July 6, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

House passes bill to save Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta salmon — Lawmakers are targeting striped bass in a farmer-backed effort to protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s salmon while trimming a 1992 environmental law. In what amounts to a multi-pronged move, the House on Tuesday night approved a bill by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, that ends the 1992 law’s goal of doubling the number of striped bass living in and around the Delta. Sacramento Bee article 

Dan Walters: Jerry Brown to try end run to extend state’s war on carbon — Gov. Jerry Brown, stymied in the Legislature, will attempt to extend the state’s crackdown on carbon emissions into the next decade by decree. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics 

AD 26: Macareno, Mathis advancing to November election – Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, maintained a big lead in the early ballot counts, and in the final count he garnered a total of 28,563 votes, 42.4 percent of votes from the voters in his district that encompasses part of Tulare and Kern counties and all of Inyo County. The big question was who would run against him. That will be Ruben Macareno, chairman of the Tulare County Democratic Central Committee. Visalia Times-Delta article

Challengers beat incumbents in Merced County supervisor races – With all votes counted from last month’s primary, two challengers finished ahead of incumbents in the Board of Supervisors balloting, according to Merced County election numbers that also showed an unusually high rate of turnout. Merced Sun-Star article 

Brand, Perea exchange barbs over rusty Fresno water — Widespread concern in northeast Fresno about rusty water that can contain elevated levels of lead is the latest issue in the Fresno mayor’s race, while the city continues to maintain that its water is safe to drink. Speaking in separate events within minutes of each other, mayoral candidates Lee Brand and Henry Perea exchanged comments Tuesday about the city’s response to the problem, both past and present. KVPR report 

Bredefeld heads to fall runoff against Pearce for Fresno council — In the race for the Fresno City Council’s District 6 seat, clinical psychologist Garry Bredefeld came close, but ultimately fell short of reaching the 50 percent threshold to avoid a November runoff race, according to Fresno County’s final certified results for the June 7 primary election. Fresno Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

About 700,000 votes from California’s primary remain uncounted as final deadline looms — The number of uncounted ballots in California from the June 7 presidential primary fell substantially over the holiday weekend and Tuesday, with the tallied vote count standing at almost 8.5 million. LA Times article 

California ballot measure numbers change twice in 28 hours — Who knew that assigning a proposition number to California’s first advisory ballot measure in 34 years could be so complicated? Over the span of about 28 hours, the Secretary of State’s Office released three sets of numbers for the 17 measures qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot – an initial list Friday, a corrected list later in the afternoon and a correction to the correction Saturday that mirrored the initial list. Sacramento Bee article 

Group will revamp anti-high-speed rail initiative — A Hanford-based nonprofit organization is taking a proposed ballot measure back to the drawing board. The California Water Alliance announced plans Tuesday to re-draft a proposed initiative that would shift billions in funding for high-speed rail to new water storage projects. Hanford Sentinel article 

8 things to know about Senate candidate Kamala Harris’ career gold stars and demerits — Here are some of the notable milestones in her political career, including some of those steeped in controversy. LA Times article

Other areas 

Opponents sue to stop California’s vaccination law – With California’s strict vaccine mandate now in place, opponents are fighting to overturn the law in court.  The new law, which took effect Friday, bars parents from citing religion or other personal beliefs as reasons to not vaccinate their kids. SB 277 is one of the toughest mandatory vaccination laws in the country and drew many protesters when it was debated in Sacramento. LA Times article 

House Democrats keep up gun control push as they return from recess – Several California members picked up right where they left off Tuesday morning, pushing the issue of gun control as soon as the House was gaveled into session after the holiday break. LA Times article 

