December 16, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

California is itching to take on Trump. Here are the prominent figures leading the charge – Beyond the state’s representatives in Washington — including Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosiand U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris — the roster of Trump antagonists in California is a lengthy one. Here’s a field guide to the Californians on the front lines in the state’s brewing battle with the incoming president. LA Times article

Dan Walters: Assembly’s Proposition 54 rules punch a big loophole — It’s uncertain how courts would interpret Proposition 54, but one wonders whether legislators – and interest groups that sponsor bills – really want to risk having them invalidated. They – and the public – would be better served were the Legislature to acknowledge that voters are tired of parliamentary tricks and provide 72-hour notice for all floor votes, even if it’s inconvenient. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

 Valley politics

Election clash continues — The political musical chairs-like exchange between current Tulare County Supervisor Phil Cox and Visalia Councilwoman Amy Shuklian will continue today. Visalia Times-Delta article


Advocates hope Merced will become ‘sanctuary’ for undocumented — The Merced Organizing Project and its partners are floating the idea of approaching city and county officials for potential resolutions to become a “regional sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants following the election of Donald Trump as president. Merced Sun-Star article

Should LA County fund legal help for undocumented immigrants — Los Angeles County supervisors are expected to consider next week whether to set aside an initial $1 million to help cover legal services for unauthorized immigrants facing deportation. KPCC report

Other areas

California assemblyman worries free expression under threat on college campuses — What’s a new California assemblyman to do as one of his first official acts? Perhaps lightly accuse the local college of infringing on students’ First Amendment rights. In a press release sent Monday, a week after taking office, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, highlighted a recent report from an organization critical of campus policies that it believes violate constitutionally-protected freedom of speech and due process. Sacramento Bee article

California bill declares all children have a basic right to quality education, healthcare and social services – State Sen. Richard Pan on Monday said all California children should have a basic right to quality childcare, early education and health and dental services no matter where they live or the income of their parents. LA Times article

Bill could raise age restrictions on new California drivers — A new bill aims to reduce teen driving accidents by extending driver restrictions to new drivers 21 and under. The bill, titled AB 63, was introduced to the legislature on Wednesday by Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D-Oakley). The legislation will increase the age that new drivers must hold a provisional license from 18 to 21. San Jose Mercury News article

Robin Abcarian: At a cannabis festival, joyful stoners imbibe and state officials sweat the details — Outside a Sonoma County Fairgrounds exhibition hall last weekend, hordes of happy pot lovers walked around the Emerald Cup harvest festival, already stoned or about to be. Inside the hall, a panel of entirely sober government officials discussed the ramifications of marijuana legalization, California’s complex and evolving regulatory structure, and tried to answer questions about the future of the cannabis industry that seem, at this point, unanswerable. Abcarian column in LA Times

Bill that protects online reviews becomes law – A bill that makes it easier for people to leave reviews on websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor without fear of being sued by businesses for sharing their opinion has become law. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Presidential Politics

The six California congressional members more likely to help, or hinder, the Trump administration – e largest congressional delegation in the country will play an even more outsized role in Washington over the next four years as California’s 55 members work to battle or bolster President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy mentioned.  LA Times article

Once again, Donald Trump makes false claim about the warnings of Russian hacking – Dawn had barely broken Thursday when Donald Trump again spread via Twitter something provably false: that the White House had not raised an alarm about Russian interference in the presidential election until after Hillary Clinton’s defeat. LA Times articleNew York Times article

California electors favor changing Electoral College – They’re the chosen few — the 55 California residents who will directly cast votes for president. But many of California’s presidential electors don’t think they or anyone else should have that right. AP article

California’s top elections officer says it’s past time to revisit electoral college — Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who will certify the results of the Nov. 8 election this week, said it’s wrong to consider overhauling some parts of federal voting law without also weighing the merits of the electoral college in the modern era.  LA Times article

Victor Davis Hanson: How many military leaders does Trump need on his team? – We are currently nearing $20 trillion in national debt, stagnating under nonexistent economic growth and near-zero interest rates and suffering from record labor nonparticipation rates. We are seeing a failed health care system, a discredited IRS and VA and the worst racial relations in half a century. Generals did not compile that record. Lawyers and lifetime Washington politicians did. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Tech workers pledge to never build a database of Muslims — When asked a year ago on the campaign trail whether he thought that the United States should create a database of Muslims in the country, Donald Trump said in an interview with NBC News: “Oh, I would certainly implement that — absolutely.” On Tuesday, hundreds of members of the technology industry weighed in on whether they would help build such a database. The answer? Absolutely not. LA Times article

