December 6, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

Boxer-Feinstein in angry split over new California water-bill plan — A controversial California water bill that’s sparked years of fighting has been added to a fast-moving measure, boosting the chance the water measures will pass Congress but sharply dividing the state’s U.S. senators. In a remarkable break for the two longtime Democratic allies, Sen. Barbara Boxer pledged Monday to fight against the legislation written by Sen. Dianne Feinstein. McClatchy Newspapers articleLA Times article

Dan Walters: How far can California go to resist Trump crackdown? — Incoming legislators took an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution on Monday, and that also means obedience of constitutionally valid federal laws, even those they detest.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

California legislation challenges Trump’s proposals for a border wall and registration of Muslim immigrants — In a challenge to President-elect Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall at the Mexico border, a California lawmaker said Monday he is introducing a bill that would require the project to first be approved by the state’s voters.  LA Times articleKQED reportSacramento Bee editorial;  Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown says U.S. can’t ‘go rogue’ on climate change under Donald Trump — California Gov. Jerry Brown, in his most extensive remarks since the election last month, took a measured approach to President-elect Donald Trump on Monday, avoiding partisan comments while pledging not to retreat from the state’s progressive policy approaches on issues from immigration to health care. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Bublak squeaks out a win in Turlock City Council race — After a nail-biting four weeks, the final count in the race for Turlock City Council District District 4, released Monday morning, flipped the race to Amy Bublak by 33 votes. Bublak and Steve Nascimento are both sitting city council members who ran against each other to represent Turlock’s northwest quadrant in the city’s first by-district elections. Modesto Bee article

Nunley edges Vejvoda in Tulare council; Crocker beats Smith — The race for the Tulare City Council’s Area 5 seat may not be over just yet. On Monday night, the county’s elections office released its final, certified vote count and Tulare Developer Greg Nunley edged out incumbent Craig Vejvoda by 16 votes. Visalia Times-Delta article

Merced elections office racing the clock to certify November election — Merced County Elections Office employees worked feverishly to finalize results Monday in order to certify the results of the Nov. 8 election Tuesday. With several races separated by only a handful of votes, candidates and voters have waited for final results to determine the winners. Preliminary results showed several incumbents at risk of losing their seats. Merced Sun-Star article

Stockton Mayor-elect Tubbs heading to White House — Less than four weeks before Michael Tubbs is to take the reins as Stockton’s mayor on New Year’s Day, he will fly to Washington following Tuesday night’s City Council meeting after receiving an invitation to attend a White House holiday party Wednesday. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California governor, Legislature are now highest paid in nation — Gov. Jerry Brown, state legislators and other state elected officials received a 4% pay raise Monday, months after a citizens panel approved the increase citing California’s improved economy and healthy state budget. Brown’s salary jumped from $182,789 to $190,100, making him the highest-paid governor in the country. The governor’s salary in Pennsylvania is $723 higher than Brown’s new paycheck, but Gov. Tom Wolf does not accept the salary. California legislators already received the highest base salary in the country, but on Monday saw their pay increase from $100,111 to $104,115. LA Times article

Joel Fox: Three political parties populate the new Legislature — If you listen closely to post election chatter you must conclude that there will be three political parties that occupy seats in the legislature sworn in Monday: The Democrats, the Republicans and the Moderates.  Fox in Fox & Hounds

Other areas

California lawmakers aim to make bail reform top priority in upcoming legislative session – California lawmakers are gearing up to tackle what will be one of the most significant and challenging battles in the 2017 legislative session: reforming the system through which judges award bail to criminal defendants. LA Times article

Proposal to allow roadside testing for marijuana use is revived – A month after Californians legalized recreational marijuana use, Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) introduced a bill Monday that would allow law enforcement to use roadside drug testing devices to check for driving under the influence. LA Times article

Tax-free tampons proposal is back as California Legislature returns — Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) says she plans to re-introduce a bill to exempt tampons and other menstrual products from sales tax.  LA Times article

Anti-Muslim hate crimes in California rose in 2015 to highest point since 9/11 — Reported hate crimes against Muslims rose more than 50 percent from 2014 to 2015 in California, mirroring a national trend, according to the California Department of Justice. Sacramento Bee article

Under proposed legislation, Californians could search a database for the names of those convicted of hate crimes – Californians could search a state government database for the names of those convicted of hate crimes under a proposed state law inspired by incidents reported since the Nov. 8 election, its author said.  LA Times article

Supreme Court appears in favor of ruling against racial gerrymandering in GOP-controlled states – A Supreme Court majority on Monday appeared to lean in favor of Democratsin Virginia and North Carolina seeking to rein in what they call racial gerrymandering by Republican-controlled legislatures in those states. LA Times article

