August 4, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Uncertain fate for greenhouse gas targets at end of legislative session – Among the most closely-watched issues at the end of this legislative session is a Democratic effort to extend California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions reduction target – but it may not be resolved in the next month. Sacramento Bee article; CALmatters article

See how much campaign cash California legislative candidates have in the bank – Assembly and Senate candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot ended June with more than $37.3 million in the bank, according to campaign-finance filings due this week. Candidates also finished the month with about $3.3 million in outstanding debt on the books, the filings show. Democrats running for 80 Assembly and 20 state Senate districts held a nearly three-to-one cash-on-hand advantage over Republicans, according to the reports. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics 

Murphy outpacing competition in fundraising in Merced mayor’s race — Cash is flowing into the Merced mayor’s race, and the candidate with the most money through June 30 outpaces the second-highest earner by three times. Mike Murphy, a sitting City Council member who has announced a run for the mayor’s seat, has raised $60,370 from June 1, 2015, through the end of this June. Candidates with committees were required to file campaign contribution documents by Aug. 1, according to the city clerk’s office. Merced Sun-Star article 

Uphill battle for incumbents — Four Tulare council members will seek re-election and, so far, three will face opposition. In Visalia, incumbent Bob Link will face at least two challengers while in Farmersville and Woodlakefamiliar faces have already announced a run for re-election. Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Kevin de Leon ‘not there yet’ on legal marijuana initiative – Like many Californians, state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León is still debating how he’ll vote on the flood of ballot initiatives this November, including arguably the most high-profile of the bunch, a measure to legalize recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article 

See which California areas smoke the most weed — One in seven California teens and adults used marijuana in the last year, a sharp increase from a decade ago, new federal estimates show. The city of San Francisco has the highest marijuana use rate: Almost one in four San Francisco teens and adults used marijuana in the last year, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which polled residents nationwide between 2012 and 2014. The next highest rates of use were in far Northern California – the “state of Jefferson.” Medical marijuana use is legal in California and obtaining a medical marijuana card is not difficult. A ballot initiative in November would fully legalize marijuana for recreational use. Sacramento Bee article 

Gavin Newsom wants you to remember he had a jobs plan in 2011 — Back when he first became California’s lieutenant governor, in 2011, Gavin Newsom held out hope that he might turn his largely ceremonial post into something more consequential. So Newsom, taking office at a time of economic unrest, spent his first six months in office focusing on economic development. He traveled the state, met with hundreds of people and published a jobs plan.Sacramento Bee article 

Joe Mathews: Stressed-out stoners should chill: This may be a bong boom year — If California gets this right, maybe some of the biggest dreams for marijuana can come true. At the very least, cannabis could be a thriving and well-regulated industry. Mathews in Fresno Bee


Want to help the economy? Change immigration laws, advocates say — Immigrants contribute millions of dollars in taxes and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in all 50 states every year, according to statistics compiled by a new group that’s advocating for change in immigration laws. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Other areas 

See who spent the most lobbying California lawmakers this spring – Labor unions, oil interests, utility companies and other outside groups spent $72.3 million to influence California officials from April through June. Sacramento Bee article 

State lawmakers are warned that California’s 911 system needs cash, and soon – California is running out of money for 911 emergency services and lawmakers need to find a solution, industry and local government representatives said Wednesday in a hearing at the state Capitol. LA Times article 

Senate leader frets over plan for regional electricity grid – State Senate leader Kevin de León said Wednesday he isn’t yet sold on Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to create a regional electricity grid intended to increase cooperation between California and five other states. LA Times article

Children, mothers march at state Capitol to extend overtime pay for domestic workers – Holding balloons and chanting, dozens of children marched on the state Capitol grounds Wednesday in support of a bill that would extend California’s law mandating overtime pay for domestic workers. LA Times article 

