August 31, 2016


Political Briefs

Top stories

Farmworker overtime vote highlights urban-rural divide — Monday’s approval of legislation to phase in state overtime rules for farmworkers again underscored the urban-rural divide on many of the issues that come before the California Legislature. Lawmakers representing more rural or suburban parts of the Central Valley, Republican and Democrat alike, voted against Assembly Bill 1066. They were joined in opposition by Republican lawmakers from suburban GOP-friendly seats in coastal Southern California. Sacramento Bee article

Dan Walters: Farmworker overtime bill is another factor in agricultural revolution — The uncertain availability of water also will play a major role in what happens to California agriculture, particularly crops requiring large amounts, such as rice, hay and almonds. California agriculture has always evolved, but with recent events it appears to be on the verge of particularly deep changes. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Donald Trump makes quick trip to Tulare, looking for cash and talking water — GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump had lunch Tuesday with a select group at a private ranch near Tulare. The price of admission: $2,700 to get in, and $25,000 for a VIP meeting. And it was a quick stop: Trump was at the home of Corky and Betty Anderson for just over an hour. All told, he was in the central San Joaquin Valley for three hours before he boarded his 757 jet emblazoned with his name and flew out from Fresno Yosemite International at 2:40 p.m. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Valley politics

Bakersfield mayoral candidates bring contest to city’s youth – More than 100 students, most from Bakersfield high schools, some offered extra credit by teachers, crammed the Idea Hive work space downtown on Tuesday night to hear mayoral candidates Kyle Carter and Karen Goh answer questions. Bakersfield Californian article

Attorney appeals after losing political retaliation lawsuit — A former senior prosecutor has appealed the dismissal of his civil rights lawsuit against the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. A federal judge in late July ruled that Douglas Maner had been disciplined for bad behavior and not because he had supported a political opponent of his boss, District Attorney Birgit Fladager. Modesto Bee article

 Oakdale Irrigation District’s Santos denounces recall drive — Those seeking a recall of Linda Santos from the Oakdale Irrigation District board are resorting to “outright lies, malicious rumors and unfounded accusations,” Santos said in a strongly worded response. Modesto Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Driving while stoned? California critics of pot legalization initiative focus on impaired motorists – Opponents of the fall measure to legalize recreational marijuana for California adults argued Tuesday that broader marijuana use would endanger motorists. Sacramento Bee article

Bakersfield Californian: Vote yes on Prop 52, hospital fees for Medi-Cal — The measure is a sound strategy for stabilizing revenue for public and private hospitals, and it ensures that the money will be spent on healthcare, rather than being ripped off by other state agencies. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Kamala Harris calls for measures to end the ‘crisis of confidence’ between police and the public — U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris on Tuesday called for new national policies to reduce recidivism by felons released from prison and to make data on crime and police actions more accessible to the public. LA Times article

Judge rejects disabled man’s petition to vote – for now — A California judge ruled that a former NPR producer who had a traumatic brain injury has so far failed to demonstrate he is qualified to vote despite a new state law that makes it easier for people with developmental disabilities to keep and restore the right to cast a ballot. AP article


 Matsui calls on GAO to investigate Afghan resettlement process — Rep. Doris Matsui, reacting to an investigation by The Sacramento Bee, has formally requested that the federal General Accountability Office evaluate how to improve the resettlement process for Afghan refugees arriving in the United States on Special Immigrant Visas. Sacramento Bee article

 U.S. reaches goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees. Here’s where they went — The United States admitted its 10,000th Syrian refugee this week in a resettlement program announced by President Obama last fall, according to The White HouseNew York Times article

Other areas

Farm laborers exult, farmers worry about California overtime bill – Florentino Reyes had stood in the warm sun outside the Capitol, joining scores of farmworkers who gathered to persuade lawmakers to approve unprecedented overtime pay legislation for California’s agricultural laborers. Sacramento Bee articleAP article

Why California’s new farmworker overtime bill may not mean bigger paychecks – Two-thirds of U.S. fruits and nuts and one-third of vegetables come from California, so higher labor costs could mean higher food bills no matter where you live in the country. If Brown signs the bill, Jeff Merwin, an alfalfa farmer and president of the Yolo County Farm Bureau, says his employees will end up losing money. NPR report

