February 2, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories 

Spending on California 2016 ballot measures hit record — Campaigns for and against the 17 measures on California’s fall ballot spent nearly a half-billion dollars, the most ever for a single election in California, according to campaign disclosure filings this week. Sacramento Bee article 

People from all around California are heading to the Central Valley to defend Obamacare.  Here’s why — A potent mix of politics and policy has drawn the Central Valley into the center of the debate around the future of the Affordable Care Act. It is the region in the state most transformed by the landmark healthcare law. It is also a rare Republican enclave in California, represented in Congress by members of the majority party that will determine the law’s fate — including Kevin McCarthy, who, as House majority leader, commands a top post in the GOP. LA Times article 

How a 20 percent border tax could set off an international food fight — The first week of the Trump administration may signal a tough road ahead for agriculture. LA Times article

Gov. Brown 

Gov. Jerry Brown still has $15 million in campaign cash – and makes no promises on how he’ll spend it — With no clear campaign left to run in his storied electoral career, Gov. Jerry Brown nonetheless owns a $15-million political war chest, one of the largest of any elected official in the state. Few, though, suspect that Brown is out of ideas on what to do with it. LA Times article 

Valley politics 

Protestors rally at Nunes’ Clovis office to criticize his support of Trump refugee orders – U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes’ support of President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration sparked a protest Wednesday in front of Nunes’ office in Old Town Clovis. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article 

Randy Villegas: Unlock those doors and let’s chat, Congressman McCarthy – The student at CSU Bakersfield writes, “I’m calling you out, Kevin McCarthy — better known as ‘Duck and Hide’ McCarthy to anyone who has tried to meet with the congressman or his staff on an issue they may be afraid of discussing. People from all across our state and Kern County gathered outside his office last week to speak about the importance of protecting our health care and programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Programs that protect some of the most vulnerable of our society: our elderly and our poor.” Villegas op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

SD 8: With Fresno’s Olivier in for state Senate bid, race starts to take shape — The next statewide election is more than a year away, but the pool for one Central California state Senate race already appears deep – and possibly treacherous. The first few pieces fell into place Tuesday. Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, announced he would not run for the state Senate’s 8th District seat, which Republican Tom Berryhill will vacate in 2018 after reaching his term limit. Hours later, Fresno City Council President Clint Olivier announced he would seek Berryhill’s seat. Fresno Bee article 

Trice Harvey remembered as a man of wit, wisdom and service — Trice Harvey was the kind of guy who spawned stories, yarns and the occasional tall tale. But on Tuesday, the former Kern County supervisor and California assemblyman’s story came to a close at age 80. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Villaraigosa, in his first major speech, focuses on Latinos and inequality — In his first major address since announcing his campaign for governor, Antonio Villaraigosa cast himself as a staunch opponent of President Donald Trump and as a champion of Latino voters, presaging a campaign in which he will court the state’s largest ethnic group on economic issues. Politico article; Sacramento Bee article 

Timm Herdt: Why Newsom should be rooting for Faulconer to run — Without Faulconer, California Republicans would likely be left – as they were in the 2016 Senate race – with only sub-marginal candidates. That would open the door for a second Democrat to emerge out of the primary. And Anthony Villaraigosa, John Chiang and the self-funded Steve Westly all would have the discipline and potentially the resources that Sanchez lacked – and therefore the ability to run a center-based campaign to realistically challenge the liberal Newsom.Herdt in Fox & Hounds 

Villaraigosa concerned Trump’s immigration action will harm LA’s Olympics bid — Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday that while he’s hesitant to react to every “uninformed and ill-informed tweet from the president,” he’s concerned that Republican Donald Trump’s hardline policies on immigration could harm his city’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games.  Sacramento Bee article


Yemeni immigrants prevail in lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive order — In another legal ruling against President Donald J. Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, a federal judge in Los Angeles signed an order Tuesday night blocking the government from denying entry to anyone from the affected countries who has a valid visa. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; Fresno Bee article 

