March 17, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

From arts to prisons, Trump’s budget means cuts in California – For every California winner, there’s a loser in the 50-plus budget blueprint, making parts of the broad proposal unpalatable for Golden State lawmakers, including some Republicans. Its long-term congressional political prospects are uncertain, at best. McClatchy Newspapers articleSacramento Bee editorial

Dan Walters: California vs. Washington: Smog a new battleground – There seems to be no end to the issues in which blue California finds itself at odds with a Republican-controlled federal government – and smog is a new one. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Stanislaus County elections to put campaign finance disclosures online — Stanislaus County is hiring an outside firm to put campaign finance disclosure statements online for the public to see. The county Registrar of Voters office has placed campaign disclosures for county races on its But information for other contests, such as school board races, has not been available, forcing people to line up at the counter to purchases copies of those documents. Modesto Bee article

Dan Morain: Issues seem so familiar even 30 years later — John Van de Kamp would feel right at home today if he were back on the job as California attorney general. Van de Kamp, who died earlier this week at age 81, handled issues 30 years ago when I was writing about him that aren’t much different from what the current attorney general faces. Morain in Sacramento Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Democratic and Republican leaders join to fight campaign finance rule change — In a rare bipartisan agreement, the leaders of the Democratic and Republican caucuses of the state Senate and Assembly have united to fight a proposal by the state’s campaign watchdog agency to change the test for when a candidate controls a political committee. LA Times article


Trump asks Congress for billions to build border wall – President Donald Trump will ask Congress for $4.1 billion to start construction on a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, another significant step toward carrying out his signature – and most controversial – campaign promise. McClatchy Newspapers article

Quit stalking immigrants at California courthouses, chief justice tells ICE – California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on Thursday told federal immigration officials to stop “stalking undocumented immigrants” at California courthouses. Cantil-Sakauye said she was “deeply concerned” that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are apparently seeking out undocumented immigrants for deportation at courthouses and courtrooms from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times articleKQED report

Campaign pledges return to haunt Trump in court – In an unusual move, the federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland who blocked the president’s revised travel ban considered statements he had made as a candidate regarding a Muslim ban. New York Times article

Under pressure, Mexican-owned Cemex says it won’t help build Trump’s border wall – Mexico-based Cemex, one of the world’s largest suppliers of building materials, will not participate in construction of President Trump’s border wall, a spokesman said Thursday. LA Times article

Fresno Muslim, interfaith leaders celebrate blocked travel ban but say ‘fight is not over’ – An interfaith group denounced “Islamophobia and bigotry against Muslim communities” outside the downtown Fresno federal courthouse on Thursday – the day a revised presidential executive order was scheduled to go into effect that would prevent citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Fresno Bee article

LA County sheriff opposes ‘sanctuary state’ bill, says it would hinder law enforcement – Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell has come out in opposition to a so-called “sanctuary state” bill that would bar state and local policing agencies from using resources for immigration enforcement, according to a letter obtained by The Times. LA Times article

58 tech companies sign brief against Trump’s latest travel ban – Fifty-eight tech companies, including Bay Area-based Airbnb, Lyft, and Dropbox, have signed an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit filed by Hawaii in response to the Trump administration’s latest “Muslim Ban.” San Francisco Chronicle article

Fear of deportation comes to middle school — Middle school is confusing enough to navigate when your family life is stable, but for the kids at one Oakland school, it’s been even more difficult since the election. They’ve been asking their teachers and counselors a lot of heavy questions, like, “Will my parents be home when I get home from school?” San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Fresno Bee: California lawmakers struck by March Madness — March Madness is here. The college basketball version we love: Upsets, athletes playing their hearts out, gravity-defying plays. It’s another version of March Madness we have a problem with. In that one, Democratic politicians in California’s state Capitol crank out logic-defying ideas.  Fresno Bee editorial

Bill Whalen: How serious is Schwarzenegger on redistricting? – If Schwarzenegger wants to pump some real iron in 2018, there are the 36 gubernatorial races that will be crucial to the next round of redistricting. In 26 of those states, the Legislature draws the lines while the governor has some veto power. And Republicans hold 20 of those 26 governorships, which should appeal to Schwarzenegger’s non-conformist nature. Whalen column in Sacramento Bee

Trump’s push to ease vehicle emissions rules takes aim at the foundation of California’s air pollution fight – The Trump administration’s move to shelve aggressive vehicle fuel economy standards raises the possibility of a confrontation over what for decades has been at the core of California’s fight against air pollution: the state’s power to set its own stricter emissions rules. LA Times article