New campaign donation disclosure rules rejected by state Senate – Lawmakers on Tuesday narrowly rejected an effort to create new disclosure rules for California political mailers and money gathered from several donors into a single contribution. LA Times article

 Concealed-gun fees could increase under bill headed to Brown – Concealed carry permits could get more expensive under a bill the California Assembly sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday. Sacramento Bee article

Smoking would be banned in California state parks and beaches in bill sent to governor – Amid concerns over health impacts and wildfires, smoking and using electronic cigarettes would be outlawed at California’s 270 state parks and beaches under a bill sent by state lawmakers to the governor on Tuesday. LA Times article

 Having a California baby? Assembly passes bill seeking to protect your job – New California parents would be able to take unpaid time off without losing their jobs under revived legislation that cleared the Assembly on Tuesday. Sacramento Bee articleKQED report

An effort to fix California’s outdated campaign cash database approved by Legislature – California election officials would have until 2019 to repair or replace the state’s antiquated campaign finance database under a bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday. LA Times article

UC Davis to host first-ever state gun violence research center – UC Davis will house the nation’s first state-funded firearm violence research center, an effort backed by health organizations but opposed by gun rights advocates. Sacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorial

Compromise struck on Planned Parenthood-backed bill on secret recordings – A deal has been struck on a controversial bill sponsored by Planned Parenthood to create new penalties for distributing illegal recordings in the wake of high-profile secret videos circulated by anti-abortion activists. LA Times article 

Bill to ban behind-the-scenes communications by coastal commissioners heads to full Assembly for a vote – With this year’s legislative session about to end, a bill to ban behind-the-scenes communications by members of the California Coastal Commission has survived opposition from business and labor interests and is headed to the full Assembly on Tuesday for consideration. LA Times article

Inspired by accusations against Bill Cosby, California lawmakers move to lift time limits on rape cases –  In the wake of sexual assault accusations against comedian Bill Cosby, California may soon end the statute of limitations for prosecuting rape and other felony sex crimes. LA Times article

Shamus Roller: Legislature, governor fail on affordable housing crisis – The executive director of Housing California writes, “If buying a home seems out of reach or you’re struggling to pay rent, the Legislature has few plans to help.” Roller op-ed in Sacramento Bee

California could see new rules on flying drones in state parks – California soon could have new rules on flying drones in state parks, where regulations on the use of unmanned aircrafts have been vague and vary widely.  This bill, authored by Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), makes it unlawful to launch, land or operate a drone without a permit on lands managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It also prohibits the use of drones in the taking of fish or animals. AB 2148 moved out of the state Assembly with a 45-15 vote. LA Times article 

Joel Fox: For small business, one good bill, one bad — There are obviously more than two bills that the Legislature is considering which would affect small business in either a positive or negative way, but for this writing, two to focus on is a measure to help small business gain the resources necessary to thrive while also looking at one of those gut-and-amend measures that suddenly pop up to threaten business’ function. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Presidential Politics

Donald Trump still has a path to victory, but it’s a tough one, USC/LA Times poll shows – Although he trails in nearly all national surveys and polls of most battleground states, Donald Trump still has a potential route to victory, albeit a difficult one that would require him to coax many people who sat out the last election to vote this time around, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak tracking poll finds. LA Times article

Trump to make quick trip to Mexico before immigration speech — In a surprise move, Donald Trump will travel to Mexico on Wednesday to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, just hours before the Republican delivers a highly anticipated speech on immigration. AP articleLA Times articleNew York Times article
California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Kern supervisors launch budget review – and get an earful — Tempers, still hot after a contentious budget process that ended last week, flared again Tuesday as the Kern County Board of Supervisors launched a county-wide effort to streamline government, save money and survive financial crisis. Bakersfield Californian article

California farm revenue plunges in 2015 – Farm revenue in California dropped by more than $9 billion last year as the drought forced farmers to scramble for water and crucial commodities declined in price, according to data released by the state and federal governments Tuesday. Sacramento Bee article 

