March 18, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

CD9: Police Union head announces run for Congress — Flanked by family and supporters, police union president Kathryn Nance stood in front of City Hall on Tuesday morning, touted her leadership skills, criticized her incumbent opponent, and made official her 2016 run for the United States House of Representatives.  Stockton Record article

Republicans critical of slow collection of guns from criminals – State Senate Republicans on Tuesday asked for an oversight hearing to look into the slow progress being made by Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris in reducing a backlog of gun owners who are not allowed to possess firearms because of crimes or mental illness.  LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article


Manuel Pastor: Blocking immigration will exact a political price – The director of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at USC writes, “Bad politics will eventually give way to good policy – and successfully implementing the president’s actions is a down payment on the gains that a more comprehensive immigration reform will bring.”  Pastor op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

Tech voting bloc in San Francisco? Not yet – Tech moguls and venture capitalists influence San Francisco politics through major political donations, but as of now they don’t have an army of like-minded foot soldiers of tech workers — a “tech voting bloc” — backing them up.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Democrats Steven Glazer, Susan Bonilla proceed to Senate runoff — Democrats Steve Glazer and Susan Bonilla led a five-person field late Tuesday and are headed to a May runoff for the East Bay Senate seat vacated by Democrat Mark DeSaulnier when he took his place in Congress.  Capitol Alert

Fresno Bee: All legislation should be in print for 72 hours – The only way to stamp out mushroom bills is for citizens to rise up and demand that their representatives stop operating in secrecy.  Fresno Bee editorial

Dan Walters Daily: Retiree health care needs real solution – It’s time for a proper fix to California’s $72 billion in unfunded state worker health care costs, Dan says.  Dan Walters Daily in Sacramento Bee

Lassen County puts State of Jefferson issue on ballot – Lassen County voters will decide whether the rural county should support the State of Jefferson, a movement aimed at creating a 51st state to bring greater government representation to California’s northern region.  Sacramento Bee article

Woman’s ‘lynching’ charge sparks call for change — State and local officials will try to remove the term “lynching” from California law after the statute, originally created to protect black detainees from angry white mobs, has been used to prosecute a woman of color in what her lawyer calls an “incredibly ironic” turn of events.  Sacramento Bee article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

California restricts yard watering as drought persists – California regulators on Tuesday ordered every water agency in the state to restrict how often customers can water their landscaping, an unprecedented move that marks another milestone in the severe and ongoing drought.  Sacramento Bee article; San Francisco Chronicle article; LA Times article; KQED report;Stockton Record article

Overpumping of Central Valley groundwater creating a crisis, experts say – Parts of the San Joaquin Valley are deflating like a tire with a slow leak as growers pull more and more water from the ground. The land subsidence is cracking irrigation canals, buckling roads and permanently depleting storage space in the vast aquifer that underlies California’s heartland.  LA Times article

Blue Shield of California’s state tax-exempt status revoked — Authorities have revoked the tax-exempt status of nonprofit Blue Shield of California, potentially putting it on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in state taxes each year.  LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

California gained 498,000 jobs in 2014, beat Texas – The Bureau of Labor Statistics revised its 2014 employment numbers Tuesday and sharply raised net job creation in California to nearly a half-million. The upward revision in California was accompanied by a downward revision for Texas, reversing what had been reported earlier to be a big edge for the latter.  Sacramento Bee article

Kern supervisors decide not to close the book on library privatization – Kern County supervisors paused Tuesday on the threshold of a decision that could have led to privatization of the Kern County Library Department. They voted to launch a 60-day investigation into options for fixing Kern’s troubled libraries before they decide whether to send out a “request for information” that would ask private companies if they would like to take over library operations.  Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Edition: James Fallows on why he thinks Fresno could be next tech hub – When you think of California’s major technology centers, you probably think of Silicon Valley, or maybe even San Diego, but Fresno probably isn’t at the top of your list.  Now there’s a group of local technologists who hope that soon that might change. Their vision for transforming the region with higher paying jobs is attracting national attention – including from James Fallows national correspondent for The Atlantic.  KVPR report

Dan Walters: California’s housing squeeze divides the state – California’s unfortunate evolution into a society of haves and have-nots has many root causes, but a highly distorted housing market looms very large. We have the nation’s second highest home prices (only Hawaii is higher) and, not surprisingly, its third lowest level of homeownership.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Number of underwater mortgages in Fresno remains unchanged in Q4 of 2014 – Nearly 29,000 properties in Fresno County remain underwater on their mortgage, according to a fourth quarter 2014 negative equity report released Tuesday.  Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

