February 21, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Dan Walters: It’s high time to legislate about times of our lives — The adults who run schools seemingly are more interested in their convenience than the well-being of their young charges. So will the state intervene with Portantino’s Senate Bill 328? It’s high time that it did, but only time will tell. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Trump lawyers battling over how far they can go in new travel ban for 7 Muslim nations – A fight between the leaders at the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security could delay the release of President Donald Trump’s revised executive order limiting travel to the United States by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, according to a person who’s been briefed on the dispute. McClatchy Newspapers article

Valley politics

Rally kicks off social activists’ campaign — Faith in the Valley, a five-county faith-based grass-roots organization composed of 120 congregations, on Monday kicked off what it calls a “90-day effort of action strategy” to apply pressure on elected officials to discuss issues of health care, immigration and racial justice in the Central Valley. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

CA120: The lowdown on California’s election — Now that we finally have in the 2016 vote history from all 58 counties, we can actually dissect what happened in terms of registration, turnout, participation by minorities and young voters, and how the tumultuous months leading up to Nov. 8 made the 2016 General Election look very different than past California elections.  Capitol Weekly article


Supreme Court to rule on border shooting: Does the U.S. Constitution protest someone on the Mexican side? – The Supreme Court on Tuesday will take up the case of a Mexican teenager who was shot and killed by a U.S. border agent and try to decide a question that is also at the heart of the legal dispute over President Trump’s foreign travel ban: Does the Constitution protect foreign citizens who stand at the nation’s borders? LA Times article

Trump takes new immigration fight to 9th Circuit – The Trump administration is taking another immigration policy fight to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, less than two weeks after that court delivered a stinging rebuff to President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order. Politico article

Fresno faith leaders call for protection for undocumented immigrants — Faith in Fresno held a rally Monday morning in front of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office calling for immigration policies that would protect individuals targeted by the new administration. Fresno Bee article

Merced advocates call for ‘sanctuary’ status for undocumented immigrants — Opponents of the Trump administration’s changing immigration policy held a news conference, one of a handful in the Central San Joaquin Valley, outside the Merced County Sheriff’s Office on Monday. Those gathered held signs, chanted and spoke in support of pending state and federal legislation that would protect immigrant families from deportation, they said. Merced Sun-Star article

Stockton council resolution to affirm support of immigrants – Tonight’s council meeting will include a vote on a resolution affirming the city’s support of Stockton’s large immigrant population in the face of the federal climate that has existed since President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration one month ago.  Stockton Record article

Jeff Jardine: Rumors of ICE roundup, checkpoint in Stanislaus County denied — The rumor of a raid here simply was not true, according to James Schwab, an ICE spokesman in San Francisco. Neither was the supposed raid at Costco in Richmond nor anything else reported in Northern California recently. That doesn’t mean some undocumented immigrants weren’t arrested, Schwab said. It means there was no random roundup, as the rumors suggested.  Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Foon Rhee: The gauntlet facing aid to refugees — I’m all for helping refugees who make it to California, after all the hardships and hurdles they have to overcome to escape war and persecution. Yet I suspect that state and local efforts to aid refugees will face their own obstacles. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

The untold story of how Kevin de Leon became Kevin de Leon – The name on his birth certificate isn’t Kevin de León. That’s how the Los Angeles Democrat identified himself more than two years ago when he was sworn in as the 47th president pro tem of the California Senate, the first Latino to hold the position in more than a century. On his birth certificate and voter rolls, however, the 50-year-old politician is Kevin Alexander Leon. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Stop dodging voters, Republicans — GOP members of Congress are lying low during this Presidents Day recess. But the town halls they’re avoiding are part of the job. Sacramento Bee editorial

Same-sex marriage laws helped reduce suicide attempts by gay, lesbian and bisexual teens, study says – Guess what? It did get better for gay, lesbian and bisexual high schoolers when the states they were growing up in changed their laws to allow same-sex marriage, a new study finds. LA Times article

