March 22, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


Dan Walters: Brown has been unwilling to update political reform law — Since returning to the governorship after a 28-year hiatus, however, Brown has been somewhat disdainful of shining more light on politicians’ financial dealings, often vetoing reform bills. One victim of Brown’s much-changed attitude has been an effort to tighten up reportage of politicians’ personal incomes and investments. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


Gov. Jerry Brown hits Capitol Hill to meet with California’s congressional delegation — Gov. Jerry Brown found a receptive but unsettled audience on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, with pledges of cooperation but at least one warning that the state could pay a price for its leaders’ criticism of President Trump. LA Times articleSacramento Bee editorial


Gov. Brown


Jerry Brown meets with Republicans, ‘cautiously optimistic’ about Caltrain approval — With his mind on bipartisan cooperation, Gov. Jerry Brown emerged from meetings Tuesday optimistic that California could receive approval for a stalled rail project that shuttles riders between Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article


Valley politics


Supervisors asked to boycott Coulter event – Hispanic members of both San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties urged members of the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to boycott an event featuring a controversial conservative pundit next month. Stockton Record article


Madera County District Attorney faces a challenge from one of his former prosecutors — Madera County District Attorney David Linn has more than a year and a half to go before he can seek a second term, but already he has a challenger – one of his former prosecutors. Fresno County homicide prosecutor Sally Moreno said she plans to run against Linn in the November 2018 election, saying the office needs a prosecutor as its leader – not a career defense lawyer. Fresno Bee article


Noe Paramo and Anthony Galace: Rep. Denham, if you back Ryan’s plan your constituents will suffer – Paramo, co-director of the Sustainable Rural Communities Project at the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, and Galace, health policy director at the Greenlighting Institute, write, “As our representative in Washington, Rep. Jeff Denham must stand up for our people and make sure his district’s residents don’t lose their access to health care.” Paramo/Galace op-ed in Modesto Bee


Tulare Regional Medical Center candidates declares intent to run — Senovia Gutierrez wasted no time in declaring her candidacy for the Tulare Local HealthCare District Area 3 seat held by Dr. Parmod Kumar, who’s being recalled. Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures


California state Sen. Ricardo Lara announces he’s running for state insurance commissioner in 2018 — A month after proposing a single-payer healthcare system for California, State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) announced Tuesday he’ll run for state insurance commissioner in 2018. LA Times article


Janet Nguyen’s removal from state Senate floor stirs free speech debate among Vietnamese Americans — The action made Nguyen a political hero to people like Bui, a Garden Grove councilman, and many of his constituents in the heavily Republican Orange County Vietnamese American community. But in some corners of Orange County’s Little Saigon, the claims of squelched freedom and censorship got eye rolls from those who recalled the swift retaliation visited against some in the community who have dared voice certain opinions. LA Times article




Valley immigrants from countries banned by Trump become U.S. citizens – The only English phrase Syrian immigrant Manoushak Issa knows is “God bless America.” The 78-year-old Fresno resident got to say those words on Tuesday when she was among 699 people from across the Valley sworn in as United States citizens during a naturalization ceremony at the Fresno Convention Center’s Valdez Hall.  Fresno Bee article


Latinos are reporting fewer sexual assaults amid a climate of fear in immigrant communities, LAPD says – Los Angeles Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday that reports of sexual assault and domestic violence made by the city’s Latino residents have plummeted this year amid concerns that immigrants in the country illegally could risk deportation by interacting with police or testifying in court. LA Times article


Bay Area families rush to make deportation-preparedness plans — The Oakland residents are among a growing number of immigrants who are preparing for the worst by making deportation-preparedness plans. Across the Bay Area, immigrant rights advocates and faith-based organizations are advising undocumented residents and those in mixed-status households to create a family plan that includes making child-custody arrangements and getting their finances in order. They explain the importance of legal documents like affidavits of care and financial powers of attorney. San Jose Mercury News article


