February 24, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Does California have a ‘fiscal emergency?’ Possibly, but Gov. Brown won’t declare one — Approved by voters more than two years ago, Proposition 2 created a rainy-day reserve that can only be tapped if the governor declares a “fiscal emergency.” That hasn’t happened yet, and the fund will total an estimated $6.7 billion by June 30. Yet the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst reported Thursday that, based on low revenue estimates in Gov. Jerry Brown’s January budget proposal, declaring a fiscal emergency for the coming fiscal year “seems available” as an option should Brown be so inclined. Sacramento Bee article

White House expects Justice crackdown on legalized marijuana – The Justice Department will step up enforcement of federal law against recreational marijuana, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday, offering the Trump administration’s strongest indication to date of a looming crackdown on the drug, even as a solid majority of Americans believe it should be legal. AP article

Trump looms large as California GOP convention opens — The math isn’t friendly for Californian Republicans as they gather for their state convention this weekend in Sacramento. Less than 30 percent of California voters are registered as Republicans. The number of local Republican officials is dropping off as well. And as long as Democrats stick together, their two-thirds majorities in the Assembly and Senate mean the party doesn’t need GOP votes to pass anything in the Legislature. KQED reportSan Francisco Chronicle article

Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown comes out against LA real estate development measure — Wading into the contentious debate over real estate development in Los Angeles, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday lent his formal opposition to Measure S, suggesting the city ballot initiative dubbed by opponents as a “housing ban” is too restrictive.  Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Valley politics

Kuman votes against June recall election — The Tulare Regional Medical Center Board of Directors ignored elections officials who suggested a date to hold Dr. Parmod Kumar’s recall election. In a split vote, the board members designated Chairperson Linda Wilbourn to turn in the order to the county’s elections office that triggers the countdown to the recall election. The board officially recognized on Wednesday that they were served on the recall election. Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Kevin Faulconer says he isn’t running for governor. Republicans hope he will anyway — As Republicans convene this weekend in Sacramento with an eye to next year’s race for governor, Faulconer is seen by many as the only leader from within their withering ranks with enough crossover appeal to present a serious challenge to Democrats in sapphire-blue California. Sacramento Bee article

Can the California Republican Party bounce back in 2018? Here’s the chairman’s game plan — Brulte vows that the party’s fortunes will improve in the 2018 election, including one or two top-shelf candidates running for governor. He’ll make his case in Sacramento this weekend at the California Republican Party’s three-day convention, where GOP delegates banking on Brulte to deliver are expected to vote Sunday in favor of extending his reign as chairman for a third term.  LA Times article


LA officials urge ICE agents to stop identifying themselves as police – Los Angeles’ top elected officials are urging federal authorities to stop the practice of immigration officers identifying themselves as “police” in their search for people living in the country illegally. LA Times article

Trump touts recent immigration raids, calls them a ‘military operation’ – President Trump on Thursday celebrated what he called “a military operation” to round up and deport undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes or caused violence in the United States. Washington Post article

Trump’s promise to ramp up deportations spreads fear – among California businesses – The news that President Trump ordered an aggressive crackdown on 11 million undocumented people sent a chill through immigrant communities. California businesses that employ lots of immigrants are shivering too. LA Times article

Homeland Security chief insists there will be ‘no mass deportations’ of people in U.S. illegally – U.S. Secretary of Homeland Secretary John F. Kelly said Thursday at a news conference that there would be no large-scale deportations from the United States or use of military force along the border — comments aimed at allaying Mexican fears about the Trump administration’s ongoing immigration crackdown. LA Times article

As Kelly and Tillerson visit Mexico, their reassurances differ from Trump’s stance – it remains unclear which version of Washington will come to bear on Mexico in the coming months —the more aggressive approach of the American president or the more reassuring stance of Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Kelly, whose job will be to oversee many proposals likely to antagonize Mexico the most. New York Times article

What new DHS immigration memos might mean for California – “I think California’s going to be ground zero when it comes to immigration removals during the Trump administration,” said Kevin Johnson, dean of the UC Davis Law School, in an interview with KQED’s Tara Siler. California is home to nearly a quarter of all immigrants in the country and, according to Johnson, many of them may be subject to removal under the new rules laid out by Kelly’s memos.  KQED report

Feds deny dumping California police into immigration raid – Federal immigration officials pushed back hard against the assertion that they had duped the Santa Cruz, California, police department into helping them make immigration arrests during a raid on an El Salvador-based gang. AP articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Santa Clara County calls Trump’s sanctuary order ‘extortion’ – Santa Clara County officials asked a federal judge Thursday to impose a nationwide preliminary injunction against President Trump’s executive order threatening to withhold federal funds from sanctuary jurisdictions, calling the move “extortion” by the White House. San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times article

