June 24, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Supreme Court decision on immigration will have far-reaching implications – A deadlocked Supreme Court decision that blocks President Barack Obama from granting amnesty to the parents of legal U.S. residents who are in the country illegally will deprive many of those people of the right to sign up for health insurance in California, analysts of the decision said Thursday. McClatchy Newspapers article;New York Times article; Sacramento Bee editorial

Dan Walters: Fixing California’s highways ensnarled in political gridlock — California’s highways are in bad shape and getting worse every day, with a backlog of deferred maintenance totaling tens of billions of dollars. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Republican in heavily Latino district says he can’t back Donald Trump – In a statement released by his campaign Thursday, Valadao said he can’t support Trump and he won’t back presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton either. Valadao’s district is 71% Latino. Democrats have targeted Valadao’s Central Valley district as a potential pick-up opportunity in the fall. LA Times article; Hanford Sentinel article 

Nunes ridicules House Democrats’ sit-in as mere sleepover — A leading Republican from the central San Joaquin Valley on Thursday ridiculed a day-long sit-in by Democratic lawmakers to demand a vote on gun-control legislation. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, whose district includes Clovis, Tulare and Visalia, said in emailed statement: “Another jihadist massacred Americans, and these politicians respond by staging a sleepover in the Capitol.” Fresno Bee article 

Political Scramble: What can the big deal be? — Is front-running Bakersfield mayoral candidate Karen Goh seeking endorsements, or not? Goh told Political Scramble last week she hasn’t sought any endorsements — but that’s not what Marc DeLeon, one the 23 mayoral candidates she outpolled en route to a November runoff, said this week. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Lt. Gov. Newsom’s gun control initiative qualifies for November ballot – Just days before the Legislature is scheduled to act on a package of gun control measures, state election officials announced Thursday that an initiative by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to restrict firearms has enough signatures to qualify for the November state ballot. LA Times article 

Minimum wage ballot measure formally removed from November’s statewide ballot – The healthcare workers union that successfully placed a minimum wage increase on the November statewide ballot formally withdrew the proposal Thursday, two months after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a similar plan into law LA Times article 

Sacramento judge moves to cancel a November ballot initiative limiting salaries of hospital CEOs — An effort to cap the salaries of hospital executives may be blocked from California’s Nov. 8 ballot, after a Sacramento judge wrote Thursday that its labor union backers broke a political peace treaty with hospitals. LA Times article

POLIgraph: Drug price ad exaggerates initiative’s reach — Even before polls closed in the June 7 primary election, the proponents of a fall ballot measure dealing with prescription drug costs were up on TV across California with their first ad of the campaign. Sacramento Bee article 

California lawmakers propose $3 billion bond measure for state, local parks — California lawmakers are proposing a nearly $3 billion November bond measure to pay for improvements at state and local parks. Supporters say many local agencies cannot afford to maintain their outdoor spaces. AP article 

California voters may decide on firearm magazine ban — California voters could decide in November whether to ban ownership of firearm magazines that hold more 10 rounds of ammunition. Capital Public Radio report


Obama concedes court tie means gave over on immigration plan — President Barack Obama sought to reassure millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally that he has no plans to deport them, while acknowledging that the Supreme Court’s deadlock Thursday marks the end of the road for his push to reform the U.S. immigration system. AP article; LA Times article; McClatchy Newspapers article 

Supreme Court decision deals blow to health coverage efforts in California

The Supreme Court decision Thursday effectively blocking President Obama’s immigration programs also comes as a blow to California legislators who have been fighting to offer health insurance to people living in the country illegally. LA Times article

Immigrant rights advocates vow to keep fighting after Supreme Court deadlock – The children of immigrants without legal status say the recent news has only deepened the anxiety they feel about being deprived of the people who sought to provide them with a richer life. LA Times article 

Fresno advocates decry Supreme Court decision on immigration – Around 30 immigrant advocates stood outside the Robert E. Coyle Federal Building in downtown Fresno Thursday afternoon, holding signs that read “Keep our families together,” and “I am America.” Fresno Bee article 

