March 5, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Rather than a town hall, Rep. David Valadao will hold one-on-one meetings Monday — Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, will hold a “Hometown Huddle” Monday where constituents can have face-to-face meetings with him at his office. The event will take place at 101 N. Irwin St., 110-B, starting at 3 p.m. The individual, 10-minute meetings will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants must live within Valadao’s 21st Congressional District. Fresno Bee article

John Myers: Surprisingly, talk in Sacramento could return to a firm cap on stte spending — Facing California’s biggest state budget fights, many of which played out in the shadow of monster deficits, lawmakers clashed mightily over this question: Were the state’s problems a result of too little cash or too much spending? Those who believed it was a cash problem seem to have prevailed. But don’t be surprised if that victory rings a bit hollow before the end of 2017. Myers in LA Times

Valley politics

Voters pick new Clovis council member, decide Madera County sales tax — Elections are being held Tuesday for the Clovis City Council and for a 1 cent sales tax to aid Madera County’s public safety services. Fresno Bee article

Jeff Jardine: Coulter keynoting at GOP dinner named for Lincoln? Honestly, Abe would be shaking his head — Ann Coulter is coming to Modesto to speak during the Stanislaus County Republican Central Committee’s Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser in April. Seriously? Lincoln Day? Are the movers and shakers of the local GOP really that intent on dishonoring Honest Abe? Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Dan Schnur: For Gavin Newsom, political landscape is shifting – It’s worth assuming that we will not see a #governorsowhite” hashtag in 2018. But for a demographically diverse and ideologically left-leaning electorate, the selection of a minority or female governor would be a tempting way to send a message back to Washington. Newsom can certainly overcome this obstacle, but it represents an added challenge to him in an already challenging race. Is Gavin Newsom too white to be governor? We’re about to find out. Schnur column in San Francisco Chronicle

Vietnamese leaders in Orange County seek apology from Democrats after silencing of California senator — More than 100 Vietnamese American community members gathered in Orange County on Saturday, rallying around state Sen. Janet Nguyen, a Republican who was removed from the Senate floor Feb. 23 after attempting to speak out against the late Sen. Tom Hayden, an anti-Vietnam War activist. LA Times article


Thousands of immigrant detainees sue private prison firm over ‘forced’ labor – Xahuentitla’s case could affect up to 60,000 immigrants who were held in the facility over the course of a decade. A federal judge ruled on Feb. 27 that the plaintiffs could move forward with a class-action lawsuit against GEO Group, which operates dozens of private prisons and detention centers across the country. LA Times articleWashington Post article

Migrants confront judgment day over old deportation orders – Unauthorized immigrants who have stayed in the United States after being ordered deported have emerged as an easy target of the Trump administration’s aims. New York Times article

Afghan family with visas detained by immigration official in LA; attorneys seek their release — Attorneys for an Afghan family of five that were detained by immigration officials when they arrived at Los Angeles International Airport last week filed a petition in federal court Saturday seeking their release, arguing that they were approved for relocation because of the father’s work with the U.S. government. LA Times article

Other areas

If feds stripped Planned Parenthood funding, California would be especially hard hit – The impact would be particularly strong in California — a state where legislators over the years have interpreted federal laws and rules in ways that have allowed more federal dollars to flow to Planned Parenthood clinics. Roughly half of the federal funding that Planned Parenthood receives nationwide now goes, mostly via Medicaid reimbursements, to cover health care and family planning services for mostly low-income Californians. CALmatters article

McClintock hosts another raucous town hall, as hundreds turn out in protest, support — More than 1,700 people turned out Saturday morning at an El Dorado Hills high school to once again let Republican Rep. Tom McClintock know how they feel about GOP policies and his support of President Donald Trump. Sacramento Bee article

Robin Abcarian: A proposed California license plate is a subtle nod to abortion rights and a slain hero — Last month, Democratic state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara proposed a new license plate, whose proceeds would be dedicated to comprehensive family planning services for low-income men and women, including teenagers and immigrants in the country illegally, the very people who stand to lose so much if Planned Parenthood loses its federal money.  Abcarian column in LA Times