California immigration policy debate brings local law enforcement role into focus – A California proposal to shield people from deportation by limiting communication between local police and federal agents took on new relevance this week after the Department of Homeland Security revealed it will try to enlist the help of local law enforcement agencies to crack down further on illegal immigration. East Bay Times article

U.S. Border Patrol accuses detailed LA DACA recipient of immigrant smuggling – A 22-year old North Hollywood resident and beneficiary of the Obama administration’s immigration relief program was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents near the Southern California border earlier this month on suspicion of attempting to smuggle someone into the country illegally. LA Times article

Overwhelmed courts could limit impact of adding immigration officers – The Department of Homeland Security issued new guidelines this week that call for hiring 15,000 additional Border Patrol agents and immigration officers. It also wants to greatly expand the number of unauthorized immigrants who are prioritized for deportation. But between arrest and possible repatriation, those swept up will have court dates. Right now, that can take time. NPR report

Victor Davis Hanson: Who makes money off illegal immigration? The list is long – Activists portray illegal immigration solely as a human story of the desperately poor from south of the border fleeing misery to start new, productive lives in the U.S. – despite exploitation and America’s nativist immigration laws. But the truth is always more complex – and can reveal self-interested as well as idealistic parties. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Immigration not the top concern for Latinos, according to Pew survey taken before Trump inauguration – Despite its high profile as a political issue and the angry debates and spirited protests it inspires, immigration was not at the top of priorities for Latinos surveyed recently, the Pew Research Center said in a report released Thursday. LA Times article

Inga Barks: Stop using children to make your point about an adult issue —  I have to be honest with those who flood city councils and congressional offices, and use their children as props: There is a huge difference between asking for something you don’t deserve (i.e., amnesty and sanctuary cities, driver licenses, free healthcare and education), and getting in our face to demand it. And scaring children into being participants? That’s gross. Barks column in Bakersfield Californian

Other areas

Gray introduces bill to restrict recreational marijuana like tobacco and alcohol — Lawmakers are looking at a bill that aims to bring marijuana restrictions more in line with the regulation of alcohol and tobacco. Introduced by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, the legislation is supposed to close loopholes left open during the passing of Proposition 64. Merced Sun-Star article

Protestors target Sen. Feinstein for not holding town halls – Republican members of Congress aren’t alone in feeling the heat from constituents at town hall meetings this week. California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein will be the target at two Bay Area events over the next three days — and she won’t even be at one of them. San Francisco Chronicle article

California senator removed from floor after criticizing late lawmaker Tom Hayden — The California Senate was thrown into chaos and anger on Thursday when a Republican member was forcibly removed from the floor for allegedly speaking out of turn during a session. Republican colleagues say Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, was silenced by the Democratic majority when the Senate sergeant-at-arms escorted her from the chamber as Nguyen tried to criticize the late Democratic lawmaker Tom Hayden for his stance against the Vietnam War. Sacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorialLA Times articleSan Jose Mercury News article

Lawmakers propose adopting federal environmental protections they fear Trump will drop – Fearing a federal rollback of longstanding protections for air quality, clean water, endangered species and workers’ rights, California Democrats are pursuing legislation that would cement those environmental and labor regulations in state law. Sacramento Bee articleAP articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Video: Mike Dunbar on McClintock town hall – Mike Dunbar, Opinions Page Editor for the Modesto Bee, attended Tom McClintock’s town hall meeting on Wednesday night. He shares his thoughts about the event and has a message for Jeff Denham. Dunbar in Modesto Bee

Should patients be told their doctors are on probation? Capitol hearing revives debate – Should patients be informed when their doctor is on disciplinary probation for dealing drugs, being drunk or engaging in sexual misconduct on the job? Under a legislative proposal to be heard Monday, California physicians would be required to tell patients when they’re put on probation. Sacramento Bee article

Trump’s election drives more women to consider running for office — Will the election of Donald Trump, who once boasted of grabbing women by the genitalia and has a history of sexist remarks, create a wave of female candidates at all levels of government in the coming years? Early signs from the groups that work with women considering a bid for office suggest a level of intense interest not seen in at least a quarter-century. KQED report

Sacramento Bee: Bars open till 4 a.m.? Why not? – As pressing problems go in California, how late one can grab a drink at a bar doesn’t exactly top our list of priorities. But that doesn’t mean the state’s one-size-fits-all approach to late-night carousing isn’t cramping the style of cities that want to capitalize on their nightlife. Sacramento Bee editorial

