March 8, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Should California parties decide who votes in presidential elections? — Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Riverbank and Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres have joined San Diego-based Independent Voter Project in calling on Secretary of State Alex Padilla to print and issue a nonpartisan presidential ballot. Sacramento Bee article

It’s official: Bakersfield has busiest mayoral race in 16 years — Bakersfield’s still-developing slate of mayoral candidates has only seven certified contenders so far — including a doctor, a tattoo artist, a silversmith and a hula instructor — but is officially the busiest race for the seat in 16 years. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley politics

State political watchdog recommends fine for Tulare sheriff — California’s political watchdog has proposed fining Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux’s campaign $1,068 for failing to file five required reports during his successful 2014 campaign for the county’s top law enforcement post. Fresno Bee article

Patty Lopez, Stanislaus County Republican Party hit with FPPC fines — The Stanislaus Republican Central Committee and its treasurer, Gary McKinsey, agreed to a $10,000 penalty for concealing the source of donations to former state legislator Tony Strickland’s unsuccessful 2010 state controller campaign. Sacramento Bee article

Merced County supervisor filings close this week — The filing deadline to run for a Merced County Board of Supervisors seat is Friday, and a newcomer has joined the list of people vying for one of the three seats up in June. Merced Sun-Star article

Other areas

Anthony Rendon sworn in as California Assembly speaker, praises state aid – Opening his tenure with a forceful defense of government assistance programs, Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, officially became Assembly speaker on Monday. Sacramento Bee articleAP article

Dan Walters: Can a nice guy like Anthony Rendon run the California’s Assembly? — While Rendon talks of clawing back power from the governor – and inferentially the Senate – it’s uncertain whether he has the stomach for confrontation. Can a genuinely nice, quiet guy make it as Assembly speaker? We’ll see. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Sacramento County elections office suffers from ‘significant’ issues, report says – Sacramento County’s elections office, reeling from errors during the 2014 campaign season, suffers from “significant communication, teamwork and morale issues,” according to a new independent review. Sacramento Bee article 

Sacramento mayoral candidate Angelique Ashby relied on bad data for crime claim – Sacramento Councilwoman Angelique Ashby has promoted herself as the public safety candidate in her run for mayor. She has repeatedly said that crime in her district was cut nearly in half during her first term in office. However, after The Sacramento Bee questioned those numbers last week, Ashby acknowledged Monday that she relied on inaccurate crime statistics provided by police and that the crime reduction in her district was far lower than the 48 percent drop she has cited. Sacramento Bee article 

Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy raise money near California Capitol — Moments before the California Assembly swore-in Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Democrat from Lakewood, House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, made a brief stop near the Capitol. Joining Ryan at the fundraiser were House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden and members of the California delegation. Proceeds will go to House incumbents in their re-election campaigns as well as Ryan’s and McCarthy’s leadership PACs. Sacramento Bee article 

Richard Beene: Bakersfield Observed: Breakfast observations with speaker of the House – Accompanied by our own Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker Paul Ryan is making a swing through California to raise money for House Republicans. Early Monday morning, as a light rain fell on Bakersfield, I drove to Milt’s Coffee Shop off Olive Drive to have breakfast with Ryan, McCarthy and McCarthy’s son, Connor. Bakersfield Observed in Bakersfield Californian

Capitol Weekly Podcast – Rough and Tumble’s Jack Kavanagh stops by the lavish offices of Capitol Weekly for a chat with John Howard and Tim Foster about journalism, the internet, and why you won’t find The Economist on R&T. Capitol Weekly Podcast 

Assemblywoman amends disclosure to cut cost of Taiwan trip – Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia announced Monday that she accidentally overstated the value of travel she listed on economic interest disclosure forms filed last week. Sacramento Bee article 

Supreme Court upholds same-sex adoptions – In a victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court has upheld the principle that people who adopt a child in one state have a right to have the adoption honored in another state. San Francisco Chronicle article

Supreme Court decision on marijuana legalization delayed again — The Supreme Court of the United States has again delayed any decision regarding the future of legal marijuana in the United States. San Francisco Chronicle article

