June 22, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Newsom warns marijuana legalization in California is no sure thing – Leading cannabis activists, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, warned Tuesday that if California voters don’t support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use in November it could set momentum on the issue back at least a decade. San Francisco Chronicle article; Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article 

Dan Walters: Jerry Brown’s vow to slash oil use in California’s cars in trouble — The conflict over cutting petroleum in fuel is reverberating in this year’s elections as the oil industry and other business groups pump money into the re-election campaigns of the Democrats who blocked SB 350 last year and try to expand their ranks. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

State budget

Assemblymember Susan Eggman: My views on state budget – The Stockton Democrat writes, “The budget passed by the state Legislature does many great things: It provides greater funding for affordable housing, builds the state’s Rainy Day Fund reserves, provides substantial new investment in higher education, and repeals the Maximum Family Grant.” Eggman op-ed in Stockton Record

Valley politics 

Two Valley counties split on ‘Laura’s Law’ – Following a mass shooting in the U.S., like last week’s attack on a nightclub in Orlando, there are often calls to improve mental health services. Two of the valley’s most populous counties are taking very different approaches on one key California law that advocates say could help more people receive treatment they otherwise wouldn’t seek. Kern and Fresno Counties are at odds over something known as Laura’s Law. KVPR report 

Kings finishes vote tally — The final Kings County vote count for the recent presidential primary election is complete, according to Kings County Registrar of Voters Kristine Lee. Measure K failed by the thinnest of margins, ending up with 12,583 votes in favor, or 66.3 percent. Hanford Sentinel article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

California tribes give U.S. Senate race the cold shoulder — California’s Native American tribes have doled out millions to political groups and candidates running for every office from county supervisor to president this campaign season. But they have been noticeably absent from fundraising when it comes to the state’s U.S. Senate race. LA Times article


The ‘Dreamers’ Obama spared from deportation: What are they dreaming about? — Earlier this month, about 900 people from across the country gathered in Houston for the annual United We Dream congress on the anniversary of the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, many of them participants. We spoke with some of them about what’s at stake in the high court’s ruling. LA Times article

Other areas 

Could this be the gun bill that has a chance? – Joining one of the most serious efforts to find common ground on guns in years, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, stood with a bipartisan group of peers Tuesday to unveil a new proposal to prevent people on the no-fly list from buying firearms. McClatchy Newspapers article

California political watchdog targets ‘shadow lobbyists’ – California’s political watchdog is considering a regulatory change to draw “shadow lobbyists,” consultants paid to influence legislation, into the public eye. Sacramento Bee article 

Charter group money flooded local election, but many donors live far away – Big campaign spending from outside interests, including charter school advocates, helped propel a slew of state legislative candidates out of primaries onto November ballots. But in many cases, the candidates groups opposed also advanced, setting up costly general election rematches. KPCC report 

Union leader and lawmaker mix it up over dead legislation – Read the letters recently exchanged between Bakersfield’s Republican assemblywoman and the head of California’s largest state employee union and you’ll sense the antipathy that two failed bills stirred up. Again. Shannon Grove, in her final Assembly term, wrote a letter a few weeks ago to Yvonne Walker, president of SEIU Local 1000, challenging her to open the union’s books for inspection. Sacramento Bee article

California lawmakers head to Panama for canal launch – California lawmakers will travel to Central America next week to attend the opening ceremony for a newly widened Panama canal. Sacramento Bee article 

Natomas office park asks pastor who praised Orlando massacre to move out — The Natomas office park that houses Verity Baptist Church, whose pastor praised the recent massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., has asked the church to move out. Sacramento Bee article 

Obama’s health advisors reject ‘right of conscience’ challenge to California’s required abortion coverage – The Obama administration on Tuesday rejected a “right of conscience” complaint from anti-abortion groups in California who objected to the state’s requirement that health insurance plans include coverage for elective abortions. LA Times article 

A year after Berkeley balcony collapse, response bill inches ahead — Just days after the first anniversary of the balcony collapse at a Berkeley apartment building that killed six and injured seven, a bill to increase oversight of California building contractors advanced Tuesday from the Assembly committee where it stalled last July. Sacramento Bee article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories 

Kern supervisors draft budget, deep slashes to public safety – Kern County will wage a pitched battle over next year’s fiscal budget for the next two months. On Tuesday Kern County supervisors approved a placeholder budget that handles this year’s $49 million budget deficit by slashing general fund spending by 5 percent and borrowing from reserves and future fiscal years to cover the rest.Bakersfield Californian article 

