January 26, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

A campaign promise fulfilled: Trump orders Mexico wall construction to begin – President Donald Trump took a significant step toward carrying out his signature – and most controversial – campaign promise Wednesday, ordering the construction of a wall along the southwest border. In a pair of executive orders, Trump also ordered an increase in enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, a clamp down on so-called sanctuary cities, a boost in the number of Border Patrol officers, and expansion of detention centers for those caught trying to sneak across the border. McClatchy Newspapers articleAP articleNew York Times article

Mayor Lee Brand says Fresno will not be a sanctuary city for undocumented  immigrants — Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said Wednesday that Fresno will not become a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants. More than 400 jurisdictions across the country have some sort of sanctuary policy, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and about 40 others in California. But in a meeting with The Fresno Bee’s editorial board, Brand said that he does not want to jeopardize federal funds for public works projects he says the city needs. Brand said he’s stuck between a Democratic governor and a Republican president, and he needs to maintain a neutral stance in order to maintain a good relationship with both. Fresno Bee articleFresno Bee editorial

Gov. Brown

George Skelton: Taking on Trump in his State of the State speech, Gov. Brown reminded us he loves the limelight – Gov. Jerry Brown will be 82 in 2020 when President Trump is up for reelection. Is that too old to challenge him? Not necessarily. But is it too old for voters? Just a bit. This came to mind Tuesday as I watched Brown deliver his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature. He seemed to be trying to revive his robust, ambitious youth. And he was enjoying every momentSkelton column in LA Times

Joel Fox: Amen Brother Trump and other nods to bipartisanship — “Amen to that, brother,” Governor Jerry Brown exhorted in his state of the state speech in support of President Donald Trump’s call for spending $1 trillion on infrastructure improvements. It was the only sense of cooperation the governor offered to the new president and some of his expected policies. Fox in Fox & Hounds

 Valley politics

Bakersfield City Council Oks special election to replace Jeff Tkac — His seat was empty. His bronze-colored nameplate gone. And none of his remaining colleagues could have imagined a few weeks ago the action they would have to take to make things whole again. The Bakersfield City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to schedule a special election in June to fill the seat left vacant by the tragic death of Ward 5 Councilmember Jeff Tkac. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Newsom, Faulconer lead hypothetical 2018 field for governor — Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer lead a competitive but deeply unsettled field in the 2018 governor’s race, according to a privately-funded survey Wednesday conducted by Public Policy Polling. Sacramento Bee article

A guide to decoding the tea leaves and trial balloons of the California governor’s race – While the race to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown already has attracted a small cadre of well-known Democrats, the behind-the-scenes strategizing, cajoling and guessing games surrounding a handful of other potential contenders could create havoc in what’s expected to be California’s biggest showdown since 2010. LA Times article

Dan Morain: Peter Thiel won’t save the California Republican Party — We probably can count out Peter Thiel as the California Republican Party’s savior. Morain in Sacramento Bee


Valley reactions to Trump’s immigration orders: defiance, disbelief, fear – President Donald Trump’s executive orders to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and increase immigration enforcement were met Wednesday with defiance, disbelief and fear in the central San Joaquin Valley. Fresno Bee articleStockton Record article: ‘Area advocates say Trump’s wall is attack on American values’

California’s ‘sanctuary cities’ vow to remain firm despite Trump threats of funding cutoff – President Trump’s vow to crack down on “sanctuary cities” that protect immigrants in the U.S. illegally has met with resolve, at least so far, in some California communities. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleSan Jose Mercury News articleSacramento Bee article

What is a sanctuary city? – While the exact policies differ between cities, a sanctuary city is generally a place that doesn’t inquire about the immigration status of its citizens or cooperate with federal immigration authorities like Immigration and Customs Enforcement. People who commit crimes under the jurisdiction of a sanctuary city are fined or serve the appropriate jail time, but even if they are undocumented they are not necessarily turned over to ICE. McClatchy Newspapers article

Trump’s immigration orders will boost deportations; what the wall amounts to is less certain – Wednesday, President Trump turned that promise into an executive order, one of two he signed. His directive leaves many questions unanswered about what sort of wall might be built, how much it would cost and how it would be paid for. LA Times article

California reacts to Trump immigration actions: ‘shameful,’ ‘unpatriotic,’ and ‘un-American’ — California advocacy groups and politicians, most of of them Democrats, reacted swiftly to President Donald Trump’s actions Wednesday to begin construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and end federal funding for sanctuary cities, which do not enforce immigration laws. Following is a look at their statements.  Sacramento Bee articleKQED report

