May 13, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

California irrigation-drainage disputes targeted in new bill – California’s tireless water warriors have something fresh to fight over, with the introduction of a bill to resolve an irrigation drainage dispute that affects three modest-sized San Joaquin Valley water districts, as well as the much bigger Westlands Water District. The bill by Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, would relieve the federal government of its duty to provide irrigation drainage, and relieve the water districts of their debt. Fresno Bee article

Registered Democratic voters up in California, GOP down – The number of registered Democratic voters in California has increased since January while Republicans lost ground, according to figures released Thursday by the secretary of state.  AP articleSacramento Bee article

California Senate suspends lobbyist fundraising restrictions — The California Senate on Thursday reversed the fundraising blackout it imposed after a series of ethical violations led to the suspension of three senators in 2014, a day before senators would have been forced to stop some fundraising just ahead of the June primary.  AP articleSacramento Bee article; LA Times article

Valley politics

Merced County DSA endorses Espinoza, Steed and Cervantes in supervisor races – Merced sheriff’s deputies want to see new blood on the County Board of Supervisors and have thrown their support behind the two challengers to longtime incumbents John Pedrozo and Hub Walsh. Merced Sun-Star article

Bakersfield Californian: Kern County judgeships: Elect Shayer, Organ-Bowles – The Bakersfield Californian recommends Tiffany Organ-Bowles and W. Steven Shayer for Kern County judgeships.  Bakersfield Californian editorial

Political scramble: Keep an eye out for absentee ballots — Attention, vote-by-mail voters: Your ballots should hit your mailboxes very soon. Absentee ballots were dropped into the mail Wednesday morning, said Kern County elections chief Karen Rhea. And there are a lot of them. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Prop 30 extension backers’ budget claims misleading – Two of their claims – displayed prominently on a posterboard next to the speakers, on a flyer distributed to reporters in a media packet, and on the campaign’s website – don’t hold up to scrutiny. Capital Public Radio report

‘Highly uncertain’ if prescription drug ballot initiative will save California money — It is “highly uncertain” how much money the state of California would save if a ballot measure to cap drug prices passes in November — and it might not save money at all. That’s the key finding in a preliminary report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. KQED report

Corruption scandals spawn ballot measure that would let lawmakers suspend colleagues without pay – Their paychecks were made possible by state law, which does not allow the Legislature to withhold wages from lawmakers who have been suspended. Next month, Californians will have a chance to decide whether to change the law with Proposition 50, which would allow legislators to hold back pay from suspended colleagues. LA Times article

Sacramento Bee: Proposition 50 is a small step on accountability — Whether Proposition 50 passes or not, it’s ultimately up to voters to use the ballot to police elected officials. Sacramento Bee editorial


Large immigration raids coming, report says — The Obama administration is planning to deport hundreds of mothers and children from Central America who are in the country illegally, Reuters reported Thursday. Immigration officials will conduct raids in May and June, expected to be the largest such sweep so far this year. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to stage the raids over 30 days across the country. McClatchy Newspapers article

Mexico warns of repercussions if remittances are blocked – If a new U.S. administration blocks the flow of remittances — the estimated $20 billion that Mexicans working in the U.S. send home each year —  then joint efforts to stop money laundering and other illicit forms of finance will be dealt a dangerous setback, a senior Mexican official warned Thursday. LA Times article

Other areas

White House to issue sweeping directive on school restroom access – Wading further into a spreading national debate, the Obama administration will tell all public school districts across the nation Friday that they should allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. McClatchy Newspapers articleNew York Times articleAP article

California Assembly encourages hybrids, punishes emissions cheaters – Seeking to curb climate-altering emissions from cars, the Assembly on Thursday passed bills to reward hybrid drivers and bolster penalties for air quality transgressions like those Volkswagen committed. Sacramento Bee article

Bill mandating rape-kit data clears California Assembly — The California Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a proposal requiring local police departments to report how many rape kits they collect and give a reason for every kit that goes untested. AP article

Lawmaker calls for scrutiny of drug makers’ role amid opioid abuse epidemic –As Congress showed bipartisan support for legislation to address the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic, a lawmaker urged colleagues Thursday to look closely at the role of pharmaceutical companies, citing a Los Angeles Times investigation into the manufacturer of OxyContin. LA Times article

Pro-Trump super PAC forms, with eye on California money – A group of Donald Trump supporters said Thursday they will raise millions of dollars into a new super PAC to support Trump’s presidential campaign, including “significant funds from California supporters.” Sacramento Bee article