Travel ban, targeting of mosques trigger mental health concerns among California Muslims — The Amala Hopeline, a Sacramento-based mental health hotline for young Muslims, has seen a spike in calls since Donald Trump’s election, said Saba Saleem, a volunteer and founder of the organization. During his campaign, the president promised to ban Muslims from entering the country and accused American Muslims of not doing enough to stop terrorists. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

White House adviser asked FBI to dispute Russia reports – White House chief of staff Reince Priebus asked a top FBI official to dispute media reports that President Donald Trump’s campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election, a White House official said late Thursday. AP article

Trump’s popularity at CPAC gathering, which he shunned a year ago, shows how he’s conquered conservatives –Donald Trump skipped the nation’s preeminent conference of conservatives last year, underscoring the friction between the populist candidate and many of the warring factions in his party during a heated presidential primary season. This year, his dominance at the forum, the Conservative Political Action Conference, is hard to miss. LA Times article

For all of the motion, Trump is falling behind on his ‘100-day’ promise list – What is striking is that despite the drama of Trump’s first month in office, he has actually made little or no progress on many of his promises. Only six promises are listed as “kept,” while 45 have seen no action. We also list seven as “launched,” one as “stuck” and one as “broken.” Washington Post article

Senator Dianne Feinstein: Trump trade war will hurt California businesses and consumers – The Democratic senator writes, “President Trump’s threat to tax imports from Mexico combined with the House Republican blueprint on tax reform raises serious concerns about how Republican tax and trade policies will affect consumers and businesses in California.” Feinstein op-ed in Fresno Bee

News Stories- Top Stories

The verdict after all that rain? Most of California is out of the drought – According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report, less than 20% of the state faces any drought conditions and no place in California faces “extreme” or “exceptional” drought.  LA Times articleSacramento Bee article; San Francisco Chronicle articleFresno Bee article

Michael Fitzgerald: Time to bust out-of-control protestors — Enough. The protesters who disrupted Tuesday’s Stockton City Council meeting — again — don’t respect the boundary that separates free speech from government’s need to do business. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Jobs and the Economy

Joel Fox: From baby boom to Latino boom in LA County – The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) annual economic forecast conference spent a good deal of time focused on the Latino community and its effect on the county’s economy. Latino growth is affecting the county outlook in such a way that Univision Senior Vice President Chiqui Cartagena compared the impact to the influence of an earlier huge demographic change: From Baby Boom to Latino Boom. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Trump talk rattles aerospace industry, up and down supply chain — President Trump has talked about border tariffs and new trade deals that many people in aerospace fear could raise the cost of American airplanes bought by foreign airlines or governments. New York Times article

They make that in Fresno? Yes, the little jewelry dishes are doing big business – Sometimes the prettiest things come from the most unlikely places. For instance, a company that sells little handmade clay jewelry dishes stamped with wedding dates or other symbols of love is doing booming business nationwide. It’s based here in central Fresno, hidden away without a sign in an aging office park. Its founder is a 21-year-old who is still in college. Fresno Bee article

How much can the U.S. economy grow? – The nation is close to what economists believe is full productive capacity. The Trump administration’s ambitious growth targets depend on how much slack remains. New York Times article

When tech companies go public, employees can strike it rich – or not. Then the trouble starts – Tech IPOs have minted millionaires, with stories of even janitors who worked at Google striking it rich after the company went public in 2004. As Snap Inc. hurtles towards its own IPO, which is expected to be one of the biggest in Los Angeles history, many await a life-changing payday. LA Times article

Big new convention center hotel proposed for downtown LA – A towering 1,024-room hotel will rise next to the Los Angeles Convention Center a few years from now if developer TriCal Construction Inc. gets its way. LA Times article

Lockheed will move 650 missile jobs away from Sunnyvale –  Lockheed Martin will move 650 jobs in the legendary Trident missile program from Sunnyvale to other states, the defense contractor said Thursday. San Jose Mercury News article

Pennsylvania city beats Kingsburg for national business show — A Pennsylvania city beat out Kingsburg and three other communities for the featured spot in the second season of the national show “Small Business Revolution – Main Street.” Bristol Borough, northeast of Philadelphia near the New Jersey border, was named the winner on Wednesday after the public cast votes for their favorite town during a weeklong voting period. Fresno Bee article


Could Kern really be free of drought? – For the first time since 2011, the U.S. Drought Monitor map, produced jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is showing Kern County to be virtually free of the drought that has plagued the county and the state for more than five years. But keep that champagne on ice a little bit longer. Bakersfield Californian article

