February 9, 2017


Political Stories-Top stories

This California Republican takes a daring stand on overhauling immigration – California Republican Rep. David Valadao of Hanford is pushing for an immigration overhaul, placing himself in the middle of the very issue that’s ripping both parties apart. Through public statements, legislation and now an earnestly worded plea to President Donald Trump, Valadao has positioned himself as one of the few congressional Republicans daring to support a comprehensive package that includes a pathway to legal status for immigrants who are already in this country illegally. McClatchy Newspapers article

Donald Trump threatened to ‘defund’ California.  But the state gives at least as much as it gets — “We give tremendous amounts of money to California,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly that aired prior to the Super Bowl. What the president didn’t say: California gives a lot to the rest of America, too. A closer look at some of the data — from government services in any given year, to taxes paid and beyond — shows how valuable the relationship is between California and the United States. LA Times article

Valley politics

Bakersfield Californian: Dear Kevin: Do us a solid and whisper our concerns into Trump’s ear – since you have it — According to The Post, our very own congressman “has taken a place alongside Vice President Pence and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus … . Now, McCarthy appears to be one of the few on Capitol Hill who has the absolute trust of the one Republican in Washington who matters most.” We are sure Our Kevin would want to help his Central Valley district by whispering our concerns into President Trump’s ear. And The Californian can help. Whisper your concerns (or shout, if you’d like) into our ear and we’ll pass them along to Kevin by way of these pages. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

George Skelton: Trump says California is ‘out of control.’ State lawmakers should make sure they don’t prove him right – Yes, Democratic legislators should exercise self-control over how they spend the taxpayers’ money — and make sure they don’t prove Trump right. Skelton column in LA Times

 Joel Fox: Rendon endorsement of Chiang matters — The relatively early endorsement of California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon for gubernatorial candidate state Treasurer John Chiang is important for a number of reasons. Fox in Fox & Hounds


Livingston begins work on a resolution to become Merced County’s first sanctuary city — The town appears to be on its way to becoming Merced County’s first sanctuary city, a symbolic self-designation meant to ease the minds of undocumented immigrants worried over ongoing changes to immigration policy under the Trump administration. Merced Sun-Star article

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joins amicus brief in second lawsuit challenging Trump’s travel ban – For the second time this week, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Wednesday joined counterparts in 16 other states in filing a friend-of-the-court brief challenging President Trump’s travel ban as unconstitutional, this time intervening in a Virginia case. LA Times article

Biotech executives join call against Trump travel ban – More than 50 California leaders of biotechnology, pharmaceutical and venture capital firms have signed a letter opposing President Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, as uproar over the president’s executive order continues. San Francisco Chronicle article

California lawmakers introduce bills to help refugees — Amid nationwide legal battles over the president’s temporary refugee ban, California lawmakers are taking steps to make their state more welcoming to people fleeing war, persecution or disasters in their home countries.  AP articleSacramento Bee article

Before the wall: Life along the U.S.-Mexico border – Mr. Trump’s executive order to begin the construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico has left many wondering what it will mean for them and the future. New York Times article

Sen. Harris’ first bill seeks legal counsel for refugees – California Sen. Kamala Harris will introduce her first bill in the Senate on Thursday to guarantee legal counsel for refugees and other travelers blocked at U.S. ports of entry, a bill intended to address the chaos that engulfed people trying to enter the country in the face of President Trump’s travel ban. San Francisco Chronicle article

Stockton woman planning event to discuss direction of country — Sombo Chet is an immigrant. She was born in a refugee camp in the Philippines, a month before her parents, who fled the killing of the Khmer Rouge in their native Cambodia, made it to the United States. The president’s current effort to ban immigrants of any faith or national origin is so distressing that Chet is taking action. Stockton Record article

For years she abided by the rules. Now she faces deportation — A woman in Arizona was arrested Wednesday — days after the definition of “criminal alien” was broadened — and was told she would be deported to Mexico, a country she had not seen in 21 years. New York Times article

Other areas

How will California battle climate change? A new proposal revs up debate over cap-and-trade program — California lawmakers are moving to reshape the state’s climate change policies by focusing on social justice issues such as alleviating local pollution and creating job opportunities, laying down a marker in conversations about the future of the cap-and-trade program. LA Times article‘Here’s what you need to know about this year’s debate over California’s cap-and-trade program’ in LA Times

