July 2, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Gov. Jerry Brown signs bulk of sweeping gun-control package into law, vetoes five bills — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed six gun-control bills into law, including a requirement that ammunition purchasers undergo background checks. The governor vetoed five other measures, including an expansion of the use of restraining orders to take guns from people deemed to be dangerous. LA Times articleSacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleSan Jose Mercury News articleKQED reportNew York Times article 

Study up, California! You’ve got 17 statewide measures to vote on — The California Secretary of State’s office has certified the final list of statewide measures that have qualified for the November ballot. Along with several big bond and tax questions, voters will get to decide the future of the death penalty, a collection of tough new gun laws, and whether they really like a yet-to-be-enacted statewide ban on plastic bags. KQED report

Gov. Brown 

$2 billion to go to housing mentally ill homeless people — Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Friday allowing the state to use $2 billion in bond money to house and treat mentally ill Californians who are homeless. The bipartisan bill, called “No Place Like Home,” will send counties bond money from future Proposition 63 mental-health revenues to create affordable-housing programs for mentally ill homeless people. San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley politics 

AD 12: Final candidates decided — Election officials in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties have completed their final vote counts for the June 7 election, confirming that Ken Vogel and Heath Flora, both Republicans, will have a November faceoff to determine who will take the 12th Assembly District seat. Modesto Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom applauds new gun laws, even as some overlap with his November initiative – Though Gov. Jerry Brown put California on a path toward enhanced gun control with Friday’s signing of several sweeping new laws , voters will also have a say on the issue in November. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom successfullyplaced his own anti-gun-violence initiative on the fall ballot last week , and he praised Brown’s actions in a brief statement Friday. LA Times article 

In November, questions of life and death – Will November mark the death of the death penalty? This fall, Californians will be asked yet again whether they would like to abolish capital punishment. Voters last faced the issue in 2012, a presidential election year, and rejected the idea. Capitol Weekly article 

California ballot measures get their November numbers – The 17 ballot measures set to go before voters Nov. 8 will number 51 through 67, the secretary of state’s office announced Friday, the day after the qualification deadline. Sacramento Bee article 

California Politics Podcast: Bullets and ballots — Gun violence legislation hits the governor’s desk as well as earns a spot on a very long November statewide ballot in California. We also examine the new political awareness around helping the state’s homeless. With John Myers of the Los Angeles Times and Anthony York of the Grizzly Bear Project. California Politics Podcast 

Hospital association gives $9 million to support tobacco tax — California’s lobbying group for the hospital industry is giving a $9 million boost for an initiative campaign to raise tobacco taxes. The California Hospital Association’s donation is the largest so far for the Save Lives California committee. It says the money will help the campaign sell its message against heavy-spending tobacco companies that oppose the tax. AP article


Danielle Shapazian: ‘Immigrant’ is too painful a term; I prefer ‘pioneer’ – The nurse and writer who lives in Fresno writes, “In the late 1960s, the word ‘Hispanic’ wasn’t commonly used. I couldn’t bring myself to describe my friend as ‘Mexican,’ my lips frozen by someone else’s slur. Instead, I took to identifying her as Spanish, which was a half-truth. I played the same verbal gymnastics on myself, identifying as French instead of Canadian. Those memories were not far from my mind a couple of months ago when I attended Fresno’s first LitHop. United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera served as keynote speaker for the literary celebration.” Shapazian op-ed in Fresno Bee

Other areas 

Parents, advocacy groups sue to overturn California’s new vaccination law – As California’s new law requiring almost all children entering day care, kindergarten or 7th grade to be vaccinated against various diseases took effect Friday, opponents filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have the law overturned. KPCC report 

Foon Rhee: Income inequality is so high, so why not broaden tax credit? – state version of the federal earned income tax credit started last year; the average payment was $524, not chump change for families on the edge. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature budgeted $380 million for the tax credit. But this year in the budget deal, they set aside only $295 million in 2016-17, in part because participation wasn’t as high as projected. In 2015, 362,000 households claimed a total of $190 million in credits on their state tax returns, far fewer than the 600,000 households thought eligible. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

California proposal cracks down on opioid doctor shopping — A bill before the California Legislature would make it more difficult for addicts to obtain opioid prescriptions through so-called “doctor shopping.” AP article 