‘They fear the worst’: Pacific forum comes hours after Trump signals immigration crackdown – Legal experts met with concerned community members Wednesday night in Stockton after President Donald Trump announced he was following through on campaign promises to enforce immigration laws and shore up America’s porous southern border. Stockton Record article

California’s undocumented kids could be the first to lose medical care under Trump – Now, however, the ability of Edwin and some 164,000 poor undocumented California children to see a doctor for regular medical care hangs in the balance:  Several experts predict they could be among the first to lose health coverage if the Trump administration carries out its promise to end much of Obamacare, leaving California to try to make up the difference. CALmatters article

Other areas

Bill advances Gov. Brown’s plan suspending licenses for traffic debt – State Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) introduced a bill to the Legislature to advance Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to stop license suspensions for drivers who fail to pay traffic fines. KQED report

Investors back out of Sacramento brewery after owner’s attack on Women’s March goes viral — Three co-owners of the restaurant Red Rabbit surrendered their minority ownership stake at Twelve Rounds Brewing and said the beer would not be served at their bustling midtown eatery and bar after brewery founder Daniel Murphy’s diatribes on Facebook touched off an angry backlash. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Cathleen Decker: The Trump vs. California: The feud turns from rhetoric to real – Although California, a wealthy state, has long sent more money to Washington in taxes than it receives back, its accounts swelled with federal money during the Obama administration. All told about $105 billion in federal funds are included in the state government’s 2017-18 budget, according to the state Department of Finance. Now California faces a president who doesn’t seem terribly fond of the place and has the power to make it suffer. Decker in LA Times

Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud in California aren’t factual – In California, Secretary of State Alex Padilla pointed in an interview Wednesday to “study after study and report after report” debunking mass voter fraud in this and previous election cycles. County elections officials report that they regularly clear their rolls of voters who have died or relocated. Padilla, who previously invited Trump to bring forward evidence to support his assertions, said “to this day we have received nothing from them. They have yet to produce a shred of evidence.” Sacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorialBakersfield Californian editorial

Intelligence committee led by Californians investigating Russian influence in 2016 election — The House Select Intelligence Committee is examining allegations that the Russian government tried to influence the 2016 election, Republican Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes and ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff said in a statement Wednesday. LA Times article

Jeff Jardine: Something seemed strange to ex-Secretary Veneman about information ban on Ag Department – A story out of Washington, D.C., this week – and there have been many of equal shock value – stated that the Trump administration has banned U.S. Agriculture Department officials from talking to reporters and issuing news releases or reports. It left Ann Veneman a bit perplexed. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

California Rep. Lou Correa urges Trump to restore Spanish-language version of White House website — Freshman Rep. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) asked President Trump in a letter Wednesday to reinstate the Spanish-language version of the White House website. An aide to the president said Tuesday that a Spanish-language version of the page would be available at some point. LA Times article

President Trump: World is a ‘total mess’ and ‘the country has a lot of problems’ – In the first televised one-on-one interview of his term, President Donald Trump told ABC News’ David Muir that he believes torture works and that millions of illegal votes were cast against him in November’s general election. McClatchy Newspapers article

Trump’s order to begin wall construction opens wider rift with Mexico – President Trump’s executive order to immediately start construction of a border wall has widened his rift with Mexico and placed pressure on Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to boycott a meeting with Trump planned for next week. LA Times article

Robin Abcarian: Those pink hats, that vulgar word. Now a rallying cry against Trump — Who could have guessed that a vulgar, sexist conversation between a future president and an entertainment journalist would not just normalize a word that has always made us cringe, but provide a rallying cry for a reinvigorated feminist movement? Abcarian in LA Times

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories – Top Stories

CSU to consider 5 percent tuition hike — California State University leaders want to increase undergraduate tuition by 5 percent and will ask the Board of Trustees next week to raise the cost for the first time since 2011. San Francisco Chronicle article

California drought restrictions likely to continue despite epic rain and snow – California’s top water regulator has strongly suggested the state will keep drought conservation rules in place despite winter storms that have waterlogged many communities. LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