Los Banos man, daughter may be returning home after judge’s ruling on Trump travel ban – An immigration lawyer said there was good news Wednesday morning for a Yemen-born Los Banos man who effectively has been stuck overseas with his 12-year-old daughter due to the travel ban issued by President Donald Trump last week. Los Banos Enterprise article 

Los Banos family has hope of ‘achieving the American Dream,’ Costa says – U.S. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday to speak about Ahmed Ali of Los Banos, who has been working to bring his 12-year-old daughter, Eman, out of their native Yemen and join the rest of their family in Merced County. Merced Sun-Star article 

Modesto resident’s homecoming on hold due to Trump’s immigration order – Hana Amo’s dedication to his family is unquestioned. So is his courage. In 2014, the 61-year-old Assyrian Christian with permanent U.S. residency status left his wife and daughter in Modesto and returned to his native Syria. His mission: to help his son, Martin, and family get as far away from ISIS as possible as quickly as possible. Modesto Bee article

George Skelton: California Democrats relish opposing Trump on immigration, but they could go too far – California’s Democratic politicians are messing around with Donald Trump and enjoying every minute, seemingly not the least worried about the president’s cape, despite his threat to cut off tens of billions of federal dollars to California. But can they overreach and look petty? Skelton column in LA Times 

Trump administration further clarifies travel ban, exemption green card holders – The Trump administration has clarified language in its travel ban affecting seven majority-Muslim countries to make clear that green card holders from those countries do not need to get a waiver before entering the U.S., the White House said Wednesday.  LA Times article 

LA federal judge orders a temporary half to part of Trump’s travel ban – A federal judge in Los Angeles has added another legal ruling against President Trump’s controversial suspension of travel from a group of predominantly Muslim countries, issuing an emergency order that forbids government officials from enforcing many of the new rules. LA Times article 

Immigration advocates tell Planada residents to ‘know their rights’ – Local residents who may not have legal status, or whose family members are undocumented, were urged by immigration advocates this week to “know their rights” and to work with an immigration attorney if possible.  Merced Sun-Star article 

Red, blue states split over Trump’s ‘sanctuary city’ order – President Donald Trump’s promised crackdown on “sanctuary cities” has triggered divergent actions from blue and red states, revealing the deep national divide on immigration as some move to follow his order and others break with the U.S. government to protect immigrants in the country illegally. AP article 

For victims of San Bernardino terrorist attack, conflicting views about Trump policy in their name – Their tragedy became fuel for Trump’s executive order, which has roiled airports around the nation over the last week. Now, some of the attack’s victims and their families are asking themselves whether the ban is the right way to keep others from suffering, as they have, the devastation of a terrorist attack.  LA Times article

John Chiang writes to Trump: We know what it’s like to be labeled ‘other’ – California Treasurer John Chiang and more than two dozen Asian American and Pacific Islanders expressed their outrage to President Donald Trump on Wednesday, accusing the Republican of issuing a refugee and travel ban they say forsakes American core values – “equality, fair play, and the shimmering promise that the United States is a welcoming place for those ‘yearning to be free.’” Sacramento Bee article

 ‘We will resist’: LA elected officials and Muslim leaders decry Trump’s travel ban – Los Angeles city leaders passionately decried President Trump’s travel ban Wednesday during a gathering at the Islamic Center of Southern California and called upon residents to show solidarity with the local Muslim community. LA Times article 

Merced Arts Center looking to collect stories of immigrants — The Merced Multicultural Arts Center will host a participatory art project focusing on immigration stories, according to organizers. Merced Sun-Star article

Other areas 

UC Berkeley cancels Milo Yiannopoulos event amid violent protest — A protest at UC Berkeley over a scheduled speech by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos turned fiery and violent Wednesday night, prompting police to cancel the event and hustle the Breitbart News editor off campus. San Francisco Chronicle article; LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article; New York Times article

