December 12, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

A problem ‘too big to ignore’ – how years of congressional wrangling led to a water compromise — It took years of negotiations, and the right political timing, to bring the first major water policy affecting California in decades through the House and Senate. Over frayed feelings and filibuster threats, both chambers overwhelmingly passed the bill, which changes how much water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to San Joaquin Valley farmers and Southern California. LA Times article

Dan Walters: Darrell Steinberg will try transition to executive post – and that’s not easy — One of the most difficult transitions for professional politicians is from legislative leadership into an executive position. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

George Skelton: It’s time for legislators to act – not yak – and fix California’s roads and highways — California’s roads keep getting worse and the governor and legislative leaders keep promising to fix them. And promising. The pavement and the politicians have one thing in common. All keep failing. Skelton column in LA Times

Presidential Politics

Trump faces first significant post-election pushback from Republicans over CIA report on Russia – As President-elect Donald Trump dismissed intelligence reports about Russian interference in the presidential election as “ridiculous,” calls for a government investigation from lawmakers, including some in his own party, grew louder Sunday. LA Times articleNew York Times article

Trump and the GOP are charging ahead with Obamacare repeal, but few are eager to follow –  As they race to repeal large parts of the Affordable Care Act, President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are leaving behind nearly everyone but their base voters and a handful of conservative activists. Not a single major organization representing patients, physicians, hospitals or others who work in the nation’s healthcare system backs the GOP’s Obamacare strategy. LA Times article

Despite scientific consensus, Trump says ‘nobody’ knows if climate change is real – President-elect Donald Trump said Sunday that “nobody really knows” whether climate change is real and that he is “studying” whether the United States should withdraw from the global warming agreement struck in Paris a year ago. Washington Post article

If Trump won’t, can California sign the international climate treaty? — With President-Elect Trump’s pro-fossil fuel rhetoric and the future of the international climate treaty looking cloudy, some are hoping California take over leadership on the international stage. That’s raised an unprecedented question: if the US pulls out of the international climate treaty, as Trump has said he wants to, could California sign on to it? KQED report

News Stories –Top Stories

California’s climate fight could be painful – especially on job and income growth — Californians are likely to pay more for gasoline, electricity, food and new homes — and to feel their lives jolted in myriad other ways — because their state broadly expanded its war on climate change this summer. The ambitious new goals will require complex regulations on an unprecedented scale, but were approved in Sacramento without a study of possible economic repercussions. LA Times article

Will the wet start to rainy season put a dent in California’s drought? — While Northern California has seen a wet start to winter, the situation is more complicated across the state. Central and Southern California continue to experience unusually dry conditions. And even in the north state, it’s not clear how the rest of the rainy season will shape up. Sacramento Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Measure N likely will start in Visalia on April 1 – Shoppers in Visalia will start paying the added Measure N sales tax on April 1 – No joke. With the Nov. 8 election result certified last week, Visalia City Council received an update on the local tax measure, which will finance hiring, training and equipment for Visalia’s first responders, road maintenance and parks upkeep. Council was told what the initial funds will be spent on and when to expect the added revenue to start coming if deadlines are met. Visalia Times-Delta article

Modesto council to get updates on homeless projects — Modesto officials will get an update Tuesday on plans to open a one-stop center and a low-barrier shelter for the homeless. Both projects are taking more time than expected. The center – where the homeless could access a range of services – could open in March, and the low-barrier shelter – which, unlike traditional shelters, accepts couples and pets – could open in summer. Modesto Bee article

New Grand Save saga continues — Less than two months ago, a transformative proposal was unveiled to replace a perennial south Stockton crime magnet with an oasis of urban renewal. There would be a public market. There would be medical and dental services, along with a pharmacy. There would be places to get a bite to eat or to sip a cup of coffee. There would be affordable housing. But legal complications are stalling the effort to replace the condemned former New Grand Save Market at Ninth Street and Airport Way. Stockton Record article

Pat Talamantes and Dave Lucchetti: Sacramento region must focus on jobs to ensure a brighter future – Talamantes, president and chief executive of The McClatchy Co., and Lucchetti, CEO of Pacific Coast Building Products, write, “Creating a dynamic organization with one focus requires a partnership like no other. Private and public sector leaders have come together around that strategic mission. Seeing everyone work together and grow has been an inspiring experience, one that will continue to energize all people who aspire for a better, brighter Sacramento region.” Talamantes/Lucchetti op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Steve Knell and Peter Rietkerk: California’s plan for river flows will be devastating for our region – Knell, general manager of the Oakdale Irrigation District, and Rietkerk, general manager of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, write, “There is a simple reason that an overwhelming number of cities, school districts, business leaders and political officials from throughout San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties have joined with water agencies and farmers to oppose the state’s plan to dramatically increase river flows. It’s an irresponsible proposal that would have severe economic consequences for an entire region without accomplishing what it purports to do – dramatically increase salmon populations.” Knell/Rietkerk op-ed in Modesto Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

