July 22, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

FPPC approves regulation change aimed at ‘shadow lobbyists’ – California’s political watchdog approved a regulatory change Thursday aimed at encouraging shadow lobbyists to disclose their efforts to influence legislation. Sacramento Bee article 

Campaign cash: A journey through the Cal-Access labyrinth — When California introduced its Cal-Access campaign finance website, “There was nothing like it in the country,” said Rob Lapsley, who was under-Secretary of State in 2000, the year the campaign disclosure tool made its debut. Capitol Weekly article

Valley politics 

State’s political watchdog fines Tulare Democrats for violations — The state’s political watchdog on Thursday fined the Tulare County Democratic Central Committee for multiple minor violations of campaign finance law related to finance statements. Fresno Bee article 

FPPC approves fines in 2012 campaign — As expected, the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission fined a former and a sitting county supervisor for failure to disclose advertising costs for the 2012 Yes on D campaign. San Joaquin County Supervisor Carlos Villapudua and former supervisor Steve Bestolarides, along with Central Valley PAC — California, Yes on Measure D, were fined the proposed $26,000 for failing to identify the pair as controlling candidates of the committee by the FPPC at its meeting Thursday morning. Stockton Record article 

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Joel Fox: Business bets on Democrats to GOP chagrin — From the business perspective is the top two primary working out as hoped? Looking at the lineup of 28 same party run-offs, mostly Democratic contests in this heavily Democratic state, business can advocate for and help fund the more business-friendly Democrat in each race. Yet, in many cases the winning Democrat will stay true to the overall Democratic Party line. Fox in Fox & Hounds 

Raymond Pederson: Mental health issues outweigh tax benefits of legalized pot – The retired dentist who practiced in Bakersfield for 50 years writes, “The only way to avoid the consequences of marijuana on the health and societal structures of our country is to insist on stricter enforcement of our existing drug laws, not by placing the ‘pot of gold’ of taxation before the mental health of the state.” Pederson op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Libertarian Gary Johnson says he backs California pot legalization — Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson said late Wednesday that he supports the initiative on California’s fall ballot to legalize recreational marijuana. Sacramento Bee article


Some Central American asylum seekers are learning to represent themselves in court — As Central Americans continue to arrive in the U.S. seeking asylum, low-cost legal providers are in short supply, so some immigrants are learning to represent themselves in immigration court. KQED report 

Other areas 

Visalia summit supports LGBT people in rural communities – While talking about a teenager who committed suicide, Debra Hansen’s eyes filled with tears during the LGBT #RuralPride Summit on Thursday. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta articleKVPR report 

Victor Davis Hanson: The dream of Muslim outreach has become a nightmare — When President Obama entered office, he dreamed that his hope-and-change messaging and his references to his familial Islamic roots would win over the Muslim world. The soon-to-be Nobel Peace Prize laureate would make the U.S. liked in the Middle East. Then, terrorism would decrease. But, as with his approach to racial relations, Obama’s remedies proved worse than the original illness. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Presidential Politics

Trump paints a grim portrait of U.S. and casts himself as its only savior in GOP acceptance speech – Painting a dark portrait of a country besieged at home and threatened abroad, Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination Thursday night with a blistering indictment of the Obama administration and a promise to enhance the safety and economic standing of Americans victimized by a failed political system. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article 

Cathleen Decker: Trump aims at voters he already has, betting they will give him November win – Donald Trump’s Thursday night address, indeed his entire Republican convention, represented a high-risk bet: that a strong desire for change in November will defy the demographic and political tides that have defeated the last two Republican presidential nominees. Decker in LA Times

Some Republicans with California ties leaving party over Trump – GOP strategist Rob Stutzman, a leader of the “Never Trump” effort in California, is remaining with the Republican Party despite its nomination of Donald Trump. Jimmy Camp, a lesser figure in the movement, is not. Sacramento Bee article 

View of GOP from out-of-state: ‘California’s lost’ – Many Republican consultants and donors in California fear Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will only drive Latinos further away from the party. But for the most part, they have declined to turn on the party’s presidential nominee. Sacramento Bee article 