Money, greed and power keep Chukchansi casino closed, tribe still divided – The future of the Chukchansi tribe in Central California is in jeopardy. The federal government shut down the tribe’s casino six months ago after a conflict over control of the tribe escalated to violence. Now many tribal members are without basic services, and the multi-million dollar resort sits vacant, threatening the tribe’s finances.  KVPR report

San Bernardino has defaulted on $10 million in bond payments – The southern California city of San Bernardino has defaulted on nearly $10 million in payments on its privately placed pension bond debt since it declared bankruptcyin 2012, according to documents seen by Reuters.  Reuters article

California lawmakers want to regulate home-sharing businesses like Airbnb – Setting up what could become another big fight over how much to regulate the emerging “sharing economy,” a California senator plans to introduce a bill that would make it easier for cities to collect taxes from homeowners who rent out rooms on Web-based house-sharing services such as Airbnb.  Sacramento Bee article

Office spaces added to downtown Visalia – Downtown Visalia has a new addition. In an effort to create space for entrepreneurial start-ups, business owner and commercial real estate broker George Ouzounian recently remodeled the entire second floor of his corner building at 525 W. Main St.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Would you pay $10 for a cup of coffee?  People do at this Fulton Mall shop — Would you pay $10 for a cup of coffee? How about $15? Downtown Fresno coffee shop Little Bean Café has been selling both. This is no Starbucks on steroids, but a Fulton Mall coffee shop selling extra-special coffee. The $10-a-cup Jurutungo Gesha Natural from Panama is expensive because it’s rare. Fresno Bee article

Sanger ideal for American Legion’s state headquarters — When Sanger’s John “Doc” Bart was asked to lead the search for the American Legion’s new state headquarters, he didn’t know it would end at a vacant bank building in the heart of the small east Fresno County city.  Fresno Bee article

Mayor: Sacramento pushing forward on MLS goal – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the city’s upstart soccer franchise aren’t backing off from their goal of securing an expansion team in Major League Soccer.  Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento City Council approves $5 million contribution to performing arts studio — The Sacramento City Council gave a big financial boost Tuesday night to a major arts project in midtown. By a unanimous vote, the council agreed to contribute $5 million to the Studios for the Performing Arts in the former Fremont School for Adults on N Street.  Sacramento Bee article

Southern California housing market is poised for a stronger spring — After two years of slim pickings for Southern California home buyers, the supply of houses for sale may be starting to open up, at least a bit. And that could power the region’s housing market to a stronger spring.  LA Times article


Merced County adopts groundwater ordinance to regulate new wells – Nobody was jumping for joy Tuesday as the Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted Merced County’s groundwater ordinance, which is intended to regulate new wells.  Merced Sun-Star article

Farmers asked for thoughts on Oakdale Irrigation District irrigation water cap – Irrigation leaders will consider capping water deliveries this year for the first time, and want to hear what farmers think during an April 7 public hearing.  Modesto Bee article

California drought pushes up utility bills, study finds — Californians can blame the state’s ongoing drought for yet another ill — slightly higher electricity bills. The state spent an extra $1.4 billion for electricity during the past three years as persistent dry weather cut the output of California’s hydroelectric dams, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Pacific Institute environmental research organization.  San Francisco Chronicle article

California drought making wildfires a year-round threat — Big wildfires have burned almost four times as many California acres as usual so far this winter, a sign of wildfire danger growing higher still as the state moves into its fourth year of drought.  AP article

Feared citrus pest found in Madera County’s Bonadelle Ranchos — Madera County and state agricultural officials are stepping up their insect trapping efforts after a single Asian citrus psyllid was found just southeast of the city of Madera.  Fresno Bee article

Roger Dickinson: Don’t forget land use in drought debate – The former state assemblyman writes, “To the extent that we spread further outward with urban uses, we often sacrifice wetlands and forests, removing valuable land for capturing and filtering groundwater.” Dickinson op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Three killed in Stockton market shooting — At least three people were killed and four others wounded Tuesday night when gunfire erupted outside a central Stockton convenience store, authorities said.  Stockton Record article; AP article; LA Times article

Stockton Record: Stockton’s inclusion in DOJ initiative could have real benefits – It’s important, however, to not just view this initiative as the solution to a “police problem.” Community relations are a two-way street, and the crime levels remain far too high in Stockton. Community “trust” and “justice” must be implemented “for” the police department, not just “from” it.  Stockton Record editorial

