July 10, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Cathleen Decker: It took only a month to count California’s votes. Here’s why, and here’s why it may get better – The lingering question isn’t who won the presidential primaries or the Senate race; the margins in those races, and most other regional and local contests across the state, were big enough that the winners have been known almost since primary day. No, this was the question: What took you so long? The answer: It’s complicated. More than voters know. But it may be about to get faster. Decker in LA Times 

State lawyer wants lawmakers’ addresses removed from pro-gun blog – Warning of “a grave risk” to elected officials, the California Legislature’s legal arm has asked the blog platform WordPress to take down a post listing the addresses of lawmakers who supported gun control legislation. Sacramento Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Kings DA: Prop 57 has too many uncertainties — Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes is urging citizens to read up before voting on an upcoming ballot measure that could spell early releases for an untold number of prison inmates. Hanford Sentinel article 

California Politics Podcast: The political world pauses — This week: The possible political path ahead after a week of violence in three U.S. cities. Plus, we discuss private meetings between Gov. Jerry Brown’s staff and the oil industry and the final tally of June 7 primary votes. With John Myers of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of KQED News. California Politics Podcast

Looking outside California for election reforms that improve turnout and save money – more registered voters hasn’t necessarily translated to more voting. This year in particular saw a significant early spike of registration in January, according to Mindy Romero, the founder and director of the California Civic Engagement Project at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. But, the actual turnout of just over 47 percent was lower than the 2008 presidential primary turnout of 59 percent. Maple suggests that looking at election models from other states could increase turnout and save money over the long term. California Forward commentary

Other areas 

Dan Morain: Why Kevin de Leon cares about guns – A decade ago, Kevin de León was knocking on doors in the East L.A. neighborhood of City Terrace in his first Assembly race when he looked down and saw an unspent bullet. Morain in Sacramento Bee 

Sacramento Bee: Toward a more focused approach to gun safety – No gun control law will stop all shootings everywhere. But a deeper, more informed, more targeted conversation might at least give us the opening – or openings – to try. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Jeff Jardine: State’s first successful assault weapon ban had strong Valley tie – In 1990, a gun-owning, duck-hunting federal court judge from Modesto dismissed a lawsuit by the National Rifle Association that claimed the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment overrode a state’s rights to make its own gun laws. Jardine column in Modesto Bee 

Obama cites guns as contributing to tensions between police, community — After a crushing week of attacks, protests and anger, President Barack Obama touched on the values that unite Americans before diving headlong into the debate over guns, one of the most divisive issues of his presidency. Washington Post article 

Black Lives Matter activists gather outside Scott Jones’ campaign office — Tying African American men killed by law enforcement in other states to deaths in Sacramento, more than 100 protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter gathered outside Sheriff Scott Jones’ congressional campaign office on Saturday. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Willie Brown: Careless Clinton navigates email waves, but Trump hits iceberg – Will her presidential campaign survive such an assessment? Absolutely! Just compare Clinton to her opponent. Almost every day, Donald Trump says or does something that demonstrates his unfitness for the presidency. The day after Comey “cleared” Clinton, Trump gave a speech justifying a tweet showing Hillary, a pile of money and what sure looked like a Star of David. It was mixed in with a lot of accusations about how the media, the ones showering him with free airtime, are out to get him, and a weird aside about how he doesn’t like mosquitoes. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle

News Stories

Top Stories

Dan Walters: California’s recovery has downside for those on lower rungs – As economists explore California’s seemingly powerful emergence from the Great Recession over the last half-decade, they have discovered some troubling trends. The recovery is geographically and sociologically uneven and widens the “income inequality” gap between those in upper and lower income brackets. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Water agencies relax penalties – but still urge conservation — Given the chance to police themselves after a wetter winter, Bakersfield’s five urban water districts are holstering their batons — relaxing or removing conservation standards while still preaching a message of saving water. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Kings County moving forward with Measure K retry — If at first you don’t succeed with Measure K, try again. That seems to be the motto of county leaders as they moved forward with plans to give voters a second shot at the public safety sales tax increment ballot measure, which fell just shy in June of the two-thirds vote it needed to pass. Hanford Sentinel article 

Yosemite’s names disputes likely headed for mediation – A high-profile clash over the trademarking of Yosemite National Park names appears headed for a mediated settlement. McClatchy Newspapers article

More tech workers driving solo after San Francisco cuts shuttle stops – The large buses that shuttle technology employees between San Francisco and their Silicon Valley workplaces have become a political flash point. Bowing to residents’ outcries, San Francisco recently cut the number of places that buses can stop in the Mission District and other popular neighborhoods. The result: More employees appear to be driving.  San Francisco Chronicle article 

Chargers move closer to vote on new stadium – The Chargers have collected enough signatures to put their plan for a new stadium in downtown San Diego on the November ballot, the team announced Saturday. LA Times article 

Berkeley’s approval of demolition increases worries over rent – A soon-to-be demolished apartment building in Berkeley has become a lightning rod for debate over skyrocketing rents in the area, as some residents worry that bulldozing rent-controlled units will make the neighborhood even less affordable. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Long Beach’s new City Hall will be privately owned under complex deal — Long Beach city officials broke ground for the construction of a new city hall and extensive new civic center Friday, one that will be designed, built, maintained and even owned by a private company. KPCC report 