Republicans hope to unseat four of California’s Democratic congressmen in 2018 – The campaign committee for congressional Republicans has named four Democratic congressmen from California as prime targets they plan to defeat in 2018 midterm elections. The National Republican Congressional Committee said its “top offensive targets” in California are: Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego), and Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Springs).  LA Times article

Robin Abcarian: California is, likely, totally out of control – just the way we like it – The #ProudlyOutOfControl movement is in full swing, all over the state — in Sacramento, Silicon Valley, Hollywood and even in unexpected places like Roseville, where a town hall meeting called Saturday by Republican U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock grew heated after hundreds of protesters vocally, but nonviolently, denounced McClintock’s support for Trump’s policies. Abcarian in LA Times

Senate confirms Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general – The Senate confirmed one of its own to be attorney general in President Donald Trump’s administration, approving Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions on Wednesday evening on a largely party-line vote. McClatchy Newspapers articleNew York Times article

California retirement program in Congress’ crosshairs – Congressional Republicans are moving to eliminate Obama administration labor regulations that helped California establish its Secure Choice program, a landmark effort to automatically enroll millions of private-sector workers without retirement plans in a state-run savings account.  Sacramento Bee article

With Obamacare repeal sputtering, Republicans pin hopes on HHS nominee Tom Price – Republicans are failing to move as quickly as promised to unwind the Affordable Care Act, and they’re looking to Rep. Tom Price’s confirmation as their chance to create some breathing space. McClatchy Newspapers article

Jeff Jardine: UC Merced, other attacks ‘underreported’? Nothing a Google search won’t refute – Monday when I saw the UC Merced stabbings incident on the list of 78 terrorist attacks the White House claims were “underreported” or basically ignored by those of us in what President Donald Trump loves to call the “very dishonest press,” I thought to myself, “With so many media right there on campus, how did we somehow downplay one of the nation’s bigger stories that day?” Jardine column in Modesto Bee

GOP’s silencing of Elizabeth Warren only raises her profile as Democratic alternative to Trump — The winner of CNN’s prime-time debate between likely 2020 presidential contenders Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz was clear: Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The Massachusetts Democrat punctured the political noise in a defining way late Tuesday night when Senate Republicans silenced her reading ofCoretta Scott King’s years-ago criticisms of Trump’s attorney general pick, Sen. Jeff Sessions.  LA Times articleNew York Times article

Senate newcomer Harris jumps into fray over silencing of Warren – When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ordered Sen. Elizabeth Warren to “take a seat” and stop talking late Tuesday night, he did more than cause Warren’s argument to be broadcast far beyond the empty chamber she was addressing. He also managed to infuriate Senate newcomer Kamala Harris of California, who jumped to Warren’s defense and made her first big splash on the national stage.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Anti-Milo organizer: Window-smashing Cal protest ‘stunningly successful’ — Organizers of the anti-Milo Yiannopoulos demonstration last week at UC Berkeley that ended in $100,000 worth of window-breaking chaos declared it a “stunningly successful” protest — one they’ll happily repeat if the right-wing provocateur tries to return to campus. San Francisco Chronicle article

Speeders beware: Legislation would allow automation crackdown – Aiming to get drivers to hit the brakes, San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu introduced legislation Wednesday that would allow San Francisco and San Jose to install cameras that detect when someone is speeding and ensure that a ticket is issued. San Francisco Chronicle article

California bill would require tether between plastic bottles and their caps — Raising concerns about the environmental damage caused by stray bottle caps, one California lawmaker is seeking to change how plastic water and soda bottles are made.  Sacramento Bee article

Gerald Haslam: Racism’s endurance among the ignorant – The Oildale native and Bakersfield College alumnus writes, “Mr. Trump’s graciousness toward the Obamas notwithstanding, the unearned sense of white privilege displayed by others is sure evidence of racism’s petulance and pathetic endurance. We still have a long way to go.”  Haslam op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Victor Davis Hanson: California is as Confederate as 1860 South Carolina – California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s. No wonder the state lashes out at the rest of the nation with threatened updated versions of the Old Confederacy’s secession and nullification. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Inga Barks: Dolores Huerta Foundation isn’t shooting straight with us — Finally! Someone is pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. In this case, the empress and the organization named after her. The Dolores Huerta Foundation has been active in Kern County on illegal immigration, union demands and, in the last few years, education. They’ve been given carte blanche at various meetings and in the media. But finally some are speaking up. Even going so far as to declare that the Dolores Huerta Foundation’s talking points are lies. And they are!  Barks column in Bakersfield Californian