Modesto Oks budget that includes 22 more police officers – The Modesto City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a new budget that includes Mayor Ted Brandvold’s plan to hire as many as 22 police officers, which marks the first significant increase in police staffing in several years. Modesto Bee article 

Regional partnerships showing promise for students, businesses, local economies — Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep is one of nearly 50 collaboratives across California providing tens of thousands of students with hands-on learning that blends academics with job training in industry sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, construction, engineering, health care, computer science and many other fields where high-paying jobs await. EdSource article

Jobs and the Economy 

Fresno council wants $2.1 million for road repair, maintenance — Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin already has proposed $293.2 million in general fund spending in the city’s 2016-17 budget. But that’s not quite enough to do all the things that the Fresno City Council wants to accomplish in the fiscal year that begins July 1. City Council members voted Tuesday to spend an extra $2.1 million from the general fund – the pot of money from which most of the city’s discretionary bills are paid. Fresno Bee article 

Fair Oaks Library will reopen after Stockton council votes for funding – Fair Oaks Library, closed by the city as it careened toward bankruptcy at the beginning of the decade, will reopen late in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Stockton Record article 

Unemployed vets could find work through Caltrans — A Caltrans program administered by the Butte County Office of Education should put local veterans to work later this summer collecting trash on Kern County highways and tending to landscaping, members of a Keep Bakersfield Beautiful committee learned Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article 

Inaugural vets resources fair a hit – For many veterans of the U.S. military, finding adequate housing, employment and health care information has been daunting. While the information is out there, veterans such as Luis Martinez and Tom Fulton said knowing where to go has been a challenge. And once the information is found, both said it’s not as helpful as they’d like it to be. Stockton Record article 

Services center proposed for Hanford homeless – Kings Community Action Organization is proposing a first-of its-kind housing support center for the homeless to be built from scratch in Hanford.Hanford Sentinel article 

LA City Council may seek bigger bond to house the homeless – Los Angeles City Council members are considering a significant boost to the size of a bond measure they say could help move tens of thousands of homeless Angelenos off the streets. LA Times article

San Francisco voters will decide on soda tax in November – It was a circuitous route, but a ballot measure was submitted to the San Francisco Department of Elections Tuesday afternoon, and voters in November will decide whether to levy a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. KQED report 

Grocery workers approve a strike against supermarkets – Grocery workers across Southern California voted to authorize a strike against Ralphs and Albertsons, which includes Vons, Pavilions and Safeway stores, union officials reported. LA Times article 

McNerney introduces bill to help distressed cities – For three years, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, watched as a federal program to help struggling cities passed over Stockton again and again.Stockton Record article 

Applus RTD joins North Meadows Business Park — Global energy services provider Applus RTD has become the latest company to set up shop at North Meadows Business Park. The Dutch-based company, known for testing, inspecting and certifying petroleum pipelines, recently took possession of a 25,000-square-foot, build-to-suit facility at the business park. The new site allows the company to consolidate three locations into one. Bakersfield Californian article 

Stockton port seeks grant for ditch project — Stockton port officials hope to turn a storm water ditch into a native plant wetland that will help clean the runoff before it reaches the San Joaquin River.Stockton Record article


Research: State years away from making drought recovery — It could take California four years to recover from the most severe drought on record, even if the next several winters bring above-normal snowfall to the Sierra Nevada, researchers said Tuesday releasing a study. AP article; LA Times article 

Sacramento City Council rejects plan to increase watering days – As temperatures race toward the triple digits, City Council members voted unanimously to reduce water conservation goals but maintain a twice-weekly watering restriction. Sacramento Bee article

Kathleen Tiegs and Brent Hastey: New water rules make good sense – The president and vice president of the Association of California Water Agencies write, “Californians get it. Last year, they understood we were in a drought that required extraordinary action. But they rely on their water supplier to tell them when heroic conservation is needed. To maintain credibility with their customers, we must be able to tailor the level of conservation to actual water supplies. Tiegs/Hastey op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

What Lake Mead’s record low means for California – When in the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced last month that the country’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, had fallen to its lowest-ever level at 1,074ft (327m), the question many asked was: How will it affect one of California’s primary drinking sources? KQED report 

By growing feed indoors this sheep farmer says he’s saving a lot of water — Shipping containers have been used for everything from community gardens to pools and even homes. In rural Madera County one farmer is using these containers to help him save water on his sheep farm. He says a shipping container could actually be a solution to drought. KVPR report