Norovirus outbreak among California delegates spreads — The norovirus outbreak among Californians at the Republican National Convention is not contained, with another case reported by state party officials Thursday. LA Times article

Cruz snub creates disappointment at Republican convention – Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse Donald Trump in a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland Wednesday night is prompting mixed reactions from Hanford area residents who were there or watched it on television. Hanford Sentinel article

Becoming a Donald Trump loyalist: Doug Ose sheds his ‘statesman’ approach in Cleveland — When a spirited but brief dissent broke out on the floor of the Republican National Convention this week, Sacramentan Doug Ose was prepared to help thwart a stubborn anti-Donald Trump effort. Sacramento Bee article 

PayPal’s Thiel’s speech shows major shift in GOP on gays — Peter Thiel, a billionaire Silicon Valley venture capitalist, is a different type of Republican, as delegates to the Republican National Conventionfound out Thursday night. But that didn’t keep them from giving the gay co-founder of PayPal a shockingly warm response. San Francisco Chronicle articleSan Jose Mercury News article

News Stories

Top Stories

UC Merced’s next phase gets final approval – UC Merced received final approval from the Board of Regents on Thursday for an expansion plan that will nearly double the capacity of the decade-old campus by 2020, enabling enrollment growth to 10,000 students, according to officials. Merced Sun-Star article 

California court: No payment for water project land access — California officials don’t have to pay property owners to access their land to conduct preliminary testing before deciding whether to move forward with a $15.7 billion plan to build two giant water tunnels that would supply drinking water for cities and irrigation for famers, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday. AP articleSacramento Bee articleStockton Record articleLA Times article

Jobs and the Economy 

Kern CAO’s budget team critical of spending by DA, Fire Department – Tuesday’s Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting is likely to be heated. A report released Tuesday afternoon by Kern County Administrative Officer John Nilon’s budget team lays out dramatic demands by the county’s public safety departments — most notably the Kern County District Attorney’s Office and the Kern County Fire Department — to be exempted from the budget cuts that all other county departments can expect to endure. Bakersfield Californian article 

Michael Fitzgerald: Ignoring the lessons of bankruptcy – Stockton’s City Council caved the other day. They caved in a small way, but they should be called on it. Council members voted 5-2 to fund the reopening of Fair Oaks Library in the 2016-17 budget. That sounds like a good thing, because libraries are a good thing. But it’s not. Understanding why may take us into territory that’s as dry as an Arizona gully in July. But I swore when Stockton went bankrupt that I’d sound the alarm if the city was veering off the straight and narrow. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record 

Committee: Keep downtown zoning, add incentives — Hanford’s restrictive downtown zoning rules should be mostly maintained, and funding mechanisms should be created to provide money for downtown revitalization efforts, according to a report released this week by the newly-created downtown revitalization committee. Hanford Sentinel article 

Airbnb ‘furniture tax’ generates $120,000 for San Francisco — San Francisco will bring in about $120,000 this year from its controversial “furniture tax,” which requires hosts on Airbnb and other vacation-rental sites to tally the contents of their homes so the city can levy a tax on everything from sheets to sofas to silverware. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Postal Service hopes to expand grocery delivery service — The U.S. Postal Service plans to continue delivering groceries to homes in the Sacramento area and expand its experimental business model to more markets. Sacramento Bee article

Daniel Borenstein: CalPERS running up record pension debt on your credit card – When the nation’s largest pension system Monday announced its annual earnings, news coverage focused on the dismal 0.61 percent return for the last fiscal year. That missed the bigger picture: The paltry investment yield leaves the California Public Employees’ Retirement System with a record $139 billion shortfall. That’s $46 billion more than just two years ago. Borenstein in East Bay Times 

MZ Real Estate in Fresno adding petroleum division — MZ Real Estate Investments in Fresno is adding more to its roster of services – fuel contracts. Brothers Joe and Fred Martinez and brother-in-law Steve Zabarsky specialize in buying and selling gas stations and truck stops. It’s a niche market the men found themselves in five years ago when Zabarsky suggested they get into the real estate business. Fresno Bee article 