Jobs and the Economy

Merced County envisions Castle as future state manufacturing hub – Merced County will move forward with a plan to develop Castle Commerce Center into a manufacturing hub that officials hope will create nearly 10,000 jobs and draw up to $1 billion in investments. Merced Sun-Star article

Villapudua upset by comment, note; blames SEIU 1021 members – San Joaquin County Supervisor Carlos Villapudua said while he understands the plight of the Service Employees Union International 1021, the union has crossed the line in recent weeks. Stockton Record article

Starbucks leaves downtown Merced storefront empty – There were few people Tuesday on the typically busy Main Street sidewalk outside the downtown Starbucks, a popular draw for foot traffic since opening in 1999, according to city staff. The 425 W. Main St. location closed Saturday, according to neighboring business owners. The signs have been removed from the building and the windows have been obstructed from the inside by brown butcher paper. Merced Sun-Star article

Nicholas Ortiz: On Kern’s vital oil and gas industry, Salas gets it – The president/CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce writes, “We don’t always agree — in fact we diverge on some major issues — but (Assemblymember Rudy) Salas is always willing to listen to our perspective and seek ways to partner. Our community is fortunate to have an Assemblyman who protects our economic opportunity as well as our quality of life.” Ortiz op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Message to tech firms from Palo Alto mayor: Go away. Please – In an election year, with nearly constant squawking from presidential candidates about well-paying jobs, the mayor of Palo Alto has an unusual message for some of the cash-flush tech companies based here: Go away. Please. New York Times article

Cisco and others slash a combined 1,500 jobs in Silicon Valley — Despite record levels of tech employment fueled by a hiring boom, employment cutbacks have jolted workers at Cisco Systems Inc. and other tech firms in Silicon Valley, reductions that combined would erase about 1,500 jobs. LA Times article

 Sacramento Bee: Give Sacramento credit for capping arena tab – The city’s deal with the Kings capped the taxpayer contribution toward construction of Golden 1 Center at $255 million, meaning the team would have to cover any increases. Good thing, too, because the total price tag is now $556.6 million. Sacramento Bee editorial

 Sacramento 10th hottest housing market in nation in August – Sacramento ranked 10th among the nation’s hottest residential real estate markets in August, according to, the official website of the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors. Sacramento Bee article

 Sacramento mayor, council members get pay hike – no matter their attendance record – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and city council members will receive a 2 percent raise after the city’s compensation committee granted them a pay bump Monday night. But one committee member questioned whether pay could be docked for council members – including the mayor – for leaving meetings early. Sacramento Bee article

 Apple’s $14.5 billion EU tax bill highlights overseas earning hoard – European regulators have given Apple Inc. a new moniker to accompany its hard-earned titles of computer pioneer, high-tech design icon and world’s most valuable company: multibillion-dollar tax cheat. LA Times article

Mike’s Grill hit with second ADA lawsuit — It’s only been a few months since Mike’s Grill left its former downtown Hanford location, but the restaurant is already facing a new lawsuit for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hanford Sentinel article

Canadian biotech startup coming to Sacramento area — A tiny agricultural biotech startup from Canada plans to move its main operations to greater Sacramento, another boost for the region’s small but growing farm-tech sector. Sacramento Bee article


California drought: Water guzzlers to face new penalties, possible public disclosure of names — California’s top water guzzlers — the people who use tens of thousands of gallons more than their neighbors to keep lawns bright green during the depths of serious droughts — will soon be hit with higher water bills, and their names may be made public. San Jose Mercury News article

Tulare County 2015 crop values drop 13.7 percent — Lower prices for milk, almonds and citrus caused Tulare County’s overall crop value in 2015 to drop 13.7 percent to $6.9 billion. The county’s decline in gross farm value mirrored that of its neighboring counties, Fresno, Kings and Madera, which all reported lower numbers. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Ex-Los Banos mayor is a wanted ‘fugitive,’ Merced DA’s office says – Tommy Jones, a former Los Banos mayor recently charged with bribing public officials in his capacity as a member of the city’s school board, now is considered a fugitive, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday. Merced Sun-Star article