Former California senator lands six-figure appointment — Marty Block, a state senator from San Diego who, under great political pressure, decided not to seek a second term, got a lucrative consolation prize Monday from Gov. Jerry Brown – an $146,609 per year appointment to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.  Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

House GOP signals break with Trump over tariff threat – House Republican leaders — in a major policy break with President-elect Donald J. Trump — signaled on Monday that they would not support his threat to impose a heavy tax on companies that move jobs overseas, the first significant confrontation over conservative economic orthodoxy that Mr. Trump relishes trampling. New York Times article

Step by step, Trump is assembling an administration far more conservative than this campaign – Monday’s selection of Ben Carson, the former pediatric neurosurgeon and Republican presidential hopeful, to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development was the latest move to fit the pattern of stocking the Cabinet with social conservatives deeply skeptical of the government agencies they will be asked to oversee. LA Times article

Nearly 300 Muslim leaders pen letter to Trump calling on him to protect Muslims amid violence — Leaders of the most prominent Muslim American groups have released an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump to “express serious concerns” about his policy proposals and upcoming administration and ask him to protect their community. LA Times article

CA 120: Nov. 8, through the looking glass — From neighbors to family members to local coffee shop baristas, the number one question I’ve received since Nov. 8 is, “How did that happen?” Donald Trump’s come-from-behind win shocked about everyone in the political world.  Even his own political team. Capitol Weekly article

Trump brings Koch network’s green-energy foes from the fringe to the center of power – When an obscure nonprofit group attacked one of California’s signature green-energy projects this summer — warning a congressional panel that the embrace of solar energy would lead to crippling hikes in electricity bills — officials in the state shrugged off the testimony as noise from the fringe. With Donald Trump’s election, however, that group, the Institute for Energy Research, has moved suddenly from the fringe to the center of power. LA Times article

News Stories –Top Stories

Economic index for November forecasts more jobs for Valley – The San Joaquin Valley economy, for the third-straight month, appears headed toward solid growth, according to a survey of local businesses. The San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index, produced by Ernie Goss, research faculty with the Craig School of Business at Fresno State, stood at a score of 55.6 for November, unchanged from October. The Business Journal article

On only one day, UC Merced raises $700,000 for scholarships, projects – UC Merced is celebrating a successful drive to raise money through last week’s Giving Tuesday effort which, in a single day, raised more than $700,000 for scholarships and local projects. Merced Sun-Star article

Jobs and the Economy

SEIU Local 1000 contract deal includes delayed raise, $2,500 signing bonus – State workers whose union called off a strike last week will have to wait until next summer for a raise under a tentative contract their leaders approved, but they’ll get a $2,500 bonus if they accept the deal.  Sacramento Bee article

Merced puts ‘fairness’ policy on hold – The Merced City Council put a hold on a policy meant to create a level playing field during competitive bidding on city contracts, according to its supporters, after business advocates said they wanted a closer look. Merced Sun-Star article

Jeff Jardine: With flurry of slurry and more, Measure L dollars will get right to work in 2017 – Measure L did more than merely squeak by with the magical two-thirds majority of votes needed for approval. With all of the ballots now counted, Stanislaus County’s third stab at a half-percent transportation sales tax finished just a handful of votes shy of 72 percent, which is akin to acing the driving test after flunking it the first two times. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Stockton clothing drive seeks to collect 10,000 items for the homeless – Organizers of the annual Sharing and Caring Coat, Blanket and Sock drive are hoping to collect as many as 10,000 items at this year’s event in hope to keep the Stockton’s poor and homeless warm for the winter in the city. Capital Public Radio report

Another sign of a better economy? Americans rack up miles faster than ever – U.S. drivers set a record for miles driven the first nine months of the year, likely the result of lower gasoline prices and an improving economy. McClatchy Newspapers article

Firm tied to cardrooms is behind Elk Grove casino fight — A Bay Area company with ties to the cardroom industry was revealed Monday as the force behind a ballot referendum that could stop the proposed Indian casino in Elk Grove.  Sacramento Bee article

Merced City Council to consider proposed Homeless Memorial Day – The Merced City Council is set to discuss paying respect to homeless individuals by declaring Dec. 21, the first day of winter, as Homeless Memorial Day, during its meeting Monday night. Merced Sun-Star article

Amazon’s new convenience store has no cash registers and no checkout lines – Inc. has built a convenience store that deploys a gaggle of technologies to allow shoppers to come in, grab items and walk out without going through a register. LA Times article

