July 28, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

California millennials surging: Their votes could be decisive – especially on marijuana — As they come of age and register to vote, Millennials—that enormous generation born since 1981—are surging so fast they’re on the verge of overtaking the Baby Boomer behemoth as a share of the California electorate. And new evidence confirms that, so far at least, the GOP is losing them. CALmatters article 

California’s race for governor percolates in Philadelphia — While the Democratic National Convention focused attention on the nomination of Hillary Clinton at the Wells Fargo Center this week, the early campaign for California governor pressed on in restaurants, hotel lobbies and panels around town. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown 

‘We will get it,’ says Jerry Brown of his effort to extend California’s climate programs — Gov. Jerry Brown isn’t saying how he plans to pull it off, but on Tuesday, he emphasized his dedication to extending California’s landmark climate efforts. LA Times article 

Jerry Brown reflects on conventions past and present — By any measure, Jerry Brown has had an extraordinary public life that includes being California’s youngest and oldest governors. He’s gone from being a “Governor Moonbeam” who wore out his welcome with California voters in the 1980s to the elder statesman widely seen as a wise and steadying force in Sacramento. KQED report 

Valley politics 

Dave Jones nixes Hanford council run — Dave Jones, the former executive director of the now-defunct Hanford Conference and Visitor Agency, has decided not to run for Hanford City Council. Hanford Sentinel article 

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Republican voters taking a pass on California’s U.S. Senate race, poll finds – Half of California’s likely Republican voters and a third of independents said they wouldn’t vote for either candidate in the state’s U.S. Senate race this November, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. LA Times article 

California Sen. Boxer says good bye to California Democrats – U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, retiring at year’s end after four terms, gave a moving farewell to California Democrats Wednesday, but in trademark fashion left a little in the tank to excoriate Republican Donald Trump. Sacramento Bee article 

Joe Mathews: Brown, Newsom take a risk with own ballot measures – Do you think Brexit was a singularly British folly, having little to do with California? Think again. California is the global capital of Brexit-style votes, and this November’s ballot is littered with mini-Brexits. Mathews in Sacramento Bee 

Petitions cleared in push against California gun laws — State officials have certified petitions that opponents of stricter gun regulations can now circulate in California to overturn recent laws that expanded background checks to buy guns and ammunition and attempted to curb the sale of rapid-reloading firearms. AP article 

Being California’s governor a walk in the park for Tom Torlakson — It isn’t often that the Superintendent of Public Instruction gets to assume California’s governorship. That’s why Tom Torlakson is using his few days in office to advocate for an issue that’s important to him: physical fitness. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas 

Poll finds Californians back climate change efforts despite costs – Climate change policies appeal to a majority of Californians despite the possibility of higher energy costs, a new Public Policy Institute of California poll has found. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article 

Study confirms what gun rights advocates have said for a long time about crime — Lawful gun owners commit less than a fifth of all gun crimes, according to a novel analysis released this week by the University of Pittsburgh. Washington Post article 

California Treasurer Chiang calls out pay to play in school bond elections — California State Treasurer John Chiang and a coalition of county treasurers and tax collectors have moved to stop questionable bankrolling of campaign activities in local bond election campaigns. California Forward report

Presidential Politics

Hillary Clinton expand lead over Donald Trump in California – Hillary Clinton has expanded her lead over Donald Trump in California, with a large advantage among independent voters as well as Democrats, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday. Sacramento Bee article 

Obama portrays Clinton, his former foe and advisor, as uniquely qualified for the White House – President Obama forcefully made the case Wednesday that Hillary Clinton has the tenacity, heart and temperament to guide the nation as commander in chief, while painting Donald Trump as a candidate of cynicism and fear unfit for the office. LA Times articleNew York Times article 

Cathleen Decker: The surrogates Hillary Clinton desperately needs aim for the voters she wants – After a day that demonstrated weaknesses in both presidential candidates, a series of high-powered surrogates for Hillary Clinton impugned Donald Trump from the Democratic convention stage Wednesday, aiming at the voters she will need for victory in November. LA Times article 

Jerry Brown: ‘I say Trump lies … I say Trump is a fraud’ – Gov. Jerry Brown, casting Donald Trump as a liar and a fraud, urged Americans on Wednesday to reject his candidacy as “dangerously wrong” about climate change. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article 

Dan Morain: Donald Trump’s dalliance with Vladimir Putin – So far, Hillary Clinton’s convention is accomplishing its tasks by showing general party unity and burnishing her image. It’s to be expected. Clinton and her team run polished, disciplined campaigns. In time, I believe, voters will face the reality that Trump is ill-equipped to lead this nation. But Trump is waging an asymmetrical campaign, and only he and maybe his Russian ally know what is in store. Morain in Sacramento Bee 

