May 11, 2015


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Political Briefs

Top stories

Gov. Jerry Brown to boost school spending amid surplus — Lawmakers expect Gov. Jerry Brown to suggest spending more tax dollars on public schools and community colleges while asking for more money to be set aside for a rainy day when he releases his updated budget this week. But with a growing $3 billion surplus, Democrats who control the Legislature will jockey to increase funding for child care, higher education and other social programs. AP article

Growing California cap-and-trade fund attracts surge of funding proposals — With California’s growing cap-and-trade program expected to yield a budgetary bonanza, lawmakers and interest groups have ample ideas for how to spend the money. Floating proposals ahead of a pivotal period for budget negotiations, they say they want to fund port improvements, pay for heavy-duty trucks and ferries, nurture urban rivers, sponge up carbon in soil and provide discounted bus passes. Sacramento Bee article


Cultural, legal shifts nudging immigrants in California out of shadows —  Today, the uncertainty Hernandez felt when he was in school is greatly diminished as new laws have chipped away at the stigma associated with being an undocumented immigrant. But more importantly, the proliferation of such laws has made it safer for undocumented immigrants to live their lives openly. Without fear. LA Times article

Other areas

Dan Walters: Workers’ comp bill sparks new battle in California — Three years ago, the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown enacted a significant overhaul of California’s multibillion-dollar system of compensating workers for job-related injuries and illnesses. It followed a well-established pattern in workers’ compensation politics. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee: Abstention is no substitute for clear policy — Californians shouldn’t have to guess where their lawmakers stand on major issues, especially public health. Sacramento Bee editorial

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Briefs

Top Stories

Stockton: Housing shortage possible if growth continues – An interesting thing happened as Stockton added more new residents than all but five California cities in 2014. Actually, it’s what didn’t happen that was interesting. Virtually no new housing was built. Stockton Record article

The best and worst places to grow up: How your area compares — Fresno County is extremely bad for income mobility for children in poor families. It is among the worst counties in the U.S. Location matters – enormously. If you’re poor and live in the Fresno area, it’s better to be in Madera County than in Tulare County or Fresno County. Not only that, the younger you are when you move to Madera, the better you will do on average. Children who move at earlier ages are less likely to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn more.New York Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Fresno Bee: It’s time to invite Valley to recovery party – Gov. Brown must not forget that for swaths of California “happy days” are not yet here. We’ve never recovered our job losses, we’re still suffering from reduced government services (such as police protection) and it seems as if the folks only think about us when they’re thirsty. It’s time to invite us to the party, governor. Fresno Bee editorial

Valley industrial real estate market on the upswing – After years of stagnation, the Fresno-area industrial market is on the upswing as the economy strengthens and businesses grow confident enough to make a move or expand. Fresno Bee article

Why homebuyers face a tough spring – Eager to buy your first home this spring? Already own, but want to trade up? Be warned: there’ll be plenty of competition Bidding wars have broken out in hot real-estate markets like Denver and Los Angeles, where there aren’t enough houses to meet demand. The lack of supply is a key reason home sales nationwide have yet to return to healthy levels following the housing collapse in 2008. AP article

Businesses cool to Garcetti’s minimum wage plan – With the proposed minimum wage hike heading to the City Council for a vote, some of the small-business owners who backed Garcetti’s first mayoral bid are having misgivings. The mayor, they say, should have done more to get the word out about his proposal. LA Times article

Schools want spotlight on huge CalSTRS rate hike – The push back from schools hit with a huge CalSTRS rate increase, expected to be an additional $3.7 billion a year when fully phased in, is not that it’s unaffordable and will hurt students or unfairly lets the state and teachers off the hook. Calpensions article

Lodi prepares for bike race, onlookers – Billy Gonzalez has been focusing on the race for the past half year since learning that Lodi would be hosting the second stage finish line. The longtime city employee, who is the Hutchins Street Square facilities supervisor, said he has been told to expect anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 spectators today. Stockton Record article

