June 23, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Valadao dumps Trump — Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, is distancing himself from presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. His campaign, which has kept mum on Trump for weeks, issued a written statement Wednesday on where he stands on the presidential race. Valadao didn’t mention Trump by name. But he stated he’s sitting out this presidential election. Bakersfield Californian article 

Fueling the dreams of the undocumented — Amid this election year’s highly charged debate over immigration policies, California stands out for the many rights state lawmakers have granted to an estimated 3 million undocumented residents. The suite of policies goes far beyond driving privileges, providing freedom of movement, work opportunities and protections, access to healthcare coverage and financial assistance for higher education. CALmatters article

Gov. Brown 

Sacramento Bee: Brown’s lofty environmental goals face uncertain future — Democratic legislators should find common ground with Republicans and specifically authorize cap-and-trade by a two-thirds margin, or risk having the courts strike it down. All this will require compromise. That’s never easy, but in this instance, it’s vital.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Valley politics 

Costa joins House chamber sit-in to call for gun control vote — Rep. Jim Costa joined around 170 of his Democratic Party congressional colleagues Wednesday in a unprecedented House chambers marathon sit-in to demand a vote on gun control legislation. Fresno Bee article

Stanislaus County supervisor expects CEO’s office will look into ballot blunder — A major mistake occurred in Stanislaus County when 24,000 misprinted vote-by-mail ballots were sent to Republican voters in Modesto and the Oakdale area. When the blunder was discovered in May, the county Registrar of Voters sent replacement ballots to affected voters, telling them to use the replacements and yellow envelopes, instead of the original ballots and green envelopes. Modesto Bee article 

Both seats a race in Turlock City Council’s first district elections — A challenger for District 2 has filed early interest papers for Turlock City Council, making contested races likely for both seats to be decided in the city’s first by-district elections. Modesto Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Loretta Sanchez gets her first big Republican endorsement – Democrat Loretta Sanchez’s gambit to attract dissident Republicans to her U.S. Senate campaign received a shot of encouragement Wednesday with the endorsement of former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas 

George Skelton: The gun lobby can’t have its cake and eat it too – There’s an awkward misfire in the illogic of weapons worshipers. They regurgitate the old bromide that “guns don’t kill people, people do.” But they block attempts to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Skelton column in LA Times

Moms rally for stricter background checks in gun lending – Moms gathered on the Capitol steps on Wednesday to call for stricter background checks in gun lending. Sacramento Bee article 

Republicans adjourn House as Democrats pledge not to give up gun control fight – Democratic lawmakers vowed Thursday morning to continue their bold attempt to force votes in the House of Representatives on gun control, even after Republicans formally adjourned for a long-scheduled recess. Washington Post article 

At the House Democrats’ sit-in, a shouting match broke out and lawmakers had to be separated – Rep. Brad Sherman was dramatically interrupted during his plea for a vote on gun legislation at the House Democrats’ sit-in Wednesday night. As Sherman spoke, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert stormed onto the floor, screaming that “radical Islam” killed the Orlando mass shooting victims. LA Times article 

Oakland police scandal could lead to statewide vote on opening cops’ personnel records – In the wake of the sexual misconduct scandal that has engulfed the Oakland Police Department, state Sen. Mark Leno is considering asking California voters to decide whether to give the public more access to the personnel records of law enforcement officers. KQED report 

Fresno councilman’s idea over Sikh genocide sparks controversy – Fresno City Council Member Clint Olivier on Wednesday backed off a proposal to recognize the 1984 killings of thousands of Sikhs in India as a genocide. That came after the Indian consul of San Francisco met with each council member to convince them that Olivier’s draft resolution was inaccurate and one-sided. Fresno Bee article 

Oakland mayor faces tests amid embarrassing police scandals — Libby Schaaf is a trained lawyer who left her legal career years ago for grassroots community service in Oakland that eventually led to her election as mayor of the long-troubled California city. Now, midway through her first term, she is facing the toughest trial of her political career with the scandal-ridden Oakland Police Department providing a seemingly daily dose of embarrassment for her and the city. AP article 

Effort to expand parental leave law stalls in Assembly committee – A bill that would have expanded California’s parental leave law stalled in an Assembly committee Wednesday, and politics may have played a role in its demise. KQED report 

Danny Morrison: Does America still work? Sometimes you have to wonder — Ever since the shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, my previously steadfast patriotism has taken a few shots to the chin. I love my country. I bleed red, white and blue. But America is at a crossroads. Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian 

Joe Mathews: Politicians seize on homelessness — There are many reasons why the homeless have become a big issue, few of which have anything to do with homeless people. Mathews in Sacramento Bee

Presidential Politics

Cathleen Decker: Donald Trump crafts a potent message, but proves a weak messenger — Donald Trump on Wednesday, for the first time, assembled a somewhat coherent message detailing Hillary Clinton’s vulnerabilities. He also demonstrated that he is a supremely flawed messenger. Decker in LA Times

