February 27, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


Taxes are on the table as push for California road funding intensifies — The way California raises money to maintain and repair state highways and local roads has largely been the same for more than two decades. Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders want to change that, and Californians would pay more as a result.  Sacramento Bee article


California GOP moves to align with Donald Trump policies — The California Republican Party moved Sunday into greater alignment with President Donald Trump, approving resolutions opposing sanctuary cities, advocating robust vetting of citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations and supporting a swift repeal of the federal healthcare overhaul. Delegates to the state party, meeting in Sacramento for their annual spring convention, also voted to reaffirm their aversion for tax and fee increases proposed as part of the state’s 2017-18 budget. Sacramento Bee articleKQED reportLA Times article

Valley politics


Protestors target Devin Nunes at conservative forum after he ‘ditched constituents’ — A conservative forum Saturday in Aptos featuring Republican congressman Devin Nunes of Tulare drew a crowd of about 350 protesters – some of whom said they were there in response to Nunes not scheduling time with constituents during the congressional break. Fresno Bee article


Victor Davis Hanson: Why the Central Valley votes more conservative — Pragmatic, autonomous and struggling people of the countryside think about building new dams and freeways to match population growth; affluent urbanites and suburbanites, with the greater luxury of second and third chances, more often dream of stalling or dismantling them to allow the landscape to return to a pristine paradise. I work at Stanford University but live on a farm between Fresno and Visalia. What one place values does not necessarily mean much in the other. Hanson column in San Francisco Chronicle


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures


California’s Republican Party is buoyed by Trump, but struggles for relevance at home – For all the cheer, the state GOP still faces a hard reality. It has not elected a statewide politician in more than a decade, its numbers are dwindling, Democrats have a supermajority in both houses of the Legislature and, after three consecutive election cycles where Republicans ceded the top posts in government to Democrats, it has no major prospects to run for governor or Senate next year. LA Times article


In deep blue California, Trump electrifies GOP — California’s withered Republican Party finally found reason for cheer. In less than six weeks, President Donald Trump had done more to unsettle Democrats in the land of Jerry Brown and Berkeley than Republicans managed for years, calling the nation’s most populous state “out of control” and panicking its ruling party on issues ranging from climate change to health care and immigration. Politico article


Jim Brulte easily re-elected California GOP boss — In an overwhelming show of support, California Republicans re-elected their party chairman Jim Brulte to his third term Sunday. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article




Trump’s soft spot for Dreamers alienates hard-liners in base – Mr. Trump’s sympathetic remarks about young immigrants and inaction on the program that shields them have caused rifts in the White House and angered some Republicans.  New York Times article


Passport lines long amid immigration fears – For an estimated 60,000 undocumented immigrants living in Stanislaus and Merced counties, these are perilous times as immigration enforcement ramps up nationwide. Even citizens are wary, with hundreds lining up at government offices to get or renew passports. Modesto Bee article


Advocates warn ‘dreamers’ to lie low as Trump ramps up deportation plans – Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups are advising undocumented immigrants not to enroll in a federal deferred-action program created by President Barack Obama over fears that the Trump administration will use their personal information to detain and deport them. Washington Post article


Immigration courts clogged with 2-year backlog — Immigration courts, an arm of the Justice Department, have a nationwide backlog of 542,000 cases. In the San Francisco court, one of four in California, the backlog is more than 39,000. Immigrants free on bond, the practice in most cases, typically wait more than two years for a hearing on whether they will be deported. That’s nearly double the waiting time in 2008. San Francisco Chronicle article


Muslim refugees were admitted at a lower rate during Trump’s refugee ban — During the week when President Trump’s refugee ban was in effect, refugees were allowed in on a case-by-case basis. Just 15 percent of the 843 refugees who were admitted during this time were Muslim, compared with a weekly average of 45 percent in 2016. New York Times article


