August 9, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Labor and environmental groups say they are done negotiating over Gov. Jerry Brown’s housing plan — Major labor, environmental and tenants groups have walked away from negotiations over Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to streamline approval for housing developments that include setting aside a percentage of units for low-income Californians, further imperiling the plan’s chances of passing this year. LA Times article 

California’s electricity grid plan put on hold — Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for a regional electricity grid is being put on hold this year, and lawmakers are no longer expected to consider a measure that would allow California to partner with five other states in buying and selling power. LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics 

GOP congressman swings back at Modesto Bee editorial that slammed him for silence on Trump — Central Valley Rep. Jeff Denham swung back Monday at a Modesto Bee editorial that harshly criticized his reluctance to talk about Donald Trump. Modesto Bee newspaper’s editorial board last week sharply criticized the Republican over his silence on whether he supports Trump, saying in an editorialthat he “has remained silent, apparently hoping the issue, if not Trump himself, will disappear.” LA Times article 

Tubbs: Stockton making progress despite ‘distractions’ – A half-dozen angry defenders of embattled Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva, one of whom was armed with a bullhorn, loudly and repeatedly interrupted a news conference late Monday afternoon organized outside City Hall by challenger Michael Tubbs. ‘ The protesters, most of them familiar as vocal Tubbs critics who regularly disparage him at City Council meetings, chanted Silva’s last name repeatedly and referenced Tubbs’ DUI arrest in 2014. Stockton Record article

Assemblywoman Shannon Grove: Dangerous new laws headed for vote as state legislature faces end of year deadline – The Bakersfield Republican writes, “Just as summer comes to a close and kids head back to school, California’s legislators return to Sacramento for the final month of a two-year session to decide the fate of hundreds of potential new laws. As I and my Republican colleagues continue to fight the majority party’s never ending quest to raise taxes, grow the size of government, and regulate every part of our lives, I want to bring to your attention two of the many damaging pieces of legislation being considered.” Grove op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Loretta Sanchez hasn’t agreed to two debates because she wants more — Attorney General Kamala Harris has formally agreed to two debates in the U.S. Senate campaign, including one next month co-sponsored by The Sacramento Bee, but her Democratic opponent, Loretta Sanchez, has yet to sign off on either event.Sacramento Bee article 

Don Eskes: Our knowledge of marijuana’s effects is incomplete – The CEO of the Fresno Rescue Mission writes, “Our goal at the mission is to see the need for our services decrease, not increase. From where I sit, there needs to be much more thought, evaluation and study given to the overall impact that legalization of marijuana would have on our California communities and society as a whole.” Eskes op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Wondering what recreational weed will mean for Merced County? — Medical cannabis advocates are set to discuss what a statewide recreational marijuana ballot measure, if passed in November, would mean in Merced County. Merced Sun-Star article 

Dan Walters: Tough new bill on rape conflicts with Jerry Brown’s ballot measure – The new measure, Assembly Bill 29, appears to be a direct challenge to Brown’s ballot measure. It would compel anyone convicted of raping an unconscious person or spouse – crimes now considered “nonviolent” under Proposition 57 – to serve a full sentence with no time off for good behavior. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Tom Scott and Kathay Feng: Proposition 54 will lessen the power of special interests at Capitol – Scott, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business, and Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, write, “The people of California deserve a more transparent government that is more open, honest and accountable. This measure will ensure their voices are heard in our political process and lead to better policies for our state. We strongly urge voters to say no to special interests and yes to Proposition 54 in November.” Scott/Feng op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

California high court says legislators’ votes are protected by free speech rights – The California Supreme Court decided Monday that that the votes of elected officials are protected free speech. The state high court ruled in a lawsuit brought by the city of Montebello against three former council members and a city administrator. Montebello contended the officials had violated a conflict of interest law in supporting a garbage hauling contract in exchange for campaign contributions.LA Times article 

