July 18, 2015


Political Briefs

Top stories

Over half of new California driver’s licenses go to undocumented immigrants — More than half of the driver’s licenses California has issued in 2015 have gone to residents living in the country illegally, reflecting the popularity of a new law extending licenses to people regardless of residency status. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; AP article

Five questions crucial to the future of California drought legislation — Whether one likes it or not, the 170-page House bill approved on a largely party line 245-176 margin moves Congress one step closer to definitive action on California’s drought. The bill’s future prospects will turn on several questions.  McClatchy Newspapers article

Health plan tax bill introduced in California special session — Every California health plan would pay a flat tax under legislation introduced this week that, for the first time in bill form, responds to federal warnings that the state risks about $1 billion in federal matching money if it fails to expand a tax on managed-care organizations. Sacramento Bee article


Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown goes to the Vatican: California Politics Podcast — The governor heads to the Vatican next week for Pope Francis’ symposium on climate change and modern slavery.  Brown will join political leaders from across the globe for the two-day event. On this week’s California Politics Podcast, we discuss the trip — and why it’s so important to Brown. Also on deck: A proposed ballot measure that could undercut Brown’s plan to build twin tunnels under the Delta, and the continuing political fallout over a tragic murder in San Francisco that has reignited debate over immigration policies. California Politics Podcast in KQED


Valley politics

AD 31: Luis Chavez opts not to enter race for vacant seat, backs Arambula — Luis Chavez chose an interesting way to drop out of a campaign race and officially support former opponent Dr. Joaquin Arambula — by introducing him at a private fundraising event on Thursday. Fresno Bee article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Joel Fox: Property tax initiative filed – not the one everyone expected — “Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act” is a 47-page detailed, complex plan to fund specific programs that are hoped to achieve the measure’s goal expressed in the title. Major funding for the plan is a surcharge on real property valued at over $3 million on the current tax roll. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Backers of condoms-in-porn measure say it will qualify for 2016 ballot – A proposed statewide ballot measure that would require adult film actors to wear condoms when performing sex scenes has garnered enough signatures to go before voters, proponents said Friday. LA Times article



San Francisco sheriff’s deputies call lack of communication with ICE ‘reckless’ after pier shooting — Turning up the political heat on San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi in an election cycle, the union that represents the department’s deputies charges in a labor grievance that his policy to limit communication with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “recklessly compromises the safety of sworn personnel, citizens, and those who merely come to visit the San Francisco area.” LA Times article

Debra Saunders: No sanctuary for unhappy voters — When voters don’t like a policy, they can throw the bums out, right? But what do you do when everyone with a chance of winning likes the policy you want to terminate? That’s the challenge facing San Franciscans and Californians who want to change Sanctuary City policies in the wake of the senseless killing of Kate Steinle on July 1. Saunders column in San Francisco Chronicle article

Immigrants say Texas improperly denies birth certificates to their U.S.-born children — Though children born in the United States are entitled by law to U.S. citizenship regardless of the immigration status of their parents, Texas authorities have begun placing significant barriers to undocumented immigrants seeking to obtain birth certificates for their U.S.-born children. LA Times article


Other areas

Awash in Big Tobacco cash, California legislators side with tobacco industry – When California enacted the nation’s toughest anti-smoking laws in the 1990s, public health advocates cheered the state’s commitment to snuffing out puffing and celebrated the Golden State’s willingness to take on Big Tobacco. But two decades later, there are clear signs that the powerful industry’s deep pockets are once again quietly influencing legislation in the halls of the Capitol. Contra Costa Times article

Data Tracker: Categorizing donors’ largesse to California lawmakers — California’s 120 lawmakers reflect a variety of life experiences, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and types of districts they represent. There also are differences in where they raise their campaign money. Sacramento Bee article

Mark Baldassare: Tax increases and voter distrust – The president of the Public Policy Institute of California writes, “Majority support for the Proposition 30 tax increase in November 2012 offers a textbook example of how the stars can align in a presidential election. But the PPIC poll tells us that voter distrust is a major obstacle even in good budget times. Voters will want assurances that current funds are well managed but inadequate—and that new taxes are needed for essential purposes.” Baldassare in Fox &  Hounds

Dos Palos school board backs Chowchilla opposition to mascot change – The Dos Palos Oro Loma Joint Unified School District governing board is supporting its neighbor, Chowchilla High School, in the fight to keep its decades-old Redskin mascot. The Dos Palos governing board recently passed a resolution opposing the California Racial Mascots Act, Assembly Bill 30. Merced Sun-Star article

