January 22, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

John Myers: Voters have placed a lot of California’s budget choices on autopilot — Here’s a simple rule of thumb worth keeping in mind about how California’s budget is crafted: Not all tax dollars are created equal.  Now more than ever, voters have decided that billions of those dollars should make their way through Sacramento with hardly a single politician’s fingerprints on them. Myers in LA Times

Dan Walters: Legal, political clashes will settle future of California’s cap-and-trade system — California’s highly controversial cap-and-trade approach to reducing carbon emissions has many moving parts – bureaucratic, legal and political – and the next few months will determine whether they coalesce into an enduring system or the entire structure collapses. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Congressman David Valadao: Inauguration was a humbling occasion – The Hanford Republican writes, “As our plane bounced down the runway, my wife Terra and I were filled with excitement. Long flights to our nation’s capital are a regular occurrence for me, but this week’s trip wasn’t business as usual. This week, I would get to take part in a historic day for our country. To witness this momentous occasion in our nation’s history is a privilege like no other. The peaceful transition of power is paramount to our system of government, our freedom, and our way of life.” Valadao op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Stockton Record: McNerney (finally) opts to take a pass — Jerry McNerney: Was that your final answer? The Democratic U.S. representative from Stockton, recently re-elected to his sixth term, generally made a mess of the issue of why he did not attend the Friday inauguration of President Donald Trump. Stockton Record editorial

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

With Dems thinking 2020, Kamala Harris takes DC spotlight — Kamala Harris of California has been a U.S. senator for less than three weeks, but the prominent speaking role she was given at Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington showed her reputation as a rising star in a Democratic Party searching for a new generation of leaders.  McClatchy Newspapers article


Whatever Trump does, Dreamers likely to be deported soon — Young immigrants currently protected from deportation will be quickly removed from the country by President Donald Trump’s plan to boost deportations, even if the new president doesn’t target them directly, according to a former senior immigration official in the Obama administration. McClatchy Newspapers article

 Other areas

Women’s marches draw thousands of supporters in Fresno, Oakhurst and Visalia – They gathered Saturday at a busy city intersection in Fresno, a quiet park in Visalia and a major highway to Yosemite in Oakhurst, determined to tell President Donald Trump and his administration not to be so quick to dismantle his predecessor’s legacy – especially when it concerns women’s rights and health care.  Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta photo gallery

Signs, chants, honks and cheers mark large upbeat Women’s March Modesto – Carrying homemade signs, wearing self-knit hats and chanting inclusive slogans, several hundred people turned out for the Women’s March Modesto on Saturday. Billed as a unity gathering, the march down McHenry Avenue brought out close to 1,000 area residents to protest the new president and to rally behind progressive causes. The event was a sister march to the larger Women’s March on Washington along with more than 600 other simultaneous marches around the country and the world. Modesto Bee article

Defiant voices flood U.S. cities as women rally for rights – The day after what many had assumed would be the inauguration of the first female president, hundreds of thousands of women flooded the streets of Washington, and many more marched in cities across the country, in defiant, jubilant rallies against the man who defeated her.  New York Times articleMcClatchy Newspapers articleAP articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleSan Jose Mercury News articleSacramento Bee article

Californians find solace in huge turnout at Women’s March in D.C. – San Joaquin Valley resident Kathleen McKinley knows about dramatic staging, and she got it in spades with the Women’s March on Saturday. A director and member of the Theatre Arts faculty at California State University, Fresno, McKinley joined several hundred thousand equally exuberant demonstrators in Washington, D.C. for several hours of real-world catharsis. It proved a once-in-a-lifetime, standing-room-only performance. McClatchy Newspapers article

‘Hopeful and inspiring’: Stockton women among hundreds of thousands of women marching worldwide – Among the estimated half-million women who marched in Washington to protest policies espoused by President Donald Trump were a cadre from Stockton who said it was important that their voices be heard. To a woman, they came away feeling empowered and uplifted, if a little foot sore and tired after a day of protest. Stockton Record article

