July 1, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

California lawmakers send sweeping gun package to Gov. Brown – California’s Democrat-controlled Legislature on Thursday approved far-reaching bills to bolster the state’s strong gun restrictions, sending Gov. Jerry Brown a package of measures revived after the deadly attack last year in San Bernardino. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times articleSan Jose Mercury News articleKQED report 

National Democrats hope to connect Republican in heavily Latino district to Donald Trump — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is forging ahead with efforts to link Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) with Donald Trump’s rhetoric,despite the congressman’s announcement last week that he won’t back the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. LA Times article 

California voters face full plate of initiatives on Nov. 8 — California voters will confront a smorgasbord of policy questions on the November ballot, with initiatives ranging from marijuana legalization and the death penalty to gun control and taxes qualifying by the Thursday deadline. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times article

State budget

When does a California governor fail to cut the budget? Rarely — The lack of budget vetoes in the annual spending plan that takes effect Friday is exceptional, marking the first veto-free budget in 34 years. Acting on the final budget during his first stint in the statehouse, Brown also didn’t touch any of the package sent to him by the Legislature in early July 1982. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown  

Jerry Brown likely to take mixed action on guns before European vacation — Gov. Jerry Brown suggested Thursday that he will take mixed action on a series of gun control measures before leaving on a European vacation Friday, vetoing some bills and signing others. Sacramento Bee article 

Why Jerry Brown likes idea of mandatory service for young people — One week before the 40th anniversary of the California Conservation Corps, which he started when he was governor before, Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday that he favors the idea of national, mandatory service for young people. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics 

Final votes are in: Patti to face Zapien — Moses Zapien will face Tom Patti in November to determine who will represent San Joaquin County’s third supervisorial district. Stockton Record article 

Pannett will run again for Hanford council — First-term Hanford City Councilman Gary Pannett is running for re-election in District C in November. Pannett, first elected in 2012, made the announcement in a written statement issued Wednesday. Hanford Sentinel article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Initiative to speed up the death penalty process qualifies for the November ballot — An initiative that aims to speed up executions in California qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot on Thursday, making it one of two competing measures voters will weigh on the death penalty. LA Times articleSacramento Bee article 

Jerry Brown’s parole measure makes November ballot — Gov. Jerry Brown’s constitutional amendment to make some nonviolent felons eligible for early parole qualified for the November ballot on Thursday – the statutory deadline – after a harried signature-gathering effort and intervention from the California Supreme Court.  Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Voters will weigh extension of temporary taxes on California’s wealthy taxpayers in November – An initiative to add 12 years to the life of temporary income tax rates on Californians earning above $250,000 a year secured a place on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot on Thursday. LA Times article 

Political participation among California communities of color dismal, report finds – A new report released Thursday finds that California still has a long way to go to improve political participation among its residents, particularly those who are Asian Americans, African Americans and Latinos. KPCC report 

People skills, political savvy propel ‘Jewish kid from the Bronx’ toward top California post – Eric Bauman, 57, a trained trauma nurse who went on to work in hospital administration and health care consulting before settling into politics, now wants to parlay his relationship skills into a big promotion: He’s the favorite to become the next chair of the California Democratic Party. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas 

Lawmakers given final approval to a $2-billion bond to help house the homeless – A bipartisan group of legislators sent Gov. Jerry Brown a $2-billion bond measure on Thursday that would provide housing for the homeless who suffer from mental illness.  LA Times article 

Lawmakers send governor bill to expand seizure of guns from persons judged dangerous – State lawmakers on Thursday sent the governor a bill that would significantly expand a law that allows certain people to petition to the courts to confiscate guns from persons deemed to be dangerous. LA Times article

Sacramento Bee: A modest teacher tenure bill meets a bipartisan death – School administrators should be empowered to discipline the few bad teachers. That’s in the best interest of children and ultimately of the vast majority of dedicated, talented and, yes, heroic, public school teachers. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Dan Walters: California’s perpetual war over schools flares on several fronts – California’s perpetual political war over the direction of its immense public education system flared up on several fronts this week without either side striking a decisive blow. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

California’s new child vaccination rule takes effect Friday — Parents: It’s time to get your kids their shots. California’s vaccine law takes full effect Friday, prohibiting school authorities from admitting new students or advancing students to seventh grade unless they have been properly vaccinated or have a valid medical excuse. Sacramento Bee article 

