December 5, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

Democrats in California Legislature to take on Trump by wading into immigration debate — With President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric on illegal immigration still fresh on their minds, legislative Democrats have readied a pair of proposals they believe will offer some immigrants additional legal help. LA Times article

Dan Walters: Sometimes there are political fireworks when the Legislature convenes — As the Legislature convenes this first Monday in December, nothing as noteworthy as those three sessions is likely. There had been some buzz about a postelection session to pass a financing plan for transportation, but political leaders could not put together a deal. This Monday’s initial session will, therefore, be more like the first day of elementary school than a political dust-up. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

In House Majority Leader’s home district, many depend on health law he wants to scrap – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act first and replace it sometime later. That doesn’t sit well with Victoria Barton, who lives in McCarthy’s rural California district. NPR report

George Skelton: At Pearl Harbor’s 75th anniversary, a reminder of how America proved its greatness – and why it is still great – The Dec. 7, 1941, surprise attack unified America like it hasn’t been since. Political polarization didn’t exist. We were all about patriotism and sacrifice, defeating the enemy and bringing the boys home. Yes, today those ideals seem like really hard concepts to grasp. Skelton column in LA Times

This congressman will sleep in his office, and other tales from the incoming California freshmen – The nation might be collectively taking a deep breath after the November election, but the six new members of California’s 55-person congressional delegation have barely had time to do the same. LA Times article

Highs, lows, hoops and pies: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson through the years — A timeline of important dates in the personal, athletic and political life of Kevin Johnson.  Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Trump chooses former campaign rival Ben Carson to be housing secretary — President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Ben Carson, a rival in the GOP presidential primary who became a top supporter, to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  LA Times articleNew York Times article

News Stories – Top Stories

Report: Fresno an ‘exemplar’ city when it comes to helping students get financial aid – High school seniors in Fresno are more likely than their peers across the country to apply for financial aid opportunities for college. While that may seem obvious, since Fresno is among the poorest cities in the country, a new report released by the National College Access Network found that Free Application for Federal Student Aid completion rates are not tied to a city’s poverty rates. The report calls on districts to replicate Fresno Unified’s outreach efforts, calling them “exemplar.” Fresno Bee article

Tulare supervisors to consider interim marijuana zone ordinance – The Tulare County Board of Supervisors will consider local regulation regarding marijuana use when they meet in regular session on Tuesday. Visalia Times-Delta article

Jobs and the Economy

Turlock Chamber of Commerce reinventing itself – Changing times call for a new way of doing business, said Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO Karin Moss on Wednesday, her last day in the post. The chamber has reorganized its management, eliminating the CEO job at her suggestion, she said, to give members a better bang for their buck. The change follows a tumultuous two years for the association, rocked in 2015 by the loss of a 20-plus-year city tourism contract. Modesto Bee article

Youths spend shopping spree thinking of others — The annual holiday event is designed to reward young people who are making a difference in the community, succeeding in school after turning their lives around, persevering after personal or family tragedies, or overcoming adversity and helping others. The 30 youths selected this year all fit the criteria somehow. Modesto Bee article


Don Curlee: Ag at large – Fallout — Since the presidential election, several opinion pieces have appeared that offer a farmer view of the result. Not one has confined it to views that might be held only by farmers in California. Curlee column in Visalia Times-Delta

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Victims in human trafficking in the Central Valley now have allies – Mexican nationals who are victims of slavery and trafficking in the Central Valley now have a new ally where they can receive assistance and support – the Consulate of México in Fresno. Vida en el Valle article

Suspect in serial groping case is a former Fresno State mascot TimeOut — The man arrested Friday in a serial groping case near Fresno State is a senior at the university and a former Timeout campus mascot, Fresno State said Sunday. Fresno State said Deandre Jean-Pierre, 23, of Fresno is studying communication and theater arts and was one of four students who performed the role of Timeout. He came to Fresno State after graduating from Fresno High in 2011, the university said. Fresno Bee article

After Chukchansi raid, tribal police were arrested; now they’re suing Madera County — Six lawsuits were filed against Madera County officials over the past month by former Chukchansi tribal police officers who were prosecuted following the Oct. 9, 2014 raid of a casino office that led to the 14-month closure of the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino. Fresno Bee article

How San Diego’s police traffic stop study stacks up with research in other cities – A new report on traffic stops in San Diego revealed that police sometimes treat black and Hispanic drivers differently than white drivers — particularly after a stop has been made — mirroring the findings of other studies from around the country. San Diego Union-Tribune article