Sacramento Bee: A murky question that hits lawmakers where they live — California’s Constitution requires that legislators live in their district. But what that means is more of a gray area than most voters realize. Sacramento Bee editorial 

How the Senate’s once-revered traditions are falling victim to partisan divide – The upper chamber is often revered – especially by its own members  — as a more thoughtful, deliberate and collaborative body, where respect for minority viewpoints is baked into cherished rules and precedents. But one by one, those long-standing traditions that have served as a check against extreme legislation or appointments are being tossed aside amid growing partisanship and a closely divided government. LA Times article 

Proposed legislation calls for more affordable overnight accommodations along the California coast — The measure by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-Chula Vista) calls on the California State Coastal Conservancy to create a program that would preserve and add to the number of low-cost hotels, motels and hostels in coastal areas, particularly on parkland. LA Times article

Presidential Politics 

Republican congressmen warn Trump that his hiring freeze hurts military readiness – A group of Republicans in Congress is warning President Donald Trump that his hiring freeze on federal workers, which includes civilians in the Department of Defense, could have a dangerous impact on national security by freezing resources needed to buy and modernize military equipment. McClatchy Newspapers article

Trump to Mexico: Take care of ‘bad hombres’ or U.S. might — President Donald Trump threatened in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart to send U.S. troops to stop “bad hombres down there” unless the Mexican military does more to control them, according to an excerpt of a transcript of the conversation obtained by The Associated Press. AP article 

Mexican government says Trump never threatened to send troops to Mexico — The Mexican government on Wednesday vehemently denied reports that President Trump threatened to send American soldiers into Mexico during a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. LA Times article 

Victor Davis Hanson: Trump revolution is a return to normalcy – Half the country is having a hard time adjusting to Trumpism, confusing Trump’s often unorthodox and grating style with his otherwise practical and mostly centrist agenda. In sum, Trump seems a revolutionary, but that is only because he is loudly undoing a revolution. Hanson column in Fresno Bee 

Trump is on the brink as U.S. warns Iran over missile tests – The White House put Iran “on notice” Wednesday over what it said were a series of provocations, giving Americans – and the world – a chance to see how President Donald Trump handles a foreign crisis. Top aides would not rule out military action. McClatchy Newspapers article

Democrats and liberal activists face uphill battle against Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch – Liberal activists and Senate Democrats on Wednesday launched what is likely to be a protracted battle to block President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, focusing on how his conservative views could threaten women’s rights, gay marriage and church-state separation. But Gorsuch has not given Democrats much to work with. He hasn’t ruled directly on cases involving abortion and gay rights, and he won Senate confirmation a decade ago on a voice vote with no opposition.  LA Times article 

Sacramento Bee: Why Democrats shouldn’t do what Republicans did on Supreme Court nominee – Some want payback for Republicans unconscionably refusing last year to even grant a hearing to Judge Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s well-qualified nominee for the Supreme Court. But Democrats need to pick their battles. Neil Gorsuch isn’t as objectionable as other potential nominees that President Donald Trump could have picked, and if confirmed he would not tip the ideological balance of the high court. Sacramento Bee editorial 

GOP pushes top two Cabinet picks through to full Senate – Republicans jammed two of President Donald Trump’s top Cabinet picks through the Senate Finance Committee with no Democrats in the room Wednesday after suspending a rule that would have otherwise barred them from taking the vote. The tactic seemed a warning shot that they might deploy brute political muscle in the upcoming fight over the Supreme Court vacancy. AP article 

2 GOP senators to vote against Betsy DeVos as Education secretary — Two Republican senators on Wednesday said they would vote against President Trump’s nominee for education secretary, delivering a blow to the White House and raising the possibility that Vice President Mike Pence would have to break a tie to win her confirmation. New York Times article

Betty DeVos ‘is unprepared and unqualified’ to be Education secretary, charter school booster Eli Broad says – Eli Broad, the prominent local philanthropist behind a massive effort to increase the number of charter schools in Los Angeles, is protesting the appointment of Betsy DeVos as secretary of Education. LA Times article 

