February 1, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories 

Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court – President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court Tuesday, elevating a eloquent and staunchly conservative appellate judge to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year. McClatchy Newspapers article; New York Times article; LA Times article 

Trump ban on immigrants bars people with ties to central San Joaquin Valley – Hifa Habbaba, 67, left Fresno in November to visit her husband in their native Syria. Now Habbaba, a legal United States resident, worries she won’t be allowed back to the city she has called home for the past year. Fresno Bee article 

Dan Walters: Landmark sales tax ruling shows need for tax reform — What the Lucent decision really tells us is that our revenue system sorely needs top-to-bottom reform, in the precise meaning of that word. The sales tax needs to be modernized to align it with the continuing shift in taxable tangible goods to untaxed services, and with the expanding role of technology in the consumer economy. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Valadao co-sponsors bill to protect DACA kids – Congressman David Valadao announced Tuesday he’s co-sponsoring legislation that would protect undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is discontinued under the new presidential administration. Bakersfield Californian article 

SD 8: Jim Patterson skips Senate try, and Clint Olivier steps into the race – Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, announced Tuesday afternoon that he will seek re-election in 2018 to his current post and not run for a state Senate seat. Less than two hours later, Fresno City Councilman Clint Olivier, R-Fresno, announced his plans to run for the state Senate seat. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

Police reports shed new light on Bakersfield Councilman Jeff Tkac’s suicide – While at work the morning of Jan. 5, Heather Tkac received an alarming call from her husband. Jeff Tkac, recently elected to the Bakersfield City Council, told his wife he had spoken with Monsignor Craig Harrison and he believed Harrison was going to call police and have him picked up for being suicidal, according to reports released by Bakersfield police on Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article 

Assemblymember Vince Fong: The pitfalls of overregulation – The Bakersfield Republican writes, “We need a better regulatory climate that works for all Californians.  California’s economy has not worked for blue-collar and middle class workers particularly in the Inland and Valley communities.  AB 77 will provide greater checks and balances so that elected policymakers in the Legislature can referee and stop regulations that will have unduly burdensome impact on families and businesses. Prosperity does not come from government regulations, but from the hard work of every day Californians.” Fong commentary in Capitol Weekly

Interview: Fresno Mayor Lee Brand talks anti-slumlord plan, sanctuary cities — Fresno Mayor Lee Brand took office a little less than 30 days ago, and it’s been an eventful first month. Valley Public Radio report

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Who’s raised what, and for whom, for California governor – California’s gubernatorial candidates raised millions of dollars from some well-known donors in the 2018 race to succeed Democrat Jerry Brown. Sacramento Bee article 

California GOP needs a candidate for governor. It won’t be Jim Brulte — Some in the Republican Party are privately sharing their hopes to draw into the race a man with deep relationships with activists, officeholders and donors: California GOP Chairman Jim Brulte. He served 14 years in the Legislature, leading his colleagues at a time of relative parity between the two parties.  Sacramento Bee article


California father, 12-year-old daughter stuck in Africa following Trump travel ban, lawyer says –  Itwas a trip that was supposed to reunite a long-separated family, but a San Joaquin Valley man has found himself and his 12-year-old daughter effectively stranded in the Horn of Africa following President Trump’s recent travel ban. LA Times article 

Is Fresno a sanctuary city? It depends on who you ask – The early days of President Donald Trump’s administration have left all manner of people scrambling to keep up and understand the local impacts of a series of executive orders. One major change is the threat to withhold federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities”, that is cities that claim to not work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to find undocumented immigrants. But what even is a sanctuary city and is Fresno in the crosshairs? Valley Public Radio report

Becerra spoiling for a legal fight as Trump orders roll out – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday he will challenge President Donald Trump’s widely disputed executive order blocking travel to the United States by refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa. Sacramento Bee article 

California’s sanctuary policy on immigration forges ahead – In defiance of President Trump’s immigration agenda, a fast-tracked California bill to limit local and state law enforcement officers’ participation in deportations cleared its first hurdle Tuesday despite concerns of GOP committee members and two state law enforcement groups that the measure is too broad. San Jose Mercury News article 