LA mayor expands immigrant protections — Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday expanded protections for immigrants who are in the country illegally, emphasizing the city’s refusal to help enforce the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. AP article


Other areas


Intelligence panel leaders try to avoid partisan rifts that sank other congressional inquiries –  Congress moved hesitantly in the last few months toward investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, a question has loomed: Could lawmakers bridge their deep partisan divide sufficiently to produce an inquiry a broad range of Americans would accept? In the House, the answer is largely in the hands of a pair of soft-spoken Californians: the chairman and ranking minority member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Devin Nunes, a Republican former dairy farmer from Tulare, and Adam B. Schiff, a Democratic former federal prosecutor from Burbank. LA Times article


Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch fends off barbs from Feinstein and other Democrats at confirmation hearing –  Judge Neil Gorsuch on Tuesday smoothly fielded questions on everything from abortion to wiretaps thrown by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and her allies who sought without apparent success to unsettle the Supreme Court nominee. McClatchy Newspapers article


Sen. Feinstein suggest Gorsuch would undermine EPA on fuel mileage standards —  The heated dispute between California and the Trump White House over aggressive federal fuel mileage standards emerged as an issue in the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Neil M. Gorsuch. LA Times article


This is where all of California’s Republicans stand on the GOP healthcare bill — More than half of California’s Republicans have said they’ll vote yes or are leaning yes. None of the 14 Republicans in the delegation have committed to voting no on the bill, which is scheduled for Thursday, the anniversary of the day President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. Here’s where they stand so far.  LA Times article


Abortion restriction in GOP health plan may block tax credits for Californians – A California law requiring all health plans cover abortions is set to collide with federal Affordable Care Act repeal efforts that would cut federal subsidies for health plans that pay for the procedure. Sacramento Bee article


Analysis: Here’s what could change under American Health Care Act – We continue our coverage this week of the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Last week we heard from Anthony Wright of Health Access California about his concerns with the so-called American Health Care Act, and this week we’re speaking with someone who had a hand in crafting the new plan. Valley Public Radio report


Health advocates fear impacts to hospitals, safety-net despite changes to GOP repeal plan – Republican leaders made more changes to their proposed legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act, though the amendments didn’t impress advocates who want to preserve the gains of Obamacare in California. Modesto Bee article


Sacramento Bee: Republican bill would let employers get way too personal – A bill that would threaten our DNA privacy could be part of the follow-up legislation to replace Obamacare. A broad range of health, privacy and consumer advocacy groups have already come out against the proposal, which would let employers impose financial penalties on workers who refuse genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs. Sacramento Bee editorial


GOP plan has its own financial stick to prod people to buy insurance – The GOP approach is called a “continuous coverage” penalty. It increases the cost of the premiums for anyone buying an individual insurance policy if they have gone 63 or more consecutive days without health insurance in the previous 12 months. KQED report


William Bezdek: Alternative facts have colored our view of ACA – The retired physician from Bakersfield writes, “It’s about time someone started recognizing the truth about Obamacare. I applaud Steve Schilling’s March 17 Community Voices article, ‘Repealing the Affordable Care Act is the real job killer.’ However, the Republican leadership has promulgated many more “fake facts” about the “failing” ACA that must be addressed.” Bezdek op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


Loans with triple-digit APRs? No more, under California assemblyman’s proposal — A bill proposed by freshman Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) would cap interest rates at 24% for consumer loans of more than $2,500. LA Times article


Presidential Politics


Will Trump’s ‘skinny budget’ affect Valley cities? – President Donald Trump has introduced what many in Washington D.C. call his ‘skinny budget’. It’s the new president’s first public step laying out where he thinks federal spending should, and shouldn’t go. The budget is also a reflection of the administration’s policy goals and priorities, and includes big cuts to non-military discretionary spending. Valley Edition host Joe Moore spoke with reporter Jeffrey Hess about how cities in the Valley might be impacted by potential cuts to everything from block grants to anti-homelessness measures. Valley Public Radio report