Bay Area property tax assessments on a roll — Thanks mainly to rising property values and new construction, county assessment rolls — and therefore property tax revenue — have risen 6 to 9 percent in most Bay Area counties this year. San Francisco Chronicle article 


Fresno searches for answers on discoloration, lead in water — A vocal and growing number of residents in northeast Fresno are convinced water from the city’s Surface Water Treatment Facility is primarily responsible for corrosion in their pipes, causing discolored water – and in several dozen instances, lead contamination – to flow from their household faucets. Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Hundreds protest police shootings in March through north Fresno — With chants of “Black lives matter” and “Hands up, don’t shoot,” hundreds of protesters took to north Fresno streets on Saturday to protest police shootings locally and nationwide. While the march was mostly peaceful, a confrontation at a Highway 41 onramp put protesters face to face with a line of officers clad in riot gear. Fresno Bee article 

Marchers call for acceptance, unity after shootings around nation — Chanting “Black Lives Matter,” but also “All lives matter,” around 100 people marched from the Fox Theater to the Bakersfield Police Department on Saturday afternoon to protest relations between law enforcement and the people its members are sworn to protect. Bakersfield Californian article 

Man slain in central Stockton shooting is city’s 26th homicide of 2016 — Stockton police were investigating the city’s 26th homicide of the year Saturday after a 29-year-old man was gunned down in central Stockton. Stockton Record article 

A matter of trust: Community officer serves, guides, befriends, respects — Twenty-six years later, now in her 14th year as an officer with the Stockton Police Department, Sonia Diaz recalled the story Wednesday morning as she slowly drove through the streets of south Stockton’s Sierra Vista public-housing community. Stockton Record article 

The ambush killings of 4 CHP officers that changed California policing in 1970 – The massacre that left five Dallas police officers dead comes 46 years after a notorious ambush in Santa Clarita that left four California Highway Patrol officers dead. The CHP killings, known as the Newhall Incident, changed police training and brought a number of memorials over the years. Here’s a report from 2008 from Times Staff Writer Bob Pool. LA Times article


Community colleges see steady enrollment — Local community colleges serve a diverse population in the Valley from active duty military to high school graduates coming from different ethnic backgrounds. West Hills Community College District Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Institutional Effectiveness Rita Grogan, said enrollment numbers seem to be steady, and the school is looking for new ways to reach people in the Valley. Hanford Sentinel article


San Francisco enacts extensive ban on all things foam – Those ubiquitous stacks of plastic foam coffee cups at family picnics and church suppers are going the way of the plastic bag in San Francisco. Local officials approved a measure last month that bans all uses of plastic foam, from food packaging to disposable coolers. LA Times article

Crews have upper hand on Fort Fire — Kern County’s Fort Fire wasn’t entirely out, but was 70 percent contained and fire crews were in the mop-up phase on Saturday, a fire engineer said. Bakersfield Californian article 

Environmental group wants to bring grizzly bear back to California — The only place the grizzly bear lives in California today is at the San Francisco Zoo, but an Arizona-based advocacy group wants to change that. The Center for Biological Diversity would like to see the iconic animal depicted on the California flag return to the wilds of the Golden State where they haven’t been seen in nearly 100 years. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services 

Jeanne Conry: Stronger rules needed to protect babies, fetuses from toxic chemicals – The assistant physician in chief at The Permanente Medical Group in Roseville writes, “Our regulators need to overhaul their approach to developing and assessing evidence on chemicals to which pregnant women and children are exposed. These chemicals may be interfering in brain development, and this is particularly important to the vulnerabilities of the fetus and child. Regulators need to focus on the cumulative effects of exposure to multiple chemicals and the lack of a safety threshold while addressing and mitigating exposure to chemicals that are in the environment.” Conry op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Perjury questions surround Tulare Regional Medical Center opponent — A member of the Tulare Regional Medical Center board is accusing an opponent of its $55 million bond issue of perjury in a continuing dispute over whether the hospital withheld documents on its troubled tower project. Visalia Times-Delta article

Other areas 

Fatal incident underscores roadway dangers for Stanislaus County workers – A roadway incident last month that killed Stanislaus County public works employee Russell Scott Atchinson has spawned three investigations into the cause of the incident and workplace safety. Modesto Bee article

Lewis Griswold: Lemoore tackles feral cat issue, backs away from feeding ban — It’s a stretch to say feral cats have overtaken Lemoore, but there have been enough complaints that the city is considering what to do about them. But banning people from feeding feral cats will evidently not be one of the options. Griswold in Fresno Bee

The trusted grownups who steal millions from youth sports – Youth sports have turned from homespun local leagues into quasi-professional enterprises, and prosecutors say embezzlement investigations have become common. New York Times article

Inside an LA Oxycontin ring. What the drugmaker knew — A doctor at a clinic near MacArthur Park prescribed tens of thousands of OxyContin pills each month. The prescriptions were filled for straw patients from Skid Row, and the pills went to drug dealers. LA Times article

Hitting the road with California’s poet laureate — Dana Gioia’s latest collection, “99 Poems,” includes poems about the California landscape, giant sequoias and the Beach Boys. Now, as California poet laureate, he’s heading on a summer tour, bringing poetry to some rural parts of the state. KQED report

Valley Editorial Roundup

Sacramento Bee – No gun control law will stop all shootings everywhere. But a deeper, more informed, more targeted conversation might at least give us the opening – or openings – to try.