States vow to be part of trillion-dollar infrastructure spending sprees – New Jersey wants a railroad tunnel under the Hudson River, California wants high-speed rail linking north and south, Florida wants improved seaports, and most everyone wants highways and bridges. President Trump and congressional Democrats have proposed trillion-dollar infrastructure spending sprees, and among their most ardent allies are the nation’s governors, Republicans and Democrats, who cite years of pent-up demand for fixing or expanding old assets and building new ones. New York Times article

California’s retiree healthcare liability grows to almost $77 billion – California faces a $76.67 billion cost to provide healthcare and dental benefits to retired state employees, state Controller Betty Yee reported Wednesday, an increase of $2.49 billion over the previous year’s estimate. Sacramento Bee article

Fugazi regrets vote funding new positions – Less than 24 hours after joining her colleagues in unanimously approving two new staff positions in the mayor’s office, Councilwoman Christina Fugazi has written on Facebook that she regrets her vote. Stockton Record article

Kevin Valine: Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold may be walking into a hornet’s nest – Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold could be walking into the lion’s den when he appears at Tuesday’s Salida Municipal Advisory Council meeting. The city of Modesto has not always played well with its neighbor to the northwest. Garrad Marsh – Brandvold’s predecessor – ignited a firestorm of criticism among Salida residents when he suggested in 2012 that Modesto explore annexing their unincorporated town of about 14,000 residents. Valine in Modesto Bee

Under fire for political showmanship, California tax board limits its outreach — Alarmed by a series of conferences that blurred the lines between taxpayer education and political showmanship, California’s Board of Equalization on Wednesday took steps toward limiting how often its elected members can promote their work with public funds in their districts.  Sacramento Bee article

Resurging Sacramento housing market rang up best sales year since 2009 — Sacramento County’s resurgent housing market closed out 2016 with solid December numbers and had its best 12 months of overall sales since the Great Recession year of 2009. Sacramento Bee article


Folsom Lake less than half full after recent rains.  Residents ask: Why do dry? — Northern California is on track to break rainfall records. Water has gushed through a weir into the Yolo Bypass floodplain at levels not seen in more than a decade. The Sierra Nevada snowpack is nearly double historical averages. But you wouldn’t know the region has experienced an exceptionally wet winter looking at the steep, dry shores ringing the Sacramento region’s largest reservoir, Folsom Lake. On Wednesday, the lake was filled to just 41 percent capacity – 80 percent of its historical average. Sacramento Bee article

Tomato canners seek new routes to consumers — Shoppers would start to find canned tomatoes in the produce aisle if an idea discussed Wednesday in Modesto catches on. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Dyer will remain Fresno’s police chief until October 2019 — Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and Police Chief Jerry Dyer have come to an agreement that Dyer will remain on the job until October 2019. Dyer’s previous contract officially expired when former Mayor Ashley Swearengin left office in the first week of January, but Brand wanted to maintain continuity within the department, city spokesman Mark Standriff said Wednesday. Fresno Bee article

Man fatally shot by Bakersfield police during foot chase – Bakersfield police shot and killed a man Tuesday night who authorities said pointed a gun at officers as they ran after him. LA Times article

Pair who allege unfair arrest, abuse file claim — Two black college students allege they were racially profiled, falsely imprisoned and arrested by negligent officers of the Bakersfield Police Department last month in a government claim filed Wednesday against the City of Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article


UC regents asked to lift a six-year tuition freeze and approve a 2.5 percent increase for this fall – University of California President Janet Napolitano urged regents Wednesday to approve a tuition increase to help the nation’s premier public research university system maintain its quality amid surging enrollment and reduced levels of state support. LA Times article

‘I’m scared all the time’: Trump’s immigration rhetoric worries UC Merced ‘Dreamers’ – Two houses just outside the city of Merced have become homes for about a dozen UC Merced students who, as undocumented immigrants, increasingly worry about their future. Merced Sun-Star article

Stockton Unified joins other districts as ‘safe havens’ – Stockton Unified School District became the latest district in San Joaquin County to declare itself a “safe haven” during a regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday night. Stockton Record article

California’s public universities grapple with uncertain student enrollments –  In planning for the future, California’s colleges and universities are trying to predict their enrollments five, 10 and even 20 years from now. But there is much uncertainty and disagreement over which factors should be weighed most heavily. EdSource article

Fresno Unified may hire interim superintendent, pushing Hanson out faster – The Fresno Unified school board is considering hiring an interim superintendent, meaning current leader current leader Michael Hanson could be out sooner than expected. Fresno Bee article

