February 20, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Dan Walters: Once again, poll finds voters are ignorant on budget — It’s been said that ignorance is bliss. If that’s true, California voters must be an especially happy group, because their ignorance of state finances is massive and pervasive. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Trump’s proposal would deport more immigrants immediately – Federal authorities would be empowered to immediately deport vastly more undocumented immigrants as part of a broad crackdown being developed by the Trump administration that would significantly change the way federal agencies enforce immigration laws. New York Times articleAP article

Valley politics

‘Two-LORE-ee’ Republican Nunes lets off steam about leaks to CBS — Tulare Republican Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, went on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday. He talked about White House leaks and other issues. The interview got off to an unfortunate start, with host John Dickerson pronouncing Nunes’ hometown as “Two-LORE-ee.” Fresno Bee article


Jose Gaspar: Local cops: We are not immigration agents – The other day I caught up with Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin and we had an interesting talk as we walked around Jefferson Park. He’s been on the talk circuit lately focusing on speaking to Latino students at various high schools around Bakersfield. Addressing a group of Latino students at Foothill High School, he’s hearing some very real concerns from students.  Gaspar column in Bakersfield Californian

Use of ruses by immigration agents are under fire in LA and around the nation – The exchange, captured on a video released publicly by ICE, seemed routine. But it has reignited long-simmering objections from immigrant rights attorneys and advocates, who say the scene illustrates unethical — and in some cases, illegal —  ruses ICE agents have used for years, portraying themselves as officers from local police departments to ensnare people or fool them into revealing the whereabouts of family members. LA Times article

This tiny California town unleashed a drama over being a ‘sanctuary city’ long before Trump – Maywood’s decision to declare itself a sanctuary city did not sit well with Enrique Curiel. To the Mexican immigrant and U.S citizen, the move 11 years ago was City Hall acting too radical to score points with Maywood’s large immigrant population. LA Times article

These California teachers mocked students for skipping school on immigrant boycott day — Six high school employees in a predominantly Latino district in Southern California were placed on administrative leave after they posted social-media comments insulting students who skipped classes to participate in the “Day Without Immigrants” protest. Washington Post article

Long persecuted, Assyrians find safe haven in Central Valley — Assyrians are a stateless nation, and the diaspora is huge. In California, Turlock has the largest number of Assyrians, about 20,000. That’s a quarter of the town. And the civic club has become a gathering place for everyone, not just Assyrians. KQED report

Other areas

Ann Ravel steps down from FEC urging Trump to embrace campaign finance reform — Ann Ravel, formerly California’s chief elections watchdog, has resigned her seat on the Federal Election Commission. In a letter to President Donald Trump dated Sunday, Ravel called on the president to do something to increase transparency in elections and reduce the influence of “dark money.” Sacramento Bee articleSan Jose Mercury News articleWashington Post article

Gray’s bill helps eliminate $59 million in workers’ comp fraud — More than $59 million in fraudulent workers’ compensation claims were prevented thanks, at least in part, to a bill by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, signed into law last year, according to a statement from his office. Merced Sun-Star article

Bernie Sanders in LA: ‘We’re looking at a totally new political world’ – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders got a rock star’s welcome when he spoke in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday in what was theoretically a book tour stop but amounted to more of a political rally, urging progressives to play by new rules as they resist President Trump’s administration. LA Times article

California’s biggest security threat? Climate change, says former adviser — Charges of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, cybersecurity and terrorism are topics that have recently dominated the national security conversation. But according to Richard Clarke, it’s climate change that poses an imminent threat to our nation’s shores. KQED report

Presidential Politics

Trump steps up security aide search, focuses on health care – President Donald Trump brought more contenders for national security adviser to his Palm Beach club for in-person interviews Sunday, hoping to fill the job in the coming days as he seeks to refocus his young administration. AP articleLA Times article: ‘Trump’s search for a national security advisor sums up his biggest challenges so far’

Trump’s chief of staff uses anonymous sources to bash media for using anonymous sources – In defending President Donald Trump’s criticism of the media as the “enemy of the American People,” White House chief of staff Reince Priebus used a tactic the current administration has hammered the press for using in recent weeks. McClatchy Newspapers article

John McCain becomes critic in chief of Trump administration — Senator John McCain has long had a reputation as a political maverick. But with the rise of a president who has vowed to shatter the old order, Mr. McCain has emerged as an outspoken defender of longstanding Republican verities on foreign policy and as one of his party’s most biting critics of the new commander in chief. New York Times article

Reality collides with Trump’s promises – President Donald Trump touts “incredible progress” in his first month in office. But the frenetic period that opened with an inaugural address about “American carnage” and ended with a raucous campaign rally has brought a spotty record that falls short of his promises. Politico article

Sweden: ‘It’s unclear to us what President Trump was referring to’ – President Trump’s mysterious reference to a frightening security episode in Sweden prompted a deluge of online ridicule — and an official request for an explanation Sunday from a Nordic country that prides itself on tranquility. LA Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories – Top Stories

