March 28, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

California leaders should try to work with President Trump, state voters say — California voters overwhelmingly oppose Donald Trump, believing his policies will have negative effects on the state. But a slim majority still want their leaders to work with the Republican president, even if it means making compromises, according to the Berkeley IGS Poll.  Sacramento Bee articleSan Jose Mercury News article

Dan Walters: California dodged the Trumpcare bullet – but still faces higher costs — California dodged a multibillion-dollar fiscal bullet last week when Congress stalled an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act – but perhaps just temporarily. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Former lawmaker Henry Perea leave PhRMA post for oil association — The one-time leader of business-friendly Democrats in the California Assembly is leaving his job with the country’s largest pharmaceutical association to join one of the most monied oil interests at the state Capitol. Western States Petroleum Association, a trade group for the oil industry, announced Monday that former Assemblyman Henry Perea will become the organization’s senior vice president of policy and strategic affairs, advising the association on public policy and legislative matters in California. He begins May 1. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Clovis swears in first new city council members in 14 years — The Clovis City Council added two new members for the first time in 16 years Monday night. In addition, the last new member to join the council 14 years ago, Bob Whalen, was named mayor by fellow council members in the regular two-year rotation. Fresno Bee article


Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Sanctuary cities must end – The Trump administration is continuing its tough talk against “sanctuary cities,” which shelter people living in the country illegally by refusing to help the federal government enforce immigration laws. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he is “urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws.” AP article

Tulare considers ‘sanctuary’ status – Tulare council will consider becoming a sanctuary city next week, just days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned such a move may put municipalities at risk of losing federal funding. Visalia Times-Delta article

De Leon: Sessions’ plan to defund sanctuary cities ‘nothing short of blackmail’ – California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León on Monday called Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ plan to block Justice Department grant funding to sanctuary cities “nothing short of blackmail.” Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Battling Trump is ‘team sport,’ California’s attorney general says — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has forcefully criticized President Donald Trump’s executive actions calling for a widespread crackdown on undocumented immigrants and barring travel to the United States from predominantly Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East.  Sacramento Bee article

Fresno Bee: Alleged assault of sisters shows need for strict border-officer standards — With the Trump administration vowing to add thousands more ICE and Border Patrol agents, the federal government must go the extra mile to ensure that new hires meet rigorous standards. Fresno Bee editorial

Mayor, pro-immigrant groups slam immigration enforcement chief’s Sacramento forum — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg took aim Monday at Sheriff Scott Jones’ decision to host a public forum with the nation’s top immigration enforcement official, calling the decision “cynical” and “mean.” Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Devin Nunes met source of surveillance info on White House grounds — House intelligence chairman and Tulare Republican Devin Nunes met on the White House grounds with the source of the claim that communications involving President Donald Trump’s associates were caught up in “incidental” surveillance, the congressman’s spokesman said Monday. That revelation prompted the top Democrat on the committee to call on Nunes to recuse himself from the committee’s Russia probe. AP articleLA Times articleAP articleNew York Times articleWashington Post article

Cuts could mean collision course for program — Meals on Wheels relies on a combination of local government funding, corporate grants, local donations and money from federal block grants. Visalia Times-Delta article

California chief justice warns that ‘the rule of law is being challenged’ – Cautioning that “the rule of law is being challenged,” California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on Monday urged the state to “persevere in our values in times of upheaval” to protect equality and diversity. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Lawmakers look to California retirement funds to protest Trump – In the 1980s, California effectively withheld investment in South Africa to pressure leaders there to drop its apartheid policy. Now, the nation’s largest public retirement fund is facing a similar pressure aimed at protesting President Donald Trump. KQED report

California newborns would get state-seeded college savings account under bill — Every child born in California would get a state-seeded college savings account unless their families opt out, under recently amended legislation by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Los Angeles. The Children’s Savings Account Program created by Assembly Bill 34 aims to increase the number of young people who attend college. Sacramento Bee article

Bill would give tax breaks for shelter pet adoption — A California lawmaker wants to encourage people to adopt pets from animal shelters by giving them a tax deduction. Republican Assemblyman Marc Steinorth wants to allow people to deduct up to $100 on their income taxes to help cover the cost of adopting a shelter pet. Capital Public Radio report

