March 26, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Jerry Brown rips Trump’s wall: ‘We not going to sit around and just play patsy’ — Gov. Jerry Brown won’t allow President Donald Trump to deport millions of people and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, he said in an interview that aired Sunday. Sacramento Bee article

John Myers: All those tax breaks cost Sacramento $55 billion a year, but they’re here to stay — Everyone loves paying less in taxes. And politicians certainly enjoy making their constituents happy, which means that proposals for creating new tax breaks are a perennial favorite in Sacramento. There’s just one hitch: Tax breaks cost money, in the form of lower government revenue. Myers in LA Times

Gov. Brown

California Politics Podcast: Mr. Brown goes to Washington — This week: Gov. Jerry Brown’s big trip to the nation’s capital in one of its most bruising political periods. Plus, we discuss the politics of the tuition hike announced by CSU. And a brief look at new voter registration numbers that spell big trouble for California Republicans. With John Myers and Melanie Mason of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of KQED News. California Politics Podcast

Valley politics

Jeff Jardine: Will Coulter speech be the spark Latinos need to get politically active? — There’s nothing like a little divisiveness to cap off a unity event, I always say. Well, I don’t always say that. But this time. … Following the Latino Community Roundtable’s 16th Cesar Chavez Unity Luncheon on Thursday, some folks who attended told us the room buzzed when Stanislaus County Supervisors Terry Withrow and Jim DeMartini abruptly stood up and left while former Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueño spoke. Jardine column in Modesto Bee


Sacramento Bee: For extreme vetting, start with that ‘deportation force’ – Sisters in Fresno say they were sexually assaulted by a Customs and Border Protection officer. With the Trump administration vowing to hire thousands more ICE and Border Patrol agents, possibly lowering hiring standards, such stories have suddenly taken on a new level of urgency. Sacramento Bee editorial

Sacramento Bee: Pandering is no substitute for immigration overhaul – Rather than craft thoughtful legislation, which is hard, the administration seeks to conscript state and local authorities into the president’s crusade to deport undocumented immigrants. It’s legally suspect. Sacramento Bee editorial

David Mas Masumoto: Who belongs here and who doesn’t? — Belonging is emotional. Narratives are being built that isolate and ostracize. Negative experiences quickly undermine our sensibility. We stop trusting each other. Meanwhile victims blame themselves. They hide and slip into the shadows, wanting to become invisible. Our Valley lies in the middle of this national debate. We are filled with a broad spectrum of diverse peoples, cultures and religions. We have immigrants who are documented and undocumented. We have a history of exploiting new arrivals as a cheap labor source for our agricultural industry, yet many of those immigrants have planted roots figuratively and literally as family farms thrive and second, third, and fourth generations became hyphenated Americans. Masumoto column in Fresno Bee

Other areas

Dan Walters: Legislators try to fix, not repeal, very bad limit on school reserves — Senate Bill 858 was – and is – another bad bill, imposing politically motivated and arbitrary limits on school district budget reserves. And three years after its hasty passage in 2014, legislators are still trying to fix it. However, true to the axiom, while fiddling may make it more acceptable to some interests, as well as more complicated, it’s still very bad policy. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Here’s how state lawmakers plan to reform the bail system in California – State lawmakers have unveiled an ambitious plan to reform how counties in California award defendants bail while they wait for their cases to be resolved or go to trial. LA Times article

Dan Schnur: Legislators stood tall on LGBT rights until UCLA made Sweet 16 — Let me be clear: I’m not suggesting for a moment that the UCLA team should have been prohibited from playing. These young men have worked too hard and overcome too many challenges to be denied the opportunity to measure their skills against the next level of competition. They didn’t pass the Tennessee bill, and there’s no evidence to suggest that any UCLA player or coach supports it. While sports shouldn’t — and can’t — take place in a cultural and societal vacuum, it’s difficult to argue that the cause of transgender rights would be advanced by forcing these young men to forfeit their place in the tournament. But when California legislators voted to boycott states that enact discriminatory policies, they didn’t undermine their outrage by carving out exceptions for young, tall people.  Schnur column in San Francisco Chronicle

Death of House GOP’s Obamacare repeal effort means what exactly? — Friday’s death of the Republican health care legislation surprised lawmakers, stakeholders and voters alike. Since many Americans don’t realize Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing, McClatchy offers a quick Q&A on what the failed repeal effort means for consumers. McClatchy Newspapers article

Bay Area Dems face calls for single payer at town hall — If Democratic Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Jackie Speier thought they’d find an adoring crowd at their town hall meeting thanking them for helping to defeat the GOP bill, they were wrong. Many people in the audience in San Francisco pushed them to back a single-payer health system. KQED report; San Francisco Chronicle article