Joel Fox: The tough politics of tax reform – In Greek mythology, Sisyphus’ task of pushing a boulder uphill only to see it roll back down every time may be a metaphor for changing California’s tax system. State Controller Betty Yee is the latest to say the tax system must change. To undertake the task, she will need grit and patience for the politics of comprehensive tax reform, which will be like pushing that boulder uphill. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Sacramento Bee: How a lack of women at the table hurt working families – Women make up half of the electorate and almost half of the workforce. Too few hold office, but there should be a special place for those who do – at the table. Just as there is a special place for those who play politics at the expense of families – outside the Capitol door. Sacramento Bee editorial

Jean Junior: Making diapers more affordable is a big deal – The pediatric resident at University of California, San Francisco writes, “I am thrilled to serve as a doctor for our state’s children but recognize that I may not have made it to medical school graduation if I had grown up like the children I interviewed in Kenya or the millions of American kids living in poverty. The injustice of this gnaws at me, but it also motivates me to support bills such as AB 492 and 717 that would put more money in the pockets of my disadvantaged patients.” Junior op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Elected officials and community leaders: Violence doesn’t reflect Sacramento – Sacramento community leaders and elected officials gathered under the hot sun on the Capitol steps Thursday to denounce the violence that occurred during a white supremacist rally and counter-protest on Sunday. Sacramento Bee article 

Counter-protestors charged with attacking KKK members during bloody Anaheim rally — Seven counter-protesters have been charged with attacking members of the Ku Klux Klan during a so-called White Lives Matter rally that turned into a bloody melee in Anaheim earlier this year, prosecutors said Thursday.  LA Times article 

Bill Whalen: Obama’s visits to California were missed opportunities — One wonders if part of the Obama legacy will be missed opportunities to address larger matters. Whalen column in Sacramento Bee 

U.S. military to allow transgender men and women to serve openly — The Pentagon on Thursday lifted a long-standing ban against transgender men and women serving openly in the military, removing one of its last discriminatory hurdles and placing gender identity on par with race, religion, color, sex and sexual orientation. LA Times article 

Presidential Politics

Mark Baldassare: Will pot initiative motivate Sanders supporters to vote in November? – The president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California writes, “What’s next for Sanders supporters in the wake of a disappointing loss? They will find ballot initiatives – and one in particular – of great interest in California’s November election. For this reason, we expect to see the Sanders voters return to the polls and have a broad impact on election outcomes.” Baldassare op-ed in Sacramento Bee

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories 

Court rules sale of Delta islands can proceed – The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s $175 million purchase of five islands in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been cleared to move forward, even as legal challenges continue. Sacramento Bee article 

Proposed sales tax for roads comes as fewer cities ask developers to pay – Merced County voters will be asked whether to raise the sales tax in order to fix local roads, a ballot proposal that comes just as leaders of several cities are moving away from fees that have had developers fund such work. Merced Sun-Star article

Jobs and the Economy

Behind shrinking middle-class jobs: A surge in outsourcing — Globalization and the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and other cheap-labor countries are commonly blamed for driving down the wages and living standards of ordinary American workers, but there is another, less-known factor behind the shrinking middle class: domestic outsourcing. LA Times article

Michael Fitzgerald: San Joaquin County sheriff takes on homelessness with Honor Farm proposal — Sheriff Steve Moore on Thursday proposed tackling San Joaquin County’s homeless problem with a special homeless court and a helpful “program center” on jail grounds. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record 

Robin Abcarian: In San Francisco, a coordinated media effort to solve homelessness stirs the city – Morning, noon and night Wednesday, every time I looked at TV, or my computer, there was another story about homelessness, the great, draining conundrum of our times. Instead of coming off as hand-wringing — or overkill — it felt like a great force was shaking the city’s shoulders: Wake up, people. This is not an unsolvable problem. It can be fixed.  Abcarian column in LA Times 

Homelessness more complex since San Jose shut down ‘The Jungle’ – San Jose sits in Silicon Valley — one of the wealthiest regions in the country — yet homelessness is a persistent problem. Take a look around some of the biggest streets in East San Jose and you’ll notice what are essentially modern nomadic villages. On Lucretia Avenue, right across from Yerba Buena High School, we found numerous people living out of cars and campers. KQED report 

Q&A: What’s going on with these tax hikes for homeless programs, anyway? – Los Angeles’ political leaders have a $1.8-billion plan for addressing the city’s homelessness crisis. To carry it out, they need money. So this week, the City Council prepared two property tax increases for the Nov. 8 ballot. Yet they only want voters to consider one. It’s all a bit confusing, so we’re going to break it down. LA Times article 

What happens when one working family becomes homeless – Karima Aucar is getting her hands dirty at a summer camp in San Mateo. She dips them in a vat of clay and begins pounding. As she starts to shape the clay into a turtle, her dad, Shauky Aucar, hovers over her before leaving for work at UCSF Medical Center. KQED report 

