March 11, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Dan Morain: Senator Schwarzenegger? Not likely – His poll numbers had tanked by the time he left office in 2011. Even if he were to turn that around, Schwarzenegger lives large and would have a hard time serving as one of 100, especially one who would be the junior senator from California, with less seniority than Kamala Harris. Morain in Sacramento Bee

Republican David Hadley exploring run for California governor: ‘It’s out there, baby’ — Republican David Hadley, who served one term in the Assembly before losing a rematch last fall, said Friday he is exploring a run for California governor, potentially providing his troubled party a moderate standard-bearer in 2018. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Valley politics

Bakersfield Ward 5 race will be a three-way contest — Three names will be on the ballot in June when the voters of Ward 5 choose a replacement for City Councilman Jeff Tkac. Noel Pineo, Bruce Freeman and Ryan Nance were the three candidates certified to compete for the seat after the filing period closed Friday afternoon. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

‘I was determined not to lose by voice’: Former Sen. Boxer says her retirement plans were upended by Trump — After the November election took place, with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, where Boxer served for 34 years, her retirement plans shifted — to countering the new president and preparing to go to battle in 2018. LA Times article


Trump’s revised travel ban dealt first court setback – A federal judge in Wisconsin dealt the first legal blow to President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on Friday, barring enforcement of the policy to deny U.S. entry to the wife and child of a Syrian refugee already granted asylum in the United States. Reuters article

Sound Off: Are they ‘illegal immigrants’ or ‘undocumented’ or something else –  In the last week we’ve received a few letters to the editor debating the most precise, appropriate terms to describe people who are in the country illegally. Is “illegal immigrant” or “illegal alien” too disparaging? Is “undocumented” politically correct or too unspecific? I thought today’s Sound Off would be a good opportunity to explain what terms we use in news stories, though we haven’t always been consistent. (We’re working to get consistent now). Sound Off in Bakersfield Californian

San Diego companies wait to bid on Trump’s border wall — At least three San Diego companies plan to bid on President Trump’s border wall when the Department of Homeland Security issues a formal request for proposals. KPBS reportLA Times article

Other areas

Republicans blast CBO ahead of its cost estimate on Obamacare replacement bill – The Congressional Budget Office is a nonpartisan and unelected wing of Congress tasked with determining the cost of bills, and the agency operates as a budget referee on Capitol Hill in order to be an unquestioned arbiter of how much a bill will affect the treasury. But in an attempt to save an Obamacare repeal bill under fire from all sides, congressional Republicans are working the refs. McClatchy Newspapers article

Wealthy would get billions in tax cuts under Obamacare repeal plan – Two of the biggest tax cuts in Republican proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act would deliver roughly $157 billion over the coming decade to those with incomes of $1 million or more, according to a congressional analysis. New York Times article

The health care conflict – Hanford-area residents and advocates for health care access held a news conference Thursday to share stories and demand Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, oppose Republicans’ recently unveiled American Health Care Act. The sentiment of the day: “Hands off our health care.” Hanford Sentinel article

The life-and-death stakes of an Affordable Care Act repeal in one of LA County’s poorest, sickest regions — Nurses and doctors rush through hallways, readying exam rooms. The clinic in Lancaster hasn’t yet opened for the day, but staff members know that once patients start filing in they won’t stop. In less than two hours, it will be standing-room only in the waiting areas. LA Times article

Kathryn Forbes: ZIP code rights: Transgender equality should be national – The professor in the Women’s Studies Program at Fresno State writes, “Members of the Trump administration are wrong in their reasoning to rescind anti-discrimination protections for transgender students. They argue that Title IX was always about sex, never about gender. They state that transgender rights are matters for states to decide, not the federal government. The first rationale is not supported by fact; the second contradicts practices long associated with Title IX. We cannot allow the Trump administration to hijack our shared history of anti-discrimination law to forward a discriminatory agenda.” Forbes op-ed in Fresno Bee