California Attorney General joins federal suit to block Anthem-Cigna merger – California Attorney General Kamala Harris is joining a federal Justice Department antitrust lawsuit to block the proposed health insurance mega-merger between Anthem and Cigna, a consolidation that would create the country’s largest health insurer. KQED report 

Trades apprenticeship open to Kings County residents — Kings County’s construction boom not only means there will be jobs in the finished Costco or new jail, but jobs building the facilities, too. This is the logic behind the Job Training Office’s construction pre-apprenticeship training initiative, which began four weeks ago. Hanford Sentinel article 


Forecasters backing away from La Nina prediction for winter – The “Godzilla” El Niño is gone. But its sibling climate pattern, La Niña, which typically emerges in the aftermath with a cooling effect on the globe and potentially drier weather in California, has yet to show. Federal forecasters said Thursday that La Niña is still likely to develop, though its probability and potential strength are both down. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Oakdale Irrigation District won’t shut off water for late payment – Farmers caught off guard by the Oakdale Irrigation District’s new by-volume water billing schedule won’t face delivery shutoffs this year for late payments, OID leaders said Wednesday in a tentative decision. Modesto Bee article 

Sacramentans continue saving water despite end of conservation mandate — Sacramento area residents continued to save water in June despite the end of state-ordered drought restrictions. The Sacramento Regional Water Authority, an umbrella group representing water agencies in a five-county area, said Thursday that the region’s residents cut water usage by 22 percent last month compared with June 2013, the baseline month. Sacramento Bee article

The challenges to saving California’s delta smelt — When a coalition of California and federal agencies announced a new Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy last week, the ambitious plan to save the region’s nearly extinct fish grabbed headlines. But whether most, or even parts, of the comprehensive program can realistically put in place the changes needed to rescue this endangered native species is another question. KQED report

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Porterville police dog dies after car’s air conditioner shuts down — A Porterville police dog died Wednesday in the back of a department vehicle. The engine had been running with the air conditioner on, but the engine stopped for unknown reasons. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta articleLA Times article 

NAACP will pray for police officers’ safety, wisdom — As tensions remain high among African Americans and police officers nationwide, the local NAACP chapter is fighting back with prayer. Hanford Sentinel article

Similar crime, different punishment: Campus rape echoes Brock Turner case – A former student at West Chester University in Pennsylvania was sentenced to at least six years in prison this week after he was convicted of raping a female student in her dorm room. LA Times article 

Big hearts, big screen: Officers buy crime victim replacement TV — Angelica Maciel came home from work to an upsetting scene last Thursday afternoon. The single mother lives in Modesto’s airport neighborhood with her 11-year-old son in a small house behind a larger one, which is unoccupied. When she pulled into the driveway, she could see someone had kicked in the rear door of the front home, and she immediately feared she’d been hit, too. A few hours later, Maciel found herself in tears again – but this time in gratitude. The Modesto police officer who took her burglary report, Luis Arroyo, came back with Officer Jorge Contreras. They asked if she’d come out to a patrol car, where they showed her a big, flat-screen smart TV, still in the box. Modesto Bee article 

Parole denied for 1991 attempted murder of Tulare Superior Court judge — Harry Bodine, 70, of Visalia, was denied parole for the fifth time for the 1991 attempted murder of Tulare County Superior Court Judge Howard Broadman. Visalia Times-Delta article


UC regents approve new limits on moonlighting by administrators — University of California regents voted Thursday to limit top administrators to two outside paid jobs and add another layer of approval to ensure that moonlighting doesn’t pose a conflict of interest or a “reputational risk” to the university system. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article 

Fred Ruiz isn’t reappointed to UC Board of Regents — Fred Ruiz, chairman emeritus and co-founder of Dinuba-based Ruiz Foods, is no longer a member of the University of California Board of Regents. His 12-year term expired March 1 and he was not appointed to another term. It was, however, Ruiz’s call, and not any sort of political move by Gov. Jerry Brown, who appoints 18 of the 26 regents, subject to state Senate approval. Ruiz is a Republican and Brown is a Democrat. Fresno Bee article 