California black lawmakers urge Fort Bragg name change – The California Legislative Black Caucus has joined the nascent campaign to rename the small coastal community of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

Bus safety mandates introduced after deadly California crash — A California state lawmaker proposed sweeping bus safety reforms Friday that were recommended by federal officials who investigated a fiery bus crash that killed five high school students on a tour last year. AP article

Voter in LA school board race wins $25,000 for casting a ballot — An experiment in local elections ended Friday with Rojas, a 35-year-old security guard, receiving a check as the winner of a lottery that included everyone who voted in District 5 for the Los Angeles Board of Education. LA Times article

New data suggest GOP 2016 nominee will need to win nearly half of Latino vote — New research out Friday shows that Republicans will need a larger slice of Latino voters than previously thought if they hope to win the White House in 2016, creating an even tougher hurdle for the eventual nominee. Now, data suggests that Republicans will need as much as 47% of Latino voters — nearly twice the share that Mitt Romney is believed to have captured in 2012. LA Times article

California donors have given more to Clinton than all other presidential hopefuls combined — California donors have provided strong backing to several candidates in the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls, although none have come close to the cash pile amassed here by Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. LA Times article

Republicans setting sights on same-sex marriage law – Days after a showdown over the Confederate battle flag, House Republicans are barreling toward a new confrontation on another contentious issue: How should Congress respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage? New York Times article

AP Poll: Sharp divisions after high court backs gay marriage – The Supreme Court‘s ruling last month legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide has left Americans sharply divided, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that suggests support for gay unions may be down slightly from earlier this year. AP article

Patchwork highway fund fixes the ‘new normal’ in Congress – Everybody, from business groups to governors to lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill, hates the patchwork approach Congress has taken for the past six years to the federal highway trust fund. Yet it’s become the new normal. McClatchy Newspapers article

Victor Davis Hanson: Human nature can’t be changed — Human nature is unchanging, predictable — and can be dangerous if ignored.  Hanson column in Fresno Bee


News Briefs

Top Stories

Kern County budget finally gets a little help — Kern County has cleaned up the books for the fiscal year that ended in June. And, for the first time in a while, it got some good news. Early calculations put Kern County’s property tax income at $37.5 million less than last year. But the final numbers from the Kern County Assessor’s office showed only a $26.2 million drop. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno motel’s beds, furniture given away to make way for high-speed train — Beds and furniture from a central Fresno motel that will soon be razed to make way for high-speed rail are being donated to nonprofit organizations that expect to put the furnishings in foster homes, group homes and shelters. Fresno Bee article


Jobs and the Economy

Jobless rates down slightly throughout Valley – All eight San Joaquin Valley counties experienced a slight drop in unemployment rates or stayed steady in June and remained well below June 2014 levels, according to data released by the California Employment Development Department. Valley rates ranged from a low of 8.6 percent in San Joaquin County to a high of 11 percent in Tulare County.  Here are the June 2015 rates, followed in parentheses by the May 2015 and June 2014 rates:

  • Fresno – 9.5 percent (9.8, 10.9)
  • Kern – 9.9 percent (10.0, 10.3)
  • Kings – 10.2 percent (10.3, 11.6)
  • Madera – 9.5 percent (9.8, 10.4)
  • Merced – 10.5 percent (11.1, 12.0)
  • San Joaquin – 8.6 percent (8.6, 10.3)
  • Stanislaus – 9.3 percent (9.6, 11.0)
  • Tulare – 11.0 percent (11.0, 12.3)

California adds 22,900 jobs in June; unemployment rate drops to 6.3 percent — The jobless rate in California took a tumble in June, dropping to 6.3% from 6.4% in May and 7.5% a year earlier. Employers statewide added 22,900 nonfarm payroll jobs in the period, according to the California Employment Development Department. In May, payrolls swelled by 46,200 jobs, based on revised data. LA Times article;

Fresno County jobless rate dips to 7-year low – Fresno County’s official unemployment statistics continue to reflect slow but continuing recovery from economic recession, with June’s jobless rate falling to its lowest point since the fall of 2008. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

Kern County’s June unemployment is lowest this year – Kern County’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.9 percent in June, a low for the year but still higher than the 6.2 percent rate statewide and the 5.5 percent rate nationally, according to figures the California Employment Development Department released Friday. Bakersfield Californian article