Donald Trump delegates drop out after backlash in California – Mario Guerra knew he had a problem the moment the state released Donald Trump’s list of California delegates on Monday, his name on page 4. Latino activists and other politicians began calling and writing “literally within minutes,” said Guerra, a former mayor of Downey, in southeast Los Angeles County. Sacramento Bee article

Endorsement tracker: Some California Republicans still not ready for Trump – About half of the Republicans in California’s U.S. House delegation aren’t ready to say Donald Trump is their guy. LA Times article

All but 4 California House Democrats are with Clinton.  Here’s why – Four California House Democrats are keeping a tight lid on who they think should be their party’s presidential nominee. LA Times article

3 Los Banos students facing possible charges for ‘Trump’ graffiti — Three Los Banos High School students are expected to face multiple charges for tagging the school with pro-Donald Trump graffiti on Cinco de Mayo, police said. Merced Sun-Star article

Nonpartisan voters face hurdles in California presidential primary – With the presidential nominating contest about to conclude in California, elections experts are warning that voters who aren’t registered with a party could miss out on a chance to help pick the Democratic standard-bearer.  Sacramento Bee article

California Dreaming: Clinton sees big win, Sanders an upset — With the primary season’s biggest prize in play, Hillary Clinton has fashioned a strategy to reprise her 2008 victory in California when she defeated Barack Obama by running up big margins with Hispanics and women. Bernie Sanders is hoping for an upset to sustain his argument to stay in the race. AP article

See which presidential candidates are raising the most money in Sacramento – Donors in the Sacramento region have given $2.4 million in itemized donations to presidential candidates this election cycle, with about two-thirds of the donations going to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, according to the latest federal election data. Sacramento Bee article

The Coastal Commission hopes to restore public trust with its latest decision – Responding to public outcry, the California Coastal Commission on Thursday endorsed legislation that would ban private meetings and communications between individual commissioners, development interests, lobbyists, environmentalists and other parties with an interest in the planning agency’s decisions. LA Times article 

Elections chief say soda tax backers missed deadline — San Francisco’s elections director said Thursday he will reject a petition to place a sugary drink tax on the November ballot, after it missed a key deadline by one day. AP article

The Numbers Crunch: Pacific trade deal is in choppy seas – The gigantic Pacific trade pact is looking like a political orphan, even as the latest numbers show what’s at stake for California. The Numbers Crunch in Sacramento Bee

Prosecutors seek 9-year term for Islamic State wannabe from Lodi area — A sentencing memorandum filed by prosecutors asks U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez to sentence Teausant next month to nine years in prison and 16 years of supervised release when he gets out, time enough for him to seek occupational and educational training and someday make something of himself. Sacramento Bee article
California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Fresno City Council narrows focus of nuisance ordinance changes — The Fresno City Council gave its initial approval Thursday to proposed changes to ordinances dealing with neighborhood nuisances and blight, unanimously adopting suggestions by Councilman Oliver Baines that clarify the intent of the law and ease the fears of tenants-rights advocates. Fresno Bee article

State tentatively supports broadening approved oil field injection zone – State regulators voiced tentative support Thursday for allowing oil producers to continue injecting wastewater or steam into federally protected aquifers about nine miles northeast of central Bakersfield in the Round Mountain oil field. Bakersfield Californian article

Woman is first undocumented person to earn doctorate at UC Merced – Though neither of her parents made it past middle school in their home country, a 26-year-old Fresno woman is making history this month as the first undocumented student to earn a doctorate at UC Merced. Yuriana Aguilar is set to take part in two ceremonies Sunday to celebrate her degree from theQuantitative Systems Biology Program. Her research focuses on the human heart. Merced Sun-Star article

Jobs and the Economy

Kings ag jobs to grow in select positions, industries – By 2025, Kings County farm jobs are expected to transition from farm labor to specialized jobs in manufacturing and certain industries. Those predictions came from a report completed by Applied Development Economics (ADE), a research agency in Walnut Creek and presented to Kings County agriculture and business leaders recently. Hanford Sentinel article

Californian columnist affirms reasoning behind Measure F, answers naysayers – Columnist Lois Henry talks about the importance of Measure F and how it could change local libraries during last weeks radio program “First Look with Scott Cox.” Bakersfield Californian video