Police, pastors work to turn around struggling Bakersfield neighborhood – Bakersfield Police have their hands full, as do most law enforcement agencies in the valley. But one neighborhood in the center of town is an especially troubling place. A 2 square-mile stretch of the city, bordered by California Avenue, Chester Ave, Brundage and Washington is home to 36 percent of the city’s gun homicides, 30 percent of the city’s shooting victims and one-quarter of all weapon firings. Bakersfield Californian article

San Jose police crisis: Council declares emergency to patch up street patrols — In a rarely seen move reflecting the desperation of the times, the San Jose City Council declared a state of emergency Tuesday to allow police Chief Eddie Garcia to shift more officers to the city’s undermanned street patrol, a stopgap to keep intact the force’s most basic community service. San Jose Mercury News article

Can Congress mend the rift dividing police and black neighborhoods? – After a long summer of violence, Congress has a big job on its plate: finding new ways to mend relations between police and African-American communities across the nation. McClatchy Newspapers article

LAPD officer charged with stealing police radio, failing to pay for baby stroller: ‘We trusted her because she was a police officer – A Los Angeles police officer pleaded not guilty Monday to a series of criminal charges, including theft of a police radio and an illegal search of a law enforcement database. LA Times article


UC Merced has ‘bang for the buck’ – UC Merced has distinguished itself as a top 10 choice for low-income students in the Western United States, according to a report released this week from a Washington, D.C.-based magazine. Merced Sun-Star article

Junn announces $1 million award to raise Stanislaus State graduation rates – President Ellen Junn took her Convocation speaking time to introduce herself to the Turlock campus, present a daunting goal and announce a $1 million award to help make it happen. Modesto Bee article

Interview: Fresno area schools among top 50 economically segregated in U.S. – Schools in the Fresno area recently ranked among the top 50 in the nation when it comes to economic segregation. That’s according to a new report from the national group EdBuild, a school reform organization that advocates changing the way schools are funded, and supports redrawing school district boundary lines. KVPR report 

Fresno Pacific on ‘shame’ list of colleges said to discriminate against LGBT students – Fresno Pacific University is among more than 100 colleges nationwide on a “shame list” alleging discrimination against LGBT students. Fresno Bee article

Susan Gubernat: A false promise on graduation rates – The professor of English at CSU, East Bay, and a member of the CSU Academic Senate writes, “California has broken a lot of promises to its citizens who want access to a quality, low-cost college degree. Now comes Senate Bill 412, dubbed “The California Promise,” that purports to help CSU undergraduates, including transfer students, complete their bachelor’s degrees in four years. The problem is that this legislation, sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, will probably not help those most in need. Gubernat op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Search firm hired to find UC Davis replacement for Linda Katehi – The University of California Office of the President has named Isaacson, Miller to head a global search for a new UC Davis chancellor to replace Linda P.B. KatehiSacramento Bee article

Online schools: Susan Bonilla shelves bill after interest groups water it down — Legislation that originally sought to ban online charter schools from hiring for-profit firms to provide management or instructional services stalled Wednesday in the state Senate almost two weeks after the author substantially amended and watered down the measure. San Jose Mercury News article

State halts new enrollments at ITT Technical’s Clovis campus, citing academic and financial woes – State regulators have ordered ITT Educational Services to cease enrollment of all new students at its 15 California campuses, including one in Clovis, citing the school’s failure to meet minimum financial and accreditation standards. Fresno Bee article

Study finds worrisome short tenures for community college chiefs – The high turnover rate among top executives at California’s community colleges is a worrisome trend that could have harmful implications for schools, students and communities, according to a study by a new research arm of UC Davis’ School of Education. EdSource article

Finally, a disturbing trend in education shows signs of reversal – For decades, wealthy children have far outperformed poor ones in school, creating a chasm that researchers and advocates say only exacerbates society’s inequalities. LA Times article