Kamala Harris: The women’s march is ‘absolutely personal to me’ – Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) was “walking on a cloud” after speaking to thousands at the women’s march in Washington. Her message: All issues are women’s issues. LA Times article

Congressman Kevin McCarthy: A better way on health care – The Bakersfield Republican and House Majority Leader writes, “Ignoring the pain Obamacare is causing and defending the law with meaningless statistics won’t help the American people who deserve better. Though Republicans didn’t create this problem, we will fix it.” McCarthy op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Obamacare repeal would also affect your employer health insurance – The law mandates that insured Americans don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for certain healthcare services and supplies, including breast pumps. With repeal of Obamacare now on the table, people like Blythe are rushing to take advantage of the more than 50 fully covered services, including mammograms, flu shots, colonoscopies and birth control. LA Times article

The immediate threat to California’s climate-change fight isn’t Trump, it’s this — With President Trump in the Oval Office, California officials are bracing for the possibility that the new administration will undermine the state’s landmark policies on climate change. But the more immediate threat isn’t coming from Washington; it lies in a lawsuit that has been slowly winding its way through state courts.  LA Times article

Victor Davis Hanson: Time to strip self-righteous hypocrisy from intelligence agencies — There are far too many separate intelligence agencies and thus too many agendas. Directors should have term limits. They should not reinvent themselves to bounce between various directorships from administration to administration. Issuing absurd, politically driven hypotheses should be grounds for dismissal – and giving false testimony to Congress should earn perjury charges. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Fearing climate change databases may be threatened in Trump area, UCLA scientists work to protect them — On a rainy Inauguration Day morning, dozens of students, archivists, librarians, professors and other concerned citizens gathered in a UCLA classroom, poring over the Department of Energy website. They sifted through pages covering a broad spectrum of topics, from energy-efficient buildings and solar power to transportation and bioenergy. LA Times article

Presidential Politics

How Trump’s executive order impacts future of ‘Obamacare’ – The one-page directive gives agencies authority to grant waivers, exemptions and delays of provisions in the Affordable Care Act. But until it becomes clear what steps federal agencies take as a result, its full impact on Americans and their health insurance is uncertain. Here’s a look at Trump’s executive order. AP article

With false claims, Trump attacks media on turnout and intelligence rift – President Trump used his first full day in office on Saturday to unleash a remarkably bitter attack on the news media, falsely accusing journalists of both inventing a rift between him and intelligence agencies and deliberately understating the size of his inauguration crowd. New York Times articleWashington Post article

Cathleen Decker:  Huge rallies may signal an emerging anti-Trump movement. But sustaining unity could be more difficult –  The new lines of conflict in America were vividly drawn Saturday: A freshly revived protest movement has risen to greet a president acutely attuned to public opinion. Not for decades, since 1960s protesters took to the streets against the Vietnam War, has a chief executive faced such visible opposition. And never in memory has a new president faced such widespread and intense criticism in the first 24 hours of his term. Decker in LA Times

Sacramento Bee: There’s a right way for Fortress California to hunker down – California is about to become to Trump what Texas was to Obama – the resistance. But picking our shots and seeking common ground is essential. And California Republicans in Congress must step up.  Sacramento Bee editorial

White House petition for Trump to release tax info hits 100,000 signatures in one day – The White House petition has already been signed by nearly 150,000 people as of Saturday afternoon, though it still has much further to go to match the most popular petitions under Obama, including one asking that Pakistan be declared a state sponsor of terrorism that garnered more than 660,000 signaturesMcClatchy Newspapers article

Willie Brown: In Trump’s Americe, making friends isn’t a priority – President Trump’s swearing-in was more of a White Lives Matter rally than an inauguration. There were no lofty words or new thoughts, just a polished and toned-down collection of his catchphrases. What was amazing was that he condemned every lawmaker surrounding him, Republican and Democrat alike. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle

Steve Lopez: Massive turnout in D.C. for women’s march, and Trump doesn’t seem thrilled — Trump, for his part, was in a cranky mood, which may have had something to do with the fact that far more people turned out to denounce him than to celebrate his inauguration a day earlier. He slapped around the “dishonest” media for crowd estimates, and also accused the press of manufacturing a feud between him and the CIA. Lopez column in LA Times

Marcos Breton: The America in Trump’s inaugural address bears little resemblance to the country I know – It was surreal to hear America described as a bleak, crime-ridden nation by the newly inaugurated 45th president of the United StatesBreton column in Sacramento Bee

Sharing a moment with history — At some point during a break in the festivities, sitting not far from the bulletproof glass that shielded newly sworn-in U.S. President Donald Trump at Friday’s inauguration ceremony, Hanford resident Vernon Costa turned around and marveled. Hanford Sentinel article

Mike Klocke: Moving forward in 45 ways — Donald Trump: President number 45. And here are 45 thoughts. Klocke in Stockton Record

News Stories – Top Stories

Local governments grappling with increasing pension costs before higher tab comes in 2018 – Local government officials are bracing for even higher costs following a decision in December by the state’s retirement system to forecast lower investment returns, forcing governments and some employees to increase their pension contributions. Officials are still estimating how much the change will cost when it takes effect in July 2018 for local governments, but expect them to exceed the increases of recent years. Sacramento Bee article

CFO: Stockton right where it wants to be – Nearly two years after a judge’s ruling officially placed Chapter 9 bankruptcy in Stockton’s rear-view mirror, the city is “right where (it) wants to be considering where it was.” Matt Paulin, Stockton’s chief financial officer, made the remark last week as staff prepared for a Tuesday night council meeting that will include a good deal of discussion about city finances. Stockton Record article

Kern County fire station staffing at center of cash debate — The first Kern County budget battle of 2017 is simmering behind the scenes: whether to cut staffing at nine rural fire stations to save $2 million to $3 million. Bakersfield Californian article; ‘The debate: Are three firefighters really so much better than two?’ in Bakersfield Californian

Jobs and the Economy

As Trump pushes for U.S. manufacturing, ‘Made in America’ is losing its luster in the fashion world — A backlash against American brands would be a painful and ironic twist for the apparel and footwear companies that have fought to keep production stateside against innumerable odds.  LA Times article


Lois Henry: Oil-well injection well brouhaha deflates — The great hue and cry over oil-field injection wells (which inject water that’s pumped up with oil back into underground formations) appears to have sputtered to a whimper. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Water peddler-in-chief is anything but wet behind the ears – In this patch of God’s green earth, the most controversial commodity is that which makes it green: water. And in local water bureaucracy, the most polarizing figure might be Steve Knell, general manager of the Oakdale Irrigation District. Modesto Bee article

Don Curlee: So low — While California’s stance on some critical national issues is being widely discussed the voice of its farm population is being largely ignored, and that may be a good thing if it leads to some soul searching. Curlee in Visalia Times-Delta

Lewis Griswold: New book tells story of Tulare Immigration District in California farm country — Richard Zack of Visalia has written a well-researched history of the Tulare Irrigation District, which has supplied water to farmers for 127 years. Griswold in Fresno Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Jeff Jardine: How much has Kauffman case cost so far? Requesting minds want to know but out of luck for now — Investigations dating back to 2012. A preliminary hearing in a case involving multiple defendants that is dragging into its 16th month by the time it resumes in February. So how much has the Korey Kauffman murder case cost the taxpayers so far? It is a good question that, Stanislaus County Counsel John Doering said, won’t be answered anytime soon and certainly not until the case concludes, if ever. Jardine column in Modesto Bee


Michael Fitzgerald: CSU, Stockton: Get your game on – I consider myself a founding member of the CSU Stockton club, yet I’m glad the LAO made a fiscally prudent finding. That said, I take issue with the report’s bloodless global perspective. Institutional supply and demand is not all that should matter to a state. It omits real-life factors such as the widening income gap between Stockton and the rest of California. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Education leaders challenge Trump assertion that students are ‘deprived of all knowledge’ – In his first remarks on education after being sworn into office, President Donald Trump asserted in his inaugural address Friday that the nation’s education system is “flush with cash” and that its children are being “deprived of all knowledge.” Education leaders in California interviewed by EdSource reacted strongly to Trump’s assertions, which they said were unfounded. EdSource article

