February 17, 2015


Political Briefs

Top stories

Judge blocks Obama policy that would shield millions from deportation – A federal judge in south Texas issued an injunction Monday temporarily blocking a program President Obama announced in November that would defer deportation for about 5 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.  LA Times article; New York Times article; AP article

Valley Latinos look on with interest as Villaraigosa mulls Senate run — Villaraigosa’s deliberations have not gone unnoticed in the central San Joaquin Valley, where Latinos — who are both allies and detractors — are eagerly awaiting a decision in the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer. Some have talked to Villaraigosa, a Democrat and former Assembly speaker, and urged him to run. If nothing else, several local Latino leaders say it probably would energize Latino voters, which would be good for this region, and give Democrats an alternative to Harris.  Fresno Bee article


Valley politics

2016 Stockton council races taking shape — Today is Tuesday, which means we are down to a mere 68 weeks until the June primary in 2016. That’s 476 days, folks, though it would have been only 475 if next year wasn’t a leap year, so try to be patient. Bearing in mind the dwindling calendar, it should come as little surprise that next year’s Stockton City Council races are taking shape.  Stockton Record article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Villaraigosa must decide on business deals as he mulls Senate run – As Antonio Villaraigosa weighs whether to mount a U.S. Senate bid, he faces a complication that his top rival doesn’t have to worry about: How will he make a living during a campaign that could last as long as 21 months?  LA Times article

A battle plan to ease the Democrats’ divisions — There are rumblings beneath the surface about the danger of a race-tinged political war breaking out within the California Democratic Party.  Capitol Weekly article



In court, ‘guardian angels’ aim to help immigrants facing deportation — They call themselves “guardian angels.” They say they are protectors of the tens of thousands of children apprehended at the U.S. border in recent years after fleeing rising violence in Central America. Because the government does not provide lawyers to immigrants facing removal, many of the children have ended up navigating complex deportation proceedings alone.  LA Times article


Other areas

Lawmaker would bar grand juries in police shootings – A state lawmaker has proposed to prohibit the use of criminal grand juries in California in cases of officer-involved shootings that result in the deaths of suspects.  LA Times article

Latino activists consider voting rights lawsuit against Orange County — Activists in Orange County are considering a voting rights lawsuit after a Latino supervisorial candidate lost a special election last month. Some activist say county district lines split Latino residents and dilute their voting power. KPCC report

Dan Walters: Steve Glazer relishes role of maverick – With DeSaulnier now in Congress, Steve Glazer is running for his 7th Senate District seat, claiming his maverick mantle and opposing Brown on several issues. And that seems strange, at least superficially, because Glazer has a decades-long relationship with Brown that includes managing his 2010 campaign for governor.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Kerry McGill: Cooler heads: Banning firearms is not the cure to gun problems – The former Bakersfield resident writes, “Panera has just announced a new policy against having guns in their restaurants, joining Target as the other recent addition to this list. Who, then, will not be bringing in a concealed weapon? Good guys, of course. I doubt if a bad guy with a gun will follow their new policy. What good will it do to keep legally owned guns out of their stores?” McGill op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

Top U.S. labor official arrives as West Coast ports back up – The nation’s top labor official flew Monday to California in an attempt to resolve a damaging contract dispute between West Coast dockworkers and their employers.  AP article; San Francisco Chronicle article 

Amid measles outbreak, few rules on teacher vaccinations — While much of the attention in the ongoing measles outbreak has focused on student vaccination requirements and exemptions, less attention has been paid to another group in the nation’s classrooms: Teachers and staff members, who, by and large, are not required to be vaccinated.  AP article


Jobs and the Economy 

Line of ships waiting off coast grows as ports shut down for holiday – Ships are steadily backing up off the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, as the nation’s busiest complex remains largely shut down amid a labor dispute.  LA Times article; Sacramento Bee editorial

Report: California adds nearly 7,500 solar jobs to its nation-leading total – California’s solar industry added nearly 7,500 jobs in 2014, boosting its nation-leading total to 54,690, according to a new report by the Washington, D.C.-based Solar Foundation.  Sacramento Bee article 

Chargers set sights on LA, push San Diego officials for action on stadium — Frustrated by the prospect of another do-nothing stadium task force, the Chargers on Monday warned San Diego to either step up or step aside in the pursuit of a new NFL venue, and again raised the specter of a relocation to Los Angeles.  LA Times article 

Keenan steps down from BIA — Bob Keenan advocated for the Building Industry Association of Tulare/Kings Counties, Inc. zealously for a quarter of a century.  Visalia Times-Delta article 

No losers in Stockton cellphone roulette — Looking to choose the cellular network with the best wireless performance in the city of Stockton? Don’t worry about it; you can’t go wrong.  Stockton Record article

SBA launches online tool to match entrepreneurs with lenders — The U.S. Small Business Administration has launched an online tool designed to match up entrepreneurs looking for a small business loans with SBA lenders.  Sacramento Bee article 

Aging water mains a $1-billion headache for LA DPW — About one-fifth of the city’s water pipes were installed before 1931 and nearly all will reach the end of their useful lives in the next 15 years. They are responsible for close to half of all water main leaks, and replacing them is a looming, $1-billion problem for the city.  LA Times article



San Diego home water use up despite drought — Overall municipal water use — which includes residential, industrial and commercial consumption — dropped by more than 20 percent between 2007 and 2014, according to the San Diego County Water Authority. But if you focus on homeowners only, the picture is clearly different.  U-T San Diego article