Sara Sandrik: Fill the bus with books for children – The Merced City School District has launched a reading initiative and a book drive with the goal of giving every student her or his own book to take home. The initiative is called “Aim High, Target Success.” It is part of a district priority to help all students read proficiently by the end of third grade. Sandrik column in Merced Sun-Star

$1-million donation will help needy students with their homework at LA libraries — Thirty-eight branches of the Los Angeles Public Library that offer homework help to poor and homeless students will receive a boost from a $1-million donation. The gift from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, announced Tuesday, will create an endowment for the free after school homework centers, which offer students access to computers, printers and other devices they might not have at home, if they even have permanent homes. LA Times article

Modesto’s world religions course gets fresh ink – Linda K. Wertheimer’s book featuring Modesto City School’s mandatory world religions course just came out in paperback. Modesto Bee article

 Moms choose between separate and unequal schools in Oakland — Oakland prides itself on diversity, but its public schools are largely segregated by race and poverty. Two moms wrestled with this and came to very different decisions. KQED report

 CPR training might become high school graduation requirement — Gov. Jerry Brown has a month to sign a new bill that would make CPR training a high school graduation requirement. The CPR in Schools legislation would require schools to teach students hands-on CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator. Capital Public Radio report


Why climate change could mean more explosive Southern California wildfires – Many climate models predict that greenhouse gasses will create a hotter, drier future for California over the next century. And that will likely amp up the potential for big blazes on these varying landscapes, creating new challenges for firefighters. KPCC report

 All Kern County recommended evacuations caused by Cedar Fire have been lifted — Two weeks after it began, the Cedar Fire is now 60 percent contained and recommended evacuations in the Kern County area have been lifted. The massive wildfire has burned 29,304 acres and cost an estimated $42.1 million, fire officials said Tuesday morning. Full containment is expected Sept. 10 and the cause remains under investigation. Bakersfield Californian article

 Feds say gnatcatcher needs to stay on endangered list — Federal wildlife authorities on Tuesday said that a review of genetic tests has led them to conclude that the coastal California gnatcatcher is a valid subspecies and therefore worthy of protections that have barred development on tens of thousands of acres of prime Southern California real estate for two decades. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

 Tulare hospital district voters soundly reject bond measure – Tulare hospital district voters gave a decisive “No” Tuesday to the district’s hoped-for bond to complete construction of an addition to Tulare Regional Medical Center. In order to pass, Measure I needed two-thirds of those voting to support it. Two thirds of voters rejected it. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

 Interview: Study to discover links between health and drought – With the drought in California in its fifth year little is known about how people’s health is affected by it. Thousands of acres have been fallowed, lakes are experiencing toxic algae blooms and water sources for whole communities have dried up. There have been a few small studies around public health and the drought, but now a larger two-year study is in the works by UC Riverside. To find out what the study hopes to accomplish Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero interviewed Professors Kurt Shwabe and Bruce Link. KVPR report

 For one Fresno man, lack of mental health care turns tragic – Community violence and a visit to the doctor might seem like two totally unrelated topics. But for people living in violent communities, and the police who patrol them, it might be more closely related than you think. In the first report in a multi-part series on the links between health care and violence in the San Joaquin Valley, we learn what happened when one man’s health care interventions became law enforcement interventions. KVPR report

 Black babies die in sleep at higher rates in Sacramento.  Why? And can we fix it? — Black babies in Sacramento County were about five times more likely to die in their sleep than white babies between 2010 and 2015, according to a Sacramento Bee review of California death certificates. They were about seven times more likely to die in their sleep than Latino babies. No Asian babies died during sleep in Sacramento County during that period. Sacramento Bee article

 Transgender man denied hysterectomy at Mercy San Juan – Tuesday was supposed to be a big day for Evan Michael Minton. The Fair Oaks resident packed his bags for the hospital, said a prayer and counted down the hours until he would undergo the hysterectomy that would take him one step further in his transition from female to male. Instead he spent the day on the phone with doctors and lawyers after Mercy San Juan hospital in Carmichael abruptly canceled the procedure on religious grounds.  Sacramento Bee article

