July 13, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

California’s drought may be easing, but fight over water persists — California Republicans are spreading out their bets in their annual effort to steer more water to the state’s farmers. In the absence of negotiations, such tactics matter most right now. Framed by a hearing Tuesday, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives will vote this week on whether to retain farmer-friendly California water provisions in an Interior Department funding bill for the fiscal year that begins in October. Whether this vehicle succeeds where others have failed will probably be known only after the November elections. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Jerry Brown ‘cruising along’ in new poll — Gov. Jerry Brown’s public approval rating is nowhere near as high as it was when he first took office in 1975, but California voters continue to approve of the job he is doing by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, according to a new poll. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown 

Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown should give a break to underwater homeowners — California tax collectors should stop rubbing salt in the wounds of homeowners still trying to recover from the mortgage meltdown. By tax collector we mean Gov. Jerry Brown. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Valley politics 

Henry Perea on Black Lives Matter, rusty Fresno water– Northeast Fresno’s water problem – corroded residential pipes that have resulted in rusty water that in some cases contains lead – isn’t just an issue for the residents involved, it’s now the latest issue in the 2016 mayor’s race.  Last week on Valley Edition, councilmember and mayor candidate Lee Brand called his opponent Henry Perea a “political opportunist” for wading into the issue. This week Supervisor Perea joined us to talk about his views on the issue as well as on the use of force by law enforcement in Fresno and nationwide. KVPR report

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Dianne Feinstein officially opposes pot legalization in California – Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday formally opposed an initiative on California’s fall ballot to legalize recreational marijuana for adults. Feinstein said the measure, Proposition 64, lacked protections for children and motorists and would clash with medical marijuana guidelines signed last fall by Gov. Jerry Brown. Sacramento Bee article

Kamala Harris praises Dallas chief, calls for confronting profiling — Democrat Kamala Harris, the state’s top law enforcement official and a candidate for U.S. Senate, on Tuesday praised Dallas Police Chief David Brown for his leadership following the deaths of five officers in an ambush-style attack during a peaceful march last week. Sacramento Bee article 

Kevin Faulconer to help lead opposition to Brown’s parole measure — San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer will announce Wednesday that he plans to help lead the opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s statewide fall ballot initiative to make some felons eligible for early parole. Sacramento Bee article 


Kevin R. Johnson: Ruling puts immigration reform debate back in Congress’ hands – The dean of the UC Davis School of Law and Mabie-Apallas professor of public interest law and Chicana/o Studies writes, “In the much-watched immigration case challenging the president’s executive actions, a divided Supreme Court last month essentially called “time out” in a close sporting event and returned the ball to Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform.” Johnson op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Other areas 

PolitiFact CA: Mostly false claim that California gun control measure will ‘criminalize’ the sharing of bullets — Recently, a gun rights group, the Firearms Policy Coalition, in a June 16 email blast claimed Proposition 63 would restrict not only ammo sales, but “criminalize the sharing of bullets between hunting and shooting partners.” The Sacramento-based coalition describes itself as a grassroots nonprofit dedicated to defending Second Amendment rights. We decided to examine the claim: Would Proposition 63 really criminalizes the sharing of bullets between friends? PolitiFact CA article 

Group launching recall attempt against Oakland Mayor Schaaf — A group of activists filed a notice of intent Tuesday to mount a recall campaign against Mayor Libby Schaaf, saying she has failed to look out for African Americans, Latinos and poor people in Oakland. San Francisco Chronicle article

News Stories

Top Stories

Fight brewing over Kern County fire budget – Of the Kern County budget battles expected to be waged this summer, the biggest will undoubtedly be over the Fire Department. The department faces a $21 million budget hole, a gap that used to be filled by oil industry property tax revenue. With oil prices and therefore tax revenue down, leaders in the Fire Department and County Administrative Office are at odds over how to fill critical parts of the deficit. Bakersfield Californian article

State’s Delta smelt plan calls for more water flowing to sea — With Delta smelt numbers at all-time lows, state officials on Tuesday released a list of more than a dozen projects they’re hoping to undertake in the next few years in a last-ditch effort to stave off the fish’s extinction. One of those plans is sure to be contentious. The “Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy” released Tuesday by the California Natural Resources Agency calls for allowing between 85,000 and 200,000 acre-feet of extra water to wash out to sea this summer to bolster smelt habitat. Sacramento Bee articleCapital Public Radio report