California attorney general subpoenas oil refiners in gas-price probe — State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris has issued subpoenas to oil refiners as part of an investigation into unusually high gasoline prices in California during the last year. California drivers paid pump prices that were as much as $1.50 higher than the rest of the nation since last summer. LA Times article 

SEUI Local 1000 board approves $143,000 stipend for top leaders – The board of directors of SEIU Local 1000 has approved a new stipend for the union’s top elected leaders nearly five years after a controversial proposal to raise pay initially circulated. The stipend more than doubles President Yvonne Walker’s pay to nearly $109,000 a year. Sacramento Bee article 

Defense attorney group signs one-year contract with Merced County – The Merced Defense Associates has accepted a one-year contract to represent indigent clients in Merced County, a deal that is less than it wanted but saves the court system from falling into a potentially chaotic lapse. Merced Sun-Star article

Hanford hotel project breaks ground – Hanford may be at the start of a hotel renaissance. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday to kick off construction activity on a four-story, 80-room Home2 Suites by Hilton on Glendale Avenue east of 12th Avenue. Hanford Sentinel article 

Fulton Cycle Works reopens in Hanford following Fresno break-ins — Fulton Cycle Works reopened in downtown Hanford Thursday, after a string of burglaries tormented its previous Fresno location near Warnors Theatre in the spring. Fresno Bee article 

Judge upholds Uber settlement with drivers – A federal judge withheld approval Thursday of a settlement of $84 million to $100 million for hundreds of thousands of Uber drivers in California and Massachusetts and questioned whether the deal would compensate drivers adequately for the claims they were giving up. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Yahoo CEO paints bright picture with potential sale looming – Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer tried to hit all the upbeat notes during an annual shareholders meeting as the company considers selling its slumping internet operations. AP article 

As international billionaires get nervous, sales in LA’s ultra-luxury housing market slow – Even before Britain’s vote last week to leave the European Union jolted investors worldwide, there were reports of a slowdown in the ultra-luxury housing market. In Los Angeles, agents were seeing more price cuts. LA Times article 

$54 million wasted on ‘unnecessary’ interest payments, LA city controller says — Los Angeles has, for years, stockpiled millions of dollars in funding meant to pay for various bond programs, forcing taxpayers to shell out at least $54 million in “unnecessary” interest payments on that dormant money, according to an audit released Wednesday by the city controller’s office. LA Times article 

Daniel Borenstein: Justices reject city manager’s pension-spiking scheme – Retired city manager Joseph Tanner, a critic of inflated public employee benefits who helped steer Vallejo through bankruptcy, has lost another bid to spike his pension 42 percent. In a unanimous decision Tuesday, a state appellate court rejected his claim that in 2009 he was entitled to starting annual retirement pay of $307,000. Borenstein in East Bay Times 

Community celebrates opening of Freedom Plaza and Visitor Center — Several hundred people gathered on a warm Thursday afternoon for a joyous occasion people have looked forward to for quite some time — the grand opening of the Freedom Plaza and Visitor Center at the corner of West Tehachapi Boulevard and South Curry Street. Tehachapi News article


Valley groups, feds seek funds to build Temperance Flat dam – A coalition of local elected officials, water districts, tribal members and the federal government will gather Friday to launch the application process to help build Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir project. Fresno Bee article 

John Lindt: More water for the Valley? — Local officials working to secure funding for the $2.6 billion Temperance Flat reservoir above Millerton got some good news recently when they were advised that the Bureau of Reclamation will soon release their final feasibility report for the storage project and it will be positive – providing benefits for water supply reliability and the San Joaquin River ecosystem. Lindt in Hanford Sentinel article 

Modesto may turn splash fountains back on at parks — Modesto may turn on some of its splash fountains after shuttering the popular water features two summers ago because of the drought. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Stockton Police Department’s staffing levels continue to rise – It took only about 60 seconds for Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones to swear in two new officers, but it took years for the Police Department to achieve the staffing numbers it reached Thursday afternoon. Jones introduced two new officers, two police recruits and two police trainees during a swearing-in ceremony in the Community Room on the second floor of the Police Department. The new hires give the department 409 officers, its highest staffing level since 2009, before budget cuts and the city’s eventual descent into bankruptcy in 2012 forced major staff reductions. Stockton Record article 

Fresno police plead for help finding Baby Rashad’s killer — Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer on Thursday pleaded with eyewitnesses to come forward and identify the gunman responsible for slaying 20-month-old Rashad Halford Jr. at a southeast Fresno apartment complex last week. Fresno Bee article 