Oakland port moves past labor slowdown, but faces other competitive threats – The Port of Oakland has begun to extricate itself from the short-term problem of the tremendous cargo backlog that built up during a months-long labor dispute, but the East Bay cargo hub, along with the other two major seaports in California, must now navigate long-term competitive challenges.San Jose Mercury News article

Funding denied for Young at Heart senior exercise classes in outlying cities — Teachers and students in a Friday exercise class at Oakdale’s Gladys Lemmons Senior Center had not yet received word that funding for the program will end in June. Modesto Bee article


George Skelton: A million hours and still not shovel ready – Gov. Jerry Brown says critics of his water tunnel plan who haven’t spent 1 million hours studying it — as his administration has — should just shut up. Well, that bait is too tempting to resist. Skelton column in LA Times

Monday Q&A: Utilities director discusses Modesto’s water situation – Utilities Director Larry Parlin probably oversees Modesto’s most important department as California weathers a fourth year of a dismal drought. His department is responsible for making sure the city’s homeowners, businesses, schools and everyone else have water. The Modesto Bee recently spoke with Parlin about how Modesto is coping with the drought.  Modesto Bee article

Bottled water business in California grows despite drought — A new Crystal Geyser Water Co. plant opening at the foot of Mount Shasta is adding to criticism of companies that are bottling water in California’s drought. AP article; San Francisco Chronicle article

California pool, hot tub bans have industries steaming — As cities and water districts put the squeeze on water users, even pool lovers are canceling construction contracts. Pool builders are steamed, accusing water officials of stressing symbolism over science. And contractors are getting increasingly creative in finding sources of water for pools that cities won’t fill.  San Jose Mercury News article

Facing drought cuts, Newport Beach gets tough on water use — Newport Beach may soon enforce stricter water conservation measures for local residents and businesses.  LA Times article

Jack Ohman: Dealing with the drought, but starting to dream about water — We are all aware, except for Los Angeles, that there’s a water crisis in California, and that we all have to do our part to conserve this precious natural resource. Ohman column in Sacramento Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Future correctional officers go through boot camp — Forty-eight cadets are undergoing rigorous physical training, weeks away from their families, hours of classroom learning, and an adjustment to strict structure in Stockton. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Stockton Training Center is hosting its first academy for new youth correctional counselors and officers in about seven years. And it’s been four years since its Division of Juvenile Justice has had a cadet academy.  Stockton Record article

With body cameras rolling, police use less force — Cameras strapped to police don’t just record bad behavior by officers or people confronted in the field — they often stop the rough stuff from even beginning. As San Francisco moves toward equipping all of its officers with body cameras, police departments big and small, from Oakland on down to Menlo Park, are reporting huge drops in use-of-force incidents as well as citizen complaints since they began using the devices. San Francisco Chronicle article

Judge: Jail postcard-only rule unconstitutional — San Diego County jail inmates can receive letters in envelopes again, starting next week, under a federal judge’s ruling that a Sheriff’s Department policy limiting personal mail to postcards is unconstitutional. U-T San Diego article


Enrollment in state pre-K inches up but disparities remain – Enrollment in state pre-kindergarten programs inched up slightly last year, but there’s been little change in the overall percentage of children participating in the programs, according to a national study on early education released Monday. The report found wide disparities among states. AP article

Heald students were willing to pay more for convenience, access – Despite cheaper courses at community colleges and many public four-year universities, Heald College students borrowed tens of thousands of dollars for what they believed would be a fast track to a decent job. Sacramento Bee article

Teachers unions battle court ruling on tenure laws – The fate of nearly a century of job-security protections for California teachers is in the hands of a state appellate court, which is preparing to review a judge’s bombshell ruling that found tenure and seniority laws protect incompetent instructors, serve no educational purpose and, in particular, discriminate against poor and minority students. San Francisco Chronicle article

