February 10, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories

Appeals court rejection leaves Trump travel ban on hold — The legal fight over President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations is on hold after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to block a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban, allowing previously barred travelers to continue coming to the United States. AP articleUSA Today articleKQED reportNew York Times article

Dan Walters: Brown’s big legacy projects could be Trump’s targets — The train and the tunnels, in brief, are two very vulnerable targets should those in the White House and Congress want to score hits on California. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

California farmers backed Trump, but now fear losing field workers — Jeff Marchini and others in the Central Valley here bet their farms on the election of Donald J. Trump. His message of reducing regulations and taxes appealed to this Republican stronghold, one of Mr. Trump’s strongest bases of support in the state. As for his promises about cracking down on illegal immigrants, many assumed Mr. Trump’s pledges were mostly just talk. But two weeks into his administration, Mr. Trump has signed executive orders that have upended the country’s immigration laws. Now farmers here are deeply alarmed about what the new policies could mean for their workers, most of whom are unauthorized, and the businesses that depend on them. New York Times article

Gov. Brown 

Jerry Brown responds to President Trump’s high-speed rail lament — Using the new president’s preferred mode of communication, California Gov. Jerry Brown delivered a sparing, yet upbeat message Thursday designed to relieve President Donald Trump’s concerns about the lack of fast-moving trains in America. “@realDonaldTrump,” Brown wrote on Twitter, “California’s ready.” Brown finished the tweet with a hashtag for the California High-Speed Rail system. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown pitches Sacramento streetcar to Trump — Sacramento’s planned downtown streetcar line got a boost from Gov. Jerry Brown this week, who included it on a list of 51 “critical” infrastructure projects California would like to see the Trump administration help fund. Brown sent that list this week to the National Governors Association to be forwarded to Trump transportation officials for consideration. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Dear Kevin – Congressman McCarthy has the president’s ear. We asked you what he should whisper into it. Here are some of your suggestions.  Bakersfield Californian article

Trice Harvey remembered with humor, stories — Trice Harvey made people laugh, even at his funeral. The former state assemblyman, dedicated family patriarch, humorist and community servant was remembered and then prayed on his way to heaven Thursday afternoon at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. Harvey died Jan. 31 at age 80 after suffering a fall. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Republicans think they’ve found the ideal candidate for governor. So why isn’t Kevin Faulconer interested? – In many ways, the leader of California’s second-most-populous city seems an ideal prospect. He is a fiscal conservative who supports same-sex marriage and passed a local climate change measure praised by that greenest of gurus, Al Gore himself. He is fluent in Spanish. He not only won landslide reelection in a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, but also carried a substantial chunk of the Latino vote running against a Latina opponent. There’s just one problem: Faulconer insists he’s not interested. LA Times article

California’s brand new Attorney General Xavier Becerra announces he’ll run for the post in 2018 — California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Thursday formally announced his bid to run for election to the post in 2018, telling supporters he is ready to continue to battle the Trump administration when he thinks the president is trampling on rights.  LA Times article

Patt Morrison asks: Xavier Becerra, California’s new attorney general and point man in its battle with Trump — Longtime Democratic congressman Xavier Becerra has come home to California — and to a battle, one at least as big as any he’s fought in Washington, D.C.  Morrison in LA Times


From ‘happy’ to outrage, Valley reacts to appeals court ruling – A federal appeals court’s refusal to reinstate President Donald Trump’s controversial temporary travel ban affecting citizens of seven majority Muslim nations drew mixed responses from the central San Joaquin Valley Thursday. Fresno Bee article

How would the Supreme Court react to Trump over travel ban? Not well, say legal experts – Several legal experts who weighed in on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to not order a reinstatement of President Trump’s travel ban said they thought the administration had slim chances if it appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. LA Times article

California’s top prosecutor praises 9th Circuit Court decision – California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, whose office joined 16 other states and the District of Columbia in urging the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reject President Trump’s appeal, said the court ruled “on the side of justice.” LA Times article

Statewide survey finds Californians want state and local governments to protect immigrants who are here illegally – A solid majority of Californians believe their state and local governments should make their own policies and take action to protect the rights of immigrants illegally in the state, according to a new statewide survey released Tuesday. LA Times article