After domestic violence allegations, Assemblyman Roger Hernandez collects pay while on medical leave – Assemblyman Roger Hernández, who was booted from his committee posts this summer after a judge issued a domestic violence restraining order against him, continues to draw per diem payments for travel-related expenses to Sacramento despite being absent from work and on medical leave. LA Times article 

This terminally ill man says California’s aid-in-dying law means he can end his life ‘fully, thankfully and joyfully’ — When doctors told Robert Stone last year that he had terminal cancer, he didn’t feel scared of dying. Stone, a handsome man with glasses and a salt-and-pepper goatee, said he’d come to accept death as a natural part of life. What he did fear was having too little energy or too much pain to enjoy his remaining days. So last month Stone, 69, became one of the first people in California to obtain lethal medications under a new state law that allows doctors to write prescriptions for terminally ill patients to kill themselves. LA Times article 

Petition drive to recall SEIU Local 1000 officials nears deadline — Supporters of a recall campaign against SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne R. Walker and three other union leaders have a week to gather more than 8,000 additional signatures needed to force a recall election. The main grievance: a $143,000 stipend split among Walker and three vice presidents that was approved by the union’s board in late June. Sacramento Bee article

Justices temporarily block Virginia order on bathroom choice — The Supreme Court will decide later whether to hear the case, on whether a transgender boy should be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom in a Virginia high school. New York Times article; LA Times article 

Steve Nilssen: Bridging the racial divide – The Lodi resident and member of the Stockton Record’s Readership Advisory Panel writes, “Perhaps that singular point, that we are proud to be Americans, could be the starting point of the discussion on how we can alter our present course of bigoted discourse. I know a racial divide exists. I also know that pockets of blatant racism still exist in America today. Regardless, let’s agree to move on from that point and have honest discussions to get to the core of this issue.” Nilssen op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Is Sean Parker changing politics – or is politics changing him? — The 36-year-old Silicon Valley oligarch once vowed to rattle the established order of Washington. But several years into a multiplatform, multimillion-dollar effort that seeks to transform politics through technology, campaign cash and a few big ideas, the renowned rule-breaker is finding that the rules of politics are not easily broken. LA Times article

Presidential Politics 

‘A sense of panic’ is rising among Republicans over Trump, including talk of what to do if he quits – Donald Trump’s relations with the Republican Party – and his political fortunes – worsened dramatically Wednesday, as party leaders fretted openly about the inability of his campaign staff to control him and even began to discuss what to do if their unpredictable nominee suddenly quit the race. LA Times article; McClatchy Newspapers article; San Francisco Chronicle article 

Jeff Jardine: Local veterans disheartened by Trump accepting Purple Heart – Some reports claim it was a copy, not the presenter’s original Purple Heart. But it represents the same thing to those who earned theirs the traditional way, by being wounded in battle. And the fact that Trump criticized the dead soldier’s parents irked Vietnam War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Mark Tury of Modesto. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Trump’s latest flareup stirs an already sizzling Northern California congressional race – Sacramento County sheriff and law-and-order congressional candidate Scott Jones already has taken heat for saying he’ll vote for Donald Trump this November, and his rival is doing his best to turn the burner to high.LA Times article 

Family of fallen Sikh marine hurt by Trump’s treatment of Gold Star parents – Five years after he was shot to death by enemy fighters in Afghanistan, Marine Cpl. Gurpreet Singh’s bedroom is still decorated in red, white and blue. His dress uniform hangs in his closet with medals pinned to its left breast.Sacramento Bee article