Jobs and the Economy 

Hanford expects sales tax windfall – Hanford officials expect a sales tax bonanza this fiscal year, with revenue expected to jump by $3.39 million over fiscal year 2015-2016, according to the preliminary two-year budget adopted by the City Council on June 28. Hanford Sentinel article 

Kings County survey to address salaries, job turnover — Kings County employees may soon be getting a fatter paycheck–or not. The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a compensation study July 5 that will compare salaries of county employees to salaries of employees in nearby counties. If the study indicates a disparity in salaries – and the board approves the study’s recommendations – employees will receive a raise. Hanford Sentinel article 

San Joaquin County workers plead case for contract – Members of Service Employees International Union 1021 and the California Nurses Association filled the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors’ chambers Tuesday to urge officials to return to the negotiation tables and take a serious look at filling more than 700 vacancies and offer a more competitive salary package to employees. Stockton Record article

Stockton police pay raise formally approved – The City Council on Tuesday formally approved a significant pay raise for police officers, but not before the head of the police union warned that the raise might not go as far toward retaining experienced officers as some hope. The council voted 7-0 to boost police pay 11 percent as of this month, including a 6 percent cost-of-living increase and a 5 percent raise in base pay. Stockton Record article 

California’s cap-and-trade market could gain partners under new plan – California’s groundbreaking cap-and-trade program designed to rein in carbon emissions will grow into the next decade and include partners in Toronto and parts of the Brazilian Amazon under a proposal released Tuesday by the state Air Resources Board detailing how the agency plans to hit Gov. Jerry Brown’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. Sacramento Bee article‘Why are the world’s cap-and-trade markets struggling to keep up?’ in Sacramento Bee 

Green industry created about 30,000 blue collar jobs in California, study finds – The study, from UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education, contends that investments in renewable energy facilities supported 32,636 blue collar construction jobs between 2002 and 2015. Sacramento Bee article 

LA County marijuana tax for homeless services to appear on November ballot – s Angeles County voters will decide this fall whether to tax marijuana businesses to help pay for housing and health services for the homeless. LA Times article 

San Francisco civil grand jury calls for homelessness reforms – The San Francisco civil grand jury handed the city’s new homelessness czar what amounts to a ringing endorsement for his key plans Tuesday when it called for more housing for street people, better routing into that housing from shelters and the creation of a system closely tracking homeless clients through aid agencies. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Dan Walters: California’s big pension fund sees flat earnings for a second year – The timing for flat earnings couldn’t be worse. CalPERS is seeing pension outlays rise as baby boomer workers retire in large numbers and claim benefits that politicians irresponsibly increased during a brief period of high earnings. Moreover, the projected lifespan of retirees continues to increase, which means even more outlays. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Appellate court sides with Tulare County workers’ union – California’s Fifth Appellate Court sided with the union representing nearly 3,000 county employees, upholding a Public Employment Relations Board decision the county couldn’t enforce pay freezes on workers. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Jazmin Robles: Step one in climbing Arvin’s mountain of poverty – The teacher at Arvin High School and member of Arvin City Council writes, “As an elected official, I applaud the Kern Community College District for both having the vision and taking a very important first step in building a Bakersfield College site in the city of Arvin. The Arvin facility has been added to a draft project list with a price tag of $25 million and is currently just a line item. I encourage the KCCD board to take the next step and add the Arvin campus to the final language in a bond measure they are considering putting before voters in November.” Robles op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Walmart cutting ribbon on Lodi store – Walmart’s sprawling new superstore — combining general merchandise, pharmacy and grocery products, as well as a full auto service center and eyebrow threading salon — opens today at Kettleman Lane and Lower Sacramento Road. With about 207,000 square feet of floor space, the new Walmart will also provide jobs for more than 400 full- and part-time associates, approximately 200 more than at the old store, store manager Troy Johnson said. Stockton Record article 

Sacramento council will debate recreational marijuana tax – Sacramento will consider taxing recreational marijuana if it is legalized in the state. The City Council agreed on Tuesday to discuss the tax at a future meeting after Councilman Jeff Harris raised the issue. Sacramento Bee article 

California gas prices stabilize, but remain highest in U.S. – Fresno’s average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas dropped a penny to $2.82 in the past month, which followed California’s trend toward stabilization, according to the latest AAA gas price report. Although California prices are still the highest in the country, AAA spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough said prices are staying more consistent. Fresno Bee article 