News Stories – Top Stories

It’s Amazon, and it’s jobs, so Fresno City Council says yes to tax rebates — A 30-year program of property tax rebates was approved Thursday by the Fresno City Council as incentives to convince internet retail behemoth to establish a large order-fulfillment center in the city’s southern industrial area. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

Developer touts Quay Valley progress, officials skeptical — Here’s the latest on Quay Valley, the eco-friendly, high-tech city proposed for flat farmland along Interstate 5 south of Kettleman City. Developer Quay Hays, the Southern California-based entrepreneur behind the project, came to the Sentinel Wednesday to tout the concept’s progress toward eventually clearing the planning hurdles it faces with the Kings County Community Development Agency. Hanford Sentinel article

Jobs and the Economy

See where the wealth is concentrated in California – Like much of America, California’s wealth is concentrated among a small group of high-income earners. The state has 16 million households, and just 61,000 of them — 0.4 percent — together account for one-fifth of the state’s income, according to the latest tax return figures from the Franchise Tax Board. Sacramento Bee article

Raises for state workers: Maintenance union, psychiatric techs make deals — Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is tying up a glut of expired labor contracts as the year draws to a close. Aside from reaching a tentative deal with the state’s biggest union, SEIU Local 1000, earlier this month, Brown’s team has struck tentative agreements with a union that represents 12,000 maintenance workers and another that advocates for 6,000 psychiatric technicians. Sacramento Bee article

Joel Fox: Economic Summit targets upward mobility — If any state needs to find a formula to spur upward mobility for its residents that state is California. Golden State citizens considered “economically fragile” number in the millions. In fact, with economically fragile defined as residents below the poverty line, just above the poverty line, or with incomes below the median income for their area of the state, the total is 18 million. A population of 18 million is larger than all but four states. How to open the path for upward mobility for such a population? At the California Economic Summit, a project of California Forward and the California Stewardship Network, standard solutions were offered: better education and good jobs. Easier said than done, especially in an era of swiftly advancing technology. Fox in Fox & Hounds

It’s a dirty job, but new downtown Modesto ‘ambassadors’ do it – Employees of the Downtown Modesto Partnership see things most of the rest of us don’t, and wouldn’t want to. Between the launch of the new “downtown ambassadors” crew in early August and Nov. 30, for example, workers picked up 41,557 pounds of trash. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Modesto Bee article

Caltrans sued over homeless raids – A homeless couple sneaks out from the bushes, they push away a chain link fence that’s been cut and hit the streets. They just spent the night under a Visaliaoverpass on Highway 198 –– a place they call home most days out of the year. Visalia Times-Delta article

Change possible for Bakersfield’s Fox Theater – At the tail end of one of the most active years in recent memory at the Fox Theater, the foundation that owns the historic venue is considering parting ways with the operator hired last year to increase bookings. Melanie Farmer, who sits on the foundation’s board, confirmed Tuesday that talks with music industry veteran and Bakersfield native Bob Bender are underway. Bakersfield Californian article

Businessman hopes to bring cheer to homeless on Christmas Eve – Local businessman Dean Fitzgerald, who has hosted several holiday events over the past year at his warehouse for Stockton’s homeless residents, has a new way to help next week on Christmas Eve. Stockton Record article

Daniel Borenstein: No there there to Oakland’s stadium bid — It’s not surprising that NFL officials reacted negatively to Oakland’s latest bid to keep the Raiders. There’s no there there. Despite hoopla and countless reports this week about approval of a new $1.3 billion stadium agreement between Oakland, Alameda County and a development team led by NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, their accord has little substance. Borenstein in East Bay Times

How a super cyber-sleuth helped crack the huge Yahoo hack — Andrew Komarov, a noted cyber-security researcher with InfoArmor in Scottsdale, Arizona, not only discovered the latest stolen cache of Yahoo user information and turned it over to the government, which in turn notified Yahoo. He also discovered one of the most troubling aspects of the hack. San Jose Mercury News article

Good news for Republic FC? Major League Soccer expansion timetable revealed — In an announcement that seems to boost Sacramento’s chances, Major League Soccer’s commissioner said Thursday the league will announce its next two expansion cities as early as the summer of 2017 and that cities have until the end of January to submit their bids. Sacramento Bee article


Two Fresno farming companies get another shot at gaining protections from penalties – A federal appeals court is sending a case involving Gerawan Farming and Fowler Packingback to a lower court, saying the two Fresno County companies may have been wrongly excluded from a state statute giving employers protection from lawsuits and penalties when settling claims for back wages. Fresno Bee article

