January 14, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

SEIU targets Valadao, Denham in online immigration ad campaign — The Service Employees International Union on Tuesday started running digital ads on the immigration issue that target a dozen Republican members of Congress, including Reps. David Valadao of Hanford and Jeff Denham of Turlock.  Fresno Bee article

Legislative analysts have praise, warning for California budget — Legislative analysts were largely complimentary of the governor’s budget proposal, saying his priorities are “generally prudent ones.” Brown’s hesitancy to increase funding for some government programs “could help avoid a return to the boom and bust budgeting of the past,” the report said. The analysts cautioned that California’s revenue, which is highly dependent on swings in the stock market, may not continue growing at such a fast clip in coming years.  LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article; AP article

State budget

Dan Walters: Budget OK now, but how long? – Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature will squabble a bit, mostly over whether to spend or save revenue in excess of current commitments. But Brown, who prefers the latter, will have the last word. The longer-term picture – the final two years of Brown’s governorship – is much cloudier.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Local officials upbeat about Brown’s budget — If there’s one thing Kings County officials like to pride themselves on, it’s being fiscally prudent. The county is well-known for a “steady as you go” budget approach that conservatively estimates how much revenue is going to be available on an ongoing basis. By that standard, Deputy County Administrative Officer Deb West found much to like in the record $113 billion state budget proposal released Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.  Hanford Sentinel article

Valley politics

Divided Fresno County GOP battles over local party’s role — The Republican Party is not a monolithic organization in which all members think alike. And so it goes with the leadership of Fresno County’s Republican Party. On Monday night, there was a transfer of power that could possibly be called democracy in action, or maybe a hostile takeover. Whatever the case, the turnover was wholesale, and there’s plenty of bitter feelings.  Fresno Bee article

Modesto Bee: Valley caucus has its work cut out for it — Last year, our representatives in Sacramento provided a model for how all legislators should conduct the people’s business. Instead of partisan carping, incessant bickering or vengeful backbiting, the so-called “Valley caucus” got along and – most importantly – got things done. Modesto Bee editorial

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Kamala Harris joins race to succeed California Sen. Boxer – Attorney General Kamala Harris formally entered the U.S. Senate contest on Tuesday to replace Democrat Barbara Boxer, casting her candidacy as a battle for the next generation of Californians.  Capitol Alert; LA Times article; John Myers in KQED; AP article; New York Times article;San Francisco Chronicle article; Dan Walters Daily in Sacramento Bee

Tom Steyer details goals for possible Senate run — In the first comments on a possible Senate candidacy, billionaire climate change activist Tom Steyer said Tuesday that Washington needs a jolt, but he gave himself more time to consider his own candidacy. Steyer, a prolific campaign donor and former hedge fund manager, is weighing a run for the seat coming vacant when U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer steps down in 2016.  Capitol Alert

Rep. Loretta Sanchez considering run for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat — Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) said Tuesday that she was seriously considering a bid for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer.  LA Times article

George Hostetter: Fresno’s mayor and LA County: What a fight! – “We knew we had problems when the returns from Los Angeles County started coming in.” That’s what Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin told me several days ago when we chatted by phone about her race for the state controller’s office. Turns out LA County voter returns are still catching the eyes of political gurus throughout the state.  Hostetter in Fresno Bee

Joel Fox: Head scratchers in state political scene — Suspicious or odd reasoning is behind some political moves that came out of three news items over the last week.The first deals with the cap-and-trade bill and its influence on consumer gas prices. The second involves a minimum wage study in the City of Los Angeles. The third, a demand from a consumer group for a state senator to reveal his legal clients.  Fox in Fox & Hounds

Women preparing to run in 2016 — California Attorney General Kamala Harris says she plans to run for the US Senate in 2016. And she won’t be the only woman preparing a run for a higher office. Women around the state are thinking about it.  Capital Public Radio report

Sacramento Bee: Harris’ tough job is about to get much harder – Attorney General Kamala Harris has every right to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Boxer. She might make a fine senator. There is nothing wrong with ambition. But even as she runs, she must not lose sight of the job she has.  Sacramento Bee editorial


California DMV will check immigrants’ prior licenses – Immigrants in the country illegally who fraudulently obtained a California driver’s license before it was legal won’t get a new card until state authorities review their driving record.  AP article