Want to know what the UC probe of Katehi cost? So do we – Nearly six months after the University of California completed an investigation that led to the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, UC officials still cannot say what the probe cost taxpayers.  Sacramento Bee article

Coach wanted to rid campus of drugs. But plan cost district $300,000 to settle lawsuit — Two former Clovis North High School students, who say a school employee asked them to participate in a drug sting on campus without their parents’ consent, have settled their civil lawsuit with the Clovis Unified School District. Fresno Bee article

Fresno State football scores a victory – on the balance sheet – If DeRuyter had taken the next year (or two) off and returned to his native Long Beach to play golf and sail, Fresno State would’ve been on the hook for the full $3.1 million. But since DeRuyter went back into coaching right away, Fresno State gets to deduct what he makes at Cal from what is still owed. Fresno Bee article

Health/Human Services

Here’s what primary care doctors really think about Obamacare – A postelection survey of primary care physicians reveals that majorities of the doctors that first treat most Americans do not support some of the GOP’s most widely circulated plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  LA Times article

Interview: Alcohol, drugs fuel rise in death rates among white Valley residents – So what’s behind the numbers in what researchers are calling “deaths of despair?” And how are these issues impacting other demographic groups in the valley? We spoke with two members of the team that produced the report, Dr. Steven Woolf, lead author of the study and director of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University and Dr. Anthony Iton, Vice President of the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities project. Valley Public Radio report

San Joaquin Community Hospital announces new name, mission — San Joaquin Community Hospital is changing its name and broadening its focus to improving the health of the whole community, officials announced Wednesday. Bakersfield Californian article

Land Use/Housing

Mayor Brand seeks acceptance from both sides for his rental housing inspection plan — Fresno Mayor Lee Brand is scrambling for acceptance – if not outright support – from both an apartment owners’ group and tenant advocates as he crafts a plan to begin interior inspections of rental properties across the city as part of a crackdown on substandard housing. Fresno Bee article

Manteca braces for growth in first State of the City — When Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum sat down recently with new City Manager Elena Reyes, each brought a list of ideas for the rapidly growing city. And as it turned out, each list had one thing in common: An annual State of the City address. Stockton Record article

Other areas

Lemoore navy base welcomes first contingent of F-35C fighter jets — The first F-35C jets to be based at Lemoore Naval Air Station were flown in Wednesday afternoon, making Lemoore the first naval air base in the country to get the new generation of fighter jets. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta articleHanford Sentinel article

Christopher Meyers: Two exemplary people will receive Wendy Wayne Awards – The director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics at CSU Bakersfield writes, “There is not much more inspiring than sitting in on the selection process for the annual Wendy Wayne Awards for Exemplary Ethical Behavior. The committee members – all extraordinary people in their own right – are tasked with choosing the most impressive from a list of remarkable nominees. The conversation inspires and challenges: Inspires because it reinforces the quality of our community’s citizenry; challenges because their good works are a direct reminder that each of us can always do more and better.” Meyers op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Second homeless person in a week dies outside Sacramento City Hall – A transient man has died on Sacramento City Hall grounds for the second time in a week, increasing pressure for city leaders to find quick solutions for a vexing issue that has grown more visible as heavy rains displace homeless campers from hideaways along the rivers. Sacramento Bee article

Turlock city manager taking medical leave; city’s lawyer to fill in — City Attorney Phaedra Norton will fill the seat of City Manager Gary Hampton for the next four weeks as he recuperates from an unspecified medical procedure. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

 Bakersfield Californian  We ask Kern’s Democratic and Republican lawmakers — Senate Minority Leader Jean Fuller, Sen. Andy Vidak, and Assemblymen Rudy Salas and Vincent Fong — to join together in requesting the state’s independent auditor investigate November 2016 election results and procedures.

Fresno Bee – Mayor Brand correctly threads the needle on Fresno’s ‘sanctuary’ status; Why Trump’s trade policy is dangerously simplistic.

Merced Sun-Star – Gov. Brown draws some clear lines for California.

Modesto Bee – Gov. Brown draws some clear lines for California.

Sacramento Bee –- There is no charitable way to spin President Donald Trump’s reckless claim that millions of undocumented voters him the popular vote in the 2016 election. Either he’s delusional or he’s the sorest winner in American history; Why it’s smart to take a broader look at bigger Sacramento Convention Center.