From legalizing marijuana at the ballot box to legalizing it by legislation, lawmakers look to cash in – When Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure in November to legalize recreational marijuana, Josh Miller saw this as a sign that his time had finally arrived. Now, in a turnaround, some of Miller’s colleagues are signaling an interest in legalized weed — and raking in the tax dollars that come with it. LA Times article

Tom Fife: Secession talk amounts to treason — California is run by liberal fools who convince millions of liberal dolts to vote for silly liberal ideas they can’t afford in the first place. This is bad policy and someday the other 49 states could get stuck with the tab. If that happens, US taxpayers will expect a fair return on their investment. This, of course, will come as a complete shock to the millions of stupid Californians who voted themselves into this hole in the first place and they will blame Trump. Visalia Times-Delta article

Joe Altschule: Tom hates California – so why is he still here? — We are diverse and welcoming to people from everywhere because we recognize the strength in diversity. With Covered California, we have the most inclusive and meaningful state insurance plan in the country, providing health insurance in a fair way at a fair cost. Our tech community provides a valuable engine for major improvements in the lives of people around the globe. The breakthroughs provided here are the envy of the world. And, Tom, we aren’t seceding anytime soon. But if you hate it so much, I’ll be the first to chip in for a one-way ticket outta here. Altschule column in Visalia Times-Delta

Presidential Politics

Trump supporters see a successful president – and are frustrated at those who don’t — Many of President Donald Trump’s most dedicated supporters – the sort who waited for hours in the Florida sun this weekend for his first post-inauguration campaign rally – say their lives changed on election night. Suddenly they felt like their views were actually respected and in the majority. But less than one month into Trump’s term, many of his supporters say they once again feel under attack – perhaps even more so than before. Washington Post article

Trump to roll back Obama’s climate, water rules through executive action – President Trump is preparing executive orders aimed at curtailing Obama-era policies on climate and water pollution, according to individuals briefed on the measures. Washington Post article

On free press, Supreme Court pick at odds with Trump — Judge Gorsuch’s decisions in libel and related cases show no inclination to cut back on protections for the press. New York Times article

Contradicting Trump on Russia: Russian officials – For months, President Trump and his aides have insisted that they had no contact with Russian officials during the presidential campaign, a denial Mr. Trump repeated last week. The denial stands at odds with statements by Russian officials, who have at least twice acknowledged contacts with aides to Mr. Trump before the election. New York Times article

‘I am ashamed’ vs. ‘Get over it’: British lawmakers debate Trump visit — With thousands of people demonstrating against President Trump outside Parliament, British lawmakers on Monday debated whether to deny him a formal state visit because — in the eyes of nearly two million Britons in an online petition — it would “cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the queen.” New York Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories – Top Stories

Don Pedro spillway opens, could triple nearly Tuolumne River flow – The spillway gates opened at Don Pedro Reservoir at 3 p.m. Monday, and over the next four or more days could nearly triple the flow of the Tuolumne River as it comes through Stanislaus County and Modesto. Modesto Bee articleLA Times article

Which comes first, the chicken, the egg, or the egg-production facility? – It will be the largest egg-production facility Kern County has ever seen, housing more than 3 million chickens and at its peak, producing more than 36 million eggs per month. And all done 100 percent cage-free. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Michael Tubbs: We can do this ‘collectively’ – Stockton’s mayor writes, “Despite the current turmoil nationally, I am more resolute that our best days as a city are ahead. I truly believe that Stockton will emerge over the next several years as a “city on a hill” and as a model for what communities can do collectively to address pressing challenges. What will success in Stockton look like after my time as mayor?” Tubbs op-ed in Stockton Record

Economic impact continues to grow at Port of Stockton – Anyone who travels Interstate 5 past downtown Stockton and looks west is well aware of the Port of Stockton with its massive, odd-shaped structures and, if you’re lucky, an ocean-going ship unloading at the docks. But it didn’t take much to get lucky in 2016, with 232 ships sailing into the port — the second-highest number in the past six years, according to longtime Port Director Rick Aschieris. Stockton Record article

Growth trend continues for local financial industry — The local financial industry saw an uptick in business in 2016, a continuation of a trend that began the previous year and is expected to continue. Stockton Record article