Dorothy Rothrock and Rob Lapsley: Before expanding climate law, fix existing problems – Rothrock, president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, and Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, write, “Climate change laws are costing California businesses and residents billions of dollars. By passing SB 32, we would be charging ahead to extend the current programs without knowing what’s working and what isn’t.” Rothrock/Lapsley op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Jeff Heinle: We have to start talking about gun regulation – The Bakersfield firefighter writes, “We have to start talking about gun regulation. How many more needless tragedies does it take before our country actually does something productive?” Heinle op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Court ruling in child porn case stirs privacy fears – A court decision last month that permitted federal prosecutors to use evidence obtained through government hacking in a child pornography case has stirred fears about privacy. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Veteran award for assemblywoman’s boyfriend riles Republicans — It has caused some conservative consternation that Nathan Fletcher, the Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat former assemblyman, was named the 80th Assembly District’s 2016 veteran of the year. It surely didn’t help that the Marine Corps veteran received the award from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, one of Sacramento’s most liberal Democrats – and Fletcher’s girlfriend. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Why the FBI concluded Hillary Clinton’s email practices did not rise to the level of criminal charges – A federal law makes it a crime for a trusted U.S. official to “knowingly and willfully” disclose or transmit secret information to an “unauthorized person.” A second law makes it a crime to “remove” secret documents kept by the government or to allow them to be stolen through “gross negligence.” LA Times article 

Mike Mason: Here’s the speech Californians deserve to hear – The first generation almond farmer and partner of Supreme Almonds in California writes, “When the presidential candidates made their appearances in our state ahead of our June 7 primary, discussions about agriculture and our industry’s contributions to the U.S. economy were markedly absent. Here’s the speech we farmers wanted to hear, but didn’t.” Mason op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Libertarian candidate Johnson averaging over 7 percent in polls — Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is averaging more than 7 percent support in recent national polls, and if that holds he’d get the biggest vote of a third party nominee in 20 years. McClatchy Newspapers article

News Stories

Top Stories 

Fresno expands investigation for lead, discoloration in city water – Fresno leaders will be sending direct-mail fliers this week to every water customer in the northeastern area of the city, substantially expanding the scope of an investigation into discolored water coming from faucets in hundreds of homes as well as lead contamination in about 40 homes. Fresno Bee article 

New teaching strategies are designed to help English learners succeed – To help English learners graduate from high school ready for college and careers, the Fresno and Sacramento City school districts are partnering with the nonprofit research and policy organization WestEd on a pilot project called  “Leading with Learning” that trains district staff in new K-6 instructional strategies that emphasize critical thinking and language development skills. EdSource article

Jobs and the Economy

Outside Yosemite, rural town grapples with homelessness – If you mention homelessness to anyone in the mountain town of Mariposa near Yosemite National Park, you’ll hear the same name over and over again. Walter. KQED report 

California’s economy is bigger than all but five nations, World Bank data says – New data from the World Bank show that California’s economy was equivalent to the sixth largest in the world last year. AP article 

Gig work isn’t changing job landscape, San Francisco economist finds – Uber, Lyft, Postmates and other digital platforms aren’t transforming the workforce as much as we might think. That is one of the takeaways from a new report by the city’s chief economist that analyzes trends in San Francisco’s gig economy from 2000 to 2014. It is the first time the city has studied the prevalence of its alternative workforce. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Brik McDill: It’s time for Boomers and their progeny to grow up – As the City of Bakersfield and County of Kern face another fiscal emergency with possible stunning budget deficits a number of strategies have been reviewed. Among the worst, while having a certain fair-is- fair appeal, is the oft used across the board everybody-suffers- equally cut. But a community is like a living thing, with needs similar to all living things. Some can be temporarily suspended, others cannot. Let’s think about this. McDill column in Bakersfield Californian 

San Joaquin County workers’ strike likely to continue – Hundreds of county workers walked off their jobs at numerous San Joaquin County facilities Tuesday morning and picked up picket signs accusing county leaders of unfair labor practices. Stockton Record article 

DPW installs temporary drinking fountains on Skid Row for a week – Residents of skid row have two new places to get a drink of water, at least for now. The L.A. Department of Water and Power has installed temporary drinking fountains in anticipation of summer heat waves, KPCC reported. The agency said the fountains would remain — at 6th and Gladys streets, in front of 6th & Gladys Street Park, and at 5th and San Julian streets, in front of San Julian Park —  only for about a week or so. LA Times article 

