 400 vacancies. As school started last week, the district has just three. EdSource article


Firefighters battle wildfires on three fronts in Kern — Sometimes it seems as if all of Kern County is on fire. That sense of foreboding jumped to a sense of urgency early Sunday afternoon for residents along Caliente-Bodfish Road between School Road and Piute Meadows Road, who were informed they were subject to recommended evacuations for the Havilah Fire. Bakersfield Californian article 

Yosemite, and President Obama, head into virtual reality — In a new project with National Geographic, Barack Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to project himself into virtual reality – in this case, a 360-degree representation of Yosemite National Park. AP article

Health/Human Services 

Pediatricians urge states to get tough on parents who don’t want to vaccinate their kids – The nation’s pediatricians are pushing back against parents who resist having their children vaccinated against a broad range of dangerous diseases by calling on states to stop offering waivers to those with non-medical objections to the practice. LA Times article


False reports of shots fired at LAX prompt evacuation of some passengers – Police have confirmed that reports of an active shooter that panicked passengers Sunday night inside several terminals at Los Angeles International Airport were false, authorities said. LA Times article

Meeting will explore new Seventh Street bridge in Modesto — A meeting Monday evening will deal with plans to replace the Seventh Street Bridge in Modesto, which is a century old this year. Modesto Bee article 

Other areas 

Confidential judges’ memo spells out more concerns with probation chief — Fresno County Superior Court judges sent a confidential memo last week to fellow judges outlining more reasons for placing county Probation Chief Rick Chavez on paid administrative leave nearly five months ago. Fresno Bee article 

Many Merced residents fed up with trash pickers — Merced residents have had enough with the trash pickers. It never fails: Every Friday morning residents in the Los Verdes Estates neighborhood look out their windows to see people digging through their garbage cans that dutifully line the streets waiting for the refuse service, picking through to find the recyclable bottles and cans. Merced Sun-Star article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – It is time to cleanse the stain of past exploitation from California’s 21st century farm industry.