California weighs shielding personal data from federal reach – Latinos, Muslims and the LGBT community are among those concerned that personal information could be used against them by the Trump administration. KQED report

Tired of hearing ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you,’ ex-convicts want felonies off job apps – California could soon make his search easier by eliminating the felony conviction box from job applications altogether. Building on a 2013 law that prohibited public employers from asking about criminal history on the initial application, Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, has introduced a bill this session to expand the policy to private companies. Assembly Bill 1008 forbids inquiring about an applicant’s conviction record until they have received a conditional offer. Sacramento Bee article

Victor Davis Hanson: Should college professors and rogue nations get discussion or a hard slap? — Deterrence is the strategy of persuading someone in advance not to do something, often by raising the likelihood of punishment. But in the 21st century, we apparently think deterrence is Neanderthal and appeals to the worst aspects of our natures. The alternative view insists that innately nice people respond better to discussion and outreach. Hanson op-ed in Fresno Bee

Should minors be allowed to marry in California? – Under 18 and want to get hitched? In California, you need signed permission from a single parent or legal guardian, an interview and approval from the court. Soon, you might need to wait until 18 no matter who signs off, making California the only state in the nation with an absolute ban on under-18 marriage. Sacramento Bee article

Having unprotected sex without telling a partner about HIV-positive status would no longer be a felony under bill –  In a test of shifting attitudes about HIV, a group of state lawmakers has proposed that it no longer be a felony for someone to knowingly expose others to the disease by engaging in unprotected sex and not telling the partner about the infection. LA Times article

Marylee Shrider: Straddling a line so fine it’s non-existent – The executive director of Right to Life of Kern County writes, “Sorry, Mr. Morrison. Your pro-life-is-pro-choice mantra may be convenient, but for the unborn lives you say you value, that line you’re trying to straddle is so fine as not to exist at all.” Shrider op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Presidential Politics

Trump’s budget is a ‘complete withdrawal’ of working with states, says Jerry Brown’s budget chief — President Trump’s proposed federal budget would dramatically shrink the nation’s role in solving important issues in California, according to an early analysis by advisers to Gov. Jerry Brown. LA Times article

Trump’s ‘hard power’ budget makes sweeping cuts to EPA and State Department, boosts defense spending – President Trump released a spending plan Thursday that would slash programs across government with a machete to pay for sharp increases in the military, veterans’ health and the construction of a wall along the southwest border. LA Times article

People are furious that Trump’s new budget cuts funding to Meals on Wheels – A popular organization that provides food and companionship to millions of seniors around the country is at risk of losing its funding in President Donald Trump’s new budget — and people are incensed. San Francisco Chronicle article

Proposed Trump budget slices needed federal funding for Sacramento streetcars, light rail – Sacramento’s planned streetcar and numerous other transit projects in cities nationwide are on the chopping block in the Trump administration budget unveiled Thursday morning. The president’s budget also eliminates funding for the program that local leaders are counting on to help fund a long-planned light rail extension from downtown to Sacramento International Airport. Sacramento Bee article

Cathleen Decker: Trump embraces the blame game, while brushing aside some inconvenient realities – President Trump’s frustration has repeatedly been visible as his successful campaign has given way to a troubled presidency, driven by the distance between his promises and the bracing difficulty of governing. Decker in LA Times

Why Trump’s budget may not be a blueprint for economic growth – For all of President Trump’s promises to strengthen America’s economy, his first proposed budget would make significant cuts for research and development that analysts say in the long run would most likely hurt U.S. competitiveness and slow economic growth. LA Times article

EPA is targeted for some of Trump’s most brutal cuts – President Trump’s budget envisions a rapid retreat from the aggressive federal environmental protection policies developed over the last four decades, to be replaced with hollowed-out enforcement and wholesale elimination of some signature federal conservation efforts. LA Times article

President Trump declares disaster for California because of January storms — President Donald Trump on Thursday declared a major disaster for California because of damage caused by heavy rains that hit the state from Jan. 18 to Jan. 23, making available federal assistance to state and local agencies as well as some nonprofit groups. Sacramento Bee article

Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court hearing will show why he doesn’t believe in a ‘living’ Constitution — When Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, goes before the Senate next week, it will be a triumphant moment for “originalism,” the once-obscure theory that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the meaning of words and phrases as they were understood in the times they were written. LA Times article