Ray Gonzales: Supreme Court ruling is the sign of a broken political system – The retired college professor and former state assemblyman writes, “The inability of our political leaders to establish a reasonable immigration policy and the politicization of the courts will continue to hinder any progress we can make in realizing the positive role we might play in the world as the most diversified country on the planet.” Gonzales op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Ken Mettler: Decision upholds the Constitution’s separation of powers – The former candidate for the 23rd Congressional District seat writes, “In voting to block his immigration executive actions, the Supreme Court did its job Thursday and put a stop to an unconstitutional overreach by President Obama.” Mettler op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Stockton Latino leader calls for action on immigration – The president of El Concilio said Thursday he is hopeful a major setback dealt by the United States Supreme Court will have a galvanizing impact on the fight for immigrant rights. Stockton Record article

ACLU demands end to immigration program in Fresno jail — A year after the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office began partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the American Civil Liberties Union says new public records show the partnership is secretive, lacks public oversight and leaves immigrants vulnerable to abuse. Fresno Bee article; KVPR report 

These students vowed to change immigration laws a decade ago.  Where are they now? — In advance of the court’s decision, The Times sought out students who had walked out of more 50 schools across Southern California in March 2006. Here’s what they had to say about how that moment changed their lives. LA Times article

Other areas 

Bill would permit use of bullet train funds for Caltrain upgrade – A Peninsula lawmaker has introduced last-minute legislation that would allow the state to begin selling voter-approved high-speed rail bonds to electrify Caltrain from Gilroy to San Francisco. AP article 

Want to carry a concealed weapon? California could make it harder — Only Californians facing threats of violence could carry concealed weapons under legislation unveiled on Thursday, a change that could stem a proliferation of concealed guns in Sacramento. Sacramento Bee article 

Anti-government ‘sovereign citizens’ enter Fresno National Guard base – Four people who said they were anti-government “sovereign citizens” made a brief, unauthorized entrance into the California Army National Guard base near Fresno Yosemite International Airport on Thursday afternoon, police reported. Fresno Bee article 

California senators, in ties and jackets, do 22 push-ups for veterans – On Thursday morning, Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, got down on the red carpet to kick off his push-up challenge raising awareness for veterans’ suicides. Called out on Facebook by a friend from Boston, Glazer has pledged to do 22 push-ups daily for the next 22 days, in honor of the number of U.S. veterans who kill themselves on average each day. The challenge was launched in 2013 by the group 22Kill, which also aims to improve mental health services and other programs for veterans. Sacramento Bee article 

Poll shows angry two-thirds back Judge Persky recall — Rather than a few loud voices of protest, our poll finds that two-thirds (67%) of Santa Clara County voters support a recall.  Women, and especially younger women, are at the center of the storm with a more than 4-to-1 support. Capitol Weekly article

Presidential Politics

How Donald Trump’s speech attacking Hillary Clinton compares with the facts — Some of his claims, like the millions of dollars the Clinton Foundation accepted from authoritarian foreign governments, were accurate. Other points, like the decline of manufacturing jobs since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, revealed only a small part of a larger story. Others, like Trump’s assertion that the U.S. has the world’s highest taxes, were outright false. LA Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories 

Regulatory agency clears UC Merced for expansion — UC Merced’s plans for expansion cleared another milestone, officials announced Thursday. Local Agency Formation Commission of Merced County unanimously approved the Out of Boundary Service Agreement with UC Merced. So, officials said, there are no local regulatory hurdles left for UC Merced to overcome before proceeding with the 2020 Project, when the university will expand to make enough room for 10,000 students. Merced Sun-Star article 

Fresno council approves $1.1 billion budget – On a unanimous 7-0 vote, the Fresno City Council on Thursday adopted a $1.1 billion budget that boosts the police and fire departments and increases the money available for roadway repairs across the city. Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria made a successful 11th-hour bid to create a fund to supportaffordable housing efforts, winning a 5-2 vote to use any leftover funds from the federal Community Development Block Grant program and money that isn’t needed to match a federal Economic Development Act grant for those needs. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy 

Valley business index improves in May – For the thirtieth consecutive month, the San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index rose above the 50.0 growth neutral threshold. The index, a leading economic indicator from a survey of individuals making company purchasing decisions for firms in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties, continues to point to positive growth for the next 3 to 6 months.The Business Journal article 

Fresno County’s largest union losing about 20 percent of membership — Fresno County’s largest union is losing about 20 percent of its membership as a result of an election to change representation. The Fresno County Public Safety Association, which consists of more than 900 county employees, including correctional officers in the jail and Juvenile Justice Center, child support workers, security officers and technicians, won the right to represent workers who are now in the Service Employees International Union. Fresno Bee article 