Planned Parenthood finds friendly ground in California — The Republican-dominated Congress in Washington, D.C., has threatened to pull federal funding from Planned Parenthood by cutting grants and Medicaid reimbursements to the organization. But the nonprofit is on much friendlier terms with California’s Democratic-controlled state government. KQED report

Presidential Politics

 Trump’s Supreme Court nominee says president’s comments about judge are ‘disheartening’ – In a private meeting with Senator Richard Blumenthal, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch criticized the man who picked him to join the court, calling President Donald Trump’s comments on the judiciary “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” McClatchy Newspapers articleNew York Times articleLA Times article

The furor over Trump’s travel ban shows his gift for catchphrases might have a downside – The legal and political fight over Trump’s travel ban affecting seven Muslim-majority countries has demonstrated the potential downside to his flair for making his ideas stick in the public imagination. Even as his allies insist he is not instituting a “Muslim ban,” Trump’s own attempts to sell the policy as just that may prove its undoing. LA Times article

Trump suggests yanking fed dollars if California’s a ‘sanctuary’ – can he do that? – With President Donald Trump issuing an executive order to defund sanctuary jurisdictions, and San Francisco suing to have the order declared unconstitutional, a number of questions remain—not the least of which is “can the President really defund an entire state?” Here’s what we know, and what we don’t know.  CALmatters article

Sheriffs Mims and Youngblood meet with President Trump – Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims were among the law enforcement officials who met with President Trump Wednesday as part of the Major County Sheriff’s Association conference. Valley Public Radio report

California projects on table for possible Trump infrastructure package — The Brown administration has presented a list of 51 road, water, energy and other projects as candidates for any public works package crafted by the Trump White House and Congress. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Democrats’ path to power in age of Trump is harder than it seems — House Democrats plotting strategy at their annual retreat this week see themselves on the rebound. But they have a long, hard road ahead.  McClatchy Newspapers article

Shawn Hubler: As Trump tests values, the sixth-largest economy strikes back — California’s loyal opposition to the Trump administration isn’t all lawyers and lawmakers. It also includes business people like Bay Area marketer Shannon Coulter, whose #GrabYourWallet movement helped persuade Nordstrom to dump Trump.  Hubler column in Sacramento Bee

Concerned about Trump, scientists are leaning into politics — Like many scientists, Aaron Parsons doesn’t have a history of political engagement. Instead of focusing on earthly concerns, the UC Berkeley radio astronomer spent most of his time scanning the outer reaches of the cosmos, searching for the earliest stars in the universe. But after Donald Trump became the leading Republican candidate for president, Parsons turned his attention closer to home. LA Times article

Californians are keeping their lawmakers’ phones ringing: ‘They really hate Donald Trump’ — Members of Congress have been inundated with phone calls and emails in the scant weeks since President Trump took office, with staff answering two to three times as many calls and emails as normal. Some are organic outpourings of concern from constituents concerned about the new administration. Others are inspired by the progressive groups that have formed as an outlet for angst about what the Republican-led Congress will do with a Republican White House. LA Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories-Top Stories

California extends emergency drought regulations despite heavy rain, snow — The State Water Resources Control Board on Wednesday voted to keep statewide emergency drought controls in effect, even as most of California sees historic amounts of rain and snow. The drought regulations, which have been greatly relaxed in recent months, will run at least another 270 days. Sacramento Bee articleKQED reportLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

 Marijuana in Hanford? City moves cautiously toward massive pot farm — A central San Joaquin Valley town best known for its dairy industry is slowly inching towards accepting an entirely different type of farming – one that could bring millions of dollars and heavy scrutiny from its conservative neighbors. The city of Hanford could soon be home to one of the largest commercial marijuana producers in the state. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Joe Mathews: Grow up, Central Valley – The maturity of Fresno, Bakersfield or Stockton is not just a local question. The Valley persistently lags California as a whole in employment, access to health care and educational attainment. If California is going to make big gains, Valley cities must lead the way. Mathews in Fresno Bee

In fast ruling, judge upholds SEIU Local 1000 dues collection – A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a right-to-work lawsuit that sought to upend the way state government’s largest union collects dues from employees who do not want to fund political activities. Sacramento Bee article