Presidential Politics

Trump moves decisively to wipe out Obama’s climate-change record— President Trump will take the most significant step yet in obliterating his predecessor’s environmental record Tuesday, instructing federal regulators to rewrite key rules curbing U.S. carbon emissions. Washington Post articleNew York Times articleLA Times article

Trump’s first 100 days: A big failure, and a new low in the polls — President Trump is coming off the first big legislative defeat of his presidency, and now he’s got the poll numbers to prove it. The newest Gallup daily tracking poll — the first survey released since the doomed Republican health-care bill was pulled Friday — shows Trump’s approval rating falling to 36 percent. That’s both the lowest of his presidency and lower than President Barack Obama’s approval rating ever sank in eight years of Gallup’s tracking poll. Washington Post article

After healthcare setback, White House returns to symbolic gestures on hot-button issues — The idea of Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions going to the White House to announce the continuation of an Obama administration policy related to immigration would have been unthinkable months ago. But that’s what happened Monday. LA Times article

A substantial majority of Americans live outside Trump counties, census shows — The contentious political back and forth seen daily in the media, cable TV, and polls should come as no surprise in a nation where Donald Trump won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes. Newly released Census population estimates for 2016 provide further evidence of just why the nation’s politics are split demographically. These data show that 31 million fewer Americans live in counties that voted for Trump than in those carried by Hillary Clinton. Brookings article

Danny Morrison: Dear Trump supporter: Help me understand — We tried. You told us to stop whining and give the ol’ Trumpster a try. We did. You told us that he wasn’t a regular politician and was coming to “drain the swamp.” He didn’t. You told us that if he fails, we all fail. Nonsense. Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories – Top Stories

Fresno State’s economic impact: Nearly 10,000 jobs, $717 million in spending — A new analysis shows that Fresno State represents a potent economic engine for the central San Joaquin Valley, with nearly 10,000 jobs and almost $717 million in overall output across the region. Direct spending by the university and its affiliates amounts to nearly $382 million annually, the report said. When secondary impacts of that spending are calculated, the total jumps to over $700 million. Fresno Bee article

DA files charges against Stockton council protestors — Five protesters arrested on the downtown streets of Stockton after the City Council’s meeting March 7 are scheduled for arraignment Tuesday morning at San Joaquin County Superior Court. A sixth is scheduled to appear in court next week. The legal actions, announced late Monday by the District Attorney’s Office, appear almost certain to further fuel dissidents who have been regularly rallying at council meetings to air their grievances over shootings by law enforcement officers. Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy

A Trump family lawyer and D.C. insider enters fight over trademarked Yosemite names – A Yosemite National Park trademark fight has an influential new combatant with the recruitment of a top D.C. lawyer whose clients include the daughter and son-in-law of President Donald Trump. McClatchy Newspapers article

Local black-owned tech businesses strive for a more diverse industry — Even in culturally diverse Downtown Fresno, there are only a few black-owned technology businesses within the Bitwise walls — three, to be exact — out of 100. It’s a full two-percent better than our neighbors to the north, but still not what it could be. The three businesses — QuiqLabs, Truth Branding Agency and MiC Software — are making a mark in the local tech industry, and the owners say they hope to inspire local minority youth to follow their entrepreneurial dreams. The Business Journal article

South Valley home sales, median prices up – The California Association of Realtors reports that among the six South Valley counties, the total number of existing home sales for the year beginning in February 2016 increased too, at a rate of 3.6 percent, on average, with Merced County having the biggest jump at 16.7 percent. The Business Journal article

NFL approves Raiders’ move from Oakland to Las Vegas — NFL owners approved the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas on Monday in a 31-1 vote at the league’s annual spring meeting in Phoenix. The NFL was not satisfied with Oakland’s proposals for a stadium, and couldn’t pass up Las Vegas’ offer of $750 million in public money for a $1.7 billion facility in Nevada. San Francisco Chronicle articleEast Bay Times articleLA Times article

A disappointed Oakland mulls legal action against Raiders – East Bay officials are exploring options to sue the Raiders and possibly the National Football League after league owners approved the Oakland team’s relocation to Las Vegas, dismissing a plan from Oakland that Mayor Libby Schaaf on Monday insisted was “viable.” San Francisco Chronicle article

California leaders wrestle with potential Trump effect on lucrative pot market — Even as the Trump administration hints of a crackdown on the booming business of legal cannabis, leading officials in California — now the world’s largest legal marijuana market — are determined to tackle the monumental banking and taxation challenges facing an industry that experts say could generate as much as $15 billion in gross sales in California alone in the next five years. Politico article