Presidential Politics

‘Presidential credibility, once squandered, may never be fully regained’: Rep. Adam Schiff, in Democrats’ weekly speech — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) on Saturday implored President Trump to be truthful, saying “presidential credibility, once squandered, may never be fully regained.” LA Times article

Trump becomes ensnared in fiery GOP civil war – President Trump ignites a lot of fights, but his failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the biggest defeat in his short time in the White House, was the result of something else: a long-running Republican civil war that humbled a generation of party leaders before he ever came to Washington. New York Times article

Willie Brown: Trump puts the exclamation mark on an epic blunder – President Trump’s decision to go for broke on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare was not a smart move, tactically or politically. You never force a vote until you know the vote will go your way. Pushing the House to schedule a Friday vote, regardless of whether the support was there, was the dumbest move Trump could have made. Pulling the plug at the last minute didn’t make things any better. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle

In healthcare defeat, President Trump learns a costly lesson that could imperil his agenda — Driven by an obsession for a quick win and failing to grasp the complexities of an issue that has bedeviled politicians for generations, President Trump learned last week that the negotiating tricks and power plays he honed in business don’t translate into the messy world of Congress. LA Times article

Trump vs. Congress: Now what? – After the president suffered his first defeat on Capitol Hill, can the White House still make good on its legislative promises? New York Times article

After health care loss, Trump needs a victory soon – Even before the Republican health care bill died Friday, President Trump badly needed a legislative win after two months of self-inflicted wounds, stumbles and legal setbacks. San Francisco Chronicle article

Violence erupts at pro-Trump rally in Huntingdon Beach — Violence erupted at a Make America Great Again rally in Huntington Beach on Saturday after a protester opposed to President Trump allegedly doused a female organizer of the event with pepper spray, sparking a brawl that ended with several arrests. LA Times article

News Stories – Top Stories

Positive signs: Could oil be turning around in Kern’s fields? — Any positive signs these days are welcome in Kern County’s up-and-down oil industry. One bit of good news came this month, when the active countywide rig count, an important business barometer for the industry and its suppliers, increased twice in two weeks, from three to four active oil rigs two weeks ago, and from four to six last week. Bakersfield Californian article

Modesto homeless projects hit snags over their costs – Officials are revamping their plans for two homeless projects in Modesto — an access center offering a range of services, including help with substance abuse and mental illness, and what is called a low-barrier shelter that takes in couples and pets — over concerns about their costs. Modesto Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Kern supervisors to look at rising retirement costs – Kern County continues to struggle with its employee retirement costs, with next year’s bill again being larger than the last. Kern County supervisors are expected Tuesday to adopt the annual contribution rates that will power their employee retirement system in the 2017-18 fiscal year. Bakersfield Californian article

Casinos might need more than games to keep gamblers as competition grows – Sacramento’s Indian casino scene could soon get more crowded. With two casino projects on the horizon in an already bustling market, tribal operators old and new will have to offer entertainment and other amenities to retain the loyalty of customers in what experts say is a gaming market that will soon reach a breaking point. Sacramento Bee article

Raiders’ move to Las Vegas looks like a certain bet — NFL owners are set to vote on the team’s possible relocation Monday or Tuesday at their meeting in Phoenix. Davis needs 24 of 32 owners to vote “yes,” though contingencies attached to a vote could push the final approval back to May, during the next owners’ meeting. League sources expect the move — which wouldn’t happen until 2020 — to be approved. San Francisco Chronicle article; San Jose Mercury News article

The other side of Eden: Commercial marijuana takes root in Steinbeck country — Even before a large majority of voters in November approved a local initiative to tax commercial marijuana cultivation at a rate starting at $15 per square foot of plants, marijuana entrepreneurs already had begun snapping up aging or retrofitted greenhouses, causing real estate prices for these structures to spike. Currently, more than 20 ventures are seeking large-scale commercial growing permits, and officials predict pot agriculture could bring in $20 million to $30 million annually in new tax revenues, with the county able to step up the tax rate after 2020 to a maximum of $25 per square foot. Sacramento Bee article

New report shares details of possible 2024 LA Olympics in LA – The state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report this week diving into the details of what a potential Olympics in Los Angeles would look like. The city is competing with Paris for a bid to host the 2024 games. KQED report

Big Sur lost a bridge and slipped back in time. Now residents are wondering what happens next – Most residents came from elsewhere, drawn by the promise of a more simple and creative life — or merely the prospect of being left alone — but the outside world is chipping away at all that. LA Times article

