December 27, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

California, at forefront of climate fight, won’t back down to Trump – California — a state that has for 50 years been a leader in environmental advocacy — is about to step unto the breach. In a show of defiance, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, and legislative leaders said they would work directly with other nations and states to defend and strengthen what were already far and away the most aggressive policies to fight climate change in the nation. That includes a legislatively mandated target of reducing carbon emissions in California to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. New York Times article

New California laws drop ‘Redskins,’ bump up minimum wage, tighten gun rules — A higher minimum wage, a ban on using “Redskins” as the name of a school team or mascot, and new restrictions on assault weapons are among the latest California laws taking effect with the new year. AP article

Valley politics

Elections brought changes to local government — The 2016 elections brought significant changes to the local governing boards. At the county, two supervisors were elected to the board. They will be sworn in early next month. In Visalia, an incumbent held onto his seat, beating out two challengers, and an old face is returning, after being unseated from the board of supervisors. Visalia Times-Delta article

Other areas

Sacramento Bee: All we want for Christmas? Better work-family policy — Family leave will be back when California lawmakers return next session. And it’s not a “job killer,” by the way. Sacramento Bee editorial

Tom Fife: I predicted Trump election: You ain’t seen nothing yet — 2016 was an eventful year. The election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the USA certainly topped the list. But mass immigration, terrorism and war also held our attention. It appears 2017 will be more of the same as Mr. Trump moves into the White House and begins to govern. Fife op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Joe Altschule: 2017 the year of HPB: Hysterical Political Blindness — I love these predictions columns. They provide a look ahead, with humor, tongue in cheek, or foreboding, or sometimes for real. Fans of our columns know which is which. So I’ve hauled out the crystal ball, wiped it clean and here’s what I see: Altschule column in Visala Times-Delta

Presidential Politics

Obama says he would have beaten Trump, who replies, ‘No way!’ — President Barack Obama said in an interview released Monday that he could have beaten Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “if I had run again.” In his most pointed critique yet, Obama said Hillary Clinton’s campaign acted too cautiously out of a mistaken belief that victory was all but certain. Washington Post articleNew York Times article

 News Stories –Top Stories

California drought eased, but it’s not over — As 2016 wound down, California entered its sixth year of drought. But every part of the state wasn’t created equal. Northern California experienced significant drought relief during the year, while Southern California continued to be mired in historically arid conditions. San Jose Mercury News article

Guns, school bonds and scandal: The year in education – Scandal, shock and sex rocked Kern County schools this year. It was the year an out-of-town lawyer stepped into a chicken suit and called Kern High School District officials liars during a trial that resulted in a $10.5 million settlement; the year a Lamont administrator pulled down a $144,000 salary despite not having proper credentials; and the year some guns were allowed on KHSD campuses. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Sacramento Bee: Is Sacramento finally getting a handle on homelessness? — Every part of the system to prevent and reduce homelessness in Sacramento County is broken or operating on a shoestring budget. But Mayor Darrell Steinberg is promising “dramatic changes” in 2017. Sacramento Bee editorial

Foon Rhee: Are community groups getting inside city’s arena suite? — It’s early yet, but the number of ordinary people getting into the city’s suite at the Golden 1 Center is encouraging. Actually, it’s much better than I expected.  Rhee in Sacramento Bee

Newest Bear Creek Inn owners see historic home as part of Merced’s future — It may be one of the oldest homes in Merced, but the newest owners of the Bear Creek Inn are working to make their bed and breakfast part of the city’s new future. Merced Sun-Star article

Teen’s altruistic vision becomes Knights of Charity — “One night I was awake for a long time and some weird thought occurred to me … I thought, I don’t know what it’s like to not have anything. I don’t know what it’s like to not have a roof over my head. “Why does anybody else?” Stockton Record article