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Bakersfield California: Outside inquiry needed in Bakersfield Police Department corruption case – Damage is being done not just to officers’ careers, the department’s reputation and the integrity of prosecutions. Damage is being done to the public’s confidence in the department. An outside investigation, most likely by the state Attorney General’s Office, is needed to conduct a thorough and transparent review. The public needs to be reassured that corruption has not spread in the department; that department rules, and state and federal laws are being followed; and that other agencies are not involved.Bakersfield Californian editorial 

California seeks fix on sex-offender reporting requirement – California lawmakers moved Tuesday to fix a flawed voter-approved initiative that required registered sex offenders to disclose their email addresses, screen names and other electronic information to authorities. AP article 

Michael Fitzgerald: Punks pilfer public property — Sticky-fingered thieves steal everything imaginable from the city of Stockton: parking meters, rider-mowers, copper wire, snack bar goodies. They even pilfer from police, city records show. I did a Public Records Act request asking for records of rip-offs back to Jan. 1. Back came 68 pages of police reports up to May 15. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record 

Oakland police scandal: Activists call for reforms, ouster of mayor — Citing the ongoing investigation into several Oakland police officers’ alleged sexual relationship with a teenager, activists from more than a half-dozen East Bay community organizations on Tuesday called for the ouster of Mayor Libby Schaaf and a community commission to control the department, among other demands. East Bay Times article 

Oakland police scandal: Downing accused of using insensitive language against protestors: A Bay Area television station report accused the embattled Oakland police department’s top-ranking officer of using insensitive language in describing tactics against protesters. According to a KRON4 story Tuesday night, police sources have said acting assistant Chief David Downing advocated using water cannons against protesters and appeared not to realize the suggestion’s racially insensitive connotation. East Bay Times article 

Deal to spend $57.6 million on LAPD body cameras clears hurdle – Los Angeles city lawmakers broke through a lengthy political logjam over police body cameras on Tuesday, clearing the way for a City Council vote on the costly initiative. LA Times article 

LAPD orders officers to show ‘compassion and empathy’ to homeless people — The Los Angeles Police Commission approved a new policy directing LAPD officers to treat homeless people with “compassion and empathy.” LA Times article

Final debate coming in how San Francisco cops use force — The San Francisco Police Commission is set to vote Wednesday on new use-of-force rules for officers that were overhauled in the wake of the video-recorded killing of a stabbing suspect in the Bayview neighborhood. San Francisco Chronicle article

Wayne Hughes Sr.: Voter-approved correctional reform is working, changing lives – The founder and chairman of the board of Serving California writes, “Because citizens of California overwhelmingly approved Prop 47, we’re able to change course and help people redeem themselves, breaking from a previous life of crime and helping them get on a pathway to personal renewal. That gives them home and a future and allows them to become a catalyst for change in their families and communities.” Hughes op-ed in Modesto Bee 

Livingston officer in court on assault, battery charges — A Livingston police officer accused of excessive force is on trial this week and could find out his fate as early as Wednesday, according to the judge overseeing the jury trial. Merced Sun-Star article


High school board to pick Tulare Union’s new mascot – A decision could come Thursday to decide Tulare Union High School’s new mascot and name. The first choice from a 31-member committee picked to help find a new mascot for Tulare Union High School is Tribe. The committee’s other two finalists are Legends and Renegades. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Vineland School District hires slew of interns for fall — After calling his veteran teaching staff lazy, triggering mass resignations this spring, Vineland School District Superintendent Matthew Ross boasted that he would have no trouble filling their spots – and better yet, he would find a pool of educators capable of transforming the district into a premiere institution. On Monday, Ross recommended hiring 14 new teachers to take part in that effort. Bakersfield Californian article 

In college turmoil, signs of a changed relationship with students – Given all that has happened on so many campuses over the last few years, it’s hard to pick the one that has been roiled the most by struggles over political correctness. But Oberlin College would certainly be in the running. New York Times article 

Migrant Education services: Picking up STEAM – Students enrolled in Migrant Education services at the San Joaquin County Office of Education worked on robotics as part of a STEAM summer workshop. Standing for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, the STEAM summer workshop is a partnership between two county Office of Education departments: the Migrant Education Department and the Da Vinci Center. Stockton Record article 

Faith-based colleges say anti-discrimination bill would infringe on their religious freedom – Dozens of faith-based colleges in California are objecting to legislation that they say would infringe on religious freedom by allowing lawsuits from gay and transgender students who feel discriminated against because their sexual orientation conflicts with church tenets. LA Times article 

Livingston summer school students use solar energy to bake — If you can’t beat the heat, why not use it to make cupcakes? A group of Livingston middle school students did just that Tuesday, using the plentiful sunshine and a few household materials to create their energy-efficient projects. Merced Sun-Star article