Jose Gaspar: Mira Monte controversy exposes district’s diversity problem — The controversy surrounding Jaime Quiñonez’s tenure as principal of Mira Monte High is revealing larger problems in the whole Kern High School District, and now it’s subject of litigation. Gaspar column in Bakersfield Californian

‘We’ve got to remember this isn’t a race’ in implementing Common Core – Dean Vogel is the outgoing president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association, the state’s largest labor union. Before becoming CTA president in 2011, Vogel served as the organization’s vice president and secretary-treasurer, following more than three decades as a teacher and counselor in the Vacaville Unified School District in Solano County. He will step down in June, when current CTA Vice President Eric C. Heins will take over. EdSource article

Merced City School District plans summer program — The program provides help for students who want to improve reading and math skills, and includes projects involving science, technology, engineering, math and arts, according to a district press release. Merced Sun-Star article


Azizza Goines and Michael Chan: Keep spreading the wealth in California’s clean energy boom – Goines, president and CEO of Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, and Chan, president of ASIAN Inc., write, “As leaders of the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce and ASIAN, Inc., we’ve too often seen our members left on the sidelines when a new industry starts to boom. This time, our state’s growing Latino, African American and Asian American communities are in the thick of things, and we’re seeing the difference.”  Goines/Chan op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Waterford adds electric cycles to motor pool The city’s goal of improving the trails along the Tuolumne River was the key reason it applied for a grant to purchase a couple of electric motorcycles for Waterford Police Services, Chief Mike Radford said Friday. Modesto Bee article

Visalia council to tour sewage treatment plant — The Visalia City Council will hold a special meeting on Monday, but it will not be at the group’s downtown meeting chamber. Instead, the five Council members will meet just west of the city at the Visalia Water Conservation Plant, which currently is undergoing a $140 million upgrade. Visalia Times-Delta article

Health/Human Services

New blood tests, liquid biopsies may transfer cancer care – A new type of blood test is starting to transform cancer treatment, sparing some patients the surgical and needle biopsies long needed to guide their care. AP article

Cost of dental care can add up fast – and insurance may not cover it — Taking care of your teeth doesn’t come cheap. Just ask Holly Kabrin. She expects to spend at least $1,000 to have her daughter’s wisdom teeth removed. And she’s still making payments on a $600 bill from a dental crown she got last year.  LA Times article


Ask TBC: What might the high-speed rail travel times, fares be? — We’ve worked up two graphics, one showing what specific fares may look like, the other showing travel times through a sample train schedule. They are from the rail authority’s business plans. Bakersfield Californian article

Self-driving cars getting dinged in California – Four of the nearly 50 self-driving cars now rolling around California have gotten into accidents since September, when the state began issuing permits for companies to test them on public roads. AP article

Sacramento air passenger traffic increases for 12 months in a row – For the first time since 2007, passenger traffic at Sacramento International Airport has increased for 12 straight months, officials said recently. Sacramento Bee article

San Francisco commuters snub public transit for $6 bus ride – The compact city that inspired ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft is offering a new way to get to work: fancy $6 big-bus rides with spacious seating, free Wi-Fi and attendants who deliver snacks. AP article

I-280 near Mission Bay would be razed in Caltrans tunnel plan — San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is quietly shopping plans to tear down Interstate 280 at Mission Bay and build an underground rail tunnel through the area — complete with a station between the proposed Warriors arena and AT&T Park. San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Modesto eyes temporary ban on massage parlors — The city may temporarily ban new massage parlors from opening in Modesto and existing ones from expanding or relocating because of concerns over the growing number of these businesses, and human trafficking and prostitution. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Gov. Brown must not forget that for swaths of California “happy days” are not yet here. We’ve never recovered our job losses, we’re still suffering from reduced government services (such as police protection) and it seems as if the folks only think about us when they’re thirsty. It’s time to invite us to the party, governor.

Sacramento Bee – Californians shouldn’t have to guess where their lawmakers stand on major issues, especially public health.