Ami Bera says gun control push ‘shouldn’t be a political issue’ — A week after Democrats staged a day-long sit-in on the House floor calling for gun control, Rep. Ami Bera returned to his suburban Sacramento County district to build momentum locally. Sacramento Bee article 

Assemblyman removed from committee posts over claims he abused his wife — Assemblyman Roger Hernández lost all of his committee assignments Friday after a judge granted a restraining order sought by his former wife, who alleges that she was repeatedly abused by the Baldwin Park Democrat, a candidate for Congress. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Presidential Politics

Republicans, Trump campaign name California fundraising chairs — A joint fundraising push by the Republican National Committee and the campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump rolled out their “victory chairs” Friday for 33 states, including California. Ranging from business executives to former lawmakers, the chairs will make state-by-state efforts to round up campaign donations to oppose Hillary Clinton as well as Democratic campaigns for the U.S. Senate and House of Republicans. Sacramento Bee article

News Stories

Top Stories 

Delta interests get another delay on islands sale — Delta interests won another last-minute, temporary reprieve on Friday in their efforts to block Southern California’s controversial $175 million purchase of about 20,000 acres of land in the fragile estuary. Stockton Record article 

Number of California violent crimes jump 10 percent in 2015 – The number of violent crimes jumped 10 percent across California last year, reversing several years of declines, the state’s attorney general reported Friday. AP articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Jobs and the Economy

State boosts benefits for low-income shoppers at farmers markets – Access to healthy, fresh produce just got a little easier for thousands of low-income Californians, thanks to funding for a program that doubles their purchasing power at farmers markets. Fresno Bee article 

What should go in around Hanford Costco? – What would you like to see go in as part of the Hanford Costco shopping center? That’s the question developers are asking as construction in underway on the Hanford Marketplace — the name given to the sprawling project at East Lacey Boulevard/Highway 43. Hanford Sentinel article 

San Francisco’s minimum-wage hike took effect July 1, but changes little – Like many San Francisco businesses, Chai Bar has to pay more than the minimum to compete for workers. San Francisco’s high costs make hiring for hourly wage jobs challenging. The city’s cost of living is 63 percent higher than the U.S. average, according to PayScale. Housing costs are through the roof, and transportation, health care and even groceries cost more. San Francisco Chronicle article

San Diego scrambling to plan for minimum-wage increase – With less than two weeks until San Diego’s minimum wage increase takes effect, many details are still left to figure out. KPBS report

As gas tax wanes, California tests pay-by-mile replacement – This week, the state launched a pilot program called California Road Charge that could lead to a radical alteration of the way the state pays for roadway upkeep. Thousands of volunteers are testing different ways to pay fees by the mile, rather than being taxed at the pump. It’s an acknowledgment that over the coming decades, gas-tax revenue will dwindle as fuel-efficient and electric cars proliferate. San Francisco Chronicle article 

A better model, a better result? – Would expanding San Francisco’s shelter system and converting it to a more accessible, service-oriented model get more homeless people off the streets? San Francisco Chronicle article 

LA clears a path for $1.2-billion bond measure to pay for homeless initiatives — The Los Angeles City Council cleared the way Friday for a $1.2-billion bond measure on the Nov. 8 ballot, abandoning a competing tax proposal that would have generated less money for homeless initiatives. LA Times articleAP article 

LA County to consider putting parcel tax for homeless initiatives on November ballot – Los Angeles County supervisor Friday proposed a parcel tax to pay for efforts to reduce homelessness, two days after Los Angeles city officials voted to place a bond measure on the November ballot to build more housing for the homeless. LA Times article 

Joel Fox: Homeless solution: Taxes? — Apparently, politicians up and down the state think the solution to California’s homeless problem is taxes. Fox in Fox & Hounds 

California state firefighters take pay complaints public – With negotiations for pay raises at a stalemate, the union is turning to the public for help and launching a media campaign next week. The campaign, which includes television, radio and print advertisements, aims to “explain and reintroduce folks to the work, efforts and sacrifices” of state firefighters, said Terry McHale, public policy director for Cal Fire Local 2881. Sacramento Bee article 

New Grand Save Market: Store closes – will doors open? – The takeover began right on schedule, police officers entering the dimly lit New Grand Save Market armed with the court order that had empowered them to shut down a squalid store blamed by some as the focal point for social ills that have plagued an entire neighborhood for decades. Stockton Record article 

