July 7, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

With cap and trade in doubt, key questions go unanswered – In Sacramento and elsewhere, fundamental questions about the program’s effectiveness are unanswered, and criticism has been growing over how billions of dollars from auctions of emissions “credits” are doled out. Many of the complaints echo an admonition familiar to schoolchildren: Show your work. Provide the public with a way to track the state’s performance. CALmatters article 

Poll sees Hillary Clinton trouncing Donald Trump in California – Hillary Clinton has expanded her already large lead over Donald Trump in California, plowing ahead by 30 percentage points in a head-to-head matchup, according to a new Field Poll.  Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Valley politics 

Two challengers emerge in southwest Bakersfield council race — Vice Mayor Harold Hanson, who’s running for a fifth term on the Bakersfield City Council in November, could face his stiffest competition in 16 years. Ryan Nance, president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 743, and Jeff George, volunteer coordinator for Kern County Animal Services, have indicated they intend to challenge Hanson to represent far southwest Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

‘Words have meaning’: Kamala Harris link violence to anti-Muslim rhetoric — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris, campaigning Wednesday at a service hosted by the Islamic Center of Southern California, attributed the rise of California hate crimes motivated by religion to a national ratcheting up of “rage” in the political discourse. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article 

Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez supports ballot measure to repeal death penalty — Congresswoman and U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez on Wednesday announced her support for astatewide ballot measure to repeal the death penalty in California.  LA Times articleSacramento Bee article

8 things to know about Senate hopeful Loretta Sanchez’s 20-year political career — Here are some of the noteworthy milestones in Sanchez’s political career, including those that landed her in hot water. LA Times article


U.S. must release child migrants held in family detention, court says — Obama’s immigration policy was dealt another blow Wednesday when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s opinion that child migrants who are accompanied by a parent and currently in family detention should be quickly released. It left the fate of the parents up in the air, however. LA Times article 

Report: Federal officials complicit in deportation of U.S. veterans — The federal government lost, misplaced or failed to file the naturalization applications for dozens of foreign-born U.S. veterans who were later deported or face deportation, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of California. LA Times article 

Donny Youngblood: Lawmakers should butt out of immigration enforcement – Kern County’s sheriff and president of the California State Sheriff’s Association writes, “State legislators should not be attempting to change how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security executes its mission. But that’s exactly what they’re considering. Senate Bill 1289 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Bell Gardens Democrat, would significantly interfere with how local governments partner with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security officials.” Youngblood op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Other areas 

Marian Bergeson, first woman to serve in both legislative houses and groundbreaking Stockton businesswoman, dies – Marian Bergeson, the first woman to serve in both the state Assembly and the Senate and an influential player in public education policy, died Wednesday. She was 90. Sacramento Bee articleStockton Record articleLA Times article

Still no arrests in stabbings at California State Capitol – Nearly two weeks after five people were stabbed in a brawl between white supremacists and radical counter-protesters at the California State Capitol, questions remain about why no one has been arrested.  Capital Public Radio report 

Kaepernick compares Baton Rouge shooting to ‘lynchings’ – San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said the apparent shooting of Alton Sterling, 37, by police officers in Baton Rouge, La., is “what lynchings look like in 2016” and posted a video of it on his Instagram account on Wednesday.  San Francisco Chronicle article 

Luis Lopez: Public officials can’t pick when to do their duty – The co-founder of the state’s first LGBT Latino organization writes, “Public service in any form is an awesome responsibility. Filling open seats on the nation’s highest court, fixing our federal immigration laws, ensuring women’s access to reproductive health care, performing all functions of government on equal terms for LGBT people – these are ground rules for responsible public service. Insisting on accountability to this standard is a big part of what my vote this election will be about.” Lopez op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Victor Davis Hanson: Will California ever thrive again? — Elites need to go back and restudy the state’s can-do confidence of the 1950s and 1960s to rediscover good state government – at least if everyday Californians are ever again to have affordable gas, electricity and homes, safe roads and competitive schools. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Presidential Politics

Cathleen Decker: Clinton and Trump are giving people lots of reasons to vote against them – In the span of a few days, the campaigns of Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have each stumbled over flaws in the candidates that could mar the presidency of whichever one wins in November. Decker in LA Times 

Justice Department formally closes Clinton email investigation with no charges — The Justice Department on Wednesday formally closed its investigation intoHillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, following the rare public recommendation of FBI Director James B. Comey, who said a day earlier that the former secretary of State’s actions, though sloppy, did not warrant criminal charges. LA Times articleAP articleNew York Times article