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Valley Air District asks EPA to clean up pollution – The Valley Air District is asking the federal government to do more to help clean up the air in Central California. The district has submitted a petition to the U.S. EPA asking the agency to adopt more stringent national standards for cleaner trucks and trains. KVPR report; Fresno Bee article; Bakersfield Californian article; Stockton Record article 

Study shows Sierra snowpack 3 years away from pre-drought levels – The Sierra snowpack, which is responsible for more than 60 percent of California’s water, won’t likely make it back to its pre-drought levels until 2019, scientists said in a study published this week, dashing the hopes of those who believed one extremely wet El Niño year could alleviate the state’s water crisis. San Francisco Chronicle article

Jobs and the Economy 

Fresno programmers get chance to write software for Amazon AI devices – Technology giant Amazon is collaborating with Fresno tech educators to give local programmers a chance to learn about and enrich Amazon Echo technology. Geekwise Academy in downtown Fresno will offer developers a month-long course to on the nuances of the software behind Amazon’s artificial intelligence assistant speakers, EchoTapand DotFresno Bee article 

Kings supervisors approve new budget – The Kings County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the 2016-17 county budget Tuesday with more money allocated to public safety than last year. Public safety budgets total $87.9 million — up $4.8 million over 2015-16. The money will largely be used to add six additional firefighters to county stations and pay for expansion and staffing of the Kings County Jail. Hanford Sentinel article 

HERO program boosting Valley economy, local contracting businesses – Business is booming for one local contractor thanks to the company’s affiliation with a program that provides low-interest loans to home and business owners seeking to make their properties more environmentally friendly — and energy-efficient. The Business Journal article 

Workers to clean downtown Modesto coming soon – The Downtown Modesto Partnership is close to hiring six employees who would help keep the city center clean, escort people to their cars, serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for the police and perform other tasks. Modesto Bee article

Fair Oaks Library reopening: Bold step forward or leap off financial cliff? – Depending on how one looks at it, the City Council’s decision this week to budget for the reopening of east Stockton’s Fair Oaks Library can be viewed one of two ways. Stockton Record article 

Organizers call San Joaquin County Fair’s return a success — The return of the San Joaquin County Fair was a triumphant one, as fairgrounds officials say there is a good chance the event will be held next year. Stockton Record article 

Lodi outlook bright, but rising costs an issue – The Lodi area grape and wine industry is coming up roses, or perhaps that should be rosé, said speakers at a vineyard and wine economics symposium Wednesday morning. Stockton Record article 

Sacramento County median home resale home price tops $300,000 in May – Fueled by thin inventory and high buyer demand, the median resale home price in Sacramento County pushed past the $300,000 threshold last month. Sacramento Bee article 

Bay Area homes: Prices up, sales down from 2015 — Reflecting the region’s tight housing supply, the number of Bay Area homes sold in May fell from the year before, while demand from buyers continued to push prices into record territory. The median price for all homes sold in the nine-county region — single-family homes, condos, townhouses — hit the $700,000 threshold for the first time. San Jose Mercury News article 

San Franciscans to vote on ‘housing not tents’ homelessness measure — The measure would permit the city to remove tents provided it offers specific shelter or housing opportunities to the people living there. A tent camp could also be removed if resident participates in the city’sHomeward Bound program — an initiative under which the city pays for bus tickets for homeless residents who have out-of-town family or friends willing to take them in. KQED report 

Former Schwarzenegger aide named CalPERS interim CEO – As CalPERS long-time chief executive prepares to leave at the end of this month, the pension fund’s board has named a former aide from the Republican Schwarzenegger administration as interim CEO. Douglas Hoffner has served governors on both sides of the political aisle. Sacramento Bee article

Linda Fiddler: Measure F failed, but not trying is actually losing – The CSU Bakersfield lecturer writes, “Growing up in the oil industry I saw first hand the ebbs and flows, not to make a bad pun, of the oil industry. Kern County voters need to think beyond the dreaded “tax” word and think about what outcomes they want for their community.” Fiddler op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Judge says dead fire pilot’s family can’t get benefits from Cal Fire — A Sacramento judge has tentatively ruled against the family of a fallen fire fighter pilot that is suing Cal Fire for survivor benefits they believe have been illegally withheld. Sacramento Bee article

Kaiser Permanente nurses are preparing to strike over wages and staffing – About 1,300 nurses at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center are set to begin a four-day strike Thursday. The nurses, members of the California Nurses Assn. and National Nurses United, are seeking a contract to improve staffing levels, wages and patient care. LA Times article 

SpaceX soon could be charged more to bring its reusable rockets back to land —The Canaveral Port Authority in Florida may start charging SpaceX higher fees to dock the reusable rocket boosters that the aerospace company has been launching at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, landing at sea and then hauling to shore. LA Times article