Beer and biotech: Two industries San Diego wants to lure – A new incentive program aims to spur more rapid expansion of San Diego’s already thriving biotech and craft brewing industries. City officials say the two industries are engines of the local economy because most biotech jobs come with high salaries and because breweries typically have large workforces that boost other area businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores and dry cleaners. LA Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Patrol vehicle hits woman as Fresno County deputies raid Caruthers-area rooster fight — A woman was inadvertently struck by a Fresno County sheriff’s deputy as deputies raided a rooster fight Sunday afternoon southwest of Fresno, a spokesman reported.  Fresno Bee article

Deputy crashes patrol car during pursuit in Modesto; suspected driver arrested — Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 34-year-old man who was involved in a vehicle pursuit Sunday that ended when a patrol car crashed in downtown Modesto, authorities said. Modesto Bee article


California grants will help secretaries, cafeteria workers become teachers — The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has announced $20 million in grants to help 1,000 classified school workers across the state get their teaching credentials. KPCC report

Tech update for educators at ETC!2017 on Feb. 25 — Pick any teacher task, and there likely exist multiple online apps for it, YouTube videos on it, and a dozen vendors selling software to make it easy and uniform. Pick any classroom topic, and there will be hundreds of websites devoted to it, videos exploring it and lesson plans to teach it – some excellent, but some skewed, and many that offer only a bare-basics view as a teaser to buy a product or service. An annual conference started by the Stanislaus County Office of Education aims to help educators navigate the tangled Web of sites and devices. Modesto Bee article

Paul Hefner: Feds may set back science education in California – The communications and education consultant based in Sacramento writes, “If federal officials have their way, science students who spend their school year learning one thing (i.e., how pollution from fossil fuels creates smog) would take a year-end test based on something entirely different (like the basics of electrical circuits). Welcome to Washington, D.C.’s through-the-looking-glass approach to student testing, where the priority is giving a test – any test – even if the exam bears little resemblance to what’s being taught in classrooms.” Hefner op-ed in Sacramento Bee

San Diego State named one of ‘worst college for Jewish students’ – A New York-based Jewish news organization has named San Diego State University as one of the “worst college campuses for Jewish students in the nation.” San Diego Union-Tribune article


Should there be carbon penalties for ‘no-growth’ communities? — Imagine having to plant a few hundred trees near the Oregon border or handing over all the money in your wallet next time your city council votes down a housing project.  That is one of the ideas coming out of a new report from the California Apartment Assn., which represents residential property owners. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Kristin Weber: Time to take action on Kern’s STD problem – The senior community benefit specialist at Kaiser Permanente writes, “Kern County is at a critical point in its fight to combat sexually transmitted diseases among our adolescent and young adult population. As a result, the Kern County Department of Public Health, along with representatives from school districts, health care institutions, community based organizations, faith based organizations, institutes of higher learning and community health advocates are gathering on a regular basis to find innovative approaches and solutions to prevent, detect and treat sexually transmitted diseases.” Weber op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Obesity in Kings County — More than a third of county residents here are obese. The official rate is put at 36.6 percent of county adults are obese, according to Adventist Health Community Wellness and Diabetes Program Director Rebecca Russell. Hanford Sentinel article

Tulare Regional Medical Center scores high on maternity practices survey – Tulare Regional Medical Center gets a high score in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2015 survey of Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care. Visalia Times-Delta article

Shawn Kennemer: 50 years of fighting for developmentally disabled – The associate executive director of New Advances for People with Disabilities in Bakersfield writes, “Advocates across California this year are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Lanterman Act, legislation that reinforced the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and extended services to enhance their lives.” Kennemer op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Proposition 47 is failing and the reason why is clear.

Sacramento Bee –- Family leave will be back when California lawmakers return next session. And it’s not a “job killer,” by the way; Every part of the system to prevent and reduce homelessness in Sacramento County is broken or operating on a shoestring budget. But Mayor Darrell Steinberg is promising “dramatic changes” in 2017.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers: Stockton Unified and teachers come to terms, amazing football seasons and other issues.