Lawmakers reach out to Asian immigrants on new driver’s licenses Lawmakers and advocates said Tuesday that they are reaching out to the often overlooked Asian and Pacific Islander community about the licenses to ensure all immigrant groups are aware of the new law. More than 400,000 Asian and Pacific Islanders living in California are undocumented, and many live in the Bay Area, advocates say.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Gov. Brown calls for special election for three state vacant Senate seats — Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday called special elections for March 17 to fill three state Senate seats vacated because the members were elected to Congress in November. A runoff is scheduled for May 19 for seats in which no candidate wins a majority vote.  LA Times article

FBI asked about de León energy-efficiency bill – The FBI has made an inquiry into legislation carried in recent years by California Senate leader Kevin de León, sources have told The Sacramento Bee. Agents had questions about a bill de León wrote that would have expanded ways for consumers to repay money they borrow to make energy-efficiency upgrades through their monthly utility bills, the sources said.  Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

Lois Henry: Another study points to Judicial Council wrongs — The Legislature needs to get off its duff and take back spending authority from the Judicial Council. Those guys might be really smart about legal stuff but, frankly, they don’t know the pointy end of a pencil when it comes to keeping tabs on the public’s money.  Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Jodi Remke reappointed to head FPPC — Gov. Jerry Brown has reappointed Jodi Remke chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, his office said Tuesday. The appointment comes after Brown last year picked Remke to finish the term of Ann Ravel, who left the panel for the Federal Election Commission in late 2013. Capitol Alert

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File
News Briefs

Top Stories

High-speed rail board awards $1.4 billion contract for construction south of Fresno — The California High-Speed Rail Authority board has awarded a contract of about $1.37 billion for the design and construction of a 65-mile stretch of its rail line south of Fresno.  Fresno Bee article; AP article

Ruling on Stockton bankruptcy appeal expected in one week – Factoring in delays, continuances, holidays and recesses, Stockton’s bankruptcy trial has stretched on for more than eight months. Now, the city will have to wait at least another week before taking its next step toward fiscal solvency.  Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy

175 jobs open at solar panel company in Modesto and Stockton – SolarCity, a residential solar energy provider, will hold hiring fairs in Modesto and Stockton this month to find 175 full-time sales representatives and solar panel installers. The company opened a warehouse last month in southwest Modesto.  Modesto Bee article

CalPERS says its financial health has improved — CalPERS said Tuesday its financial health improved significantly in the latest fiscal year, thanks to a strong investment gains. In its annual financial report, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System said it was 77 percent funded at the end of the fiscal year June 30. That represents a 7 percentage point increase from a year earlier.  Capitol Alert; LA Times article

Fresno County supervisors flip vote, say yes to assessor’s office grant – The Fresno County Board of Supervisors, with two new supervisors in place, countermanded a vote from last year and agreed to start doling out a $2.06 million state grant that will allow the county assessor’s department to hire 11 new workers.  Fresno Bee article

Atwater council request detailed prices for firetruck equipment – A request from fire officials for $80,000 of equipment to operate the city’s new firetruck was highly scrutinized during a City Council meeting this week, with the council ultimately deciding they need exact prices on each item.  Merced Sun-Star article

Sacramento approves raises for city firefighters – The Sacramento City Council unanimously approved a new four-year contract for city firefighters Tuesday night that will grant raises to front-line firefighters, but contribute to city deficits in the future. Firefighters will receive cumulative raises of 12 percent between now and December 2016. Sacramento Bee article

Tulare County is ‘moving forward’ – Over the coming year, the Tulare County officials will work on planning and designing two jails, opening two libraries in rural communities and hiring more sheriff’s deputies. Those are just some of the short-terrn goals for the county Board of Supervisors and their staff, newly-appointed Board Chairman Steve Worthley said during his State of the County address Tuesday morning.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Walmart to hire nearly 100 for Fresno store – Walmart is hiring up to 95 workers to work at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in central Fresno that will open this spring. Walmart said it is hiring for a neighborhood market is under construction at the former Cedar Lanes Bowling Center at Cedar and Shields avenues.  Fresno Bee article