A soldier and a mother questions Trump’s ‘sacrifice’ – Brig. Gen. (ret.) Robin Umberg, former undersecretary for the Califoria Department of Veterans Affairs, writes, “Putting aside Trump’s insult to Khan’s mother by suggesting she did not have the fortitude to speak (she was still too overwhelmed with grief), Trump’s comparison of his sacrifices – building great structures, hiring tons of people, donating to veteran groups, being ‘successful’ – to the sacrifice made by the Khan family, can’t be ignored or explained away by any politician, Republican or Democrat. His total absence of empathy and his narcissism seen in the context of the sacrifices of our brave men, women and their families alone should disqualify him from being our commander-in-chief.” Umberg op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Shawn Hubler: In defense of just knowing the job — You may not like Clinton’s style, or want her in your book club, or believe that she cares more about you than checking a box on her list of life goals, but I’ll take a grind any day over a grifter. Know-how matters more than most of us realize. And in the face of a know-nothing in the Oval Office, there’s a lot to be said for mere competence. Hubler column in Sacramento Bee

Top of FormBottom of FormCalifornia Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Feds to take new look at Delta, endangered fish species – Scientists from two federal agencies are about to embark on a wide-ranging rewrite of the rules governing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a move that could lead to more protection for endangered fish species and less water pumped via the Delta to Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. Sacramento Bee article

Modesto City Council to consider steep increases in water rate – Modesto’s roughly 73,000 water customers should brace themselves for steep increases on their monthly bills. The City Council is expected to hold a hearing Tuesday on raising water rates over five years. The typical single-family residence could see its monthly bill rise from $41.77 to as much as $71.31 over the five years, according to a city consultant’s report. Modesto Bee article

Jobs and the Economy 

Feds announce $3 million grant for Hanford sewer line extension – The U.S. Economic Development Administration is giving a $3 million grant to Hanford to help build a sewer line needed for growth on the city’s east side, such as the Hanford Marketplace shopping center that will have a Costco store.Fresno Bee article; Hanford Sentinel article 

Parks tax campaign co-chairs announced – David Phillips and Bre Meyer will co-chair the Yes on Measure R campaign, which will seek passage of a ballot measure on the Nov. 8 ballot that will raise an estimated $21 million over 15 years to pay for park repairs, replacements and other upgrades in Lodi. Stockton Record article 

Cosmopolitan Tavern & Italian Grill celebrate new downtown restaurant with strong community support — When Gary Lanfranco, owner of the Cosmopolitan Tavern & Italian Grill, was forced to move his longtime downtown Fresno restaurant to a new location, he hoped most of his loyal customers would follow him. They did. And so did others, lots of others. Fresno Bee article 

Mid-year progress report on California Economic Summit’s One Million Challenges – It has been six months since the California Economic Summit launched its three One Million Challenges after the 2015 Summit in Ontario—outlining a plan in the Roadmap to Shared Prosperity for producing, over the next decade, one million more skilled workers, one million more homes, and one million more acre-feet of water each year. With only five months before the next Summit—on December 13-14 in Sacramento—Summit leaders are taking stock of progress and fine-tuning strategies for achieving these ambitious goals.California Economic Summit report 

San Jose: Court employees on strike over stalled contract negotiations — Hundreds of picketers showed up outside the Hall of Justice as Santa Clara County court employees went on strike Wednesday over stalled contract negotiations, causing some offices to close and limiting service at others. San Jose Mercury News article 

Golden 1 Center partners with company behind Disney on Ice, Ringling Bros. — Plan on the next few years at Golden 1 Center to be filled with plenty of high-wire acts, monster trucks and Disney princesses. The Golden 1 Center has entered into a five-year partnership with Feld Entertainment, the parent company of such traveling family entertainment shows as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Monster Jam, Disney On Ice and more. Sacramento Bee article 

LA’s share of TV pilot production hits record low – Los Angeles’ share of overall TV pilot production in the U.S. and Canada dropped to the lowest level on record in the last year, underscoring the ongoing challenges the region faces to keep television crews in state. LA Times article 

Small business-for-sale numbers rise in Sacramento area — The median asking price of small businesses for sale in the Sacramento area in this year’s second quarter was $252,500, up 27 percent from $198,995 in last year’s second quarter, according to a new report by San Francisco-based BizBuySell.Sacramento Bee article 