Dolores Huerta to address Democratic convention Thursday – Bakersfield’s Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, will speak on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, it was announced Wednesday. Huerta, a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton since her first presidential campaign in 2008, is expected to speak about Clinton’s “credentials and tireless efforts throughout her career as an advocate for children, families, workers and immigrants rights,” according to a news release. Bakersfield Californian article 

Hanford delegate protests at DNC – Hanford resident and Bernie Sanders delegate Mackenzie Hays was so disappointed at Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic Party nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, she walked out of the building. Hanford Sentinel article 

We got Berned: Sanders camp stiffs Sonoma town for $23,000 — All those extra police officers and firefighters piling up overtime costs money — $23,000 to be exact. Cloverdale officials told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that Sanders’ advance team assured them that local public safety agencies would be reimbursed. But when city officials presented the Sanders campaign with the bill, instead of payment they got the runaround. San Francisco Chronicle article

News Stories

Top Stories

Covered California health insurance doesn’t guarantee doctor access, study says — The recent announcement that Covered California premiums will rise by double digits in 2017 is only part of the challenge for the nation’s largest health exchange. A newly released study found that 4.38% of Covered California policyholders enrolled in Blue Shield or Blue Cross plans were rejected by doctors who were supposedly accepting their insurance, compared with 1.41% for people with the same plans purchased outside the exchange. LA Times article

Summit lays foundation to push Fresno as leader in Ag technology – Agriculture leaders and entrepreneurs gathered Wednesday in downtown Fresno to lay the groundwork for a mission to make Fresno an agriculture-technology leader. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy 

Fresno Bee: Fresno has it hands down over Sacramento in battle of the foodies – We have a suggestion for the folks at the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau who are attempting to brand their namesake burg as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.” Log off your laptops, get out of your cubicles and motor down to Fresno, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, and see what’s going on in America’s real Farm-to-Fork Capital. Fresno Bee editorial 

Hanford officials seek ideas for Bastille – Hanford officials are looking for ideas for the Bastille. The city officially released a request for proposals on its website this week, giving developers and entrepreneurs a chance to outline their plans for transforming the vacant historical building in Civic Park into an attractive commercial draw. Hanford Sentinel article 

CoreLogic: Local cash home sales up in April — More people in Fresno paid cash for their homes in April than last year, according to new data from real estate information firm CoreLogic. Cash sales accounted for 24.5 percent of total home sales that month, up 0.7 percent from April 2015. The Business Journal article 

Sanger baby food plant takes first steps toward rebuilding after fire – Energy levels among Initiative Foods employees soared at its temporary facility Wednesday as the baby food plant began its first steps toward rebuilding. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article 

Visalia water rates won’t rise with court ruling – An Orange County judge’s ruling allowing water rates to be raised in the city of Yorba Linda to offset financial losses from customers reducing water use due to the drought isn’t likely to have any effect on rates in Visalia. But in Tulare, where the system is run by the city, the ruling could open the door for spikes in water rates. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Bakersfield parks program attendance down in June – Nearly 15 percent fewer people used programs put on by Bakersfield’s city parks department last month than in June 2015, a number likely attributable to fewer days open for pools, an official said — but also to a 42 percent drop in athletics attendance. Bakersfield Californian article 

Sacramento ethanol maker’s profits jump – Pacific Ethanol Inc. reported sharply higher profits Wednesday as the impact of a major acquisition kicked in. The Sacramento ethanol producer said it earned $5.1 million in the second quarter compared with $1 million a year earlier. Per-share earnings jumped to 11 cents, from 3 cents. Sacramento Bee article 

Turlock Downtown Farmers Market to move after business owners complain – For months, two groups tussled over which would run a farmers market on Main Street in downtown Turlock. Come next month, no one will. A contentious competition between the established nonprofit Turlock Certified Farmers Market and the startup for-profit Turlock Downtown Farmers’ Market took another turn Wednesday with the announcement the upstart market would vacate the downtown location both had sought. Modesto Bee article 

Old Town Clovis cancels farmers market for first time in 27 years – For the first time in 27 years, Old Town Clovis will not host its summer farmers market this Friday evening. Carole Lester, executive director of the Business Organization of Old Town, said sweltering temperatures and poor air quality led to the decision. Fresno Bee article 