Stanislaus County will pay $90,000 for study on economic impacts of river plan – Stanislaus County leaders authorized $90,000 Tuesday to pay for an economic study on a contested state plan that would keep more water in rivers for fisheries. For three years, the State Water Board has continued work on a proposal that would dedicate 35 percent of flows in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers for fish and wildlife. Modesto Bee article

Businesses show their stuff at Stanislaus County Fair – This part of the Stanislaus County Fair may be as dizzying as it gets. We’re not talking about the carnival rides. We’re talking about the commercial booths, where businesses promote a crazy array of good and services. Modesto Bee article 

Joel Fox: A back door way to tax business — A parcel tax for parks and perhaps another for relieving homelessness is coming to a head in Los Angeles County with efforts to tax property parcels on a square footage basis. This is an obvious attempt to collect more tax revenue from business property owners. Fox in Fox & Hounds 

Mobile showers will let Modesto homeless wash away dirt, soak up dignity – “It’s all about dignity. If you’re dirty, you can’t get a job, you don’t feel good about yourself. You need to be clean. You can’t just go walk into a place looking for a job if you’re all messed up and dirty and unshaven. … You give up hope.” That’s what Kevin Dole, homeless for about seven years, told Church in the Park President Dean Dodd, who was interviewing homeless Modestans for a video about the church’s new Cleansing Hope Shower Shuttle. Modesto Bee article 

San Francisco may revise vacation-rental law to block Airbnb lawsuit – San Francisco may revise its latest attempt to crack down on vacation rentals in private homes, hoping to stave off issues raised in a lawsuit filed by Airbnb that seeks to halt new enforcement measures. San Francisco Chronicle article 

San Diego hotel tax hike measure makes November ballot – The Citizens’ Plan, a wide-ranging initiative that would raise San Diego’s hotel tax to help promote tourism and build a satellite convention center, has qualified for the November ballot. San Diego Union-Tribune article 

Nonbank lenders surging in California mortgage market — The number of home loans originated in California by nonbank lenders soared last year to 537,757, up 47.3 percent from 2014, according to a report issued Monday by the California Department of Business Oversight. San Francisco Chronicle article


USDA urges African Americans to take up farming, ranching – The USDA is hoping to encourage more African Americans to take up careers in agriculture. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports from an outreach event held Tuesday in Fresno. KVPR report 

LA woman sues Foster Farms over humane label — A Los Angeles woman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Foster Farms and the American Humane Association, citing the use of the association’s humane-certified label on Foster Farms chicken as misleading. Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Dylan Noble’s mother files claim against Fresno Police Department over his shooting — The mother of Dylan Noble, the 19-year-old fatally shot by Fresno police officers last month during a traffic stop, has filed a claim against the city. Stuart Chandler, the attorney for Veronica Nelson, filed the claim Monday. In it, Chandler alleges that Nelson has suffered loss of companionship and “significant emotional and mental distress as a result of the senseless and brutal shooting death of her son.” Fresno Bee articleLA Times article 

Family of man killed by Bakersfield police at Oildale restaurant files federal lawsuit – The mother and young sons of a man Bakersfield police shot to death last summer at a Subway restaurant in Oildale have filed a federal lawsuit accusing the city, its police department and two officers of killing him without justification and then covering up the incident. Bakersfield Californian article 

DA to mom of teen shot by Stockton police: ‘We failed you’ – San Joaquin County’s top law enforcement official and the mother of a boy who was fatally shot by Stockton police shared a riveting moment Tuesday evening during a community forum organized by the local branch of the NAACP. Stockton Record article 

Fresno Bee: Fresno needs to hear from mayor on police issues – Mayor Swearengin should have used the media to speak to every Fresnan, to appeal to our better selves and to make clear that City Hall is dedicated to ensuring the safety of all and working hard to resolve problems. Instead, she defaulted to Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer. Since June 25, he has been speaking for the city. That isn’t Dyer’s job. It’s the mayor’s job, and we ask that she do it. Fresno Bee editorial

The facts about police shootings in California: Black, white and Latino – California police shot and killed about 1,130 people during the last decade, including 130 people killed in 2015, according to a Sacramento Bee review of California Department of Justice data. About 43 percent of those killed by California police were Latino; 30 percent were white; 20 percent were black; and 7 percent were some other race. However, blacks were killed at a disproportionate rate. Police shot and killed blacks at almost five times the rate of whites and three times the rate of Latinos. Sacramento Bee article 