In call with Australian leader, Trump badgers and brags before cutting it short – It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief – a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week. Instead, President Donald Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it. Washington Post article; New York Times article

Thousands of UC, Cal State faculty urge Trump turnaround on climate – The letter, written by Berkeley astronomer Aaron Parsons, urged Trump and his administration “in the most urgent terms possible” to stand by the international climate agreement signed in Paris by the U.S. (under President Barack Obama) and nearly 200 other nations. Trump has threatened to “tear up” the agreement, while on other occasions saying he has an “open mind” on the matter. KQED report; Sacramento Bee article 

Trump update: California lawmakers to confer with Planned Parenthood – California Democratic senators will meet with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. next week during an annual policy retreat in Sacramento as lawmakers map out strategies to resist policies pushed by President Trump and his administration. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Trump and Twitter: Thumbs down from Albright and Rice — Conducting American diplomacy on Twitter? Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is not a fan. Turns out, neither is Condoleezza Rice, another former secretary of state who spoke Wednesday in San Jose at the third annual Watermark Conference for Women. San Jose Mercury News article

Trump’s threats to booming Mexico auto industry have executives’ heads spinning – In the span of weeks, Trump has issued threats and hints at trade policies that could jeopardize two decades of growth for Mexico’s auto manufacturing sector.  LA Times article

Federal works turn to encryption to thwart Trump – Federal employees worried that President Donald Trump will gut their agencies are creating new email addresses, signing up for encrypted messaging apps and looking for other, protected ways to push back against the new administration’s agenda. Politico article 

Sheryl Sandberg denies 2020 ambitions, remains ‘hopeful’ on Trump — Sheryl Sandberg, the billionaire Facebook executive and best-selling author who is often mentioned as an outsider candidate for president, insisted on Wednesday that she has no plans to run for office. Politico article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

New legal challenge to California bullet train is filed in Superior Court — Opponents of the California bullet train alleged in legal papers filed this week that the California Legislature violated the state constitution when it passed a law last year amending and modifying the $9 billion high speed rail bond act that voters approved in 2008. LA Times article

Sierra snowpack is biggest in 22 years – and more snow is on the way — After a month of huge blizzards and “atmospheric river” storms, the Sierra Nevada snowpack — source of a third of California’s drinking water — is 177 percent of the historic average, the biggest in more than two decades. San Jose Mercury News article

Jobs and the Economy 

Study: Job losses in the Central Valley from ACA repeal could be worse than the drought – Two researchers at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education took a look at the potential impact of full repeal on the San Joaquin valley’s job market. They claim job losses from a repeal of the law would be worse than job losses caused by the drought. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess spoke with report co-author Laurel Lucia about how she reached that conclusion. Valley Public Radio report 

Modesto courts UC Merced with hopes of bringing ‘venture lab’ downtown – City leaders took University of California, Merced, officials on a walking tour of downtown Modesto on Monday as the UC campus looks to expand its influence in the region. Modesto Bee article 

Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce has a new CEO, officials say – The Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce has picked a new CEO, saying he has experience in the hospitality industry and with business associations, officials said Wednesday. The chamber named Manuel Alvarado as its new CEO. He starts Monday. Merced Sun-Star article

Despite turmoil, Latinos in California are prospering – It’s been a tense week for immigrants and people of color throughout the country, but there was some good news in California: a new study by the advocacy group National Council of La Raza points out that the state’s Latinos, as a group, are doing much better in many areas. KQED report 

Acknowledging lower returns, CalSTRS drops investment forecast — The fund that manages pensions for California teachers on Wednesday voted to lower its investment forecast by half a percentage point, a decision that will have many educators stepping up their payroll contributions for their retirement plans by several hundred dollars a yearSacramento Bee article; Calpensions article 

