February 7, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

If Trump does try to take away California’s federal dollars, he faces a rough time — Serious legal, political and practical obstacles impede President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds from the state of California or its cities if they declare themselves sanctuaries for immigrants. Not that that will stop the president from trying or, at least, tweeting about it. McClatchy Newspapers article

California Republicans ask Trump administration to block California bullet train funding — California’s House Republicans have asked the Trump administration to block a pending federal grant that will ultimately support the state’s high speed rail project until an audit of the project’s finances is completed. The letter, signed by all 14 members of the state’s GOP delegation, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, was sent to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. It cites cost increases, reductions in the project’s scope and its failure to attract private financing. LA Times article

Dan Walters: Guns, union dues and mining: California issues await full U.S. Supreme Court — Whenever the U.S. Senate confirms Neil Gorsuch – or some other Donald Trump nominee – to the U.S. Supreme Court, it will face a plethora of issues, and those involving California will be among the most controversial. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Delta legislators seek clout – With 2017 poised to be a big year for the Delta, legislators representing portions of the estuary are banding together in a new way. Nine members of the state Senate and Assembly have launched an informal caucus which they say will improve their organization and influence with state agencies seeking to build the $15 billion Delta tunnels, among other projects. Stockton Record article

Fant’s election fraud trial date finally set –– Unsuccessful City Council candidate Sam Fant’s trial date on charges of felony election fraud and conspiracy is set for March 20. The actual trial will begin some months later. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California leaders say state is far from being ‘out of control’ – it’s ahead on economic progress — Responding to President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funding from California, state congressional leaders on Monday touted the state’s economic progress and job growth, saying any blow to California would have repercussions nationwide. LA Times articleAP articleSan Jose Mercury News article

Joel Fox: Kamala for president and other odd political stories — Writing about political horse races are always more interesting than dissecting the details of policy but aren’t we a bit ahead of ourselves with all the stories about potential presidential candidates in 2020? The current president has been in office far less than a month and already journalists are drawing up lists and making conjectures about who might run for president. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Republicans face $30,000 fine from California campaign regulators — California’s political ethics watchdog and a Republican campaign committee controlled by party legislative leaders have agreed to a $30,000 fine to settle allegations of illegal campaign-finance disclosures by GOP candidates during the 2012 and 2014 election cycles. Sacramento Bee article

Republican John Cox exploring campaign for California governor — Republican John Cox, a San Diego County businessman and investor, is exploring a run for governor in 2018, seeding his bid with a $1 million personal contribution. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article


Legal battle over Trump’s travel ban could rest on Supreme Court’s view of limits of presidential power – When before Donald Trump entered the White House, many were predicting federal courts would serve as an important check on his use of presidential power, particularly given his aggressive style and a GOP-led Congress that has so far been loath to confront him. But few expected the first constitutional clash would occur in Trump’s third week on the job. LA Times article

New state AG tells Fresno gathering California opposes Trump immigration ban – California has filed an amicus brief joining 15 other states in support of a lawsuit filed by the state of Washington opposing President Trump’s immigration travel ban, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced during a trip to Fresno. Fresno Bee articleLA Times articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Becerra vows to fight any effort by Trump to hold back money from California over ‘sanctuary cities’ dispute – Reacting to President Trump’s threat to hold back funds from California if it becomes a so-called sanctuary state, Atty. Gen Xavier Becerra said Monday that he is willing to do legal battle over the issue if necessary. LA Times article

In one Facebook post, three misleading statements by President Trump about his immigration order – The president and his aides have repeatedly suggested that the order banning immigration from seven countries was an outgrowth of Obama administration policy. New York Times article

Ex-spies, high-tech firms and Hawaii join challenge to Trump travel ban – Add Hawaii to the roster of states fighting President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order blocking citizens of seven Muslim nations from entering the United States. In a late-night legal flurry, Hawaii joined high-tech companies, national security experts and a host of other interested parties in filing briefs supporting the challenge brought by the states of Minnesota and Washington. McClatchy Newspapers article