Nan Austin: Turlock teachers go with flow of fish, oceans, ecosystems — For this quarter’s Eye on Education special section, I got to tag along on field trips and visit classrooms in Hughson Unified taking part in the Waterways project created through a collaborative effort of nonprofits led by the Tuolumne River Trust. The project, believed to be unique in the nation, includes every-grade lessons, career opportunities and experiences around the science of area rivers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded a two-year pilot. Austin in Modesto Bee


Shutting down Diablo Canyon nuclear plant will be a long and costly process – Decommissioning a nuclear power plant is a long and expensive process that sometimes takes more money than originally expected. But executives running the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility, who announced Tuesday that the site’s two reactors will be shut down by the middle of the next decade, expressed confidence that they can do it quickly and without running up the tab. LA Times article; Sacramento Bee editorial 

Will water sector help or hurt on climate change? – California has been diligently trying to reduce use of fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 350, which requires 50 percent of the electricity from utilities to come from renewable sources by 2030. But it’s not just energy utilities that can add more renewables to their portfolios – water suppliers can, as well, although they aren’t mandated to do so. KQED report 

U.S. engineer contradicts stance on gas-line-safety rules — Federal regulators have publicly spelled out utility companies’ obligations to limit pressure in their gas pipelines, a government engineer testified Tuesday at Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s trial on pipeline-safety charges, contradicting PG&E’s argument that the rules are vague and self-defeating. San Francisco Chronicle article 

PG&E Trader Joe’s is forced to fix refrigerators, cut greenhouse gas emissions – Trader Joe’s will spend millions of dollars over the next several years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its refrigeration equipment as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department. Washington Post article

 GPS reading suggests ‘considerable’ movement along San Andreas Fault — Researchers say GPS technology reveals new evidence of significant movement along the San Andreas Fault.  San Francisco Chronicle article 

Health/Human Services

Valley Children’s Hospital ranked among nation’s best in neonatal care — Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera County is one of the nation’s top 50 children’s hospitals in neonatology in rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The hospital ranked 49 out of 50 top centers for the pediatric specialty in the magazine’s 2016-17 Best Children’s Hospitals report. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article; The Business Journal article 

Targeting and healing Medi-Cal’s most expensive patients – and saving money – As health care costs continue to rise, attention has turned to a tiny number of expensive patients like Meade, called super-utilizers. One program in Southern California has taken a different approach to treating Meade and other high-cost patients: Over the past two years, it has tracked them, healed them and saved a ton of money along the way. KQED report 

Mosquitoes with West Nile virus detected in Hanford – Mosquitoes in Hanford have tested positive for West Nile Virus, marking the first detection of the virus in Kings County this year, the Kings Mosquito Abatement District said. Hanford Sentinel article 

Louie Vega: Family Reunification Day celebrates hope and hard work – The supervising judge of the Kern County Superior Court’s Juvenile Division writes, “Family Reunification Day celebrates those families that have overcome severe obstacles to ensure that their children’s safety is their number one priority. Safe family reunification is the primary goal of Dependency Court, which accomplishes this by reuniting hundreds of children each year with their families, including 220 children last year.” Vega op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Other areas

Fresno County supervisors move probation chief issue to November ballot – Fresno County supervisors are worried about Probation Department morale because animosity between employee factions has grown in the two months since Chief Rick Chavez was placed on administrative leave by Fresno County Superior Court judges. Fresno Bee article 

Lois Henry: Any way you slice it, fireworks aren’t worth the cost — I got a letter recently from Phantom Fireworks. Well, it came to “editor,” not me personally. We’re not like pen pals or anything. Anyhow, it was a reminder that fireworks can trigger PTSD for combat veterans. Which, they can. It’s serious and devastating. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian 

LA County won’t appeal ruling striking cross from county seal – Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday not to appeal a judge’s ruling that will strike a cross from the county seal. LA Times article 

When Fresno gets hot, outdoor laborers work hard to stay cool — Tuesday’s high in Fresno hit a broiling 102 degrees, but the hot weather didn’t stop construction workers or others toiling outside from getting the job done. Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian An outside inquiry, likely by the state Attorney General’s Office, is needed in Bakersfield Police Department corruption case.

Fresno Bee – With triple-digit heat, a full moon and fires raging from Santa Barbara County to the Mexican border another summer straight out of end times has arrived.

Merced Sun-Star Anger over immigration is fueling the push for United Kingdom to leave European Union.

Modesto Bee – Anger over immigration is fueling the push for United Kingdom to leave European Union.

Sacramento Bee –PG&E makes a wise call to shutter Diablo Canyon; Democrats can become more democratic by changing delegate rules.