Coming attractions: A new theatre, dinner and booze! — Remember when the point of going to the movies was going to the movies? That notion is becoming nearly as obsolete as silent films, even in Bakersfield, where theaters are jumping on the nationwide trend of serving full meals and liquor to entice home-theater diehards to leave their couches, huge flat screens and endless streaming options. But the real plot twist comes courtesy of a Texas-based chain at the forefront of the dinner-in-a-movie concept that hopes to give Bakersfield the kind of experience still relatively rare in California, and found usually only in larger cities. Bakersfield Californian article

Investors, Republic owners square off after Sacramento MLS bid submitted without team name — Sacramento’s bid for a Major League Soccer team was plunged into chaos Wednesday over a dispute between Sacramento Republic FC’s lead investor and its founder over use of the Republic brand. Sacramento Bee article 

California nurses scrambling for education records after state board demands them — Tens of thousands of California nurses are scrambling to prove that they have to up-to-date credentials after a state licensing board suddenly demanded them. The Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians in December mailed letters to more than 52,000 medical professionals simultaneously requesting confirmation that they’ve taken mandatory classes. Sacramento Bee article 

Nestle USA to move headquarters from Glendale to Virginia, affecting 1,200 jobs – Food giant Nestle USA is moving its headquarters from Glendale to Virginia. The maker of Butterfinger and Hot Pockets, which is a subsidiary of Swiss consumer products giant Nestle S.A., said its new home will be in Rosslyn, Va. The move will start later this year and be completed by the end of 2018. LA Times article 

VW to pay at least $1.25 billion to U.S. owners of pricier diesel vehicles — Volkswagen has finalized another major settlement with U.S. regulators over its diesel air-pollution scandal, agreeing to spend at least $1.25 billion to fix and buy back tainted 3.0-liter vehicles and compensate their owners. Sacramento Bee article 

Federal judge orders conference in traffic ticket case — A federal judge has ordered a conference in the case of a driver who got a $200 ticket for turning right at a stop light in suburban Sacramento. The motorist filed a federal complaint this week against the Department of Motor Vehicles, the California Judicial Council and the Sacramento County Superior Court, saying he is one of millions of people who had their licenses suspended because they couldn’t afford costs and administrative fees. Capitol Weekly article 


January rainfall in Modesto was one for the books (and umbrellas, and galoshes) – January’s rainfall in Modesto was the fourth highest for that month since the Modesto Irrigation District started keeping records in the 1888-89 season. According to measurements taken at the district’s downtown Modesto office, 6.02 inches fell last month. The average January rainfall is 2.38 inches, the highest of all months in the rain season, which runs from July 1 through June 30.  Modesto Bee article 

Local officials – drought isn’t over – Federal officials are expecting Pine Flat Reservoir to fill up this year and then some from a big snowmelt, but local officials say the water deficit in Kings County is far from over.  Hanford Sentinel article 

Growers wait for fields to dry out — Growers continue to wait for fields to dry out sufficiently that they can resume planting winter grain and field crops. The planted grains and field crops continue to mature at an excellent rate, reaping the benefit from all the recent rain, and now sunshine. Black-eyed beans were exported to Malaysia. Visalia Times-Delta article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Fresno police auditor says Dylan Noble shooting ‘not within policy’ — Fresno’s independent police auditor has concluded that the June 2016 shooting of Dylan Noble by two Fresno police officers in a gas station parking lot was “not within policy” of the department. But overall, the report said the Fresno Police Department made progress last year in reducing the number of citizen complaints and internal investigations of officer misconduct compared to the prior five years. Fresno Bee article 

Cautious optimism follows month with no homicides – Crimes rates fluctuate in communities across the country, but civic leaders and law enforcement officials in Stockton expressed cautious optimism Wednesday after concluding the first month of 2017 without a homicide in a city that has been plagued by violent crime. Stockton Record article

1st inmate to get sex reassignment moves to female prison – Officials say the first U.S. inmate to receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery has been moved to a women’s prison. California corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said 57-year-old Shiloh Heavenly Quine was admitted to the Central California Women’s Facility on Wednesday. AP article 