UC chancellors get raises – some for second straight year – University of California regents on Thursday gave raises to most of the system’s campus chancellors — and four, including UC Berkeley’s leader, received their second pay bump since last July. East Bay Times article 

Migrant students learn cultural lessons from foreign teachers — With folkloric dancing and songs in English and Spanish, more than 120 Merced County students marked the end of a special summer school program Wednesday in which they had the rare chance to work with teachers from Mexico. Merced Sun-Star article


PG&E slammed at trial as feds rest their case – Federal prosecutors rested their case against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Thursday after five weeks of testimony in the company’s criminal trial alleging pipeline-safety violations. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Dan Walters: What will billionaire Warren Buffett get out of California’s power grid? – Before California becomes Buffett’s energy partner, the ramifications should receive a full public airing in the Legislature. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Report: Kings County tops in industrial solar — Kings County has one of the highest per-capita industrial solar power capacities in the state, according to clean energy report released by Next 10. Hanford Sentinel article

Brown administration prepares to limit methane leaks after Porter Ranch leak – When, after three months, the damaged well at the Aliso Canyon storage facility finally stopped spewing methane in February, California was home to arguably the worst such leak in U.S. history, but state air regulators couldn’t fine the company responsible. Capital Public Radio report 

Serpa Fire in Coarsegold forces evacuations, delays Highway 41 — A vegetation fire sparked shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday in the Coarsegold area has forced evacuations near Mudge Ranch Road (420) as firefighters battle the blaze. Sierra Star article 

Land Use/Housing 

Fresno leaders, state officials approve of Brown’s affordable housing plan – A roundtable of Fresno city officials, state housing officials and community developers met Thursday to endorse Gov. Jerry Brown’s affordable housing plan, which went into effect June 30. Fresno Bee article 

Where can a Clovis family turn when City Hall has no code enforcement department? – As Fresno leaders grapple with how to address substandard housing, one Clovis family’s experience highlights a related issue – how to complain about living conditions when your city has no code enforcement department. Fresno Bee article 

Kings River park gets Fresno County planning commissioners’ approval — Fresno County planning commissioners voted in favor of a 58-acre river access park proposed along the Kings River despite opposition from nearby residents. Fresno Bee article

Other areas 

Oakland, San Francisco revise medical marijuana regulations in face of new state law – A new state law has Oakland and San Francisco remaking their medical cannabis laws in the face of new state requirements. KQED report

Gail Marshall: No funeral for Marvin Arnold: Why not party right now? — Marvin Arnold took the microphone at his own “going away” party and gave his own little speech about love, life, family and friendships – a rare privilege for him and an unforgettable treat for his loved ones. Arnold, 84, of Fresno has acute myeloid leukemia. There is no cure for him and there also will be no funeral. Marshall in Fresno Bee 

Service set for former Assemblyman George House of Hughson – Former Assemblyman George House, one of the state Legislature’s most conservative members, died July 14. He was 86. A public service for the Republican from Hughson is scheduled Aug. 5. Modesto Bee article 

Geragos firm files sexual assault claim against Kern County — A claim filed Thursday against the County of Kern, the county probation department, former Chief Probation Officer David M. Kuge and Reyes Soberon Jr., who is identified as a county probation officer, alleges Soberon sexually assaulted a 44-year-old woman on probation over a three-year period. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Merced Sun-Star – Americans may be clamoring for change, but Donald Trump is being reckless with half-baked ideas that would unravel vital defense alliances and plunge the world into greater danger.

Modesto Bee – Americans may be clamoring for change, but Donald Trump is being reckless with half-baked ideas that would unravel vital defense alliances and plunge the world into greater danger.

Sacramento Bee – Americans may be clamoring for change, but Donald Trump is being reckless with half-baked ideas that would unravel vital defense alliances and plunge the world into greater danger; The economic forces driving four of the nation’s five biggest health insurers toward consolidation are powerful. So are the Justice Department’s reasons for suing to make sure those mergers don’t happen any time soon.