July 5, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

California drug price plan is criticized by patient advocates — A state ballot initiative meant to lower prescription drug prices for California faces an expected opponent: the pharmaceutical industry, which has spent almost $70 million to defeat it. But concerns are also coming from a more curious source: some patient advocacy groups. New York Times article 

Dan Walters: California State Bar overhaul caught in cross-Capitol conflict — Internal friction aside, the State Bar reform measure is a very important piece of legislation. The State Bar is a mess and thousands of cases involving attorney misconduct have piled up while it trades allegations with its former executive director, Joe Dunn. However it happens, the Legislature shouldn’t adjourn without cleaning up the mess. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

The debate over marijuana legalization and kids – The pending ballot battle over a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in California raises a crucial question: would the change expose more children to pot or protect youth from access to the drug by tightening regulations? California Health Report article 

Sacramento Bee: Toward a more perfect vote count in future California elections – SB 450 reflects the move in California away from traditional election-day trips to polling places.  Sacramento Bee editorial


State Assemblymember Rob Bonta and Pablo Alvarado: California can take big step to stop deportation abuses – Bonta, an Oakland Democrat, and Alvarado, executive director of the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network, write, “Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court dashed the hopes of millions of immigrants. With a tied “decision,” the court sided with anti-immigrant states and froze new programs that would have brought temporary protection from deportation to millions of immigrants. But last week, California took an important step in the opposite direction. The Senate Public Safety Committee passed Assembly Bill 2792, the Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds (TRUTH) Act, that will guard against deportation abuses.” Bonta/Alvarado op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Foon Rhee: Children remind us what America stands for — Besides cookouts, parades and fireworks, we should honor another Fourth of July tradition – citizenship ceremonies. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

Other areas 

Fresno Bee: Who let this family bill die? — Assemblymen Roger Hernández, D-West Covina, and Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, helped kill in committee a smart, well-thought-out bill that would have given adoptive parents and new fathers better access to family leave benefits that already pay for. Fresno Bee editorial 

Nancy Pelosi’s high-security shoe-shopping trip — They’re still buzzing up in the Wine Country over House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s VIP ride — complete with flashing lights — to a swank St. Helena shoe boutique. San Francisco Chronicle article

Presidential Politics

Donald Trump breaks a record, and it’s not a good one – Gallup reports that Trump is more disliked than any general election candidate in the last 60 years. Even Barry Goldwater at his lowest point was not viewed as negatively as Trump is now. The polling organization’s latest survey looked not just at whether people view a candidate favorably or unfavorably, but to what extent. LA Times article 

Joe Altschule: Tom’s Trump fantasy growing more and more fantastic — Only in the warped political universe that Tom Fife inhabits can the lowest point that Donald Trump hits in the polls while, at the same moment Hillary Clintonrises to her highest point in the polls, can that possibly be considered a good omen. Altschule column in Visalia Times-Delta 

Tom Fife: Feel that seismic shift in fortunes of Trump, Clinton? — Did you feel that shift in the Force a couple of weeks ago? It happened a nanosecond after Hillary hit her top numbers in national polls and Donald hit his lowest. Fife column in Visalia Times-Delta

News Stories

Top Stories 

Local entrepreneurs nurture local tech scene — This is the central dilemma of Bakersfield’s tech startup community. There is talent here, enthusiasm and the foundations of a collaborative professional society. But top programmers and entrepreneurs are tempted by high-paying jobs in big cities, or frustrated by a wider business culture still unfamiliar with the norms of computer technology. Bakersfield Californian article 

Northeast Fresno water issues confound city, state investigators — Hundreds of homes in northeast Fresno have discolored water – and, in some cases, excessive levels of toxic lead – coming from their faucets. And while homeowners clamor for answers about why and what to do about it, those answers are in painfully short supply. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Outdoor enthusiasts get to roam Tejon Ranch – for a price – Starting in September, the publicly traded company that owns Tejon Ranch will offer public access to a 25,000-acre swath of land for mountain biking, hiking, picnics, camping, horseback riding, photography and exploring. But the price is steep: A family membership for a five-month season is $2,500. LA Times article

In rural north state, more seniors depend on government for daily meals — Plumas County has one of the highest concentrations of elderly people in California. Nearly a quarter of its residents are over 65. In recent months, the number of seniors receiving subsidized meals has been shooting up. The county expects to provide nearly 50,000 meals this year, about a 16 percent increase compared to two years ago. Sacramento Bee article


California pensions take above-average tax bite – California pension funds take a bigger share of tax revenue than the national state average, a research website shows. Why the growing costs are outpacing the norm is not completely clear. Calpensions article 

Four LA startups hunting for online video stars raise a combined $56 million — All Def Digital, Thoughtful Media Group, Kin Community and Woven Digital are exploiting consumers’ transition to digital video subscriptions from traditional pay-TV. They say their shows resonate better with their target group, whether it be millennial men, young women interested in arts and crafts, or “urban youth.” LA Times article 

From SEALS to startups: Special ops drawn to Silicon Valley — A growing number of U.S. special forces veterans are veering off the traditional path of working for private security firms and law enforcement agencies, and instead are heading into the tech industry. Companies are discovering their abilities to build teams and think outside the box make them a good fit for the innovative businesses. San Francisco Chronicle article

