January 24, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Trump’s cancellation of Pacific trade deal could hurt California — President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations could drag down exports from Silicon Valley and California’s farm belt, trade experts said Monday. Sacramento Bee articleMcClatchy Newspapers article; ‘Valley farmers disappointed with Trump pulling out of Trans-Pacific Partnership’ in Fresno BeeValley Public Radio reportNew York Times articleLA Times article

Dan Walters: GOP Congress, Democratic Legislature use same tactics — Republican legislators complain about misuse of trailer bills, and last year, voters passed a constitutional amendment requiring 72 hours’ notice before they or any other bills are given final votes. But it’s uncertain whether it will reduce the inherent sneakiness of the process. Effectively, therefore, Sacramento Democrats are doing what Washington Democrats oppose, while Republicans in Washington do what Republicans complain about in Sacramento. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

State budget

If Brown phases out scholarships for middle-class students, stressed parents wonder: ‘How are we going to make this work?’ – The middle-class program has offered nearly 190,000 scholarships in the last three years, according to the California Student Aid Commission. About 40% go to low-income students who don’t make the cut for the Cal Grant program. Four-fifths of recipients are Cal State students, who received a maximum award of $1,641 this year. UC students’ maximum scholarship was $3,688, the commission said. LA Times article

Gov. Brown 

California governor speech comes amid shifting politics – The election of President Donald Trump and a Republican Congress has upended the order for California Democrats, who have pursued aggressive greenhouse gas-reduction policies that had backing from the previous administration. The state also embraced the federal health care law and has committed billions to expanding Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for the poor. AP article

Is Big Oil warming up to Jerry Brown’s climate change effort? – The Democratic governor is urging lawmakers to renew the cap-and-trade program amid signs his forecast was prophetic. Soon after Brown released his proposal this month, the Western States Petroleum Association indicated that the oil industry prefers the flexibility of a market mechanism to more burdensome policies also being contemplated to reduce greenhouse gases. Sacramento Bee article

Joel Fox: Looking ahead – and back – at the State of the State address — Governor Jerry Brown’s 14th State of the State address Tuesday undoubtedly will carry a defense of California policies in the era of President Donald Trump. But what else might we expect and hope to hear from the governor? Fox in Fox & Hounds

Jerry Brown forgives $2.4 million loan to no-on-53 campaign — The effort to defeat Proposition 53 last November relied heavily on money from Gov. Jerry Brown, whose re-election committee gave the no-on-53 campaign more than $4.1 million in the weeks leading up to the election, with $2.4 million of that a loan. That loan is now history. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Fresno Bee: McCarthy, Nunes, Denham: Step up for California — Californians can hope that Republicans such as Reps. Jeff Denham, Devin Nunes, a Trump transition team member, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, all from the Central Valley, will intercede for the state that sent them to Congress. They must know how unwise it would be to ease air pollution standards and crack down on immigrant labor. Fresno Bee editorial

Fant’s fraud arraignment finally scheduled — Former Manteca Unified school board member and Stockton City Council candidate Sam Fant’s arraignment on charges of felony election fraud and conspiracy finally appears ready to move forward. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

State Senate votes for final confirmation of Xavier Becerra as state attorney general – The state Senate on Monday voted 26-9 in favor of final confirmation of Rep. Xavier Becerra as California’s attorney general, putting on watch a veteran politician who has promised to block efforts by President Trump to roll back state policies on immigration, civil rights and the environment. LA Times articleSacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleAP article

Gavin Newsom: It will get ‘intriguing’ if Thiel runs for governor — Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom says it could get “intriguing” if Peter Thiel, the billionaire tech entrepreneur and key ally of President Donald Trump, makes a move to challenge him in next year’s governor’s race.  Politico article


Trump signals that deporting young immigrants in the U.S. illegally is not an immediate priority – President Trump, who promised during the campaign to “immediately terminate” a controversial program that shields from deportation more than 742,000 people brought to the country illegally as children, has put off canceling it. The Trump administration is continuing to accept applications for two-year work permits and temporary protection from removal under the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which was created by former President ObamaLA Times article

