May 1, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Dan Walters:  Help struggling students or pay teachers salaries? California’s education war continues — Just a month ago, Public Advocates and others sued Long Beach Unified on behalf of parents over the same issue, saying money is not being concentrated on kids needing extra attention. And a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California finds that despite spending billions on LCFF grants, test results “are especially troubling because they indicate that disadvantaged students are falling further behind.” That’s why next year’s race for state superintendent of education is – or at least should be – important. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Amid immigration setbacks, one Trump strategy seems to be working: Fear — One strategy that seems to be working well is fear. The number of migrants, legal and illegal, crossing into the United States has dropped markedly since Trump took office, while recent declines in the number of deportations have been reversed. Washington Post article

Other areas

Companies would face tighter environmental restrictions in California under new cap-and-trade proposal — Senate Democrats will announce a new proposal on Monday to toughen California’s cap-and-trade program in hopes of providing a more dependable revenue stream and greater incentives for industries to clean up their operations. LA Times article

George Skelton: It’s time for legislators and DMV to crack down on disabled parking cheats — Parking cheats are not the world’s biggest problem, but they do frustrate the daily lives of many motorists who respect the law and play by the rules.  Skelton column in LA Times

Revised GOP health bill could imperil coverage for sick plan members – The latest proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act has become a much harder sell for Republican moderates who will determine whether the bill passes the House of Representatives in a possible vote later this week. McClatchy Newspapers article

NAACP forum: Mostly civil, some sparks – Elected officials representing Stockton at the local, state and federal level answered a variety of questions from a small, friendly audience Sunday afternoon during a town hall meeting hosted by the NAACP Stockton Branch. Stockton Record article

Left, right Berkeley protestors display civility along with signs – If the two sides in Berkeley’s free speech war ever put down their shields and talk to each other instead of yelling at each other, they might find they have more in common than they thought. San Francisco Chronicle article

With Obama, Clinton gone, GOP revives Pelosi as boogeyman — Move over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Republicans have a new campaign boogeyman. Well, sort of new. It’s more of an encore for Nancy Pelosi, the 77-year-old House Democratic leader who spent four years as the nation’s first female speaker, lost her majority in 2010 and now wants the gavel again. AP article

Congressional negotiators reach $1-trillion deal to fund government but provide little for Trump’s priorities — Congressional negotiators reached a bipartisan deal late Sunday to fund the federal government through September, easing the threat of a shutdown but denying President Trump several key priorities — including money for his promised border wall with Mexico. LA Times article

Presidential Politics

Trump discards Obama legacy, one rule at a time — The president has used an obscure law as a regulatory wrecking ball, signing 13 bills to erase Obama-era rules. In the law’s 21-year history, it had been used successfully only once before. New York Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories – Top Stories

Amid labor shortages, farmworkers are coming to Valley, and they have visas – Facing a shrinking pool of farm labor in the Trump era, some citrus growers in the San Joaquin Valley have turned to a labor contractor who brings in farmworkers from Mexico under a temporary agricultural worker program. Leaders in agriculture acknowledge that the program makes the migrant workers legal under federal law, but they say it won’t create a big enough workforce. Fresno Bee article

Drought’s over, rules aren’t. How local water providers are responding — With the drought officially over, and a modest spring heat wave expected this week, it might seem like a reasonable time to rediscover your sprinkler control box and crank up outdoor irrigation. But be warned: Government doesn’t always change as fast as the weather. Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy

New York pension systems outperform California — New York state pension systems are better funded than California state pension systems, currently take a smaller bite out of state and local government budgets, and still provide pension benefits well above the national average. How do they do it? Calpensions article


Heat wave melting record snowpack in California — Forecasters expect at least one California river to hit flood stage later this week as a heat wave melts record snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Sunday they expect the Merced River in Yosemite National Park to go about a foot over its banks on Wednesday. AP article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Visalia draws a line in the sand – There are more than 36 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. To bring awareness to the issue, Visalia Rotary Clubs will host an art installation sweeping the nation — the Red Sand Project. Participants will be asked to fill sidewalk cracks in downtown Visalia with red sand. Visalia Times-Delta article

Traci Gillian: Drunken driving, Cinco de Mayo a bad mix — Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching. This is one of my favorite holidays and I’m getting ready to celebrate with some tacos! Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It has evolved over the years into a popular celebration, especially among young adults, of all ethnic heritages and cultures. Like a lot of holiday celebrations, often these festivities include alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, many partygoers drink alcohol and drive impaired, unnecessarily risking their lives and the lives of others. As you plan your celebrations, let’s address some safety concerns. Gillian column in Fresno Bee