Scott Jones vowed to support Donald Trump, now says ‘I don’t know’ — Republican Scott Jones, challenging Democratic Rep. Ami Bera in suburban Sacramento County, is backing off his commitment to support Donald Trump. Sacramento Bee article 

California lawmakers consider allowing nurse-midwives to practice without physician supervision — A California bill that would allow certified nurse-midwives to practice independently is pitting the state’s doctors against its hospitals, even though both sides support the main goal of the legislation. KQED report 

Public now has a chance to modernize California’s Political Reform Act — The public can now weigh in on how to make California’s historic Political Reform Act easier to understand and more consistent. The first of two public comment periods is now open as part a new project to ensure California’s 42-year-old political reform law is modernized for the next generation of political participation and technology. California Forward report

Minority teens tell state lawmakers to ‘Free Our Dreams’ — Hundreds of minority teens gathered on the steps of the state Capitol Monday to urge lawmakers to help improve their communities and relations with law enforcement. Sacramento Bee article 

Remembering Sharon Runner: A ‘ball of energy’ in a ‘size 4 dress’ — The late state Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, received an emotional tribute from colleagues on the Senate floor Monday, including a eulogy from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics 

Tom Fife: America’s got a big, big Trump wave coming this fall — America is still really, really angry. And now, in 2016, America’s got a really big wave coming. Because, Joey, Donald Trump completes America’s hat trick. Just watch … Fife column in Visalia Times-Delta

Top GOP security advisors warn Trump is ‘dangerous’ — Donald Trump’s problems inside his own party were compounded Monday when 50 senior national security officials who have served under GOP administrations stretching back to that of Richard Nixon warned he “would be the most reckless president in American history.” LA Times article

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Senate Daily File

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News Stories

Top Stories

State rail authority will seek a $35-million increase for key project in bullet train plan — Relocation of Highway 99 in Fresno, a key part of the bullet train project, is over budget, behind schedule and will cost millions of dollars more to complete, officials said Monday. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is planning Tuesday to seek a $35-million increase in state funding from the original $226 million, which was granted to Caltrans in 2013. LA Times article 

Public figures walk tightrope in transportation tax campaign – Informing people about the upcoming vote on a transportation tax – without urging them to vote “yes” or “no” – is the subject of a special Thursday gathering for elected officeholders and other public officials throughout Stanislaus County. Walking that tightrope – educating, without advocating – is a tricky requirement of California law, and those who put Measure L on the Nov. 8 ballot say they want to make sure government people follow it. Modesto Bee article 

Firm to develop facilities plan for CSU Bakersfield athletics – Kenneth “Ziggy” Siegfried, CSU Bakersfield’s director of athletics, unveiled a partnership Monday with the Los Angeles-based architecture firm Gensler to create a master plan for athletics facilities that will be the basis for future fundraising and improvement projects, athletic department spokesman Corey Costelloe announced in a press release. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy 

Downtown parking proposals await Turlock City Council – A downtown parking plan before the Turlock City Council on Tuesday evening calls for improving use of existing spaces before building new lots or garages. Modesto Bee article 

Sacramento to ring downtown arena with higher-priced parking zones – The city of Sacramento is proposing a series of event-parking zones around Golden 1 Center where it can charge variable prices for street and garage parking when the downtown arena opens in two months. Sacramento Bee article 

Homeless Modestans get first showers on Cleansing Hope shuttle – Church in the Park’s Cleansing Hope Shower Shuttle went into action Monday, providing hot showers to 19 homeless people over 4 1/2 hours. “I’ve been needing this for two weeks. … Oh, my God, it was so good,” Timothy Santiago said after showering and shaving. He said he usually cleans up with cold water in park restrooms, canals or rivers, and that a warm shower was a rare treat. “I feel so light. I was heavy for a minute; now I feel light.” Each person gets about 25 minutes on the shuttle, which includes undressing, a 10-minute shower, then dressing again. Modesto Bee article 