City withholds names of Modesto officers involved in deadly shooting – The names of two Modesto police officers involved in a deadly shooting last month are being withheld by city officials, who claim releasing the names could jeopardize the officers’ safety. Modesto Bee article 

Federal judge finds evidence of racial bias by San Francisco police – Accusations of racism in the San Francisco Police Department gained momentum in federal court Thursday when a judge ruled that a series of Tenderloin drug stings — in which all 37 people charged were black — showed “substantial evidence” of racially discriminatory law enforcement. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Teen in police sex-abuse scandal reports sex with three San Francisco Police Department officers – The teenager whose suspected sexual exploitation ignited a Bay Area police scandal said she told internal affairs investigators at the San Francisco Police Department that she had sex with three city officers — and that in each case she was 18, they were off-duty and they did not pay her. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Contra Costa deputy resigns as teen names him in sex scandal — A Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy resigned Thursday after a teenager at the center of a Bay Area-wide police scandal said he had sex with her several times last summer when she was 17 years old. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Tehachapi Police Department opens dispatch center — The Tehachapi Police Department launched its own dispatch center, began taking its own calls from the public and opened its doors to the citizens 24 hours a day beginning Thursday. Bakersfield Californian article


CSU may require four years of high school math for admission – In the not-too-distant future, high school students bound for a California State University campus who thought they could slide through their senior year without taking a math course might instead be hitting the books. EdSource article 

West Hills Community College District chancellor plans to retire – West Hills Community College District’s Chancellor Dr. Frank Gornick will retire at the end of the 2016-17 school year after 23 years of service. Hanford Sentinel article 

Sacramento city school district seeks parcel tax to help disadvantaged students — Trustees of the Sacramento City Unified School District have voted unanimously to place a $75 parcel tax on the Nov. 8 ballot to raise up to $7 million a year for counseling, tutoring and other support services for students who are struggling and in danger of dropping out. Sacramento Bee article


Report: Fresno is number one for industrial solar power in California – Fresno is the state’s top region for industrial solar power, according to a report from a San Francisco nonprofit. The amount of solar on Fresno-area warehouses and distribution centers – 11,132 kilowatts – is larger than the amount installed in the Silicon Valley and the greater Los Angeles areas combined, the 2016 California Green Innovation Index said. Fresno Bee article 

‘Earthquake?’ Google promises faster information – and a map – “Earthquake?” It can be frustrating finding out how big an earthquake was, and where it struck, in the seconds following a temblor. But starting Thursday, Google says it’s going to provide searchers with instant access to the size of the earthquake and a map of where it struck — without needing to click on a link. LA Times article 

PG&E monitoring gas leak in Delta — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. officials are monitoring a gas leak at one of its natural gas storage facilities on McDonald Island in the San Joaquin Delta. Stockton Record article 

AQMD plan would fight smog mainly through incentives, not rules — For decades, regulators have attacked Southern California’s notorious smog through an ever-stricter array of regulations that forced polluters to deploy cleaner technology. But a plan released Thursday by the South Coast Air Quality Management District takes a more industry-friendly approach. It relies on finding billions in incentive funds to encourage people and businesses to voluntarily transition to lower-polluting cars, trucks and equipment. LA Times article 

Health/Human Services 

Growing industry or unregulated risk? UC Davis study looks at booming stem cell clinics — A new study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell Thursday by UC Davis professor Paul Knoepfler and a partner from the University of Minnesota is drawing attention to the increasing number of clinics in the U.S. that offer stem-cell therapies not approved by the FDA. Using extensive internet searches, Knoepfler and bio-ethics professor Leigh Turner found 351 separate businesses promoting those services at 570 different clinics. California is home to 113 of them. It’s a striking number that illustrates the reach of what Knoepfler and his partner describe as a largely unregulated industry that has not yet collected enough clinical data to prove whether its methods are safe and effective. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article 

MAP: Here’s where Zika mosquitoes are likely found in California — The first thing to know about the mosquito that can carry Zika is that it is not widespread in California. Most of California’s 58 counties do not have — and have never had — any infestation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the most worrisome carrier when it comes to Zika. KQED report 

Northern California has highest costs in U.S. to deliver a baby — Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area ranked as the most expensive places to have a baby of 30 major metropolitan regions in the U.S. according to an analysis released Thursday. KQED report