Kings unemployment holds steady at 10.2 percent – Kings County’s jobless rate was 10.2 percent in June — the same as in May, but below the 11.6 percent rate the same time a year ago, according to a government report made available Friday. Hanford Sentinel article

San Joaquin County unemployment sees seasonal shift – San Joaquin County’s unemployment rate edged up to 8.6 percent in June, from a revised 8.5 percent in May 2015, but remained dramatically lower than a year ago when the jobless rate was estimated at 10.3 percent, state employment officials reported Friday. Stockton Record article

Stanislaus, California jobless rates drop a bit in June – The Stanislaus County unemployment rate also dropped, to 9.3 percent in June from a revised 9.5 percent in May, and down from 11 percent in June 2014. The Merced County rate was 10.5 percent in June, down from 10.9 percent in May and 12 percent a year ago. In San Joaquin County, the rate was 8.6 percent, up a bit from 8.5 percent in May but still far below the year-ago rate of 10.3 percent. AP article in Modesto Bee

Gas prices to stay high as Exxon Mobil refinery woes drag on – The refinery that has historically produced about a fifth of Southern California’s gasoline has been crippled since a February explosion — and may stay that way for months to come. LA Times article

Access denied? Lawsuits say Hanford businesses not handicap accessible – A growing number of Hanford businesses are facing lawsuits alleging numerous issues that restrict access to those with disabilities. Hanford Sentinel article; ‘ADA lawsuits can be costly’ in Hanford Sentinel

The Dish: Fresno winning in this food fight – We’ve won many battles in the Bakersfield vs. Fresno war but the 559 has us beat on a couple of food fronts. The Fresno Food Expo, highlighting locally owned and based food companies in the San Joaquin Valley, is one. And while we have our Kern County Nut Fest, our neighbor to the north has the California Fig Fest on Aug. 8.  Bakersfield Californian article

Hanford council to revisit downtown, Costco issues – The Hanford City Council will consider final approval Tuesday of an ordinance to relax restrictions on hotels and downtown medical offices. Hanford Sentinel article

California home sales surge in June on strong economy — California home sales surged in June on a strong economy and low interest rates as prices reached seven-year highs, a research firm reported Friday. The median sales price for new and existing houses and condominiums hit $417,000, up 3 percent from $405,000 in May and up 6.9 percent from $390,000 during the same period last year, according to CoreLogic Inc. AP article

Region’s housing market continues momentum — Home sales in the greater Sacramento area continued to surge last month, even as sales price spikes cooled a bit, according to statistics released Friday by Irvine-based market researcher CoreLogic. Sacramento Bee article

Foon Rhee: The Numbers Crunch: Real estate really is more expensive in California – If you’re like me, you just have to look at those listing sheets in real estate office windows – and can’t help but do a double take at the prices. We all know how absurdly expensive some houses are in San Francisco, Los Angeles and other well-to-do enclaves in California. Prices on the East Coast in places such as New York and Boston are astronomical, too – often several times those in middle America for a similar home. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

CalSTRS investments earn 4.8 percent profit — CalSTRS said Friday it earned 4.8 percent profit on its investment portfolio in the just-ended fiscal year, its lowest gain in three years. The results fell short of the teachers’ pension fund’s target of 7.5 percent, and come as CalSTRS is still working to get back on its feet financially after the 2008 crash. CalSTRS earned 18.7 percent a year earlier. Sacramento Bee article

New downtown hotel planned in Visalia – After months of discussion, the Visalia City Council plans to issue a request for proposals to build a new hotel adjacent to the convention center in downtown. The city would invite developers to bid on bringing in a major hotel name on city-owned property east of the convention center. Visalia Times-Delta article

LA suit accusing Wells Fargo of predatory mortgage lending practices is dismissed – A federal judge dismissed a city of Los Angeles lawsuit accusing Wells Fargo & Co. of violating the federal Fair Housing Act by engaging in predatory mortgage lending practices targeting minority borrowers. LA Times article

All-cash marijuana businesses push for change in banking law — While voters in a growing number of states have embraced marijuana in recent years, federal law still prevents pot businesses from using checks and credit cards offered by banks. That means that by law, they can only deal in cash. Reviving a fight that stalled last year, the all-cash establishments and their allies in Congress are pushing hard again to change the law, convinced that marijuana shops have become inviting targets for thieves. McClatchy Newspapers article

