March 29, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Sanctuary cities aren’t as popular as you might think in California – Despite defunding threats from the Trump administration, California voters narrowly support communities declaring themselves “sanctuary cities,” according to a statewide survey Tuesday. But the Berkeley IGS Poll found that a slim majority oppose cities and counties being able to disregard federal requests to detain illegal immigrants who have been arrested and are pending release from custody.  Sacramento Bee article

Dan Walters: Politicos punch holes rather than repeal old liquor law – Legendary lobbyist Artie Samish, in his 1971 autobiography “Secret Boss of California,” describes how, many decades ago, he created a state-enforced monopoly for the liquor industry. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Gov. Brown

Gov. Brown calls for ‘countermovement’ against Trump’s ‘colossal mistake’ on climate change — California Gov. Jerry Brown warned that President Trump has just made a “colossal mistake” in gutting the federal government’s effort to combat climate change, which will ignite a response Trump is unprepared to handle. LA Times article

Valley politics

DA: Bakersfield city council candidate Freeman violated no laws — Ward 5 Bakersfield City Council candidate Bruce Freeman did not violate any laws — specifically, voter fraud, tax fraud and perjury — as alleged by one of his opponents, Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green announced Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article

Tulare County supervisors approve election consolidation — Tulare County supervisors approved a request Tuesday from 14 county boards to move elections to the General Election. Chris Meyer, Monson-Sultana Joint Union Elementary superintendent, said the move is expected to bring savings on election costs. Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Tim Draper wants to change state: ‘This is not Calexit. This is Cal-fix-it’ — Tim Draper, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist who carried an unsuccessful initiative to split the state in six pieces, is plotting new proposals to “make California a great government again.” He’s just not ready to reveal them, yet. Sacramento Bee article


White House calls for domestic cuts to finance border wall — President Donald Trump is proposing immediate budget cuts of $18 billion from programs like medical research, infrastructure and community grants so U.S. taxpayers, not Mexico, can cover the down payment on the border wall. AP article

What funds could California ‘sanctuary cities’ lose under Trump? – To help understand what federal funds are at stake, we’ve checked in with legal experts and combed through public records to find out the details. KQED report

Border agents: ‘We’re not going to apologize for what we believe in’ – Around the time that Donald J. Trump unofficially clinched the Republican nomination for president last May, he carved 10 minutes out of his schedule for an interview on “The Green Line,” an obscure podcast by the union of Border Patrol agents that was making its debut on a local talk-radio station. New York Times article

Hundreds of protestors greet U.S. immigration enforcement chief in Sacramento – Hundreds of protesters greeted the country’s top immigration enforcement official Tuesday during a Sacramento stop that inflamed passions over the Trump administration’s hardline stance on refugees and undocumented immigrants. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article

Mike Lynch: Becoming American provides lessons for all Americans – The former staff member for Rep. Gary Condit and Assemblyman Adam Gray writes, “’Argentina 1, Armenia 1 …’ With those words the speaker began the roll call of nations for persons taking the oath of American citizenship at the Fresno convention center Tuesday. I had a personal interest in the proceedings; my wife Ana Lacasta, born in Spain, was there to take the oath herself.” Lynch op-ed in Modesto Bee

‘Dreamer’ threatened with deportation in Seattle is ordered released by immigration judge – Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, thought to be the first “Dreamer” swept up in the Trump administration crackdown on immigration violators, was ordered released by a federal judge Tuesday after spending six weeks in detention. LA Times article

He created a project for those formerly illegally in the U.S. to tell their stories, but few want to now – When Miguel Luna began to wear the little black pin, he wasn’t sure how people would react. “I’m either going to get hugged or I’m going to get punched,” he told his wife. LA Times article

Border Patrol seizes drugs including 402 pounds of meth and arrests in 19 in California operation — Customs and Border Protection officers arrested 19 fugitives and nearly $2.8 million worth of drugs at border crossings in San Diego and Imperial Valley counties over the weekend, authorities said. LA Times article

Other areas

Devin Nunes says he’ll continue to lead Russia inquiry – The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee rebuffed calls on Tuesday to recuse himself from the panel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election, as Speaker Paul D. Ryan expressed support for his continued leadership. New York Times article; McClatchy Newspapers article

Swalwell on Nunes fallout: ‘This is what a cover-up to a crime looks like’ — House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes’ announcement last week that officials from the transition team of President Donald Trump had been inadvertently surveilled by the U.S. intelligence community came at the behest of the White House, Rep. Eric Swalwell said Tuesday morning. Politico article

Legislation aimed at predatory ADA lawsuits stalls – Legislation that would shield businesses from predatory lawsuits stalled Tuesday in an Assembly committee concerned with protecting rights of disabled people. Modesto Bee article

