July 25, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Dan Walters: Would extending California income tax hikes cause rich to leave? — Would making higher rates at least semi-permanent do what the temporary taxes apparently did not do – spur the wealthy to flee California in serious numbers? It’s a question that no one can answer – yet. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

George Skelton: Gov. Jerry Brown’s best hope for high-speed rail? A Donald Trump presidency — Gov. Jerry Brown badly needs a financial angel to salvage his sputtering bullet train. Nobody ever dreamed it might be Donald Trump. But Brown and Trump share at least one viewpoint: High-speed rail is needed for America’s transportation future. Skelton column in LA Times

Valley politics 

Phil Smith to seek Tulare council seat — Commercial Credit Manager Phil Smith will seek Tulare City Council Area 3 seat. In a statement, Smith, who currently serves in the Tulare Board of Public Utilities, announced he took out nomination papers on Friday. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Other areas 

Trip to Capitol Hill gives Merced teen glimpse of Latino issues — A trip to Washington, D.C., geared for young Hispanics gave one Merced teen a glimpse of life outside of this city and insight into what issues impact San Joaquin Valley Hispanics. Merced Sun-Star article

Presidential Politics

Meet California Democratic convention delegates for Hillary Clinton (and Bernie Sanders) – California’s 551-member delegation to the Democratic National Convention arrived over the weekend at their accommodations at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Philadelphia and began preparing for the week’s main event: the nomination of Hillary Clinton amid lingering rancor from supporters of her dispatched rival, Bernie Sanders. Sacramento Bee article 

Hillary Clinton seeks party unity amid ‘a lot of anger out there’ – As California Democrats arrived in Philadelphia over the weekend, sipping bourbon lemonade in the lobby of a Marriott downtown, Karen Bernal, an organizer of Bernie Sanders’ delegates from California, headed to a hotel five minutes away. If the state party’s encampment offered a venue for unification, Bernal was resisting. Sacramento Bee article 

Californians struggle for spotlight at Democrats’ big party – From Gov. Jerry Brown to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, California Democrats are headed back to Philadelphia in force — but with the exception of a couple of high-powered members of Congress, chances are you won’t see them on prime-time TV. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Madame President? A wide range of feelings among women delegates – As the Democratic party prepares to make history this week by nominating Hillary Clinton for president, female delegates from California gathered at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Philadelphia expressed feelings ranging from elation to “meh.” KQED report 

Hillary Clinton has all kinds of policies – that’s the problem as she seeks a coherent message – Clinton has strained for months to come up with an overarching message despite a website filled with policy plans and a think tank scholar’s grasp of most every imaginable issue. Voters are more likely to know about her email troubles and speeches to Goldman Sachs than her plans to boost the fortunes of the middle class. It’s a reality Clinton’s team has been struggling with in every stage of planning for the event. LA Times article 

Sanders supporters won’t be stopped from having say at convention – Many of Sanders’ supporters aren’t ready to hug it out with Clinton, and their voice — the voice of the 45 percent of Democratic primary voters who felt the Bern during the primaries — is going to be loud and occasionally disruptive this week. San Francisco Chronicle article

Willie Brown: Warm and fuzzy won’t do it: Clinton needs to take on Trump — If Hillary Clinton wants to be president, she and her fellow Democrats should seize on that fear of Donald the Dictator and make it the centerpiece of their convention in Philadelphia this week. Forget about trying to make Clinton appear trustworthy. It’s way too late for that makeover. The name of the game is taking Trump apart. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle

Willie Brown: The Inside Man – Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown has attended almost every Democratic National Convention since 1960. He’s had a unique view on the evolving influence of African-Americans on U.S. politics. New York Times video 

As leaked emails threaten party unity, Democratic Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigns – The Hillary Clinton campaign, responding to leaked internal Democratic Party emails that threatened to revive tensions with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ followers, moved quickly to squelch the problem Sunday as the party’s embattled chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, announced she would step down at the end of the convention week. LA Times article 

Erika D. Smith: The real story of Mike Pence’s Indiana — For many Hoosiers, it’s still clearly sinking in that their governor, Mike Pence, is going all right – potentially to Washington as vice president in a Donald Trump White House. Indeed, it’s baffling how a man with such an uneven record and a knack for disastrous decision-making could ascend to such political heights and be regarded so highly at a national level. Smith column in Sacramento Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

Merced grand jury report criticizes transparency of discretionary funds – The Merced County civil grand jury has recommended major reforms for the process the Board of Supervisors uses to allocate discretionary funds. The grand jury noted in its report, issued last week, that its investigation focused on transparency and accountability of the funding process, not how the money is allocated. Merced Sun-Star article

Homeless and hungry in college: Not just a ‘ramen-noodle’ problem – Stories like Amante’s and new research on campus hunger and homelessness have awakened college leaders and policy makers to an uncomfortable reality: Many students are struggling just to survive. The very institutions that study poverty and hunger in urban centers and developing countries are confronting mounting evidence that their own students scrounge for a place to sleep and skip meals to pay their bills. San Jose Mercury News article

Jobs and the Economy

Back to school shopping in full swing – School starts today for some youngsters in the region. But don’t think that if you just show up with a No. 2 pencil you’ll be prepared. “The amount of stuff you need today is insane,” said Garth Reinhardt, manager of the Office Max/Depot store at 3939 E. Hammer Lane in north Stockton. Stockton Record article 