Strike over immigrants: Can California foretell nation’s future? — California is often held up as a harbinger of the demographics — and, Democrats hope, the politics — of the nation to come. Mr. Wilson’s bet against immigration is thought to have hurt Republicans in the long run in the state. But in the dawn of the Trump era, the state is also a cautionary tale of what happens during the tumultuous years when that change is occurring rapidly. New York Times article

San Francisco sues Trump over ‘sanctuary city’ funding cuts – San Francisco sued President Donald Trump on Tuesday over his move to cut funding to immigrant-protecting “sanctuary cities,” calling the executive order unconstitutional, a severe invasion of the city’s sovereignty and downright un-American. AP article; KQED report; LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article 

Which California cities have refugees settled in? Nearly all of them — This map shows the cities where refugees have resettled in California since 2002. Larger circles represent a larger number of refugees. The map excludes Afghans and Iraqis who resettled through the Special Immigrant Visa program, which awards entry to people who helped the U.S. military in recent wars. The leading counties for SIVs are summarized below the map. Sacramento Bee article
State Department dissent cable on Trump’s ban draws 1,000 signatures — The State Department cable, asserting that the president’s order on immigration will not make the nation safer, has wended through dozens of United States embassies and is still spreading. New York Times article 

Trump administration circulates more draft immigration restrictions, focusing on protecting U.S. jobs – The Trump administration is considering a plan to weed out would-be immigrants who are likely to require public assistance, as well as to deport — when possible — immigrants already living in the United States who depend on taxpayer help, according to a draft executive order obtained by The Washington Post. Washington Post article 

President Trump’s executive order halts refugee program for Central American kids – President Trump’s executive order on immigration has halted a government program that allows Central American children to seek refugee status in the United States. LA Times article 

More people were affected by travel ban than Trump initially said – A far larger number of people were affected by President Trump’s executive order on refugees than he initially said, Department of Homeland Security officials acknowledged on Tuesday. New York Times article

Trump administration signals that some temporary bans on entry into U.S. could become permanent — The Trump administration doubled down Tuesday on its commitment to transforming the nation’s border law enforcement, signaling that some of the temporary bans on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries are likely to be made permanent and elevating a deportations official to run the top immigration enforcement agency. LA Times article

State Senate committee votes in favor of funding legal aid for immigrants in California facing deportation – A state legislative bill seeking to expand legal services for immigrants in the U.S. illegally moved out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday on a 5-2 vote. The bill, introduced by state Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), would create a legal defense program funded with state money that would provide lawyers for immigrants caught in deportation or removal proceedings.  LA Times article 

Oakland sets up $300,000 fund to fight deportations – Oakland carved out $300,000 Tuesday to fight deportations over the next two years, joining other large Democrat-led cities around the country that have laid out plans to fund legal defenses for immigrants threatened by the policies of President Trump’s administration. San Francisco Chronicle article

Google employees protest Trump’s immigration ban – In an unusual sign of protest at an iconic Silicon Valley name, Google employees worldwide took to the streets to denounce Trump’s new immigration policies that are directly impacting workers at the global giant. KQED report 

Trump travel ban is ‘scary’ for Hollywood, which relies on a global travel pool  – Los Angeles producer Rossi Cannon relies heavily on foreign directors and cinematographers to make commercials for brands such as Nike. Cannon, 48, never thought that her access to the global talent pool might be limited. Now she’s not so sure. LA Times article

Spurred by Trump’s immigration crackdown, LA City Council moves to decriminalize street vending — Fearing a coming crackdown on immigrants, Los Angeles City Council members Joe Buscaino and Curren Price vowed to stop punishing vending as a crime and begin setting up a regulated system. The council pushed forward with their plan Tuesday, voting to draft a law that would decriminalize sidewalk vending. LA Times article

Other areas 

How should California regulate pot? The Teamsters are weighing in – Special interests from the Teamsters to the makers of marijuana-infused mouth spray are sending lobbyists to the California Capitol as the state seeks to reconcile existing medical marijuana laws with the measure to legalize recreational pot voters passed in November. Sacramento Bee article


Schwarzenegger: ‘We’re going through some difficult moments … but I guarantee we will work our way out of this’ — Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that the United States had faced trying times and political crises before, and has always persevered. LA Times article