Have Beverly Hills ‘greenshirts’ driven a homeless man out of town? — City officials, however, call Saville an opportunist and “aggressive panhandler” and considered drawing up a “shame list” to pressure cafe owners to stop catering to him. After a run-in with a city-funded private patrol, known to locals as “greenshirts,” Saville was charged with two misdemeanors and ordered to stay away from the restaurant. Saville’s friends call the charges bogus and merely a ploy to drive the 57-year-old homeless man out of town. LA Times article


Water conservation fee increase rankles many — Several residents from cities and towns such as Ripon, Manteca and Victor have voiced their concern over a proposed fee increase aimed at water conservation efforts to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

One robber’s 3 life sentences: ‘90s legacy fills prisons today — The era’s zero tolerance for drug users has given way to the current consensus that too many Americans are incarcerated for too many years, with one in nine inmates serving life sentences. New York Times article 

Vehicle cruise in memory of man shot dead by Fresno police — An estimated 300 people participated in a vehicle cruise Sunday night in memory of 19-year-old Dylan Noble, who was shot by Fresno police June 25Fresno Bee article 

Selma police seek to replace 99-year-old building — The almost century-old building serving as the operations center for the Selma Police Department is showing its age. Leaky ceilings, leaky windows, makeshift closets to hold weapons and training equipment and an evidence-storage room running out of space are just some of the the issues plaguing the aging structure. Fresno Bee article


Program gets farmworker families involved in early education — Vasquez, 33, sees herself in the children who attend the Ready to Learn program, which, with the help of a grant from the Independent Television Service, is focusing this summer on teaching rural communities the importance of early learning. But when Vasquez was her students’ age, this is not what summers looked like. Fresno Bee article 

Redskins nickname being phased out in California — Tulare Union High School has become the third of four California High Schools to change its nickname from Redskins to something else. The four schools, among them Calaveras High School in San Andreas, were compelled to change their nickname after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Racial Mascots Act last year. Schools have until Jan. 1 to comply. Stockton Record article 

Dual enrollment programs attracting more students in California high schools – Over the last few years, California has been actively encouraging more high school students to enroll in college programs because of research that shows these students are more likely to earn both a high school diploma and a college degree. EdSource article 

Karin Klein: To pass English, students should read a full book – If we’re supposedly preparing students for college or for a future as educated adults and lifelong learners, they need to be able to read books, more than one whole book in an entire academic year. Klein in Sacramento Bee 

Being murdered is no reason to forgive student loan, New Jersey agency says — Amid a haze of grief after her son’s murder last year, Marcia DeOliveira-Longinetti faced an endless list of tasks – helping the police gain access to Kevin’s phone and email; canceling his subscriptions, credit cards and bank accounts; and arranging his burial in New Jersey. And then there were the college loans. New York Times article


Jeff Jardine: Dead trees everywhere means Sierra, foothills bracing for worst — Five years of drought and its coattail-riding companion, the bark beetle, literally sucked the sap out of trees, allowed the beetle to zombie-ize the trees into The Standing Dead and have wreaked devastation upon the southern Sierra forests from the El Dorado to the Sequoia. Dead trees. Lots of dead trees. About 66 million of them, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s estimates revised a couple of weeks ago. Jardine column in Modesto Bee 

John Bozzella: California must offer more to reach electric vehicle goals – The president and CEO of the Association of Global Automakers writes, “California and other states must increase vehicle rebates and tax credits, invest in infrastructure development and offer perks such as access to car-pool lanes.” Bozzella op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Health/Human Services 

Medi-Cal, Medicare now pay for advance planning of your end-of-life plan – Millions of Californians are newly eligible for a health care benefit that could determine the treatment they receive in their final days – and most don’t know it. Medi-Cal, which covers more than 13 million Californians, and Medicare, with more than 5 million California enrollees, now pay for “advance care planning” discussions with doctors.  Sacramento Bee article 

LGBT community aims to trim its higher tobacco use — Ashtrays on patios and heavy clouds of smoke have long been the norm at queer-friendly drinking establishments. Combined with targeted marketing from tobacco companies, that reality helps explain why LGBT people smoke at double the rate of their heterosexual peers. That represents a problem which advocates and health officials are tackling with new ad campaigns, anti-smoking legislation and safe spaces for those who want to quit for good. Sacramento Bee article


Visalia seeks input on transportation plan — The city of Visalia is preparing their first-ever active transportation plan and residents are invited to the final public meeting on Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Manual F. Hernandez Community Center. Visalia Times-Delta article

Other areas 

Stanislaus firefighters OK to aid in water rescues nationwide — One of the first water rescues fire Capts. Paul Autry and Zack Gardner did after becoming state certified was among the most difficult. A man had fallen from his raft in rapids on the Stanislaus River; the water flowing at 10 mph was like 400 pounds of pressure pinning his foot under a log at the river bottom. Modesto Bee article 

California State Archive now in the cloud — California residents can now enjoy access to state historical records from the comfort of their homes thanks to a partnership between the California State Archives and tech giant Google. Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Assemblymen Roger Hernández, D-West Covina, and Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, helped kill in committee a smart, well-thought-out bill that would have given adoptive parents and new fathers better access to family leave benefits that already pay for.

Sacramento Bee – SB 450 reflects the move in California away from traditional election-day trips to polling places.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers: Stockton Unified’s summer music, arts program sizzles; construction boom for business sites; and other issues.