How attorneys general became Democrats’ bulwark against Trump — The three Democratic lawyers met over dinner in a cavernous hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., picking at seafood as they discussed how to take on President Trump: Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York; Josh Shapiro, his counterpart in Pennsylvania; and Xavier Becerra, a former congressman who had been sworn in as attorney general of California only a day earlier. New York Times article

Former security heads says Trump’s order on immigrants ‘could do long-term damage’ – Ten former top national security officials swore in a joint declaration filed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday that President Donald J. Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven mostly-Muslim countries endangers U.S. troops, disrupts counterterrorism operations and if allowed to stand would “feed the recruitment narrative” of the Islamic State.” Sacramento Bee article

Trump’s vow to fight in court over travel ban risks future presidents’ power – President Donald Trump has no intention of backing down from his fight against a federal judge who blocked his travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim nations despite warnings that he risks limiting future presidential powers. McClatchy Newspapers article

Kings sheriff: Immigration bill could be harmful – Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson worries that a proposed state law to limit communication between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities could prevent the deportation of criminals. Hanford Sentinel article

California Democrats want answers about alleged coercion at LAX during Trump’s travel ban — Fourteen California congressional Democrats are asking for more information about how Customs and Border Protection implemented President Trump’s travel ban of all refugees, and of visa holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries. LA Times article

Foon Rhee: Why isn’t Trump targeting visas for wealthy? — It’s a good thing the Sacramento Kings are pretty far along on their development around Golden 1 Center because one of the key money sources could be in serious jeopardy. Known as the EB-5 program, it awards green cards to foreign investors who put in at least $1 million and create or preserve at least 10 jobs. Yes, you can buy your way into the line for U.S. citizenship. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

Pot backers fear worst as vote nears on marijuana foe Sessions for attorney general – Marijuana legalization backers fear the worst for their fast-growing industry as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote Wednesday to approve a longtime pot opponent, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, as the nation’s next attorney general.  McClatchy Newspapers article

Sacramento Bee: That’s not anarchy, Rep. McClintock, it’s democracy — Anarchists didn’t disrupt Rep. Tom McClintock’s town hall last weekend. That’s just what constituents look like when you don’t do your job, Congressman. Sacramento Bee editorial

Governors ready wish list of 300 infrastructure projects for Trump administration – The nation’s governors will submit a list of more than 300 infrastructure projects to President Donald Trump’s administration this week, aiming to share billions he’s urging for nationwide construction projects. The requests by governors from at least 44 states are in addition to a preliminary list of 50 infrastructure projects obtained by McClatchy last month. McClatchy Newspapers articleNew York Times article: ‘As Trump vows building splurge, famed traffic choke point offers warning’

With Trump in charge, Republicans target Caltrain – Freshly empowered California Republicans in Congress are pushing the Trump administration to hold off on approving $647 million for the Caltrain system to go electric — something that could kill the redo of a line that carries more than 60,000 riders a day between the South Bay and San Francisco.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Presidential Politics

George Skelton: Should California really brace itself to lose lots of federal money under Trump? – President Trump has been threatening to cut off federal funds to California if it continues to be a “sanctuary” for illegal immigration. But does he know what he’s talking about? Or just blowing smoke? Trump doesn’t seem to be the bluffing type. A bullying sort, yes. Regardless, his bark may be more ferocious than his bite when it comes to federal funding. Skelton column in LA Times

Tech opposition to Trump propelled by employees, not executives – After President Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order restricting immigration, high-tech has gone full-tilt political. Companies are being pushed by their employees, by their customers and sometimes by their ideals. They are trying to go far enough without going too far. New York Times article

Inside Silicon Valley’s fight against Trump – On a rainy Sunday night, when sports fans were still chatting about the Super Bowl, more than 100 tech workers started filtering into a San Francisco office building that would normally be closed at that late hour.  San Jose Mercury News article

After unprecedented opposition, Betsy DeVos is likely to squeak through to become Education secretary – DeVos will probably squeak through the confirmation process on Tuesday with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence and the participation of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), whose own confirmation vote for attorney general was scheduled for just after DeVos’ to ensure his vote would be available. LA Times article

Campaign promises on health law meet harsh reality – The president and his Republican allies have recast their ambitions for a rapid-fire repeal, shifting instead to a focus on a “repair” as many lawmakers face tough questions from constituents. New York Times article

Sacramento Bee: Trump’s out-of-control threats need to stop – President Trump may think he is strong by issuing threats to cut California funding. In reality, he comes off sounding like a bully, an ill-informed one at that. And no matter whom they supported in 2016, all voters should be alarmed at his authoritarian tendencies. Sacramento Bee editorial

Pelosi calls Trump’s plan to dismantle financial regulations a ‘massive con’ and vows to fight it — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed Monday to fight what she called President Trump’s “massive con” to dismantle the Dodd-Frank financial law. LA Times article

Trump, shifting course, vows support for NATO military alliance – Before taking office, Donald Trump repeatedly questioned the role of the NATO military alliance, a bedrock of European stability and transatlantic relations since 1949, calling the security pact “obsolete” as recently as last month. On Monday he dialed back, adopting the far milder critique that President Obama and other presidents have used. LA Times article

California unions playing defense as Trump begins presidency – Labor unions in California helped push successful efforts for increasing the minimum wage, mandatory paid-sick leave and expanding overtime rules for farm workers in the state. But the Trump administration has unions playing defense, even in labor-friendly California. KQED report

Here’s everything Donald Trump has tweeted since he became president – Here’s everything Trump has tweeted since he was sworn in as 45th president of the United States, plus links to more coverage on each topic. LA Times article

‘Forget’ voting data, Trump says – real problem is registration system – When O’Reilly remarked that the president needed data to back up his statements — which both Republican and Democratic voting officials around the country have challenged — Trump responded “forget all that” and announced he was appointing Vice President Mike Pence to lead an inquiry into voter registration. KQED report

On Ronald Reagan Day, California Democrats get in their digs at Donald Trump – Several Democrats rose to speak in favor of the declaration with their minds on a more current national leader, pointedly invoking some of Reagan’s signature accomplishments in a rebuke of President Donald Trump. Sacramento Bee article

Will Trump’s ‘Art of the Deal’ bravado translate to politics? – So far, President Trump has acted much like he did in business, starting his initiatives with forceful opening shots. That’s a classic negotiating tactic, and his latest use of it appears to have come in his threat to cut federal funding to California should it declare itself a sanctuary state. San Francisco Chronicle article

Jack Ohman: Is Trump or California out of control? – The Sacramento Bee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist gives his latest take.  Ohman in Sacramento Bee

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories – Top Stories

Two years after bankruptcy, Stockton among healthiest cities — Less than two years out of bankruptcy, Stockton is one of the most fiscally healthy big cities in the United States, according to a recent report by a researcher writing for the Fiscal Times. Stockton is ranked 18th of 116 cities with populations of 200,000 or more, according to research by Marc Joffe, director of policy research for the California Policy Center. Stockton Record article

Kern supervisors listen to Sheriff’s Office challenges – Undersheriff Brian Wheeler laid out the challenges facing the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Monday. There is the aging fleet of sheriff’s vehicles, 219 of which are older than policy allows. Maintenance costs are escalating.There are the empty deputy and detention deputy jobs.Aging Tasers, increasing costs and the potential for the federal government to shift rural crime-fighting duties on public land to local law enforcement. And there is the need to cut another $5.8 million of the Sheriff’s Office general fund allocation to meet guidelines for development of Kern County’s 2017-18 budget this summer. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Repealing Obamacare would kill millions of jobs nationwide – It may not crash the economy, but repealing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act would certainly create job losses in every state. That’s the consensus of a growing body of studies that suggest the economic fallout from the health law’s partial demise would ripple through the entire economy, not just the health care sector. McClatchy Newspapers article