Exclusive: Trump border ‘wall’ to cost $21.6 billion, take 3.5 years to build: internal report – President Donald Trump’s “wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take more than three years to construct, based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report seen by Reuters on Thursday. Reuters article

Kamala Harris introduces first bill in Senate, a response to Trump travel ban — California’s newly elected Sen. Kamala Harris, star of recent protests against the Trump administration, filed her first bill Thursday, a response to the turmoil that followed President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority nations entering the U.S. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Trump’s plan to lock up more immigrants could profit privately run detention centers – President Donald Trump’s plans to lock up more immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally could aid large private companies such as The GEO Group Inc., which has a federal contract to run the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, one of the largest in the nation.  McClatchy Newspapers article

Immigration arrests in LA spark fear, outrage, but officials say they are routine – Arrests made by federal immigration officials in Southern California this week have heightened anxiety about a promised crackdown by President Trump on people in this country illegally. LA Times article

Los Angeles-area attorneys say immigration arrests have increased – Federal officials have ramped up arrests of undocumented immigrants, Los Angeles-area immigration lawyers said on Thursday.  KPCC report

BART may designate itself a sanctuary transit system – BART, whose trains carry riders between a number of Bay Area sanctuary cities, will consider adopting its own policy protecting undocumented immigrants from the federal government.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Bush administration lawyer John Woo says Trump lost because executive order was haphazard and rushed – John Yoo, a UC Berkeley law professor who worked for President George W. Bush’s administration and helped write a memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects, said the Supreme Court is unlikely to agree to review the decision.  LA Times article

Carmen George: A cry for unity at a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border – Through the slots of a massive steel fence protruding into the Pacific Ocean, a sandy beach in Tijuana comes into view. It’s filled with throngs of chatting teenagers and young men doing pushups and pullups before the backdrop of a Mexican home painted in the American stripes of red, white and blue. On the other side, in San Diego, there’s just a handful of Americans who walked more than a mile and a half down closed, flooded roads and an empty beach in Border Field State Park to peer with curiosity into Mexico on a recent Saturday. George in Fresno Bee

LA, Orange counties are home to 1 million immigrants who are here illegally, analysis shows – An analysis released Thursday by the Pew Research Center underscores just how much immigrants here illegally have been embedded into the culture and economy of Los Angeles. Woven, often seamlessly, into dozens of cities’ infrastructures, they have become a workforce and community that makes up much of the fabric of Southern California. LA Times article

Rep. Duncan Hunter says he won’t support federal funds for ‘sanctuary cities’ — Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) won’t request federal funds in the coming fiscal year for states, cities and universities that have a policy to not comply with enforcement of federal immigration laws, he said in a statement Thursday.  LA Times article

Other areas

Kevin de Leon exploring options to protect private retirement program – California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said he’s exploring all options – including a potential statewide ballot measure – to protect a landmark effort to enroll millions of private-sector workers without retirement plans in state-run investment accounts.  Sacramento Bee article

Lawmakers push for ‘environmental justice’ in California carbon reduction policy – Lawmakers frustrated that their communities have not benefited equally in California’s expansive fight against climate change are trying to reframe the debate in a crucial year for the future of state environmental policy. Sacramento Bee articleCapital Public Radio report

Sacramento wants state watchdog to enforce city ethics rules — State legislators announced legislation Thursday that would allow the state’s watchdog agency to enforce Sacramento’s campaign finance rules. Sacramento Bee article

San Francisco sues online gun suppliers, calls sale of ‘repair kits’ illegal – San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued five gun suppliers Thursday, alleging they broke a state law banning the sale of high-capacity magazines by selling them in pieces and falsely marketing them as “repair kits.” San Francisco Chronicle article

Keith Ellison, in DNC chair race, gathering support from Californians — Rep. Keith Ellison, campaigning to lead the Democratic Party, is coalescing a growing group of leaders in California. Earlier this week, California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton sided with the Minnesota Democrat over former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, joining a list that includes Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Reps. Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu and Maxine Waters, ex-Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and labor icon Dolores Huerta. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Donald Trump is deeply unpopular in California, poll finds – Amid contentious fights over his cabinet nominees and a torrent of executive orders, just one third of Californians approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance, according to a statewide poll released late Thursday. The Public Policy Institute of California survey put the Republican president’s rating at 30 percent among adult residents, and 34 percent among likely voters. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle articlePolitico articleKQED report