Craig Garrett: Right to life is a right everyone should have – The farm supervisor and martial arts instructor writes, “A recent Community Voices article (‘Defunding Planned Parenthood is anti-women,’ March 2) wasn’t surprising at all in that the author was perturbed at Kevin McCarthy for not meeting with her at his office for a scheduled appointment, or offering her another appointment to discuss women’s rights and Planned Parenthood. I am not a fan of Kevin necessarily, but he has heard it all before ad nauseam ad infinitum. Fortunately, Kevin has stood on the side of life, which some view as a primitive mindset as their personal rights are demanded.” Garrett op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson starts new gig at sports agency — Former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is returning to the sporting life after leaving elected office last year. Johnson is joining the Ron Burkle-backed Independent Sports & Entertainment, a management agency whose clients include DeMarcus Cousins. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Trump tells 46 U.S. attorneys to resign in major shakeup – The Trump administration moved on Friday to sweep away most of the remaining vestiges of Obama administration prosecutors at the Justice Department, ordering 46 holdover United States attorneys to tender their resignations immediately. New York Times article

A reporter asked Trump repeatedly for evidence of wiretapping.  He didn’t answer – in a short photo op on Friday at the White House, reporters pressed him for that evidence. In the video above, you can hear ABC’s Jonathan Karl repeatedly, and bluntly, asking Trump if he had any evidence at all to support his accusations. And other reporters shouted questions about former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his ties to Turkey. But handlers and security officers quickly began to usher the press out of the room, using a phrase — “thank you, press” — that seems polite, but really means, “It’s time to stop asking questions and leave.” Washington Post article

Trump’s dilemma on WikiLeaks: Hail Assange or haul him before a judge – Trump once praised Assange but now faces the consequences of the CIA leak, and must decide whether to bring him to justice. Federal prosecutors long have been rumored to have a sealed criminal indictment against Assange for publishing classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents in 2010 and 2011. The existence of an indictment has never been confirmed, and the Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment. McClatchy Newspapers article

For LA Jews, Trump is a rallying cry the community hasn’t seen in decades — The rise of President Trump has sparked a new streak of activism in Los Angeles’ Jewish community that many veteran leaders say they haven’t seem in decades. LA Times article

In liberal Hollywood, a conservative minority faces backlash in age of Trump — For the vast majority of conservatives who work in entertainment, going to set or the office each day has become a game of avoidance and secrecy. The political closet is now a necessity for many in an industry that is among the most liberal in the country. LA Times article

News Stories – Top Stories

It’s official: Ulta bringing part of its billion-dollar business to Fresno — Ulta Beauty and the city of Fresno officially announced Friday that the cosmetics company has chosen Fresno as the site of a large distribution center that will initially employ more than 500 workers and could swell to more than 1,000 employees with seasonal hires during busy periods. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

When is a drought over? A wet California wants to know – Why hasn’t the drought been declared over? Here are some answers for Californians — and everyone else who has watched this story unfold — about what is going on. New York Times article

Jobs and the Economy

California’s population getting grayer, new projections show – Rising life expectancies and falling birth rates mean California will get increasingly older over the coming decades, with almost a quarter of residents being 65 or older by 2036, according to new population projections from the Department of Finance. Sacramento Bee article

Yosemite National Park posts record number of visitors – Yosemite National Parkhad a record number of visitors last year, attracting more than 5 million people – including President Barack Obama and his family. The park saw a 21 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the National Park Service. Yosemite was No. 3 in visitors among all national parks, behind Great Smoky Mountains (11.3 million) and Grand Canyon (5.9 million) national parks. Fresno Bee article

Summit will explore how to grow agritourism – Farmers who might like to boost their income – and who don’t mind chatting with folks who drop by to visit – can join a Modesto-area summit on agritourism. Modesto Bee article

Daniel Borenstein: CalPERS, unions deceiving public about pensions — Last month, I wrote that Gov. Brown’s 2012 attempt at pension reform has failed. CalPERS, the nation’s largest pension system, immediately responded on its website declaring that “Pension Reform Has Made a Difference,” and claiming that my column “greatly oversimplifies and needlessly discounts the real impact” of Brown’s plan. Borenstein in East Bay Times

CoreLogic: Valley homeowners coming up from underwater mortgages – Central Valley homeowners continued to come up for air from their underwater mortgages in 2016, according to the latest data from real estate analytics firm CoreLogic. The Business Journal article

Optimism fueling drop in Fresno office vacancy rate – Business operators are optimistic about the economy in Fresno and Clovis, and it’s showing in the amount of commercial office space being filled. The Business Journal article

