June 25, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

California budget’s to-do list includes helping the homeless and protecting orcas — Lawmakers may have sent a new budget to Gov. Jerry Brown last week, but their work isn’t done. They continue to hash out details on a variety of related measures that are being wrapped into the $171-billion spending plan. LA Times article 

Low-priority immigrants swept up for deportation – After Thursday’s Supreme Court decision, President Obama said immigrants who would have been protected would still be safe, but thousands of deportation operations per week are sweeping up immigrants with minor or no offenses. New York Times article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Newsom camp calls de Leon gun change ‘shockingly, sickeningly cynical’ – Prompting an accusation of “self-serving” political manipulation, California’s state Senate leader has amended a gun control bill that would alter a key section in a ballot initiative backed by a fellow Democrat. Sacramento Bee article 

Drug price measure foes lob unsubstantiated claim — You may have seen this misleading ad alleging that the drug contracting initiative will lower drug prices for Californians. But it won’t. Here are the facts. Sacramento Bee article


Suit challenges U.S. over abortions and birth control for immigrant minors – The federal government is placing unaccompanied immigrant minors caught crossing the Southern border, including teenage girls who were raped on the journey north, in the care of religion-based agencies that refuse to provide legally required access to contraception and abortion, according to a lawsuit filed on Friday. New York Times article

Foon Rhee: Deadlock on immigration has a high human cost — The impact of Thursday’s ruling blocking the president’s executive orders will ripple across America in a very human way. It will affect millions of families, many of them in California, home to more undocumented immigrants than any other state. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

Cathy Cha and Cynthia Buiza: Despite Supreme Court ruling, California moves forward on immigration – Cha, program director for Immigrant Rights and Integration at the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, and Buiza, executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, write, “Fortunately, California offers a model for thoughtful action on immigration in the absence of leadership in Washington. In the past several years, California policymakers have enacted a variety of laws to expand immigrant rights.” Cha/Buiza op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Silvio Manno: Immigrant intolerance resurges in America – The retired teacher and author from Fresno writes, “No wall will ever stem the tide of desperate people driven by poverty and oppression to cross borders in search of a better life. Their determination to surmount all obstacles to reach “the promised land” is a testament to the untamable power of man’s will to survive. Building bridges of human cooperation and understanding would be an infinitely wiser investment than erecting dead-end walls.” Manno op-ed in Fresno Bee

Other areas 

Dan Morain: Almighty NRA is all but paper tiger in California – In Washington, where the National Rifle Association holds sway, House Speaker Paul Ryan refuses to hold votes on the basics, like denying guns to people who are on the no-fly list. In Sacramento, where the NRA has become a paper tiger, legislators will vote on no fewer than 14 gun control bills starting Monday. Morain column in Sacramento Bee 

California House members were the public’s eyes during the Democrats’ gun control sit-in – Civil Rights icon Rep. John Lewis might have been the face of the Democrats’ 25-hour sit-in on the House floor, but three California Congressmen were its eyes. LA Times article 

For the mayor-elect, a hyphen separates power and preference – A resounding June victory made Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg the most popular politician in modern Sacramento history – with no actual power. It will be an unprecedented six months before Steinberg takes office. Until then, he says, he has “anticipation, but none of the authority.” He’s not letting that official distinction stop him from an all-out push to have a big part in a crucial upcoming vote: the hiring of the new city manager. Sacramento Bee article 

Pope in Armenia denounces twisted, planned ‘genocide’ — Pope Francis denounced what he called the ideologically twisted and planned “genocide” of Armenians by Ottoman-era Turks a century ago as he arrived in Armenia on Friday for a deeply symbolic visit to mark the centenary of the massacre and pay homage to the country’s steadfast Christian faith. AP article

Should taxpayers foot bill for public union orientation meetings? – A California bill requiring government workers to attend orientation meetings in which unions make a pitch about their benefits has been revived by the Democratic-controlled Legislature. Sacramento Bee article

In three counties, vote-by-mail is only option – Increasingly, California voters use the mailbox, not the ballot box. But in three of California’s 58 counties — Plumas, Alpine and Sierra — there was no other choice but mail-in voting. And they like it that way. Capitol Weekly article 