Hundreds line up for Hobby Lobby grand opening in Fresno – With cheers and a prayer, Hobby Lobby opened its doors to hundreds of people waiting in line Monday morning. Fans of the craft and home decor store have eagerly awaited the new store at 6565 N. Blackstone Ave., halfway between Herndon and Sierra avenues. Fresno Bee article 

Del Rio challenges Modesto over water rate increases – Modesto is facing a legal challenge over its proposal to raise water rates. An attorney representing the Del Rio Property Owners Association sent a letter to the city Monday asking it to postpone a City Council public hearing scheduled for Tuesday to raise rates for Modesto’s roughly 73,000 water customers, including the few hundred in Del Rio, the affluent community a few miles north of Modesto. Modesto Bee article 

Grocery contract yields small pay raises, as workers stave off higher retirement age – Clerks, meat cutters and stockers who staff some of Southern California’s largest grocery chains will vote Monday and Tuesday on a contract that includes modest pay increases and cements current health and pension benefits. LA Times article 

How low will it go? Millennium Tower’s troubles haven’t peaked — Revelations that the Millennium Tower in downtown San Francisco has sunk 16 inches and is tilting are just the opening act in a mega-million-dollar “who knew what and when” drama that portends even more troubles ahead for the high-end high-rise. San Francisco Chronicle article 

El Cerrito ballot measure language questioned — The City Council ignored a recommendation from its Financial Advisory Board when it approved ballot language for a bond measure to build a new library that failed to mention that the measure is a tax. East Bay Times article


California is declared free of bovine TB — California ranchers have again stamped out bovine tuberculosis and should have an easier time moving cattle out of state, under a new Agriculture Department rule issued Monday. McClatchy Newspapers article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Fresno police union head Parks stepping down after 12 years – Jacky Parks, who has been Fresno’s police union president for almost 12 years – twice as long as anyone else who has ever held the job – will not seek re-election to a seventh term this fall. Parks, 52, said he feels the union’s current leadership is solid and he can step away knowing his replacement has the ability to handle the demands of the top spot. And, he said, with eight years until his planned retirement, he’s itching to get back into the field. Fresno Bee article 

Suspect in Corcoran prison death was doing time for killing, cremating half-brother in Kings County — Corcoran State Prison officials have identified a dead inmate and said the man’s suspected killer is his cellmate, who was serving 70 years for killing and cremating his half-brother in Kings County. Fresno Bee article; LA Times article 

Pietro retires as Atwater police chief; Joseph named interim – Frank Pietro, an Atwater native who rose from the ranks to become his hometown’s top cop and later guided the city out of dire financial straits, has decided to retire, the Sun-Star has confirmed. Samuel Joseph, a 19-year veteran with the Atwater Police Department, has been named interim chief of police. Merced Sun-Star article

Stanislaus sheriff’s copter crew unhurt in recent Modesto Airport hard landing – A Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department helicopter pilot was forced to make a hard landing at Modesto Airport on July 30 when the jet engine of his craft lost power upon final approach, Sheriff Adam Christianson said Monday. Modesto Bee article 

Sacramento city commission may recommend release of video in police shootings – The Sacramento Community Police Commission may ask the City Council to pass an ordinance requiring the release of dashboard and body camera footage from officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths. Sacramento Bee article 

Tulare County sheriff promotes anonymous tip line — To help keep communities safe in Tulare County, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux encourages residents to report crimes and suspicious activity using TipNow. The automated reporting system anonymously sends tips through text, voice messaging or email to the sheriff’s department. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Slain ‘Pokemon Go’ player had promising future, Delta College officials say — San Joaquin Delta College pitcher Calvin Riley was blessed with a great right-arm, a bulldog mentality and an equally impressive curveball. At 20 years old, Riley, with a potentially bright baseball career, was gunned down Saturday night in a national park on the San Francisco waterfront, while playing the “Pokemon GO” mobile app with a friend. Stockton Record article 