Presidential Politics


Here are Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s most interesting decisions –  Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Donald Trump Tuesday night to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court, has earned a reputation for his incisive writing and and textual reading of the Constitution. But his deftly penned decisions and originalist stance are not the only characteristics he shares with Scalia. Gorsuch has also sketched a series of solidly conservative stances on likely hot-button issues should he join the high court, including decisions on religious freedom and the Second Amendment. Here are some of his most telling decisions from the bench. McClatchy Newspapers article

Feinstein, Harris unleash Twitter storms against Gorsuch – Firing up dual tweet storms after President Trump announced his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court Tuesday evening, California’s female senators wasted no time bashing the president’s selection. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Supreme Court pick: What’s at stake for California? – California has a lot riding on issues that the U.S. Supreme Court could soon take up, and no one has more at stake than public employee unions. KQED report

Californians on Gorsuch: ‘Eminently qualified,’ ‘an immediate threat to gay rights’ – Here are some reactions from California groups and politicians to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sacramento Bee article 

Picking one justice, Trump has his eye on choosing a second – For the White House, President Trump’s first nomination to the Supreme Court is partly about getting the chance to make a second. In tapping Judge Neil M. Gorsuch for an open seat, Mr. Trump chose a candidate with the potential to reassure Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the swing vote who holds the balance of power on the court, that it would be safe to retire. New York Times article 

Sacramento Bee: How Trump can remake federal judiciary far beyond Supreme Court – Partly because of the same outrageous Republican obstructionism that blocked Barack Obama’s nominee for the high court, the new president will immediately get to fill 116 vacancies, including six U.S. District Court judgeships in California and four seats on the influential 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Trump Supreme Court pick is payback time for angry Democrats – President Donald Trump’s nomination of a Supreme Court justice late Tuesday is the moment Democratic leaders and sympathetic activists have been eagerly awaiting for months: the chance to seek revenge for what some see as a stolen seat. McClatchy Newspapers article 

As America weighs the fate of Trump’s court pick, Feinstein is the Democrat to watch – Dianne Feinstein is embarking on a crucial moment in her 24-year Senate career: leading what’s likely to be tense, lengthy and intensely watched scrutiny of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.  McClatchy Newspapers article

Cathleen Decker: Trump’s early missteps threaten impressions of presidential competence — President Trump’s go-it-alone strategy has put at risk a core quality that must be projected by any successful American commander-in-chief: competence. Decker in LA Times 

European Council president includes United States as a threat to Europe – The president of the European Council on Tuesday branded the U.S. a threat, as the backlash against the Trump administration’s stance on issues such as immigration, NATO and European sovereignty intensified across the continent. LA Times article 

2,300 California scientists write to Trump over climate fears – In response to reports that President Donald Trump would break an international climate agreement, more than 2,300 California scientists have signed an open letter to the White House urging the administration to uphold commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sacramento Bee article 

Democrats see opening in Trump’s stumble on travel ban, move to block Cabinet votes – Seizing on President Trump’s early missteps and the wave of protests his executive actions have triggered, Democrats are feeling more emboldened to confront the new administration head-on. LA Times article 

Travel order and firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates roils Justice Department – President Trump’s decision late Monday to fire acting Atty. Gen. Sally Yates over her decision to not defend his immigration order has split the Justice Department, with some lawyers hailing the longtime federal prosecutor for taking a courageous stand and others calling it an act of political grandstanding. LA Times article

Top Democratic donor Tom Steyer is planning a larger role in opposing Trump – Like other liberal leaders, he’s been hunting for the right approach to counter Trump. Now the deep-pocketed Democratic donor is launching a new effort that could expand the scope of NextGen Climate, the San Francisco-based organization he created and funded.  LA Times article 

At CNN town hall, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls Trump ‘reckless’ for refugee ban — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) called President Trump “reckless” and his administration “incompetent” Tuesday night for his executive order last week banning refugees and visa holders from seven countries from entering the United States. LA Times article

In rare move, Trump cancels Wisconsin trip amid concern about protests — President Donald Trump has canceled a scheduled trip to Wisconsin out of concern that his presence would be the target of protesters angered by his immigration order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. McClatchy Newspapers article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Forecast: Downturn likely in coming years – The immediate future looks strong economically in California, but the election this past November has increased the risk of another recession that could drastically change the economic outlook for the Central Valley, as well as the state, experts report. Stockton Record article