It’s not just Dallas – the number of police officers killed nationwide has increased – With the Dallas shootings, 26 police officers have died in the line of duty so far this year, a substantial jump over the 18 officers who had died at this point in 2015, according the statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial FundLA Times article 

Fresno police unit lowers number of domestic violence cases – Ricardo Rosas, 26, of Fresno was arrested Saturday on suspicion of kidnapping his girlfriend, Sgt. Chris Serrano said. Serrano said Rosas was apprehended by the Fresno Police Department’s Adult Compliance Team and faces multiple felony charges, including kidnapping, robbery and domestic violence. Fresno Bee article 

Amid protests, panel finds that LAPD did not violate deadly force rules in shooting of black woman in South LA — As hundreds of demonstrators descended on downtown Los Angeles, the city’s Police Commission on Tuesday faulted two LAPD officers for their tactics leading up to the killing of a black woman in South L.A. last year, but found that the fatal shooting did not violate the department’s deadly force policy. LA Times article 

After a week of violent shootings, what to tell the kids? — The shootings last week that left two black men dead at the hands of police officers and five Dallas police officers dead at the hands of a sniper have left families worried about how to talk to their kids about it. KPCC report 

Chowchilla killers talk about life after prison – As the 40th anniversary of the Chowchilla bus kidnapping nears, two of the three kidnappers are out of prison and leading quiet lives in the Bay Area. The third kidnapper remains in prison. Brothers Richard and James Schoenfeld and Fred Woods commandeered a Dairyland Elementary school bus on July 15, 1976, holding 26 children and bus driver Ed Ray captive for 16 hours before they broke out of a van buried in a Livermore quarry. The 40th anniversary of the notorious kidnapping is Friday, but the Schoenfelds have given no media interviews. They spoke only reluctantly to a friend about their lives today and agreed to have the limited comments shared in The Bee. Fresno Bee article 

Attorney Richard Berman gets $250,000 from Fresno County for being roughed up — High-profile attorney Richard Berman has settled his federal civil-rights lawsuit against the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office for $250,000 in a case that he says solidifies a person’s right to question authority. Fresno Bee article 

Stanford sex assault convict to get counseling – The former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexual assault will be required to attend drug and alcohol counseling in addition to being randomly tested after he was caught lying about his high school habits. AP article 


Fresno State President Castro to receive Distinguished Servant Leadership Award – Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro will be recognized with the Distinguished Servant Leadership Award on July 14 for his contributions to the Executive Leadership Academy. The academy, which prepares visionary higher education leaders from all backgrounds to guide their institutions in a multicultural and global environment, is sponsored by the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Fresno State news release 

Charter school issue leaves 650 kids in limbo – Parents of nearly 650 schoolchildren are anxious to find out if they will be forced to send their children to another school. Last week, the New Jerusalem School District board voted to wait 30 days before making a decision on the fate of both the Acacia Elementary, 1016 E. Bianchi Road, and Acacia Middle, 1605 E. March Lane, in Stockton. Stockton Record article 

Techy teens get paid to fix school computers – The Merced Union High School District is using a new approach when it comes to fixing computers – students get to do the work and they get paid for it. Merced Sun-Star article

Nan Austin: Teachers union gets the rights wrong on this one – A bill to raise teaching as a profession died in committee, speared by the very unions that profess to speak for all teachers. If those voices of solidarity were listening, they would hear the frustration of young teachers quitting the profession and mid-career veterans furious that going the extra mile gets them nowhere. Austin in Modesto Bee

Merced College officer quits, says contract dispute ‘just a fiasco’ – A 61-year-old retired police officer said Tuesday he has resigned as a Merced College citation officer because he felt unsafe in a hostile working environment as the college moves to a new law enforcement oversight arrangement. Merced Sun-Star article 

UC Berkeley chancellor under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds, person use of campus athletic trainer – University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks is under university investigation for the alleged misuse of public funds for travel and the personal use of a campus athletic trainer without payment, the Los Angeles Times has learned. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article 

San Francisco principals defy school board, hire Teach for America recruits — A handful of San Francisco elementary school principals facing an urgent need to fill positions for the fall have hired Teach for America recruits despite the school board’s vocal opposition to the organization. San Francisco Chronicle article 

New resources designed to make Common Core-aligned tests more useful – California is providing a range of new resources to teachers, parents and the public to make Smarter Balanced tests and student scores easier to understand — and more useful in actually guiding instruction. EdSource article 