Olivia Garcia: Bakersfield College public safety official reflects on Ohio State attack – The recent attack at Ohio State University has left a somber mood at colleges and campuses throughout the nation. Here, the feeling is no different, and it prompted Bakersfield College Public Safety Department Director Christopher Counts to address the campus community. Garcia column in Bakersfield Californian

With Trump’s Title IX stance unknown, video aims to educate about sexual harassment at school – National experts on sexual harassment in K-12 schools have teamed up to create a new educational video about gender equality, intended to inform students that they have a legal right to attend a school where nobody is harassed because of their gender. EdSource article

Featured Teacher: Lisa Barton has ‘heart and soul’ for kids — When Berkshire Elementary School teacher Lisa Barton talks, her kids listen — and sometimes even finish her sentences. The spunky first-grade teacher has been educating kids for 11 years, but runs her classroom like she’s been doing it her entire life. It should come as no surprise, since Barton’s mother is a teacher, too. Bakersfield Californian article

Land Use/Housing

Grecia Elenes: It’s past time for City Hall to invest in southwest Fresno – The policy advisor for the Fresno-based Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability writes, “As unjust as southwest Fresno’s history has been, the Fresno City Council has a chance to address this unnerving situation and truly transform this community through the Southwest Specific Plan. For nearly two years, residents and stakeholders have worked on this plan to realize the community’s vision – eliminate future industries, add green space, build quality housing and have retail opportunity.” Elenes op-ed in Fresno Bee

Here’s Sacramento’s new plan to tackle its city parks problem — Saying a funding fix is overdue, city parks officials plan to ask the City Council as early as January to approve a city ordinance change that will kick-start at least some new revenue for the big parks. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

DA launches criminal probe as death toll surges to at least 33 – As families waited another day for their missing loved ones to be identified from the charred wreckage of the “Ghost Ship” warehouse, the death toll from Oakland’s deadliest fire surged to at least 33 victims Sunday while Alameda County officials announced they had launched a criminal investigation into the inferno. East Bay Times article

Death toll in Oakland fire climbs to 33 as family, friends fear the worst – They had come together out of their love for electronic music and the underground scene that it fostered. The concert had been in the works for almost two months, billed on social media as a tour for the musicians associated with the L.A.-based label 100% Silk. LA Times articleSac State graduate among those missing in Oakland warehouse fire that has claimed at least 33’ in Sacramento Bee

Teens, music makers among California warehouse fire victims – Teenagers, the son of a local sheriff’s deputy and young artists who loved music are among the dozens of people who died when a fire broke out at an underground dance party in a warehouse that visitors called a death trap. AP article

Taxi driver had been swerving before downtown collision — I’ve covered crime and courts for years and writing about tragedies never gets easier. That’s especially true when the victim is someone you know, someone you work with and someone you care about. At just after 9 p.m. Saturday, my friend, Sheyanne Romero, a Visalia Times-Delta reporter, was crossing Oak Street near Court Street. She was on the way to meet friends in downtown Visalia when an ABC taxi van, northbound on Court Street, slammed into Romero. Witnesses say she was tossed in the air. Visalia Times-Delta articleFresno Bee article

Marc Mendefind: Hey, Santa, how about a Nordstrom’s or at least a restored Hotel Tioga? – The longtime local educator and former journalist writes, “Here we are again at the advent of ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ which comes replete with shopping frenzies, baking, decorating, singing of carols and the requisite wish lists. While many of us in Merced have huge concerns about the direction our country is taking, this list focuses on strictly local concerns. Here, then, is my third annual wish list for Merced.” Mendefind op-ed in Merced Sun-Star

Standing in solidarity: Against racism and bigotry, church makes passionate call for unity — Every December, the procession of the Virgin of Guadalupe through downtown Stockton is steeped in “tradición” — for families, for two dozen parishes and for thousands of Catholics from throughout the Diocese of Stockton. Stockton Record article

Michael Fitzgerald: A Stocktonian at Pearl Harbor — We hear a lot about Pearl Harbor from attack survivors. Let’s hear from a Stockton man serving at Pearl Harbor now. Jeanpaul Powell, Petty Officer 2nd Class, works in the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters. Fitzgerald in Stockton Record

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Gov. Brown made a smart and level-headed choice by nominating Rep. Xavier Becerra, who is savvy, accomplished and down-to-earth, as California Attorney General.

Sacramento Bee –- After months of protests by American Indians and hundreds of others, the Army Corps of Engineers says it will explore alternative routes for the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline. The decision took too long, but was the right thing to do.