Black Lives Matter activists hand City Hall a petition calling for LAPD chief’s firing — The activists walked through the doors of Los Angeles City Hall, into an elevator and rode up to the mayor’s office on the third floor. They knew Mayor Eric Garcetti wasn’t there — he’s attending the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and trying to rally support for L.A.’s 2024 bid — but they had something they wanted to drop off: a petition urging Garcetti to fire LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. LA Times article

LA sheriff essentially bans deputies from shooting at moving cars — The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has changed its policy to essentially ban sheriff’s deputies from shooting at moving vehicles unless another deadly weapon is present. KPCC report


Katehi’s fate as UC Davis chancellor could be decided at special regents meeting Thursday – In what may signal a decision on the future of UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, the University of California Board of Regents has scheduled a special meeting Thursday to discuss a “personnel matter, Davis Campus.”Sacramento Bee article 

Campus food programs aimed at student hunger – Enough programs around the country have launched that a resource organization now exists: the College and University Food Bank Alliance. Other food programs on California campuses include partnerships with church and community food pantries and meal programs. At Fresno State, for example, students at risk of going hungry can access meal points by students who are happy to share, find food at a campus pantry open Monday through Friday and download an app that sends out an alert if food served at a campus event is now available to “after event guests.” California Health Report article 

Common Core: Still the standard despite questions – Common Core standards were put in place to ensure that students nationwide have the skill set and knowledge by the end of each grade level. The end result: to be college- and career-ready by the end of high school. And a second benefit would help students moving from school to school: the standards would not vary much. Stockton Record article 

‘He has a love for humanity’: New superintendent comes to Stockton with rave reviews – When Stockton Unified School District trustees introduced Dr. Eliseo Davalos as its new Superintendent in mid-June, he walked to the opposite end of the dais and directly addressed the packed room of students, parents and educators.Stockton Record article 

Merced College leader addresses letter, nude photo controversy — A Merced College administrator, in a campuswide message, attempted to shed some light on a controversial and somewhat mysterious issue about which school officials previously have been mum. An email written by Chris Vitelli, the vice president of student services, shared with campus employees some information about an anonymous letter and its ramifications. The letter first came to light publicly in an article published in the Merced Sun-Star. Merced Sun-Star article 

Before improvement comes discussion – When University of the Pacific’s Beyond Our Gates initiative first began operating several years ago, communications director Jennifer Torres Siders knew literacy problems in Stockton and San Joaquin County weren’t going to be an easy fix. Stockton Record article 

James Mousalimas: The secret to the best education – The San Joaquin County superintendent of schools writes, “Together, upon committing ourselves to providing the best possible education and opportunities for all of our children in San Joaquin County, we can foster the growth of our future. Let us embark on this year’s adventure together — parents, students, teachers, staff and administrators — to meet the needs of every child and to keep that same enthusiasm we all feel on the first day of school consistent and lasting throughout the year.” Mousalimas op-ed in Stockton Record 

Parental involvement begins at home – A child’s academic success is determined by many factors, but the No. 1 predictor continues to be parent involvement. As a result, schools, teachers and community organizations are finding ways to get the message out and make it easy for parents to participate. Stockton Record article 

Daniel Weintraub: School dental clinics good for kids, taxpayers — Paul Glassman, a UOP professor of dentistry who is behind the pilot project, says school-based clinics are more efficient than a full-service dentist’s office because, typically, two-thirds of the kids are fine with just a cleaning and checkup. Seeing them in a regular office creates an unnecessary bottleneck in expensively outfitted rooms that should be reserved for work that only a licensed dentist can perform. Weintraub in Sacramento Bee 

Third Kumon learning center opening in Fresno — Kumon Math and Reading Center, an after-school education company with nearly 1,500 franchises across the U.S., is opening a third center in Fresno this fall. Arshdeep Kaur, who has a master’s degree in economics and a background in teaching, is the instructor and owner of the new franchise in northwest Fresno. Fresno Bee article 


Parks promised to poor California areas unbuilt years later – A decade after California voters were promised $400 million worth of parks in some of the state’s poorest neighborhoods, an Associated Press review finds fewer than half of the 126 projects that received the money have been built, as Democratic lawmakers push to add another $1 billion to the program. AP article 