Tesla Motors posts $293.2 million loss for second quarter — Tesla Motors Inc. posted a second-quarter loss of $293.2 million Wednesday — only the latest challenge faced by Elon Musk’s electric-car company, which is grappling with a new car model, a government safety probe and a controversial merger.LA Times article; New York Times article 

Apple says it has no gender pay gap in U.S. — Apple, the world’s most valuable company by market value, says it has closed the gender pay gap. San Jose Mercury News article 

San Francisco janitors reach contract deal, avoiding strike — A tentative agreement to raise wages was reached Wednesday evening between a union representing thousands of San Francisco janitors and the cleaning companies that employ them, preventing a strike amid tense negotiations, union leaders said. San Francisco Chronicle article 


Suit: California failed to study oil well impact on water – Environmentalists sued state agencies Wednesday for approving oil well injections into a federally protected aquifer near California’s Central Coast. AP article 

Waterwise: Lower water conservation target for Visalia – California Water Service has secured a new conservation target for Visalia while Tulare is waiting to hear from state officials. Cal Water announced that Visalia now has a state-approved 20 percent reduction in usage when compared with 2013. Previously, Visalia’s conservation target was 32 percent. Visalia Times-Delta article

Commerce Secretary Pritzker hears water concerns during Fresno visit – Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker made a brief visit to Fresno on Wednesday, where she talked with farmers and agriculture officials about trade, economic opportunities and, primarily, water. Fresno Bee article 

Lead reported in urine of northeast Fresno resident; is water to blame? — What may be the first positive test for elevated lead in a person’s urine has surfaced in northeast Fresno as residents stew over the pace of the city’s investigation into the corrosion of galvanized plumbing in households. The bigger question to the residents is whether their water is safe to drink. Fresno Bee article 

Can Southern Californians save water without being told to? — How well are Southern Californians doing at saving water without being told to? The answer in most places is: not great. KPCC report

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Role of Fresno’s police auditor questioned – Relations between communities in the Central Valley and police departments seem to be at a boiling point. Protests and counter protests have taken place several times this summer. The Fresno Police Department has an independent auditor who is supposed to keep an objective set of eyes on the department and help build community trust. Still, some are questioning if that position is getting the job done. KVPR report 

Grieving father questions mayor’s judgment: ‘Somebody needs to answer some questions’ – Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva visited the home of 13-year-old Rayshawn “Ray Ray” Harris hours after the boy was gunned down in his driveway last year. Silva offered his condolences, pledged his support, wept with family members as they sat in that driveway and spoke at the funeral when they buried the boy a few days later. Harris’ relatives were touched by Silva’s sympathy and kindness, but now they are anguished and asking for answers following the revelation that the murder weapon was a gun that belonged to the mayor. Stockton Record article 

Obama shortens terms for 214 prisoners – the most in one day in more than a century – President Obama on Wednesday cut short the sentences of 214 federal inmates, including 67 life sentences, in what the White House called the largest batch of commutations on a single day in more than a century. LA Times article 

All 10 California prisoners granted clemency by Obama were drug offenders — President Barack Obama reduced the sentences of 214 federal inmates on Wednesday in what the White House called the largest single batch of commutations since 1900. Of the prisoners granted clemency, 10 were from California. All of those were serving time for nonviolent, drug-related crimes, and five were in for life. KPCC report

Conviction reversed as appellate court rules Kern judge erred in refusing plea deal — A Kern County judge who refused a plea agreement prosecutors had offered a man charged with leading police on a high-speed chase “abused (his) discretion,” a state appellate court has ruled. Bakersfield Californian article 

Cellmate is suspect in Corcoran prison death — The death of an inmate at Corcoran state prison is being investigated as a homicide, and his cellmate is the suspect, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Wednesday. Fresno Bee article 