Nancy Reagan funeral is Friday; public viewing is Wednesday and Thursday – Nancy Reagan will be buried next to her husband Friday during a private funeral at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, officials announced Monday. The library also announced the public will have a chance to pay their last respects before the funeral. LA Times article 

George Skelton: As first lady Nancy Reagan sought to protect president’s legacy — Ronald and Nancy Reagan were arguably the best president-first lady team in history. Certainly they were in our lifetimes. As a team, they functioned in unison. Their talents complemented each other. They were interdependent. And, of course, they were deeply in love.Skelton column in LA Times

More Latinos seek citizenship to vote against Trump — Donald J. Trump’s harsh campaign rhetoric against Mexican immigrants has helped him win a substantial delegate lead in the Republican primary, but it is also mobilizing a different set of likely voters — six of them alone in the family of Hortensia Villegas. New York Times article 

Joe Altschule: The GOP lets loose its Kraken — The decades spent by the GOP elite tossing all that political red meat to their base in order to secure their votes has now come back to rupture the party. While the elites made one unsustainable promise after another, the base seethed because they finally saw that they were only getting empty lip service. Gays in the military, continued abortion rights, money for Planned Parenthood, gay marriage, all didn’t go their way. So the Kraken was finally loosed on the GOP, and it’s the con man Donald Trump. Altschule column in Visalia Time-Delta 

Tom Fife: History may yet proclaim Mitt as man who destroyed the GOP — Yes, I voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 but, naturally, I’ve also always looked for the side of Mitt the gentleman described that day so many years ago. Yes, now I see it and it really is ugly. Fife column in Visalia Times-Delta

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Poll shows majority support – but not enough – for Kern library tax — A new poll on a possible Kern County library tax paints a grim picture of the measure’s ballot chances, but supporters still say their goal is reachable. The poll, commissioned by the county, found only 60 percent support from voters educated about the tax, shy of the 66.7 percent needed to pass. Bakersfield Californian article 

Rising cases of horrific abuse push Valley Children’s Hospital to increase care — Dr. Philip Hyden has seen a lot over nearly 30 years of treating abused children, but nothing like what is happening to kids in the Central Valley. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Brand unveils financial perks for verifiable Fresno job-creation — Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand is rolling out a program of fee reductions and other financial incentives for job-creating businesses that he hopes will spur industrial growth citywide and boost commercial development in some of Fresno’s economically disadvantaged areas. Fresno Bee article 

Cheaper gas, fuel-efficient cars to hit Bakersfield gas tax revenue — Bakersfield’s share of state gas tax revenue could drop by an estimated $185,000 during the next fiscal year, Finance Director Nelson Smith said recently, but the city should be able to make up the difference through conservative budgeting. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno’s gas price is going up, but remains below past years – Fresno-area prices for gasoline are on the rise again, according to’s daily survey. The price for a gallon of unleaded regular rose 6.3 cents in the past week in Fresno, compared to a national rise of 6.8 cents. Fresno Bee article 

Empty Vons to reopen as Asia Supermarket in central Fresno — The empty Vons grocery store near Blackstone and Ashlan avenues will reopen soon as Asia Supermarket. The store will be a second location for Asia Supermarket, already at Tulare and Chestnut avenues. The Blackstone store is double the size of the existing store and is expected to open by the end of March. Fresno Bee article

Jeff Jardine: Star-spangled snafu in step with Modesto’s financial fumbles – A simple request by a Navy veteran living on Modesto’s west side cuts right to the core of why the city failed twice to pass a general tax pitched to put more cops and firefighters on the streets: The city lacks credibility when it comes to managing some of its finances. Jardine column in Modesto Bee 

After 60 years in Turlock, MedicAlert is moving to Salida – MedicAlert of Turlock is pulling up stakes and moving its corporate offices and operations to a leased building in Salida. Within a week and a half, MedicAlert will have its entire staff working in a 15,000-square-foot building on Pirrone Court, near Highway 99, behind Brandman University, a spokesman said. Modesto Bee article 

Food bank under new leadership – The Board of Directors of the Emergency Food Bank of Stockton and San Joaquin County announced Ray Call will serve as interim executive director while the search for a new executive director continues. He will replace Executive Director Mario Supnet, who has been terminated by the food bank’s board of directors. Stockton Record article 