H-1B visa program faces uncertain future in Trump era — Silicon Valley companies, long dependent on foreign workers to fuel tech growth, are bracing for changes to immigration policy that could impact a vast workforce. About two-thirds of the workers in computer and mathematical professions were born outside the U.S., according to the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies. And although the federal government does not release H-1B visa holder population data by region, a Brookings Institution study found the Bay Area had about 27,000 H-1B visas approved in 2013, trailing only the New York metro area.  San Jose Mercury News article

Other areas

‘Calexit,’ here we come? A third of Californians back secession in new poll – Nearly one in three Californians supports withdrawing from the United States, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll – a highly unlikely scenario that could nonetheless come before Golden State voters in the 2018 election. Sacramento Bee article

California cities would have to make it easier to build houses under new legislation — California cities that are falling behind on housing production goals set by the state would be forced to remove some of their development restrictions under legislation from a Bay Area state senator. LA Times article

One in 45 residents attended Women’s March — The Women’s March on Saturday drew historic participation across California, with 50 cities each drawing more than 100 protestors. Crowd estimates put the cumulative turnout in California between 531,000 and 1.2 million, according to nationwide data compiled by Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver and Jeremy Pressman of the University of Connecticut. The estimates came from police, media and other public sources. The midpoint of those estimates would put attendance at 880,000, the equivalent of one out of every 45 California residents. Sacramento Bee article

Erika D. Smith: Next up for Women’s March: Hopefully not another family feud — Pulling off a gigantic protest is one thing. Getting those protesters to take the next step and work towards a common goal is quite another. Turning emotionally driven activism into sober public policy is what has to happen, though, or “the resistance” will fizzle as fast as the Occupy movement did. So far, there hasn’t been much of a coordinated effort to do that. Smith column in Sacramento BeeLA Times article: ‘Turning point, or just a day to let off steam: Where do the protestors of the Women’s March go from here?’

Sacramento Bee: Obamacare repeal would take from the poor and give to the rich — The expected House GOP repeal bill would eliminate two tax hikes on the rich and give them a huge windfall. At the same time, millions of Americans – including 1.4 million Californians – would lose tax credits on health insurance premiums they now get under the Affordable Care Act. Sacramento Bee editorial

Daniel Weintraub: How Trump, Republicans are using ‘alternative facts’ on Obamacare — On President Donald Trump’s first weekend in office, his press secretary lied about the size of the crowds at Trump’s inaugural, then his senior adviser described the lies as “alternative facts.” Anyone who has watched the Trump campaign or his transition team’s comments about health care should not be surprised. They and allies in Congress have been using “alternative facts” to mislead the American people for months about the Affordable Care Act, its problems and potential solutions. Weintraub op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Ann Ravel: Why it’s up to cities and states to protect our democracy – The member of the Federal Election Commission and former chairwoman of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission writes, “California Forward’s 50 State Solution project provides a platform for reform leaders and policymakers to boost participation in good government efforts. It will encourage a vast amount of creative experimentation to see which models produce better results. In late January, participants from across the country will convene to learn from each other and discuss bipartisan strategies for success. Changes on the ground will enable solutions to prevail at the federal level, too.” Ravel op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Assembly speaker taps former Obama spokesman for communications strategy — With California’s face-off against Washington, D.C., getting widespread attention, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has turned to a veteran of national politics to help shape his public image: White House veteran Bill Burton.  LA Times article

Presidential Politics

Cathleen Decker: After rough weekend, the rituals of the White House bolster Donald Trump – After a shaky few days, the rituals of the presidency worked on Monday to bolster President Trump, establishing a sense of normalcy rarely seen since he announced his unorthodox campaign for the White House in 2015. Decker in LA Times