Saint Brittney Spears, product of Fresno — Here in Fresno we’re known for exporting things like raisinsalmondsAudra McDonald – and apparently Britney Spears prayer candles? Fresno Bee article

American Apparel warns 3,500 Southern California workers of possible layoffs — American Apparel has told nearly 3,500 employees in Southern California that they may lose their jobs in January depending on the outcome of a likely sale to Canadian clothing maker Gildan Activewear. LA Times article


Five projects aim to preserve groundwater and avert flooding in Fresno’s metro area – Five projects that could help protect groundwater supplies and reduce flood risks in the Fresno metropolitan area will proceed with the aid of state grants that will fund more than two-thirds of the $12 million cost. Fresno Bee article

Sun-Maid raisin growers celebrate sweet season at annual meeting — Sun-Maid Growers of California, the world’s largest marketer of raisins, held its 104th annual meeting Saturday, highlighting the cooperative’s net sales of $382 million. Although the association’s net sales for the fiscal year, Aug. 1, 2015, through July 31, 2016, were a slight drop from the $384 million posted during the previous season, Sun-Maid president Barry Kriebel remained optimistic about the industry’s future. Fresno Bee article

What does a weak La Nina mean for Southern California? — Typically, La Niña means plenty of rain for the Pacific Northwest and a warm, dry winter for Southern California. That’s the pattern the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is predicting for this winter. KPCC report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Group issues demands for new Bakersfield police chief – A group composed of local clergy, teacher and other community members issued a set of demands Monday for the next chief of police. Meeting outside the Bakersfield Police Department at 4 p.m., members of Faith in Action and other local residents said the new chief needs to address issues of police corruption and controversial shootings, and make sure the department treats everyone equally.  Bakersfield Californian article

California Supreme Court limits police searches – Police officers may only conduct a search following a traffic stop if they believe there is probable cause a crime was committed, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday in a child pornography case involving a bicyclist pulled over for rolling through a stop sign. AP article

Locked up for the holidays — The “most wonderful time of the year” may be the hardest for tens of thousands of young people locked up for the holidays. But many states try — within the confines of security rules, budgets and protocols — to make the season a little brighter for youthful offenders, who often are housed far from home. Stateline article

State lawman and his brother try to evict naked woman at gunpoint — A California Department of Justice special agent supervisor and his brother have been cited on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and battery in connection with an armed altercation with a naked woman at a Fresno mobile home park last month. Fresno Bee article

Charity fund for soccer established in memory of slain Deputy Wallace — In memory of Stanislaus County sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace, killed while on duty Nov. 13, his widow’s employer will match donations to a new fund created to boost youth soccer, one of his passions. Modesto Bee article

Assault near Modesto Junior College may be racially motivated; suspect made reference to ‘wall’ – Modesto police are investigating an assault of a Latino man and woman by a man who reportedly told them, “You don’t belong here and that is why they are going to build a wall.” Modesto Bee article

Sacramento police officer resigns after facing termination for drug and weapons charges — Sacramento Police Department officer Isaac Richard Knutila has resigned after facing termination following his November arrest for having several illegal drugs and a semiautomatic weapon, the department said Monday. Sacramento Bee article

Former principal killed husband for financial gain, court filings say — A former elementary school principal accused of killing her husband in 2013 committed the crime for financial gain, according to the criminal complaint filed against her. Bakersfield Californian article

From celebrated lawman to disgraced defendant, Lee Baca faces jury in LA corruption trial — The question at the heart of the most significant public corruption trial to hit Los Angeles in decades is clear: Did Lee Baca, a powerful and celebrated law enforcement figure, block the FBI from investigating abuse and violence in county jails when he was sheriff? Answering that question will be less straight forward. LA Times article

LA Ethics Commission investigating LAPD’s watchdog over handling of special inmate’s jail log — Los Angeles ethics officials are investigating an allegation that the Police Department’s watchdog broke city ethics rules by showing a reporter a confidential document outlining the movements of a high-profile inmate who was in special protection. LA Times article


In light of Trump, Fresno Pacific petition calls for school to protect undocumented — Hundreds have signed a petition to make Fresno Pacific University a sanctuary for undocumented students in light of a Donald Trump presidency. The petition, which was created on Thursday, calls for Fresno Pacific President Richard Kriegbaum to publicly pledge to protect undocumented students and refuse to release information regarding their immigration status or comply with “any immigration raids or efforts to deport.” Fresno Bee article

New Kern High School District trustee takes no position on gun permits – Kern High School District Trustee Joey O’Connell was sworn into office Monday, but made it clear that he has taken no position on a controversial decision made two weeks ago to allow teachers with Concealed Carry Weapon permits to bring firearms to campus. Bakersfield Californian article