Madera County voters will consider raising sales tax for public safety – Madera County is poised to add fire stations, firefighters and firefighting volunteers if residents approve a 1-cent sales tax increase on March 7. Measure L also will add more patrol deputies for the county with revenue raised from the additional sales tax. The unincorporated area’s sales tax would rise from 7.75 cents per dollar to 8.75 cents per dollar. Fresno Bee article

Farm land is down in Kern, but don’t fret – Agricultural land values in the Central Valley, and Kern County, have slipped a bit but most analysts aren’t worried about a major drop. Though water will become a larger question mark in coming years. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

CalPERS tells four cities pay to avoid pension costs – CalPERS has asked four San Gabriel Valley cities that formed a job-training agency 40 years ago, the now-disbanded LA Works, to begin paying down an 18-month-old pension debt totaling $3.37 million. Calpensions article

Two auto businesses lost in three-alarm blaze — At least two automotive businesses were destroyed in a three-alarm fire Sunday morning just east of downtown Stockton. Stockton firefighters were called to the scene of the commercial fire in the 1000 block of East Oak Street just east of the railroad tracks about 9:30 a.m. A third alarm was quickly dispatched when it was realized the large structure of interconnected warehouses required additional manpower and equipment, Battalion Chief John Titus said. Stockton Record article

A’s spending millions to find best site for new Oakland ballpark — Owner John Fisher is investing millions of dollars in finding the best place to build a new ballpark in Oakland, underscoring the Athletics’ commitment to a city that is in danger of losing its NBA and NFL teams. San Jose Mercury News article


Central Valley urged to be ready to ‘evacuate quickly’ as another storm approaches – Forecasters with the National Weather Service offered a stark warning Sunday for just about everyone living in the soggy, soaked Central Valley. “Pretty much anybody needs to be prepared for the possibility that they may have to evacuate quickly,” said Sacramento meteorologist Brooke Bingaman. Sacramento Bee articleStockton Record articleLA Times article

Turlock Irrigation District preparing to open Don Pedro Reservoir spillway as early as Monday at 3 p.m. – The spillway gates at Don Pedro Reservoir could open as early as 3 p.m. Monday, but no earlier, authorities said. The Turlock Irrigation District made the declaration late Sunday night due to “volatile changes in forecasts for upcoming storms,” an agency press release stated. Modesto Bee article

Oroville Dam is about to face its next big test as a new storm moves into the area – Engineers and construction crews worked furiously to fortify the Oroville Dam’s damaged spillways and crippled power plant on Sunday as forecasters warned that more heavy rain and possible flooding throughout Northern California were on the way. LA Times article

Disturbing deficiencies seen in California’s dam safety efforts — As of October 2015, about a dozen state-monitored dams where failure could result in death or property destruction had gone more than two years between inspections, though checks are supposed to be done once a year. Home to some of the country’s biggest dams, California also lags behind the national average in emergency preparedness for dam failure, with hundreds of high-risk sites lacking plans to handle a potential crisis.  San Francisco Chronicle article

George Skelton: Does California really need more dams? We’re running out of places to put them – You hear this every time there’s a drought or deluge in California: “Why haven’t they built more dams?” Truth is, they’ve built a bunch. And they’re about done with it. Skelton column in LA Times

Two dams illustrate challenge of maintaining older designs — The nearly $1 billion auxiliary spillway at Folsom Dam, scheduled to be completed later this year, stands in contrast to the troubles 75 miles away at the state-run Oroville Dam, where thousands of people fled last week after an eroded spillway threatened to collapse — a catastrophe that could have sent a 30-foot wall of floodwater gushing into three counties. AP article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

LA sheriff wanted to give prosecutors a list of 300 problem deputies. Now a court is stopping him — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has collected the names of about 300 deputies who have a history of past misconduct — such as domestic violence, theft, bribery and brutality — that could damage their credibility if they testify in court. But McDonnell’s move has set off a heated battle that pits the privacy rights of officers against efforts by law enforcement agencies to be more transparent. LA Times article

Health/Human Services

Hospitals fear Obamacare repeal would reverse gains – Now, with President Trump and congressional Republicans pledging to repeal the health law, hospital officials worry that the gains they have made could be lost or diminished. Of particular concern is that if patients lose health insurance, hospital revenue will fall — to the detriment of the patients, the staff and the community. San Francisco Chronicle article

San Francisco working on ambitious plan to eliminate hepatitis C — San Francisco is trying to become the first city in the nation to eliminate hepatitis C, rolling out an ambitious plan that would involve curing everyone who already has it and stopping further spread of the infectious disease, which can cause severe liver damage.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Social justice groups wrap up Vatican-led gathering in Modesto — About 650 delegates from faith-based groups and grassroots organizations gathered in Modesto over the past few days to hear a message about inclusion and empowerment. Their task is to help people stuck in an endless cycle of poverty, and the first step is galvanizing those they want to help. Modesto Bee article