Jennifer Self: The free show might be over at the amphitheater – You can’t put a price on good vibrations, but “Good Vibrations,” as in the Beach Boys variety? They’re $27.50, not including service charges. That was the cost of the cheapest ticket at the iconic group’s Sept. 9 concert at Bright House Networks Amphitheatre. The problem, at least for the city — which owns the venue — the promoter and presumably the Beach Boys themselves was that hundreds of fans paid nothing to soak up the sounds. Self in Bakersfield Californian

Kevin Valine: Modesto starts discussion on regulating marijuana – Modesto’s elected officials want to know more about allowing marijuana businesses in the city and raising money through a sales tax on the drug. Valine in Modesto Bee

Almost half of young adults get rent help from parents – America’s rapidly changing labor market means it’s harder to find economic security at a young age. New York Times article

Judge, citing harm to consumers, blocks $48 billion Aetna-Cigna merger – A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a proposed $48 billion merger of Anthem and Cigna, derailing another effort by top health insurers to reshape the industry by combining. New York Times article

Davis severs ties with Wells Fargo over Dakota pipeline ties, banking practices — The Davis City Council voted late Tuesday to sever ties with Wells Fargo after residents voiced concerns about the company’s involvement in the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline and regulators last year found the bank created unauthorized consumer accounts.  Sacramento Bee article

Visalia’s Wet Seal closes doors — Wet Seal announced it will close its doors after finalizing Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. Gordon Brothers and Hilco Merchant Resources announced the remaining 137 Wet Seal stores and WetSeal.com have begun the closing process with 40- 60 percent off apparel. Visalia Times-Delta article

Shopping for a cause at two Modesto secondhand stores — At first blush, Los Gatos thrift store and Another Day consignments wouldn’t seem to have much in common, other than they both sell previously used merchandise. But they share a goal to benefit something bigger than themselves, with very personal reasons behind their efforts. Modesto Bee article

Elk Grove council votes to repeal ordinance that set stage for Indian casino — Elk Grove City Council members voted Tuesday night to repeal an ordinance from October that allowed the Howard Hughes Corp. to sell 35 acres of land to the Wilton Rancheria Indian tribe for a casino. Sacramento Bee article

 Orange County project that turns shipping containers into homeless housing is dedicated — About 300 people turned out Wednesday for the dedication of Potter’s Lane, an Orange County apartment building constructed with recycled shipping containers that will house homeless veterans. LA Times article


Water-rich Oakdale Irrigation District debates method for selling surplus – Selling extra river water clearly will continue as an important income source for the Oakdale Irrigation District. How it’s sold, however, remains a subject for debate. Modesto Bee article

Crater in Oroville Dam spillway will continue to grow, officials warn, as reservoir levels rise – State engineers gingerly began releasing water again through the damaged Oroville Dam spillway Wednesday in a controlled test to see how much water the scarred facility could handle, as reservoir levels continued to climb behind the critical flood-control structure. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Michael Kiparsky and Roger Bales: Advanced data would improve how California manages water – Kiparesky, director of the Wheeler Water Institute at UC Berkeley, and Bales, distinguished professor of engineering at UC Merced, write, “Few people realize how outdated our systems for water information are. Because of data limitations, real-time, transparent decisions about drought management, flood response and groundwater protection have eluded the state for the past century. Without basic numbers on where, when and how much water is available and being used, we can’t improve how we manage our most precious water and natural resources.” Kiparsky/Bales op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Waterwise: Water seminar at World Ag Expo — The Women in Agriculture for Mentoring and Empowerment will waste no time in highlighting a current issue during its seminar series at the World Ag Expo. The Central Valley-based organization will lead off the series with “Let’s Talk Water,” featuring speakers Kay Mercer, an independent water consultant from the Central Coast, and Josh Weimer, who’s with the Turlock Irrigation District. Visalia Times-Delta article

Madera County works to shore up earthen dam near Oakhurst endangered by heavy rain — An earthen dam along Lewis Creek that had been at risk of failing was being shored up Wednesday by Madera County’s public works employees before what could be a second powerful storm this week. Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Protest disrupts Stockton council meeting – Protesters and relatives of several individuals who lost their lives at the hands of law-enforcement officers packed the City Council chambers and made their voices heard Tuesday night during what otherwise would have been a relatively sleepy meeting. At one point toward the end of the 90-minute session, Mayor Michael Tubbs called for security to clear several protesters from chambers when they refused to stop chanting during a presentation on city finances. Stockton Record article