Fresno State swimmers, divers blend pool with school – All that time in the pool doesn’t mean there’s no time to study. The Fresno State swimming and diving team proved that by having eight women notch 4.0 GPAs during the fall semester. Overall, the team’s cumulative GPA stands at 3.533 with 17 of the team’s 29 members at 3.5 or above.  Fresno Bee article

Lori Gilbert: Website helps teachers transform classrooms one project at a time – Many teacher requests on donorschoose.org are for specific science, math, engineering or technology tools. McNally’s current post, inspired by the tech lecture she heard, is to purchase enough focus games so that all of her students can be engaged in them when they first arrive in the morning. She needs $241. Stockton Record article

William “Bill” Larkin: Bring it back: Fresno Unified’s JEY program works wonders with discipline – The former teacher in the JEY program writes, “If shooting oneself in the foot was considered a good thing, then FUSD could qualify as a world-class marksman regarding this issue. If FUSD really wanted to practice restorative justice, it would bring JEY back to its previous stature. Maybe Larry Powell could help.” Larkin op-ed in Fresno Bee

Schools scramble to hire bilingual aides as more refugee students arrive — A surge of refugees to the Sacramento area has transformed San Juan Unified into the local epicenter for students from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iraq and Syria. As a result, the district has hired non-credentialed bilingual instructional assistants who speak Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Pashto and Ukrainian to help newcomers understand classroom lessons. Sacramento Bee article


As California goes from drought to deluge, a dangerous old foe returns: Mudslides — California’s dramatic shift in the last few months — from extreme dryness to some of the strongest storms in a decade — has brought mudslides that have closed roads, damaged vehicles and homes and left residents on edge. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Learn about plans for permanent homeless access center — Members of the public can learn more about plans for a permanent homeless access center in Modesto and tell officials what they think about the proposal at a Wednesday meeting. Modesto Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Lathrop neighbors fear organic waste facility expansion — For several years, residents of Lathrop’s Haven Acres River Club have enjoyed quiet walks along Frewert Road, watching the horses graze at the local ranch, and observing boaters launch their vessels into the San Joaquin River from the marina. But a Fresno-based company’s plans to expand its organic waste disposal facility located in the area could destroy the quality of life they’ve come to enjoy, residents claim. Stockton Record article


State’s high-speed rail project comes under fire by GOP — Republican lawmakers are calling for audits and congressional hearings to examine the state’s $64 billion high-speed rail project, saying they are concerned about a report that the cost of the system could significantly increase. San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Making her own mark: Tubbs’ fiancée is world traveler, scholar, mentor – Anna Malaika Nti-Asare glided easily around her ninth-grade classroom last week teaching a 90-minute college-level ethnic-studies lesson to 33 students merely a decade younger than she is. “Sexism, class oppression, gender identification and racism are inextricably bound together,” the 24-year-old Nti-Asare told her students as she discussed black feminist theory. Stockton Record article

CALM’s newest exhibit gets zoo’s feet wet — Brittle starfish, sea cucumbers, giant keyhole limpets, purple sea urchins and crabs that decorate themselves with plant material are just a few of the stars now appearing at the newest exhibit at Bakersfield’s favorite zoo. Bakersfield Californian article

 Valley Editorial Roundup

Sacramento Bee –- California is about to become to Trump what Texas was to Obama – the resistance. But picking our shots and seeking common ground is essential. And California Republicans in Congress must step up.

Stockton Record – Jerry McNerney: Was that your final answer? The Democratic U.S. representative from Stockton, recently re-elected to his sixth term, generally made a mess of the issue of why he did not attend the Friday inauguration of President Donald Trump.