California State University to vote on tuition hike in March — California State University’s governing board said Tuesday it will vote in March whether to raise tuition for the first time in six years at its 23 campuses. Executive Vice Chancellor Steve Relyea told the Board of Trustees that the nation’s largest public university system needs to hire more faculty and create more classes to accommodate record high enrollment. Insufficient state funding could leave no option but raising tuition, which he called a last resort. AP article;

Jobs and the Economy 

Forecast: Obamacare rollback to harm Central Valley the most — The Trump presidency is expected to have a greater impact on the economy of California — especially inland — in the next few years, according to the latest California & Metro Forecast from the Center for Business and Policy Research at University of the Pacific. The Business Journal article 

Raiders may have lost another Las Vegas investor – Is the Oakland Raiders stadium deal in Las Vegas falling apart like a house of cards? A day after casino mogul Sheldon Adelson pulled out of the project, a league source said financial bank Goldman Sachs may also no longer be interested in the deal. San Francisco Chronicle article; LA Times article

Red Robin, businesses thrive in Visalia – Visalia may only have 130,000 people, but it draws customers from across the Valley to its eateries and shops. In the most recent Economic Update report, city officials said Visalia is in a business boon. Sportsman’s Warehouse and Outback Steakhouse are heading to town, and other national retailers are staying put. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Merced to get two new retail spots on Olive after vacant buildings destroyed – The two vacant three-story buildings on Olive Avenue near M Street are to be demolished in the coming months to make way for a pharmacy and coffee spot, the city’s staff has confirmed. Merced Sun-Star article

Hewlett Packard CEO Whitman joins Sacramento Republic’s bid for Major League Soccer berth – Adding Silicon Valley executive Meg Whitman to its ownership group, Sacramento Republic FC prepared to formally submit its bid to Major League Soccer for an expansion team Tuesday. Sacramento Bee article

Joel Fox: Transitioning to an emerging green economy — California may not be alone in its efforts to deal with climate change but neither can state officials ignore the need for a smooth transition to a greener economy that would rely on traditional energy sources. That was the message gleaned from the opening sessions of the 10th annual VerdeXchange conference in Los Angeles dedicated to promoting a green economy.  Fox in Fox & Hounds 

Chukchansi will move tribal programs to Oakhurst from Fresno — Chukchansi tribal officials intend to move their headquarters to Oakhurst from the current site in northwest Fresno. The tribe moved to Fresno when it broke into factions and groups separated into different locations. Fresno Bee article

State Controller Betty Yee blasts financial practices of Panoche water agency — The Panoche Water District, a small water agency in western Fresno and Merced counties, is being taken to task by state Controller Betty Yee for what she called an “egregious” lack of oversight of how the agency spent its money from 2013 into 2015.  Fresno Bee article 

Minibus bought for second Cleansing Hope Shower Shuttle for homeless – Church in the Park has purchased a minibus to create a second Cleansing Hope Shower Shuttle to serve the homeless population in Modesto. Modesto Bee article 

Steinberg’s plan for homeless housing appears to gain support – Sacramento City Council members and Sacramento County supervisors late Tuesday night were poised to move forward on a plan to give homeless people priority for federal housing subsidies in coming years. Sacramento Bee article

Look what Kings have in store for block near Golden 1 – Sketching a new vision for a blighted downtown block near their new arena, the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday released plans for a 170-unit apartment building and mixed-use commercial complex on the 800 block of K Street. Sacramento Bee article 

Dave Walsh: Let’s get more jobs in return for tax cuts – The Tehachapi resident and retired private investigator writes, “It makes no sense to give corporations literally billions in tax savings to create more jobs in other countries. If we do, the idea of lowering corporate taxes by such a large amount would appear to be nothing more than another ploy to make rich corporations richer.” Walsh op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Facebook food seller agrees to settlement – A Stockton woman who found herself mired in a casserole of controversy late last year over her home food business recently agreed to serve 80 hours of community service and to not engage in the sale of any food without proper permits. Stockton Record article 

Aerojet Rocketdyne chooses Alabama as assembly site for new rocket engine – Rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne has chosen Huntsville, Ala., as its final assembly site for the new AR1 rocket engine, creating 100 new jobs in the area. LA Times article 