News Stories

Top Stories 

UC Merced offers admission to record number of freshmen for fall 2016 — UC Merced has offered admission to 15,403 freshmen for fall 2016, the highest number yet as the campus approaches its 11th year and the University of California system looks to enroll more in-state students, according to figures released WednesdayMerced Sun-Star article 

Californians excel in final month of statewide water cuts – Californians beat a water-savings target in the final month of mandatory statewide water conservation, reducing their use by more than one-fourth. Californians in May cut their residential water use by 28 percent, compared to the same month in 2013, the state Water Resources Control Board said Wednesday. AP articleStockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy

San Joaquin Valley’s economic growth dips, says Fresno State index – The San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index, which is used as a leading economic indicator, slipped below the growth-neutral threshold in June for the first time since December 2013. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article 

Striking San Joaquin County workers hope for contract talks – Leaders for unionized workers participating in an unfair labor practices strike against San Joaquin County on Wednesday said that two meetings with county officials may take place soon. Stockton Record article 

Injunction will keep some San Joaquin County workers from striking – An injunction filed last week by San Joaquin County officials to keep union members from striking this week has been approved, preventing some 200 Service Employees Union International members classified as “essential employees” from joining picket lines today. Stockton Record article 

Selma City Council turns down police bond measure for fall ballot – The Selma City Council voted against including a multimillion-dollar bond measure on the November ballot that would have raised money to build a new headquarters for the Selma Police Department, which has been located in a converted train depot since 1958. Fresno Bee article 

Kevin Valine: Modesto tangled in a web of words – It should have been a routine matter for the Modesto City Council to accept the recommendations of Mayor Ted Brandvold’s budget review committee. But there was nothing routine Tuesday night when council members took up this matter. Valine in Modesto Bee 

Fresno Housing Authority receives HUD money to end veteran homelessness – The Department of Housing and Urban Development is rewarding 42 housing authorities nationwide, including one in Fresno, extra money to help end veteran homelessness. HUD is giving public housing agencies more than $5 million total. The Fresno Housing Authority will receive $57,888. The funds will allow the authorities to continue providing housing and supportive services faster to veterans through a joint program with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, HUD said.  Fresno Bee article 

Turlock downtown parking woes get a hearing – The Turlock Planning Commission will discuss downtown parking Thursday and send the planning process forward to the City Council. Downtown Turlock has plenty of parking, with about half its spaces on streets and public lots sitting empty even at peak times, a study by transportation consultant TJKM found. That said, the prime spots most shoppers and diners want fill up first, with vehicles parked all day taking up many of them. Modesto Bee article

See the highest-paid municipal employee in each California city – Most California cities paid at least one employee more than $200,000 in salary, overtime and bonuses last year, according to a Sacramento Bee review of new municipal pay figures from the State Controller’s Office. Sacramento Bee article

Business is booming at Fresno State’s Gibson Farm Market – Business is booming — Bulldog-style — at Fresno State’s Gibson Farm Market. On the opening weekend of this year’s summer sweet corn season, the market sold more than 75,000 ears of corn, with customers waiting in long lines to buy the white, yellow and organic, bi-color varieties. The Business Journal article 

California exports continue to battle international headwinds — California exports continued to slog against global headwinds in May, according to an analysis of U.S. Commerce Department figures. In-state businesses shipped merchandise valued at $13.35 billion in May, down 5.5 percent from $14.13 billion in May last year, according to Wednesday’s report by Beacon Economics, a consulting firm with offices in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Sacramento Bee article

Merced deadlocked over medical marijuana dispensaries — The Merced City Council reached an impasse Monday on how soon dispensaries should be allowed to open in town so the issue was put off until the governing body’s next meeting.  Merced Sun-Star article 

Gary Soiseth: Reflecting on Turlock’s ‘Year of Reforms’ — Reforms in government are never easy, but they’re often necessary. Reflecting on my 18 months in office, I’d like to highlight some reforms the City Council has implemented. Soiseth op-ed in Modesto Bee 

Suit: California workers’ comp biased against women — California’s workers’ compensation system discriminates against women by judging benefits on the basis of stereotypes and ignoring harm done to women — such as refusing permanent benefits when a woman loses a breast to cancer, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday. AP article 

Modesto promotes free mobile app, website — Modesto officials debuted the city’s new website and promoted the city’s new free mobile app – GoModesto! – Wednesday at the downtown library before an audience of about a dozen people. The city launched GoModesto! on May 17. The app links users to events, classes and news about the city. Modesto Bee article 

LA will need to create a ‘housing machine’ as part of homeless bond measure, official says – Political leaders at Los Angeles City Hall are looking to persuade voters to approve a $1.2-billion property tax increase to pay for initiatives to help and house the homeless. If the bond measure passes, the city will find itself responsible for its own sprawling construction initiative — this one focused on home-building for the city’s neediest residents. LA Times article 

Cancer drug discovered by UCLA sets off takeover fight among biotech companies – A high-priced prostate cancer drug discovered at UCLA is at the center of a multibillion-dollar takeover battle that has several giant pharmaceutical firms eyeing the purchase of San Francisco biotech firm Medivation. LA Times article 

Federal regulators probe Google over age-discrimination complaints – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has launched an investigation into alleged age discrimination by Google, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. A court filing from a plaintiff in the suit accuses Google of stonewalling the EEOC investigation, charges the tech giant denies. In an earlier filing of its own, Google acknowledges it was the subject of federal age-discrimination complaints and is under investigation. San Jose Mercury News article 

Joe Mathews: South LA can point the way — The old question about South Los Angeles, when it was defined by gangs, poverty and the worst urban riots since the Civil War, was: “How can we save it?” Today, the question is: How can South L.A. save us? Mathews in Sacramento Bee


Valley water savers rejoice: Most cities met conservation goals – Most central San Joaquin Valley water suppliers met their water conservation mandates in May. In the third month of lower water-use mandates, 14 of 21 suppliers in the Valley achieved water-saving goals set by the state. Fresno Bee article 

Big drops in urban water use, state finds – Californians are saving an extraordinary amount of water, new records show, even after winter rains prompted state regulators to begin easing drought-driven restrictions on cities and towns. San Francisco Chronicle article 

How much did your community conserve in California’s year of water cuts? – This graphic shows water conservation results in the state’s 100 largest districts. It is color coded based on percent reduction in water use from June 2015 to May 2016 as compared to 2013. Districts were given different water conservation targets based on how much water they used per capita before the drought. Districts along the coast tend to have smaller lawns, making it harder to cut use merely by turning off sprinklers. Sacramento Bee article 

Youths urged to continue water conservation efforts – The Valley’s most recent rain season may have helped bring relief from years of crushing drought, but the need to conserve water continues. Merced’s water conversation specialist is hoping local youths will help promote smart water usage. Merced Sun-Star article 

California almond harvest likely to set record, feds say – A federal agency now projects a record almond crop in California this year, based on sampling results announced Wednesday. Modesto Bee articleFresno Bee articleBakersfield Californian article 

California walnut industry faces long-term price crunch – Strong walnut prices over the past five years have boosted revenues for California walnut growers, including those in the state’s No. 1 producing area, San Joaquin County. But they also triggered a boom in new plantings, leading to a record 2015 harvest and a sharp crash in prices. Stockton Record article 

Brexit could harm Kings’s crop exports – Britain’s coming separation from the European Union has thrown a big question mark over some of Kings County’s biggest commodities. The biggest uncertainty is in pistachios and almonds, two of the leading export crops. Hanford Sentinel article 

Downtown LA’s five-year rain total is lowest ever recorded – Los Angeles has chalked up yet another dreary milestone in its growing almanac of drought. On Wednesday, experts at the National Weather Service confirmed that the last five years have been the driest ever documented in downtown L.A. since official record keeping began almost 140 years ago. LA Times article 

Facing historically low levels, Lake Mead are fending off a water war.  Here’s how —  This may be what the start of a water war looks like. Drought is draining the West’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, to historic low levels. Forecasts say climate change will make things worse. Headlines warn of water shortages and cutbacks. Members of Congress are moving to protect their states’ supplies. Yet if war is really imminent, why is one of the region’s most experienced water managers doing the same thing he has done for years: tinkering? LA Times article 

Modesto to turn splash fountains back on — Kids will have another way to keep their cool starting Friday when Modesto turns back on some of its splash fountains, which it turned off two summers ago because of the drought. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Video shows last two shots fired at Dylan Noble by Fresno police – Lying on the ground beside his pickup, 19-year-old Dylan Noble has already been shot twice, but is still alive when a Fresno police officer fires a shot toward him. Fourteen seconds later, another shot rings out, according to a video of the fatal incident obtained Wednesday by The Bee. Fresno Bee article 

Lawyers call for outside investigation in Dylan Noble shooting – Lawyers for the parents of Dylan Noble, the unarmed 19-year-old fatally shot by two Fresno police officers, want an outside law enforcement agency such as the FBI or the state’s Attorney General’s Office to investigate the officer-involved shooting. Fresno Bee article 

Deadly CHP shooting raises concerns about officers opening fire at moving vehicles – When two undercover California Highway Patrol officers opened fire on a moving vehicle in Fullerton this weekend, they used a tactic that federal authorities and law enforcement experts consider dangerous and has been banned by police leaders in Los Angeles, New York and several other major U.S. cities.  LA Times article 

Public defenders to review cases by cops in sex scandal – The public defenders of Alameda and Contra Costa counties are reviewing cases handled by police officers and sheriff’s deputies accused of having relations with a sexually exploited teenager to see if their alleged actions impacted their work on the clock. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Oakland police scandal raises fears about the city’s fight against sex trafficking – The evolving scandal resulted in the departure of the city’s police chief, the first of three police executives to be fired in the city in the span of nine days last month, and has raised concerns that the controversy could undermine law enforcement efforts to help victims of human trafficking along the notorious stretch of International Boulevard and similar areas known for prostitution. LA Times article 

4 attacks, 2 deadly, on San Diego homeless population — San Diego’s homeless population is on edge after four attacks on transients in four days, two of them fatal. AP article


UCLA, UC Berkeley boost admissions of Californians, including black and Latinos — The University of California’s flagship campuses have significantly boosted admissions offers to state residents — including the most African Americans and Latinos since voters banned affirmative action two decades ago — officials announced Wednesday. LA Times article 

New CSU program gives ex-convicts support to earn college degrees – Seven California State University campuses – including CSUs Bakersfield and Fresno — are busy this summer putting the finishing touches on a program to help people who were previously incarcerated become successful in college. The program, called Project Rebound, will create an office where formerly incarcerated students can receive tutoring, counseling on academics and financial aid, and receive cash help to buy meals and books. KPCC report 

Special-needs students pick up trash at school; It’s ‘demeaning,’ says one teen — Abigail Taylor was stunned. A special education student moved through the Franklin High School campus with a trash can strapped to his wheelchair, headed to the dumpster to empty it while classmates watched. Other special needs students picked up garbage. The sight has stayed with Taylor since her freshman year at the Elk Grove school. Sacramento Bee article 

San Francisco offers rare signing bonuses amid big teacher shortage – Desperate to fill well more than 100 teaching positions in the next five weeks, San Francisco schools are taking the unusual step of offering signing bonuses amid a post-recession teacher shortage that is rippling across the Bay Area and beyond. San Francisco Chronicle article 

CSU Bakersfield professor helped pioneer LGBT activism in Bakersfield — Bakersfield’s gay and lesbian community is celebrating the life of Nancy J. Bailey, an activist and former Cal State Bakersfield professor who died from undisclosed causes June 25 in San Francisco at the age of 78. Bakersfield Californian article


Californians are driving more, which is bad for climate change – Gas is cheap, and Californians are putting more miles on the road. That’s bad news for those hoping the state can make a difference in the world’s fight against climate change. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Bear Valley Springs residents applaud firefighters as Deer Fire 97 percent contained — Firefighters received a standing ovation at a packed community meeting Wednesday night at the Whiting Center after residents were told the Deer Fire is now 97 percent contained at 1,875 acres. No homes or other structures have been damaged or destroyed by the fire and none are currently threatened, the Kern County Fire Department reported. Bakersfield Californian article

Health/Human Services 

First Zika cases confirmed in Riverside, Fresno counties – A man in Riverside County and a woman in Fresno County were each infected with Zika virus while traveling abroad recently, according to health officials. The cases are the first to be reported for those counties. LA Times article 

Researchers develop genetic test that can predict your risk of Alzheimer’s disease – New research into the genetic underpinnings of Alzheimer’s disease offers fresh evidence that the devastating brain disorder may gain a foothold years before dementia sets in, and takes a key step toward earlier detection of the disease. LA Times article 

Brian Tune: Nurse anesthetists help, not hurt, veterans’ health care – The nurse anesthetist at Omni Anesthesia Associates in Fresno writes, “Layers of supervision provide no evidence-based benefits, drive health care costs higher and needlessly increase veterans’ wait times for services. This is hardly the way to honor the service of veterans or provide the quality of care they deserve.” Tune op-ed in Fresno Bee

West Nile virus increases during summer months – As temperatures continue to rise in the Valley, public health officials have identified key points to keep residents safe this summer. Local officials health officials warned that incidents of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile increases with triple-digit weather. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Young leukemia patient leans on family, friends, love of baseball as he waits for a cure — Meet Marcus Cato, a friendly, easygoing, polite and charismatic 20-year-old. He’s a sports lover who had a baseball career at Clovis North High School, and he wants to study business at Fresno State. But in early May, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid cancer. He hasn’t left the hospital since May 10, and his mother, Melissa, hasn’t left his side. Fresno Bee article 