Congress guts Internet rule on privacy, giving providers right to snoop for data – The Republican-controlled Congress on Tuesday passed a bill for President Donald Trump’s signature that would empower internet service providers to snoop on users without their consent and sell the data to marketers. McClatchy Newspapers article

California would virtually eliminate bail money under proposed legislation – California lawmakers have unveiled a sweeping plan to overhaul pretrial release in the state that could virtually eliminate the use of money bail. Sacramento Bee article

To stem rising prices, a California lawmaker is taking on how hospital chains craft their contracts — Amid concern that sprawling hospital chains are leading to higher prices, a California state senator is trying to clamp down on how hospital networks craft their contracts to win market dominance. LA Times article

Kish Rajan: Denying California rail money damages more than state, it hurts the nation – The chief evangelist of CALinnovatives and former director of Gov. Jerry Brown’s GOBiz initiative writes, “President Donald Trump has a fantastic opportunity in California. It’s a project that will create immediate jobs in construction, engineering and manufacturing, and also open the door to more high-paying tech jobs. This project offers all the things Trump promised during his campaign. But instead of embracing the opportunity, the Trump administration is doing everything it can to stop the upgrade and expansion of the Caltrain rail service in Northern California.” Rajan op-ed in Merced Sun-Star

Devon Mathis’ pet tax credit bill advances — Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) announced that his bill to provide tax relief for pet owners is one step closer to reality. AB 942 passed the California Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee this week, and is now headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill will head for a full Assembly vote if it passes Appropriations. The Business Journal article

Presidential Politics

Trump’s poll numbers are low. But the people who put him in office say it’s not time to judge him – yet — Give him six months to prove himself, said an information technology supervisor. Give him a year, said a service manager. Give him four years, said a retired print shop owner. LA Times article

States scramble to salvage climate change crusade abandoned by Trump – Donald Trump’s plan to bring an abrupt halt to America’s crusade against climate change will test California and other states like never before as they seek to wrest control of the nation’s energy future from a hostile White House. LA Times article

Trump’s climate-change rollback won’t affect Central Valley — On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order in attempts to roll-back former President Barack Obama’s legislation aimed to curb global warming. The order suspends, rescinds or flags for review more than a half-dozen measures on power plant emissions limits, coal mining on federal lands, and regulations on fracking and methane. It will not, however, have much, if any, impact on the Central Valley anytime soon. Visalia Times-Delta article

Hillary Clinton in San Francisco: ‘Resist. Insist. Persist. Enlist’ — In her most overtly political remarks since losing the 2016 election, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave a rousing speech to several thousand women packed into a ballroom at Moscone Center West in San Francisco on Tuesday. KQED report; San Jose Mercury News article; San Francisco Chronicle article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories – Top Stories

What’s happening with Kern County pension costs? It’s a mixed picture — Kern County will continue to struggle with rising pension costs over the next six years, supervisors were told Tuesday. Gloria Dominguez, executive director of the Kern County Employees’ Retirement Association, delivered a report that showed the county’s annual contribution to the retirement agency will increase from $230.9 million in the next fiscal year to $312.6 million in the 2022-23 fiscal year. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley counties rank among unhealthiest in state – again – Fresno, Tulare and Merced counties again are among the unhealthiest places in California, according to the eighth annual County Health Rankings released Wednesday. Fresno ranked 52nd, Tulare 50th and Merced 49th among the 57 California counties analyzed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Fresno Bee article

Record number of local sales tax hikes take effect Saturday – A record number of voter-approved local sales tax increases will take effect in California Saturday, raising the rate by one-quarter to a full percentage point in 42 cities, including eight in the Bay Area, and across seven counties, including Santa Clara and Sonoma. San Francisco Chronicle article

Jobs and the Economy

Atwater’s financial health may take ‘extreme decision,’ leader says – City staffers in Atwater say they’ve combed through the city’s finances to find savings wherever they can – which they have – but the financial outlook remains difficult. City Council, staffers and other leaders met in a workshop Tuesday, one of a series of meetings, to discuss how the city can improve its standing. Merced Sun-Star article

Jobs forum discusses hiring former inmates – Trades industry representatives who attended a jobs forum hosted by Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs and San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti on Monday debated the feasibility of hiring former inmates in an effort to increase employment and reduce crime. Stockton Record article

Got certain unpaid tickets? Amnesty may be available — A state program to reduce a whole slew of traffic and other types of fines that people have not been paying is coming to a stop on April 3. The Department of Motor Vehicles Traffic Amnesty Program allows those who have certain unpaid traffic or non-traffic tickets that were due on or before Jan. 1, 2013, to get their debt reduced or driver’s license (if it was suspended) reinstated. Bakersfield Californian article