Daly City resolution rejects local help for immigration enforcement after police linked to ICE raid — Daly City leaders are expressing concern about a multi-city federal law enforcement operation that targeted a criminal gang and detained 11 people on immigration violations. KQED report


On the other side of the wall: Mexicans on the border are ‘psychologically traumatized’ — Along the border, dejected recent deportees and new arrivals from the south headed for the U.S. are weighing whether to vault for the north or just go home — essentially, admitting defeat. LA Times article


Other areas


Dan Schnur: California’s GOP in Congress a gauge of Trump’s political party – Two California Republicans in particular, David Valadao, R-Hanford (Kings County), and Jeff Denham, R-Turlock (Stanislaus County), who represent agriculture- and immigrant-heavy Central Valley districts, have navigated the precarious path between party loyalty and local constituent needs for years. Bothtiptoed around Trump’s proposed travel ban earlier this month, but the new White House directive on deportation policy this past week has shifted their predicament from difficult to near impossible. Schnur column in San Francisco Chronicle


Cathleen Decker: Politics speaks at various volumes on Oscar night – America has been divided for months by brutal political tactics and outspoken animus. But on Sunday, as it stepped onto its biggest stage, the entertainment industry took another approach in its war against President Trump. It decided to show rather than tell. Decker in LA Times


Dan Walters: Democratic leaders silence Nguyen, stir up old conflict — The state Senate’s Democratic leaders blew it badly Thursday when they forcibly prevented Republican Sen. Janet Nguyen, a refugee from Vietnam, from criticizing the late Tom Hayden. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


California Democrats had muzzle ready for GOP senator — The Democrats who muzzled a Republican state senator and had her dragged out of the chambers had plenty of warning of what was coming, and went through with the eye-popping scene after pressuring her in advance not to open her mouth on the Senate floor. San Francisco Chronicle article


Feinstein misses ‘empty-chair’ town hall meeting – Organizers of a townhall meeting that they hoped would feature California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein held the event Sunday despite her absence. East Bay Times article


Andrew Fiala: Democracy could be in danger without virtue and education – The professor of philosophy and director of The Ethics Center at Fresno State writes, “The iceberg of ignorance can sink the ship of state. Citizens and politicians must understand the history of our political system and the philosophy behind it.” Fiala column in Fresno Bee


Presidential Politics


A divided White House offers lawmakers little guidance on replacing Obamacare – While leaving most of the detail work to lawmakers, top White House aides are divided on how dramatic an overhaul effort the party should pursue. And the biggest wild card remains the president himself, who has devoted only a modest amount of time to the grinding task of mastering health-care policy but has repeatedly suggested that his sweeping new plan is nearly complete. Washington Post article


Trump seeks to outdo Obama in backing black colleges – President Donald Trump is expected to provide historically black colleges and universities a long-awaited boost as he looks to outdo his predecessors — including the nation’s first African-American president – on a surprising issue. McClatchy Newspapers article


Trump faces a pivotal week as he addresses jittery GOP lawmakers — Less than two months into his presidency, Donald Trump faces a pivotal week ahead, with plans to address GOP lawmakers who are jittery about key aspects of his legislative agenda and to roll out a new travel ban in a fashion that will ease doubts about his administration’s competence. Washington Post article


Trump to ask for sharp increases in military spending, officials say – President Trump will instruct federal agencies on Monday to assemble a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes sharp increases in Defense Department spending and drastic enough cuts to domestic agencies that he can keep his promise to leave Social Security and Medicare alone, according to four senior administration officials. New York Times article


Trump embraces ‘enemy of the people,’ a phrase with a fraught history – It is difficult to know if President Trump is aware of the historic resonance of the term, a label generally associated with despotic communist governments rather than democracies. But his decision to unleash the terminology has left some historians scratching their heads. Why would the elected leader of a democratic nation embrace a label that, after the death of Stalin, even the Soviet Union found to be too freighted with sinister connotations? New York Times article