Good news for Valley drivers: Gas prices still dropping – Gas prices continue to fall dramatically in the Valley, with prices averaging $2.57 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline in Fresno and the South Valley. Over the last month, the average price in Fresno fell 35 cents, and it fell 27 cents in the Visalia-Tulare-Porterville area, according to AAA of Northern CaliforniaFresno Bee article

Fresno Food Expo ready to roll out this summer – Elected officials, agriculture companies and business leaders gathered Tuesday to promote the 2015 Fresno Food Expo — a regional showcase of the central San Joaquin Valley’s premier food and beverage makers.  Fresno Bee article

California state audit blasts parental fee program for disabled child care — The state is “woefully inefficient and inconsistent” in its oversight of parental fees for 24-hour, out-of-home care for disabled children in California, leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars unbilled and charging different amounts for some parents with similar discretionary incomes, the state auditor said Tuesday.  Capitol Alert

Study find local taxes hit lower wage earners harder – When it comes to the taxes closest to home, the less you earn, the harder you’re hit. That is the conclusion of an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy that evaluates the local tax burden in every state, from Washington, labeled the most regressive, to Delaware, ranked as the fairest of them all.  New York Times article

Assembly member Perea introduces bill to extend tax relief on mortgage debt — Assembly Member Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno, has introduced another bill that would extend state tax relief on mortgage debt for one more year. Assembly Bill 99 continues the Mortgage Forgiveness Relief Act sparing California homeowners from paying taxes on their mortgage debt after a short sale or principal loan modification. The forgiven debt is considered taxable income.  Fresno Bee article

Stockton council Oks Thunder’s lease transfer – Hockey fans in Stockton may know within a few weeks whether the Thunder will transfer out of the ECHL and into the sport’s highest level of minor-league competition. The City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved the transfer of the Thunder’s lease at Stockton Arena to the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League.  Stockton Record article

Stockton Record: Hey, potential senators! – The Central Valley exists, so make our needs a priority.  Stockton Record editorial

Data Tracker: See the region’s highest-paid nonprofit CEOs — The vast majority of nonprofit CEOs in Sacramento don’t earn much money and are, to say the least, not rich. But about three dozen earn more than $250,000 annually.  Sacramento Bee article

Port of Oakland reached all-time high in cargo volume in 2014 – The Port of Oakland has reached an all-time high in cargo volume thanks to a stronger U.S. demand for Asian goods and because busy ports in Southern California have diverted some of their cargo north to Oakland.  AP article

Consumers can seek claims against Bakersfield grower tied to tainted caramel apples – Bidart Bros., the Bakersfield apple producer tied to listeria-tainted caramel apples that sickened dozens of people in the U.S. and Canada — including seven who died — has launched a website for consumers to report claims against the company. Seattle Times article in Fresno Bee

Apple, Google reach new deal to end U.S. lawsuit over poaching — Four Silicon Valley companies including Apple Incand Google Inc have agreed to a new settlement that would resolve an antitrust class action lawsuit by tech workers, who accused the firms of conspiring to avoid poaching each other’s employees.  Reuters article

Daniel Zingale: Take sugary drinks out of food assistance – The senior vice president of the California Endowment writes, “Add this to the New Year’s barrel of political myths: Limiting access to sugary drinks for families receiving public assistance is an attack on poor people.”  Zingale op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Mark Grossi: Westlands leader says drainage negotiations were no secret — Westlands General Manager Tom Birmingham told me the negotiations indeed were confidential and completely private. But the existence of the talks was no secret, he said. Westlands has regularly briefed the federal court about the talks, Birmingham said, adding that environmental groups and others last year were told of the six-page “principles of agreement” from the negotiations.  Grossi in Fresno Bee

Turlock Irrigation District approves large water rate hike — A vote Tuesday more than doubled water rates for farmers in the Turlock Irrigation District. Its board voted 5-0 for the increase, which still will leave TID among the cheapest sources of water in California.  Modesto Bee article

Modesto Irrigation District water rate structure in flux – A radical change in how farmers’ irrigation prices are structured was put in motion Tuesday by Modesto Irrigation District leaders, who will make a final decision in a few weeks.  Modesto Bee article

Stanislaus County approves deal to supply water to Monterey Park tract — Stanislaus County leaders approved a water service agreement with Ceres on Tuesday, clearing the way for the city to supply water to residents of Monterey Park tract.  Modesto Bee article