Sacramento is said to help drive state’s rapidly growing clean-tech economy — Solar energy generation and adoption of zero-emission vehicles are surging throughout California, and the Sacramento area is contributing significantly to that clean-tech momentum, according to a new report by Next 10, the San Francisco nonprofit that promotes growth of California’s clean economy and evaluates various state issues. Sacramento Bee article 

Popular northwest Bakersfield restaurant closes — RJ’s Bar & Grill, a northwest Bakersfield restaurant, has closed due to “creative differences” between the partners, owner Russell Carter announced Friday. It could reopen under a new name in the near future. Bakersfield Californian article 

Sacramento beer bike patrons and can drink and ride — Although drinking and driving is still illegal, a city ordinance allowing drinking and riding went into effect on Friday, allowing Sacramentans to consume alcohol on beer bikes. Sacramento Bee article


Critical Temperance Flat agreement signed — Federal and local officials have signed an agreement that could bring the Temperance Flat Dam project one step closer to reality. KVPR report

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Patterson blasts Prop 47, fellow lawmakers for spike in petty crime — Valley business owners say they are seeing a dramatic increase in shoplifting and other petty crimes — a disturbing trend many view as an unintended consequence of Proposition 47, the 2014 ballot measure that de-criminalized so-called “minor offenses” to reduce stress on overloaded Golden State courts and jails. The Business Journal article

Man wounded in domestic violence shooting in Courthouse Park — The sound of gunfire echoed at downtown Fresno’s Courthouse Park on Friday morning after a man opened fire on another man in what police reported was a domestic violence crime. Fresno Bee article


Merced College to cut ties with sheriff’s office – Merced College and the Merced County Sheriff’s Office will cut ties while college leaders pursue another law enforcement option, Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said Friday. Warnke said he received a fax Friday from college President Susan Walsh saying the contract that gives his office oversight of campus police expired as of midnight. Merced Sun-Star article

UC Davis chancellor withholds $200,000 scholarship donation as inquiry continues — UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi has withheld $200,000 in textbook publisher stock that she pledged to a scholarship fund in March when she faced criticism for having served on the company’s board. Sacramento Bee article

Eric Garcetti wants college applications to stop asking about students’ criminal records – Eric Garcetti has recruited 32 other mayors across the country to join him in urging college admissions companies to stop asking applicants about their criminal histories. LA Times article

Sara Sandrik: STEM learning on display during summer school — The Summer Academy covers all subjects with a special focus on science, technology, engineering, the arts and math. That STEAM learning has become a crucial part of children’s education in the 21st century, and teachers and administrators are constantly striving to find new and improved ways to help students fully comprehend those subjects. Sandrik column in Merced Sun-Star

Linden’s fourth superintendent since 2011 takes helm – As Friday marked Day 1 of Dr. Eliseo Davalos’ tenure as new Superintendent of Stockton Unified School District, so did for Rick Hall, who will lead Linden Unified. Stockton Record article 

60 minutes a day for play is all UC Merced group asks students — A pilot study by a group of UC Merced students changed the way local elementary students stay active and may help open a pathway toward lowering the region’s high rate of childhood obesity. Merced Sun-Star article 

UC Berkeley chancellor orders new probe of football program — UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks ordered a new investigation Friday into Cal football’s strength and conditioning program in light of a Chronicle report showing that football staff had personal ties to previous investigators and helped select athletes to be interviewed. San Francisco Chronicle article


California is the U.S. leader in clean energy and sits high atop world market too, report says – just-released report hails California as the dominant state in the country when it comes to developing a clean-energy economy and promoting green technology. And if California’s figures were counted as a nation, the Golden State ranks among the top five in the world in measures such as energy productivity, electricity from renewable sources and reductions in carbon intensity. LA Times article 

Erskine Fire spares some retirees, devastates others – Last week a fast-moving wildfire swept through the rural communities of the Lake Isabella area, 40 miles east of Bakersfield.  At least 285 residences burned and there were two deaths. The fire was one of the state’s most destructive.  KQED report 

Fire burning toward Bear Valley Springs grows to 1,200 acres – A wildfire that started near Highway 223 between Highway 58 and Arvin marched up the mountains toward Bear Valley Springs Friday night, threatening at least 80 homes in the community, burning at least 1,200 acres and prompting evacuations. Bakersfield Californian article 