Conservative Colorado judge emerges as a top contender to fill Scalia’s Supreme Court seat – Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, a highly regarded conservative jurist best known for upholding religious liberty rights in the legal battles over Obamacare, has emerged as a leading contender for President Trump’s first Supreme Court nomination. LA Times article

Arnold Schwarzenegger no fan of Trump’s pick to lead the EPA – President Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency had no shortage of critics before his confirmation hearing last week, but his suggestion that he might restrict California’s fight against climate change provoked heavyweight ire. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared to his huge social media following on Monday that the nominee, Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Scott Pruitt, is a hypocrite. LA Times article

Trump fires up English-only debate with missing WhiteHouse.gov Spanish page – Donald Trump, whose relationship with Latinos already is frosty, has taken down the White House’s Spanish-language website, and in the process may have kicked off another fiery English-only debate. It was unclear Monday whether the elimination of Spanish was permanent; White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not directly address the use of Spanish during his briefing for reporters. McClatchy Newspapers article

Senators propose giving states option to keep Affordable Care Act – Several Republican senators on Monday proposed a partial replacement for the Affordable Care Act that would allow states to continue operating under the law if they choose, a proposal meant to appeal to critics and supporters of former President Barack Obama’s signature health law. New York Times article

States – like Congress – are divided on replacing Obamacare – Just like the political divide that cleaves Congress, the states seem likely to look at the latest health care proposal with a partisan eye. In Republican-led Kansas, one lawmaker was quick to embrace the idea. But in blue-state California there was caution, as Senate Republicans unveiled a new replacement plan that its sponsors hope will draw support from across the aisle. It would allow states to make the choices on health care. McClatchy Newspapers article

Trump signed an order to weaken Obamacare, but what’s the real impact? – President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday aimed at defanging the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, giving heads of federal departments more power to delay or grant exemption from regulations associated with the law. Its immediate effect remains unclear, but we’ve answered some of the most confusing questions. McClatchy Newspapers article

What is the Mexico City abortion rule? – Along with two other executive actions, President Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City abortion rules on Monday, which was rescinded by former President Barack Obama exactly eight years ago. Though Trump has had controversial clashes with Mexico over his border wall policy, this executive action actually has nothing to do with Mexico, despite its name. It’s also not unique to Trump — it’s a policy that gets rescinded or reinstated every time the presidency switches from Democrat to Republican, or vice versa. McClatchy Newspapers article

Trump repeats lie about popular vote in meeting with lawmakers – President Trump used his first official meeting with congressional leaders on Monday to falsely claim that millions of unauthorized immigrants had robbed him of a popular vote majority, a return to his obsession with the election’s results even as he seeks support for his legislative agenda. New York Times articleLA Times articleWashington Post article

White House press secretary: ‘We can disagree with the facts’ — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared before media on Monday for the first official press briefing, two days after he caused an uproar for lying to reporters about the crowd size at President Donald Trump’s inauguration. McClatchy Newspapers article

Trump names new FCC chairman: Ajit Pai, who wants to take a ‘weed whacker’ to net neutrality — President Trump on Monday  designated Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission and an outspoken opponent of new net neutrality rules, to be the agency’s new chairman. LA Times article

Here are the executive actions Trump signed today — President Donald Trump signed three presidential memorandums Monday morning, making good on a promise to halt hiring in the federal government to reduce its workforce, as well as reverse his predecessor’s signature trade deal. McClatchy Newspapers article

Jim Reeves: Trump administration following Porterville’s lead? — In 2013, Porterville Mayor Virginia Gurrola issued a proclamation recognizing June as LGBT Pride month. All hell broke loose. Later, the council booted Mayor Gurrola and Vice Mayor Peter McCracken from their ceremonial posts and replaced them. They then rescinded the proclamation, and replaced it with a resolution declaring June “A Month Of Community Charity and Goodwill For All in Porterville.” Little “community charity or goodwill” was in evidence during the several city council meetings required to accomplish those changes. Now, the Trump administration is following Porterville’s lead. Moments after he was sworn in, pages on the WhiteHouse.gov site were scrubbed of LGBT content. Reeves in Visalia Times-Delta