Long before Costco, there was Alma’s — Long before the thought of Costco entered anybody’s wildest dreams, Alma’s Flea Market was there, doing its thing, on East Lacey Boulevard. For decades, it’s been a local institution, a place where you can get live chickens, tropical fruit and pocket knives. Hanford Sentinel article


Stockton East Water District: State water board ignores everyone but themselves — The Water Board’s proposal to update the Bay Delta Plan would remove local agencies’ ability to manage water resources. This further contradicts with the SGMA intent. Without multiple tools (multiple water supplies and non-flow alternatives), local water managers cannot implement water supply and resource projects that benefit their areas. Stockton East Water District op-ed in Stockton Record 

New board will meet on groundwater plan for Turlock Irrigation District farms and cities — A new board will start its work Thursday on assuring that well pumping can sustain itself on farms and in cities in the Turlock Irrigation District.  Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Man shot by Fresno police in jail on federal immigration hold – A man shot by a Fresno police officer early Saturday is out of the hospital and is in Fresno County Jail, where he is being held on a federal immigration detainer. Fresno Bee article 

Who gets killed, and why, in California – The latest detailed report on California homicides from the state Department of Justice offers signs of progress as well as reasons for concern. The 2015 report contained insight into who killed whom and how they accomplished the deed. The following are some of the findings. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Urban killings in Bay Area rise for 2nd year in a row — Mirroring a national trend, killings in the Bay Area’s biggest cities ticked up in 2016 for the second year in a row, rising 14 percent and prompting police to seek ways to shore up long-term gains that have made the region safer than it was in past decades. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Marcos Breton: In its recent test of transparency, Sacramento gets its answers ‘all’ wrong – In Sacramento, the city attorney, city manager and police chief seem to believe that they – not the dictionary – get to define what all really means when it comes to releasing video of police using force in the line of duty. Breton column in Sacramento Bee 

Sacramento Bee: Just because a police shooting is legal doesn’t mean it’s right — Mayor Darrell Steinberg says he is monitoring the internal investigation closely, including a review of relevant department policies and procedures. If the conclusion is “those officers were following policies, then it’s long past time to change policy,” he said. We concur. Too much is at stake. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Authorities identify man fatally shot by police during domestic disturbance — Authorites on Tuesday identified a man fatally shot by Modesto police as Spencer Herckt, 42. Herckt was killed and a Modesto officer injured when police responded to a report of a domestic disturbance Monday night in north Modesto. Modesto Bee article 

Continued Alameda County court errors cause false arrests, extended jail time — The presiding judge for Alameda County courts said he would consider a request to compel court clerks to keep accurate records of cases — the latest development in what’s been widely described as a disastrous implementation of an electronic filing system called Odyssey. KQED report

Police Commission rules officers were not involved in controversial case of woman who died in LAPD jail cell – Emotions ran high at the Police Commission’s weekly meeting Tuesday, where dozens of people waited hours to hear the board rule that officers were not “substantially involved” in the death of a woman inside a Los Angeles jail cell. LA Times article


After Fresno Unified board fires Superintendent Hanson, trustees quiet about reason – After the Fresno Unified school board voted to terminate Superintendent Michael Hanson, the trustees stayed quiet about what happened in a string of closed-door meetings that turned his plans to stay at the helm until August into termination without cause, effective Wednesday. Fresno Bee article 

Fresno Bee: With Hanson gone, Fresno trustees must become teammates again – While Hanson moved the district forward in his 12-plus years as superintendent, his my-way-or-the-highway leadership and divide-and-conquer political games kept Fresno Unified from closing the achievement gap even more. His exit marks a grand opportunity for trustees to become true teammates again and chart a course that elevates classroom performance, boosts teacher morale and increases community confidence in the district. Fresno Bee editorial 

Pacific reaching out to students who could be affected by immigration order – When news of President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries came down, universities across the country scrambled to find students, staff or programs that could be affected. At University of the Pacific, it was no different. Stockton Record article

Cal State students rally in protest across California as trustees debate raising tuition – In a lively discussion that ran almost an hour longer than scheduled, California State University’s Board of Trustees debated the controversial possibility of increasing tuition as a way to fill a looming gap in state funding. LA Times article 