Here’s how regulators aim to limit harassment by debt collectors —  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is taking its first step toward reining in debt collectors, releasing an early outline of rules aimed at preventing them from harassing consumers and trying to collect debts that don’t exist. LA Times articleNew York Times article 


Waterwise: Tulare supervisors should take overdraft water position – Community Water Center’s Kristin Dobbin is calling on the Board of Supervisors to consider recommendations addressing groundwater overdraft. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Farmers lose big in ag theft – In two days, more than $53,000 of equipment was stolen from farmers in Delano and Poplar. On Monday, Tulare County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 300 block of Road 192 in Delano, regarding a theft of an excavator tractor. The loss of the tractor was approximately $38,384. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Tomato yield jump: You can thank drip irrigation and genetics — It’s no secret that the westside of Kings County is water short. Yet this is one of the most productive processing tomato growing regions in the state or world, with some of the highest yields per acre. You are probably not surprised to learn that most of the region’s growers use buried drip irrigation to deliver what water we have. But UC Vegetable Adviser Tom Turini, based at the Five Points station, says using this technology not only saves water but contributes to the high yields seen here. Hanford Sentinel article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Modesto to pay $850,000 to settle police lawsuit – Modesto has agreed to pay $850,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed against the city that claimed one of its officers used excessive force and was negligent when he shot a distraught, suicidal man armed with a pocketknife in 2010. Modesto Bee article 

Police robots:  Departments lack rules on whether they can kill – Law enforcement agencies around Southern California own and operate military-style robots—but few have policies on when and how to use them, including on whether the machines can be used to kill. KPCC report

Sheriff’s helicopter rescues girl, 16, pinned in San Joaquin River — Fresno County sheriff’s pilots used the Eagle One helicopter Monday to rescue a 16-year-old girl trapped against a tree in swift currents in the San Joaquin River. Fresno Bee articleVideo: ‘Watch sheriff’s chopper team rescue teen girl from San Joaquin River’ in Fresno Bee


Trustees haven’t seen contract with Merced police, president says – Merced College trustees were introduced to the new campus police chief Wednesday, though none of the board members have voted on or even seen the temporary contract with the city police department, according to the board president. Merced Sun-Star article 

Program focuses on early intervention – Local students got a chance to participate in team building exercises and learn about positive life choices with the help of local law enforcement on Tuesday. The Youth Expanding Self-efficacy Program, also known as the Y.E.S. Program, focuses on early intervention and was created by the Kings County Probation Department a few years ago. Hanford Sentinel article 

Kenneth “Ziggy” Siegfried: What a year for CSUB athletics! Another to come – CSU Bakersfield’s athletic director writes, “Our mission at CSUB Athletics is to develop champions for life through a commitment to academic excellence, an outstanding student-athlete experience, competitive success, and community engagement. We continue to be on a remarkable trajectory in these areas, having just finished our most successful NCAA Division I season to date in the 2015-16 year.” Siegfried op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

As deadline looms, California struggles to finalize new school accountability system – California is on the verge of finalizing what leading educators believe is the most ambitious attempt in the nation to use multiple dimensions to measure how well – or poorly – a school or district is doing, rather than focusing primarily on test scores. EdSource article 

Valley native gives back to spark women’s interest in STEM — Over the last decade, many programs have been developed to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Now thanks to Visalia native Cindy Quezada, young women from the College of the Sequoias (COS) are learning what goes on behind the scenes in the medical labs at Adventist Health centers in Hanford and Selma. The Business Journal article 

Fresno migrant students learn while competing — About two dozen migrant education students from the Fresno metro area competed in robotics Wednesday at an event sponsored by the Fresno County Office of Education’s Migrant Education Program. Fresno Bee article 

Acacia schools fight to stay open — Two schools in Stockton are fearful of losing their charters with one district and are appealing to another to sponsor them. Stockton Record article 

How the relationship between LA Unified and charter schools is ‘like a middle school dance’ — For years, parents in the nation’s second largest school district have faced disarray when trying to find the best place for their kids to learn. There are about 10 types of public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, many with their own admissions processes and schedules. LA Times article 


Heat and smoke make for unhealthy air in Valley – The heat continues this week, and so does the bad air in the central San Joaquin Valley. Air quality on Thursday in Fresno is forecast to reach a “red” level for the second day in a row, which means unhealthy air for everyone. Fresno Bee article 

Wildfire blamed for unhealthy air in Northern San Joaquin Valley – The heat-related smog was bad enough, and then smoke from a wildfire in Monterey County made the air more unhealthy this week in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Modesto Bee article 