Jennifer Fearing: Prop 2 is working just as planned – The former deputy director of the Humane Society of the United States writes, “The good news is that many egg producers and retailers are following Proposition 2 and have gone cage-free. Some major food companies – including Aramark, Compass Group and Sodexo – have already converted to 100 percent cage-free shell eggs in their California operations.” Fearing op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Criminal Justice/Prisons

AP Exclusive: Many sex offenders killed in California prisons — California state prisoners are killed at a rate that is double the national average — and sex offenders like Ager account for a disproportionate number of victims, according to an Associated Press analysis of corrections records. AP article

Sacramento Bee: Kamala Harris failed to inform voters of Prop 47’s impact on DNA collection – Before casting their ballots on Proposition 47, voters might have wanted to know its implications for DNA collection and, by extension, law enforcement’s ability to solve serious crimes. Harris had an obligation to inform them.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Vehicle burglaries spike in north Fresno — Vehicle burglaries are up — way up — in Fresno. Just six weeks into the new year, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said data shows northeast Fresno has already experienced more than a 100% increase in vehicle burglaries compared to last year’s numbers. In northwest Fresno, the crime has increased 45%.  Fresno Bee article


Denair Unified to get budget update, weigh teacher layoffs – In a bittersweet agenda Thursday, the Denair Unified School District Board is expected to hear its budget is back on solid ground and, in separate motions, prepare to lay off teachers for the coming year.  Modesto Bee article 

UC Merced students help translate Valley Crisis Center’s website to Spanish – A group of UC Merced students put their bilingual skills to use by creating a Spanish version of the Valley Crisis Center’s website to help the center reach its Spanish-speaking audience.  Merced Sun-Star article

CSUN may tighten admission requirements, give local students preference — One of California’s largest public universities may tighten admission requirements, as Cal State Northridge proposed Monday reducing its enrollment by 1 percent. Stricter academic standards for nonlocal incoming freshmen, undergraduate transfer students and graduate students were put forth by the school. About 300 students per year would be turned away, a CSUN spokeswoman said.  LA Daily News article

Sacramento-area school districts consider later start times to accommodate sleep needs — Most Sacramento-area high schools start around 8 a.m., long considered a reasonable time to begin class while giving students enough daylight hours after school to engage in sports and other extracurricular activities. But some local districts are questioning that traditional schedule following a national call by pediatricians to address the sleep needs of adolescents, whose natural sleep cycles compel them to stay up later at night and wake later in the morning.  Sacramento Bee article



Cemex gravel mine neighbors struggle with dry wells — When the well on Rob and Sissi Morton’s rural property next to a gravel mine went dry in late 2013, they knew who to blame. Cemex, an international cement and gravel company, had suspended mining at its Stillwell site and stopped pumping water into a seepage ditch that recharges groundwater for an adjacent area that includes four homes.  Fresno Bee article


Health/Human Services

Rampant medication use found among LA County foster, delinquent kids – Los Angeles County officials are allowing the use of powerful psychiatric drugs on far more children in the juvenile delinquency and foster care systems than they had previously acknowledged, according to data obtained by The Times through a Public Records Act request.  LA Times article 

Bruce Maiman: Scolding anti-vaxxers will only backfire – Many have commented on the measles outbreak and disparaged those refusing vaccinations. I’m not here for that. I’m here to say that all the browbeating, scolding and public shaming directed at anti-vaxxers won’t work.  Maiman in Sacramento Bee

West Dermatology to close Modesto clinic — Patients have been informed that the West Dermatology clinic in Modesto will close effective March 31. In a Jan. 26 letter to patients, the corporation with offices in California, Arizona and Nevada said the “realities of the health care environment for our practice have forced us to take a hard look at our viability in this locale and make this very difficult decision.”  Modesto Bee article



Safety report says many drivers take risks in traffic, despite knowing dangers — A new safety report revealed a disturbing trend among American drivers, with a surprising number admitting to routinely speeding, running red lights, and sending and reading text messages and emails, despite knowing the dangers associated with those behaviors.  Merced Sun-Star article


Other Areas 

Atwater’s Pietro might be forced to quit as police chief or city manager – The man credited with saving Atwater from the brink of bankruptcy, Atwater police Chief and City Manager Frank Pietro, may be forced to give up one of his two jobs, the Merced Sun-Star has learned.  Merced Sun-Star article 

Oscar Grant’s mother to speak at Delta – At a time when police shootings are generating a heightened level of concern in Stockton and across the country, the mother of Oscar Grant is scheduled to speak at San Joaquin Delta College on Thursday.  Stockton Record article

UFO files revealed:  What locals saw in Kern County skies — Kern County had some 230,000 people — and two major military installations — when the U.S. Air Force began its UFO investigation, Project Blue Book. Whether UFO sightings can emphatically be linked to increased government testing of secret, experimental aircraft at places like Edwards Air Force Base and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, they came in from throughout Kern County, according to Blue Book case files seen recently on theblackvault.comBakersfield Californian article


Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – The teen pregnancy rates have declined nationwide, with California rates even lower. But there are thousands of teen mothers in California and, as the report notes, many schools are failing them. Having a baby isn’t an academic problem any more than having a disability is, and it shouldn’t be treated like one.

Sacramento Bee – California has much to lose in port standoff; Kamala Harris failed to inform voters of Prop 47’s impact on DNA collection.

Stockton RecordCheers and jeers: Law Enforcement Night a fine local tradition, Lodi area awaits San Joaquin Delta College campus, and other issues.