Gorsuch remarks not about Trump, White House says – White House officials insisted on Thursday that Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, was not referring to Mr. Trump’s recent denigration of judges when he said privately that he was disheartened by attacks on the courts. New York Times article

Trump signs 3 executive orders on crime after Jeff Sessions is sworn in — President Donald Trump signed three new executive orders Thursday morning that he said were focused on scaling back crime and violence against police officers. McClatchy Newspapers articleNew York Times article

Trump vexed by challenges, scale of government — Being president is harder than Donald Trump thought, according to aides and allies who say that he’s growing increasingly frustrated with the challenges of running the massive federal bureaucracy.  Politico article

News Stories

Top Stories

‘Children under stress’: Valley kids among state’s unhealthiest — San Joaquin Valley children are poor, hungry, undereducated and at a greater risk of ending up in jail than those raised in any other region of the state, according to a new report highlighting chronic health issues in the area. Bakersfield Californian article

Only 11 percent of California remains in severe drought — Going, going, but not gone yet.  About 47 percent of California still faces a drought, and the conditions are severe in 11 percent of the state, according to the most recent weekly report from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Some 83 percent of the state was in the monitor’s second-most severe category one year ago. San Francisco Chronicle articleHanford Sentinel article

Jobs and the Economy

Home prices continue to climb because of demand in Merced, Los Banos – Limited supply and growing demand led home prices in Merced County to jump 6.6 percent in December, outpacing the state average, according to housing data tracker CoreLogic.  Merced Sun-Star article

Hanford medical pot business delayed until November 2018 – The Hanford City Council has decided to wait until at least November 2018 to consider issuing a conditional use permit for a large medical marijuana growing/processing business to locate in Hanford. Hanford Sentinel article

Where did you get that Fresno t-shirt? How to find locally themed products — Carlson Herbert, 19, didn’t mean to start a business selling Fresno-themed T-shirts. The Fresno City College student had fallen in love with printmaking after taking a class in it. He began carving images into wood blocks and built a printing press in his garage so he could ink iconic images of Fresno onto shirts. He now runs Urban Crow Apparel, selling shirts with images of downtown Fresno buildings, the Fresno Water Tower and Yosemite. Fresno Bee article

Fresno Chamber honors Bill Smittcamp of Wawona Frozen Foods — Bill Smittcamp, president and chief executive officer of Wawona Frozen Foods, was following in some big footsteps as he accepted the Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s Leon S. Peters award on Thursday.  Fresno Bee article

Riverbank mayor: City of Action gearing up for more – The city likewise is quietly revving up, positioning for another growth spurt that could take many by surprise. No fewer than 300 new homes are expected to pop up in coming months, plus dozens more units for low-income renters. And City Hall is preparing to take an ambitious “annexation strategy” to a regional growth panel, the mayor said. Modesto Bee article

Is Cracker Barrel coming to Fresno? Maybe, maybe not — Social media is abuzz with the possibility that the popular Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and its restaurant may open a location in Fresno. Will it? Maybe. Maybe not – and there’s several reasons not to get too excited yet. Fresno Bee article

Kingsburg needs votes for $500,000 small business prize – Kingsburg is one of five U.S. towns that are finalists in the running to receive a $500,000 award to transform six small businesses. The Central Valley town was selected as a semi-finalist in the “Small Business Revolution—Main Street” competition in November 2016 and made the final cut after officials from Minnesota-based Deluxe Corp., the company that created the contest, toured Kingsburg and seven other contenders vying for the prize. The Business Journal article

Dora Westerlund recognized with $200,000 Irvine grant – Dora Westerlund, the president and CEO of the Downtown Business Hub, is one of six Californians being recognized with an annual Leadership Award from the James Irvine Foundation. The award honors those advancing innovative solutions to the state’s challenges and provides $200,000 to recipients to use to further work in their communities. The Business Journal article