Steve Lopez on what’s been saved along the California coast – and what the bulldozers are still aiming for — California’s 1,100 miles of coastline is a glorious global destination because generations have fought to protect it. But property owners are still locking out the public and bulldozers are still revving up to tear into open space. Times columnist Steve Lopez and photographer Allen Schaben are on a road trip from Oregon to Mexico to explore beaches, wetlands, wave-pounded coves, rocky cliffs and the characters who thrive in this iconic realm. LA Times article

Health/Human Services

Kern worst in state for teen birth rate – First the good news: California’s teen birth rate has continued to drop to record-low levels. And Kern County’s numbers keep improving. Now the bad: Kern’s latest birth rates among adolescents are the worst in the state. Bakersfield Californian article 

Drugging our kids: Legislation to halt overmedicating foster children faces key votes — California’s sweeping efforts to curb the overprescribing of psychiatric drugs to foster children face crucial votes in Sacramento this week, as legislators scramble to negotiate behind the scenes with doctors’ groups and the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown whose support is key to the fate of the reforms. San Jose Mercury News article 

Carmen George: Camp Sunshine Dreams a ray of light for children with cancer — Ten-year-old Makenzi Barclay stands up to get a better view during a Polynesian dance performance at Camp Sunshine Dreams. She leans on her big sister’s shoulder, and Skyler Barclay, 12, wraps an arm around Makenzi’s back. The Clovis girls sway in unison as they watch a happy hula dancer about their age. This is no ordinary camp, and these are no ordinary sisters, but here they say they feel “normal.” Camp Sunshine Dreams is for children with cancer and their siblings. For one week each summer, the Camp Keola facility at Huntington Lake becomes a haven of healing and fun for these incredible kids. George in Fresno Bee

Land Use/Housing 

Jeff Jardine: Petition up and running to deny downtown Modesto adult entertainment club – After reading my Aug. 1 column “Downtown cabaret plan sure to rile morality police,” Dean Smeltzer of Modesto felt obligated – no, make that energized – to step forward as one of them. Like many others in the community, Smeltzer absolutely opposes the idea of a Beverly Hills-based corporation opening an adult entertainment club in the former St. Stan’s Brewery at Ninth and L streets, across Ninth from the DoubleTree Hotel and Modesto Centre Plaza convention center. Jardine column in Modesto Bee 

Tule tribe looks to relocate casino — Members of the Tule Indian Tribal Council told the Board of Supervisors they were moving forward with plans to relocate Eagle Mountain Casino to the Porterville Airport area where they own land. Visalia Times-Delta article


Moody’s boosts Fresno Yosemite’s credit outlook, reaffirms bond rating — Moody’s Investors Service has announced an improved credit outlook for Fresno Yosemite International Airport’s credit outlook from stable to positive.  The ratings agency also affirmed the airport’s Baa1 rating on Airport Revenue Bonds. The Business Journal article 

Other areas 

Vicki Crow, Fresno County treasurer-tax collector, to resign — Vicki Crow, Fresno County’s auditor-controller/treasurer-tax collector for 14 years, said Monday that she will resign from her elected office in October. Crow, 56, cited family reasons for leaving the job. Fresno Bee article 

Sacramento fire crews arrive nearly two minutes later than national standard — Sacramento firefighters take nearly two minutes longer to reach homes and businesses than what national experts recommend, according to new findings released this week. Sacramento Bee article 

Lawyers group seeks to ban attorney sex harassment — Lawyers should be prohibited from engaging in sexual harassment in court, in the office or at their firms’ social gatherings, representatives of the nation’s largest legal organization decided Monday in an action that will affect disciplinary rules around the nation. San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Sacramento Bee – Donald Trump’s economic plan looks out for the wealthy, not workers; Social media and TV have saturated us with stories about the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but ratings are lackluster. Is it because the big picture is uncomfortable?