LAPD officers who fatally shot Ezell Ford sue city, alleging racial discrimination — The two Los Angeles police officers who fatally shot Ezell Ford filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city, alleging they are being kept on desk duty because of racial discrimination and retaliation by their superiors. LA Times article 

Alameda County settles suit over ‘humiliating’ conditions for women at Santa Rita Jail — Santa Rita Jail in Dublin will provide female inmates with basic amenities such as trash bags and menstrual pads and improve training for deputies after four women plaintiffs reached a $130,000 settlement Monday with Alameda County. KQED report 

After years of asking the hard questions, LA’s longest-serving police commissioner is stepping down — This week marked the end of Robert Saltzman’s term on the five-person civilian panel that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department, capping a nearly decade-long run. LA Times article


Kern High School District trustee says all kids, even of ‘stupid’ anti-vaxxers, deserve schooling – Kern High School District board President Mike Williams called parents who refuse to vaccinate their children for personal belief reasons “strange” and “stupid” Monday, but pushed for policies that would ensure their kids receive an education regardless. Bakersfield Californian article 

All K-12 students need required vaccinations by first day of school – On the first day of school, students are required to have more than notebooks and pencils:Immunization vaccinations now required by the state are also on the list. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 277, eliminating a provision that had allowed students to skip vaccinations due to personal beliefs or religious exemptions. The new law took effect on Jan. 1. Merced Sun-Star article 

Much criticism, no consensus on how to fix charter school oversight – There was widespread agreement at a legislative hearing Wednesday on a lack of clarity and consistency in how the state’s charter schools are approved and overseen. But school and county district officials and charter school leaders characterized the problems very differently and disagreed over how to fix them. EdSource article 

Update: State pay database with 2015 UC salaries — This database allows you to search the salaries of California’s 300,000-plus state workers and view up to eight years of their pay history. Sacramento Bee article 

The innovation campus: Building better ideas – Can architecture spur creativity? Universities are investing in big, high-tech buildings in the hope of evoking big, high-tech thinking. New York Times article 

Consultant gives crash course in cyberspace as teaching tool – Hundreds of Modesto City Schools teachers packed into the Downey High School auditorium Wednesday morning to then pack in a lot of information on education technology. For about two hours, Harvard-educated consultant Alan November shared research, tips, examples and stories to help the seventh- through 12th-grade instructors harness the power of the internet. He showed them how to use search engines at an academic level and urged them to teach their students the same. Modesto Bee article 

Kings Valley Academy expands in FAST Plaza — A local high school is expanding its facilities in an effort to help more students who are struggling earn a high school diploma. Kings Valley Academy, a public charter school, is one of three tenants in the FAST Plaza. Hanford Sentinel article 


Following 2012 Chevron fire, California to consider new regulations on refineries – Four years after a massive fire at the Chevron refinery sent thousands of people to area hospitals, California is considering new regulations for oil refineries that, if enacted, could be among the toughest in the country.East Bay Times article 

To battle Goose Fire, showers and sleeping tents are required – After another night of battling the Goose Fire, Alaskan firefighter Andres Ocozco got needed rest Wednesday in the tent city set up at Sierra High School. Fresno Bee article 

This group just saved a Kern County meadow on the Pacific Crest Trail – Efforts to save a meadow in Kern County along the Pacific Crest Trail have proven successful. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports. KVPR report 

Fresno Chaffee Zoo helping to restore tiny turtles to foothills — Fresno Chaffee Zoo is joining an effort to save Northern California’s only native turtles, which are dying off because non-native critters are taking their food and eating their eggs and young. Fresno Bee article 

Lode elephant refuge goes solar — With their colossal bodies and their inability to sweat, wild elephants are considered especially vulnerable to rising temperatures. But a sanctuary for retired and rescued elephants near San Andreas is doing its part to help those endangered populations on the far side of the world. Stockton Record article