Newell Bringhurst: Confessions of a lifelong political junkie – The retired professor of history and political science at College of the Sequoias writes, “I confess to being a lifelong, incurable political junkie. I contracted this disease while a youngster coming of age in Midvale, Utah, a small mining community south of Salt Lake City. My earliest memory is of the 1948 presidential election, when incumbent U.S. President Harry S. Truman visited our community, traveling by train during his successful whistle stop campaign.” Bringhurst op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Sacramento Bee: Hate isn’t the way to to make Britain – or America – great again – The U.K.’s referendum was sold to voters as a statement about restoring Britain’s economic strength. In truth, it was a statement about a tolerance for xenophobia that likely will end up making Britain less than great. The U.S. can’t afford to make the same mistake. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Bill that would allow giant digital billboards in downtown LA draws heat – State lawmakers have resurrected a controversial bill that could allow developers to erect several giant electronic billboards around the $1-billion Metropolis high-rise project in downtown Los Angeles. LA Times article 

‘No-fly, no-buy’ gun bill opposed by NRA, ACLU – Legislation proposed in Congress, which would bar gun sales to people on a government terrorist watch list, has achieved a rare distinction: a thumbs-down from both the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union. San Francisco Chronicle article

Presidential Politics

Here’s what Britain’s vote to leave the EU tells us about the U.S. presidential election – In the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump draws strength from many of the same frustrations, fears and voting blocs that powered the “leave” campaign to victory in Thursday’s British referendum. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories 

Judge invalidates long-fought Delta management plan — In a decision that could delay or complicate Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two huge tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a comprehensive management plan for the estuary is no longer valid. Sacramento Bee article; Stockton Record article 

Fast-moving blaze kills two near Lake Isabella — A fast-moving brush fire fueled by gusty winds and high temperatures swept through Lake Isabella on Friday, claiming at least two lives, charring roughly 30,000 acres and leveling scores of homes, fire officials said. Bakersfield Californian article; ‘Speed of fire took residents by surprise’ in Bakersfield Californian; ‘Fire creates animal pandemonium’ in Bakersfield Californian; ‘Governor declares state of emergency due to Erskine fire’ in Bakersfield Californian; LA Times article; KQED report; KVPR report

Jobs and the Economy 

Grant award assures Kern will get federal, state help covering Erskine’s firefighting bill – A federal emergency grant approved Thursday night in consultation with state officials is expected to greatly reduce Kern’s share of the money being spent fighting the Erskine Fire — a big relief for a county government mired in budget troubles. Bakersfield Californian article; ‘Merced County crews called to fight Erskine fire’ in Merced Sun-Star 

Cap and trade fund concerns heating up – A stumble in California’s new carbon cap and trade program could make it more difficult for Stockton advocates to compete for hundreds of millions of dollars, money that would help protect residents in one of the state’s most environmentally vulnerable cities. Stockton Record article 

Lucas gives up on Chicago for his museum, seeks California site — George Lucas is giving up on his plans to build an immense personal museum on Chicago’s lakefront and is instead looking at sites in California, including San Francisco’s Treasure Island. San Francisco Chronicle article; AP/Modesto Bee article 

Stockton City Council will hold water rate hearing Tuesday – On paper, the water rate increase that the Stockton City Council will consider approving on Tuesday is 18 percent. How much the drought-related rate hike really costs you, however, could be much less or much more, depending on many factors, some that you can control and some that you can’t. Stockton Record article 

Brexit could force Silicon Valley to rethink plans for Europe – The venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who populate Silicon Valley say they love to take risks. But the Brexit might just be a little too much for them. San Francisco Chronicle article 

‘Brexit’ could halt the growth of California trade with Britain – California and its $5 billion of annual exports to Britain could be standing in harm’s way if there’s economic upheaval caused by Britain’s vote to leave theEuropean Union. LA Times article

British EU exit could sting California, but the price of Scotch might fall – In California – by recent figures the world’s sixth-largest economy – the exit threatened to hurt exports to the United Kingdom. The significance of the exit to the state economy was unclear. But before the vote, the Brown administration had classified the possibility as a risk. Sacramento Bee article 