Fire causes $1 million in damage at Woodlake citrus packing operation — A fire caused an estimated $1 million in damage at a citrus packing operation in west Woodlake late Tuesday night. The Tulare County Fire Department reported that orange bins and outbuildings were burning at the Visalia Citrus Packing Group at 19743 Avenue 344. The department said two storage buildings, 2,000 pallets and 1 million a large number of orange bins were burned.  Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Hanford police captain promoted to police chief — Capt. Parker Sever has been named police chief of Hanford starting Monday, the city announced Tuesday. Sever, 43, has served as interim police chief since the retirement of former police chief Carlos Mestas in September.  Fresno Bee article; Hanford Sentinel article

Fresno County Sheriff Mims talks 2014, looks to 2015 – In this interview with Valley Public Radio, Margaret Mims talks about the challenges of rebuilding the department for the future, the state of the county’s jail population after years of early releases,  and about criticism involving the consolidation of the responsibilities of coroner under the office of the sheriff.  Fresno Bee article

Prosecutor calls for independent review of attorney accused of sex with client — A prosecutor on Tuesday told a judge there’s a potential conflict of interest involving a defense attorney accused of engaging in a sexual act with her client inside the Stanislaus County Jail.  Modesto Bee article

Eleven inmates in gang fight at Madera County jail — Eleven inmates were involved in a gang-related fight at the Madera County Department of Corrections Monday night, breaking some security glass and a door, the department said Tuesday afternoon.  Fresno Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Mayor Johnson is wise to partner with police union on reforms — If Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson can help make Sacramento a national leader for community policing, that will do as much – if not more – to ensure our city is safe and vibrant as anything else the mayor has accomplished.  Sacramento Bee editorial

News analysis: In a safer age, U.S. rethinks its ‘tough on crime’ system — Democrats and Republicans alike are rethinking the vast, costly infrastructure of crime control and incarceration that was born of the earlier crime wave.  New York Times article


UC Merced cuts list for development team down to three – UC Merced announced Tuesday it has further whittled down its list for a development team that will help design the next phase of growth as the university attempts to reach 10,000 students by 2020.  Merced Sun-Star article

Should community college be free?  COS and Reedley College presidents chime in –  Reedley College President Sandra Caldwell, part of the State Center Community College District and Stan Carrizosa of the College of the Sequoias in Visalia join us to talk about their thoughts on the issue. Do local colleges have the capacity to accommodate an influx of new students, and will such a proposal improve graduation rates or actually hurt them?  KVPR report

State education leader Michael Kirst expects initial test score decline under Common Core – Though California has embraced new Common Core State Standards so far, parents and educators may feel differently once students produce lower test scores later this year, said Michael Kirst, president of the state Board of Education. Sacramento Bee article

The nuts and bolts of Obama’s community college plan – On Thursday, in a brief Facebook video, Obama did just that, saying he wanted to see “the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it.” He offered few details. The pace of questions — both wonky and practical — picked up, and Obama officials began filling in the blanks. Somewhat.  LA Times article

UC Merced Connect: Sociologist explores inequalities, higher ed — UC Merced sociologist Laura Hamilton has gained national attention since the 2013 release of the book she cowrote, “Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality.” The book, which illustrates the ways in which large state universities perpetuate inequality and inhibit social mobility by catering to privileged students, has contributed much to the larger discussion of the value of higher education.  UC Merced Connect in Merced Sun-Star

Family of Bryan Oliver files $5.5 million claim against Taft Union High School District — The family of school shooter Bryan Oliver has filed a claim against the Taft Union High School District seeking $5.5 million on the basis of what its attorney said is the district’s “indifference in dealing with the protection of children.” Attorney Thomas Anton said the high school and district didn’t follow its own rules and regulations and state laws regarding bullying and sexual harassment.  Bakersfield Californian article

Study: West Hills College see greatest growth — West Hills Community College District (WHCCD) reported the highest enrollment increases of any community college in the Central Valley, according to a study published by Community College Week. The Business Journal article

Teacher survey: Change tenure, layoff laws — Gov. Jerry Brown said last week he’s open to changing tenure and other teacher employment laws at issue in the Vergara v. State of California lawsuit, and most teachers in a new survey say they want to change them, too.  EdSource article