Land Use/Housing 

Builders break ground, unveil new homes in Dinuba and Fresno — San Joaquin Valley Homes is building on the last parcel in Viscaya, a master-planned community in Dinuba. Granville Homes unveiled its new line of houses called the Canvas Collection with three model homes in the builder’s Belterra neighborhood near Shields and Armstrong in Fresno. Fresno Bee article 

Second design workshop coming for Awesome Spot inclusive playground — A rough conceptual design for the inclusive playground planned for Beyer Community Park will be shared with the community at a meeting in July. The Awesome Spot, as it’s been dubbed, will allow children with disabilities to play side by side with able-bodied children. It also will be accessible to parents with disabilities to join their children on the playground. Modesto Bee article


To lure Southwest Airlines, Fresno council makes new offer – The Fresno City Council on Thursday approved an upgraded set of incentives that the airport can offer to carriers, offering to waive landing fees and providing as much as $300,000 in marketing assistance if an airline launches new flights to a destination not already served, or for a new airline – such as the oft-wished-for, low-cost Southwest Airlines – entering the Fresno market. Fresno Bee article

Fatal crash of Tesla Model S in autopilot prompts ‘preliminary evaluation’ by federal officials — The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is opening a preliminary evaluation into Tesla’s autopilot feature, after the fatal crash of a Model S that was in self-driving mode, the electric automaker said Thursday. It is believed to be the first fatal accident involving a self-driving car. LA Times articleAP article 

How much truth is there to those ‘Speed Enforced by Aircraft’ signs? — Every time Aaron Perry-Zucker drives down I-5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles, he sees the signs: “Speed enforced by aircraft.” But he’s never seen an aircraft issue a ticket, and he can’t imagine how that even would work. “It never really made sense,” he said. “It didn’t seem believable.” KQED report 

BART welcomes a new kind of train — The biggest thing to hit Antioch in some time was the arrival on Thursday of a spiffy new BART train that, like many BART trains, wasn’t running. That’s because the new Antioch extension won’t open for another year and a half. But BART was in a celebratory mood anyway, because the new test train for its perpetually under-construction Antioch line had arrived from the Swiss factory on time, and on-time arrivals for BART are not a sure thing. San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas 

Lemonade stands, hay donations, meal servings: How Kern’s helping fire victims – Kern County may be spread far apart, but when tragedy hits, the county comes together. The Erskine Fire began a week ago Thursday and since then, countless businesses, nonprofits and individuals have teamed up to help its victims. Bakersfield Californian article 

Modesto will take another look at fireworks ordinance – Modesto will take a second look at a new ordinance that allows authorities to issue $1,000 administrative citations to property owners whose tenants set off illegal fireworks. Modesto Bee article 

Kern sheriff’s deputies won’t be on fireworks task force — In a potential blow to the ongoing fight against illegal fireworks use, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office has pulled out of participating in this year’s July 4th enforcement task force. Sheriff’s deputies are just too overworked, said Sheriff Donny Youngblood. Reaction wasn’t good. Bakersfield Californian article 

Doug Greener: At a minimum, legal fireworks must be used per the law – Bakersfield’s fire chief writes, “When it comes to fireworks, my stance as the fire chief is straightforward. I’m opposed to them. Or I should say that I’m specifically opposed to consumer grade, personal use fireworks, particularly during an extreme drought. One home lost to fire is too big a price to pay for someone else’s discretionary fun, in my opinion. There’s really no other position for me to take as a firefighter, and I comfortably stand by that in the interest of public safety.” Greener op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Clovis promotes deputy fire chief to top post — John Binaski has been named the new chief of the Clovis Fire Department. He replaces current Fire Chief Micheal Despain, who will become fire chief in Lincoln, Neb., in two weeks. He was Clovis’ chief since 2013 after six years with the Fresno Fire Department. Fresno Bee article 

Stanislaus animal services director defends euthanization at shelter – Animal Services Executive Director Annette Patton responded to a flap this week over euthanized dogs pictured on Facebook by inviting reporters to the regional animal shelter on Cornucopia Way in Modesto. Modesto Bee article

Judge grants order against two Oakdale Irrigation District board members — Two elected water leaders will be barred in coming weeks from closed-door board discussions and related votes about a fallowing lawsuit facing the Oakdale Irrigation District. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Volkswagen’s settlement could spawn innovation.

Sacramento Bee – Women make up half of the electorate and almost half of the workforce. Too few hold office, but there should be a special place for those who do – at the table. Just as there is a special place for those who play politics at the expense of families – outside the Capitol door; School administrators should be empowered to discipline the few bad teachers. That’s in the best interest of children and ultimately of the vast majority of dedicated, talented and, yes, heroic, public school teachers.

Stockton Record – Have a safe Fourth of July.