Lengthwise Brewing moving, upsizing brewery — Lengthwise Brewing Company is leaving the mothership. Jeff Williams, co-owner of Bakersfield’s only currently operating brewery, confirmed Friday that the company has signed a lease on a new location for its brewery operations. Bakersfield Californian article

Judge allows cab company to sue Uber for ‘false’ safety ads – California taxicab companies can sue competitor Uber over advertising statements that it offers the safest rides on the road, a federal judge ruled Friday. San Francisco Chronicle article

Homejoy shuts down amid lawsuit over worker misclassification — The recent spate of worker misclassification lawsuits against on-demand service companies appears to have claimed its first victim, with home-cleaning company Homejoy announcing Friday that it planned to close. LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article

Google exec addresses diversity, unions and benefits for service workers – While Google is known for its employee perks and Bock’s book contains a lot about what the company has learned about retaining and managing employees, Forum listeners wanted to talk about something else that Silicon Valley is known for: a lack of diversity. KQED report

Fresno First Bank and CEO Whitsell part ways — Fresno First Bank and its president/chief executive officer, Rick Whitsell, have parted ways in what the bank called “a mutual decision” rooted in “strategic differences.” Fresno Bee article



June water savings for cities revealed – The reductions range from 4 percent to 36 percent, with many cooler, coastal communities required to save less than hotter, inland communities, such as cities in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Modesto came close to meeting its 36 percent mandated reduction while Oakdale exceeded its mandated reduction of 32 percent. The other cities did not fare as well, but these numbers reflect only one month. Modesto Bee article

Will our demand for food threaten our supply of water? – Ecologist Jon Foley says agriculture is the “most powerful force unleashed on this planet since the end of the ice age.” He says we’re using too much of it to irrigate, and we have to rethink how we farm. NPR/TED report

Merced farmers weigh in on bill allowing permits for farmworkers — Legislation that would allow farmworkers who live in the country illegally to access work permits is being considered by California leaders – an idea that some Merced County farmers see as a possible solution to labor shortages. Merced Sun-Star article

Video replay: Valley Water Summit in Modesto — The Central Valley Water Summit hosted by The Modesto Bee and the City of Modesto at the Gallo Center for the Arts was held on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. The event was an community forum on water in the Central Valley. Modesto Bee article

Congressman Kevin McCarthy: Water bill promotes a prosperous future – The House Majority Leader (R-Bakersfield) writes, “It is a solution built upon ideas from, yes, Democrats and Republicans. It is a solution that rejects the idea of decline and failure and says with a clear voice, ‘we will not let this drought defeat us.’” McCarthy in Fox & Hounds

Kings County officials to consider well assistance program — The possibility of forming a local program to help residents with failing water wells will soon be presented to Kings County supervisors, according to Michelle Speer, the county’s emergency services coordinator. Hanford Sentinel article

Lawn sprayers busy, though more homeowners embrace brown – As the drought drags on, businesses that specialize in turning sun-scorched brown grass green are rolling in the green — greenbacks, that is. The Business Journal article

MGM Resorts tells drought panel billions of gallons saved — Sin City may look like a lush water-waster as the state endures its fourth year of a severe drought, but a major casino-resort company says its fountains and greenery are well-crafted illusions. AP article


Criminal Justice/Prisons

Death of Latinos as hands of police haven’t drawn as much attention – The muted reaction to the deaths of Latinos in confrontations with police tells a larger story: Black Lives Matter is starkly different from Brown Lives Matter. In contrast to the fatal shootings of African Americans such as Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Walter Scott in South Carolina, deaths of Latinos at the hands of law enforcement haven’t drawn nearly as much attention. LA Times article

Fresno council invests in five beds at county jail – Fresno’s pilot project of leasing of beds in the Fresno County Jail is acquiring some permanence. City officials are cheering the option while ruing its necessity. The City Council has approved a deal that guarantees five beds at the downtown jail will be under the Police Department’s control. Fresno Bee article

Army vet guilty of using chalk to vandalize Fresno police memorial — A jury dealt a swift blow to Army veteran Brian David Sumner’s free-speech defense, deliberating less than 20 minutes Friday before finding him guilty of vandalizing a Fresno Police Department’s memorial with a stick of white chalk. Fresno Bee article