Liquid nitrogen ice cream coming to Clovis – Ice cream that’s instantly frozen in front of you using liquid nitrogen at -321 degrees Fahrenheit is coming to Clovis. Creamistry Clovis will open sometime later this month – no date has been set yet – in the Clovis Commons shopping center that is home to Target at Herndon and Willow avenues.  Fresno Bee article 

Joel Fox: CA small biz rating gets an F, PAGA lawsuits don’t help – I’m tempted to start with that old saw: “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before,” but I know you would stop me because you have heard this before –California is not friendly to small business. That’s the conclusion of the annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey. The fifth annual survey gives the Golden State the same grade it was tagged with last year, an F. Fox in Fox & Hounds 

Visalia Rawhide awarded All-Star game – The Visalia Rawhide was awarded the 2017California League All-Star Game. The two-day summertime classic will culminate with the California League All-Star Game on June 20, 2017 at Recreation Park. Visalia Times-Delta article 

LA County voters to decide on parks tax, possible homeless tax in November – Los Angeles County officials voted Tuesday to ask voters to raise their property taxes to pay for park projects and to consider another funding measure to pay for homeless services. LA Times article 

California’s most famous freeway fixer, Myers Inc., is bankrupt – C.C. Myers, Inc., one of California’s highest-profile freeway builders, has filed for bankruptcy, ending a storied chapter in local construction. Sacramento Bee article 

HashtagiDo: Your personal wedding TMZ — Brides and grooms spend months, if not years, preparing for their big day. They plan every detail from the venue’s décor to the list of love songs to be played at the reception. One thing couples shouldn’t have to fret about during their long-anticipated ceremony is their social media presence. This is where HashtagiDo steps in. The Business Journal article 

Decades of budget shortfalls frustrate LA County coroner — In a refrigerated crypt at the Los Angeles County Coroner-Medical Examiner’s headquarters, the bodies lie awaiting examination on the shelves of metal racks, similar to what you might find in a Home Depot. KQED report 


Sacramento Bee: Don’t make conserving water a thing of the past – Short-term comfort rarely comes without long-term costs. By the end of the summer, we suspect California will be paying the price for its hasty retreat from sound water policies. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Interview: ‘Ghost workers’ more common than thought in migrant farm work – It’s no secret here in Central California that many, if not most, people who work  in the fields in Valley agriculture are undocumented immigrants. University of Denver Anthropologist Sarah Horton revealed in astudy published in late June that agricultural employers often take advantage of migrants’ inability to work legally by making their employment contingent upon working under the false or borrowed identity documents provided by employers. KVPR report 

Documentary about lives of farm animals to air at Clovis theater — Whole Foods and the Humane Society are hosting a Clovis screening of the documentary “At the Fork,” which looks at the lives of farm animals. Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Hanford Police Department launches new youth programs — The Hanford Police Department is launching two new programs aimed at serving the city’s youth. This month, the department launched the Hanford Police Activities League (PAL) Boxing Club. Officer DJ Vargas said the program has absorbed the Hanford Boxing Club and its coach, Ruben Valdovinos. Hanford Sentinel article 

Bill Peloquin: Problems and solutions on Riverwalk crime – The shop compliance coordinator at Basin Valve Co. in Bakersfield writes, “I am not a student of tracking illegal activity but I think there is a pattern developing here. What can the ordinary person do to protect themselves? Stop shopping along Stockdale Highway, unlikely. Leave the car at home and call Uber for trips around town? That would work but it is not convenient. Just take our chances and hope we are not the next victim? That is exactly what we do every day but we do not realize the odds are moving against us. There are possible solutions.” Peloquin op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Judge orders Hayward to repay body cam film editing charge — An Alameda County judge has ordered Hayward to pay back more than $3,000 it charged for police body camera footage of a 2014 Black Lives Matter protest in Berkeley, saying the public interest in disclosing records outweighed the expenses and staff time it took to redact portions of the videos. San Francisco Chronicle article 