San Joaquin County budget expected to rise this year before leveling off – San Joaquin County’s budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year is increasing by 5.6 percent over 2015-16, but San Joaquin County Administrator Monica Nino said this may be the last bit of good news for a while. Stockton Record article 

San Joaquin County housing market heats up in June – San Joaquin County remains among the hottest markets in the country for existing housing, even as national residential sales in June are the most sizzling market in a decade, realtor.com reported Thursday. Stockton Record article 

Fresno’s credit rating gets another boost from Fitch – Fitch Ratings, one of the “Big Three” international rating agencies, delivered some good news Thursday, informing City of Fresno officials that the City’s bond issue default rating as well as its lease revenue bond rating has been upgraded from BBB+ to A. The Business Journal article 

Almost 75,000 California seniors still working after age 65 – Retirement isn’t coming easy for California baby boomers. More than 740,000 California residents between ages 65 and 74 are employed or looking for work, roughly double the number from 15 years ago, according to a Sacramento Bee review of the latest census data. Sacramento Bee article

Stockton Record: Fair Oaks: Now make it work – The re-opening of Fair Oaks will not be a cure, nor will it be a panacea. But it is an important commitment at a time when such a move was needed. Stockton — city staff, the council and, most of all parents — needs to make this work for the long haul. Stockton Record editorial 

Report: All-cash home sales in Fresno continue to decline – The cash sales share in Fresno was down for the month of March over the same period last year, registering 24.3 percent of all sales, a 1.1 percentage point decrease compared with March 2015. The Business Journal article 

Measure K redo in works– With Measure K falling just a few dozen votes short of the two-thirds support it needed to pass, there’s a movement afoot to put the ballot measure — or some version of it — back on the ballot in November. Lemoore officials are leading the charge. Hanford Sentinel article

Tree deaths give local biomass plant a reprieve – The dead trees can be seen in in southern Sierra watersheds like Sequoia National Forest. Now at least one Fresno County biomass plant that would have been shut down next month will stay open until October to process trees that will be cut down this summer. The Business Journal article 

Metro puts half-cent sales tax increase for transportation projects on November ballot – Los Angeles County transportation officials said Thursday they will seek voter approval in November for a half-cent sales tax increase to fund a major expansion of Southern California’s rail and highway network. LA Times article 

Joel Fox: Los Angeles laboratory for local tax increases – In the primary election this month 89 local taxes and bonds faced voters. The total is expected to increase in November. In some jurisdictions voters likely will face multiple tax increases dedicated for different purposes. Los Angeles is a prime example. Fox in Fox & Hounds 

LA may pass new ban on homeless people living in cars – A federal appeals court last year struck down the city’s ban on vehicle dwelling, calling it an invitation to discriminate against the poor. Now, what could be a new legal confrontation with homeless advocates is shaping up as the City Council is poised Friday to adopt a new ban that could link enforcement to providing restricted parking for homeless people to sleep in their cars. LA Times article 

LA takes step toward new rules on short-term rentals — Los Angeles is one step closer to imposing new rules on Airbnb and other websites that advertise rooms — or whole homes — for short stays, including limiting the number of days places may be offered and penalizing platforms that fail to provide key information to the city. LA Times article 

When Uber drivers are hurt at work, who pays? – Kip Baldwin was driving four Uber passengers near downtown San Francisco when his car was broadsided by another Uber driver who ran a stop sign. Three months later, lingering pain from neck injuries and a concussion leave him unable to work. Uber’s insurance company has offered him $21,000 for medical expenses, lost wages and “inconvenience.”San Francisco Chronicle article

VW settlement would give car owners up to $7,000 each, sources say — Volkswagen has agreed to take a series of steps costing about $10.2 billion to settle claims from its unprecedented diesel emissions cheating scandal in the U.S., two people briefed on the matter said Thursday. LA Times article 

How a Hollywood startup became Microsoft’s partner in the marijuana industry – When David Dinenberg decided to get into the marijuana industry, his business plan was based on fear. In 2014, he founded Kind Financial with the aim of making loans and providing other services to marijuana growers and sellers – customers banks were scared to work with. LA Times article 

Boeing applies for license to launch proposed satellite constellation — Boeing Co. has applied for a license from the Federal Communications Commission to launch and operate a network of thousands of satellites, joining companies such as SpaceX and OneWeb in the new race to build constellations for broadband Internet access. LA Times article