Amazon’s ambitions unboxed: Stores for furniture, appliances and more – The fight is coming directly to retailers on actual streets around the globe, where Amazon is slowly building a fleet of physical stores. And while most of the attention has been focused on Amazon’s grocery store dreams, the company has a more ambitious collection of experiments underway. New York Times article

In the winter that won’t quit, resorts extend their ski and board seasons. Ready to hit the slopes on July 4? — Many resorts have already extended their seasons, and some plan to fire up the lifts until the Fourth of July. Here’s a look at what lies ahead. LA Times article


Don Curlee: Ag labor board betrays farmers — Like a tree deformed by a virus the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board(ALRB) has grown into an ugly, twisted monster that discredits not only agriculture but the reputation of government service in California. Curlee in Visalia Times-Delta

Wineries in Modesto area join shift to higher-priced bottles — The average price for a bottle of wine reached $10 in U.S. markets for the first time in 2016 — news of note to the Modesto area’s producers. The market has shifted somewhat from the lower-priced wines that for decades have been the main business at E.&J. Gallo Winery and nearby outfits. But they are by no means being squeezed out, thanks to their own investments in premium grapes. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Marcos Breton: How an embarrassing blunder by the police chief explains a larger problem at Sacramento PD —  It was cringe-worthy to watch Sacramento’s interim police chief fall on his sword as he told Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other council members he was unable to comply with the city’s new policy of publicly releasing video of officer-involved shootings within 30 days of the incident. Breton column in Sacramento Bee


Fresno State to vote on new Student Union and ASI officers — Fresno State students will vote on hiking their fees to pay for a new Student Union when annual voting begins Tuesday. Students will also choose a new student body president and other officers in balloting that begins Tuesday and goes into Thursday. Fresno Bee article

Davis finds success with late school start, and other districts may follow – Classes now start at 8:30 a.m. at Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School in Davis – 25 minutes later than a year ago. Morning attendance has improved, and tardies fell in the first semester by nearly 25 percent. Students are eating better and say they are more relaxed during the morning hours. Sacramento Bee article

Tracy students develop app to read water bill — Team Rocket from Tracy developed an app that translates into common English the terms and information from a typical water bill. It uses visual representations to help people monitor their use and save water. Stockton Record article

Health/Human Services

Falls are taking a huge and rising toll on elderly brains – Elderly people are suffering concussions and other brain injuries from falls at what appear to be unprecedented rates, according to a new report from U.S. government researchers. AP article

Land Use/Housing

Michael Fitzgerald: Developers squawk as Stockton changes growth — For decades, Stockton’s smart growthers were a politically feeble lot used to being stomped on by sprawl developers, who had almost sinful influence in City Hall. The recession, Stockton’s bankruptcy and a Sierra Club lawsuit changed all that. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Other areas

Stockton City Council might shorten fuse on fireworks regulations – Tuesday night, the City Council will consider changes to its fireworks regulations intended to mute this year’s festivities, if only just a bit. Stockton Record article

Carmen George: She drives a Winnebago to help digital newbies get on the information superhighway — Librarian Shannon Morrison recently drove a large bus into a Walmart parking lot while wearing a long blue skirt covered with prints of Hawaiian hibiscus flowers. “She’s one to try anything,” says fellow Fresno County community librarian Michelle Gordon. “She’s very adventurous.” George in Fresno Bee

Mike Klocke: Regional’s more than games; it’s people — Nonetheless, 4,500 fans in attendance, a nationwide audience on ESPN and four deserving teams helped make Saturday one of the most notable and prestigious sports events to be held in Stockton.  Klocke column in Stockton Record

Ghost Ship owners knew of dangerous electrical system before deadly fire — More than two years before December’s Ghost Ship fire claimed 36 lives, the building’s owners knew of dangerous electrical problems there — including a transformer fire in an adjacent space never reported to authorities — and learned that tenants had installed power upgrades without city permits, according to emails obtained by this news organization. But they resisted efforts to fix the problems. East Bay Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – By our yardstick, Rep. Devin Nunes had a terrible week fulfilling his duties as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Sacramento Bee – Rather than craft thoughtful legislation, which is hard, the administration seeks to conscript state and local authorities into the president’s crusade to deport undocumented immigrants. It’s legally suspect; Sisters in Fresno say they were sexually assaulted by a Customs and Border Protection officer. With the Trump administration vowing to hire thousands more ICE and Border Patrol agents, possibly lowering hiring standards, such stories have suddenly taken on a new level of urgency.