July 24, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Dan Walters: Politicians ignore long-term effects as they seek instant payoff – Michael Fitzgerald laid Stockton’s budget-busting library decision on Mayor Anthony Silva, who is facing a tough re-election this year. “We have had enough talk and heard enough excuses,” Silva said as he pushed for reopening the library. “It’s time to move forward.” That’s the problem in a nutshell. Politicians – state, local and federal – seek instant gratification regardless of the long-term effects, often running up debt, including unfunded pension liabilities, that shifts the burden to future generations. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Summer pushes new issues to forefront of Fresno mayor’s race – Lee Brand and Henry R. Perea are heating up the Fresno mayoral race like perhaps never before. It’s the doldrums of summer, but issues that have emerged over the past month have forced both candidates into what now seems like a never-ending campaign as they vie to lead the state’s fifth-largest city as its 25th mayor. Fresno Bee article

Valley politics

Dianne Hardisty: They, too, were first: Trailblazers reflect – American women have been allowed to vote since 1920, but their election to political offices has been slow and sporadic. Writing recently in The Sacramento Bee, Rachel Michelin, chief executive officer of California Women Lead, noted the dearth of women now serving in national, state and local elected offices. Michelin reported women hold only 19 of the 80 state Assembly seats; 12 of the 40 state Senate seats; 19 of California’s 53 congressional seats; and only about 28 percent of California city council seats. Closer to home, only one woman serves on the five-member Kern County Board of Supervisors and one on the seven-member Bakersfield City Council. The Californian asked several women who have helped break local political barriers to share their experiences and advice. Hardisty in Bakersfield Californian

Jeff Jardine: Law, life, politics: Ex-Assemblyman House saw them as black and white — When George House went to Sacramento after taking Margaret Snyder’s 25th Assembly District seat in the 1994 election, he quickly showed his Republican cohorts he viewed red and green as if they were black and white. Jardine column in Modesto Bee 

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Some say it’s time California had statewide rules for provisional ballots – Once reserved for emergency situations, provisional ballots were freely handed out across California on June 7 as a Times analysis finds they were used by more than one of every five primary voters who showed up at a polling place. But the wide use of provisional ballots has not been matched by any broad statewide oversight, with rules changing from one county to the next dictating when they are used and how elections officials decide whether to count them as valid votes. LA Times article 

Anne Marie Schubert: California’s broken death penalty system can be fixed – The Sacramento County district attorney writes, “The reason that no executions have occurred in California for 10 years is the state’s delay in drafting regulations for a method of execution. Otherwise, there could have been at least 15 sentences carried out during the past decade. It’s outrageous that victims’ families were forced to sue the state to draft these regulations. Proposition 66 will prevent biased and unsympathetic politicians and government bureaucrats from interfering with this process.” Schubert op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Jose Gaspar: Why is U.S. deporting veterans? — An untold number of non-citizen veterans who were exemplary in the military and fought in foreign wars now find themselves banned from the country they proudly served. A just-released report by the American Civil Liberties Union in Los Angeles reveals the tragic situation of foreign-born veterans snared in the complex and insane web that is immigration law. These are immigrants known as permanent legal residents, but not yet U.S. citizens. Gaspar column in Bakersfield Californian

Presidential Politics

Dianne Hardisty: Her-story: Kern’s trailblazing women reflect on Hillary nom – At its convention this week in Philadelphia, will name Hillary Clinton as its candidate for U.S. president. It is the first time that a major political party will nominate a woman for the nation’s top office. Love her, or hate her; vote for her, or don’t vote for her, but Clinton’s nomination is historic. Hardisty in Bakersfield Californian 

At People’s Convention, Fresno delegate stresses racial justice – Yamina Roland, a delegate representing Fresno at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, introduced the convention’s platform on racial justice, a task she stepped up for when the previous speaker, Anoa Changa, fell ill. Fresno Bee article 

Donald W. Blount: The presidential race crystallizes – I urge voters to brace themselves for the boatload of campaign rhetoric that will spew over the coming months from both Republicans and Democrats. Look at the issues and in November vote for the candidate you think will best address the needs of our nation. Blount column in Stockton Record

Oakland mother of slain U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens tells Donald Trump to stop using her son’s name – Mary F. Commanday, of Oakland, wrote a letter published by The New York Times on Friday pleading with the Republican presidential nominee to refrain from using her son’s name during his campaign. Commanday said she was motivated to write the letter to the editor because she didn’t want to hear her son’s name and reputation connected with Trump’s campaign. East Bay Times article 