Historic downtown Sacramento bank building being converted to food, beer showplace — Before year’s end, a century-old downtown Sacramento bank building will open to the public as a culinary palace, offering perhaps a dozen distinct cuisines and more than 70 beers on tap. The extensive reworking of the historic D.O. Mills Bank Building at Seventh and J streets is being branded as simply “The Bank,” with project officials aiming for a late-summer opening. Sacramento Bee article


Mike Dunbar: When it comes to water, what’s worse: Conspiracy or incompetence? – What’s worse? Believing in a conspiracy theory or embracing incompetence? Let’s start with our favorite “conspiracy.” Turns out, it’s Felicia Marcus’ favorite, too. Dunbar column in Modesto Bee

Planada, Le Grand youngsters have new access to safe drinking water – A trio of nonprofits recently teamed to put new water bottle-filling stations in Le Grand and Planada schools, according to a news release. Merced Sun-Star article

Nut theft on the rise in Tulare County, ag leaders want stiffer rules – There’s been so much theft of agricultural products like walnuts in Tulare County that agricultural leaders hope to come up with a plan to prevent thieves from selling the commodities. Valley Public Radio report

Fearing flood, Corcoran raises levee — Officials are raising 14 miles of levee, including the entire Cross Creek levee north and south of town and the Tule River levee south of town. Together, they protect some of Corcoran’s must vulnerable areas. Hanford Sentinel article

Want to know where your marijuana was grown? Yolo County experiments wit field-to-storefront tracking system? – Miller is among the first dozen Yolo County cannabis farmers to participate in a pilot program designed to train marijuana producers to label, register and ship their products to market – while also aiming to ease their fears over participating in a regulated industry. Sacramento Bee article

With snow melting, Oroville Dam managers prepare to use damaged spillway again – Managers of the state-run dam say they’ll be forced to rely on the lake’s damaged main spillway to discharge water down the Feather River as soon as next Friday. The concrete chute, which partially collapsed last month amid heavy outflows, has been offline for repairs for nearly two weeks while reservoir levels have been down. San Francisco Chronicle article

On Golden Pond — The drought-busting storms of 2017 were a mixed blessing for humans, but the ancient crustaceans swimming around in Central Valley vernal pools certainly benefited. So, too, will the dozens of species of wildflowers that soon will ring the pools — and any people who make the extra effort required to witness this fine but fleeting phenomenon. Stockton Record article

Have backyard chickens? UC scientists say to check them for signs of avian flu — The University of California is urging poultry farms and people with backyard chickens to pay attention for signs of a sickness their flocks can catch from wild birds. Valley Public Radio report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Judge’s son ‘person of interest’ in 2016 Turlock homicide — A Turlock man, the son of a Stanislaus Superior Court judge, faces charges of attempted murder after firing on law enforcement officers following a pursuit Thursday night that began in Turlock and concluded in the Merced County community of Snelling. Merced Sun-Star article

Warrants shed light on Silva case – Search warrant documents reviewed by The Record shed additional light into the events last week that culminated six days ago in the arrest of former Mayor Anthony Silva on six felony counts of embezzlement and money laundering. Stockton Record article

Feds override California to aid inmates with drug overdoses – A federal judge overrode a California state law on Friday to help combat a growing problem of inmates dying from drug overdoses. U.S. Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco approved waiving state law to allow licensed vocational nurses to administer the overdose antidote naloxone, which can reverse respiratory failures from opioid overdoses. AP article

Official: Bail reform may cause headaches – As California lawmakers move toward overhauling California’s money-based bail system, local officials say the existing system holds suspects accountable for making all of their court appearances. Hanford Sentinel article

Homeowner tells police dispatcher intruder is ‘going out in a body bag or in handcuffs’ — Fresno police used a Taser three times to subdue a man who broke into a house and was confronted by the armed homeowner Friday morning near downtown Fresno. Fresno Bee article

Public safety bill moves Woodlake into 21st Century – Woodlake Police Department is Tulare County’s smallest police force. A single holding cell, a makeshift interview room and three offices make up the entire department. Twelve sworn officers and one records clerk serve a population of roughly 7,600 people. Visalia Times-Delta article

Man pleads guilty in stabbing of French train hero Spencer Stone — The man suspected of nearly killing French hero Spencer Stone in a Sacramento street brawl in 2015 pleaded guilty Friday to attempted murder in the incident. Sacramento Bee article