 ‘America’s other drug problem’: Copious prescriptions for hospitalized elderly – An increasing number of elderly patients nationwide are on multiple medications to treat chronic diseases, raising their chances of dangerous drug interactions and serious side effects. Often the drugs are prescribed by different specialists who don’t communicate with each other. If those patients are hospitalized, doctors making the rounds add to the list — and some of the drugs they prescribe may be unnecessary or unsuitable. KQED report

 Public health problems in Oakland linked to housing crisis — The high cost of housing has created a public health crisis in Oakland, Dr.Muntu Davis, head of the Alameda County Public Health Department, said during a news conference at Oakland City Hall on Tuesday. San Francisco Chronicle article

Land Use/Housing

 Michael Kennedy: Don’t just honor Warren at Bakersfield High School, honor his neighborhood too – The lifetime resident of Bakersfield and principal of Bethel Christian School writes, “The (Earl) Warren family home is located about one block from the historic Baker Street Branch Library, and only a few feet from the Bakersfield City School District office. City leaders should have already invested to preserve this corner of our city and shown respect for Warren, but just the opposite has happened.” Kennedy op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

 LA to spend more than $200 million to settle suit on housing for disabled — Los Angeles will spend more than $200 million over the next decade to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that the city failed to provide enough apartments for people with disabilities in its publicly funded housing developments. LA Times article


 BART offering riders perks to ease overcrowding on trains – There’s a new way to make cash in the Bay Area: riding BART. The transit agency launched a 6-month program on Tuesday offering the possibility of cash incentives to passengers who avoid boarding trains during the height of the morning commute, officials said. San Francisco Chronicle article

 FAA threatens to take legal action against Santa Monica for its efforts to shut down city airport in 2018 — The Federal Aviation Administration has threatened legal action against Santa Monica over its effort to reduce flight operations at the city’s airport, force out aeronautical tenants and close the historic facility within two years. LA Times article

 Other areas

 SPCA seizes 135 neglected animals from Orange Cove no-killer shelter — The Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seized 132 dogs and three cats from an Orange Cove no-kill animal shelter after it found the animals were severely neglected. The CCSPCA has recommended charges to the Fresno County District Attorney’s office. Fresno Bee article

 Rash of suspicious freeway fires force evacuations, cause crashes on 99 — A rash of suspicious fires along Highway 99 near downtown Fresno taxed firefighter resources, caused several collisions and forced evacuations of a school and a courthouse Tuesday morning.  Fresno Bee article

 Firefighter rescues cop from roof — Firefighters and police officers often tease back and forth as to whom is the most appreciated among the community. On Tuesday, firefighters sealed that deal. Motorcycle officer Bernie Villegas was called to the area of Jefferson Park, east of Mt. Whitney High School, after shots were fired Tuesday morning. He hopped on a patrol car and jumped on to the roof of a carport to find where a bullet landed. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Lois Henry: Life throws good and bad at former Chargers football player – I have some really good news about former Charger football player Kenny Graham. And I have some really bad news. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

 New Seventh Street Bridge might preserve lion sculptures – Save the lions! So urged a few people about the sculptures on the Seventh Street Bridge in Modesto. A meeting Monday evening dealt with plans to replace the span across the Tuolumne River, which opened in 1917 but is long past its useful life. The two concrete lions at each end are showing their age, too. Modesto Bee article

 James McAndrews Jr.: Volunteers at the heart of museum’s success — To run an operation like the Great Valley Museum, it takes not only the paid staff but also local volunteers who help with the day-to-day running of the museum and these workers are known as docents. McAndrews column in Modesto Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian – Proposition 52 is a sound strategy for stabilizing revenue for public and private hospitals, and it ensures that the money will be spent on healthcare, rather than being ripped off by other state agencies.

Fresno Bee – Sitting through our national anthem is a poor protest and clearly unpatriotic; but it’s not a crime. It’s not even un-American.

 Sacramento Bee – A step toward shedding light on gun violence; The city’s deal with the Kings capped the taxpayer contribution toward construction of Golden 1 Center at $255 million, meaning the team would have to cover any increases. Good thing, too, because the total price tag is now $556.6 million.