How an emergency declaration over LA’s homeless became a game of ‘hot-potato keep-away’ – In November, as a forecast of severe winter weather seemed to threaten Los Angeles’ homeless population, activists clamoring for Mayor Eric Garcetti to declare a citywide state of emergency had little luck. Garcetti resisted the idea of an emergency proclamation — a move that would enable him to assume broader executive and police powers in the fight against homelessness — describing it as a “rabbit hole” that risked distracting from long-term solutions to the plight of thousands who live on L.A.’s streets. LA Times article 

Supervisor pushes San Francisco to speed building of homeless shelters – In what could prompt a dramatic shake-up in the way San Francisco handles its persistent homeless problem, Supervisor David Campos on Tuesday will ask the Board of Supervisors to declare a shelter crisis to make it easier to turn city land into homeless shelters.  San Francisco Chronicle article 

Homeless man hands out resumes and lands a job — A homeless man Frederick Callison, 52, has been sitting outside Smart & Final in Sacramento for two years, but he wasn’t looking for money. He was seeking work — and his patience has finally paid off, with help from one man. Bakersfield Californian article 

Hometown Buffet’s parent company declares bankruptcy – Hometown Buffet’s parent company filed bankruptcy Monday, and the Merced location was closed for “asset inventory” as employees loaded moving trucks with restaurant equipment. Merced Sun-Star article

LA city controller criticizes bidding process in airport contracts worth $593 million — Though city policy calls for three bidders per competitive contract, the Los Angeles airport department has been awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in work to companies based on only one or two bids, according to a new audit released Monday. LA Times article

Storms filling up northern California lakes and reservoirs – The early March deluge is arriving just in time across the Bay Area, the Sierra Nevada and throughout Northern California. Across the board, the effects are immediate, and more rain and snow are on the way. Reports from near and far indicate that outdoor recreation will benefit for months to come. This comes just as the state was drying out. San Francisco Chronicle articleSan Jose Mercury News article 

There’s a cancer-causing chemical in my drinking water, but California isn’t regulating it – According to the State Water Resources Control Board, 1,2,3-TCP has been found in about a hundred public water systems across California, mostly in the Central Valley but also in counties like Santa Cruz, Monterey, Sacramento, and Los Angeles. But many Californians don’t know whether this stuff is in their water, because neither the state nor the federal EPA regulates 1,2,3-TCP in drinking water. So that means public utilities don’t have to test for it, filter it out, or advise their customers if it’s in the water. KQED report

California growers see dramatic drop in walnut prices – California growers have seen a dramatic drop in walnut prices more than 50 percent for some varieties and supply has outpaced demand. Almost all walnuts grown in the U.S. come from California and San Joaquin County led the state last year with a half billion dollar crop. Capital Public Radio report

Delta smelt populations plummet for second year in a row — Populations of the threatened Delta smelt have plummeted to the lowest in history.  The three-inch fish is often the focus of California’s water wars. Capital Public Radio report 

Clovis Council OK’s use of channel to carry recycled water to river – Clovis City Council members approved a resolution that will allow the city to send highly treated sewer water into a neighborhood north of Clovis over some residents’ opposition. Fresno Bee article

Homeowners asked to look for insect invader – State and local farm officials hope to enlist homeowners and farmers statewide in the hunt for the Asian citrus psyllid, an invasive crop pest that can carry a disease fatal to citrus trees. Stockton Record article

Steady rainfall sends Sacramento totals in the right direction – A weekend of rain has boosted seasonal totals back toward where they are supposed to be as a much-needed shot of precipitation drenched the Sacramento region. When the rain began Friday night, the Sacramento region stood at 68 percent of normal for the rainfall year, which begins Oct. 1. By late Sunday night, the area was at 80 percent of normal. Sacramento Bee article

Folsom Lake water releases rise as rain continues — With El Niño rains returning in earnest, dam operators ramped up water releases Monday from Folsom Lake as a precaution against flooding. They will double the intensity of the releases early Tuesday. Sacramento Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Stranger than fiction: Police officer pens ‘Savage Justice’ novel based on true Clovis events with his K9 partner — Former Clovis Police officer and K9 handler Dustin Dodd never thought he’d be a published author. But some of the “stranger than fiction” occurrences and “bizarre calls for service” he encountered during his 14 years with the department were too interesting to keep to himself, he said. Clovis Independent article 