Patti hopes roundtable leads to job creation – During his campaign for the third district seat on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, Tom Patti said one of his top priorities was to increase employment in the region. Just a few weeks into his first term as supervisor, Patti is hoping he and Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, along with the Office of Violence Prevention and representatives from local trade industries, can start laying the groundwork on creating a training program that will both increase employment and reduce crime in the county. Stockton Record article

After 40 years, Laurel Glen tennis and health club closing — A tennis club that’s been serving southwest Bakersfield for nearly four decades is closing its doors at the end of next month. Bakersfield Californian article


Farmers urge tech companies to find water solutions for more than just irrigation – To use west side farmer Don Cameron’s words: farming is sexy right now to Silicon Valley tech companies. But the attraction won’t end up in a relationship if the start-ups don’t understand what farmers really need, Cameron told an audience gathered in Fresno Monday for the “Deeper Dive” forum on Water Ag Tech Innovation. Fresno Bee article

California water official vows new Oroville Dam spillway by winter — California’s top water manager said Monday that the problem-plagued Oroville Reservoir will have a new spillway in place to prevent potentially dangerous outflows of water in time for next year’s rainy season. San Francisco Chronicle articleSacramento Bee article

Beatris Espericueta Sanders: Water allotments still disrespect farmers – The executive director of the Kern County Farm Bureau writes, “Poor water allocations to farmers have never been about the California drought. It was always about a group of environmental policies which continue to outweigh our need for locally grown food and a robust economy that thrives on the Central Valley’s agricultural industry.” Sanders op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

San Joaquin, Lode residents among those suing Monsanto claiming Roundup linked to cancer – Two people from the Stockton region are among 40 plaintiffs suing the world’s leading producer of a common herbicide, claiming that they have experienced “severe” physical problems using a product that has long been marketed as safe. Stockton Record article

Catfish Camp RV park residents still waiting to return after flooding — Six weeks after the San Joaquin River spilled over its banks at Catfish Camp RV Park, a few displaced residents remained in their trailers parked just outside the campgrounds wondering when they will be allowed to return. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Sacramento police release video footage of gunbattle related to parolee – The Sacramento Police Department on Monday evening released hours of video related to a Feb. 10 gunfight between officers and a parolee that became the test case for a new law requiring the department to release footage in critical incidents. Sacramento Bee article

Lawsuit: Hanford Police Department officer hit man with car, beat him — A Hanford police officer allegedly hit a man with his patrol car and punched him repeatedly during a 2016 incident, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday with the U.S. Eastern District Court of California. Hanford Sentinel article

Supporters raising money for Turlock man convicted of killing intruder — A group of 1,000-plus supporters of a Turlock man convicted in February of involuntary manslaughter for shooting an intruder on his property is raising money to help the man and his wife. Modesto Bee article


California pressed to stop collecting students’ citizenship data — Civil rights groups asked California’s attorney general Monday to investigate dozens of school districts across the state that require parents to provide children’s Social Security numbers, their citizenship status and other sensitive information such as when they entered the country. San Francisco Chronicle article

Teacher alleges Fresno Unified allowed speaker to say she was in porn video — Attorneys for the Fresno Unified School District, and a fourth-grade teacher suing her bosses for allowing a radio host to accuse her of pornography at a public meeting, delivered their opening statements to a jury Monday, officially beginning a trial with both free speech and sexual harassment questions. Fresno Bee article

Acacia charter schools to shut down after months of turmoil — In a 345-word email to parents announcing the schools’ closures, Lynn Lysko, interim CEO of Tri-Valley Learning Corp., a Livermore-based company that owns both charters, wrote that Acacia Elementary, at 1016 E. Bianchi Road, and Acacia Middle, 1605 E. March Lane, would both officially close on May 26, the last day of school, after what she called months of “negotiations, hard work and solution searching.” Stockton Record article

California still has ways to go in offering ‘full-day’ preschool — Despite continuing efforts to expand learning time for young children, large numbers of low-income California children still lack access to full-day programs in state-supported preschool, according to a new EdSource report. EdSource article


What does California need to meet its climate-change goals? For starters, denser housing and less driving, report says — California will need billions of dollars in new funding for housing and transportation improvements, and to make extraordinary changes to state and local government policies, in order to meet its new 2030 climate change goals, according to new reports from state and regional government officials and UC Berkeley researchers. LA Times article