Fresno’s diversity makes human trafficking difficult to spot, officer says – Fresno’s diversity makes it difficult to identify cases of human trafficking, Fresno police Sgt. Curtis Chastain said Tuesday during a human trafficking conference in Clovis.  Fresno Bee article

Report: Lax control of hiring, state vehicles, at California prison department — California’s prison system has failed to adequately track vehicles it issues to managers, has brought retirees back into management jobs without clearly justifying why, and allowed some to work longer than California law allows, according to a new state audit.  Sacramento Bee article

Racist, homophobic texts by San Francisco police officers trigger case reviews – A slew of racist and homophobic text messages exchanged between San Francisco police in a fellow officer’s corruption case has forced prosecutors and defense attorneys to review an estimated 1,000 criminal convictions for potential bias, officials announced Tuesday.  LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article

Supervisors to examine bias in San Francisco justice system — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday decided to hold a hearing to look into bias in the city’s justice system after revelations that four San Francisco police officers sent bigoted text messages.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Recent LAPD controversies have officials in damage-control mode – Fairly or not, a spate of questionable shootings and bad-apple cops have left Beck and other top officials working overtime to control damage.  The stakes are high.  LA Times article

Hiring, supervision flaws cited in San Diego Police Department — Failures in the hiring and supervision of San Diego police led to a series of misconduct cases but the Police Department remains “progressive, sound and very effective,” according to the conclusion of a federal review released Tuesday.  LA Times article


California community colleges approve transfer path to historically black schools – Expanding efforts to smooth transfer to four-year schools and shorten the time to degree, the California Community Colleges system signed new transfer agreements with nine historically black colleges and universities on Tuesday.  Capitol Alert; EdSource article; LA Times article

‘I just don’t like black kids’ comment by Fresno vice principal causes uproar – The day after Scandinavian Middle School Vice Principal Joe DiFilippo was placed on paid administrative leave for saying “I just don’t like the black kids” in a video shot on the east-central Fresno campus, a couple dozen former students gathered outside Tuesday to share their concern with teachers. Several chanted “I love black people” and “black power.”  Fresno Bee article

UC Berkeley black students demand fixes to ‘hostile’ climate – Black students at UC Berkeley often feel isolated and even oppressed, says a campus group that wants the nation’s premier public university to step up recruitment of African American students and improve support for them.  San Francisco Chronicle article

UC regents to vote on UC Merced downtown expansion – The regents will vote Wednesday whether to approve $1.3 million dollars for construction of a campus administrative center in downtown Merced.  Daniel Feitelberg, vice chancellor of planning and budget at UC Merced, says bringing offices to the downtown area is vital not only for the university but also for the city. KVPR report

COS Hanford to receive ‘Center’ status – The College of the Sequoias Hanford campus will be eligible to receive increased state funding beginning July 1 when it becomes an official college “center.”  Visalia Times-Delta article

AVIDly making college accessible – Ivy Vidad is having trouble deciding between San Jose and San Francisco State. Just the fact that the 17-year-old Edison High senior even has such a problem underscores why the south Stockton school has been named a National Demonstration school for the Advancement Via Individual Determination program.  Stockton Record article

Taft Union High School District files amended complaint against city in connection with school shooting – Attorneys representing the Taft Union High School District have filed an amended complaint against the City of Taft in connection with the January 2013 shooting that seriously injured a student. The district filed the lawsuit earlier this year arguing the city failed its contractual obligation to have a full-time police presence on campus and to “provide knowledge and resources to support the safety of the facilities and of the students,” according to attorney Leonard Herr. The city’s assigned School Resource Officer was not on campus the day of the shooting and Taft police did not provide any alternative security.  Bakersfield Californian article

Mr. Holland’s Opus gift has Ceres school band tooting its horns — Mae Hensley Junior High in Ceres is blowing a new tune these days, thanks to a national grant that replaced students’ aging band instruments.  Modesto Bee article


Congress grapples with National Park Service maintenance costs – Yosemite National Park needs a lot of work, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis warned lawmakers Tuesday. What’s needed is not glamorous, and not unique to one park.  McClatchy Newspapers article

City to add trees to south Merced park, but residents say it’s not enough – The city of Merced expects to add 10 new trees to a south Merced park beginning this week, replacing those removed in late 2013, but it’ll be several years before the saplings will provide the shade residents are looking for.  Merced Sun-Star article