Demonstrators shut down I-5 on-ramp during commute to protest Joseph Mann decision – More than 100 demonstrators have shut down the Interstate 5 freeway on-ramp from I Street in Sacramento at the peak of the afternoon commute, protesting the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office decision to clear police officers in the fatal shooting of Joseph Mann. Sacramento Bee article 

Vern Pierson: Grand juries, transparency needed for police use-of-force cases – The district attorney of El Dorado County writes, “Every day law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Unfortunately, their job has been getting more and more difficult over the last few years. The anti-police rhetoric sweeping the country has been fueled by some misguided politicians, special interests groups and fake news stories. Although not as prevalent as the media has portrayed, officer-involved fatal force cases do occur and occasionally these difficult cases need to be investigated by a grand jury.” Pierson op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

California parole panel recommends release of former follower of Charles Manson – A state panel on Wednesday recommended parole for a former follower of cult leader Charles Manson whose release has been blocked by California governors on four previous occasions.  Bruce Davis, 74, had his 31st parole hearing at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, where he is serving a life sentence for the 1969 slayings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea. LA Times article 

Stanislaus County’s chief probation officer to retire; assistant chief promoted — Stanislaus County Chief Probation Officer Jill Silva will retire next month after more than 27 years with the county. Assistant Chief Probation Officer Mike Hamasaki will be promoted to the chief’s position Feb. 24. Modesto Bee article


Education is a universal right that extents to immigrants, Cal State chancellor declares – California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White, in the annual state of the CSU address Wednesday, spoke of his ongoing commitment to protect vulnerable immigrant students and said access to education is a universal right. LA Times article 

Kern High School District cop pleads not guilty to eavesdropping charges – David Paul Edmiston, an acting Kern High School District police chief accused of surreptitiously recording his officers, pled not guilty in Kern County Superior Court Wednesday to four counts of misdemeanor eavesdropping. Bakersfield Californian article 

California charter advocates say public school system ‘failing black kids’ – Belting out “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and dancing to “Juju On That Beat” with a Huey the Panther mascot, hundreds of young students and their parents rallied at the Capitol on Wednesday with a message for the first day of Black History Month: Support charter schools in California to raise up African Americans.  Sacramento Bee article

Teacher struck by student at McLane High, heightening concerns over discipline approach – A teacher at McLane High School was struck by a student in class Tuesday, the latest incident amid concerns from teachers that the school’s restorative discipline policy has led to numerous on-campus fights and disruptions. Fresno Bee article 

Assembly speaker launches commission to tackle early education issues – Promising to tackle key issues regarding early childhood education in California such as lack of access to child care and the high cost of quality care, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) announced the launch of a Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education on Wednesday. LA Times article 

Here’s what it would take to give California students a debt-free college education — California could help students get through college without debt — but at a hefty potential cost of $3.3 billion annually, a new state report says.  LA Times article 

2 local business executives to serve on Fresno State’s Foundation Board of Governors — Two local business executives have been appointed to the Fresno State Foundation Board of Governors, a nonprofit public benefit association started in 1931, said Fresno State in a press release. Fresno Bee article 

County school boards can’t solve charters’ zoning problems, court rules —In a decision with statewide implications, a state appeals court ruled that the board of the Santa Clara County Office of Education lacked authority to override local zoning rules to locate a charter school that it had approved. EdSource article


California’s climate change policies depend on waivers – what if Trump doesn’t grant them? — Officials have discerned a chilling signal that the Trump administration may be willing to halt California’s unique authority to impose its own vehicle emission rules.CALmatters article

Health/Human Services 

Valley Children’s doctor group takes over baby, child care at Visalia hospital — Valley Children’s Medical Group has taken over care of babies and children at Kaweah Delta Medical Center, beginning Wednesday. The Visalia hospital will continue to staff the neonatal intensive care unit and pediatric beds with nurses, respiratory therapists and other providers, but Valley Children’s Medical Group is providing the doctors. And the medical group is adding neonatal nurse practitioners for the 15-bed unit that provides care for critically ill babies.  Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article 