Trump’s trip to San Diego cost taxpayers $460,000 – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rally and the related protests in San Diego cost local governments over $460,000, more than all other political rallies in the county combined. San Diego Union-Tribune article 

Migrants and smugglers won’t be stopped by Donald Trump’s wall, ranchers say – Ranchers near the Mexican border see smugglers and sometimes find dead bodies, but they favor a different approach to illegal immigration from Donald J. Trump’s wall.  New York Times article

Compromise reached on future of superdelegates – Superdelegates’ clout could be significantly diluted in future presidential elections, thanks to a deal Saturday night between backers of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Gavin Newsom lifts latest attack on Trump, fails to credit author – Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, keeping up his criticism of Donald Trump late Friday, posted on Twitter and Facebook a Trump-inspired paraphrase of Martin Niemoller’s famous “first they came” statement about Nazism. One thing was missing: Mention that a retired Air Force colonel, not Newsom, wrote the Trump-inspired take. Sacramento Bee article 

Santorum expected to stick to ‘In God We Trust’ script — This fractious presidential campaign in down to three months and change until Election Day, but don’t expect two-time Republican presidential campaigner Rick Santorum to talk Trump on Thursday at the annual In God We Trust America dinner in Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article

News Stories

Top Stories

Yosemite in settlement talks to win back historic park names — The National Park Service is stepping up its effort to restore the historic names that fell victim to a trademark dispute at Yosemite, including the monikers of the famed Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village, by entering into mediation with the company that wants millions of dollars to surrender the titles. San Francisco Chronicle article

Will Delta tunnels get built? Plan enters critical make-or-break phase – Still swirling in controversy, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $15.5 billion re-engineering of the troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is heading into a critical phase over the next year that could well decide if the project comes to fruition. Crunch time starts Tuesday. Sacramento Bee article 

Twin tunnels: A matter of trust – When testimony begins Tuesday in a months-long hearing that could decide the fate of the $15 billion Delta water tunnels, amid all the acronyms and complexities and water-wonk jargon there will be a simple, consistent theme: Trust. Or lack thereof. Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy 

State, federal representatives criticize federal aid denial – Word that the federal government would not declare a major disaster on behalf of victims of the deadly Erskine Fire brought swift responses on Saturday from Bakersfield’s federal and state representatives. In statements, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and state Sen. Jean Fuller, both R-Bakersfield, criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision not to provide additional federal assistance and vowed the Kern River Valley communities devastated by the fire will rebuild. Bakersfield Californian article 

Stockton firefighters have new contract – The city and its firefighters have agreed on a three-year contract that will provide employees with immediate pay increases ranging from 6 to 10 percent. The three-year contract, retroactive to July 1, is scheduled for final approval by the City Council on Tuesday night. Stockton Record article 

Former Modesto leader opposes transportation tax – The transportation tax has enemies, after all. Or an enemy, as in one: Former Modesto Councilman Bruce Frohman, who submitted a ballot argument against Measure L when perhaps the most likely opponent, the Stanislaus Taxpayers Association, took a pass. Modesto Bee article

Fresno foundation CEO leaves as finance issues surface at old job — The abrupt departure last month of Hugh Ralston as CEO of Central Valley Community Foundation occurred as his previous employer in Ventura County struggles with financial turmoil and apparent irregularities that came to light after Ralston left for Fresno in the fall 2014. Fresno Bee article 

In Oakland, a job where being a former inmate gets you in the door – With high rates of recidivism among those who enter and exit the criminal justice system, employers willing to hire, train and work with former inmates to clear obstacles in their lives may be a key factor in keeping people out of the system long term. KQED report 

Champagne, tacos and time off: How Dollar Shave Club employees are celebrating $1-billion sale — Unilever, the London consumer products giant, said Tuesday that it would acquirethe subscription e-commerce site, which mails affordable blades to customers every month. Although Dollar Shave Club declined to disclose the financials, venture capitalists said there are probably dozens of newly minted millionaires working at the company’s Marina del Rey headquarters. LA Times article 

Desert Trip to nearly double the economic impact in Coachella Valley — The annual Coachella music blowout in Indio has become big business for the Palm Springs area, growing even bigger with the addition of the Stagecoach country music weekend in 2007. But now a third music festival, targeting baby boomers and classic rock fans, is expected to nearly double the spending generated by the two established music celebrations. LA Times article