Joe Altschule: Tom climbs his pulpit to lecture me — I’m unclear why Tom tells us something we learned in high school, that many of our presidents have been military men, and the current one lacks that credential and is a businessman. He thinks that “hurts me a lot.” Not so, there is far more that “hurts me” about this one. Altschule column in Visalia Times-Delta

Tom Fife: Joe, come in from the darkness and the cold — Joe, welcome to the new America, where hope and change are real. Come on, join us. It’s safe and warm over here, I promise. You liberals are going to be out in the cold for many years but you don’t have to be one of them, Joe. Now’s your big chance. Come into the light, Joe, come into the light. Fife column in Visalia Times-Delta

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories – Top Stories

California schools may face cuts amid skyrocketing pension costs – Public schools around California are bracing for a crisis driven by skyrocketing worker pension costs that are expected to force districts to divert billions of dollars from classrooms into retirement accounts, education officials said.  San Francisco Chronicle article

State money arrives to start a new water system in a drought-stricken Valley town – The State Water Resources Control Board has authorized giving $1.21 million to Tulare County to help build a new water system in Monson, the tiny town where wells went dry during the California drought and the water has high levels of nitrates. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Less money available for jobs program – The city and county are gearing up for a third consecutive youth jobs program in Stockton this year, but with a couple of changes. Though Stockton has less money to allocate than it did in 2016, there is hope among city officials that the program will provide longer-lasting jobs to the at-risk young people it employs. Stockton Record article

From VA to FBI, government workers await details of Trump’s hiring freeze – From the FBI to the Department of Veterans Affairs, branches of the federal government are trying to figure out how a hiring freeze announced by President Donald Trump on Monday will affect their payrolls. Sacramento Bee article

Cities may soon start running out of millennials – Over the next few years, demographic research shows, the growth in demand by young people for urban living could stall. New York Times article

TRUE: California has the nation’s highest poverty rate, when factoring in cost-of-living — California’s job and economic growth has outpaced much of the nation in recent years. That growth, however, has not eliminated one of the state’s biggest challenges: poverty. PolitiFactCA article

Merced Chamber of Commerce looking for new CEO – The Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce is looking for a new chief after Adam Cox, who held the job for about 18 months, announced he’s leaving to work for Merced County. Merced Sun-Star article

Modesto council to hear Amgen bike race update – The City Council will get an update Tuesday on the local preparations for May’s Amgen Tour of California. Modesto is one of the cities in this year’s tour, which will feature some of the world’s top bicyclists. The cyclists will be in Modesto on May 15 for the start of Stage 2, which ends in San Jose. The weeklong tour starts in Sacramento and ends in Pasadena. The council has set aside $125,000 to cover the costs of hosting a stage, but officials expect to recover that through donations and sponsorships. Modesto Bee article

Sierra Bancorp reaches $2 billion in assets in 2016 – Sierra Bancorp, the Porterville-based parent company of Bank of the Sierra, reported a fourth-quarter profit of $5.5 million in 2016, when it reached the $2 billion mark in total assets. Fresno Bee article

Homeless people face LA crackdown on living in cars – Los Angeles’ new ordinance on living in cars was billed as a boon to homeless people, making it legal for the first time to park and sleep in half the city’s streets. But with the measure set to kick in Feb. 6, a new map suggests the law could trigger a crackdown on some of the city’s 28,000 homeless people.  LA Times article

San Jose is most ‘unaffordable’ major housing market in U.S., survey says – The study proved San Jose, at fifth place overall, was the most “unaffordable” major American locale. It’s considered by researchers to be “severely unaffordable.” San Francisco was the fourth most expensive urban area after Honolulu and Los Angeles, and ninth overall. Although it didn’t land in the top 10, Sacramento was also noted as a “new entrant to severe unaffordability.” San Francisco Chronicle article