VIDEO: Mike Dunbar: State’s glass woefully half empty when it comes to water storage – Modesto Bee Opinions Page Editor Mike Dunbar says California continues to miss opportunities to store water by failing to address the need to build more storage facilities that would capture all of the state’s water. Dunbar in Modesto Bee

Modesto works to stem river water from overwhelming sewer system — Modesto appears to have bought itself some time before it may have to release partially treated wastewater that poses a public health risk into the San Joaquin River. Modesto Bee article

‘Normal’ never better at New Melones, the last major reservoir to recover from drought – Stubborn New Melones Lake finally decided to join the party.  New Melones this week topped 100 percent of normal, the last of California’s major reservoirs to climb out of the deep drought hole. Stockton Record article

Did drought contribute to severe flooding in San Jose? Officials search for answers – Officials acknowledged they badly miscalculated how much flooding would occur, which left residents unprepared for the water that would inundate their neighborhoods. By Thursday, the hunt was on for answers. Several theories are already gaining traction, including the idea that the debris and vegetation left at the bottom of the creek by years of drought caused water levels to rise farther than officials predicted. LA Times articleSan Jose Mercury News article

Shasta Dam makes history as water flows from top gates for first time in 20 years – While California’s other major dam has been the focus of national attention, the Shasta Dam was making history itself this week. For the first time in almost two decades, water was released Wednesday from the topmost gates of the dam impounding Lake Shasta, California’s largest reservoir, marking another milestone in what is shaping up to be the state’s wettest year on record. LA Times article

George Radanovich, Joel Nelsen and Tom Nassif: Farmers deserve a balanced ag labor board – Radanovich, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association; Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual; and Nassif, president of Western Growers Association, write, “California farmworkers are protected by the strictest labor laws in the nation, and they decline to unionize because they value a good employer over a union. Brown should recognize this and rewrite the Agricultural Labor Relations Act to guarantee employer representation on the board. California farmers deserve better than a lopsided Agricultural Labor Relations Board.” Radanovich/Nelsen/Nassif op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Not a new trend: Women taking a larger role in farming — Audrey Dermond may not have grown up a tomboy, but in a lot of respects, she was raised as if she were her father’s son. “I irrigated, I raked hay, I cultivated corn. I did all the jobs a man could do” on her family‘s  farm, recounted the Turlock woman who added that she was driving a tractor by the time she was 10. The Business Journal article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Homeless man says Merced officer was protecting herself when she shot him – A 55-year-old man told investigators that the Merced police officer who shot him earlier this month was defending herself when he charged at her with a golf club, according to police reports obtained Thursday by the Merced Sun-Star. Merced Sun-Star article

Gang member whose shooting triggered anti-police protests is now on trial for murder — A high-ranking southwest Fresno gang member whose shooting by police sparked protests and threats against officers is now on trial, accused of gunning down a rival on Easter Sunday four years ago as the victim’s girlfriend tried to shield her child. Fresno Bee article

Police: Fleeing suspect arrested in connection with death of CHP motorcycle officer – A man suspected of being the subject of a pursuit that resulted in the death of a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer Wednesday night has been arrested. Sacramento Bee article


What Trump’s policy means for transgender students in California — The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it is dropping federal protections for transgender students, causing concern among LGBT advocates and students throughout the country. Here’s a Q&A on the consequences of the new White House policy for local schools. LA Times article

Fresno Bee: Unanimous vote on interim leader is positive sign for Fresno Unified — Last week’s unanimous decision to hire acting superintendent Bob Nelson as the district’s interim leader while the search goes on for a permanent superintendent is an encouraging sign that the board is coming together. Fresno Bee editorial

Transgender rules won’t change here – For local districts, things will remain the same, administrators said. “Our state law is very clear. If a student has a clear gender identity, then he or she will be treated as that gender,” said Todd Oto, Visalia Unified Superintendent. “There’s not much change for us.” Visalia Times-Delta articleEdSource article

Gary May confirmed as UC Davis chancellor, permanent replacement for Linda Katehi – Gary S. May was confirmed Thursday as the next UC Davis chancellor, laying out a vision that includes greater investment in Sacramento to help develop new businesses.  Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

After Yiannopoulos cancellation, UC Davis wants to ensure controversial speakers speak – UC Davis interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter said Thursday he will form a group to examine how to ensure even the most controversial speakers can deliver their messages on campus, weeks after former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos canceled his engagement in the face of protests. Sacramento Bee article

Modesto City Schools releases draft maps for trustee areas — Modesto City Schools has released draft maps showing four versions of how the dual district might divide into seven trustee areas. It will take public comment on all of them at four evening public hearings, two March 2 and two April 6. Modesto Bee article