News Stories – Top Stories

Health director: Reversing alarming Kern County health risks requires community involvement — Kern County doesn’t have the best health. In fact, in some cases, it has the worst. When it comes to some ailments — like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and chronic lower respiratory disease — Kern residents suffer more than those living in almost any other county in the state, according to 2016 data released this week. Bakersfield Californian article

California to limit spraying farm pesticides near schools and day care centers — State pesticide regulators are clamping down on spraying farm chemicals near school sites and day care centers under a first-of-its-kind statewide regulation. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation released on Thursday its revised proposal for a spray ban that will affect about 3,500 schools and about 2,500 farmers in California. Fresno Bee articleLA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Merced among fastest-growing counties in the state, report says – A growing UC Merced footprint and one of the youngest populations in the state put Merced County in the third spot for fasting growing counties in California, according to the latest growth projections from the state Department of Finance. Merced Sun-Star article

Court-ordered Volkswagen settlement could bring millions to Sacramento – As part of its court-ordered payback for cheating on diesel vehicle emissions tests, Volkswagen might bring a heap of green – in the form of money and technology – to Sacramento. Sacramento Bee article

145 Porterville jobs moving to Malaysia – Electronics contract manufacturer Jabil Circuit (JBL),  based in St. Petersburg, Florida, has purchased Beckman Coulter, a California firm. The purchase will mean Beckman’s circuit board plant in Porterville will close in a phased sequence over the next two years as all operations are moved to Malaysia. The Business Journal article

New report calls for more transparency among California oil companies – Two new reports out this week examine California’s oil fields and how the high-emitting oil extracted from many of them poses a threat to the environment and human health. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports that one of them is in Kern County. Valley Public Radio report

Fresno woman awarded $1.68 million in age-discrimination suit against Bank of the West — A jury in Fresno County Superior Court awarded $1.68 million to a former Bank of the West manager Thursday after she successfully proved the company fired her due to her age. Fresno Bee article

Visalia looks to hire homeless for city cleanup – Visalia City Council members voted enthusiastically last week to approve funding for a program to put homeless people to work clearing trash from parts of the city. The Business Journal article

CIGNA extends rental agreement with Tulare County — County administrators didn’t have to look long to find a tenant willing to rent out space at the CIGNA Building. Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors approved a lease agreement amendment with CIGNA Health and Life Insurance for an additional 9,247 square feet at the now county-owned building. Visalia Times-Delta article

Kelly Bearden: SBDC Day: Small businesses drive nation’s economy – The director of the Small Business Development Center at CSU Bakersfield writes, “The center at CSUB assists entrepreneurs and small business owners in Kern, Inyo and Mono counties by providing free one-on-one consulting, small business training and research. For more information, go to op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Missing some money? Californians aren’t collecting all they own – The Controller’s Office received $735.2 million in lost or abandoned property during 2015-16. But it reunited just $307.6 million in property with the rightful owners. Sacramento Bee article

‘Come West, California is hiring’: State recruits EPA climate scientists — Standing outside the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, the president of the California Public Utilities Commission and staff held signs with a clear message for embattled climate scientists: “Fight Climate Change. Work for California.”  KQED report

Berkeley sees San Francisco efforts as guide to fighting homelessness — An ambitious plan to pull Berkeley’s burgeoning homeless population off the streets, first into sheltering mini-villages and then into permanent housing, got a big rollout by the city’s mayor Thursday — but one big question loomed. How will the city pay for it, especially when President Trump and the Republican Congress are trying to cut funding to social welfare ventures all over the country? San Francisco Chronicle article


Water for 2017 irrigation system now available to deliver and order — Water for the 2017 irrigation system is now available and being delivered by the Merced Irrigation District, according to a statement. The MID Board of Directors decided the district’s surface water supply meets all of the District’s Class I and Class II growers’ needs for the season, according to the statement. Surface water is priced at $33 per acre foot. Merced Sun-Star article

Rain, snowmelt have filled Tuolumne River with debris — Modesto and Turlock farmers are thankful that record storms have boosted to capacity Don Pedro Reservoir, which holds water needed for crops. But excessive rain and snowmelt also have washed huge amounts of debris into the Tuolumne River upstream from the reservoir. Modesto Bee article

Little Poso Creek causing big problems for farmers in northern Kern — Poso Creek wreaked havoc on a number of northern Kern County farms in recent weeks, flooding thousands of acres. Farmers were busy patching levees and pumping remnants of the flood water off their lands Thursday. Bakersfield Californian article