California’s drought divergence: Wetter in the north, still bone dry in the south — When California water officials assess the drought, the first place they look is the northern Sierra Nevada. LA Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Michael Fitzgerald: In 2016, success and frustration in fighting crime – Stockton’s Year in Crime contains a frustrating contradiction: the police department added more cops, tried new promising approaches and in 2016 violent crime went up. It’s a nationwide trend. But still. It suggests that the Measure A fix – shouldering a ¾-cent sales tax hike to hire 120 cops and get on top of crime in this town – will be a long haul. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Unarmed man struck by five of seven rounds fired at him — An unarmed 73-year-old man was struck by five of the seven rounds a Bakersfield police officer fired at him, police said Thursday.  Francisco Serna was shot dead early Monday in the 7900 block of Silver Birch Avenue. Witnesses reported they believed Serna was armed. Bakersfield Californian article

Police killing of unarmed 73-year-old grandfather sparks anger, anguish – The tragic chain of events began early Monday morning when Bakersfield police received a 911 call saying a man had menaced two women with a gun. LA Times article

More firepower, horsepower approved for Fresno police – Fresno police officers will be getting more firepower and more horsepower under a pair of purchase contracts approved Thursday by the Fresno City Council for new patrol rifles and new patrol vehicles. Fresno Bee article

Stockton Record: Stockton Police Department body camera policy inches forward – The Stockton Police Department has taken a positive – and overdue – step forward in its policy on the release of footage from officer body cameras. Stockton Record editorial

Modesto puts brakes on towing contract – A Modesto City Council committee is asking the Police Department to do more work on a proposal that would result in drivers paying more when officers have their cars towed because of traffic-related offenses. Modesto Bee article

Los Banos fire victim throws cup of liquid at police commander – Los Banos police were puzzled Thursday when a man whose home had just been gutted by fire asked to speak with an officer then flipped the policeman off, demanded an attorney and then doused the officer with a cup containing an unidentified liquid. Los Banos Enterprise article

Turlock panels begin interviews for next police chief – The city is getting closer to hiring it next police chief. City Manager Gary Hampton said three panels will interview eight candidates Friday for the job. The eight are among the roughly three dozen who applied. One panel is made up of community members, another of business executives and the third of members of the police union and city department heads. Modesto Bee article

Former CHP officer, co-defendant to Frank Carson in murder case, released on bail – A former California Highway Patrol officer who was among nine people accused of murder in a Turlock man’s death has been released from custody after spending 16 months in the county jail. Modesto Bee article

Federal authorities to investigate Orange County district attorney over jailhouse informants – U.S. Justice Department officials have launched an investigation into whether the Orange County district attorney’s office has routinely denied accused criminals fair trials by using jailhouse informants to secretly gather evidence. LA Times articleAP article


Clovis West parent demands more action after third student suicide in three months — About three months ago, Petra Groger had to comfort her daughter after a close friend and classmate at Clovis West High School committed suicide. Groger spoke to her frequently and got her into outside counseling because “the school is not doing anything.” Two weeks ago, Groger had those tough conversations again when her daughter said another Clovis West student had committed suicide. When she learned of a third student suicide Thursday morning, Groger had had enough. She went to pick up her daughter in the middle of the school day. Fresno Bee article

Terri Richmond: Kern High School District’s long to-do list shouldn’t include guns – The teacher in two Kern High School District schools for more than 20 years writes, “Last year I had a class of 47. Can you imagine walking up and down crowded rows to check homework with a firearm just inches away from the hands of my students? I implore this body to abandon this ridiculous, faux effort and return to the real work that needs to be done for the 37,000 students in your care. Please take your stewardship seriously and stop using your positions as leverage to draw public attention to your personal agenda.” Richmond op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

New board, new faces on Yosemite Community College District board — The Yosemite Community College District board seated three new members Wednesday and then voted to begin negotiations with longtime Southern California administrator Jane Harmon to serve as interim chancellor until a permanent successor to retiring Joan Smith is found. Modesto Bee article

DeVry agrees to pay $100 million in case alleging deceptive ads — DeVry University and its parent company are paying $100 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging the school misled students through deceptive ads. AP article


State officials approve proposal for 7,500 new vehicle charging stations – State regulators on Thursday approved the nation’s largest expansion of vehicle charging stations through a $130-million project that will be developed and run by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. LA Times article

California illegal marijuana grows killing wildlife, damaging environment – The environmental damage from illicit marijuana operations in California is getting worse.  Experts say illegal growers are killing wildlife by diverting water from streams, using pesticides, fertilizers and poisons. With the legalization of recreational marijuana, some law enforcement agencies fear the problem will only get worse – especially on National Forest land. Capital Public Radio report

San Bruno blast: Probe into PUC role still unresolved — Six years after the devastating San Bruno natural gas pipeline blast led to the deaths of eight people, the California Public Utilities Commission has not been held accountable for what elected officials say was its role in the tragedy. Capitol Weekly article