After four recent deaths, protestors call for change in LA County jails — Frustration over conditions in the county’s jails spilled over Friday morning as protesters temporarily shut down part of a street leading to the main jail complex near downtown Los Angeles, prompting a brief confrontation with police. LA Times article


Competing legal explanations cloud Green Valley Charter’s options with Los Banos school district — Confusion over Green Valley Charter School’s ability to reapply for a charter under the Los Banos Unified School District after an initial rejection continued as legal counsel for both sides presented competing explanations Thursday. Los Banos Enterprise article


Mosquito season getting an early start – It’s not even midway through March, and already the San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District is working on the upcoming mosquito season. With all the rain, there is a lot of standing water around. And that means one thing to the district: Places for mosquitoes to breed. Stockton Record article

Health/Human Services 

Kids Day 2017 sets new record for donations, and counting not finished — Kids Day 2017 exceeded an ambitious goal Friday when it reached $627,500 in donations. “Exciting news. We hit our goal!” exclaimed Zara Arboleda, a spokeswoman for Valley Children’s. At that, it has reached a new record, and the counting is not yet done. Arboleda said more tallying would be done next week. Fresno Bee article

Central Valley sees continued rise in sexually transmitted diseases – The Central Valley is seeing an unprecedented rise in sexually transmitted diseases and Kings County is no exception. Hanford Sentinel article

Tulare Regional Medical Center: 5 months later, still missing documents — The Tulare Regional Medical Center’s application for a loan to complete its unfinished tower appears to be stalled, awaiting several documents, including the resume of Chief Executive Officer Yorai (Benny) Benzeevi. Visalia Times-Delta article


John Lindt: High-speed showdown – Last week, California’s treasurer approved $2.6 billion to be spent by the California High Speed Rail Authority including money for construction work in the Central Valley. The decision led to the state Department of Finance approving the Authority request to sell that portion of the nearly $10 billion in bonds that voters approved through Prop 1A in 2008 for the bullet train. However, Kings County and others, filed suit in late 2016 against both the state and the Authority arguing that the plan approved by voters was changed and last week’s action is illegal. Lindt in Visalia Times-Delta

DMV: Humans soon no longer required in self-driving cars — Self-driving cars with no human behind the wheel — or, for that matter, no steering wheel at all — may soon appear on California’s public roads, under regulations state officials proposed Friday. San Francisco Chronicle articleSan Jose Mercury News articleLA Times articleSacramento Bee editorial

Highway 1 closure presents many long-term obstacles — As residents and businesspeople in San Simeon, Cambria and beyond come to grips with an expected long closure of Highway 1 in Monterey County, about 450 people remained essentially trapped in a Big Sur area between the collapsing Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge to the north and landslides to the south. San Luis Obispo Tribune article

Bay Bridge bike path expected to open for weekday use this summer — The long-anticipated weekday opening of the Bay Bridge bike and pedestrian path probably won’t happen until this summer, but cyclists and walkers will gain a few extra hours of weekend access to the transbay trail starting Sunday. San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Fresno County supervisors extend hand to City Hall on regional issues – Fresno County supervisors voted unanimously this week to appoint two of their members to a working group to meet with their Fresno City Hall counterparts on a raft of regional issues. Fresno Bee article

California State Bar bans sex between attorneys and clients — The State Bar of California approved an ethics rule that would subject lawyers to discipline for having sex with their clients. The bar’s Board of Trustees passed the rule Thursday as part of a long-awaited overhaul of attorney conduct standards that revised or crafted 70 ethics rules. All the new rules are now before the California Supreme Court, which has final say over them. AP article

Livingston leaders plan to pick new city seal later this month – Livingston’s leaders expect to adopt a new city seal at their next meeting later this month, an attempt to rebrand the city and appeal to tourists. Merced Sun-Star article

Andrew Fiala: The greatest generation sets an example on hope and community service – The professor of philosophy and director of The Ethics Center at Fresno State writes that some challenges can appear overwhelming. But as Richard A. Johanson of Fresno, California, has said, “no one can do everything but everyone can do something.” That message of hope and hard work resonates across the generations.  Fiala column in Fresno Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Thumbs up, thumbs down.

Sacramento Bee – Instead of having a human behind the wheel, autonomous vehicles will be monitored remotely, under new regulations from the DMV. For many Californians, it will mark the beginning of a brave new world. For truck drivers and cab drivers, it’s the beginning of the end.