California education officials reject Long Beach’s request to replace statewide assessment with SAT – A half-dozen states are planning to swap their 11th-grade statewide assessment tests for the SAT this spring. Long Beach Unified wanted to join them, but California’s state superintendent and State Board of Education president emphatically said no. EdSource article

Health/Human Services

Obamacare 101: Are health insurance marketplaces in a death spiral? — So what’s the real story? Are these things really kaput or can they be fixed? Here’s a rundown of where things stand.  LA Times article

Dr. Anthony Iton: Study shows shocking crisis of ‘white death’ in Valley – The Senior Vice President of Healthy Communities at The California Endowment writes, “Responding to national reports about the drop in life expectancy across the nation and the devastating impacts felt in poor communities as our government strips away what’s left of the social compact, The California Endowment teamed up with the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University to take a deeper look at California. The data we found in the Central San Joaquin Valley was shocking. There is a crisis of white death in California’s Central Valley.” Iton op-ed in Fresno Bee

$10,000 donation to help victims of human trafficking, sexual and domestic abuse — A donation of $10,000 has reached the doorstep of the Valley Crisis Center in Merced for the third consecutive year. The Anberry Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has provided the extra funding Valley Crisis needs for more services in domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault, said Chee Yang, program director for Valley Crisis. Merced Sun-Star article

Land Use/Housing

Hustler sues Fresno, says city changed rules to stop it from opening adult store — Hustler Hollywood has sued the city of Fresno, contending in a federal civil rights lawsuit that city officials violated the business’s free-speech rights by stopping it from opening an adult-themed store inside the former Silver Dollar Hofbrau after it signed a 10-year lease. Fresno Bee article


Could battery-powered buses be in the future for UC Merced, Merced County? – An electric-powered bus rolled into UC Merced on Thursday to give administrators, students and public employees a closer look at what could be the future of public transit in the city. The 42  1/2 -foot, battery-powered bus made by Proterra carried folks along a commonly used route the university calls “FastCat.” Merced Sun-Star article

Neighbors air worries about future freeway west of Modesto — This much seems clear: A new freeway is coming west of Modesto. After six decades of planning a Highway 132 bypass, transportation leaders on Wednesday unveiled environmental studies at a public meeting attended by lots of anxious people with lots of questions about the $214 million new road, for which crews could break ground late next year. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

Stockton Record: Stop the clown show – There are many issues — economic development, homelessness, other public safety matters and much more — that the council must address. That won’t be easy if a select few individuals are intent on creating continual meeting disturbances under the guise of protest. A little adult behavior would go a long way right now. Stockton Record editorial

Fresno Bee’s ‘Living in Misery’ series honored with Gruner Public Service award – Three Fresno Bee reporters were honored for their public service coverage of Fresno’s substandard rental housing at the 29th annual George F. Gruner Awards. Fresno Bee article

Lemoore tackles trouble at skate park – Lemoore’s skate park may soon have some new rules to help police prevent vandalism that periodically closes the park for repairs. The Lemoore City Council voted 4-0, with Councilman Jeff Chedester absent, to adopt an ordinance reducing the park’s hours of operation and banning alcohol from the facility. Hanford Sentinel article

Campaign aims to make Tower Bridge twinkle with LED lights that could change color – Sacramento’s landmark entryway – the Tower Bridge – could be getting some new sparkle as community leaders work to drape it in energy-efficient LED lights that could be programmed to shine different colors to celebrate holidays or events.  Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Last week’s unanimous decision to hire acting superintendent Bob Nelson as the district’s interim leader while the search goes on for a permanent superintendent is an encouraging sign that the board is coming together; Ham-handed Sacramento Democrats stifled dissent from a Republican, Sen. Janet Nguyen. Their actions were sufficiently ugly and petulant to make us wonder if Senators Bill Monning of Carmel and Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens learned their manners at the Mitch McConnell charm school.

Sacramento Bee –- Ham-handed Sacramento Democrats stifled dissent from a Republican, Sen. Janet Nguyen. Their actions were sufficiently ugly and petulant to make us wonder if Senators Bill Monning of Carmel and Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens learned their manners at the Mitch McConnell charm school; As pressing problems go in California, how late one can grab a drink at a bar doesn’t exactly top our list of priorities. But that doesn’t mean the state’s one-size-fits-all approach to late-night carousing isn’t cramping the style of cities that want to capitalize on their nightlife.

Stockton Record – There are many issues — economic development, homelessness, other public safety matters and much more — that the council must address. That won’t be easy if a select few individuals are intent on creating continual meeting disturbances under the guise of protest. A little adult behavior would go a long way right now.