Uber says Eric Holder, Arianna Huffington will help with sexual harassment investigation – Following a sexual harassment claim posted by a former Uber employee named Susan Fowler Rigetti, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has announced the company will launch an independent review into the company’s workplace environment.  San Francisco Chronicle article

LA sees Snap I.P.O. as its ‘Google moment’ — Angeleno real estate agents and luxury goods purveyors are expecting to have a slew of new millionaires, and a couple of billionaires, to serve. New York Times article


Modesto Bee: Water projects protect us from drought, floods — It’s time to reconsider our antipathy toward dams, not just as water-storage projects but as safety measures to keep thousands of homes dry and people safe. Modesto Bee editorial

San Joaquin River levee break forces 500 out; Don Pedro spillway opens — A 20-foot breach in a San Joaquin River levee that forced an evacuation order for a large swath of rural farmland was plugged by emergency crews late Monday, a levee engineer confirmed. For the time being, however, an evacuation order for about 500 people issued shortly after 7 p.m. remained in place. Stockton Record articleModesto Bee article

Monday’s storms bring more rain, wind, flood concerns – Another day of wet weather hit the central San Joaquin Valley on Monday, and river flood warnings, road closures and threats of even more rain were in the forecast for later in the day and into Tuesday. Fresno Bee article

Recent rains bring drought relief — As of Friday, Visalia received 0.62 inches of rain. Storms are expected to continue to move through the Valley floor for the next two days and could drop up to a half-inch of rain. Visalia Times-Delta article

Continued erosion of Oroville Dam’s main spillway part of ‘normal process,’ state officials say – Oroville Dam’s badly damaged main spillway is still deteriorating from an onslaught of fast-paced water, but state officials insist that it is “stable” as they make repairs. Sacramento Bee article

‘Farmers are optimistic people’ — One problem San Joaquin County farmers won’t have to worry about in 2017 is a lack of water. The county’s leading industry shed more than $500 million in value during the worst of the drought, or about a 15 percent hit.  Stockton Record article

Not just Oroville: More Northern California infrastructure that need fixes — The Oroville Dam crisis reminded many Californians of something we only associate with earthquakes: Our crumbling state infrastructure. San Francisco Chronicle article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Gunman who killed Whittier officer had fatally shot another man hours earlier, police say – The officer was killed and a second injured in a shootout with a gang member who was wounded in a Monday morning altercation in Whittier, authorities said. LA Times article

Slain Whittier officer ‘best of the best,’ was thinking about retiring, chief says — Keith Boyer spent 27 years patrolling the streets of Whittier and had become something of a legend at the Whittier Police Department. Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper broke down in tears recounting Boyer, whom he described as a close friend and beloved member of the department. Boyer was fatally shot Monday. LA Times article

Why Oakland halted police crackdown on potential Ghost Ships — Nobody’s saying exactly why Oakland’s assistant police chief sent out an email directing officers to “immediately” begin reporting parties without permits and illegally converted warehouses to their superiors — only to have City Administrator Sabrina Landreth rescind the order hours later. Landreth said only that the directive was sent prematurely and that the city was still working on a policy. But Police Department insiders tell us they have a pretty good clue what happened. San Francisco Chronicle article

ACLU sues San Diego police over how it collects DNA from juveniles – A black teenager who was stopped by police last year while walking through a San Diego park is challenging the Police Department’s policies and practices for obtaining DNA from minors without first notifying a parent. San Diego Union-Tribune article


Fresno Unified trustees could hire personal assistants — Fresno Unified school board members could soon have their own personal assistants, paid for by the district. The board is divided on the potential hires, which could cost up to $82,000 annually for each of the seven trustees. That estimate – made by the district’s human resources department – is too high, though, according to board President Brooke Ashjian, who is spearheading the proposal. Fresno Bee article