‘Heat islands’ burden poor residents – For Carson and about 5,591 of his neighbors in Census Tract 19.00, these summertime heat waves are even worse than they are for thousands of other — in many cases, more affluent — Stockton residents. For the first time, state officials have calculated the urban “heat island” effect, the phenomenon that makes the concrete inner city even hotter than nearby rural areas. Carson’s census tract is on average about 3 degrees warmer, worst in the city. Stockton Record article

PG&E criminal case over safety goes to jury – Criminal pipeline-safety charges against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. were sent to a federal court jury Wednesday after a defense lawyer, in closing arguments, said the prosecution’s case was based on anticorporate “sound bites.” San Francisco Chronicle article 

Randy Hanvelt and Julia Levin: PUC is too slow dealing with dead trees – Hanvelt, a member of the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, and Levin, executive director of the Bioenergy Association of California, write, “When Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Michael Picker as president of the California Public Utilities Commission, Picker announced that his top priority would be protection of public safety. Last October, Brown declared an emergency for California’s forests, where tens of millions of dead trees pose enormous risks for wildfires, the water supply, local communities and more. The emergency order calls on the PUC to accelerate the development of small bioenergy facilities to convert the dead trees to renewable energy. Despite the obvious threat to public safety and the huge costs of wildfire, the commission is dragging its feet.” Hanvelt/Levin op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

San Francisco residential building owners slow on quake retrofits — Hundreds of San Francisco residential building owners have yet to comply with the city’s mandated seismic retrofit program and face penalties if they don’t initiate the safety improvements in the next 60 days, according to the Department of Building Inspection. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Health/Human Services 

Tulare Regional Medical Center board approves bond committee applications – Tulare Regional Medical Center’s regularly scheduled board meeting went without fireworks as hospital officials announced another strong month financially and gave final approval to applications for a potential Bond Oversight Committee. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Amid opioid epidemic, rules for drug companies are loosened – This spring, with little attention and virtually no public opposition, lawmakers approved and the president signed a new law that makes it more difficult for government to take action against a key player in the crisis: the pharmaceutical industry. LA Times article 

More addiction training at Stanford Med School as opioid epidemic surges – Stanford’s medical school may offer an example of what faculty-driven change in teaching about addiction can look like. The school began retooling its curriculum after the director of its addiction medicine fellowship, Dr. Anna Lembke, expressed concern about its meager offerings in that field. KQED report 

Fresno doctor warns new fake Norco drug can be deadly — A dangerous new street drug that combines fentanyl and a new synthetic opioid is masquerading as street “Norco” and is being sold in Central California, a Fresno doctor says. Fresno Bee article 

Land Use/Housing 

Sacramento County expands preserve, environmental protections in Mather plan — David and Joy Nahigian are surprised, and very pleased, that their first in-depth exercise in civic engagement resulted in the best possible outcome – a more environmentally friendly development plan they can support for the Mather Field south area. Sacramento Bee article 

Other areas 

PETA gives Merced Fire Department thumbs up for puppy rescue – PETA is sending a Compassionate Fire Department Award to the city of Merced Fire Department for its rescue last week of a 7-week-old puppy. Firefighters on July 20 rescued the puppy, Lily, after she fell through an open air-conditioning vent and down two stories of ducts. Firefighters filmed the rescue and Lily’s reunion with her owner, 6-year-old Aubree Faust, on a GoPro camera. Merced Sun-Star article 

Kern museum gets a new old name: Pioneer Village — The Kern County Museum is changing its name to Kern Pioneer Village — probably something of a shock to thousands of local residents who never knew the Chester Avenue compound was called anything but Pioneer Village. Hence, the reason for the change, said new chief executive officer Zoot Velasco, who, a few weeks into the job, has asked the people who know and love the museum best what they want for the future. Bakersfield Californian article 

Haggard home has been at museum for a year: When will it be ready? — Haggard’s sister, the museum staff and a historical architect are trying to strip away decades of modifications and wear and tear to figure out what the original Haggard home looked like. Their task is critical, and not only for the purpose of providing visitors an authentic glimpse into Haggard’s childhood. They hope to nominate the home to the National Register of Historic Places, more for the most famous person who lived there than any particular distinction of the building itself. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – We have a suggestion for the folks at the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau who are attempting to brand their namesake burg as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.” Log off your laptops, get out of your cubicles and motor down to Fresno, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, and see what’s going on in America’s real Farm-to-Fork Capital.

Sacramento Bee – However you feel about Hillary Clinton, her nomination is a milestone in history.