Did someone say food fight? U.S. farmers – especially those in California – fret over a possibly trade war —  It took Donald Trump 71 days to settle on an Agriculture secretary after winning the presidency. It took him 72 hours after that to unsettle much of the agriculture industry. LA Times article

Hanford council to discuss pot tax, hotel stay tax — Next week, the Hanford City Council will discuss the possibility of establishing a tax on medical marijuana businesses as well as the concept of raising the occupancy tax for motel and hotel stays. Hanford Sentinel article

See which careers in Sacramento and across California will have the most openings by 2024 – About 400,000 jobs will become available in Sacramento and another 6.6 million jobs will become available statewide by 2024, according to new projections from the state Employment Development Department. Sacramento Bee article

Should Sacramento devote a City Hall department to kids programs? – Should Sacramento children have their own City Hall department on par with fire, police and public works? The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday will examine ways to overhaul management of city youth programs, including the possibility of dedicating a department that oversees all kid-centric offerings. Sacramento Bee article

Right-to-work attorney challenging SEIU 1000 dues collection — A right-to-work attorney acknowledged in court on Monday that he’s trying to “change the law” with a lawsuit that challenges the way state government’s largest union collects dues. Precedent does not favor the case brought by a group of state employees who are represented by SEIU Local 1000, but their attorney has taken heart in recent Supreme Court statements that hint at the potential for change. Sacramento Bee article

To close gender gap, let workers control their schedules — A new company places women in jobs that give them schedule flexibility, which economists say can make a big difference. New York Times article


Gray proposes legislation to overhaul state’s water management system — After five years of punishing drought and the state’s plan to allocate more irrigation water for fish, Assemblyman Adam Gray is rolling out newly proposed legislation to restructure the state’s water management to improve communication and simplify the network of power. Merced Sun-Star article

Laura Feinstein: California should protect the most vulnerable people affected by drought – The senior research associate at the Pacific Institute writes, “Climate change models predict that California’s periodic droughts will become more frequent and severe. While recent storms have brought some relief, now is the time to put measures in place to safeguard those most vulnerable to drought from the next dry period.” Feinstein op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Rainfall Monday adds to especially wet season for Bakersfield – In what’s become a surprisingly common occurrence, Bakersfield residents woke up Monday to a steady rainfall as yet another storm passed over the area. Over the past “water year,” defined as beginning Oct. 1 and ending Sept. 30, a total of 5.93 inches of rain has fallen in Bakersfield, according to the National Weather Service. That’s about 2 1/2 inches above the area’s normal rainfall of 3.4 inches for this time of year. Bakersfield Californian article

With dam gone, California river comes back to life — Tommy Williams—a fisheries biologist whose enthusiasm bubbles forth so swiftly, he’s often interrupting himself mid-sentence—is pacing on the banks of the Carmel River.  “Amazing,” he says, snapping pictures of newly formed sandbanks and twigs wedged in between white alder, black cottonwood and willow trunks. KQED report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Former Stanislaus official pleads innocent to fabricating self-death threats — Former Stanislaus County clerk-recorder Karen Mathews Davis pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge of lying to federal agents about death threats she allegedly made against herself.  Modesto Bee article

Gun violence linked to DUIs, study finds – Gun owners who have been convicted of driving under the influence are more than four times as likely to be later arrested for a firearm-related or violent crime, according to a new study. California Health Report article

A new brutality case raises fresh concerns about culture of the LA County jails – Jail experts said the Sheriff’s Department has made significant progress in reducing serious force in the jails but that Grijalva’s case raises ongoing concerns about whether inmates feel safe enough to come forward with complaints about brutality or other jailer misconduct. LA Times article