Old Fresno City Hall fountain springs to life with new water — Mayor Ashley Swearengin and other city officials on Thursday celebrated a sound they had not heard for some time – water gushing out of the Cobb Fountain at City Hall. The fountain was shut down in the summer of 2009 and has remained inactive since. But now that the city has its water reclamation plant operating, workers were able to connect the fountain to use recycled water. Fresno Bee article

Judge bumped from Oakdale Irrigation District fallowing lawsuit — Board member Gary Osmundson, sued along with the Oakdale Irrigation District, had a judge removed from the case after the judge sided against the district in a pretrial ruling. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Lisa Green: Kern DA’s office stands ready to probe investigations involving Diaz, Mara – Kern County’s district attorney writes, “If justice calls for a case investigated by Diaz and/or Mara, to be re-examined or dismissed, then that is what we will do. We have already designated a supervising district attorney to conduct that review. The District Attorney’s Office has been proactive in dealing with this issue and we will continue to be proactive. In this instance, as with all cases, we are duty bound to examine the integrity of criminal convictions in order to assure that justice has been done.” Green op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Paintball suspect had terrorized neighbors, some say – The man police arrested Wednesday in connection with a paintball gun attack outside a gay nightclub in Stockton had a reputation for terrorizing other residents of the upscale Lodi neighborhood where he grew up. Stockton Record article 

Dog Walker Watch meeting in Modesto on Friday – Special time with your “best friend” doesn’t have to end when you leave the workplace on Take Your Dog to Work Day on Friday. The Modesto Police Department is holding its third annual Dog Walker Watch meeting in the evening at Modesto Dog Park. The program educates dog owners on how to spot suspicious activity and effectively observe and report crime while walking their pets in their neighborhoods. Modesto Bee article 

Oakland police sex scandal: City hires private investigator to find media leaks — Following weeks of embarrassing press and revelations of police misconduct, city leaders have hired a private investigator in an attempt to quash leaks and find out who has been sharing police personnel information with media. East Bay Times article 

Long Beach to pay nearly $3 million after shooting unarmed man 19 times in 2013 —  Long Beach will pay nearly $3 million to the family of an unarmed man who was shot 19 times during a fatal clash with police in 2013. LA Times article 

Kathleen Rowe-Glendon: Sex trafficking enslaves women and girls – This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, but, sadly, slavery is alive and thriving here in Stanislaus County in the form of human trafficking. Rowe-Glendon op-ed in Modesto Bee 

Oakland detective whose girlfriend transcribed reports cleared by DA — Alameda County prosecutors said Thursday they have concluded that Oakland police Sgt. Mike Gantt broke no laws when he had his girlfriend transcribe recordings from criminal investigations for him, but an independent city investigator is looking into whether the practice broke internal police rules. San Francisco Chronicle article


Tulare school board chooses new mascot for high school – Tulare Union High has a new mascot – the Tribe. It replaces Redskins, a name banned by the Legislature in the wake of a nationwide movement to do away with a name considered offensive to Native Americans. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article

New state agency gets infusion of money to promote school success — The new agency charged with helping to implement and enforce the state’s school accountability and improvement system has a fresh source of money and a plan to spend it, starting this fall. EdSource article 

Supreme Court upholds affirmative action program at University of Texas – The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to a race-conscious admissions program at the University of Texas at Austin, handing supporters of affirmative action a major victory. New York Times article 

VIDEO: School officials and equity groups team up to close achievement gap – Since the state enacted the Local Control Funding Formula, CA Fwd and California School Boards Association have worked together to build the capacity of local school districts and county offices of education to transform educational outcomes. A collaborative of 15 school districts and two County Offices of Education is learning from each other to improve public engagement and the use of data to deliver better results. California Forward report 

Former administrator calls out gun vote – A former Kern High School District superintendent is calling out sitting board members ahead of a potential vote next week that could allow some employees to carry concealed weapons at school. Bakersfield Californian article 

California rejects federal grant to collect data on Asian, Pacific Islander students – California’s Department of Education has rejected a congressional request that it take part in a U.S. grant program that would allow local school districts to collect additional data on the state’s Asian-American and Pacific Islander students. McClatchy Newspapers article

Carter testifies he was left alone, bloody in stairwell, after pep rally beating – After a mob of students piled on top of him at a Bakersfield High School pep rally in 2010, former student Mitch Carter was led to a stairwell, where he sat on the floor and a school official gave him a stack of napkins to soak up his blood, he testified Thursday. Bakersfield Californian article 