Health/Human Services

Finishing the tower: How Tulare Regional Medical Center came up with $55 million – It started as an attempt to modernize and expand Tulare’s community hospital, allow it to meet earthquake-safety standards and give it a bigger emergency room. That was in 2005, when voters overwhelmingly supported an $85 million bond issue they had every reason to believe would be all that was needed. This month, 11 years later, the project remains unfinished. And voters are being asked for another $55 million, amid an angry, divisive dispute that has turned neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Tulare County marks first case of Zika infection — Tulare County health officials said Wednesday a person has tested positive for the Zika virus after getting bitten by mosquitoes during recent travels in Central America. It is the first Zika infection in Tulare County. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article

Physicians blast management as they split with Community Hospice of Modesto – Five physicians, including the medical director, have cut ties with Community Hospice of Modesto and are airing their complaints about top management of the organization. Modesto Bee article 

California overhauling foster care rates to support family caregivers – After years of complaints, California is drastically changing the way it financially supports foster families. It’s a move that aims to prioritize the needs of the state’s 62,000 foster children and make it easier for grandparents ans other relatives to care for them. KQED report 

San Francisco startup first in state to cover fertility for LGBT workersGusto, the San Francisco human resources startup where Katie Evans-Reber works, on Monday became the first company in California to extend health coverage of fertility treatments to LGBT employees and their same-sex partners. The company hopes it can lead by example and inspire other businesses, including those whose payroll and benefits Gusto manages, to do the same. San Francisco Chronicle article

Barnyard dust could be magic ingredient for asthma — The results of a new study support the idea that microbes from farm animals, carried into the home, could stimulate the immune systems of children early on. New York Times article

Land Use/Housing 

As new apartments flood downtown LA, landlords offer sweet deals — Something is happening downtown that would shock many renters living in an increasingly expensive Los Angeles: Some landlords are letting tenants live for free. LA Times article

New ordinance could give Sacramento’s urban forest closer scrutiny — In the City of Trees, a new ordinance might put more bite in protecting our bark. The Sacramento City Council may vote Thursday on hotly contested new rules for safeguarding, maintaining and removing trees on both private and public land. The vote follows two years of contentious negotiations that failed to bring consensus. Sacramento Bee article


Stockton airport gets $2.6 million grant to replace crumbling aviation ramp — The plan to improve a key piece of infrastructure at the Stockton Metropolitan Airport is finally moving forward. The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday awarded the airport a $2.6 million grant to rebuild and resurface the transportation hub’s aging general aviation ramp. Stockton Record article 

Other areas 

Identifies in fatal bus crash released; passengers complain about company – A couple traveling from Mexico to visit a daughter they hadn’t seen in years were among the four people killed in a horrific bus crash that left survivors and authorities raising questions Wednesday about the company that operates the route along the West Coast. Merced Sun-Star article; Video: ‘Trauma doctors discuss response to bus crash victims’ in Modesto Bee 

Donations help out Bakersfield animal care center — The Bakersfield Animal Care Center got a big step closer to its goal of adding a second surgery ensemble to its medical center thanks to the generous donation of a surgery table by Bakersfield Veterinary Hospital. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Credit Rep. David Valadao of Hanford for having the smarts and the political courage to put principles before party. Other Republicans, to their credit, have spoken out and are leaving Trump to fend for his own bizarre, erratic self. But Valley holdouts remain, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield and Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock. 

Sacramento Bee – Credit Rep. David Valadao of Hanford for having the smarts and the political courage to put principles before party. Other Republicans, to their credit, have spoken out and are leaving Trump to fend for his own bizarre, erratic self. But Valley holdouts remain, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield and Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock; Lawmakers should do what it takes to revive the paid-family-leave bill derailed by now-absent Assemblyman Roger Hernández. It would be a game-changer for new parents at small businesses; Nebraska-based InfoGroup, a big data and marketing company, concludes that Sacramento is the new Oakland. All those thrift stores, tattoo parlors and breweries add up to hip. And they didn’t even count all the man buns.