Vehicle ‘sideshows’ reported in Modesto, Stanislaus County; stunts block Highway 99 traffic – Dangerous vehicle “sideshows” held in various areas of Stanislaus County on Saturday night and coordinated on social media were met with an equally coordinated law-enforcement effort that shut down the illegal activity. Modesto Bee article


Merced students allowed to sue Merced County Office of Education over asbestos exposure, judge says — A judge has cleared the way for dozens of former students to take the Merced County Office of Education to trial over fears that they could get cancer after a job-training program exposed them to asbestos. Merced Sun-Star article

San Francisco reaches deal for free tuition at City College — City College of San Francisco will be free of charge to all city residents under a deal announced Monday by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Jane Kim that college trustees hope will lead to an enrollment jolt and more state funding for the school. Under the agreement, which is expected to take effect in the fall, the city will pay $5.4 million a year to buy out the $46-a-credit fee usually paid by students. San Francisco Chronicle article

And just like that, Bakersfield City School District has a new board member — In the end, there was only one candidate to fill the vacant fifth position on the Bakersfield City School District board. And the four voting trustees looked skeptical. But candidate Russ Shuppert, 43, answered their questions at a special board meeting held Monday night, and one by one, he seemed to win them over. Bakersfield Californian article

Health/Human Services

Despite Obamacare uncertainty, California signs up 412,000 new enrollees – Buoyed by a last-minute influx of new enrollees, Covered California officials said Monday they signed up more than 412,000 new consumers for health care coverage, starting March 1. Sacramento Bee article

Zika virus is here to stay. Here’s how California is preparing for that new reality — Though no one has contracted Zika virus from a mosquito in California, hundreds of residents have been infected in other countries and then returned to the state. All it would take for the disease to start spreading here is for an Aedes mosquito to bite an infected traveler and then another person, experts say. LA Times article

What it’s like to go to the doctor if you’re both undocumented and LGBT in the Valley — Luis Ojeda dreads going to the doctor. He’s undocumented, and health care can be expensive without insurance. Plus he identifies as queer, so he often feels uncomfortable not knowing how doctors in the conservative-leaning central San Joaquin Valley will treat him based on his sexual orientation.  Fresno Bee article

Valley Children’s cancer program receives two major donations — The Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program at Valley Children’s Healthcare has received a $100,000 grant from the Isnardi Foundation and a $40,000 award from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

Fresno ranks 96th on U.S. News and World Report’s Best Places to Live – Fresno has moved up a spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the 100 Best Places to Live. The list, released Tuesday, ranks the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas based on affordability, job prospects and quality of life. Fresno is No. 96, up from 97 last year. Fresno Bee article

Modesto to talk about regulating recreational marijuana – The City Council on Tuesday will talk about what steps Modesto could take now that recreational marijuana is legal in California, get an update on efforts to extend Altamont Corridor Express trains to Modesto, and consider hiring a company to relocate the utilities for the courthouse project. Modesto Bee article

Jeff Jardine: When government lawyers show up, flow of public information slows down — Politicians and government officials love to talk about transparency, open government and the free flow of information. Too often, though, that talk ends the moment a journalist or another citizen files a public records request to obtain information. Officials lawyer up and then claim attorney-client privilege to deny the request which, in turn, denies the public the right to information on matters it ultimately finances as taxpayers. Or officials find other reasons to withhold information. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – President Trump’s assault on high tech is an epic fail for the economy.

Modesto Bee – Anarchists didn’t disrupt Rep. Tom McClintock’s town hall last weekend. That’s just what constituents look like when you don’t do your job, Congressman.

Sacramento Bee –- Anarchists didn’t disrupt Rep. Tom McClintock’s town hall last weekend. That’s just what constituents look like when you don’t do your job, Congressman; President Trump may think he is strong by issuing threats to cut California funding. In reality, he comes off sounding like a bully, an ill-informed one at that. And no matter whom they supported in 2016, all voters should be alarmed at his authoritarian tendencies.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers: Tension and chaos in Berkeley, youth art on display and other issues.