For farmers below the Oroville Reservoir, water still poses a threat –  A record season of rain caused massive flooding throughout the region and triggered the evacuation of more than 100,000 people last month when the reservoir was damaged and overflowed. When California Department of Water Resources officials sharply reduced water flow into the Feather River to enable repair work, Foster and others were shocked to find that countless acres of riverfront property had been washed away. LA Times article

Crews at California dam dealing with natural asbestos — Air-quality officials are working with repair crews at California’s damaged Oroville Dam spillway after the discovery of naturally occurring asbestos there. The California Department of Water Resources said Thursday that authorities found the asbestos in what it said were limited areas at the site. AP articleLA Times article

The Common Good: Working Together for a Secure Water Future — Diverse, expert perspectives on the various water issues stakeholders face in the San Joaquin Valley as we continue building constructive dialogue to keep California leading in comprehensive water stewardship.  Recording of The Common Good panel discussion

Criminal Justice/Prisons

What did Silva mean by ‘land grab?’ – Within minutes of his release from jail late Wednesday afternoon, former Mayor Anthony Silva said he believes a “small group” of individuals bears some portion of responsibility for the legal abyss he is fighting to climb out of. Stockton Record article

New police oversight board gets mixed support, but will go forward in Fresno — Mayor Lee Brand’s plan to create a Citizens Public Safety Advisory Board received the blessing of the Fresno City Council on Thursday, but the support was not unanimous from the council dais, or from the community. Fresno Bee article

Stockton hosting forum on police-community trust – Civic leaders, law enforcement officials and community members from throughout the state will converge on Stockton later this month for a summit that is being billed as California’s first forum on police and community trust. Stockton Record article

Five women to get $2.2 million to settle sexual assaults by Tulare sheriff’s deputy — Tulare County will pay $2.2 million to settle civil-rights lawsuits filed by the five victims of former Tulare County sheriff’s Deputy William Nulick, who was convicted of sexual assault under color of authority, an attorney representing the victims said Thursday. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Modesto panel endorses towing contract — A Modesto City Council committee has forwarded a contract that governs when police have cars towed because of driving-related offenses to the full council for adoption. Modesto Bee article

After decades behind bars, artist embraces fresh start in Modesto — When John Sams begins to tell his story, it’s not immediately clear where things went wrong, leading the now-65-year-old Modestan to spend about a third of his life behind bars. Modesto Bee article


Graduate programs at UC Merced are getting noticed, climb list, school officials say – UC Merced’s graduate programs climbed the U.S. News & World Report’s newest rankings of Best Graduate Schools, an indication the university is gaining prestige, according to school leaders. The report released this week put the school of engineering at No. 127 in the nation, up from the debut at No. 140 in 2015. Merced Sun-Star article

How Trump’s budget could affect California schools – President Trump’s proposed budget would reduce education spending nationwide while boosting money for school vouchers and charter schools. While most public school dollars come from states and districts, federal funds cover specific programs. Since California is the most populous state, it stands to lose the most money. LA Times article

Amid ‘Trump effect’ fear, 40 percent of colleges see dip in foreign applicants – College officials wondered if there would be a price to pay for the president’s travel ban and the anti-Muslim rhetoric. Now the first numbers are in. New York Times article

UC regents debate enrollment limits on students from other states and countries, approve Berkeley chancellor – University of California regents expressed an array of concerns Thursday over a controversial proposal to limit the number of undergraduates from other states and countries to 20% of total systemwide enrollment. The regents, meeting in San Francisco, also unanimously approved Carol T. Christ, a longtime UC Berkeley administrator and professor, as the next chancellor to lead the renowned but troubled public research university. LA Times articleEdSource article

California teachers get layoff notices despite teacher shortages – California’s school districts expect to issue close to 1,750 teacher layoff notices despite a statewide teacher shortage. Wednesday was the deadline for districts statewide to issue pink slips, or reduction in force notices, to teachers, counselors, administrators and other credentialed employees who could be laid off at the end of the school year because of potential budget shortfalls. EdSource article

Bakersfield Californian: More evidence that education matters – Every year, local business and government leaders go to the Kern County Economic Summit expecting to view graphs and pie charts that help describe the region’s fiscal health. They show up to hear experts crunch data into digestible narratives about the pace of the southern San Joaquin’s growth. And every year they walk away with a renewed appreciation for the preeminent role of education, among all other factors, as a force for positive change both proven and potential. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Teacher collaboration leads to Common Core math success – The state standards require students to think critically as they solve problems – and math test scores at E.M. Grimmer Elementary School in Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area reflect the impressive growth that students have made during the past two years. EdSource article