Trump warns GOP: Vote for Obamacare repeal or lose your seat — President Trump on Tuesday bluntly laid out the political stakes for Republicans if their bid to overhaul the healthcare system falters out of the gate, saying failure would imperil the rest of their agenda and ultimately their congressional majorities. LA Times articleNew York Times articleWashington Post article


Schwarzenegger blasts Trump’s approval numbers: ‘The ratings are in and you got swamped’ — Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger continued to blast President Trump on Tuesday, this time mocking his low approval ratings and his budget proposals to cut funding for after-school programs and Meals on Wheels. LA Times article


Venerable California Republicans like Darrell Issa seek distance from Trump — Issa and other coastal California Republicans in Congress are increasingly distancing themselves from Trump, who is enormously unpopular in the state and a threat to their chances of being re-elected.  LA Times article


FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at Breitbart, InfoWars news sites – Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say. McClatchy Newspapers article


Why letting go, for Trump, is no small or simple task – President Trump is a man seriously susceptible to snagging himself in the nettles of obsession. In the last three weeks, no compulsion has so consumed his psyche, and his Twitter account, as the deeply held and shallowly sourced belief that President Barack Obama tapped his phones. So why can’t he just let go? New York Times article


John Pryor: Understanding what makes our new president tick – The risk management consultant and adjunct professor of risk management and insurance at CSU Bakersfield writes, “President Trump is a man of few words — especially when he’s announcing solutions to our national and international challenges. He is highly strategic. He speaks in succinct terms of what needs to be accomplished. He properly leaves it to others to address how each strategy is to be implemented. He prefers constitutional action to political pontification. Most of us miss this important leadership distinction. The last kind of commander-in-chief we want is one who micromanages.” Pryor op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories


California State University trustees to vote on tuition hike – California State University’s governing board will vote Wednesday on whether to raise tuition at its 23 campuses for the first time in six years. AP article


Resort management firm says Chukchansi tribe owes it $21 million for helping reopen casino — A group that was managing Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino and made arrangements to get it open at the end of 2015 has filed a lawsuit saying the tribe and its business authority owe the company $21 million. Fresno Bee article


Jobs and the Economy


Fresno wants to cancel firefighting pact with North Central district – Ten years into a 30-year contract, the city of Fresno wants out of a money-losing agreement to provide firefighting services to a sprawling rural area west of the city. Fresno Bee article


Downtown Diva: Changes coming to downtown Visalia – If you haven’t been around downtown Visalia recently, the Diva is here to fill you in on what’s new and who is moving where. Downtown is saying hello to a new store, welcoming new cafe owners, updating a shop’s address and throwing one boutique a going-away party. Visalia Times-Delta article


Sacramento County approves broad plans to help the homeless – Sacramento County supervisors on Tuesday approved an ambitious series of proposals to breathe new life into services for homeless people. The Board of Supervisors voted to begin the process of creating a full-service shelter, launching a new rehousing program, redesigning the family emergency shelter network and supporting long-standing job training and transitional housing programs. Sacramento Bee article


Report: NFL owners plan to vote Monday on Raiders’ move – NFL owners are expected to vote Monday on the Raiders’ proposed move to Las Vegas, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. San Jose Mercury News article


Southern California home prices jump again as short supply fuels bidding wars — Southern California home prices jumped in February, posting the largest increase in more than a year, as buyers rushed to outbid one another for a meager selection of homes for sale. LA Times article


Ranchers win $100,000 from Sacramento County in political influence case — A federal court jury on Tuesday awarded more than $100 million in damages to two gravel mining families that accused Sacramento County government officials of putting them out of business for the benefit of the rival Teichert Construction company. Sacramento Bee article


Bridge closure leave Big Sur community reeling — Almost all the hotels, restaurants and state parks cut off when a bridge on the Central California coast crumbled last month remain closed, but Kurt Mayer chose to keep his deli and taproom open — even though it’s costing him. Heavy rains this winter damaged the span on iconic Highway 1 beyond repair, splitting the touristy Big Sur area in two and stranding more than 400 residents on one side. Visitors have been blocked from reaching part of the community known for its luxury spas, posh hotels and scenic retreats. AP article