Ethics concerns lead second of Trump’s armed services secretary nominees to withdraw – For the second time, one of President Donald Trump’s appointees to head one of the nation’s armed services has withdrawn, citing difficulty in meeting ethics requirements. McClatchy Newspapers articleLA Times article


Enough with the tweets, annoyed Americans tell Trump in new poll – Nearly two-thirds of Americans find President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter is reckless and distracting, according to a new nationwide McClatchy-Marist poll.  McClatchy Newspapers article


Father of dead Navy seal refused to meet Trump at ceremony — The father of a Navy SEAL killed during an anti-terrorism raid in Yemen is demanding an investigation into its planning and criticized the Trump administration for its timing. AP articleNew York Times article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories


Districts pay when kids won’t foot their lunch bill — Four Bakersfield-area elementary school districts amassed more than $380,000 in debt from unpaid school lunches last year, a cost they’ve decided to eat rather than try to collect.  It’s unclear how high that debt was at all of Kern County’s 47 school districts since there’s no centralized location of such records. But The Californian, curious about the issue, surveyed four. Bakersfield Californian article


This winter has bashed the heck out of California roads — For years, people in the transportation world have complained California roads and other infrastructure have been quietly crumbling. With this winter’s heavy rains, that deterioration is no longer quiet. It’s become YouTube fodder.  Sacramento Bee article

Jobs and the Economy


Why the stock market has climbed to record highs despite Trump uncertainty – Stock prices have continued setting record highs as investors brushed aside Trump’s controversial policy actions in his first month in office and the uncertainty about how his planned agenda of tax, regulation and trade reforms eventually will play out, even though they see that pro-business agenda as bullish overall. The gains also have been broad-based, with sectors such as financials, consumer goods, technology and healthcare all advancing. LA Times article


CalPERS investment priority shifts to avoiding loss – Despite a low funding level little changed since massive investment losses nearly a decade go, CalPERS is focusing on avoiding another big loss, not risky attempts to maximize investment earnings. Calpensions article


San Francisco tourism industry fears impact of Trump immigration policies – Decisions like Fatima’s to forgo a trip to California — where she would have spent hundreds of dollars on lodging, restaurants and a car rental — have tourism officials jittery about the future of an industry brought $9.7 billion to San Francisco last year. Shortly after Trump’s inauguration until the implementation of his now-stalled travel ban directed at seven Muslim-majority countries, flight searches to the U.S. declined about 18 percent, according to Hopper, a travel agency that analyzed flight search data from 122 countries. San Francisco Chronicle article


Heavy rains hit farmers market vendors hard – Vendors at Sacramento’s Sunday market are feeling the impact in a variety of ways. Farmers are getting reacquainted with a real winter after several years of drought, said Market Coordinator Dan Best. Anyone with clay soil is looking at standing water and “it’s harder to go out into a lake” to harvest, he said. Sacramento Bee article


Here’s why BART really needs that bridge toll hike — Our recent report about BART getting behind a proposed $1 to $3 hike in Bay Area bridge tolls to help pay for hundreds of new rail cars had Steve Jasik of Menlo Park reaching for his calculator — and making a startling discovery. BART has penciled in $1.6 billion for the 306 new rail cars — which Jasik notes works out to $5.2 million each. That’s more than twice the average cost of a commuter rail vehicle in the U.S., according to figures furnished to us by BART. San Francisco Chronicle article


PG&E’s first female CEO on San Bruno, high bills and immigration — On Wednesday, Geisha Williams will take charge of PG&E Corp. as the first female CEO in the energy company’s history. Fifty years ago, Williams arrived in the U.S. as an immigrant from Cuba. Her ascension at PG&E comes at a time of immense uncertainty and change, for both the company and its industry. San Francisco Chronicle article




Officials to stop Oroville Dam’s flow to clear debris — California water authorities will stop the outflow from the Oroville Dam’s crippled spillway to allow workers to remove debris blocking a hydroelectric plant from working, officials said Sunday. AP articleSacramento Bee articleKQED report