Presidential Politics

Trump seeks inquiry into allegations that Obama tapped his phones – President Trump, a day after leveling a widely disputed allegation that President Barack Obama had ordered the tapping of his phones, demanded a congressional inquiry into whether Mr. Obama abused the power of federal law enforcement agencies before the 2016 presidential election. New York Times articleWashington Post article

Trump supporters declare pride in president, slam opponents – From Colorado’s state Capitol to Trump Tower in New York and the Washington Monument, groups of hundreds of people rallied for President Donald Trump on Saturday, waving “Deplorables for Trump” signs and even carrying a life-size cutout of the president. AP article

10 arrested at Berkeley pro-Trump rally that turned violent — A rally in Berkeley, California in support of President Donald Trump turned violent and his supporters clashed with counter-protesters in several fights that led to the arrest of 10 people and left at least seven people injured. AP articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Trump fumes over Sessions’ recusal from Russia probe – President Donald Trump, increasingly frustrated with his White House rollout, vented to top aides on Friday over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from any investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Politico article

Willie Brown: Trump explores new highs, lows in just one week — It’s been another weird week for our presidential reality show. It started with a tour de force speech to Congress that was long on style and short on substance. It ended with a fresh set of “alternative facts,” this time supplied by the U.S. attorney general. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle

Trump says Schwarzenegger was fired from ‘Apprentice.’ Then Schwarzenegger fires back — A line from President Trump’s speech last Tuesday to the joint session of Congress came back to haunt him on social media Saturday morning: “The time for trivial fights is behind us.” Washington Post article

News Stories – Top Stories

California exports its poor to Texas, other states, while wealthier people move in — California exports more than commodities such as movies, new technologies and produce. It also exports truck drivers, cooks and cashiers. Every year from 2000 through 2015, more people left California than moved in from other states. This migration was not spread evenly across all income groups, a Sacramento Bee review of U.S. Census Bureau data found. The people leaving tend to be relatively poor, and many lack college degrees. Move higher up the income spectrum, and slightly more people are coming than going. Sacramento Bee article

ADA lawsuits continue to hammer Modesto-area shops and restaurants — The art of mass producing disability-access lawsuits in the Modesto area and beyond continues to thrive despite multiple media reports and legislative reform stretching for more than two years. Modesto Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

$3 million Save Mart Center tax refund lost because Fresno State filed claim too late – Fresno State’s nonprofit association that operates the Save Mart Center has lost more than $3 million in potential tax refunds because it filed a tax appeal against Fresno County too late, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled. Fresno Bee article

Stanislaus County’s pension reforms could be hindrance in recruiting next CEO — Faced with rising costs of funding pension benefits for employees seven years ago, the county negotiated agreements with labor groups that created less-lucrative benefits for new employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 2011. But those reforms now hamstring the county when the Sheriff’s Department tries to hire peace officers from other agencies. It makes it more difficult to hire qualified professionals to manage county departments or hire the next chief executive officer for Stanislaus County, officials said. Modesto Bee article

Shaw Avenue office building, near Fashion Fair, is introducing live and work units — The owner of a large Shaw Avenue office complex near Fashion Fair Mall is hoping to fill some of its empty space with live and work units. Equity Ag Financial, based in the San Diego area, will work with tenants to design and build apartments with office space ranging from 550-square-foot studios to 9,000-square-foot penthouses. Fresno Bee article

Marcos Breton: The price downtown Sacramento is paying for Mayor Steinberg’s homeless crusade — It’s not just the compassionate policies of Steinberg and his council colleagues causing the erosion of Cesar Chavez Plaza and the sanitary challenges of surrounding streets and alleys. Record rainfall and flooding have pushed homeless people off the rivers and into downtown. Some wonder how much Prop. 47, the statewide initiative that reduced some drug felonies to misdemeanors so that prisoners could be paroled and ease California’s overcrowded prisons, is affecting communities. Breton column in Sacramento Bee

What Snapchat maker’s IPO means for the LA tech scene — The region’s tech community is hoping the wealth unleashed to hundreds of Snap Inc. employees by the third-largest initial public offering in California history spurs them to become entrepreneurs and investors in their own right. Snap employees already are having conversations with venture capitalists to help line up future funding. LA Times article


Modesto Bee: What are we supposed to do with all this water? — The people of the Northern San Joaquin Valley deserve the same kind of concern shown those living closer to Sacramento, the same kind of solutions being considered for those living in San Jose. We need to make our levees stronger before they break. Danger is headed our way; we need help in heading it off. Modesto Bee editorial