Lois Henry: Water districts stuffing Kern River water in every nook and cranny they can — The good news is that not a drop of Kern River water is going into the California Aqueduct to fill Southern California taps. Yet. But water managers are keeping an eagle eye on the snowpack and the weather hoping there are no sudden moves from either in the near future. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian


What this week’s storms mean for California’s flood control system – While a nearly record-breaking rainy season has battered California’s dams and stretched the limits of local levees, the storms that began to hit Sacramento on Tuesday aren’t expected to put much additional strain on the state’s flood-control system. Sacramento Bee article


Don Pedro managers doubt spillway will reopen – A second opening of the Don Pedro Reservoir spillway is unlikely this year, managers said Tuesday, despite a “staggering” amount of snow waiting to melt. Modesto Bee article


State delays new citrus-hauling rules – Earlier this year, the California Department of Food and Agriculture mailed letters to about 6,000 citrus farmers, trucking companies and others involved in shipping commercial citrus, informing them of new rules about transporting the fruit. The Business Journal article


California cotton farmers maximize harvest by tagging crops with DNA — In 2014 the California cotton industry got a wake up call. Somewhere in the supply chain of turning high end cotton into fabric the products were being laced with inferior fiber. And now as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports consumers can be sure they’re getting what they pay for. Valley Public Radio report


International carrot agronomists gather to talk taproot — There’s a certain whimsy associated with carrots — think Bugs Bunny, carrot cake and mule motivation — but here in the world’s carrot epicenter, the orange taproot is serious business. That fact has been abundantly evident this week at Bakersfield’s DoubleTree Hotel, where 150 agronomists from as far away as Denmark, Chile and Israel are gathered for three days of carrot immersion. Bakersfield Californian article


Criminal Justice/Prisons


Sacramento mayor changes mind, want immediate release of police shooting video – Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg on Tuesday said he will ask the police department to immediately release footage of a February shootout between officers and a parolee in North Sacramento, reversing his stance from a day earlier. Sacramento Bee article


Citizens’ academy gives locals a chance to experience Merced police training – The Merced Police Department has begun its newest session of the Citizens Police Academy, a chance to experience parts of the same training that police officers go through and learn about department operations. Merced Sun-Star article


Lemoore residents chat with police — Dozens of Lemoore residents stopped to chat with local law enforcement officers Monday morning over coffee and doughnuts. Hanford Sentinel article




Michael Fitzgerald: Free college: Perks and pitfalls – California is a global leader — California has mojo — in part because of its forward-thinking system of community colleges and public universities. But their costs are skyrocketing. So Assembly member Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, is co-authoring a bill that would tax millionaires and make public colleges and universities free for state residents. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record


One student slashes another at Clovis East; campus locked down for an hour — Clovis East High School was put on lockdown for an hour Tuesday morning after a student sustained cuts to his abdomen during an altercation with another student, officials reported. Fresno Bee article


Deadline passes for teacher layoff notices — The California Teachers Association estimates state school districts will issue around 1,750 teacher layoff notices this year. At least one local school district has taken the action of notifying a teacher of a possible lay off. Hanford Sentinel article


California’s school suspensions are down, but black students still face higher suspension rates – The focus on suspensions comes after years of activism and research that show that suspensions are costly, can lead to students dropping out, and can be unfair, because teachers often treat different groups of students differently. LA Times article


CSU to overhaul remedial education, replace no-credit with credit-bearing classes – The California State University system plans to overhaul its remedial education system by 2018, scrapping no-credit courses in English and math and replacing them with credit classes that include extra tutoring and built-in study sessions. EdSource article


New effort to extend the time needed for teachers to earn tenure — Assemblywoman Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) has introduced Assembly Bill 1220 to extend the time period for teachers to earn the strong job protections of tenure from two to three years. LA Times article