Sacramento leaders consider resolution on equal pay and advancement for women – Three days after hundreds of thousands marched for women’s rights in home-knitted cat caps across the world, including 20,000 in Sacramento, the City Council on Tuesday will likely pass a resolution to broadly encourage city hiring and employment policies that promote equal pay and advancement opportunities for female city employees. Sacramento Bee article

Hold tight Fresno, Steak n’ Shake is coming, but not yet — The restaurant on Kings Canyon Road in front of the Walmart Supercenter near Peach Avenue looks done from the outside, but it’s not. Eager diners have been calling and emailing me about its opening date and stopping by the restaurant daily.  Fresno Bee article


Merced Irrigation District releases stormwater to recharge groundwater sapped amid drought – January’s storms have filled Lake McClure past its historical average, prompting water releases to help replenish groundwater, the Merced Irrigation District reported. Lake McClure was about 73 percent of capacity Monday. That contrasts with the reservoir’s record low water level of 6 percent just two years ago. Merced Sun-Star article

Sacramento region cut water use by 25 percent in 2016, despite eased state restrictions – Water districts in the Sacramento region cut water use by 25 percent in 2016 compared with 2013 – despite the state’s decision to back away from strict mandatory conservation targets. Sacramento Bee article

It’s already the fourth wettest January on record for Sacramento – This month is the fourth wettest January on record in Sacramento. A total of 9.85 inches has fallen in Sacramento – and the month is not over. That places January 2017 fourth in the record books. Sacramento Bee article

California water managers want emergency drought rules to end – The San Diego County Water Authority and other water managers across California are calling for regulators to end emergency drought rules. KPBS report

Drenched: How LA went from bone-dry to 216 percent of normal rainfall in four months — According to the latest maps, Southern California is still in a drought. But the dry conditions that have mired the region for more than five years have definitely shifted — at least for now. LA Times article

Officials closing Sacramento Weir after first-in-a-decade opening this month — Officials are lowering the gates of the Sacramento Weir, effectively corking a massive gush of water that helped flood the Yolo Bypass west of Sacramento. After a deluge of heavy rains, crews on Jan. 10 lifted the gates on the flood release structure near downtown Sacramento. It was the first time since 2006 that the river rose high enough to open the structure. Sacramento Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Man accused of killing Stanislaus sheriff’s deputy found mentally unfit to face criminal charges – The case in the killing of Stanislaus County sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace will remain suspended as doctors help the defendant restore his mental competency to face criminal charges. Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff on Monday said David Machado is able to understand the court proceedings, but not capable of assisting his attorney in the case. Machado is accused of gunning down the deputy Nov. 13. Modesto Bee article

Toxicology still pending for man who died in handcuffs — Three weeks after a Lemoore man died in police custody, local authorities are continuing to investigate the incident that led to his death. Hanford Sentinel article

Poetry helps juvenile inmates — His eyes remained affixed to the piece of paper he held in his hands. “This is for the haters,” the 17-year-old recited in a deep, but quiet monotone voice. “You think I’m stupid. I can’t stop and won’t stop because I’m driven …;” The poem to the “haters” was his latest homework assignment for Denise Manning’s class. But more than homework, for the boy, whose name can’t be printed because he’s a minor facing criminal charges, the poem is a coping mechanism as he serves time at the Juvenile Justice Center at 535 West Mathews Road in French Camp. Stockton Record article


Undocumented CSU Sacramento students fearful of uncertain future under Trump – Conflicting reports about if and when President Donald Trump will end a program that allows undocumented students to remain in the country while attending school has many Sacramento State students nervous. Staff members and faculty are worried, too. Sacramento Bee article

What your government won’t tell you today: How many law firms Kern High School District is hiring for CLETS scandal – Just how many law firms has the Kern High School District hired to investigate its police department and officers after administrators came under fire last year for misusing a sensitive police database? Your guess is as good as ours. Bakersfield Californian article