State officials temporarily shut down power plant at Lake Oroville — The California Department of Water Resources has temporarily shut down a power plant at Oroville Dam to make improvements that will increase its capacity for releasing water, officials announced Saturday. Sacramento Bee articleKQED report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

U.S. police agencies with their own databases stir debate – Dozens of police departments around the U.S. are amassing their own DNA databases to track criminals, a move critics say is a way around regulations governing state and national databases that restrict who can provide genetic samples and how long that information is held. AP article

Lois Henry: Sheriff’s unit using high tech and low to catch ‘dirty riders’ — When you’re the underdog slugging it out every day in the trenches for your cause, it can be hard to know when you’ve had a win. Especially if that “win” comes with a suggestion of criminal charges. But after reading a report by the Kern County sheriff’s off-highway vehicle (OHV) unit about illegal riding along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), I have to say I think the folks who’ve been complaining for years about illegal riding have really made a difference. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

For San Francisco’s black defendants, it’s hard to find a jury of their peers — The shrinking of the African American population in big cities like San Francisco — which saw a decline from 12.7 percent to 5.7 percent between 1980 and 2015 — is prompting growing concern that black defendants are being denied their right to a trial in front of a jury of peers. San Francisco Chronicle article


Great Valley Academy Salida kids buy into business savvy — In a grassy field on Sisk Road, hundreds of small shopping stalls spring to life every other month, offering homemade creations or a game to play at bargain prices. But U.S. tender is not accepted here – only GVA bucks, earned with classroom chores and earlier sales. The sellers at Market Day at Great Valley Academy Salida on Friday were profiting from experience while gleeful shoppers got down to business. Modesto Bee article

Oakland: About 70 percent of new teachers leave the district in five years, report says — The Oakland Unified School District must do a better job supporting and retaining new teachers, according to a report by an educational advocacy group that found that nearly three-quarters of new teachers left the district within five years of being hired. East Bay Times article


Winter storms cause massive sewage spills in Sacramento region —  Just as recent storms revealed weaknesses in Northern California’s dams and levees, they also exposed problems with Sacramento-area wastewater systems that failed to contain sewage. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services 

Departing Visalia hospital CEO looks at nearly 40-year career – At the end of this month Lindsay Mann will leave Kaweah Delta Health Care District in Visalia where he has worked for nearly four decades – almost half of those as chief executive officer. Fresno Bee article

Lindsay Mann: A partnership making families smile – The CEO of the Kaweah Health Care District writes, “Every year, nearly 11,000 children are seen by pediatric hospitalists at Kaweah Delta and more than 4,600 children are born at Kaweah Delta. With First 5 Tulare County’s continued support, we are committed to improving the care children receive in our hospital, along with their access to preventative, primary and specialty health care.” Mann op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Compassionate kids in rural Tulare County raise $143,000 for Valley Children’s Hospital — Kelly Tyler’s next sacrifice in the name of helping children: Duct taping herself to a wall for cash. “I may not be happy, but I’m going to do it with a – smile on my face?” Tyler says to a roomful of giggling children. This stunt – selling pieces of duct tape to temporarily entrap Tyler on a wall – is just the latest quirky fundraiser dreamed up by her middle school leadership class at Sundale Elementary School to support Valley Children’s Hospital.  Fresno Bee article

Charity provides more than wheelchairs: ‘You could just see the dignity pour into her’ — Through his charity Hope Haven West and production company Uncle Lonny Presents, Ceres resident Lonny Davis is able to provide 1,000 wheelchairs to people in developing nations across the globe. Entertainment arm Uncle Lonny Presents helps fund the efforts. Modesto Bee article


The self-driving car’s family tree — As recent lawsuits show, many California companies developing self-driving cars are related to each other. It’s not always a happy family. San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Kids Day turns 30.  It’s a beautiful thing for the Valley and its amazing children’s hospital.

Modesto Bee – The people of the Northern San Joaquin Valley deserve the same kind of concern shown those living closer to Sacramento, the same kind of solutions being considered for those living in San Jose. We need to make our levees stronger before they break. Danger is headed our way; we need help in heading it off.