Lawsuit filed against Kern High School District in law enforcement database scandal – There some new developments in the unfolding story of alleged misuse of a confidential law enforcement database by members of the Kern High School Police Department and administration. Bakersfield Californian reporter Harold Pierce broke the story and joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the latest developments. Valley Public Radio report


Students at Washington Elementary School publish book — About 75 Washington Elementary School second-grade students have published a book around the theme of “amazing citizens.” For the assignment, students researched a variety of famous people, including historical figures Booker T. Washington, Amelia Earhart and several American presidents. Hanford Sentinel article




Tech is saving bears in Yosemite, but speeding cars are stil killing them – People love seeing black bears when they visit places like Yosemite National Park. They’re powerful creatures that can be docile or ferocious depending on the encounter. In such a highly visited place incidents with bears are bound to happen, and as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the park has come up with a new plan to keep bears and people safe. Valley Public Radio report


Big LA earthquake could cause beach areas to sink up to 3 feet in seconds, new study says – One of Southern California’s most dangerous faults caused land on the Orange County coast to sink between 1½ feet to 3 feet in a matter of seconds during prehistoric earthquakes, according to a new study that suggests the seismic risk is greater than previously believed. LA Times article


Health/Human Services 


Socks get conversation started on Down syndrome awareness — There’s talking the talk and there’s walking the walk. And then there’s the Lots of Socks (#lotsofsocks) social media campaign, where the two meet. By wearing socks that are eye-catching and different, observers of World Down Syndrome Day helped spread awareness that people with the genetic disorder aren’t much different from the rest of us. Modesto Bee article


Land Use/Housing


Developers argue there’s room to grow — In a seven-page letter to the City Council three weeks ago, the head of the lobbying group for local housing developers wrote, in part, that Stockton’s plans for long-term growth must provide for new housing on the city’s fringes and not focus exclusively on downtown and older, existing neighborhoods. Stockton Record article




Shh! Merced residents say train horns blare, disturb sleep and should be silenced — Hearing from supporters of quiet zones on Merced’s northern railroad this week, the City Council voiced support for the idea with the caveat that, as with most things, it depends on the cost. Exactly what it would cost to make safety improvements to the crossings is unclear, but residents and members of the City Council said they support looking into it. Merced Sun-Star article


Brace yourself for the Delta Air Lines gate shuffle at LAX —  Los Angeles International Airport already feels like a confusing mess to navigate, you may want to stay clear in mid-May. That is when Delta Air Lines will move its operations to Terminals 2 and 3 from Terminals 5 and 6, forcing 19 other carriers to relocate during what is expected to be a hectic five-day period. LA Times article


Other areas


Cemetery District loses $60,000, gets slammed by grand jury — The North Kern Cemetery District doesn’t usually get a lot of outsider attention. It’s getting it now after the Kern County grand jury released a scathing report Tuesday documenting a nearly $60,000 loss of district cash and other problems at the agency. Bakersfield Californian article


Boxcar fest to celebrate restoration of Merle Haggard’s childhood home — It might be the most famous boxcar in Kern County, if not the entire state of California. The childhood home of the late country music star Merle Haggard is no longer in Oildale, where it sat for decades – it’s now at the Kern Pioneer Village near the end of a two year-long restoration. Valley Public Radio report



Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – House Republicans may be doing their best, but questioning of intelligence officials shows they’re less interested in the truth about Trump and Russian meddling in the election than in tracking down leaks and shooting the messenger.


Merced Sun-Star – There is far more to know about ties to Russia.


Modesto Bee – There is far more to know about ties to Russia.


Sacramento Bee – The left may fume and the right may gloat at Jerry Brown’s professed willingness to deal with the Trump administration. But California and Washington depend on each other; A bill that would threaten our DNA privacy could be part of the follow-up legislation to replace Obamacare. A broad range of health, privacy and consumer advocacy groups have already come out against the proposal, which would let employers impose financial penalties on workers who refuse genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs.


Stockton Record – Kudos to city leaders who recognize the value of public art.