Why have upscale retailer Nordstrom and other apparel giants lost their luster? – Nordstrom, founded as a shoe company more than a century ago, is grappling with many of the same massive changes roiling other major apparel-heavy department stores such as Macy’s Inc. and Kohl’s Corp: a decline in mall traffic, lower consumer spending on apparel, shoppers’ increasing habit of buying online and heightened competition from Internet players such as Amazon.com Inc. LA Times article 

Fire destroys Sanger baby food plant, company plans to regroup – A fire early Sunday morning destroyed a block-long complex of buildings where Initiative Foods produces its specialty baby food products in central Sanger. Fresno Bee article 

Pallet fire destroys Modesto recycling facility – A three-alarm fire destroyed a pallet recycling storage facility in Modesto Saturday night and damaged nearby businesses as firefighters battled to control the blaze. Modesto Bee article 

Fresno County pays IBM $2.3 million following software audit – Fresno County paid IBM almost $2.3 million after a software-licensing audit revealed too many workers were using unlicensed IBM software in county departments. The bill, which was paid in March, is leading to changes in the way the county buys and uses software. Fresno Bee article 

New life for historic downtown Visalia building – Downtown Visalia property owner Sam Sciacca had an affirmation moment Saturday morning. And it had nothing to do with the historical recognition plaque unveiled for one of the buildings he owns. Sciacca gave tours of the six nearly-completed apartments and one commercial space inside the Sweet building, a retrofit project eight years in the making and one which many locals doubt it would ever happen. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Verizon, Yahoo set to announce $4.8 billion deal – Verizon and Yahoo are reportedly set to announce a $4.8 billion deal Monday to buy Yahoo’s core Internet business. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Downtown market gets smaller (for now) hoping to get better – Nearly two months in, the DoMo Night Market on 10th Street continues to find its way, but organizers and a cross section of vendors expressed confidence it will get bigger and better. It’s smaller than when it began June 2 on the two blocks between I and K streets with about 40 vendor tents. It now more compactly fits about 30 tents on the one block between J and K. Modesto Bee article 

Will downtown Sacramento be bright and safe enough for its big arena debut this fall? – The city of Sacramento has launched an eleventh-hour effort to brighten up the sidewalks and street corners of downtown to make thousands of pedestrians who will hit the streets around Golden 1 Center feel safer. Sacramento Bee article 

Is Airbnb to blame for high housing prices in San Francisco?— After four years in a rent-controlled flat on Potrero Hill, Brian and Sarah Grzybowski were evicted, with their landlady saying she needed their apartment for her grown daughter. Months later, they stumbled across their former apartment advertised as a vacation rental. They investigated further and found it listed on Airbnb, FlipKey, Craigslist, Cozy and Zeus Living at prices ranging from $185 a night to $5,500 a month. Their rent had been $2,950. San Francisco Chronicle article


Algae in drinking water causes Santa Clara Valley water officials to scramble — Water officials closed off the reservoir last Monday — nearly two months earlier than normal — after drawing the reservoir level down below the bottom of the boat ramp. Boating at nearby Anderson Reservoir could be shut down in a few weeks. The reason: Santa Clara County needs the drinking water, and the region’s usual supply system has been disrupted by algae and lingering drought issues. San Jose Mercury News article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Traci Gallian: Here’s a day in the life of a CHP officer – The CHP officer writes, “I have been asked many times in my career what it’s like to be a California Highway Patrol officer. I think it’s important to get you into the patrol car (virtually) with me so I can give you a look at a typical day in the life of a CHP officer.” Gallian column in Fresno Bee


Experts say schools must do more to address early signs of sexual harassment – A new California law requiring 7th- through 12th-grade students to be educated about sexual harassment and assault will enter its first full year of implementation this fall, and experts and advocates say schools have the opportunity to address troubling attitudes about gender and power that they say can contribute to sexual harassment and even assaults on college campuses. EdSource article

Louis Amestoy: College district’s plans are ambitious, but maintaining what it has built requires it — An argument could be made that the investment in California community colleges has given a lot to this state in return, and I’ve seen few places where a community loves its college as much as this one loves BC. As this bond heads to the November ballot, it would be a good idea for BC and Kern Community College District folks to remember that — give a little back and be open. In turn, it’s likely the voters will return the favor. Amestoy column in Bakersfield Californian

Patterson helps teachers settle down in town — Lots of teachers start out here, but most live a half-hour or so away and within a few years tend to gravitate to schools closer to home. To keep experienced teachers in place, the Patterson Unified School District is helping them put down roots. Modesto Bee article


‘Nothing normal’ about the Sand fire in the Santa Clarita Valley, officials say – Before the flames of the Sand fire ripped through the Santa Clarita Valley this weekend, destroying homes and charring hillsides, officials had been on high alert. They had every reason to be worried.  LA Times article 

Scientists capture rare images of wolverine in Sierra Nevada — Scientists following up on a rare wolverine sighting in the Sierra Nevada set up cameras and captured video of the animal scurrying in the snow, scaling a tree and chewing on bait. AP article

Other areas 

Tulare supervisors to consider Visalia court closure for safety training — The Board of Supervisors will consider approving a four-hour closure at the Visalia Courthouse next month to allow for safety training exercise when they meet on Tuesday. Visalia Times-Delta article

San Joaquin County officials pleased with new website — Last month, San Joaquin County launched its new and improved website, sjgov.org, and information services division director Jerry Becker said the first four weeks have been good so far. Stockton Record article 

Fitz’s Stockton: From Russia, with cannonballs — I visited Fort Ross the other day. Unexpectedly, there’s a colorful connection between Stockton and this historic Russian fort on the Sonoma Coast. Fitz’s Stockton in Stockton Record

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – The U.S. Justice Department is right to block the Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers.