July 8, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Pot backers hope California vote will pressure Congress to ease laws — Marijuana advocates are counting on Californians to vote to legalize recreational weed this fall, bringing pressure on Congress to end anti-pot policies that include federal obstruction of banks doing business with the industry. California is nearly six times larger than any other state that has legalized pot for recreational use, and its potential cannabis market has been estimated at nearly $7 billion. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Dan Walters: Two top California Democrats feud over who owns gun control issue — California’s most entertaining political duel this year doesn’t involve anyone vying in the November election. Rather, it’s the jousting between two prominent Democrats, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, over ownership of a trendy political issue – expanding the state’s already dense regulations on guns. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Gov. Brown 

A grand bargain? Gov. Jerry Brown in talks with oil companies about climate change programs — Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has been talking directly with oil companies in hopes of reaching a consensus on extending California’s landmark climate programs, opening a back channel with an industry the governor has harshly criticized as a barrier to addressing global warming. LA Times article

Valley politics 

Bredefeld picks up key leaders’ support in Fresno council race — Fresno City Council candidate Garry Bredefeld earned some key support for his campaign Thursday morning, receiving endorsements from a string of current and former law enforcement leaders and other community leaders. Fresno Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

California prosecutors come out swinging against marijuana legalization — Opponents of a fall ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana grew Thursday when leading county prosecutors came out against Proposition 64. Sacramento Bee article 

Ex-Facebook President Sean Parker donates another $1.25 million to pot legalization campaign – Former Facebook President Sean Parker has put another $1.25 million into the campaign for Proposition 64, the initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California, bringing his total contributions so far to $2.5 million, according to records released Thursday. LA Times article 

Kamala Harris opens strong lead over Loretta Sanchez for U.S. Senate – Kamala Harris holds a strong lead over fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez in the fall contest to succeed California U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, according to the latest Field Poll. Harris, the state attorney general, has an early 15-point lead over Sanchez, 39 percent to 24 percent. Sacramento Bee article 

Loretta Sanchez gets another Republican endorsement for U.S. Senate — Loretta Sanchez, competing with fellow Democrat Kamala Harris for the U.S. Senate in California, appeared Thursday on conservative Hugh Hewitt’s nationally-syndicated radio show and came away with his unusual and unexpected endorsement. Sacramento Bee article 

Ron Briggs: Death penalty is destructive to California – The former El Dorado County supervisor writes, “Like my family, California thought expanding the death penalty initiative was the right thing to do in 1978. We were wrong. Now as a state, we have the chance to end the wasteful program and maintain our commitment to tough justice by passing Proposition 62.” Briggs op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Write-in legislative candidates win spots on November ballot, in some cases with only a handful of votes — Though most races for the California Legislature require winning tens of thousands of votes, the state’s relatively new primary election rules mean candidates can earn a spot on the November ballot with far less. In fact, the June 7 primary saw some candidates advance to the fall election with the support of fewer voters than would fill a community swimming pool. LA Times article 

Joel Fox: Checking the predictions: taxes that made the statewide ballot — Starting over two years ago, I wrote an occasional column conjecturing about which taxes might appear on the statewide November 2016 ballot via the initiative process. Changing political strategies moved the targets over time as I listed what I perceived to be the top five tax items that were being discussed as ballot initiatives. Now that the deadline for confirming General Election ballot measures has come, I can review my predictions and see how I did. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Other areas 

Griffin Dix: New law will help keep bullets out of the wrong hands – The co-chairman of the Oakland/Alameda County chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence writes, “The gun lobby loves to say that we should just enforce the laws we have. Well, thanks to dedicated activists throughout California, our elected legislators and Gov. Brown, now, for the first time, we will be able to enforce our laws regarding ammunition.” Dix op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Assemblymember Adam Gray: Auditor should find out why return on cap-and-trade is so pathetic – The Merced Democrat writes, “It’s time we figure out just how effective, or ineffective, the state’s greenhouse gas reduction programs have been at addressing climate change. I am requesting a formal audit of these programs by the independent state auditor. In my request, I make clear the primary responsibility of the Legislature to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used in the most productive and cost-effective manner, and I ask the auditor to weigh in on the cost-effectiveness of current and proposed cap-and-trade programs.” Gray op-ed in Modesto Bee 

Push for police transparency laws get stuck in Sacramento – A swath of bills dealing with California’s stringent laws protecting the privacy of police officers and the release of information to the public has failed to garner support, leaving the state at a standstill on a troubling public issue that exploded anew this week. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Sacramento Bee: Reboot, rather than fix California’s outdated recycling law – Gov. Jerry Brown and key lawmakers who understand the Rube Goldberg contraption that is recycling in California need to get together this summer and find a way to simplify and improve the program for the modern era. Recycling has needed an update here for decades. Time to stop kicking the can down the road. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Bill Whalen: In politics and in hoops, NorCal has a leg up — When Kevin Durant opted for a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors earlier this week, the narrative was one of an NBA great ditching small-market Oklahoma City for the “Splash Brothers” and the splashier Bay Area. Another way to think of Durant’s choice is Northern California outmuscling Southern California – which is pretty much how politics works in the Golden State these days. Whalen column in Sacramento Bee 

San Francisco voters could see 39 – yes, 39! – city ballot measures – When it comes to ballot initiatives, San Francisco’s politicians are like gardeners who neglect the weeding and end up with a jungle. Voters are potentially facing 39 city ballot measures in November. Seven are public initiatives, two are regional bonds, and another two were proposed by City College and the Ethics Commission. The rest — 28 — are from the mayor and supervisors. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Robin Abcarian: Recall effort of judge in Stanford rape case gains steam and political allies – In the hallway of a San Jose courthouse, a group of attorneys gathered recently to chat after a civil lawsuit hearing. Soon, their talk turned to the Stanford rape case and the recall effort against Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Brock Turner, an elite swimmer convicted of three felonies, to six months in jail and three years’ probation. Abcarian in LA Times 

Assemblyman’s supporters flee in droves after judge issues domestic violence restraining order – It was never going to be easy for state Assemblyman Roger Hernandez to unseat fellow Democrat and nine-term Congresswoman Grace Napolitano. But after a judge issued a domestic violence restraining order against him in response to charges from his wife that he severely beat her over the course of their marriage, including one incident in which she said the San Gabriel Valley lawmaker threatened her with a knife, Hernandez’s task now seems close to impossible. LA Times article 

Senate passes GMO labeling bill that split state Dems– California’s senators have staked out opposing positions on a bill that would require labeling on some foods with genetically engineered features, with Barbara Boxer calling it “a sham” andDianne Feinstein acknowledging it “isn’t perfect.” Visalia Times-Delta article 

Obama condemns ‘despicable’ shootings of Dallas police officers – President Obama called the shooting deaths of at least five Dallas police officers a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack” and a “wrenching reminder” of the sacrifices of law enforcement. LA Times article 

News Stories

Top Stories 

Coalinga legalizes medical marijuana cultivation — The Coalinga City Council voted 4-1 on Thursday to immediately allow commercial marijuana cultivation within city limits. The council also approved the sale of the city’s dormant prison, Claremont Custody Center, to Ocean Grown Extracts for $4.1 million. Ocean Grown will transform the prison into a medical cannabis oil extraction manufacturing plant. This sale will immediately bring Coalinga’s general fund into the black. City Manager Marissa Trejo said Coalinga was between $3.3 and $3.8 million in debt. Fresno Bee article 

Spending on jails outpaced spending on schools by three times over last 30 years – Over the last 30 years, local and state governments increased how much they spend on putting people in jail three times more than how much they spend on educating students, according to a new analysis by the Department of Education. McClatchy Newspapers article

Jobs and the Economy

Merced suspends developer fees that help pay for roads – Merced has suspended its collection of developer fees that pay for regional transportation projects, leaving just two Merced County cities paying into the project money pot. Merced Sun-Star article 

Is rural Kings County ready for a high-tech town? – Kings County is known for farmed products like cotton and milk, as well as prisons and the Naval Air Station in Lemoore. Now, a Southern California group wants to build a brand new high-tech town in this agricultural county. KVPR report 

San Joaquin County worker strike on hold – Service Employee International Union 1021 members will be back at work today, after striking for three days against San Joaquin County in a wage dispute, union leaders said late Thursday. Stockton Record article 

Michael Fitzgerald: License suspensions a ticket to inequality – Justice is blind. In San Joaquin County, she also may be hard on the poor. The American Civil Liberties Union says Superior Court may be breaking the law by suspending the driver’s licenses of people too poor to pay traffic fines. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record 

Kings’ home prices increase in May – Kings County home prices were up 4.6 percent in May compared to May 2015, according to real estate analysis firm CoreLogic. Prices were up .9 percent compared to April. Hanford Sentinel article 

Tulare’s water and sewer rates increase – The Tulare water and sewer rates must increase to pay for rising costs and planned improvements to the city’s systems, according to a new study. As it’s being proposed, the rate increase, to be implemented annually for five consecutive years, will drive up the average utility bills from $67.47 to $95.83. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Grand jury: Sacramento County debt collection ‘dysfunctional, inefficient and costly’ – In a scathing report, the Sacramento County grand jury found that the county’s debt collectors have failed to recover hundreds of millions of dollars and mishandled thousands of payments they did receive. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento region stands to gain ‘tens of millions’ for homeless people – Sacramento Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg watched last week from the back of the state Senate floor as his former colleagues passed his $2 billion plan for homeless housing, potentially providing him with the issue and money to extend his influence beyond the city. Sacramento Bee article

Summer lunch program helping hungry Merced residents – The Summer Meals Program is funded by the federal and state government, said Patty Morado, director of school nutrition services for Merced City School District. The program allows kids up to age 18 to eat breakfast and lunch for free Monday through Friday during the summer. Merced Sun-Star article 

Lemoore could open escrow on 80 acres to shopping center developer — The Lemoore City Council deferred a vote, scheduled this week, to open an escrow on an 80 acre parcel owned by the city in the Lemoore Industrial Park with a Poway-based shopping center developer. The site is the northeast corner of Highway 41 and Idaho Avenue. Hanford Sentinel article 

How to make more money, get promoted as a California state worker – Getting a promotion can be great for your career and your wallet. Katie Hagen with the California Department of Human Resources offered a few tips on how to best prepare yourself for the next step. There will likely be plenty of promotional opportunities available in the near future as baby boomers leave the workforce. Hagen said the state is “very concerned about a knowledge loss as folks retire.” Sacramento Bee article

New phone app lets you snag a parking spot near new Sacramento arena – Sacramento officials say they plan to launch a smartphone app next month that will allow people headed to the new downtown arena to reserve and pay for a parking spot in a downtown garage days or weeks in advance. Sacramento Bee article 

Fresno startup, Drip, acquired by national software company – A Fresno software startup has been acquired by Leadpages, a national landing page and lead generator company, for an undisclosed amount, the company announced Thursday. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article 

Volkswagen’s legal tab for its diesel engine scheme continues to grow – Volkswagen’s bill for tricking California air regulators with falsified vehicle emission data continues to grow. The German car manufacturer is paying the state another $86 million in fines on top of the$14.7 billion settlement it announced last week with California and the federal government, according to an agreement released Thursday by the state attorney general’s office. Sacramento Bee article 

California state maintenance workers reject deal, authorize strike – Rank-and-file members of the California state maintenance workers’ union have voted overwhelmingly to reject a tentative agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown and authorize a strike, union officials said Thursday. Sacramento Bee article

Boese Commercial moves to downtown Fresno — New York City native Rob Boese could have stayed in his West Shaw Avenue office leasing and managing commercial real estate spaces up and down the busy office and retail corridor. But Boese, who grew up helping his mother manage family-owned properties, wants to do something a little more bold – in downtown Fresno. Fresno Bee article

William Todd Berry: Medical fraud hurts injured workers, employers – The Bakersfield attorney who specializes in representing injured workers writes, “When politicians and business lobbyists were patting themselves on the back more than a decade ago for ‘reforming’ the state’s worker compensation system, what they had only done was cut costs. They seemed to care less about making the system work efficiently to benefit both injured workers and California employers. Their much touted ‘reforms’ left an easy target for dishonest healthcare providers to fleece.” Berry op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 


Jerry O’Banion and John Pedrozo: It will take new reservoirs to meet state’s growing water needs – The Merced County supervisors write, “Though California’s population has exploded in recent years, our state continues to rely on water storage projects that are more than 60 years old. While many of these surface-water projects continue to provide a significant supply, it’s time we look to the future and build more infrastructure.” O’Banion/Pedrozo op-ed in Merced Sun-Star 

NASA maps drought hazards in the Sierra from dead trees – New data from NASA is helping forest managers deal with millions of dead trees in the Sierra. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the mapping project is already yielding results. KVPR report 

Turlock residents have access to free water … highly treated water — Home gardeners have a new source of water – the highly treated effluent from the city sewage plant. Turlock is offering the recycled water for free for residential users in and around the city, as long as they bring approved containers to the plant. Commercial users can get it for $1.89 per 1,000 gallons. Modesto Bee article 

Low or no water conservation targets ‘shortsighted’ — California water suppliers are increasingly shifting to voluntary conservation targets for their customers. And, some water experts say the move may be premature. Capital Public Radio report

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

FBI investigating after cellphone video shows police fatally shooting unarmed man in Fresno – Cellphone video showing Fresno police officers shooting an unarmed 19-year-old man lying on the ground at a gas station has sparked protests and prompted the FBI to launch an investigation. LA Times article 

Parents seek justice for Dylan Noble: ‘He loved life’ – The parents of Dylan Noble went on offense Thursday, asking mothers and fathers to stand together and get justice for the 19-year-old who was gunned down by two Fresno police officers during a traffic stop last month.  Fresno Bee article‘Dylan Noble’s parents thought ‘police don’t shoot to kill’ – until son was slain’ in Fresno Bee 

Man killed by Clovis officers as they served warrants — A man who was shot by Clovis police officers Thursday afternoon as they attempted to serve warrants has died, the police department said. Police Chief Matt Basgall said the shooting took place about 12:30 p.m. as officers went to a home near Bullard and Helm avenues to serve at least one felony warrant. Fresno Bee article 

Was California’s violent crime hike anomalous or end of decline? – Recently released crime statistics compiled by the California attorney general’s office show that violent crime in the state increased by more than 10 percent in 2015. Sacramento Bee article 

Stanislaus County jailers battle in court for gun permits – Could someone with a concealed weapon have helped stop mass-shooting tragedies? The issue arose in state appeals court Thursday, as lawyers argued whether Stanislaus County jail guards should have the same right as patrol deputies to pack heat while off duty. Appellate justices said they will issue a ruling soon; decisions typically come within a few weeks. Modesto Bee article 

Sacramento Bee: Even in dark parking lots, web shines light on police shootings – The problem isn’t the public seeing video of police shooting people, as appalling and horrific as the footage may be. The problem is the response to those shootings. Transparency is no longer an option. It’s reality. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Kern County Sheriff’s Office partners with Nextdoor for neighborhood communication — The Kern County Sheriff’s office is partnering with Nextdoor, which it described as a private social network for neighborhoods, to improve communication and serve as a virtual Neighborhood Watch. Bakersfield Californian article 

Police arrest suspect in four attacks on homeless in San Diego — Police on Thursday arrested a man on suspicion of murder and attempted murder in spate of attacks on homeless men who were sleeping alone and sometimes set on fire, a spree that left two men dead and two seriously injured. AP article 

LA sheriff stops sharing data on shooting evaluations, after union objections — The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department will no longer report to the public whether individual deputies are deemed in or out of policy when they shoot suspects, after the union that represents rank and file objected. KPCC report 

Kaepernick after 2nd police shooting: ‘We are under attack’ — One day after 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick called the police shooting of a black man in Louisiana “what lynchings look like in 2016,” he posted again on Instagram to condemn the police shooting of a Minnesota black man. San Francisco Chronicle article


Public colleges chase out-of-state students, and tuition – A state audit in March reinforced what many California parents already suspected: On a constant hunt for more revenue, the prestigious University of California system gave favorable admissions treatment to thousands of higher-paying out-of-state and foreign students, to the detriment of Californians. As a result, admissions to the system have become a bipartisan political issue in California, where the Legislature recently moved to link university funding to enrolling additional California residents. New York Times article

Mixed marks for California in its approach to early education teacher pay – California is not pursuing key early childhood education policies that would help increase the low wages of childcare workers and preschool teachers, says a new report released Thursday that analyzes the working conditions of early childhood educators in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. EdSource article 

Summer program teaches Merced girls leadership — Merced middle school girls on Thursday celebrated all they overcame in a summer program called Lift While You Lead, which partnered the girls with UC Merced mentors and taught them lessons on body image, stereotypes and leadership qualities. Merced Sun-Star article


PG&E prioritized profits over safety, documents show — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. says in its ads, its public policy statements and its lawyers’ statements to a federal court jury that customer service and safety come first for California’s largest utility. San Francisco Chronicle article

Edison calls settlement that left consumers on hook for $3.3 billion reasonable — Southern California Edison on Thursday warned that its customers could face higher costs related to the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant if regulators overturn a settlement agreement.  LA Times article


Stockton Record: Gateway opportunity: Seed money could help Stockton land needed flights to and from LAX — Flights to and from Los Angeles could be a game changer for Stockton Metropolitan Airport. Stockton flights in and out of Los Angeles International would have the dual benefit of getting local passengers to LAX and opening connections to destinations throughout the country and world. Stockton Record editorial 

Will LA’s bike-share program take off? — They came, they saw, they grabbed a bike and went for a quick spin. All to mark Thursday’s official launch of Los Angeles’ bike-share program. The city and county are joining more than 850 other municipalities around the world to put feet to pedals. The pilot program will make up to 1,000 bicycles available for short-term rentals at 65 stations across downtown Los Angeles. LA Times article

Other areas 

City Beat: Tandy gets evaluated, Hall donates ambulances and defibrillators – City Manager Alan Tandy’s annual evaluation, which began during the June 29 closed session meeting of the Bakersfield City Council, likely won’t be wrapped up before the council’s Aug. 17 meeting, according to Vice Mayor Harold Hanson, who is overseeing the process. But that’s more a reflection of changing times on the council — and the council’s schedule, Hanson said — than the city manager’s performance. Bakersfield Californian article

Justin Salters: Here’s how to remedy blacks’ exclusion from ‘watch’ list – The lifelong Bakersfield resident and local public affairs consultant writes, “I have a real solution to offer to Mr. Morrison and anyone else concerned about the diversity of Bakersfield Life’s ‘20 Under 40’ list: Start thinking now about who you want to see included on next year’s list.” Salters op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno 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.

Sacramento Bee – The problem isn’t the public seeing video of police shooting people, as appalling and horrific as the footage may be. The problem is the response to those shootings. Transparency is no longer an option. It’s reality; Gov. Jerry Brown and key lawmakers who understand the Rube Goldberg contraption that is recycling in California need to get together this summer and find a way to simplify and improve the program for the modern era. Recycling has needed an update here for decades. Time to stop kicking the can down the road.

Stockton Record – Some questions must be asked. Topping that list is: Should fireworks of any sort be allowed?; Flights to and from Los Angeles could be a game changer for Stockton Metropolitan Airport.