Mascot law rolls out and schools obey the letter of the law, if not the spirit – The “Redskins” are finished, sort of, at the last four high schools in California that used the term as a team name, mascot or nickname. But to the surprise of some, the Jan. 1 first-in-the nation law banning the word has left intact school logos depicting stoic male Indians in profile, football fans tomahawk-chopping in the stands, students yelling war whoops and a Tulare Union High School teenage girl wearing a fake war bonnet. EdSource article

Clovis Unified cancels Buchanan High play because of gay main character, student director says — Thousands have signed a petition demanding that Clovis Unified School District reinstate the production of a play at Buchanan High that students say was abruptly canceled because a main character is gay. Fresno Bee article

Local students awarded for Obamacare enrollments days before Trump lays siege to law – The White House awarded two local college students for their work signing up young people for the Affordable Care Act just days before House Republicans, led by President Trump, took initial steps toward gutting the healthcare law. Those students, Alexa Rivera and Vincente Lopez, visited on behalf of Bakersfield College, which, along with about 60 other colleges, took part in the White House Healthy Campus Challenge. That challenge asked campus leaders to encourage young people to sign up for health insurance, noting the high number of youths who have not yet enrolled. Bakersfield Californian article

Jeff Jardine: Stockton folks want to break free of Turlock’s grip, get own CSU – Folks in Stockton led by Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman – who earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanislaus State – want Stockton to have its own California State University campus, untethered from Turlock. “Why not Cal Poly Stockton?” she asked. Jardine column in Stockton Record

Armenian ambassador to U.S. to visit Genocide Monument at Fresno State — Armenia’s ambassador to the United States will visit the Armenian Genocide Monument on the Fresno State campus Saturday. Grigor Hovhannissian will be accompanied by Fresno resident Berj K. Apkarian, honorary consul for the Republic of Armenia. Fresno Bee article

Artist, professor collaborate with Planada and Livingston schools on mural projects — Students got the chance to contribute to a new mural at Campus Park Elementary through a project with an international muralist and a UC Merced professor. Merced Sun-Star article

San Francisco school board to repeal old rule segregating Asian students — A century-old policy requiring Asian American students to attend an “Oriental” school is still on the books in San Francisco, a historical oversight the city’s school board intends to rectify Tuesday. San Francisco Chronicle article


PG&E to get maximum sentence for pipeline safety violations — A federal judge said Monday he would fine Pacific Gas and Electric Co. $3 million, the maximum allowed by law, and place the company under a court-appointed monitor for criminal violations of pipeline-safety laws uncovered by an investigation of the lethal San Bruno pipeline explosion. San Francisco Chronicle articleKQED report

State of emergency declared in Valley counties – Following several days of extreme rainy weather, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Monday for several counties in California, including every San Joaquin County except San Joaquin.  Fresno Bee articleLA Times article

A key reform of California’s landmark environmental law hasn’t kept its promises – – It took until the morning the Golden State Warriors broke ground on their new professional basketball arena in San Francisco last week for the lawsuits against the project to end. LA Times article

Dumping spoils scenic San Joaquin County countryside – Illegal dumping is a perpetual problem in San Joaquin County, but what one bird-watcher saw recently along a remote road through otherwise scenic pastureland just might take it to another level. Stockton Record article

Court backs rules to protect fire victims from being underinsured – California’s insurance commissioner has the authority to adopt rules that protect homeowners whose policies fall far short of the amounts needed to rebuild or replace homes destroyed by wildfires or other disasters, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. San Francisco Chronicle article

Feds kill wildlife refuge; would have been San Joaquin County’s first — Facing strong local opposition, the federal government has killed what would have been San Joaquin County’s first national wildlife refuge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge west of Modesto will be expanded in a southerly direction, but not toward the north into San Joaquin County as originally proposed. Stockton Record article