PG&E gas bills could drop following $86.5 million settlement agreement — PG&E customers could see lower monthly gas bills due to an $86.5 million settlement agreed on Tuesday over corruption allegations, which followed a fatal pipeline explosion in San Bruno. San Francisco Chronicle article

Farmworker union underpaid its own organizers, judge rules – The union founded on the principle of protecting farmworkers from wage abuses will have to shell out more than $800,000 in back pay to its own organizers, a Monterey County judge ruled this week. LA Times article

Downtown Fresno’s craft beer scene to expand – The craft beer scene in downtown Fresno keeps on growing. A new Ale Trail was announced Tuesday at Fresno Mayor Lee Brand’s State of Downtown conference at the Warnors theater along with a brew university hosted by Fresno State that will be part of a new Career Readiness Academy. Fresno Bee article

Wells Fargo to pay $110 million to settle lawsuits over unauthorized accounts — In the six months since Wells Fargo & Co. acknowledged opening millions of accounts customers didn’t authorize, the bank has junked its old sales incentives, replaced its chairman and chief executive, and paid $185 million in fines. Bank customers, meanwhile, have received just $3.2 million in refunds. But soon they’ll be in line for much more. LA Times article

San Diego Chamber, Mexican Senate agree to promote border commerce – Highlighting the importance of bilateral ties, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce signed an agreement with Mexico’s Senate on Tuesday “to promote and protect the commercial relations of the border region.” San Diego Union-Tribune article

Hanford Chamber names Business and Nonprofit of Year — The Hanford Chamber of Commerce recently announced its 2017 Business of the Year award to Mr. Appliance and Nonprofit of the Year to Kings United Way. Hanford Sentinel article


That sinking feeling: Corcoran fears floods thanks to subsidence, snowmelt — A new map released by NASA earlier this year shows that large portions of California are sinking. The worst of it is in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the main reasons is the over pumping of groundwater, especially in the last five years of drought. All that sinking and all the snow melting in the Sierra has Central Valley water managers like Dustin Fuller worried. Valley Public Radio report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

California Prop 47 grants for criminal rehabilitation seen as a long-awaited step forward — Nearly 60 public agencies have submitted program proposals released last week. They include cities and counties, health and human services divisions and probation and law enforcement departments statewide. Among their petitions are initiatives to provide youth and adult offenders with counselors and case managers, therapy, housing and job opportunities. LA Times article

CodeRED: Fresno police launch real-time emergency alert system – Fresno police have started using an alert system called CodeRED to send emergency notifications through text message, phone calls, email, social media or a mobile app to residents. Fresno Bee article

A Hanford traffic stop costs a man his right eye: Was it fair policing or abuse? — A Hanford police report says Michael Valdez was riding his bicycle on the wrong side of the street when officer Larry Leeds attempted to stop him. What happened next is the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit in which Valdez, 49, and his attorney, Morgan Ricketts, accuse Leeds of using excessive force to arrest Valdez, actions that they say contributed to blinding him in one eye. Fresno Bee article

Protest at City Hall more subdued, but activists submit new list of demands – For a change, the fireworks that have dominated recent City Council meetings had almost as much to do with actual Fourth of July pyrotechnics as with the unrest of protesters angry about shootings by police officers. Though many spoke about police shootings Tuesday night, decorum inside and outside council chambers was much more in evidence than in the three previous meetings. Stockton Record article

March shuts down police headquarters – People marching in support of those arrested when a protest outside Stockton City Hall turned violent earlier this month congregated in front of Stockton police headquarters, prompting a lockdown of the facility Tuesday morning. Stockton Record article

Michael Fitzgerald: The bump ride toward justice – Another day, another protest. I went to Tuesday’s arraignment of five of the 12 protesters arrested when things got crazy after the March 17 Stockton City Council meeting. Three failed to appear. A judge issued warrants for their arrest. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Silva’s attorneys say they’re ‘delayed’ – Anthony Silva’s next court date in his Stockton embezzlement case is three weeks away, but the former mayor’s attorneys were busy on the phone Tuesday morning with the judge and prosecutor in his separate, pending misdemeanor case in Amador County. Stockton Record article

Transgender California inmates could have bras, cosmetics – Transgender California prison inmates would be allowed to have bras, cosmetics and other personal items corresponding to their gender identities under proposed rules filed with state regulators on Tuesday. AP article

DA clears sheriff of profiting off gun sales – Sheriff Steve Moore has been cleared of any allegations of inappropriately obtaining guns for his personal use, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney.  Stockton Record article

Gambling machines, money seized from several businesses Monday, Kern County Sheriff’s Office says — More than 100 gambling machines and $2,000 in cash were seized Monday during an operation targeting businesses that sheriff’s officials said were involved in illegal gambling.  Bakersfield Californian article