Livingston police add 3, back at full staffing, chief says – Livingston added three new officers this week, rounding out the police department out 20 officers, according to Chief Ruben Chavez.  Merced Sun-Star article

LA City Council approves $1.5-million settlement in police killing of Ezell Ford — The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Ezell Ford, whose 2014 killing by LAPD officers became a local touchstone in the national outcry over police shootings.  LA Times article

Authorities investigating possible homicide at Wasco State Prison — Wasco State Prison officials are investigating the death of an inmate Tuesday as a possible homicide. Around 3 p.m., Jason Morris, 43, was found unresponsive in his cell, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. An ambulance was called, but Morris was pronounced dead at 3:25 p.m. Bakersfield Californian article

Merced contractor, ex-Los Banos school board member plead not guilty in public corruption probe — A Merced contractor and former Los Banos school board member pleaded not guilty Wednesday to public corruption charges, nearly six months after they were arrested on bribery allegations.  Merced Sun-Star article

Modesto police roll out security checks for those on vacation — The Modesto Police Department has formalized a service in which trained Volunteers in Police Service, or VIPS, will check on homes of residents who report they’re going away on vacation. Modesto Bee article


Immigration advocates ask Fresno Unified to make schools safe havens – Parents and student advocates asked the Fresno Unified School District trustees Wednesday night to make schools “safe havens” for students and their parents. Fresno Bee article

San Jose schools want to protect undocumented families – but can they? – After being blasted by parents for a vague and confusing statement purporting to protect undocumented students, the San Jose Unified school board on Thursday will take up a new resolution intended to shore up student security from immigration agents. San Jose Mercury News article

Protestors ask Clovis Unified to reconsider ban of student play – A small group gathered at the Clovis Unified School Board meeting Wednesday night in protest of the cancellation of a high school production of the play “No Exit.”  Fresno Bee article

Bullied Modesto teen thrown to the ground.  A dozen others watched. Some caught the incident on video – In a Modesto video posted to social media, a boy is surrounded by a dozen or so larger teens, some threatening and jeering, others with cell phones up following the action. At one point he is thrown from the sidewalk into the street. The video, picturing students from Beyer High and Elliott Alternative High School, went viral on social media. It had been shared more than 24,000 times on Facebook by Wednesday evening. It was also posted and drawing comments on Twitter. Modesto Bee article

Fresno Unified Oks six student health centers – but staffing a concern – Fresno Unified trustees approved a partnership Wednesday night with two health-care institutions for six new school-based health centers. And more could be on the horizon, but finding school nurses for the sites could be a challenge. Fresno Bee article

The DeVos pushback: State educators gearing up for a long fight – Many California education leaders say they plan to resist any effort to cut public school funding under the Trump administration. KQED report

Worsening teacher shortage puts more unprepared teachers in classrooms, report says –  The number of underprepared teachers working in California’s public school classrooms has more than doubled in just three years, a key indicator that the teacher shortage continues to worsen, according to a new report from the Learning Policy InstituteEdSource article

State urged to shift $1 billion from county education offices to school districts — The independent, nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office is recommending that the state shift nearly all of  $1 billion in unrestricted funding that currently goes to county offices of education to school districts instead. That would allow districts to choose how to provide many services they now get from county offices, whose operations could be scaled way back as a result. EdSource article

Loss of federal program could more than triple AP exam fee for some students — Some low-income students in California could face a steep fee increase for Advanced Placement exams this spring following the elimination of a federal subsidy. EdSource article

Real packing line opens as learning tool for Fresno State ag students — Students at Fresno State are busy processing citrus using a new $600,000 packing line formally dedicated Wednesday. Fowler-based Bee Sweet Citrus, along with the help of several other Central Valley businesses, gifted the university with the packing line, which is painted in Fresno State red and blue. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta articleThe Business Journal article

‘Dilbert’ creator Scott Adams ends UC Berkeley support over Milo Yiannopoulos protests — Scott Adams, the East Bay-based creator of the syndicated comic strip “Dilbert,” isn’t happy with his alma mater UC Berkeley following last week’s violent campus protests in response to a scheduled appearance by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. East Bay Times article