Arambula bill calls for new medical school at Fresno State – A new bill introduced in the California Legislature last week by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula calls for the authorization of a new medical school at California State University, Fresno. Arambula, who is a former emergency room physician from Fresno County, says training more doctors locally is one way to help solve the valley’s chronic physician shortage. Valley Public Radio report 

Court ruling will hinder some charter schools’ right to cross district borders –  The California Supreme Court has let stand a 2016 appeals court decision that will restrict some charter schools’ ability to expand and jeopardize the status of an estimated 38,000 students studying under charter school arrangements that the appeals court declared illegal. EdSource article 

Creating a debt-free college program wouid cost state an estimated $3.3 billion – Increasing financial aid so California students can graduate public colleges and universities without debt could cost the state up to $3.3 billion annually, according to a new report from the Legislative Analyst’s OfficeEdSource article 

Nan Austin: The brain’s guide to studying, a student’s tips on acting it – The brain, it turns out, is a soft, lumpy and fairly squishy 3-pound lump with definite opinions on how it likes to study. With testing time and finals on the horizon, students might get some use out of knowing their cerebral partner’s predilections. Austin in Modesto Bee 

Two Visalia boys arrested after gun violence threatened against Redwood High School — Two boys were arrested by Visalia police Tuesday morning after threats of gun violence were made against Redwood High School, Sgt. Damon Maurice reported. Officers were alerted to the threats on the social media application SnapChat just after midnight. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article 

Seven Central Valley High students arrested in beating, threatening of classmate – A group of Central Valley High School teens are facing serious charges for beating and repeatedly harassing and threatening a 15-year-old classmate. Modesto Bee article

Rogelio Caudillo: Fellows program gives valley stronger voice in Sacramento – The district representative for state Sen. Andy Vidak writes, “There is an extraordinary opportunity for college graduates from the valley to learn about and get hands-on experience in government and the process of implementing public policy. It’s called the California Senate Fellows Program and it’s one of the most prestigious programs of its kind in the nation.” Caudillo op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Fresno Unified sued by two students who were allegedly molested by school employees — Two Fresno Unified students who were allegedly molested by school employees in two separate incidents last year have filed lawsuits against the district, according to court documents obtained by The Bee. Fresno Bee article

Visalia schools green with renewable energy — The sun is shining on Visalia Unified School Districtand a project to take more schools green. Over the spring semester, the district will add 10 more campuses to the growing list of schools using solar panels to help lower energy costs. Visalia Times-Delta article

Hughson High teens teach frosh to live Life of a Husky — Hughson High teens are getting some help to make the most of their high school years. Life of a Husky aims to put performance strategies for top athletes to work for everyday kids. The Life of a Husky class, made up of student leaders from across campus social groups, spent the fall semester learning the basics. Strong performance depends on healthy eating, plenty of sleep and exercise, managing stress, recognizing the risks of substance abuse, and the importance of ethics and character. Modesto Bee article


The surprising link between air pollution and Alzheimer’s disease – With environmental regulations expected to come under heavy fire from the Trump administration, new research offers powerful evidence of a link between air pollution and dementia risk. LA Times article 

Failures at California toxic waste regulator prompt bills to improve enforcement – California lawmakers on Tuesday announced bills designed to increase funding and improve enforcement at the state agency that regulates hazardous waste facilities. Sacramento Bee article 

PG&E headquarters to add quake-alert system – Pacific Gas & Electric Company says it will soon start linking its downtown San Francisco headquarters to an earthquake early-warning system in an attempt to ensure the safety of anyone inside its 34-story building. The program will eventually extend to other PG&E facilities in the Bay Area. San Francisco Chronicle article

San Joaquin County seeks aid after storms – San Joaquin County is asking Gov. Jerry Brown to include the area in his recently issued state of emergency after January’s wet storms caused perhaps $16 million in damage and expenses here. Brown’s emergency proclamation last week covered 50 of the 58 counties but excluded San Joaquin. Stockton Record article 

Kern County seeks solution to chronic flooding in Lamont – Lamont floods even in a moderate rain. Why?  Because of berms and channels built by farmers in the area to divert storm waters flowing from Caliente Creek away from their property, Kern County supervisors were told Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article 