After a crime, the price of a second chance – Diversion is intended to relieve overburdened courts and crowded jails, and to spare low-risk offenders from the devastating consequences of a criminal record. It mostly applies to nonviolent cases that make up the vast majority of crimes — offenses like shoplifting, drug possession and theft. There are now diversion programs in almost every state. But an examination by The New York Times found that in many places, only people with money could afford a second chance. Though diversion was introduced as a money-saving reform, some jurisdictions quickly turned it into a source of revenue. New York Times article

California prison record system cost doubles to $386 million — A massive project to modernize medical record-keeping for California prison inmates has more than doubled in cost from original estimates to nearly $400 million in just three years, the latest in a long string of computer projects that have befuddled state government. AP article

Man stabs worshiper near Simi Valley mosque in hate crime, police allege – A 29-year-old Simi Valley man has been arrested and booked on suspicion of committing a hate crime after he stabbed an apparent worshiper near a mosque, authorities say. LA Times article


Home-grown school superintendents bring stability, deep knowledge to their districts – A small group of home-grown school superintendents in California defy the stereotype of a school leader who parachutes into a district, spends three or four years there, and moves on to a new job in another district. EdSource article

Turlock Christian Schools open new campus is completely remade Medic Alert HQ — Top-to-bottom renovation of the corner property at 2323 Colorado Ave. has cost more than $6 million on top of the $4 million purchase price, Superintendent Karen Winter said Friday. The changes include high-end furnishings from Australia designed to change how kids work and learn. Modesto Bee article


PG&E finds weaknesses in its gas storage system in review of major 2015 outage – A Pacific Gas and Electric review of a major outage last year has uncovered a list of safety problems at the utility’s largest gas storage facility. KQED report

Madera and Mariposa counties to benefit from Sierra Nevada Conservancy grants — Madera and Mariposa counties will receive part of a $3.1 million grant awarded by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy for projects that will reforest land and reduce tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada, announced Sierra Nevada Conservancy spokeswoman Brittany Covich. Fresno Bee article

Health/Human Services 

Steve Flores: Cranktones and help for local cancer patients returns – In a wholesome twisted version of Clark Kent and Superman, Rick Kreiser draws an easy comparison. By day he runs the successful Carney’s Technology Center here in Bakersfield. By night he transforms into “Rockin’ Rick,” the driving force behind the popular and award-winning Guitar Master Series. Flores column in Bakersfield Californian

Fresno doctor, three nurses in trouble for Botox injections and laser hair removal — A doctor and three registered nurses will be arraigned Monday in Fresno County Superior Court on felony charges of unlawful practice of medicine involving Botox injections and laser hair removal at the Mystique Medical Spa in northeast Fresno. Fresno Bee article

Land Use/Housing

San Joaquin County supervisors set to adopt general plan — It’s been more than 20 years since San Joaquin County adopted a general plan, and a new one could be put in place next week. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the General Plan 2035 during the afternoon session of its Tuesday meeting. Stockton Record article


How fast should you drive in the carpool lane? CHP weighs in — How fast should you drive in the carpool lane during commute hours? Put another way, is that lane considered the “fast” lane, or is it really an extra, special-purpose lane next to the fast lane? Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Merced County animal shelters need community’s help — Merced County animal shelters are scrambling to place numerous dogs, many suffering from a variety of medical issues, more than a week after nearly three dozen were taken from an Atwater home. Merced Sun-Star article

Residents of Oakland warehouses fear ‘witch hunt’ after fatal fire – As Oakland’s tightknit arts community continues to grapple with dozens of deaths in the Ghost Ship warehouse blaze, it is also being roiled by heightened scrutiny over the safety of similar living spaces. LA Times article

The last hours of Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse — Max Ohr considered himself the creative director, the “go-to guy,” the “camp counselor” at the Ghost Ship warehouse, and on that Friday night, he was also the doorman. San Jose Mercury News articleNew  York Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Wells Fargo victims deserve their day in court.