Stockton Unified board honors work, dedication of Henry — Kicked off by a heartfelt Pledge of Alliegiance led by longtime civil rights activist Bobby Bivens, a spillover crowd honored Wilhelmina Henry on Tuesday night for her historic part in breaking the color barrier when she was hired in 1947 as Stockton’s first black teacher.  Stockton Record article


Kings County sees several poor air quality days – A combination of fog and trapped soot, dust and smoke has resulted in several unhealthy air quality days in the Valley. Since the beginning of 2015, Kings County has already seen six days of dangerous levels of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, according to San Joaquin Valley Air District Spokesperson Janelle Schneider. Hanford Sentinel article

PG&E offers tree planting as paperless billing incentive — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is offering to help plant a tree in the Los Padres National Forest for every one of its customers who switches to paperless billing through Feb. 26. PG&E’s partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation aims to reforest up to 15 percent of the 19,000 acres burned in recent forest fires in Los Padres.  Bakersfield Californian article

Obama administration plan will aim to slash methane emissions – The Obama administration on Wednesday will announce an aggressive new plan to combat global warming by targeting the methane emissions released through oil and gas production, according to a summary of the initiative obtained by the Los Angeles Times.  LA Times article

LA Basin methane emissions found up to 61 percent higher than estimates – A new study that used a mountaintop sensor to measure air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin found emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, are up to 61% higher than government estimates.  LA Times article

New wild wolf sighted north of California border — Another adult gray wolf is roaming territory in Oregon near the California border, joining the famous wolf known as OR7, which has established a pack in the area.  Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services

New Obamacare enrollments in California top 217,000 — California’s health insurance exchange said 217,146 people have newly signed up for Obamacare coverage after nearly two months of open enrollment.  LA Times article

California urging health sign-ups to minimize tax penalties — The state exchange is ramping up advertising and marketing efforts in the final month of open enrollment for health insurance to minimize the number of Californians who will face tax penalties for remaining uninsured.  AP article

Major grant to fund homeless services project — Thanks to a new $1.2 million federal grant, Clinica Sierra Vista next month will begin offering an intense program of substance abuse and mental health services for the homeless.  Bakersfield Californian article

New financial chief hired for Kern Medical Center — Kern County supervisors picked a permanent chief financial officer for Kern Medical Center Tuesday, adding another name to a list of people who’ve held the critical job in recent months. Andrew Cantu, currently CFO at Mercy Hospitals, will take the CFO job at KMC Feb. 9.  Bakersfield Californian article

LA County adds safeguards in child welfare system — In what is believed to be the nation’s first program, the board voted unanimously to pair public health nurses with social workers to investigate every allegation of abuse involving children younger than 2, an age group identified as being the most at risk of fatalities from mistreatment.  LA Times article

Ian Adams: Politics, regulation ruining state’s insurance market – The director of the Sacramento office of the R Street Institute writes, “Much has been made of the so-called California comeback, and it’s certainly true that the state’s economy is beginning to show signs of life. But in some ways, California’s insurance market is further from excellence than it has ever been.”  Adams op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Land Use/Housing

San Francisco bill seeks to ensure a third of new housing is affordable — San Francisco will monitor how much new housing development will be market rate and how much is in reach of low-income residents — and aim to make one-third of new construction affordable — under legislation introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim Tuesday.  San Francisco Chronicle article


Rail authority to buy 5,000 acres for mitigation – The California High Speed Rail Authority plans to buy around 5,000 acres in the Central Valley as partial mitigation for ecologically sensitive habitat it will be buying in Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties. Expected to cost $54 million, the mitigation covers the loss and modification of biological habitat caused by construction and operation of the proposed bullet train project.  The Business Journal article

High-speed rail: Comparing California’s future bullet train to Taiwan’s – Now that dust has settled from last week’s symbolic groundbreaking for high speed rail in Downtown Fresno – a groundbreaking that didn’t actually include any ground being broken – people across the nation are taking a fresh look at the bullet train. KVPR report