Closing arguments focus on alleged victim’s believability in sexual assault case –

A prosecutor in the case against a correctional officer accused of sexually assaulting a teen inmate at Juvenile Hall told a jury these cases are difficult because they occur in private with no witnesses. Bakersfield Californian article 

Howard Greenwald: Cameras aren’t a guarantee against police excessive force – The professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy as USC writes, “Reducing conflict between police and communities will require something more than cameras – trust and collaboration. Toward this end, police departments in Los Angeles, San Francisco and elsewhere have launched mediation programs that put community members and officers face to face to discuss complaints.” Greenwald op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

LA County sheriff’s deputies who made false statements continue to draw paychecks —  The sheriff’s deputy needed to be fired, his supervisor decided. Daniel Genao was popular with his colleagues and had never been in serious trouble before. But he had made false statements on police reports, writing that there was a gun in a suspect’s waistband when the weapon was actually behind a nearby planter. LA Times article


Marek Warszawski: Return of wrestling leaves Fresno State grappling with finances – The question isn’t whether Fresno State can hire a top-notch wrestling coach. By all indications, the line of quality applicants will be longer than opening night at “Star Wars.” Nor is there any doubt the Bulldogs will be nationally competitive right away. Wrestling is so underserved at Division I – particularly in California – the new coach won’t be recruiting talent so much as gathering it. But can Fresno State afford to become a 21-sport family, at least without hurting the other 19 members? Warszawski in Fresno Bee

Karin Klein: California needs skilled teachers for Common Core to succeed – The freelance journalist in Orange County writes, “Common Core should have been phased in, starting in kindergarten and adding grades each year. We’d have better prepared students, and time to build a corps of better-prepared teachers who feel comfortable preparing the thinkers of tomorrow instead of ordering them what to think.” Klein op-ed in Sacramento Bee

UC Merced to host rural justice seminar — A wide-ranging seminar planned this week at UC Merced is set to cover advocacy for rural communities and bring researchers into the effort, according to organizers. Merced Sun-Star article

Childhood literacy: Reading tales to tails — The 10-year-old Maltese-poodle mix is one of six canines that participate in Lodi Public Library’s Paws to Read program, which encourages children to practice their reading skills by reading aloud to licensed therapy dogs. Stockton Record article


Oklahoma puts limits on oil and gas wells to fight quakes – Facing a six-year barrage of increasingly large earthquakes, Oklahoma regulators are effectively ordering the state’s powerful oil-and-gas industry to substantially cut back the underground disposal of industry wastes that have caused the tremors across the state. New York Times article 

Judge gives PG&E three-week delay in San Bruno blast trial – A federal judge granted Pacific Gas & Electric Co. a postponement of at least three weeks Monday in the utility’s criminal trial on charges of violating safety laws in inspecting and keeping records on natural gas pipelines. San Francisco Chronicle article

Hope floats in hyacinth fight – Could 2016 be the year that the tide turns against water hyacinth? With annual spraying of the invasive Delta weed expected to begin on Thursday, state officials say they’re hoping for a reduced crop this year. Stockton Record article 

Deadly superbugs from hospitals get stronger in sewers and could end up in Pacific Ocean — Every day Southern California hospitals unleash millions of gallons of raw sewage into municipal sewers. The malodorous muck flows miles to one of the region’s sewage plants, where it is treated with the rest of the area’s waste and then released as clear water into a stream or directly to the Pacific. LA Times article

Health/Human Services

Big drop in chemical levels in girls who switched cosmetics — Teenage girls who switched cosmetics for just three days had a big drop in certain chemicals in their bodies, according to a new study from researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas. KQED report

Valley Children’s Hospital works to make cancer fight easier – Valley Children’s Hospital doctors see an average of three or four youngsters each year who have some form of neuroblastoma. Those patients go through a series of treatments that can include extended stays in the hospital. Fresno Bee article