Mary Nejedly Piepho: Here’s how Metropolitan Water District can be good Delta neighbor – The member of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors and chairwoman of the Delta Protection Commission writes, “Now that Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has completed its $175 million purchase of four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, totaling almost 20,000 acres in size, it is time to engage in a discussion of how Met can be a good Delta neighbor.” Piepho op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Josette Lewis: Sacramento region should lead the world in ag-tech innovation – The associate director of the World Food Center at UC Davis writes, “While shaping itself into the farm-to-fork capital, Sacramento also has the potential to be the nation’s hub of innovation for food and agriculture technology. The region has one of the highest-ranked food and ag research universities in the world, connected to one of the world’s top ag economies and in a state with the nation’s largest share of investment in food and ag startup companies. Yet with a recent leap in ag-tech investment elsewhere, this could be Sacramento’s opportunity to lose if we don’t seize the momentum.” Lewis op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Ag app to increase farm worker safety and productivity – A team of college students has developed a new app aimed at increasing safety and productivity for farmers and farmworkers by using climate sensors. The Sense and Protect app measures the temperature in the fields and drinking water along with the distance from bathrooms and shade areas to where the farmworkers are working, said West Hills College Coalinga student Alex Avalos, one of the developers. Hanford Sentinel article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

‘Back the Blue’ cruise shows solidarity for local law enforcement — A group of cars displaying the American flag, with blue lines painted across their windows, paraded through Fresno and Clovis on Saturday to show their support of local law enforcement agencies. Fresno Bee article 

Metro Bakersfield confronts inexplicable rise in gun violence – Friday morning’s incident marks the 63rd shooting police have reported in the Bakersfield area since Jan. 1, not including shootings in the outlying cities of Delano, McFarland and South Kern. Of those 63 shootings, 30 have resulted in fatalities. Most have taken place in Bakersfield’s metro area, with 18 shootings occurring on the east side of Bakersfield and 11 on the west end. Bakersfield Californian articleInteractive map: A year of violence in Bakersfield’ in Bakersfield Californian

One police chief: Out on patrol in an anxious America – Riding with officers illuminated the fears they confront, the compassion they received after losing their brothers on the force and the wariness of a country shaken by violent crimes. New York Times article 

For Bay Area officers, these are tense times – The videotaped killings of two black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota this month and the slayings of eight law officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge happened thousands of miles from the Bay Area. The hostility effect, though, is local everywhere. It comes in subtle ways every day — in more taunts than usual, like threats yelled at officers as they drive by. San Francisco Chronicle article

Assemblymember Devon Mathis and B. Wayne Hughes Jr.: Expand Fresno veterans’ courts to all of California – Mathis, a Visalia Republican, and Hughes, a California philanthropist and founder of Serving California, write, “While Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties have terrific veterans’ treatment courts, there are no such services available to nearly 12,000 veterans in Merced County, 8,500 veterans in Madera County and 6,500 veterans in Tuolumne County. And the list goes on. This is unacceptable. Veterans in every California county should be afforded this same opportunity for recovery and rehabilitation, a roof over their heads, a job and reunification with families. Mathis/Hughes op-ed in Fresno Bee

A series of seemingly random, violent crimes in LA leaves a trail of chaos, pain — Bheri Werntz and his family were sleeping when the silver Volkswagen Jetta slid into their Burbank driveway, its electronic dance music pulsating so loudly in the early morning that it woke them up. Werntz peered outside. Not recognizing the car or its driver, the 67-year-old walked out of his house, rapped on the Jetta’s window and asked the man to turn the music down. Without a word, the driver calmly pointed a silver handgun at Werntz. LA Times article 

Marcos Breton: A young woman fights to reclaim ‘my worth and my story’ after assault in Davis — Yee Xiong was a 20-year-old student at UC Davis when her community turned against her. This began the day after she awoke to find a young man she knew and trusted on top of her in the predawn hours of of July 9, 2012. What would follow was a nightmare scenario with elements common to all victims who expect and demand justice and press their cases. Breton column in Sacramento Bee

San Diego County program for nonviolent felons may be helping people from returning to jail — People serving sentences for nonviolent felonies in San Diego County custody recommit crimes less frequently than those who serve in state prison for similar crimes, according to new data from the San Diego County Probation Department. LA Times article