How many drugs does the Police Department collect on take back day? — In just half a day on Saturday, the Sacramento Police Department collected 1,048 pounds of prescription drugs. The department had to shut down its Drug Take Back Day an hour early because it ran out of storage space for the drugs, police spokesman Officer Matt McPhail said Sunday. Sacramento Bee article


Janet Napolitano braces for showdown in Sacramento over UC ‘slush fund’ — he state has hammered UC with audits about its spending and admissions practices during Napolitano’s tenure, and some lawmakers have tried to strip away some of the university system’s autonomy from state government. The latest battle with the state is over an audit requested by state lawmakers — Assemblymen Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento — that found hidden reserves totaling $175 million, a figure UC disputes. San Jose Mercury News article

Financial aid is key to the final and often tough choice of colleges — Such a decision process can be difficult for all students and parents as they examine grants and whether they need to consider loans. But experts say the choices can be especially stressful for students from low-income families with little history of college attendance. EdSource article

Modesto trustee split finalized – west side will wait – Modesto City Schools’ split to trustee areas cleared its last hurdle in time for voters in the north, central and east areas of Modesto’s sprawling high school district to choose representatives later this year. Voters in the south and west, however, will wait until at least 2019 for an area seatModesto Bee article

She got into UC Berkeley, but joy turned to fear when she saw vaccine policy — High school senior Madeline Scott was so excited when she received the acceptance text from UC Berkeley that she called her mother immediately. “I got into UC Berkeley,” she gushed. The euphoria didn’t last. Sacramento Bee article

Shaming children so parents will pay school lunch bill – As school districts struggle under the burden of unpaid lunch debt, many of them resort to tactics that stigmatize children. New York Times article

Salida preschoolers ride to fight cancer — In what might arguably be the youngest community service assignment in the nation, Tender Years Preschool students triked up a storm to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and feel good helping others. Modesto Bee article


California mammoth snowstorms take a toll on Sierra wildlife — California’s mammoth snow drifts, a welcome sight following five years of harsh drought, have killed off dozens of endangered bighorn sheep, lengthened hibernation for bears and should cause some hikers to think twice before seeking high Sierra adventures, officials say.  AP article

Canada’s climate minister talks jobs, California cap-and-trade — Canada and California are partners in the fight against global warming. And Canada’s top climate official, Catherine McKenna, hopes the Trump administration doesn’t entirely abandon the cause. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services

Amy Shuklian: Mental health: Seek help if necessary – The Tulare County supervisor writes, “Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency wants everyone to know that mental illness is a real illness (not a weakness), recovery is possible, and even if you or someone you love is engaging in risky behavior, help is available. It is important to understand early symptoms of mental illness and know when certain behaviors could indicate signs of something more serious.” Shuklian op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta


Could BART train terror be replayed on Sacramento light rail? — Nothing as dramatic as the BART incident has happened on Sacramento Regional Transit light rail. But something similar could happen here, RT’s security chief acknowledges. It might actually be easier for thieves to swarm a train here, since RT stations have no gates to keep nonpaying customers out. (A closed system was too expensive to build). Sacramento Bee article

Jack Ohman: When driverless cars meet Sacramento’s mean streets, look both ways — Autonomous vehicle promoters assure us that these rigs are perfectly safe. But planes plummet, trains derail and old-fashioned cars without Miracle Silicon Valley Technology © crash all the time. Ohman column in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

Thousands visit first cannabis fair in Merced – The event, Merced’s first-ever cannabis-oriented fair, entertained about 50 booths of local and national vendors such as Healing Solutions, A1 Hydroponics and PITG Worldwide. There were no marijuana sales at the fair, and there was no marijuana smoking allowed. However, visitors could buy marijuana accessories, such as pipes, plant solutions and pesticides, and educational materials. Merced Sun-Star article

Serve Fresno draws 1,200 volunteers — Jodi Harper is a survivor of domestic violence. So, when the Neighborhood Church member saw an opportunity to serve, clean and beautify a local battered men and women’s shelter, she jumped onboard. Harper joined upward of 1,200 men, women and children who took a break from their typical Sunday church service and spent the day serving their community. Visalia Times-Delta article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Powerful teachers’ unions have protected two-year tenure in California for decades, fending off legislative attempts and a 2005 initiative. This year, several education-oriented groups are backing Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s legislation to tighten tenure.