Major overhaul of LA’s efforts to fight illegal dumping is proposed — Los Angeles city agencies should conduct a sweeping overhaul of the way they combat illegal dumping on streets and in neighborhoods, by adding thousands of trash cans, assigning teams to report abandoned furniture and relying more on data to identify the hardest hit areas, a high-level official said Tuesday.  LA Times article

New ‘green diesel’ rolling out — Sacramento motorists today will be among the first in California to be offered a new “high-performance renewable” diesel fuel – produced largely from recycled plant and animal oils.  Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services

Sacramento Bee: Pro-vax majority can’t take safety for granted now – A new study has confirmed what Californians know already – that the Disneyland measles outbreak was fueled by foolishly low immunization rates.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Report: California hospitals show progress preventing infections — Infections in health care settings continue to be a public health risk in California, the state revealed in a report last week. But overall, according to the state, the report showed that California hospitals have demonstrated progress in preventing infections.  Merced Sun-Star article

Tulare hospital to reopen Lindsay center — Tulare Regional Medical Center has announced that its Lindsay Healthcare Center will reopen this Thursday with full-time hours and additional medical services. The Business Journal article

Land Use/Housing

LA neighborhoods closer to getting temporary mansionization limits — Los Angeles lawmakers are poised to impose temporary restrictions on tear-downs in neighborhoods where residents fear mansionization — the phenomenon of homes being demolished and replaced with bigger buildings that critics see as too large for their lots.  LA Times article


Airlines make fewer flights, but carry record number of passengers at FYI — Nearly 630,000 passengers took to the skies from Fresno Yosemite International Airport last year, setting a new annual record for domestic airline travel at the Fresno airport. Arrivals on U.S. flights to Fresno also set a record of more than 627,000. Between departures and arrivals, more than 1.25 million passengers flowed through the airport.  Fresno Bee article

Other areas

San Joaquin County: Many on ‘knife’s edge of homelessness’ – The official number of unsheltered homeless people living in San Joaquin County has doubled in the two years since the last time county agencies, charities and volunteers got together to count the local homeless population. But organizers and the people who regularly work with those living under freeway bridges, in abandoned buildings or in cars don’t think increased count means the numbers have doubled.  Stockton Record article

Hearing set for southeast Bakersfield ‘tent city’ – Homeless residents of a self-proclaimed “tent city” at 600 S. Union Ave. have attracted the attention of Bakersfield officials, who will hold a hearing March 31 to get to the bottom of the property’s alleged municipal code violations.  Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno County supervisors deny medical marijuana appeals, issue fines totaling $477,000 — Fresno County supervisors held an abbreviated version of their medical marijuana appeals hearings Tuesday morning, but they are still getting push back from advocates and lawyers about the county’s enforcement.  Fresno Bee article

Kings grand jury seeks changes to animal control – Kings County, Hanford, Lemoore, Corcoran and Avenal need to make changes to their animal control operations, according to a Kings County Grand Jury report.  Hanford Sentinel article

Lois Henry: Wings program making a difference, but it’s not enough – I hate to say it, but Bakersfield’s legendary apathy toward one of our most intractable yet curable problems seems to have done it again. Wings of Rescue, an all volunteer organization out of Los Angeles, will be cutting back its life-saving flights in Kern.  Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Starbucks takes a risk with bold ‘Race Together’ campaign, brand experts say — A new campaign called Race Together that launched at all company stores this week is intended to encourage discussions about race between Starbucks employees and customers. Baristas are encouraged, but not required, to write the words Race Together on cups to engage customers in conversation about the issues, according to a statement from Starbucks. If customers don’t want a Race Together cup, they can ask for a plain cup.  LA Times article

Bad advice: VA wants retirement home resident to repay $47,000 — Debera Fathke said an adviser at the Standiford Place retirement center in Modesto helped obtain veterans benefits for residents, including her mother, who was granted $1,100 a month in 2011 to supplement her retirement income.  Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – All state legislation should be in print for 72 hours.

Merced Sun-Star – A new study has confirmed what Californians know already – that the Disneyland measles outbreak was fueled by foolishly low immunization rates.

Modesto Bee – A new study has confirmed what Californians know already – that the Disneyland measles outbreak was fueled by foolishly low immunization rates.

Sacramento Bee – A new study has confirmed what Californians know already – that the Disneyland measles outbreak was fueled by foolishly low immunization rates; Don’t rush Natomas building as moratorium ends.

Stockton Record – Stockton’s inclusion in Department of Justice initiative could have real benefits.