Coastal Commission gets an emergency loan from state to make its payroll – Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget advisors have approved an emergency loan of $1.45 million to the California Coastal Commission after an agency staffer said it was in danger of not making payroll in July. LA Times article 

Amid controversy, Special Ed’s Brewery changes name — Special Ed’s Brewery, which saw its name and slogans go viral amid complaints they were insulting to special needs children, has changed its name effective immediately. Sacramento Bee article


Public Policy Institute of California blog: How is California spending the water bond? — Proposition 1 has seven funding categories, with a pot of money allocated to each. The bond language preauthorized spending in the largest area—$2.7 billion for water storage projects. For the other six areas, spending must be appropriated in the state budget. PPIC blog 

Clovis adds a day to watering schedule for customers – Clovis residents can now water three days a week instead of two and will be charged a nondrought rate, but Fresno city officials say they will maintain a two-day-a-week watering schedule. Fresno Bee article 

State to hook East Porterville up to neighboring Porterville’s water system — Residents in a valley community with one of the highest concentrations of dry wells will soon be getting some relief.  For years, residents in East Porterville have watched their wells dry up in the drought forcing them to rely on water delivery and tanks. Now, the state of California is offering to pay to hook up the tiny unincorporated community to the much larger city of Porterville. KVPR report; Visalia Times-Delta article; AP article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Toddler fatally shot by gunman in front of parents in southeast Fresno – Visibly distraught, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer vowed Wednesday to “do everything we can” to bring to justice the shooter who gunned down 20-month-old Rashad Halford Jr. in front of the toddler’s parents. Fresno Bee article 

Grandson of community activist slain in shooting – Longtime community activist Isaiah Crompton has spent years urging teens to avoid gangs, working with various government and non-government agencies to stem the tide of violence throughout metro Bakersfield. He has comforted grieving families and attended the vigils for young men gunned down in the streets. Wednesday evening, he’ll attend yet another vigil. This time, it’s his grandson who will be mourned. Bakersfield Californian article 

Prosecutor: Livingston officer was ‘rogue cop,’ ‘bully’ – Jury deliberation begins Thursday for the Livingston police officer who prosecutors described as a “rogue cop” and “bully” while using too much force against a man who claims to have once dated the officer’s wife. Merced Sun-Star article 

Oakland delays a police academy in wake of scandals – Reeling from the meltdown of its Police Department and questions over screening and training methods for new recruits, the Oakland City Councilhas agreed with Mayor Libby Schaaf to delay the launch of a police academy that would have started in February. San Francisco Chronicle article; East Bay Times article 

San Francisco police use-of-force policy gets commission OK – The San Francisco Police Commission approved Wednesday a use-of-force policy for the Police Department that more strongly regulates officers’ decisions during perilous encounters and puts an emphasis on using minimal force. San Francisco Chronicle article 

City Council vote resumes $57.5-million rollout of LAPD body cameras – The Los Angeles City Council gave its final approval Wednesday to a five-year, $57.6-million plan to buy thousands of police body cameras, clearing the way for the LAPD to resume rolling out the devices after a six-month delay. LA Times article 

Brock Turner case: District Attorney Jeff Rosen introduces bill to send future Turners to prison — Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen on Wednesday unveiled legislation that would mandate at least a three-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person. San Jose Mercury News article; LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article

Stockton teen arrested in paintball attack outside gay nightclub — The Stockton Police Department announced late Wednesday night that it had made an arrest in connection with a paintball gun attack that occurred earlier this month outside a gay nightclub. Stockton Record article 


Kern High School District police never saw mascot beating report – until Wednesday – The only sworn officer tasked with investigating an alleged beating at a 2010 pep rally at Bakersfield High School never saw witness reports taken by administrators until Wednesday, the officer testified under questioning at a civil trial regarding the incident. Bakersfield Californian article; ‘BHS rally organizer testifies she’s not responsible for safety of students’ in Bakersfield Californian 

Fresno City College presidential candidates take different approaches at forum – The three finalists for Fresno City College’s long-vacant presidency made their pitches Wednesday on why they should lead one of the largest community colleges in California while on a makeshift stage in the Old Administration Building. Fresno Bee article 

Report: Separate transitional kindergarten class may better prepare students for kindergarten – Most classrooms in California’s transitional kindergarten program are stand-alone classes that may better prepare children for kindergarten than classes that combine transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students, according to a report released Wednesday. EdSource article 

Sara Sandrik: School stories – With this column, I look forward to writing about more student successes, outstanding educators, and innovative programs. I will also keep you updated on projects that affect the community as a whole. Sandrik column in Merced Sun-Star