Carmen George: 12 children, 7 disabilities and 1 big happy Clovis family — Bryan and Tamera Wong of Clovis once had a very different plan for their life together. The accountant and behavior analyst anticipated having two children and Tamera driving a convertible. But God had a different plan, they say, and it’s far better. The couple has 12 children. Eight are adopted – seven with disabilities. Tamera drives a van that can seat 15 people, and she couldn’t be happier. George in Fresno Bee 

Kids Day is Tuesday; fundraising goal set at $550,000 — The 29th edition of Kids Day will be on sale Tuesday, with thousands of volunteers lining streets in the San Joaquin Valley selling special editions of The Bee. Their goal: raise $550,000 for Valley Children’s Hospital. Fresno Bee article

Thinking about a C-section? Here’s why your hospital may say no – At hospitals across California, administrators are pushing doctors to perform fewer caesarean deliveries, hiring birth coaches and asking pregnant women to stay in labor longer. LA Times article

Latinas’ cancer risk rises with meat eating, study suggests – In one of the few studies to analyze meat consumption among Latinas, researchers from the University of Southern California discovered that Latinas may be more likely than white women to develop cancer from eating processed meats such as sausage and bacon. Sacramento Bee article 

Ronald McDonald House selects new executive director – Ronald McDonald House Charities Central Valley has appointed Kent Karsever as its new executive director effect Feb. 1. The Business Journal article

As measures of health, fitness and fatness matter more than weight — Researchers are nurturing a growing suspicion that body mass index, the height-weight calculation that distinguishes those with “normal healthy weight” from the overweight and obese, is not the whole picture when it comes to telling who is healthy and who is not. Two new studies drive that point home and underscore that BMI offers an incomplete picture of an individual’s health. LA Times article


14 hurt as commuter train derails – no ACE service Thursday — An Altamont Corridor Express train full of Silicon Valley commuters derailed Monday evening northeast of Fremont, injuring 14 passengers — four seriously — as the first car apparently slammed into a tree that had fallen across the tracks before plunging into a rain-swollen creek in rural Niles Canyon, authorities said. San Francisco Chronicle articleStockton Record articleLA Times article

Other areas

Merced names new city attorney — Merced City Council on Monday named the new city attorney, who most recently worked in Huntington Beach. Unanimously approved by the council, Jennifer McGrath is set to take the office in two weeks and has more than 20 years of experience in municipal law. Merced Sun-Star article

‘American Pickers’ films at century-old home in Oakdale — There’s a lot of history in a 113-year-old home on Oakdale’s West F Street; the hosts of the History Channel’s “American Pickers” went through all of it on Monday. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Time for explanation and examination at UC; Nancy Reagan set the standard for first ladies.

Sacramento Bee – New Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon offers a new era of stability.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers on Dr. Joseph Gordon “Skip” Spracher, damage to the Wilson Way bridge and other issues.

Community Events

  • The International Green Industry Hall of Fame will hold its sixth annual conference and induction ceremony at Buchanan High School in Clovis on March 9. Registration information is available here.
  • The 2016 San Joaquin Valley Parks Summit will be held at Bitwise South Stadium in Fresno on Thursday, May 12, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Registration launches March 1.  More information: Jenna Chilingerian at


Next 10: UPDATED California budget challenge – For the first time in a decade, California’s budget is largely in balance.  However, the state has outstanding debts of $28 million, not counting long-term pension and retiree health care costs.  Budget choices affect us all.  Take the Challenge and decide how much should be spent on programs and where the money should come from.  Next 10 California Budget Challenge 

Next 10: Federal budget challenge — The Federal Budget Challenge is based on The Concord Coalition’s Principles and Priorities budget exercise, which has been used in numerous town hall meetings across the country by members of Congress from both parties, as well as in hundreds of high school and college classrooms.  Next 10 Federal Budget challenge at

Next 10: California Water Challenge – As our state faces some of the most severe drought conditions in its history, Next 10 wants to issue a new challenge to Californians: can you create a plan to make sure there’s enough water for everyone?  Next 10 California Water Challenge

LEGISLATORS’ VOTING RECORDS: How often has a California legislator broken party ranks, abstained or switched sides? The Sacramento Bee has a database of the voting records of every member of the state Senate and Assembly. Enter a lawmaker’s last and first names to see how he or she voted, or enter a bill number to see how every legislator voted on it. Check it out at this link.

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