Politics and education collide under new LGBT history requirements in schools — Local gay rights groups are celebrating new standards that will require public schools to teach children about LGBT history, but some are skeptical about how the curriculum will be implemented in the conservative Valley. Fresno Bee article 

Modesto Junior College welcomes English learners — Modesto Junior College is opening an English Language Learner Welcome Center on its west campus, bringing together an assortment of helping hands and helpful services under one roof for the first time. Modesto Bee article 

Turlock Unified makes best of N, O bond designations – School bonds that Turlock Unified leaders are counting on to improve security and upgrade science labs will appear on the November ballot as Measures N and O, an unintended negative resulting from when they were filed. Modesto Bee article 

Woman brings different leadership to Sacramento technical training campus – Tess Dubois-Carey, president of the Sacramento campus of Universal Technical Institute, may not be able to assemble a car transmission from a pile of parts, but she has brought a new vibe to the automotive technician-training school since taking the top post in September. Sacramento Bee article 

Jill Simonian: 10 back-to-school tips teachers want us to start following now – The graduate of Sanger High School and a parenting lifestyle expert for CBS Los Angeles writes, “I asked a bunch of teachers what they needed from parents and families at the start of the school year, and this is what they offered. Besides the expected suggestion to review last year’s academic basics, consider these requests.” Simonian op-ed in Fresno Bee

Health/Human Services 

‘This is a safe haven’: Stockton group home for LGBT youth is Valley’s first — The concept of LGBT-specific group homes is not new. One such facility on the East Coast has compiled an online list of LGBT group homes serving youths in 16 states, from New York to California. Some have been around more than a decade. But according to Nicholas Hatten, executive director of the San Joaquin Pride Center, the unaffiliated Pride House is the first facility of its kind in the Central Valley. Stockton Record article 

The death of a grandchild and how Child Protective Services restricts vital information – Doug Haaland’s frustration in dealing with CPS began with the devastation of learning about the death of his grandson and continues today with the recent effort by the California Department of Social Services to restrict the ability of the public to have access to important information. It all began in 1999 when he received a phone call and was told his 4-year-old grandson was dead.  Haaland in Sacramento Bee 

Olympus told U.S. executives no broad scope warning needed despite superbug outbreaks – Faced with superbug outbreaks in three countries by early 2013, Japanese device giant Olympus Corp. told U.S. executives not to issue a broad warning to American hospitals about potentially deadly infections from tainted medical scopes, internal emails show. LA Times article 

Healer of hearts: Anne Cirimele retiring after 20 years at Family Resource Network — When Ann Cirimele leaves the office of the Family Resource Network on Thursday, it will be for the last time. After 20 years, 19 as the nonprofit agency’s director, Cirimele is retiring, but that doesn’t mean she’s leaving the world of parents with special-needs children. Stockton Record article 

Land Use/Housing 

Swearengin paddles uphill to get interior inspections of apartments — Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin wants the city to be inspecting the interiors of apartments within two years so landlords can be put on notice to fix structures that are unsafe and unhealthy for housing residents. But the clock is ticking for the lame-duck mayor. With five months remaining in her term, Swearengin has yet to produce a draft inspection ordinance for City Council review. Fresno Bee article


No food or drinks on long-haul international flights? No problem — Norwegian Air, the low-cost carrier that recently got the green light to fly from a base in Ireland to the U.S., offers nonrefundable tickets, starting at $210, for 11-hour flights from Los Angeles to Stockholm. Fliers in these seats must pay extra for meals, snack, drinks and to check bags. Other carriers like Icelandair, Jetstar and Scoot also sell ultra-cheap fares for long-haul flights. LA Times article 

Other areas

Modesto Bee: Let communities protect themselves from dangerous dogs – California does more to protect aggressive dogs than it does to protect their victims. Now, some very misguided people – including most of California’s legislators – are trying to make it even easier to unleash aggressive dogs on our communities. Modesto Bee editorial 

Armen Bacon: When grief is everywhere — As communities strategize efforts to bring citizens together, the healing process now begins for the countless families who have lost loved ones. These tragedies remind us that grief is everywhere and that every single life matters. We must all be part of the solution. Doing nothing is simply no longer an option. Bacon column in Fresno Bee 

Fresno Hmong activist receives $825,000 settlement from HUD — A Fresno man who spent 15 years trying to clear his name after his supervisors accused him of financial misconduct has reached an $825,000 settlement with his employer – the federal government. Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – In Trump vs. Clinton, will fear trump facts?