West Hills College Lemoore received grant to limit textbook costs — Full-time community college students can spend up to $1,300 per year in textbook costs which is about a third of the cost of an associate’s degree. That will not be the case for students at West Hills College Lemoore. West Hills students will benefit from a national movement to replace textbooks with open educational resources — which are free and do not have a copyright and are shared online. Hanford Sentinel article 

Green Valley Charter Schools CEO resigns — Tisha Blackwood-Freitas said she has resigned as the CEO of Foundation Public Schools Green Valley Charter. Blackwood-Freitas, who is a founder of Foundation Public Schools, told the Enterprise Tuesday that she has resigned. Los Banos Enterprise article 

Since Prop 209, UCLA has worked hard to boost diversity on campus — Twenty years after California voters passed Prop. 209, the nation’s first ban on affirmative action at public universities, UCLA is leading the way in boosting diversity without considering students’ race or gender in admissions. LA Times article


Scientists study pollution from Asia – Just how much of the San Joaquin Valley’s dirty air can be blamed on pollution blowing across the Pacific Ocean from Asia? It’s a question officials have been asking for several years. This summer, researchers and state officials hope to get closer to an answer. Stockton Record article 

Alarm over wildfire danger as California tree die-off reaches 66 million — California forests were hit hard by another year of drought, losing record numbers of trees since last fall and setting up a potentially devastating wildfire season that’s already begun to do damage in the southern half of the state, a new federal survey shows. San Francisco Chronicle article; AP article; LA Times article; Visalia Times-Delta article; Stockton Record editorial 

Hundreds of California recycling centers close – now what? – The shuttering of hundreds of recycling centers around California has reduced opportunities to cash in bottles and cans while stirring anxiety for grocery store owners who may be forced to start accepting reusable materials themselves. As interest groups press policymakers for a solution, the situation has again illuminated the ongoing challenges facing California’s labyrinthine recycling system. Sacramento Bee article 

Split decision in round 1 of Modesto Irrigation District class-action lawsuits — One of two unrelated class-action lawsuits brought on behalf of the Modesto Irrigation District’s electricity customers might be decided by a jury, but the other likely won’t, a judge said in pretrial rulings. Modesto Bee article 

Health/Human Services

New therapy keeps HIV at bay without daily drug regimen, study says – The hunt for an HIV treatment that roots the virus out of its hiding places and kills it just got more interesting. A human antibody that already has shown promise in protecting people against HIV infection has demonstrated the ability to suppress the resurgence of the infection for as long as 19 weeks in infected people who stopped taking their anti-retroviral medications. LA Times article

West Nile activity seen in Clovis — Two samples of mosquitoes collected from within the City of Clovis tested positive this week for West Nile virus and officials are advising residents to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Clovis Independent article 

Stockton Record: Parental buy-in needed for soda ordinance to work – The well-intentioned ordinance will lose its impact if parents remain permissive. That means not “overriding” the ordinance and allowing the fizzy cola or root beer or other soft drink for their children. Stockton Record editorial 

CEO: Rosy picture for Tulare Regional Medical Center finances — The Tulare Regional Medical Center presented a rosy financial forecast for the coming year, with the bottom line of income about what is expected this year. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Vigilant public prompts closure of another vermin-filled restaurant — Acting on a customer complaint, Kern County health inspectors found an infestation of cockroaches at Rocky’s Pizza and shut down the east Bakersfield restaurant Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman for the county health department. The closure is the latest in a number of such enforcements by the agency since the high-profile shutdown of the Valley Plaza food court in late April. Bakersfield Californian article

Land Use/Housing

Hanford adopts noise ordinance — The Hanford City Council has adopted a noise ordinance that will make it easier to cite violators. The council voted 5-0 Tuesday night to adopt the new rule, which would allow officers to cite violators directly if officers can hear the noise themselves from a certain distance. Hanford Sentinel article 


Waiting for TSA – and not only in airport lines – A program intended to give trusted airline passengers an expedited security screening is being plagued nationally by a clogged and overwhelmed approval system. But things are a little less strained for travelers here in the Valley. Fresno Bee article 

More California drivers driving while texting, talking on cell phones — The number of California drivers who use cell phones is on the rise, alarming state safety officials who say it appears to be leading to more crashes and injuries. Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – The U.S. military has a solemn creed: No soldier left behind. The same should hold true for Austin Tice.

Merced Sun-Star –. The U.S. military has a solemn creed: No soldier left behind. The same should hold true for Austin Tice.

Modesto Bee – The U.S. military has a solemn creed: No soldier left behind. The same should hold true for Austin Tice.

Sacramento Bee – The U.S. military has a solemn creed: No soldier left behind. The same should hold true for Austin Tice; Gov. Jerry Brown’s lofty environmental goals face an uncertain future.

Stockton Record – Dying trees: Drought, bark beetle causing Sierra natural epidemic must be thwarted; Parental buy-in needed for Stockton soda ordinance to work.