San Diego’s homeless population on edge as police search for suspect in attacks that left two dead and one hurt — This city’s homeless residents — and the organizations that work with them — were on edge Tuesday as police continued to hunt for an assailant thought to have killed two men and left a third fighting for his life. LA Times article 

Oakland police scandal: Did Richmond police taint criminal cases? – The Contra Costa County public defender opened an investigation Tuesday into the five Richmond police officers and one former sheriff’s deputy alleged to have had sex with the young woman at the heart of a widespread police sex misconduct scandal to determine if any criminal case they handled has been “tainted.” East Bay Times article 

U.S. military agency reassigns employee tied to Oakland police misconduct scandal — A Defense Department agency has reassigned an employee who reportedly contacted the woman at the center of the Oakland police sexual misconduct scandal. KQED report


State Center names new president for Fresno City College – Carole S. Goldsmith will serve as the next president of Fresno City College, which has lacked a permanent president since Tony Cantu died in April 2015. Fresno Bee article 

Nan Austin: CSU Stanislaus hails new leader with (friendly) fireworks – Turlock welcomed its new university president with a bang over the holiday weekend, with fireworks at the campus and cheering crowds downtown as she rode in the downtown Independence Day Parade. “It was a heartwarming welcome,” said President Ellen Junn on Monday, sitting in her third-floor office overlooking the California State University, Stanislaus, campus. Austin in Modesto Bee 

Fresno State scraps training table program after few athletes use it – Now, less than 20 months later, training table has been scrapped after falling short of expectations. The athletic department is working on a new approach that would better serve athletes and be more beneficial, in particular to its football program, than a training table that was not much of a draw. Fresno Bee article 

Merced College names retired police captain as new chief – Merced College said Tuesday a retired Merced police captain has been tapped to become the new campus chief of police, a move that follows the school’s decision to end its 16-year relationship with the county sheriff’s office. Tom Trindad, who retired in December from the Merced Police Department, will serve as the temporary police chief while the college continues negotiations with city officials, the school said in a statement sent by email. Merced Sun-Star article 

Al Sandrini: Systemic change in school districts takes 5 years – The former superintendent of the Norris School District writes, “A new team has been built in Vineland with approximately 37 percent new teachers. It is now time for Superintendent Ross, the board and staff to build a learning environment built on commitment to a common goal founded on high expectations that all students can and will learn. The clock is ticking in Vineland.” Sandrini op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

5C Experience prepares kids for college — It’s never too early to plan for college, and the 5C Experience program at West Hills College Lemoore is making sure of it. For the past 14 years students from grades six to eight from all over the Valley have come to the West Hills campus for two weeks during the summer and have been able to see what it’s like to be a college student. Hanford Sentinel article 

Future lawyers encounter ‘crime’ scene – Gonzalez and 30 other students from around San Joaquin County are four weeks into a program this summer that is immersing them in the many and varied aspects of the legal process. By the time the program ends next week, the students will have learned about the differences between criminal, civil and family law; attended a SWAT training; visited the Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento; and been briefed directly by judges, court reporters, field-evidence technicians and others about the many law-related career avenues they could pursue someday. Stockton Record article 

Cloning great schools is latest in long line of LA reform plans — The latest reformers intent on improving Los Angeles schools are confident that they have it right.  The trick, they say, is not to get shoehorned by theories or politics. Instead, simply find a good school and make another one just like it. LA Times article 

Faculty petition Cal: Suspend contract, investigate coach — Nearly 100 UC Berkeley faculty members have signed a petition calling on Cal officials not to renew the contract of Damon Harrington — the football coach embroiled in a controversy related to the death of one player and the hospitalization of another — until a new probe can determine if he violated the terms of his contract. San Francisco Chronicle article