Jack Hernandez: Only the educated are free – The emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Bakersfield College writes, ““Only the Educated are Free.” To be free means liberation from ideas and prejudices that limit the freedom of others. To be free is to help others to be free, to discover and live good, productive, meaningful lives. To be free is to love our neighbors, near and far, as ourselves. Bakersfield College has for its long history provided students with the opportunity to attain this freedom. Yet to continue to do so effectively, the college’s many facilities need to be upgraded and its reach to its many communities improved. That’s why Measure J was so important. So very vital to BC’s service to its students. That’s why all of us at BC say “thank you” to our wonderful community! Hernandez op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Ceres schools put mental health services into kid-friendly mix — Any parent knows adolescence can be a tricky time, with tears and mini-explosions bursting forth over things that do not seem worth the fuss. Imagine, then, that hormonal cauldron coping with a real crisis – death of a friend, cancer in a parent, abuse, alcoholism and worse. At Ceres Unified School District campuses, however, help is just a wave away, and that ready availability has earned the district a 2016 California School Boards Association Golden BellAward. Modesto Bee article


Bonnie Holmes-Gen and Nick Lapis: The next big step for California on climate change – Holmes-Gen, senior policy director for the American Lung Association of California, and Lapis, director of advocacy for Californians Against Waste, write, “The California Air Resources Board is proposing an important climate change reduction planthat will help residents breathe easier, eat healthier and reduce food waste.” Holmes-Gen and Lapis op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Clarification sought on Fresno County fireplace ordinance – Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian is hearing from constituents and seeking input on a decade-old ordinance that bans open-hearth fireplaces, fire pits and barbecues in unincorporated areas. The county’s Public Works and Planning Department is proposing to move the ordinance from the building code to the residential code to remain in compliance with state law. The Business Journal article

Health/Human Services 

Superbug infections must be listed on death certificates under proposed bill – State Sen. Jerry Hill introduced a bill Monday that would require doctors to record antibiotic-resistant infections on death certificates if they played a role in the death. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

 Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula: Fresno City Council must adopt anti-slumlord ordinance – The Fresno Democrat writes, “As Fresnans, let’s ask for our City Council to be leaders on this issue. For the good of our city, the council should work with Mayor Swearengin and pass her Residential Rental Inspection Program. This is a critical step in the right direction.” Arambula op-ed in Fresno Bee


Making TSA PreCheck free could save millions of dollars, study suggests —  By offering frequent travelers free membership to the Transportation Security Administration’s expedited screening program, the agency can save money and speed up the screening process at airports across the country. LA Times article

Other areas

City missed signs of looming disaster at Ghost Ship – City and county officials missed at least 10 chances to flag dangers at the Ghost Ship art collective that might have led to Friday night’s inferno in which at least 36 people died, according to documents and interviews.  San Jose Mercury News article

UC Merced grad confirms grad student missing after deadly Oakland fire – A woman pursuing her doctorate in psychology at UC Merced remained missing and was feared dead Monday as authorities searched through an Oakland warehouse that caught fire and claimed at least three dozen lives. Merced Sun-Star article

Oakland officials fielded multiple complaints about warehouse before deadly fire – There are growing calls for a full accounting of how Oakland city officials handled safety and health issues at a warehouse where at least 36 people died in a fire amid evidence that various city agencies fielded complaints over the last two years. LA Times article

Shawn Hubler: The Oakland warehouse fire was a parent’s worst fear – The warehouse blaze that claimed 36 lives, and counting, will no doubt be examined from many angles. But the parents’ perspective is the one we must not forget. Hubler column in Sacramento Bee

Warning about plot to blow up Universal City station prompts heightened security across LA –  An overseas tip about an imminent bombing of the Metro Red Line’s Universal City station has forced federal and local law enforcement in Los Angeles to swiftly ramp up security across its sprawling transit system, authorities said Monday. LA Times article

San Joaquin County supervisors to look at fireworks regulations – The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will discuss the possibility of tightening regulations for fireworks displays in the future after receiving noise complaints from a number of Woodbridge residents last summer. Stockton Record article

Machine gun comment lands financial manager in hot water — Peter Tirp, the chief investment officer for the Kern County Employees’ Retirement Association, kept his job Monday despite his boss’ call to fire him over hostile wording in an email. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Obama administration finally stands down at Standing Rock.

Sacramento Bee –- California Democrats offer bold immigration plan, but at what cost?; Plenty of blame to go around for Ghost Ship deaths.