Health/Human Services 

Obamacare repeal would impact Tulare County — The proposed Obamacare repeal, what has been identified as a top priority for President-elect Donald Trump and other high-ranking Republican leaders, would have a significant impact on Tulare Countyresidents. Visalia Times-Delta article

Why Bay Area nurses are educating themselves about pot – There is a growing body of data about marijuana’s medicinal benefits, and groups like the American Nurses Association acknowledge it can help with chronic pain, MS, anxiety and many other conditions. But because it’s still illegal under federal law, there aren’t a lot of places medical professionals can learn about it. And if you ask your regular doctor whether it will help your particular ailment, there’s a good chance they might not know. KQED report

Eric Brown: One cure for California’s rural health care needs – The CEO of California Telehealth Network writes, “Already, 96 percent of California has broadband access. We need to stay focused on reaching the rest of the state. The future of healthcare is clear. Everyone should have access to that future.” Brown op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Mann leaving Kaweah Delta Medical Center — Lindsay Mann’s name is synonymous with Kaweah Delta Health Care District. After 36 years at the hospital, the CEO is moving on. Mann and his wife Lesa Mann received an “unanticipated” call from the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to serve as the mission president in a Spanish-speaking region. Visalia Times-Delta article

Land Use/Housng

To get homeless out of neighborhoods, Fresno council targets recycling centers – A proposed law in Fresno will limit where recycling centers can operate within the city, in hopes of reducing problems created by homeless people in residential and commercial neighborhoods. Fresno Bee article

Local RV ordinances — If your neighbor parks their RV in front of their house for more than a week, what can you do? The answer is calling the city and the owner can be cited. Here is some information about local ordinances involving recreational vehicles. Hanford Sentinel article


California, Uber still negotiating self-driving car legality – Negotiations over whether Uber must stop its newly launched self-driving car service in San Francisco have concluded without a clear resolution, according to California transportation regulators. AP articleLA Times article

Could Sacramento become the nation’s hub for testing of self-driving cars — Sacramento wants to be the robot car testing capital of the country. Mayor Darrell Steinberg, in his first formal policy initiative since taking office earlier this week, joined with Rep. Doris Matsui at the California Auto Museum on Thursday to announce a cooperative effort to lure manufacturers of self-driving cars to test out their inventions on Sacramento streets. Sacramento Bee article

Long-awaited I-5 construction finally completed — A transportation project five years in the making finally came to an end this week. Packed together under canopies at the Quail Lakes Shopping Center that needed to be held down to keep from blowing over in the blustery winds of Thursday’s storm, the San Joaquin Council of Governments and Caltrans celebrated the completion of the Interstate 5 corridor improvement project. Stockton Record article

Other areas

Atwater City Council seeks to mend fences, names interim city manager – An emergency meeting of the Atwater City Council ended Thursday with the members presenting a united front hours after a rocky start marred by allegations of “name-calling” and “lying.” Merced Sun-Star article

Nikiko Masumoto performs at White House event on Asian American experiences – Nikiko Masumoto of Masumoto Family Farms in Fresno performed a short piece from her one-woman show “What We Could Carry” at a White House event on Thursday. The “Generational Experiences of Asian Americans” presentation featured speakers from the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, as well as Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian (MASSA) communities.  Fresno Bee article

Hacked Yahoo data is for sale on dark web – Some time around August 2013, hackers penetrated the email system of Yahoo, one of the world’s largest and oldest providers of free email services. The attackers quietly scooped up the records of more than 1 billion users, including names, birth dates, phone numbers and passwords that were encrypted with an easily broken form of security.  New York Times article

Facebook is working to stop fake news by tapping human fact-checkers — Facebook is introducing new policies to stem the flow of fake news, including partnering with third-party fact-checkers to flag fabricated articles in a seeming admission that humans still play a vital role in policing the world’s biggest social network. LA Times article

Cost-free pet adoptions are clearing animals from Modesto shelters — Almost 120 animals were adopted Saturday at the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency shelter after a generous donor offered to pay the fees. That was six times the average Saturday count for adoptions at the south Modesto animal shelter on Cornucopia Way, said Annette Patton, animal services director. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

 Fresno Bee – The latest news out of California’s giant pension fund almost makes you wonder what its investment advisers are smoking.

Sacramento Bee –- All the buzz and excitement about the glittering Golden 1 Center and downtown development is great for Sacramento. But it would be tarnished if the old Sleep Train Arena is allowed to languish – and Natomas with it; Donald Trump has built a Cabinet from the swamp up.

Stockton Record – The Stockton Police Department has taken a positive – and overdue – step forward in its policy on the release of footage from officer body cameras.