Yosemite Conservancy donates $12 million for trail to big tree and other park projects — Yosemite Conservancy announced a $12 million donation to Yosemite National Park to fund dozens of projects, including a new trail to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias along the historic Washburn Road stage coach route. Other projects include restoring bee, butterfly and hummingbird habitat, and studying species in Ackerson Meadow, the newest area of the park. Fresno Bee article

Petition targets Smith Canal gate — Levee engineer Dominick Gulli, who is suing to block the proposed Smith Canal flood-control gate, told officials recently that he has also started a citizens petition. He told the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency’s board of directors that the petition concerns the way in which the agency is collecting an assessment from property owners to pay for the $37 million gate. Stockton Record article

Nature provides its own flood control.  Time to use it? — After millions of dollars of flood damage and mass evacuations this year, California is grappling with how to update its aging flood infrastructure. That has some calling for a new approach to flood control – one that mimics nature instead of trying to contain it. KQED report

Health/Human Services 

California targets candy-flavored tobacco as teen ‘gateway’ to cigarette smoking – This year, there’s a renewed push to banish flavored tobacco products, which health officials and others fear are luring the next generation of nicotine addicts by targeting teens and kids. Sacramento Bee article

Jeff Jardine: Is impending smoking ban creating a whiff of change in Modesto parks? – Could an ordinance that won’t go into effect until next week make that kind of impact? The city would certainly hope so. Because police really don’t want to spend their time patrolling the park to pinch people puffing Parliaments, pot or vapes (e-cigarettes). Nor do they plan to. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Addiction specialists ponder a potential aid: pot – Some clinicians think marijuana may help ease the transition out of addiction, while critics say substituting one drug for another is no solution. New York Times article

UCSF Fresno to welcome new residents to Central Valley — Nearly 100 new doctors will make their way to the Valley in the next few months to begin training in the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program. Visalia Times-Delta article


Self-driving Ubers back in action in San Francisco following Arizona crash — Uber resumed testing its self-driving cars here Monday after a crash in Arizona briefly halted the program and said its cars were expected to return to Pittsburgh and Tempe later in the day. San Jose Mercury News article

Amtrak train sped nearly twice the limit when it jerked violently on Capitol Corridor — An Amtrak engineer mistakenly drove a Capitol Corridor train at nearly twice the allowed speed through a track switch near Davis in December, causing the train to jerk violently, injuring five occupants, according to documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee through the federal Freedom of Information Act. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Modesto officials continue closed-door discussions of city manager – Modesto’s elected officials are scheduled to meet behind closed doors for the second time in two weeks to discuss City Manager Jim Holgersson, and they are saying very little.  Modesto Bee article

Bill McEwen: John Wallace was TV ratings gold, but his real legacy is helping others — John Wallace had the good looks, authoritative voice and smarts to become the long-reigning king of Fresno television news back before cable and the internet splintered the media a thousand different ways. He was ratings gold, the man Valley households counted on to tell them what was happening around the nation and the state, and in their neighborhoods. But that’s not how I remembered Wallace in the moments after learning Monday morning that he had died after battling COPD these past few years. McEwen column in Fresno BeeFresno Bee article

Francine Farber: Reading and Beyond embraces 93701, Fresno’s lead-poisoned ZIP code – The vice chair of the board of directors of Reading and Beyond writes, “Reading and Beyond is committed to transforming this ZIP code through education, job training and healthy-living programs for the whole family. Its programs start with the prenatal years for pregnant mothers and parents of infants and toddlers; move on to preschool to help bring young children to readiness for kindergarten; after-school programs in kindergarten through 12th grade for academic support; and for adults, GED study and the Fresno Bridge Academy, which provides skills assessment, vocational training and job counseling.” Farber op-ed in Fresno Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – With the Trump administration vowing to add thousands more ICE and Border Patrol agents, the federal government must go the extra mile to ensure that new hires meet rigorous standards.

Sacramento Bee – The U.S. military is investigating whether its weapons killed as many as 200 civilians in Mosul, where a March 17 airstrike was called in by Iraqi troops targeting Islamic State fighters and equipment. The president should be very wary of deepening American involvement in Iraq and Syria.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers for a meaningful brand new Muppet, Stockton police promotions and other issues; Raiders jilt Oakland, hit Las Vegas jackpot.