Dogwood watchdogs wanted? Criminal enterprise blooms in Modesto — The Modesto Police Department has received three reports of people lopping blossom-filled branches from residential dogwood trees. Though the culprits likely are selling the branches somewhere, the crimes are being classified as vandalism, police said. Modesto Bee article

Innocent man freed after spending 20 years behind bars for attempted murder in Compton shooting – On his drive to Calipatria State Prison, Ricardo Perez thought of the couple he’d met a few months earlier and their desperate plea: Can you help us get our innocent relative out of prison? LA Times article


Interview: CSUB’s Horace Mitchell on Roadrunners hoops, CSU tuition hike – We talked with university president Horace Mitchell about the mood on campus, as well as last week’s vote of the CSU Board of Trustees authorizing a raise in tuition. We also talked about new campus efforts to help students struggling with hunger and homelessness. Valley Public Radio report

Fresno Unified, teachers union agree on new direction during education summit – While the first-ever Fresno Unified Education Summit held on Tuesday was meant to be about what people want in a future superintendent, what they don’t want – and what they feel they had in former leader Michael Hanson – was ultimately the theme of the night. Fresno Bee article

Fewer districts than expected say they’re facing financial distress – Only 39 school districts have indicated they will have a hard time balancing their books within the next two years, according to the latest reports filed with their county offices of education. EdSource article

Nan Austin: Retired teacher tips: Every kid’s guide to straight A’s — For all those students feeling a little lost or a lot behind, here is some collective wisdom from classroom veterans, a Grade School for Dummies compilation of what works to get the grades. Austin in Modesto Bee

Expansion-renovation of Sacramento State’s University Union begins with demolition — Demolition has begun on a portion of the University Union at Sacramento State as part of an expansion and renovation of the building where students hang out, meetings are held and assignments are hurriedly completed before class. Sacramento Bee article

USC faculty call for more protection of immigrant and foreign students —  Provoked by the stream of executive orders coming out of President Trump’s White House, a group of USC faculty has sent a letter to the school’s administration asking it to do more to protect foreign students, faculty and staff. LA Times article


Davis considers ban on Styrofoam food, beverage containers — The city of Davis is looking to join a growing list of jurisdictions prohibiting the use of polystyrene foam containers for food and beverages served in the city. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services

In Kern County, expanded mental health services on hold thanks to state budget concerns — The Affordable Care Act may be staying in place for now, but the long-term future of health care is still far from certain. And that uncertainty is already taking its toll on some health care programs–with ripple effects felt throughout the Valley. Valley Public Radio report

F.D.A. clears first drug to treat severe multiple sclerosis – The Food and Drug Administration approved on Tuesday the first drug to treat a severe form of multiple sclerosis, offering hope to patients who previously had no other options to combat a relentless disease that leads to paralysis and cognitive decline. New York Times article

Retiring health officer warns that Zika is a priority for Stanislaus County — Although his last day on the job is Thursday, Dr. John Walker had plenty of unfinished business to attend to this week, such as warning spring break travelers to take precautions for the Zika virus. Modesto Bee article


Officials ask for help to fix roads — Kings County Supervisor Craig Pederson joined labor and transportation advocates at a news conference at the Caltrans District 6 Office in Fresno to urge legislators in Sacramento to quickly pass a transportation funding package for money for roads in the state.  Hanford Sentinel article

Other areas

Drama continues at top levels of Modesto city government – The drama continues at the highest levels of Modesto city government. The City Council met in closed session Tuesday night for the second time in two weeks to discuss City Manager Jim Holgersson, and no one is saying anything. Modesto Bee article

They really did not want to ease up on their anti-pot stance, but they had no choice – Fresno County supervisors budged a little from a hardened position Tuesday of opposing marijuana cultivation, but only because of a change in state rules. Fresno Bee article

Oakland: Fire inspector flagged severe problems three days before fatal blaze — A month. That’s how long it took after a city firefighter sent a warning of dangerous conditions inside a San Pablo Avenue apartment house for a fire inspector to get inside the building where four people died in a savage blaze early Monday. East Bay Times article; LA Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – President Trump is finding out that destroying Islamic State is no easy task; Raiders jilt Oakland to chase a Las Vegas jackpot.

Merced Sun-Star – We need better scrutiny of border guards.

Modesto Bee – We need better scrutiny of border guards.

Sacramento Bee – All the executive orders in the world won’t make Americans want to go back to smog and coal fire, or bring back Trump’s youthful heyday; Amtrak goes way off track in lack of assurance for public, passenger safety.

Stockton Record – Raiders or traitors? Davis family again planning to bolt the East Bay.