Fresno County forms animal cruelty unit in District Attorney’s Office — The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office has formed an animal cruelty unit to address cases of abuse. District Attorney Lisa A. Smittcamp said animal cruelty can be a precursor to crimes against people. Fresno Bee article

Tim Ward: The quiet outrage of crime victims – Tulare County’s District Attorney writes, “My original plan when I began gathering my thoughts for this article was to address crime trends, AB 109, and Proposition 47. However, what I kept coming back to was one specific element, and an often-overlooked element to crime trends … the crime victims.” Ward op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta



Four-story student housing complex facing university gets Turlock planners’ nod – A four-story student housing complex proposed for Monte Vista Avenue across from the university campus got planners’ approval and is expected to be considered by the Turlock City Council Sept. 8. Developers hope to open The Vista by August 2017. Modesto Bee article

Fresno Pacific University’s accreditation reaffirmed – Fresno Pacific University’s accreditation has been reaffirmed for another seven years, Fresno Pacific University announced Friday. Fresno Bee article

Nan Austin: Diversity in every class calls for teachers to master wide range of skills – Imagine leading a class of 24 second-graders, with all those different personalities, learning styles, language skills, math aptitude and reading levels. Imagine one child just can’t keep up. Austin in Modesto Bee

Diane Skouti: Passing the bar exam (or not, gasp!) – The outreach coordinator for San Joaquin College of Law writes, “It seems appropriate, now that the 2015 bar results season is in full swing, to share a few local stories, for the collective joy and sense of communal accomplishment they bring. Over a third of the attorneys in the Fresno area are graduates of our very own highly respected, not-for-profit law school in Clovis. San Joaquin College of Law’s overall bar pass rate is over 82%.” Skouti op-ed in Fresno Bee



Kern wins small victory against LA over green waste dump – Kern County won a partial victory — and suffered a partial loss — in a dispute with the city of Los Angeles over green waste dumped in Lebec early last year. An independent hearing officer ordered the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation to pay $99,000 in penalties for failing to verify that the waste hauler who picked up the material after it was dropped off in Kern County by L.A. city trucks had proper certification. Bakersfield Californian article

1,000 firefighters battle 3,500-acre blaze that burns cars, homes near 15 Freeway – The fire, which erupted just after 2:30 p.m. and quickly grew to 3,500 acres, shut down the highway in both directions. By evening, it had destroyed 20 vehicles and at least four homes, and was bearing down on mountain communities. About 1,000 firefighters were on the scene as the fire burned into the night. It was just 5% contained. In a region where brush fires are a way of life, the scene on the main route to Las Vegas was surreal. LA Times article; AP article

Stockton Unified late on flood fees – While thousands of Country Club residents last year made their first payments to help fund a flood gate on Smith Canal, the Stockton Unified School District — which owed more than any other property owner — failed to pay its share. Stockton Record article

Robert Snow: Researchers: Climate change threatens Valley’s native birds – The president of the Fresno Audubon Society writes, “The core of the state Senate climate package — Senate Bills 32 and 350 — are working their way through the Assembly now. For the sake of the yellow-billed magpie, and our entire Fresno community, it would be great to see this legislation reach the governor’s desk. Please urge your representatives to support these measures.”  Snow op-ed in Fresno Bee


Health/Human Services

California asked to investigate new breast cancer treatment — A new radiation treatment for early-stage breast cancers, used at Sutter and dozens of other U.S. hospitals, is drawing criticism from three California patient advocacy groups, part of a heated global debate in the breast cancer community. Sacramento Bee article

Fresno State celebrates opening of satellite autism center — Fresno State celebrated the opening of its new satellite Autism Center during a ribbon cutting ceremony at Valley Children’s Hospital today.  The center offers early behavioral intervention for children ages 18 months to five years who have been diagnosed with autism. Clients are now being accepted and the center is operated by staff from Fresno State’s Behavioral Sciences Institute and College of Science and Mathematics. The Business Journal article

Mosquito found in northwest Fresno that can transmit chikungunya, dengue and yellow fevers – The day-biting mosquito that can carry chikungunya, dengue and valley fevers has been found in northwest Fresno, the city’s mosquito control manager said Friday. It’s the first time the Aedes aegypti mosquito has been found in that part of the city. Fresno Bee article