Are California companies vulnerable to ‘Brexit’ turmoil? – The “Brexit” vote doesn’t mean American companies will lose business or see revenue from Britain drop or vanish. But their sales could be affected by whatever new trade deal Britain negotiates with the U.S. once it leaves the European Union. So how exposed are California businesses? LA Times article 

CalChamber issues statement on Brexit vote – “California has a lot at stake,” said Allan Zaremberg, CalChamber President and CEO. “We are the sixth largest economy in the world and a major trading and investment state, and no one in California can be immune from dramatic changes in the international economic structure.” CalChamber news release 

Cheers, fears and reaction in Merced as Britain votes to exit EU – The question raised for this kingdom of 65 million with a long and proud history: Who are we, and who do we want to become now? It was a question on the mind of Merced’s Stuart Rawling, a native Briton who was in London on Thursday and said he voted to “remain” in the European Union. Rawling, a 37-year-old international business developer for a Fresno company, spoke with the Sun-Star in a telephone interview Friday morning. AP/Merced Sun-Star article 

Greater Sacramento business group creates ‘competitiveness council’ – The Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council has launched a “competitiveness council,” aimed at boosting efforts to attract businesses and jobs to the region. Sacramento Bee article 

Hobby Lobby sets a date for Fresno opening, 2 stores closing – Hobby Lobby has set an opening date. The Fresno store will open Monday, Aug. 8. The store is almost finished with construction on Blackstone Avenue between Herndon and Sierra avenues on the site of the former Fashion Furniture Outlet Showroom. Fresno Bee article 

San Diego County unveils new plan to provide shelter for mentally ill homeless – San Diego County is moving forward with a new program that will provide long-term housing and care to as many as 1,250 mentally ill homeless people in the next two years. LA Times article 

After devastating fire, Calaveras County turns to marijuana for comeback – The devastating blaze that scorched 71,000 acres and destroyed 860 houses and other buildings helped give birth to something else: some of California’s most tolerant local rules for permitting cultivation of medical marijuana for commercial sale. Sacramento Bee article 

Obama urges entrepreneurs to embrace diversity — Speaking from Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley on Friday, President Barack Obama urged his audience to look beyond the storied tech epicenter and embrace diversity and international relationships. San Jose Mercury News article 

San Diego public safety agencies often rehire retirees for their expertise – San Diego County has relied on call backs for years, with officials saying the staffing option allows managers to retain institutional knowledge and get specialized work at lower costs than full-time employees, who would receive benefits — including pension contributions made by the county. LA Times article 

Joel Fox: LA ‘No Sunset’ sales tax headed for the ballot, can it get 2/3 vote? — The Los Angeles area business community said they were ready to battle for the half-cent sales tax dedicated for transportation. They better roll up their sleeves and get ready for a tough fight. The reason? The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted 11 -2 to put the tax on the November ballot with no end date, “no sunset” in the parlance of the board. Fox in Fox & Hounds

RT chief’s retirement deal gets chopped, but anger remains – Sacramento Regional Transit chief Mike Wiley’s proposed retirement date has been moved up and his severance package reduced amid public complaints that Wiley is getting a sweetheart deal. Sacramento Bee article 

Robin Abcarian: Farmers Insurance will pay a high price for discriminating against its female attorneys — Federal District Judge Lucy Koh had some very picky questions Thursday about terminology used in a multimillion-dollar settlement hammered out between Farmers Insurance and the hundreds of female attorneys it has underpaid for years. Abcarian column in LA Times


Kings board renews declaration of drought emergency – The Kings County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday on a Declaration of Local Emergency due to the drought entering its fifth year. The declaration has been renewed annually since March 2012. It gives the board the right to ask the state for financial aid to help local farmers, businesses and government agencies address problems associated with fire risk and lack of adequate supplies of irrigation water. Hanford Sentinel article 

What drought? Many Californians no longer required to curb water use — After a year of mandatory water conservation that shortened showers and faded lawns, millions of drought-weary Californians will no longer be required to aggressively cut back their use. LA Times article 