SeaPort Airlines announces Visalia schedule – SeaPort Airlines will begin offering air service at Visalia Municipal Airport next month, and the Portland-based company is kicking things off by offering discounted, $39 fare to and from Sacramento and Burbank.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Sacramento transit leaders agree light-rail service needs improvement — In what’s being described as an unprecedented move, Sacramento Regional Transit officials agreed this week to collaborate with a group of major downtown business owners on a speeded-up effort to improve the transit system before a sports and entertainment arena opens downtown.  Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento council advances streetcar system plan – A proposed streetcar system linking West Sacramento with Sacramento’s central city took two important steps forward Tuesday night.  Sacramento Bee article

Effects of state’s ‘parking cash-out’ program is unclear —  To reduce air pollution and traffic congestion, California legislators passed an innovative law in 1992 to encourage solo commuters to get out of their cars and bike, carpool or take public transit to work. But 23 years after the law was enacted, it is unclear how effective the so-called “parking cash-out” program has been.  LA Times article

Other Areas 

San Joaquin County supervisors will revisit decision on who will lead board – The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors will come back later this month and reconsider who will be its chairperson, which would revisit an unexpected move last week to forgo the traditional rotation and install a newly-elected supervisor into the leadership position.  Stockton Record article

Modesto paid $500,000 for trips and falls, fallen trees, other mishaps in 2014 – Modesto paid more than $530,000 last year to settle lawsuits and claims filed against it by people who were injured after tripping and falling on uneven sidewalks, whose cars were smashed by falling tree limbs and for other injuries and damage they attributed to the city and its workers.  Modesto Bee article

Is pot as bad as LSD? Heroin? Judge to rule on 1970 law –  In a rare examination of federal marijuana law, a U.S. judge in Northern California has decided to rule on the constitutionality of a 1970 act that classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug akin to LSD and heroin.  LA Times article

Fog delays northern San Joaquin Valley emergency responders, too – A Turlock man suffered major injuries in a fog-related accident Tuesday morning. And the same thick fog that makes the roads more dangerous also delays or prevents emergency responders from getting to accident scenes.  Modesto Bee article

Merced County planning commissioner pick raises concern over lack of diversity – A new appointment to the Merced County Planning Commission on Tuesday raised an old concern: lack of diversity on one of the county’s most important commissions.  Merced Sun-Star article

Michael Fitzgerald: We don’t have to settle for crummy – Stockton’s new Neighborhood Blitz Team identified Gateway Court and surroundings as the most blighted and crime-ridden place in the city. I toured this Xanadu.  Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Restoration project in the works for damaged war memorial in Merced — Restoring the damaged war memorial at Courthouse Park in Merced will take likely take more time and patience than money, county officials acknowledged Tuesday.  Merced Sun-Star article

Modesto shuts down email after malware attack — About a dozen city workers got a lesson in cybersecurity Tuesday after they opened a malicious email, causing Modesto to take down its email system for a few hours as it resolved the threat.  Modesto Bee article

Five killed in ‘violent’ crash on Highway 4 – Five of six men traveling in a van on their way to work died Tuesday morning following a two-vehicle crash on foggy Highway 4 between Stockton and this small farming community. The victims were all farm laborers.  Stockton Record article

Cat Haven agrees to improve safety measures after intern lion mauling death — Following a lengthy legal battle, an eastern Fresno County big-cat sanctuary will be required to implement tougher safety protocols first ordered by the state in 2013 after an intern was fatally mauled by a lion.  Fresno Bee article

McNerney visits researchers at South Pole — Since he took office in 2007, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, has been on official trips to Greenland, Israel and to visit troops in Afghanistan. When the skis beneath a military-transport plane carrying a congressional delegation slid to a halt on a distant snow runway last month, the Democratic congressman was able to add Antarctica to the list.  Stockton Record article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – France deserved better than a limp Obama response.

Merced Sun-Star – Last year, our representatives in Sacramento provided a model for how all legislators should conduct the people’s business.

Modesto Bee – Last year, our representatives in Sacramento provided a model for how all legislators should conduct the people’s business.

Sacramento Bee – If Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson can help make Sacramento a national leader for community policing, that will do as much – if not more – to ensure our city is safe and vibrant as anything else the mayor has accomplished; Attorney General Kamala Harris has every right to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Boxer. She might make a fine senator. There is nothing wrong with ambition. But even as she runs, she must not lose sight of the job she has.

Stockton Record – Hey, potential senators! The Central Valley exists, so make our needs a priority.