St. Mary’s names new president — Jim Brusa, the athletic director and facilities manager at St. Mary’s High School for 20 years, is the school’s new president. He replaces 64-year-old Peter Morelli, who is retiring at the end of this school year. Stockton Record article


Winter’s been a wrecking ball to Modesto trees, city official reports – Rain and wind have taken a big toll on trees in Modesto this winter, and Mother Nature isn’t done “wreaking havoc,” Mike Hoesch, the city’s forestry superintendent, said Wednesday. Modesto Bee article

As feds roll back methane rule, California pushes ahead with its own — As Congress moves towards scrapping a federal rule regulating methane, California is plowing forward with the nation’s strictest rules designed to curb the emissions of the potent greenhouse gas from oil and gas sites – the latest example of the state going it alone on climate change. KPCC report


Fresno Yosemite International reports record traffic for ’16 — Fresno Yosemite International Airport officials have announced another record year with more than 1.54 million departing and arriving passengers in 2016. The milestone year represents a 10-percent increase in travelers served in 2016 compared to 2015 and outperforms the previous 2014 record by nearly 100,000 passengers. The Business Journal article

Otto’s robot trucks face questions about legality in California — Do Otto’s trucks drive themselves or not? Otto, started by some veterans of Google’s self-driving car project, makes a kit to retrofit commercial tractor-trailers for autonomy. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Other areas

Joe Williams, Fresno’s first African-American councilman, dies – Joe Williams, the former head of the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission and the first African-American elected to the Fresno City Council, died Wednesday morning, Councilman Oliver Baines said. Williams was 79. Fresno Bee article

Kings SPCA cuts adoption fees – Darlene Laboc knows the reputation of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: If you want to adopt an animal from the SPCA folks, be prepared to pay a significant amount of money, and be ready to prove that you can give your new pet a long, happy life at home. Sometimes, the fees and the careful screening can scare off would-be adopters. So Laboc, the manager of the Kings SPCA shelter in Lemoore, decided to try a new twist. Hanford Sentinel article

 Lemoore ‘still on the hook’ in defamation lawsuit – The city of Lemoore could still be liable for damages in a 2014 defamation lawsuit against former Councilman William Siegel. Hanford Sentinel article

 Manteca fills top police, fire positions – Acting Manteca City Manager Greg Showerman announced Wednesday the appointments of two public safety officials who have risen through the ranks in their departments to attain key leadership positions. Showerman named Jodie Estarziau the city’s new chief of police and announced that Kyle Shipherd had been appointed as the city’s new fire chief. Stockton Record article

 Union Pacific not negligent in fatal crash that killed 4 near Fresno, jury finds – A Fresno County jury said Wednesday that Union Pacific did nothing wrong in the deaths of four people in a car that ran a stop sign before it was hit by a freight train south of Fresno nearly four years ago. Fresno Bee article

 Modesto makes another list, this time ranking No. 99 out of 100 – Modesto has made yet another list, ranking 99th out of 100 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Places to Live” rankings. Modesto Bee article

 Oakland police responded to earlier party at Ghost Ship, but took no action before deadly fire – In the two years leading up to the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland that killed 36 people, police were repeatedly called to the unpermitted live-work warehouse for reports of theft, fighting, threats and guns, as well as a “rave” party that ended with a frightened person saying people were barricaded inside in the middle of the night, newly released city records show. San Francisco Chronicle articleSan Jose Mercury News articleNew York Times article

 Oakland fire department: Did administration fake inspection reports? — As the Oakland Fire Department is coming under even more scrutiny in the wake of the deadly Ghost Ship fire, for the first time a firefighter is blowing the whistle and asking: Why was that property marked as compliant, and who created apparently faked documents involving inspections near that Elverton fire? East Bay Times article

 Valley Editorial Roundup

 Bakersfield Californian  Dear Kevin: Do us a solid and whisper our concerns into Trump’s ear – since you have it.

Fresno Bee – Punching down at the Golden State might play well with Trump’s voters. But he comes off as authoritarian and ill-informed. The U.S. Treasury is not Trump’s personal bank account. Nor is California some errant child whose allowance can be cut off by whoever is sitting in Dad’s chair.

Sacramento Bee –-Why Trump’s conflicts are a scandal waiting to happen; With Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats unable to stop his confirmation, Jeff Sessions will take his position at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building. We soon will see how he enforces civil rights, voting rights and equal rights. We don’t hold out much hope.