California winemakers push for stricter label rules — California winemakers have now enlisted lawmakers and federal regulators in their latest effort to stop the dilution of some vintage names. Squeezed by the state’s large congressional delegation, regulators are proposing to restrict further the use of certain crucial words on wine labels. The move would stop out-of-state wine producers from spuriously identifying their wine as coming from a designated California region. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Mike Dunbar: Don’t try to fool us with bubbles and glimmer — The state has produced more than 34,000 pages of documents, plans, schemes and justifications to build twin tunnels that could siphon nearly the entire flow of the Sacramento River under the Delta and directly to State Water Project pumps. But Kenny ruled the WaterFix amounts to mere bubbles and glimmer, and won’t let it proceed. We can relate. Dunbar column in Modesto Bee 

Westlands board votes to strip Birmingham’s general counsel duties – The Westlands Water District board announced Friday the decision to separate the role of general manager and general counsel, both positions currently held by Tom Birmingham. Don Peracchi, president of the board, said in a statement that the move comes as a way “to improve the District’s decision-making processes and provide an additional layer of review for the District.” The Business Journal article 

Valley dairymen cheer rising commodity prices – It’s probably too soon to celebrate, but dairymen across the Valley are encouraged by the recent uptick in milk, butter and cheese prices. The Business Journal article 

Dinuba equipment maker known worldwide for its cubing machines — 50-year-old Warren & Baerg Manufacturing of Dinuba is internationally known for making equipment that can shred tons of hay and turn it into compressed cubes the size of a stick of butter. It has begun to diversify into biomass and other materials. Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Judge might release secret Clovis police files in civil rights case – A federal judge on Friday was leaning toward making public confidential Clovis police documents regarding one of four officers involved in the alleged beating of a motorcyclist in September 2012. Fresno Bee article
Paintball suspect faces hate crime charges – Branden Keithly Staples, the 19-year-old man accused of carrying out a paintball gun attack outside a gay nightclub in Stockton, looked nervous and scared Friday afternoon when he was arraigned in San Joaquin County Superior Court. Stockton Record article 

Livingston officer convicted of beating man in handcuffs – A Merced County jury decided Friday that a Livingston police officer acted outside the law when he handcuffed a man during a child custody exchange before throwing him to the ground and shoving the man’s face into a concrete porch. Merced Sun-Star article 

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf defends handling of police scandals – Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf sat down with KQED Newsroom for an exclusive Bay Area interview about the ongoing police sexual misconduct scandal and other events that have rocked the Oakland Police Department. KQED report 

Class-action suit filed against Long Beach over stings targeting gay men –The attorney who successfully argued that the Long Beach Police Department unfairly targeted gay men when conducting lewd conduct stings earlier this year has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the city, claiming hundreds of other men were victims of discriminatory policing. LA Times article 


Valley schools are checking visitors for history of sex crimes – Some central San Joaquin Valley schools are using software that instantly notifies administrators if a sex offender is on campus. The Raptor visitor management system scans school visitors’ driver’s licenses and other forms of identification to check if they are registered sex offenders. Nearly 2,000 registered sex offenders are living in Fresno County, according to the California Department of Justice database. In the city of Fresno, there are about 1,200. Fresno Bee article 

Kings County Office of Education considers banning guns – The Kings County Office of Education is considering banning employees from carrying concealed weapons on its campuses and offices.Hanford Sentinel article 

Turlock Unified will seek $88.8 million in school bonds – Voters within the Turlock Unified School District boundaries will be asked in November to approve higher property taxes to secure campuses and upgrade classrooms. Making room for rising enrollment and building a new Turlock High science wing also appear on the list of projects. Modesto Bee article 

UC Merced Connect: UC Merced campus ranks among the best for scholarships – The Good Call 2016 Best Schools for Scholarships Report has ranked UC Merced No. 8 out of 4,000 U.S. public colleges and universities for earning scholarships. UC Merced Connect in Merced Sun-Star 