Jody Hironaka-Juteau: Valley institute provides tools for longer, healthier lives – The dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Fresno State writes, “Today’s students are deeply committed to making a difference in our community. For Fresno State health and human services students, this goal includes helping Valley residents have a fair opportunity for long, meaningful lives. The Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State helps students and community members develop tools to shape our region’s health policies and practices.” Hironaka-Juteau op-ed in Fresno

San Francisco to offer subsidies for health insurance – San Francisco will begin offering subsidies to thousands of city residents who are struggling to purchase health insurance, Mayor Ed Lee announced Friday. San Francisco Chronicle article

UCLA Health System reports patient data breach; 4.5 million may be affected — The UCLA Health System said Friday that it has been the victim of a criminal cyberattack affecting as many as 4.5 million patients. The attackers accessed a computer network that contains personal and medical information. The university said there was no evidence yet that any such data was taken, but it can’t rule out that possibility while the investigation continues. LA Times article; ‘UCLA hack Q&A: What you need to know’ in LA Times; AP article

Xavier Morales: Parks are a public health issue – The executive director of Latino Coalition for a Healthy California writes, “It’s time that we talked more about the importance of parks amongst ourselves — and to our public officials. The city of Fresno slashed its budget for parks and recreation by 53% between 2009 and 2013. In a city where more than 30 percent of adults and children are obese, this budget allocation suggests that the health of residents isn’t at the forefront of elected officials’ priorities. It should be.”  Morales op-ed in Fresno Bee

Ana Ibarra: A closer look at the effects of Alzheimer’s disease — Alzheimer’s is known as the most common form of dementia. It can cause problems with memory and behavior. And, as I recently learned, it can also cause unhealthy levels of stress to family members taking on the caregiver role. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are more than 5 million Americans living with the disease. Alzheimer’s is also reported as the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., causing more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined, according to the association. Ibarra in Merced Sun-Star

Fighting climate change and food waste with ‘imperfect produce’ — If you fit the public media stereotype, you probably pride yourself on caring about the environment, right? Maybe you’re letting your lawn go brown, or trying to drive less. Some experts say there’s another way you can be environmentally friendly: Stop wasting food. From the farm to the fridge, it’s estimated that 40 percent of what could be eaten just isn’t, and that can impact climate change. KQED report


Land Use/Housing

Some don’t want Manteca to expand — Residents who live outside the Manteca city limits told the San Joaquin County Local Agency Formation Commission on Thursday that they don’t want the city’s sphere of influence to reach their properties. Stockton Record article


Other areas

Atwater makes fix to damaged building; places ‘God’ on wall — The Atwater City Council unanimously agreed to pay $37,691 for repairs at the city’s Community Center this week. During the same meeting, the council unanimously approved a plan to place an “In God We Trust” sign on the wall of the council chambers. Merced Sun-Star article

Firefighter recounts when tree fell on him – For a seasonal firefighter, it was a fairly routine day — a hot, lengthy hike up Case Mountain near Three Rivers and putting out a small, brush fire. All that was left to do in the early evening of July 3 was for CAL FIRE firefighters and the inmate firefighters working with them to “mop up,” putting out hot spots and stripping bark from the burnt remains of trees to make sure no fire still was smoldering remained inside. Visalia Times-Delta article; ‘I’m going to do my best to walk again’ in Visalia Times-Delta

Mayor Johnson email list must be compiled within two weeks – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his attorneys have less than two weeks to determine which of 470 emails they think should be withheld from the public as part of the lawsuit Johnson filed to block the public release of emails between him and his private lawyer regarding his 2013 takeover of the National Conference of Black Mayors. Sacramento Bee article

California Museum hires new director, looks to raise profile – Sometimes, to make indelible impressions, you’ve got to pluck history out of the dustbin and buff out layers of archaic patina to bring forth a sheen that exposes the vivid and the visceral. Amanda Meeker learned that early. Ninth grade, 1984. Sacramento Country Day School. Mr. Neukom’s Intro to Ancient History class. Sacramento Bee article

Lewis Griswold: Dinuba earns fire insurance upgrade — Dinuba’s fire protection classification number used by insurance companies to set rates is getting an upgrade from class 4 to class 2 starting in October, the Dinuba Fire Department said. Griswold in Fresno Bee


Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno BeeThumbs up, thumbs down.

Merced Sun-Star Texting while driving is deadly.

Modesto Bee – Our Views: Modesto and the Bee go deep on water, looking at various lists that include Modesto and surrounding communities.