Attorney: Kern High School District cop conducted thorough investigation — Lawyers representing the Kern High School District in a civil suit responded Thursday to sworn testimony this week that called into question the autonomy and effectiveness of the KHSD Police Department. Bakersfield Californian article 

Ceres summer school dabbles in arts, science, sports — Fun activities come every afternoon for Ceres’ 1,900 elementary kids attending a four-week summer school this month, something to look forward to after a morning of math and English, said summer school Principal Kristina Overman. Modesto Bee article 

California Virtual Academies to undergo audit — Several California charter schools, includingCalifornia Virtual Academies, are under investigation for questionable practices. Visalia Times-Delta article


California’s climate change agency just approved a $500 million plan – but there’s no money for it – The state agency in charge of combating climate change signed off on a $500 million plan Thursday morning to get 100,000 clean cars on the road, limit pollution from heavy-duty trucks and replace outdated school buses. There’s just one problem. LA Times article 

PG&E gas bills to jump to pay for pipeline work – The same California commission accused of growing too close to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Thursday approved an 85 percent jump in the amount of money the utility collects from customers to spend on its natural gas pipelines, saying the money would fund badly needed safety work. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Wildfire near Lake Isabella grows to about 5,000 acres; homes lost – A raging wildfire consumed an estimated 5,000 acres in the Lake Isabella area Thursday evening, burning an estimated 80 structures and threatening another 1,500 as it marched toward Onyx, fire officials said. Bakersfield Californian article; LA Times article 

Climate change is tipping scales toward more wildfires – Climate change is producing conditions ripe for wildfires, tipping the scales in favor of the dramatic increases in large wildfires we have seen across the West since the 1970s. KQED report 

PG&E taking longer than expected to clean up old power plant along Coffee Road — There’s good news and not-as-good news on PG&E’s old power plant along Coffee Road south of Rosedale Highway. Bakersfield Californian article

Lack of preparation for massive earthquake could bring catastrophe, report says — Southern California’s smaller cities and large businesses must take the threat of a crippling earthquake far more seriously than they have been, a committee of business, public policy and utility leaders said Thursday, saying action is needed to “prevent the inevitable disaster from becoming a catastrophe.” LA Times article 

Health/Human Services

VA clinic passes latest funding hurdle – Congressmen Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, and Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, are hailing the passage in the House of Representatives authorization of funds for the construction of Veterans Affairs facilities, including the long-awaited hospital in French Camp. Stockton Record article 

‘We’ve created a tremendous learning environment at Kaweah Delta’ — Dr. Ty Philipson celebrated his final shift in the Kaweah Delta Medical Center emergency room Wednesday evening. The shift came after three years of strenuous work in the district’s first residency program. Philipson, along with 11 other resident physicians, began his journey with the district in 2013. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Michael Allshouse, D.O.: Simple precautions can make a big difference in kids’ safety – The medical director for pediatric surgery and trauma at Valley Children’s Healthcare writes, “In the U.S., injury is the No. 1 killer of children over all diseases combined. It is also the most common cause of disability in childhood. Every year, 8,000 families lose a child to injury and millions more children are treated in emergency departments for injuries, many of which can affect them for a lifetime. The good news is most of these injuries are preventable, usually with the right education, awareness and planning.” Allshouse op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Sanger wants smoke-free parks, survey says — Thanks to a survey conducted by the American Lung Association in California in Sanger, the city may be one step closer to tobacco-free parks. Fresno Bee article

Other areas 

Internet café software provider gets fine, ban — A North Carolina company that licensed computer software to illegal internet and sweepstakes cafes in Kern County and around the state has paid $1.85 million in civil penalties and been blocked from “any kind of sweepstakes-based business in California,” officials said Wednesday. Bakersfield Californian article 

San Francisco mayor outraged by hit-and-run deaths of 2 bicyclists — Two bicyclists killed in separate hit-and-run crashes in San Francisco within 21Ž2 hours of each other left Mayor Ed Lee outraged Thursday after he leaned from police that both deaths were preventable. San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Merced Sun-Star – House Speaker Paul Ryan learns that no one can control the web.

Modesto Bee – House Speaker Paul Ryan learns that no one can control the web.

Sacramento Bee – House Speaker Paul Ryan learns that no one can control the web; The U.S. Supreme Court’s immigration ruling underscores Congress’ failures.

Stockton Record – The re-opening of Fair Oaks will not be a cure, nor will it be a panacea. But it is an important commitment at a time when such a move was needed. Stockton — city staff, the council and, most of all parents — needs to make this work for the long haul.