‘There’s no place else … that we can run to’: Residents of huge homeless camp are asked to clear out to make way for LAX project — The squatters’ village of tents, peeling campers, lopsided RVs and cars is home to 200 to 350 people. The airport, which has spent $437 million buying out residents and plans to spend an additional $1 billion for property, won’t pay to relocate the homeless occupants.  LA Times article


How this garlic farm went from a labor shortage to over 150 people on its applicant waitlist — The biggest fresh garlic producer in the nation is giving its employees a hefty raise, reflecting the desperation of farmers to attract a dwindling number of farmworkers. Christopher Ranch, which grows garlic on 5,000 acres in Gilroy, Calif., announced recently that it would hike pay for farmworkers from $11 an hour to $13 hour this year, or 18%, and then to $15 in 2018. That’s four years earlier than what’s required by California’s schedule for minimum wage increases. LA Times article

Emergency release of water from Oroville Dam escalates from possible to likely, DWR says – With stormwater and snowmelt pouring into the reservoir faster than expected, the operator of the crippled Oroville Dam said it was likely water would have to be released from the facility’s emergency spillway as soon as Saturday – a last-ditch alternative that officials had been hoping to avoid. Sacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorialSan Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times article

Central Valley’s shrinking land threatens vital canals – Land in the Central Valley is sinking so much from over-pumping of groundwater during the drought that officials said Thursday they will press for new laws to limit drilling. AP articleLA Times article

What not to miss at this year’s World Ag Expo — With less than six days until opening day of the 50th annual World Ag Expo, visitors are landing in town and planning their week. For those who have been but want to try something different this year, here’s some activities that may have lighter crowds and entertain. Visalia Times-Delta article

 Animal rights group alleges deadly, inhumane conditions at Denair egg farm — The animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere on Thursday released results of an investigation into a Denair egg farm, claiming volunteers found hens so closely crowded they were being crushed to death by other birds. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

CHP opens new state-of-the-art facility — The CHP Bakersfield-area office’s move to the southwest — after 43 years on what’s now Buck Owens Boulevard — is designed to provide “better service to the public.” The facility, at 9855 Compagnoni St., features a new state-of-the-art communications center that improves collaboration with other public safety agencies; a staging area for major deployments to not only other parts of California but the country; a room that will allow for the training of 120 people; and big-rig inspection lanes. Bakersfield Californian article


Groups urge Fresno Unified to become safe haven, but Ashjian says immigration ‘not our business’ – Immigration advocates asked Fresno Unified trustees to make schools “safe havens” for undocumented students and their parents, but school board President Brooke Ashjian says those concerns are out of the district’s control. Fresno Bee article

Student aid options for unauthorized immigrants in California – Although they are not eligible for federal grants, loans or work-study, those students in California who meet certain requirements have access to the same state aid available to California residents. This includes in-state tuition, Cal Grants, UC grants, State University Grants, community college fee waivers and scholarships administered by public colleges. To qualify, unauthorized-immigrant students generally must have spent at least three years at a California high school, but there are a few exceptions.San Francisco Chronicle article

Fresno Unified board president: FBI investigation is ‘full blast’ — Fresno Unified school board President Brooke Ashjian says the federal investigation of the district’s no-bid contracts is “100 percent full blast” – contradicting former Superintendent Michael Hanson’s claims that the investigation is a nonissue. Fresno Bee article

Gov. Brown agrees to issue first school bonds this fall – Officials with the California Department of Finance reassured lawmakers Wednesday that the state would issue the first batch of bonds this fall for K-12 school construction, funding that voters approved in passing Proposition 51 in November. EdSource article

Nan Austin: Teen suicide, bullying bring up perennial problems – Before she committed suicide at age 15, Beyer High freshman Doneisha Neal played on school sports teams and dreamed of being a lawyer. But teen drama sent her life sideways, quickly escalating into a proposed transfer to alternative education. Austin in Modesto Bee

Parents of bullied child show compassion for attackers – The mother of the boy who was filmed being bullied by two other boys said she is grateful for the support shown to her son but asks that people stop bullying the bullies. Modesto Bee article

Trump travel ban puts Sacramento-area colleges on alert – Sacramento area universities have large – and growing – populations of international students and professors. Some are fearful that the federal government’s ban on refugees and travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries will block people from returning home if they travel overseas.  Sacramento Bee article

Parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook massacre bring violence prevention program to LA Unified – Sandy Hook Promise was created by parents who lost children in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Their goal: prevent violence before it starts. Reach kids who feel left out early on. The program teaches students how to spot loneliness and potential signs of violence, both in person and on social media. LA Times article

Instead of digital devices, a push to get books into the hands of young readers – With her wide smile and eager expression, Oakland 3rd-grader Weiying Wu looked a bit like a princess herself earlier this week as she pored over her new book titled “Real Princess Diaries,”  thanks to a multistate effort to get books into the hands of low-income children who come from homes where books are often in short supply. EdSource article

Education Roundup: Calling all investors, tinkerers and crafters — CSU Bakersfield has opened registration for its Fab Fest, which invites builders, crafters, dreamers and artists to showcase their talents to the community. It isn’t a typical craft fair, and entrants can’t sell their items, however they can meet other hobbyists and discuss their craft. Bakersfield Californian article

Golden Valley has new lactation room for nursing mothers – Nursing mothers who attend or work at Golden Valley High School now have a cozy space to put up their feet and pump milk in privacy. Merced Sun-Star article

Divisadero property damage sparks district investigation — A weekend pick-up game of basketball has left some Golden West High School students in hot water. On Saturday, Jan. 28, several Golden West students entered the Divisadero Middle School cafeteria to play some basketball. According to parents, the boys were given keys to the building by Divisadero Principal Irene DelCid, who’s son was with the group. Visalia Times-Delta article

Health/Human Services

California gets high marks on running state’s Obamacare exchange – California earns top marks as a model of how health care insurance exchanges can be run, according to a Brookings Institution analysis released Thursday.  Sacramento Bee article

Heading to Mexico? California officials warn travelers to avoid Zika virus — California health officials are again warning winter travelers headed for Mexico to take precautions against the Zika virus, after an Ensenada man was reported testing positive for the mosquito-borne disease.  Sacramento Bee article

Kaiser pays $850,000 to settle charge of faulty recordkeeping at Modesto pharmacy —Kaiser Foundation Health System agreed to pay $850,000 to settle federal allegations of defective prescriptions and inaccurate records at its 3800 Dale Road pharmacy in Modesto. Modesto Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Fresno City Council confirms rental inspections, funding for new hires — Mirroring a contentious vote a week ago, the Fresno City Council gave final approval to Mayor Lee Brand’s ordinance and regulations to establish an interior inspection program for rental housing throughout the city. Fresno Bee article


Fresno Greyhound bus station demolished to clear way for high-speed rail — Demolition crews on Thursday neared the completion of their work to tear down the former Greyhound bus station at Tulare and H streets in downtown Fresno. The station is coming down to make way for a future passenger station on California’s high-speed rail line through the city. The work began about two weeks ago. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

Lemoore manager remains on paid leave — Lemoore city officials remain tight lipped nearly a month after City Manager Andi Welsh was placed on administrative leave. Hanford Sentinel article

Freedom of Information award recognizes Sacramento Bee’s investigation of UC Davis chancellor — The Sacramento Bee has been named a 2017 James Madison Freedom of Information Awards recipient for its investigation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.  Sacramento Bee article

 No longer just the ‘916,’ Sacramento gets a new area code: ‘279’ — The Sacramento region is about to get a new area code to supplement its overburdened 916 digits. The new number, 279, spells out C-R-Y, for what it’s worth. Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – We trust John McCain far more on national security than we do President Trump.

Sacramento Bee –- We trust John McCain far more on national security than we do President Trump; Land subsidence in the Central Valley and the gaping hole that appeared in the spillway at Oroville Dam are not connected in any direct way. But they are of a piece. California’s plumbing system, largely built five decades ago, is outdated and in distress.





Next 10: UPDATED California budget challenge – For the first time in a decade, California’s budget is largely in balance.  However, the state has outstanding debts of $28 million, not counting long-term pension and retiree health care costs.  Budget choices affect us all.  Take the Challenge and decide how much should be spent on programs and where the money should come from.  Next 10 California Budget Challenge


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