Levee patrols: First line of defense against floodwaters — Roberts Island hasn’t flooded severely since 1884. Yet here they are, fourth-generation farmer Mike Robinson and his son, Michael, spending their Friday night inspecting every inch of the 15-mile levee from a truck crawling along at 5 mph. Stockton Record article


Criminal Justice/Prisons


Stanislaus County deputy involved in fatal shooting of woman in Ripon after pursuit — A woman was shot dead by a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department deputy in Ripon early Sunday morning following a pursuit that began in Modesto, authorities said. Modesto Bee articleStockton Record article


VIDEO: Ride along with Clovis police checking for under-age liquor sales – Take a ride in the squad car as officers runt the operation, which is funded by a California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control grant.  Officers visited 45 stores and issued two citations, which carry a fine of at least $250 and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation. Fresno Bee video


Officer Traci Gallian: You get pulled over by a CHP officer.  Now what? Here are tips for a better experience – The CHP officer writes, “I have been pulled over a few different times and I have even received a citation from the CHP. Just like anyone else, as soon as I see the red light in my rear-view mirror, my heart rate increases and my palms begin to sweat. I get nervous and all I can think of is, why me? I think about where to stop and how to act when the officer approaches my car. So, I am going to give you some advice about what to do when you see the red light behind you. Gallian column in Fresno Bee


Man sues Elk Grove Police Department, claims anti-gay treatment, discrimination — His interview had gone well, so well in fact that Elk Grove Police Department was ready to hire him on the spot. Jeremy LeMire had been combat-tested as an intelligence analyst, first in the Army, then as a defense contractor, in Iraq and Afghanistan before returning stateside to teach others the world of intel. Only the background interview stood in the way of a spot on the force, but LeMire was already girding for the sergeant’s questions about the destinations on his résumé and the man – a former boyfriend – who accompanied him at each posting. Sacramento Bee article




Private California colleges protest proposed cuts in state grants for low-income students – Manuel Herrera relies on an array of federal, state and campus aid to help pay his tuition at Whittier College, a private liberal arts campus where he is a pre-med freshman. Among his most important scholarships is a $9,084 per-year Cal Grant, a state-funded subsidy for low- to middle-income students.  EdSource article


During Black History Month, trustee Cal Johnson becomes Chukwuemeka — Fresno Unified trustee Cal Johnson is using the name Chukwuemeka and wearing African tribal clothing to celebrate Black History Month. Fresno Bee article


Health/Human Services


Science closing in on polio-like virus that paralyzed children — Scientists are closer than ever to proving that new strains of an old virus are to blame for recent waves of polio-like paralysis in children that have stumped doctors and alarmed parents across the country. San Francisco Chronicle article


Land Use/Housing


Stanislaus County leaders could create Wood Colony council after hearing Tuesday — The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a proposal to form the Wood Colony Municipal Advisory Council. Residents of the area west of Modesto say such a council would give the rural community a voice and better access to information on land-use proposals. Members of the community have resisted actions to include it in Modesto’s long-range growth plans. Modesto Bee article




San Francisco traffic ranks as 4th worst in world — San Franciscowith most of the rest of the Bay Area, is the fourth-most-congested metropolitan area in the world, and third worst in the United States, according to a new survey. San Francisco Chronicle article


Future self-driving cars will have ‘Intel inside’ — Intel wants to make the brains for self-driving cars. It makes sense. The cars will basically be computers on wheels. The Santa Clara chip giant plans to use its processors’ ability to crunch massive data sets, apply artificial intelligence and rapidly transmit information.  San Francisco Chronicle article


Other areas


Fitz’s Stockton: The death of a Monarch — Last Monday’s Record reported a 3-alarm fire savaged two Oak Street auto businesses. Those business were housed in a 100-year old city landmark. The Monarch Foundry Co. is (was) one of the city’s overlooked “structures of merit.” Nobody paid it any attention — that is, until something inside it exploded. Fitz’s Stockton in Stockton Record