Jim Darling: What’s the name of our local university? – The owner of a public relations firm in Bakersfield and founding chairman of the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House writes, “Moving forward, what’s our university’s name? CSU Bakersfield. Can we all say that together? ‘CSU Bakersfield.’ It works. We all need to be on the same page, pulling in the same direction for something great. I grew up with a chip on my shoulder because I’m from Bakersfield, but it helped to shape who I am. It made me tougher and more resilient, and I relish the underdog role. I am a better person because I’m from Bakersfield. Now we have an opportunity to tell our story on a national level through our successful Division I sports program right here at CSU Bakersfield. Let’s call it that.” Darling op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Edison a bright light in education, college readiness — In the two years since Edison High School was deemed a national AVID demonstration school, the program that showcases the best practices for developing success in high school, college and beyond is getting overwhelming commitment from students a year removed from becoming freshmen. Stockton Record article

Visalia Unified superintendent reflects on recent bus accident — Twenty-seven Veva Blunt Elementary School students and two staff members are lucky to be alive after a truck collided into their school bus last week. The bus, which was transporting students to a basketball game, was traveling west on Caldwell Avenue just past Shirk Road when it was struck head-on by a truck. Visalia Times-Delta article

For-profit schools, an Obama target, are optimistic now — The Education Department, whose scrutiny has led hundreds of campuses to close, is now led by Betsy DeVos, who has investments in the industry. New York Times article

Teachers eye potential of virtual reality to enhance science instruction — If you can’t afford a field trip to the International Space Station, donning a boxy black headset might be the next best thing. To take advantage of the latest in 3-D technology, teachers are increasingly expressing interest in using virtual reality to enhance science education. EdSource article

Health/Human Services

For Turlock boy, orphan drug offers hope for rare disease – at high price — With a slip of a needle into his spinal fluid, Charleston “Cash” Goeppert became one of the first children in the country to receive a new drug that could help slow a rare muscular condition that renders kids as limp as a rag doll.  Sacramento Bee article

Firefighter receives gift of life, inspires colleagues to ‘pay it forward’ — Kevin Wise doesn’t know the man who donated the bone marrow that helped rid his body of leukemia a year ago. But that didn’t stop the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District battalion chief and a few of his colleagues from organizing two bone marrow registry drives – even before he underwent his transplant – in hopes of helping others like him. Modesto Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Carolyn Coleman: Local governments can create blueprint for more housing – The executive director of the California League of Cities writes, “Local elected leaders are acutely aware of the severity of California’s housing affordability crisis and our role in fashioning solutions. That’s why city leaders are actively involved in efforts to develop policy reforms that can create a blueprint for more housing construction.” Coleman op-ed in Sacramento Bee


No surprise here: LA is the world’s most traffic-clogged city, study finds — When it comes to getting stuck in traffic on the way to and from work, Los Angeles leads the world. Drivers in the region spent 104 hours each driving in congestion during peak travel periods last year. That topped second-place Moscow at 91 hours and third-place New York at 89, according to a traffic scorecard compiled by Inrix, a transportation analytics firm. LA Times article

Other areas

Merced to talk about marijuana dispensaries, crime stats at meeting — Hiring a marijuana dispensary consultant and the city’s latest crime statistics are on the agenda for Tuesday’s regular Merced City Council meeting. Merced Sun-Star article

AP, other media ask judge to order release of iPhone records — The Associated Press and two other news organizations asked a judge Monday to force the federal government to reveal how much it paid for a tool to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters. AP article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Merced Sun-Star – It’s time to reconsider our antipathy toward dams, not just as water-storage projects but as safety measures to keep thousands of homes dry and people safe.

Modesto Bee – It’s time to reconsider our antipathy toward dams, not just as water-storage projects but as safety measures to keep thousands of homes dry and people safe; GOP members of Congress are lying low during this Presidents Day recess. But the town halls they’re avoiding are part of the job.

Sacramento Bee –- A city’s vitality doesn’t come just from shiny new buildings and exciting development downtown. A city’s strength also is built on providing opportunities for its young people so they don’t have to leave to pursue their dreams; GOP members of Congress are lying low during this Presidents Day recess. But the town halls they’re avoiding are part of the job.

Stockton Record –Cheers and jeers: Community steps forward, more reservoir concern and other issues.