Health/Human Services 

Time running out, California stem cell agency yet to produce big results — It’s been more than a decade since California launched an unprecedented experiment in medical research by direct democracy, when voters created a $3 billion fund to kick-start the hunt for stem cell therapies. The bold plan, a response to federal funding limits for embryonic stem cell research, was sold with a simple pitch: The money would rapidly yield cures for devastating human diseases such as Parkinson’s and ALS. That hasn’t happened. KQED report

Judge blocks Aetna-Humana health insurance merger on antitrust grounds — The proposed $34-billion merger of Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. to form one of the nation’s largest health insurers was blocked Monday by a federal judge on antitrust grounds. LA Times articleNew York Times article

HIV patients call drug program fractured after shift in operators — A state program that helps people pay for expensive, lifesaving HIV drugs is in disarray after the Oakland company that managed it for nearly 20 years was replaced by three out-of-state operators, say patients and AIDS advocacy groups.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Late-night snack attack: There are ways to fight back — Lisa Herzig, Fresno State associate professor and director of the Dietetics and Food Administration Program, explains why it’s tough to resist unhealthy snacks late at night. Fresno Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Oakland landlords given 40 days to correct ‘inhumane conditions’ – One family slept on the kitchen floor to avoid a bedbug infestation. Another lived in an apartment with no working fire alarm, and a tenant and her 8-year-old daughter became aware a fire had broken out in the building only when smoke began to billow from the walls of their bathroom. San Francisco Chronicle article

Oakland raises fees for those evicted from illicit residences — The stakes are high for Oakland political leaders, who are facing pressure to beef up building safety but shield a warehouse community that gives the city its hipster cachet. On Monday, the City Council tried to strike a compromise, passing a law that will ease the burden for tenants who get displaced when a landlord makes safety improvements. San Francisco Chronicle article


California lawmakers consider easing self-driving permit process — California lawmakers are mulling over the state’s rules for self-driving cars. Currently, 20 companies have permission to test autonomous vehicles on state roads. Last month, one that’s not on that list – Uber – picked up and took its self-driving cars to Arizona, after a spat with California regulators.  Capital Public Radio report

Other areas

Here’s where you can get a peek at what Merced’s new mayor has planned – Mayor Mike Murphy plans to give a State of the City address that is the first to be held in Merced in recent memory, if not ever. Merced Sun-Star article

Vander Poel to deliver State of the County – Tulare County Board of Supervisors Chairman Pete Vander Poel will deliver the State of the County address during a regularly-scheduled meeting on Tuesday. The speech provides an update on recently-completed projects, accomplishments from county’s departments and possible upcoming projects. Visalia Times-Delta article

Vigil for J.D.: Homeless man found dead behind dumpster deserved better, activists say — The rain ceased and a rainbow appeared as community members attended a vigil January 22 in honor of a homeless man found dead near a Fresno dumpster. Fresno Bee article

What caused the deadly Ghost Ship fire? Officials aren’t saying, but attorneys have unexpected theory — On Monday, lawyers for the manager of the Ghost Ship made an unexpected claim: The fire did not start in the artists’ collective but in a neighboring structure. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Californians can hope that Republicans such as Reps. Jeff Denham, Devin Nunes, a Trump transition team member, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, all from the Central Valley, will intercede for the state that sent them to Congress. They must know how unwise it would be to ease air pollution standards and crack down on immigrant labor.

Merced Sun-Star – Women’s March was huge and hugely powerful.

Modesto Bee – Women’s March was huge and hugely powerful; Why write editorials? It’s our constitutional responsibility.

Sacramento Bee –- The expected House GOP repeal bill would eliminate two tax hikes on the rich and give them a huge windfall. At the same time, millions of Americans – including 1.4 million Californians – would lose tax credits on health insurance premiums they now get under the Affordable Care Act; Sorry, Team Trump, but there are no “alternative facts.”