Activists unhappy with air district petition to feds – Air quality is a tremendous problem in the San Joaquin Valley. Our air is consistently ranked the worst in the nation, alongside the Los Angeles area, and it’s been linked in Valley residents to immune problems, emergency room visits and even premature death. It’s an old problem, but local officials have put forth a bold new solution. KVPR report 

California’s greenhouse gas emissions drop, barely – Despite a surging economy, California’s greenhouse-gas emissions fell in 2014, according to new data from the state. But the paltry size of the drop — with emissions down less than 1 percent from the previous year — illustrates just how difficult meeting California’s ambitious global warming goals may be. San Francisco Chronicle article 

California redwoods store more carbon than any other forests in the world, study finds — California’s ancient redwood forests aren’t just majestic and among the oldest living things on Earth — a new study finds they are a particularly potent weapon against global warming.  San Jose Mercury News article 

California wildfires burn more than 50,000 acres as crews make gains on containment – A series of wildfires continued to burn throughout California on Tuesday as flames charred more than 50,000 acres and occupied the efforts of nearly 3,000 firefighters, authorities said. LA Times article 

State electric grid expansion would add coal-heavy utility – The manager of California’s electricity grid is chasing windmills in Wyoming as a way to help the state meet its clean-energy goals. LA Times article 

U.S. oil reserves larger than those of Saudi Arabia or Russia – The United States has overtaken industry giants Saudi Arabia and Russia in recoverable oil reserves, an international study released Monday says. LA Times article 

Anne Steckel: It won’t help oil, but biodiesel can help state hit air quality goals – The vice president for federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board writes, “The EPA is set to finalize the number of gallons of biodiesel required under the RFS in 2018 by November. In the next few months, I encourage everyone who cares about the quality of the air they breathe and is concerned about our continued dependence on fossil fuels to urge the EPA to truly capitalize on biodiesel’s benefits by finalizing a strong policy.” Steckel op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

June was a scorcher: Fresno heat wave broke summer records early — June’s record-breaking heat wave made sure the summer would start off scorching hot for Fresno. The National Weather Service Tuesday said June 1 reached a high of 105 degrees in Fresno, which set a record for the date. Overall, Fresno had its fifth-warmest June, with an average temperature of 80.9 degrees, 3.7 degrees above normal. Fresno Bee article 

Witness: PG&E engineer OK’d exceeding federal pipeline pressure limits — A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. engineer repeatedly denied Tuesday that the company had a policy of exceeding federal pressure limits in its gas pipelines — but testified he had approved such a policy, at his manager’s orders, before the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services 

Woman has Fresno County’s first travel-associated case of Zika virus — A Fresno County woman is the first person to be infected by the Zika virus from a mosquito bite during travel to another country, health officials said Tuesday. The woman became infected within the last three weeks, said Dr. Kenneth Bird, the county’s health officer. She was not identified, and Bird said she has asked health officials not to disclose the country she visited. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal articleKVPR report 

Blood banks face ‘unprecedented’ shortage due in part to Zika restrictions – A network of blood donation centers in Northern and Central California has issued an urgent plea for donors to help alleviate what it says is an “extreme” and “unprecedented” nationwide blood supply shortage aggravated by the ongoing Zika epidemic in Latin America. Sacramento Bee article 

Helpless to prevent cancer? Actually, quite a bit is in your control – Americans seem very afraid of cancer, with good reason. Unlike other things that kill us, it often seems to come out of nowhere. But evidence has increasingly accumulated that cancer may be preventable, too. Unfortunately, this has inflamed as much as it has assuaged people’s fears. New York Times article 

Sutter Health launches air/ground ambulance transport network — Sacramento’s Sutter Health has launched a new medical transport network to quickly serve critically ill, injured and fragile patients throughout Northern California. Sacramento Bee article 

Arby’s on Rosedale shut down again — Kern County health inspectors have shut down the Arby’s on Rosedale Highway for the second time in two weeks, an unprecedented action, at least to the knowledge of Matt Constantine, the county’s top public health officer. Bakersfield Californian article