Ranching groups challenge gray wolf’s endangered status in California — A lawsuit filed Tuesday by a conservative legal foundation on behalf of California farmers and ranchers alleges a state commission illegally listed gray wolves as an endangered species. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services 

4 San Joaquin County deaths reported as flu season hits in earnest – Public health officials reported Tuesday that four deaths from the flu among people younger than 65 have been reported in San Joaquin County so far this flu season compared with none last year. Stockton Record article 

Kern County reports first flu-related death of season – A Kern County resident died of the flu this week, a first for the season, and three others are hospitalized in Intensive Care Units as a severe strain of the flu sweeps throughout the state, county public health officials announced Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article

‘Get it while it’s there’: Covered California extends Jan. 31 deadline for health insurance under Affordable Care Act — Anticipating a last-minute surge in enrollments, Covered California extended its Jan. 31 sign-up deadline, saying it would help more Californians “cross the finish line” to health care coverage. Sacramento Bee article 

How bad is the Valley’s opioid epidemic? Bad enough to worry health officials — Recently, you may have heard a startling statistic: drug overdoses now kill more Americans than car accidents. For some years, the same holds true here in the San Joaquin Valley. The lion’s share of those overdoses are from opioids—street drugs and heavy-duty painkillers either derived from opium or made in a lab. Now, health officials are trying to prevent the problem from becoming worse. Valley Public Radio report

Land Use/Housing

Housing crunch exacts heavy price on Californians – In its first comprehensive analysis since the year 2000, California’s Department of Housing and Community Development paints a bleak picture of the state’s housing landscape. While it points to some hopeful developments, the report suggests lawmakers will need to consider serious policy changes if California is going to build the projected 1.8 million new homes needed by 2025. KQED report 

Both sides keep quiet as Stanislaus County leaders give initial approval for MAC – Some of the combatants in Wood Colony’s struggle with Modesto were present Tuesday, but they kept silent. Without discussion, Stanislaus County’s Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 set the ball in motion for forming a municipal advisory council for a 15,560-acre area west of Modesto. Supervisor Kristin Olsen cited car trouble in not attending the meeting. Modesto Bee article 

Bakersfield council Oks wrecking ball for 24th Street project — In a move that could result in the demolition of 19 homes along one of the city’s busiest arteries, the Bakersfield City Council voted Tuesday to approve a contract to bring bulldozers to the long-awaited 24th Street Widening Project. Bakersfield Californian article

Other areas

Michael Fitzgerald: Mayor adds staff, gets static – The fuss over adding two staff positions to the Stockton Mayor’s Office may seem like the sort of petty, personal and misconceived dissent that voters can well ignore. And I am tempted. But at bottom it’s about money, so we’ll give it careful attention. If this city goes bankrupt again, I want the mobs to say Fitz did his part to warn us, and criticize the spendthrifts, not me. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record 

Trice Harvey dies at 80 – Former State Assemblyman Trice Harvey died Tuesday evening, family members have told The Californian. He was 80.  Bakersfield Californian article 

Have murals lost their punch? Fresno artists say they still have things they ‘want to say’ — People in the Central Valley have painted murals for decades. They’ve represented civil rights and worker equality as well advertisements for companies. But FM89’s Ezra David Romero found that many murals painted today in places like Fresno have taken on a very different tone than murals painted just a few decades ago. Valley Public Radio report

Valley Editorial Roundup 

Fresno Bee – While Hanson moved the district forward in his 12-plus years as superintendent, his my-way-or-the-highway leadership and divide-and-conquer political games kept Fresno Unified from closing the achievement gap even more. His exit marks a grand opportunity for trustees to become true teammates again and chart a course that elevates classroom performance, boosts teacher morale and increases community confidence in the district.

Merced Sun-Star – President Trump’s order on travel is a disgrace to all.

Modesto Bee – President Trump’s order on travel is a disgrace to all; Whatever President Trump breaks, GOP owns it.

Sacramento Bee –- Partly because of the same outrageous Republican obstructionism that blocked Barack Obama’s nominee for the high court, the new president will immediately get to fill 116 vacancies, including six U.S. District Court judgeships in California and four seats on the influential 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Just because a police shooting is legal doesn’t mean it’s right.