Summer algebra institute helps prepare students for high school math — The San Bernardino program is one of 17 boot camp-styled math academies set up statewide and funded by California State University in coordination with African-American churches in each community. Dotting the state from Sacramento and Pittsburg in Northern California to Whittier and Irvine in the south, they represent a grassroots effort to close analgebra achievement gap between African-American students and some other racial and ethnic groups, a gap that remains stubbornly large. EdSource article 

British university to offer classes in Roseville in 2018 — A British university said Tuesday it plans to offer classes in Roseville in 2018, the precursor to a major campus it expects to build in Placer County over the next 15 years. Officials with the University of Warwick, in a presentation to the Placer County Board of Supervisors, said the school expects to begin recruiting students next year for two graduate programs that would launch in 2018. Sacramento Bee article


EPA inaction sends emissions plan back to drawing board – The federal EPA’s recent inaction on a valley air district plan to reduce small particulate emissions will require additional planning but not, as locals had feared, costly sanctions, a spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday. The news was skeptically received, however, by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s executive director and a board member. Bakersfield Californian article 

Study says expansion of California’s electric grid would save consumers $1.5 billion — The manager of the state’s electric grid on Tuesday released studies that show its proposed expansion would save consumers $1.5 billion and help with the state’s goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. LA Times article 

Wildfire east of Clovis now 60 percent contained — Fire crews are making progress in containing the Big Fire and evacuation orders have been lifted, Cal Fire’s Stacey Nolan said Tuesday. Fresno Bee article 

San Francisco supervisors ban foam and add another homeless tent camp proposal — That foam that keeps your coffee hot and the beer in your ice chest cold is getting ready to disappear from San Francisco, as the Board of Supervisorsgave its final approval Tuesday to a ban on polystyrene foam packaging in the city. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services 

Is a new medical school the answer to Valley’s doctor shortage? — Have you ever called your doctor or hospital seeking an appointment and been told the wait will be weeks or maybe months? You have been affected by the Central Valley’s doctor shortage. Now more than one group is pushing a potential solution, locally sourced doctors from a new medical school. KVPR report 

College of Pharmacy in Clovis moves closer to accreditation — California Health Sciences University in Clovis is one step closer to accreditation for its Doctor of Pharmacy program. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) recently moved the university from “pre-candidate” status to “candidate” status, the second phase of a three-step process toward full accreditation. ACPE is the national agency that accredits all Doctor of Pharmacy programs. The Business Journal article 

For some with autism, a miracle treatment that fades fast — A few people with high-functioning autism say they’ve been briefly helped by exposure to transcranial magnetic stimulation. But there’s a cost, one mother found, to getting ahead of the science. KQED report


LA high-speed rail backers tour Fresno, Madera construction sites — A small contingent of high-speed rail supporters from Los Angeles spent Tuesday morning getting a firsthand look at construction in Fresno and Madera on the first stages of the state’s bullet-train project. Fresno Bee article 

Other areas 

Modesto courthouse funding at risk — State funding for the new $267 million courthouse in downtown Modesto is in jeopardy, part of a funding shortfall for courthouse projects throughout California. Modesto Bee article 

Lois Henry: Still looking at ways to beat illegal fireworks – I’ve been saying for a few years now that the state and feds need to lend some muscle to keep illegal fireworks out of local hands. To that end, Bakersfield Fire Chief Douglas Greener has fired off a letter to several state and federal representatives outlining the mayhem his troops face every year and asking for help. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Fresno County makes deal on Clovis building for Internal Services — Fresno County supervisors voted to move its separated Internal Services Department from two facilities into one site in Clovis. The plan is to move into a former Pelco/Schneider Electric building at 333 W. Pontiac Way. The vote was 4-1. Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Mayor Swearengin should have used the media to speak to every Fresnan, to appeal to our better selves and to make clear that City Hall is dedicated to ensuring the safety of all and working hard to resolve problems. Instead, she defaulted to Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer. Since June 25, he has been speaking for the city. That isn’t Dyer’s job. It’s the mayor’s job, and we ask that she do it.

Sacramento Bee – California tax collectors should stop rubbing salt in the wounds of homeowners still trying to recover from the mortgage meltdown. By tax collector we mean Gov. Jerry Brown; Pokemon Go! is the spin on reality that America needs.

Stockton Record – Continuing his legacy: 12th Charles Washington Awards honor top student-athletes.