Sacramento Bee: Preventing forest fires is in the hands of Congress — With thousands of acres burning across the state, people dying and no relief in sight, only you, the voter, can light a fire under Congress. We can’t afford, however, to continue to actively do nothing. Year-round fire seasons are now the new normal, and the cost of battling them piecemeal is too great. Sacramento Bee editorial

PG&E records show pipeline that blew up had 33 previous leaks – Pacific Gas and Electric Co. records in 2009 listed 33 past leaks with unknown causes on the same aging gas pipeline that exploded in San Bruno in 2010, a PG&E engineer told a federal court jury Friday. San Francisco Chronicle article 

California has 66 million dead trees and nowhere to put the wood – California’s drought-driven epidemic of dead trees has ushered in a cascading crisis from the community of Ponderosa Basin in the central Sierra to the towns near Lake Tahoe. As government agencies and private landowners race to clear trees that could super-charge wildfires, they’re ending up with a glut of wood that nobody knows what to do with. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Plastic bag ban extends to Sacramento County suburbs — Friday marked the official start of a ban on free checkout plastic bags in grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores across unincorporated Sacramento County. Under the change, retailers must charge 10 cents for paper bags or reusable plastic bags approved by the county. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services 

California veterans face long march in appealing disability benefits – The decorated Vietnam War veteran with an aching back sought care at the Fresno Veterans Affairs Medical Center in California. Then the unnamed vet found himself on the vexing backlog of veterans appealing benefits decisions. While lawmakers and civil servants alike struggle to shrink the backlog, politics is slowing the arrival of reinforcements. McClatchy Newspapers article

Nasal spray ineffective; get flu shots instead, CDC urges — There’s no way to take the “sting” out of the flu vaccine this year. A federal immunization advisory committee has recommended that “nasal spray” flu vaccine, an alternative to the flu shot, not be used during the 2016-17 flu season. Fresno Bee article

Land Use/Housing 

Carmen George: Youth volunteers fly into Fresno, Clovis to help repair homes — A gash on his right hand that required stitches didn’t curtail the giving nature of Jared Newcomer as he helped roof a Clovis home in 100-plus degree heat on Thursday. The impact of the roofing injury paled against his desire to be of service. Patched up and ready to go, the 19-year-old from Virginia worked the rest of the day one-handed, helping where he could. George in Fresno Bee


$1 million to support Stockton-to-LA flights — Stockton Metropolitan Airport will receive a $650,000 federal grant to help it attract and support new daily service between Stockton and Los Angeles, local and U.S. Department of Transportation officials announced. Together with local funds, the grant will make up a $1 million package of support for direct flights to a major airport hub, said Harry Mavrogenes, airport director. Stockton Record article 

Downtown LA traffic is getting worse – and to some, that’s good news — After decades of relative quiet, downtown is teeming with commercial and residential life. The growth, coupled with a strong economy and a surge in construction, has sparked what residents and commuters say is some of the worst traffic they can remember. LA Times article 

Fatal Tesla crash exposes lack of regulation over autopilot technology — The fatal crash of a Tesla electric car using an autopilot feature still in beta testing — and never reviewed by regulators — highlighted what some say is a gaping pothole on the road to self-driving vehicles: the lack of federal rules. LA Times article

Other areas 

Drone to help Bakersfield fire track illegal fireworks – The Bakersfield Fire Department on Friday unveiled a new drone that will help monitor illegal firework activity during the Fourth of July weekend. Bakersfield Californian article 

1 man dead, Caltrans worker badly hurt in Highway 198 crash — One man died and several other people were hurt Friday morning, including a California Department of Transportation worker, in a crash on Highway 198 east of Visalia in Tulare County, the California Highway Patrol said. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article 

Phil Fullerton: Judges make mistakes, but we must keep faith in court system – The retired lawyer writes, “As imperfect as our judicial system is, we must not lose faith in it. We must support it because it alone stands between us and chaos, between liberty and tyranny. Speak up peacefully if you wish, but never join the ranks of those willing to cast aside one of the greatest achievements of the United States: the dream of equal justice for all.” Fullerton op-ed in Fresno Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Thumbs up, thumbs down.

Sacramento Bee – With thousands of acres burning across the state, people dying and no relief in sight, only you, the voter, can light a fire under Congress. We can’t afford, however, to continue to actively do nothing. Year-round fire seasons are now the new normal, and the cost of battling them piecemeal is too great.