New San Francisco gym will allow members to smoke pot while working out – A former pro football star and an advocate for athlete marijuana use have teamed up to open a gym in San Francisco that they say will be one of the first in the world to allow members to smoke pot while working out. LA Times articleAP article 

Joseph Soares: Reasonable minds may differ over HCCA and the $55 million bond – The Tulare resident writes, “Supporters of Measure I point to HCCA’s claims of record success, justifying giving them $55 million. But we are paying them over $3 million a year, shouldn’t we expect success?Too much money will too many unanswered questions. A reasonable mind says, let’s not be in such a rush to give our money away to a private company without answers. Soares op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Land Use/Housing 

Tribe gets more land after vote —  A bill granting additional acreage the Tule River Tribe, whose reservation land has been relocated and repeatedly appropriated by others since it was established in 1856, passed the House Tuesday evening by voice vote. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Lemoore sidewalk issue heads back to drawing board — A potential ordinance that would have clarified that homeowners are liable for sidewalk disrepair in front of their house got sent back to the drawing board by the Lemoore City Council Tuesday night.  Hanford Sentinel article


Kings road budget: Less money than last year — Despite a nearly $500,000 decrease to fund road repairs for the next year in Kings County, some projects will continue as planned and nearly a fourth of the money will help small Kings County communities, the disabled and children. Hanford Sentinel article 

U.S. is reportedly probing another Tesla crash over the carmaker’s autopilot feature — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reportedly investigating whether Tesla Motor’s autopilot feature was engaged during a non-fatal July 1 crash – what would be the agency’s second inquiry into the automaker’s self-driving technology in as many weeks. LA Times article

Other areas 

Explosive Fourth of July weekend keeps Stanislaus County agencies busy – The Fourth of July weekend was not fun for all. Some people lost their pets, some went to jail and others saw their property damaged. Law enforcement officers and firefighters who worked the weekend were kept busy by back-to-back calls, mostly starting Saturday night and continuing through Monday night. Modesto Bee article 

Hanford sees boom of illegal fireworks – If you saw a lot of illegal fireworks lighting up the sky over the Fourth of July weekend, you’re not alone. As of Tuesday, the Hanford Police Department had received 109 fireworks-related calls during the three-day weekend. Lt. George Hernandez said 79 of those were reported Monday night.  Hanford Sentinel article 

Lemoore council nixes fireworks rules – A proposed illegal fireworks rule that would have held property owners liable for illegal fireworks launched from their property got a thumbs-down Tuesday night from the Lemoore City Council. Hanford Sentinel article 

Jeff Jardine: An explosion of emotions when illegal fireworks drive dog to her death – If they don’t give a rat’s backside about shooting off M-80s and other illegal fireworks, they probably won’t care about the sadness they wrought upon a north Modesto family over the weekend. Such, it seems, is the mindset among people who propel their unsafe and insane contraband into the skies for not-so-cheap thrills that most law-abiding citizens would love to see made more costly through big, fat fines and seizures of the verboten projectiles. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Judge blasts critics of Fresno County probation chief probe — Fresno County Superior Court’s presiding judge said county officials are lying and impeding the probe into Probation Chief Rick Chavez, who was placed on administrative leave in April by the court. In an email to her fellow judges Friday afternoon, Judge Kimberly Gaab said that the county’s “false statements” are affecting the way the “press perceives this investigation.” Fresno Bee article 

Danny Morrison: Yes, there are Black people under 40 to watch as well — Every year, Bakersfield Life manages to find a strong assortment of people that within their own respective circles, have managed to make our community a better place. This year is no different. Kudos to the honorees. You are appreciated. They are always bright. Inspiring. Colorful. Okay, maybe not colorful. I say this because after perusing through this year’s selections, the honorees may come from different backgrounds as stated, but apparently don’t come in darker pigmentations. Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendón deserves praise for yanking the committee assignments of his fellow Democrat and supporter, Assemblyman Roger Hernández, last week. But more must be done.

Merced Sun-Star – Preventing forest fires is up to Congress.

Modesto Bee – Hillary Clinton, while secretary of state, displayed incredibly poor judgment in routing sensitive government emails through a server at her home office. But she did not break the law; Preventing forest fires is up to Congres.

Sacramento Bee – War should be a last resort. Before November, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump need to tell voters in detail under what circumstances they would take America to war again; Locke is an old West portal into another, earlier California – one whose lessons are worth preserving.