Yoga in every California school? Don’t hold your breath — In a statement, Zed urged Gov. Jerry Brown and state education officials to follow the Encinitas example and incorporate yoga into the curriculum in all California public schools. It doesn’t look like he’ll have much luck there. A spokesman for the California Department of Education noted it was a decision for local school districts. Sacramento Bee article

Modesto Christian a whirlwind of activity as new school year nears — Heading into his 19th academic year at Modesto Christian, High School Dean of Students and Athletic Director Greg Pearce feels good about the dream team of sorts that God has assembled to guide the school into the future. Modesto Bee article


Marc Boyd: What’s happening to our forests in an emergency, President Obama – The educator and businessman living in Arnold writes, “Naturalist John Muir, a strong advocate of the national park concept, once said, “Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” Unfortunately, if we don’t win the battle against climate change and dramatically improve forest management practices, that door might be harder to find in the near future.” Boyd op-ed in Modesto Bee 

Worthley pushes plan to export Sierra logs — Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley is pushing the idea to allow the export of dead trees from the local national forests to try to make at least a small dent in what could easily be a looming catastrophe at our doorsteps this summer. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Health/Human Services

UCSF welcomes 80 new residents to Central Valley – More than 80 newly enrolled residents practiced suturing skills, airway management and central venous catheterization at the University of California, San Francisco’s Fresno Medical Education Program’s Clinical Skills Boot Camp on Friday. Visalia Times-Delta article 

MedicAlert unveils its new headquarters in Salida – As visitors checked out MedicAlert’s new headquarters in Salida on Thursday, its top executive said the downsized charitable foundation is in a stronger financial position after a rebound in 2015. Modesto Bee article

Sherrie Bell: Too much at stake for Tulare Regional Medical Center to let inaccuracies lie – The chair of the board of the Tulare Local Healthcare District writes, “Measure I asks that we contribute on average $3.75/month. For this small amount, we can complete and be proud of TRMC, our public hospital. Owned by our community. Utilized by our community. Please join me and vote “YES” on Measure I.”Bell op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

West Nile virus activity reported in Yolo County — The first signs of West Nile virus activity this year in Yolo County were reported Friday. The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District announced that a dead bird from Davis and two mosquito samples from Woodland and Winters have tested positive for the disease. Sacramento Bee article


San Diego’s streets are about to become a lot more bike-friendly – Cars will have to share downtown San Diego’s streets much more with bicyclists and pedestrians under an ambitious plan that aims to boost safety and fight climate change. LA Times article

Other areas

Lemoore goes after illegal fireworks — The Lemoore City Council approved a sweeping new illegal fireworks ordinance Tuesday but it won’t affect this Fourth of July holiday. Hanford Sentinel article 

Work is play for Chip the accelerant-detecting dog – When Chip the Brittany spaniel goes to work with Ceres Fire Department Capt. Jeff Santos, it’s not a visit, nor just a relaxing day on a dog bed. He’s there to work. Thing is, he doesn’t know it’s work. Santos is an origin and cause investigator assigned to the Stanislaus County Fire Investigations Unit, run by the District Attorney’s Office. And Chip is an accelerant detection K-9, complete with a metal badge on his leather collar. Modesto Bee article 

Smithsonian releases Fresno musician’s songs of the Chicano movement – Agustín Lira, whose music became the anthem of the farmworker movement in the 1960s, released an album Friday under the Smithsonian Institution’s record label. Fresno Bee article 

Stanislaus County employee struck, killed by vehicle while working on manhole — A Stanislaus County Public Works employee was killed Thursday afternoon while cleaning out a manhole on Claribel Road west of the Oakdale-Waterford Highway. Russell Scott Atchinson, 58, of Modesto, was alone and on his hands and knees over the manhole on Claribel when he was hit by a GMC Sierra pickup, said California Highway Patrol Lt. J.D. Frost. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Modesto Bee – Do we need another shock like Brexit?

Sacramento Bee – The U.K.’s referendum was sold to voters as a statement about restoring Britain’s economic strength. In truth, it was a statement about a tolerance for xenophobia that likely will end up making Britain less than great. The U.S. can’t afford to make the same mistake.