Simulated public health crises a ‘call to action’ for these teens – The students, who attend high schools across Kern County and are part of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership Program, were thrust into the scene and assembled into epidemiological strike teams to determine the cause of the outbreak. Public Health Director Matt Constantine described it as a “call to action” that could encourage Bakersfield teens to stay in the area after college and work in the public health sector, which doesn’t draw a lot of homegrown talent. Bakersfield Californian article 

Ken Bird and Yesenia Cuenca: Fresno students get savvy to the power of unhealthy storefront ads – Bird, the Fresno County health officer, and Cuenca, SouthEast Neighborhood Transformation Team Leader for the Youth Leadership Institute, write, “Yesenia Cuenca is one of many young adults in Fresno who are empowering themselves to ensure healthier lives for themselves and others. Here is an excerpt from a recent report she wrote.” Bird/Cuenca op-ed in Fresno Bee 

It’s about cancer, not sex, say doctors, as CDC urges HPV vaccine for teens – Although there’s been a vaccine to prevent HPV for about a decade, vaccination rates among kids and teens have stayed relatively low, both in California and nationwide. Because HPV is sexually transmitted, some parents shy away from the vaccine, feeling it isn’t necessary for their preteens. Others contend the vaccine isn’t proven. Sacramento Bee article 

At least three LA County patients infected after heart surgeries — Los Angeles County health officials said Wednesday that at least three heart surgery patients at a hospital have been sickened by a dangerous bacteria linked to an operating room device. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

East side residents air concerns – For two hours Wednesday, city officials and representatives from Stockton’s General Plan consultant listened to the concerns and comments of those who happened into Mercado Los Titos during the afternoon. About 75 gave their opinions. Among the city and PlaceWorks representatives were several fluent in Spanish. Stockton Record article 

Sacramento moves ahead on public housing for homeless, but county wants more time — Six hours long and at times unruly, Tuesday night’s city-county joint meeting on homelessness ended minutes before midnight with a victory and a rebuke for Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. Sacramento Bee article; Erika D. Smith column in Sacramento Bee

Other areas 

Merced SPCA set to close at the end of the month, officials confirm — Citing a lack of funding and volunteer support, the Merced Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will close its doors at the end of this month, according to an email from the group obtained by the Merced Sun-Star. Merced Sun-Star article 

Tulare council picks Carlini as interim city manager – Tulare council named Joe Carlini as interim city manager on Tuesday, following the announcement Paul Melikian is stepping down from the job and returning to an administration post in Reedley. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Farmersville plans for the future — In the past year, Farmersville has managed to complete a round-about project, build a new park, bring new businesses to town and produce an on-time budget.  Visalia Times-Delta article 

Joe Mathews: Experiencing California, a Ferrari and the core test of accessibility – When I got the keys to California, I floored the accelerator until I was driving 100 mph. I felt exhilaration – and fear. This speed was unfamiliar for a driver of beaten-up Toyotas. In California we like to think we can go as fast as our imaginations take us, but this shiny red convertible named California moved too fast for me. Mathews in Sacramento Bee 

Alan Autry releases local film in a ring, on a prayer — Alan Autry is going with a grassroots approach to getting his new movie, “Victory by Submission,” to the public. Instead of waiting to get a theatrical release, selling it to a streaming service or taking the direct-to-video approach, Autry will start by showing his faith-based movie in churches across the country. Fresno Bee article 

Valley Editorial Roundup 

Fresno 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.

Sacramento Bee –- California’s Constitution requires that legislators live in their district. But what that means is more of a gray area than most voters realize; Some want payback for Republicans unconscionably refusing last year to even grant a hearing to Judge Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s well-qualified nominee for the Supreme Court. But Democrats need to pick their battles. Neil Gorsuch isn’t as objectionable as other potential nominees that President Donald Trump could have picked, and if confirmed he would not tip the ideological balance of the high court.