School districts would get state money to build teacher housing under new bills – California school districts would get $100 million to help build housing for their teachers under proposed legislation from a Bay Area lawmaker. LA Times article

Performance bonuses set Tedford contract apart from Mountain West – Fresno State will pay football coach Jeff Tedford an annual base salary of $1.58 million through 2021 in a contract that includes a host of performance bonuses that hold a potential value that is well above that of former Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter and other coaches in the Mountain West Conference. Fresno Bee article

Stockton Unified’s model restorative justice program for discipline – In the span of one year after fully adopting new techniques on how to better resolve classroom conflicts in all grade levels, El Dorado Elementary School has seen the number of students being sent to the office cut by nearly half.  Stockton Record article

New Kepler Neighborhood School counting down to March 30 grand opening — The new Kepler Neighborhood School building in downtown Fresno is almost ready for students and teachers. Construction workers on Wednesday were installing lights, finishing up the floors and tightening the loose odds and ends around the old 24,000-square-foot Parker-Nash building at Broadway and Stanislaus streets for a March 30 grand opening. Fresno Bee article

Roseville fire station to become graduate school for England’s Warwick University — A British university has a new home for a graduate school in downtown Roseville, the first of two campuses it plans in Placer County. The Roseville City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to sell a downtown fire station at 401 Oak St. to the University of Warwick for $190,000. The two-story, 42,000 square foot building is expected to hold as many as 450 students and is expected to open for classes in September 2018. Sacramento Bee article


Michael Fitzgerald: A fire bomber describes his job — So prone to wildfires is California that Cal Fire bought 26 Grumman S-2T warplanes from the U.S. Navy and converted them to fire bombers. The S-2s are among the planes you see on the TV news or, if you’re unlucky, over your cabin, dropping plumes of magenta-colored fire retardant to halt advancing wildfire. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Land Use/Housing

Bike path route blocks route at height of beauty — The western reaches of the Kern River Bike path are more beautiful now than they’ve been in years. But getting out there isn’t going to be easy after the city of Bakersfield closed down a critical section of the route Thursday morning. Bakersfield Californian article

Disabled vet deals with house of horrors – a $2,000 a month rental — Anselmo and Irene Deharo pay $2,000 a month in rent for a house with no potable water. The house in rural Tracy doesn’t have water because the unsealed well that supplies it is contaminated with bacteria, indicating the water has been exposed to feces and is a risk to human health.  Stockton Record article


TSA finds 58 firearms in carry-ons at U.S. airports in a week, including 2 in Sacramento — The most recent weekly report from the TSA shows that 58 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at U.S. airports, including two handguns at Sacramento International Airport. A 22.-caliber handgun was recovered Feb. 27 and a .380-caliber weapon was found Feb. 28 at Sacramento International by the Transportation Security Administration. Only the .380 was loaded. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Daniel Borenstein: Contra Costa County hired social worker with domestic violence history — A Contra Costa child protective services worker has her own history of domestic violence and participated in an infamous “Dirty DUI” scheme to entrap her ex-husband for drunken driving. Borenstein in East Bay Times

More names join Visalia’s Avenue of Heroes — Cousins Kyle Ford, 23, and Gilbert Ayala, 18, have a long history with the United States armed forces. Their family has served on the front lines of historic American battles since the Revolutionary War. Visalia Times-Delta article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian  Every year, local business and government leaders go to the Kern County Economic Summit expecting to view graphs and pie charts that help describe the region’s fiscal health. They show up to hear experts crunch data into digestible narratives about the pace of the southern San Joaquin’s growth. And every year they walk away with a renewed appreciation for the preeminent role of education, among all other factors, as a force for positive change both proven and potential.

Fresno Bee – March Madness is here. The college basketball version we love: Upsets, athletes playing their hearts out, gravity-defying plays. It’s another version of March Madness we have a problem with. In that one, Democratic politicians in California’s state Capitol crank out logic-defying ideas.

Sacramento Bee – March Madness is here. The college basketball version we love: Upsets, athletes playing their hearts out, gravity-defying plays. It’s another version of March Madness we have a problem with. In that one, Democratic politicians in California’s state Capitol crank out logic-defying ideas; Trump’s proposed budget would devastate California and betray the state’s values. This state’s Republicans in Congress should remember that.