Land Use/Housing 

Housing Authority to close preliminary waitlists for Fresno housing programs — The Fresno Housing Authority is closing the preliminary waiting lists for housing programs it administers while the agency has a new software program installed. Fresno Bee article


Caltrans: Pay by the mile program seeks to balance enforcement, privacy, equity — Roughly 5,000 drivers became the state’s first guinea pigs on Friday to test out a new revenue pilot program meant to replace the gas tax, representatives from the California Department of Transportation said Tuesday. East Bay Times article 

TSA and American Airlines to launch new checkpoints to cut wait times up to 30 percent — The Transportation Security Administration has teamed up with American Airlines to test out new security checkpoint lines in Los Angeles and three other airports with the hope of cutting wait times by 30%. LA Times article

Other areas 

‘It’s going off like Baghdad’: A night with fireworks enforcers – Winding in and out of residential neighborhoods as explosions burst overhead, arson investigators Danny Brown and Vic Mabry were outnumbered Monday night. In this southwest Bakersfield housing tract off Harris Road, there were more illegal fireworks in the air than cops and firefighters cutting citations. Bakersfield Californian article‘LOIS provides eye in the sky for firefighters’ in Bakersfield Californian 

A dozen cited, two arrested, for illegal fireworks Sunday – Fireworks enforcement teams arrested two and doled out a dozen citations Sunday to scofflaws lighting illegal fireworks throughout Bakersfield, a fire official announced Monday. Bakersfield Californian article 

Illegal fireworks seizures skyrocket – Stockton police confiscated 800 pounds of illegal fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend, a huge increase that seems to support some residents’ belief that the explosions that rocked their neighborhoods are becoming more common. Stockton Record article 

‘Our tolerance is really diminishing’ for fireworks – While many families enjoyed ‘safe and sane’ fireworks – bought at stands around the Valley –some used the opportunity to light up the sky with illegal, aerial fireworks. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Fireworks safety improves in Fresno this July 4th – People in Fresno are being safer about fireworks, judging by the number of calls to the Fresno Fire Department on Monday night. Fresno Bee article 

Animal services inundated with lost dogs after Fourth of July – Animal Services Agency staff members said they were expecting a high influx of dogs to the shelter after the July 4 three-day weekend. Annette Patton, Animal Services Agency executive director, said the shelter has not reached its capacity of 500 animals, although there is no shortage of dogs that have been brought in since the weekend. Modesto Bee article 

Fireworks cause dogs to run for shelter – Although Fourth of July has passed, fireworks can continue to be heard for several more days around Merced. Animal supporters say the boom of the explosives can lead dogs to panic and attempt to escape from their homes to find safety. Merced Sun-Star article 

Michael Fitzgerald: Rappel off a Stockton high-rise – If you’re adventurous enough — or certifiable enough — to rappel off the 12-story Medico-Dental Building, the folks at Ten Space and Community Hospice have just the event for you. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record 

Scandal paved the way for Millennial ‘revolution’ in Cudahy — Millennials often get a bad rap as being either disinterested in government or dreamers who don’t understand the realities of politics. Cudahy city councilmember Cristian Markovich, is neither. Growing up, the 30-year-old Markovich was steeped in politics. “I ate my Cheerios while watching Crossfire” and other political shows, he said. Always civically-minded, he launched both a newspaper and a club while still in high school to engage his peers and share his insights. Like most of his city council colleagues, he grew up in Cudahy in Southern California and left home to pursue a college education, returning to a town operated with very little transparency and a great deal of distrust for the local government. He knew things could be different but he didn’t step into politics right away. CA Fwd reportj

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – It isn’t criminal, but Hillary Clinton showed terrible judgment on emails;

Sacramento Bee – It isn’t criminal, but Hillary Clinton showed terrible judgment on emails; Short-term comfort rarely comes without long-term costs. By the end of the summer, we suspect California will be paying the price for its hasty retreat from sound water policies.