Hotels ramp up despite oil downturn — Room occupancy rates are down significantly from a year before, and this week the City Council learned business travel — one of the local hotel industry’s mainstays — is expected to decline further because of the downturn in oil. None of this has deterred substantial hotel construction activity around town lately, from major renovation projects to new and proposed hotels. Brands that never existed in Bakersfield, or haven’t in a long time, are spending heavily to make a big splash locally. Bakersfield Californian article

Stockton Record: Flow stops on part of Stockton water increase – We laud Stockton officials for devising ways to potentially make the rate increase more palatable. Now, let’s see what develops before that June 28 council meeting. Stockton Record editorial

100 metro areas where middle class is shrinking – The percentage of families earning middle-class incomes fell in nearly nine out of 10 major metro areas across the country between 2000 and 2014, according to new research by the Pew Research Center. New York Times article

Latest break-in last straw for downtown Fresno bicycle shop owner – The owner of a downtown Fresno bicycle shop said he is looking outside Fresno to restart his business after the latest burglary of his shop near Fulton Mall. Fresno Bee article

Clovis manufacturer rebounds from recession, eyes expansion – Hard work has certainly paid off for Anlin, which currently has revenues approaching $100 million, fueled by 350 employees working in its 200,000-square-foot plant. The number of workers has nearly doubled in the past five years as the company has rebounded from the recession and, according to Ramirez, brought back many of the staff that had to be laid off following the 2008 financial crisis. The Business Journal article

Business owners share ideas at Tehachapi Business Conference – It’s about taking gambles and working hard. It’s trying to figure out where things are headed in the next five to 10 years. It’s not knowing what you don’t know. These were among the themes of the Tehachapi Business Conference. Tehachapi News article

Tech layoffs more than double in Bay Area – In yet another sign of a slowdown in the booming Bay Area economy, tech layoffs more than doubled in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year. San Jose Mercury News article

More San Diego city retirees top $100,000 – Nearly 900 San Diego city retirees received at least $100,000 each last year, according to recently released pension data. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Airport shuttle drivers ruled to be employees, not contractors – Bao Tai Lin was one of six former American Airporter shuttle drivers who, after years of ferrying passengers to San Francisco International Airport for less than minimum wage as independent contractors, won a labor dispute this month with a decision that affirmed they were, in fact, employees eligible for full benefits and wages. The case, lawyers and labor experts said, could have wide-reaching implications for California shuttle and ride-hailing companies that overwhelmingly rely on drivers treated as independent contractors despite legal questions. San Francisco Chronicle article

Tesla tourism: Tax break proposed for out-of-staters picking up California cars — The next hot California vacation package could include the surf, wine country and a tour of the Tesla Motors factory. A Bay Area lawmaker’s bill would give tax breaks to out-of-state customers picking up their Teslas at the electric-vehicle maker’s Fremont factory. San Jose Mercury News article

California regulators approve Charter’s takeover of Time Warner Cable – Charter Communications has cleared a final regulatory hurdle in its nearly year-long quest to clinch its $71-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cableand Bright House Networks. LA Times article

Students learn about ‘good manners’ — Local adult students have a better chance of finding a job after attending a business etiquette workshop on Wednesday. Hanford Sentinel article


Supervisors’ work session dives into San Joaquin County water issues – Thursday’s work session focused on a variety of water issues facing the county, including the status of the Bay Conservation Delta Plan and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, as well as the status of litigation against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California over its acquisition of Delta wetlands properties, among other topics. Stockton Record article

Genovena Islas and Susana De Anda: Shedding light on politics of El Porvenir’s contaminated water – Islas, executive director of Cultiva La Salud, and De Anda, co-executive director of Community Water Center, write, “The recent tirade by Fresno County Board of Supervisors Chairman Buddy Mendes upset many people, but it came as no surprise to members of the San Joaquin Valley Sustainable Agriculture Collaborative. This behavior is part of a long-term pattern. It happens regularly in public meetings and more often behind closed doors when people advocate to improve conditions in their low-income communities.” Islas/De Anda op-ed in Fresno Bee

Modesto event challenges farmers to get political through Ag Unite — About 800 farmers and allies heard a rallying cry Thursday about water supplies, regulation and other strains on agriculture. They came for lunch at Modesto Junior College and to hear about Ag Unite, a political arm of the California Farm Bureau Federation. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Robin Abcarian: David Silva’s relatives received a settlement, but did they get justice? – A pathologist hired by the Silvas, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court, said David Silva died of asphyxiation. So was it excessive force? A tragic accident? We may never have an official verdict. Last week, just before the trial was scheduled to begin, Kern County offered to settle the case for $3.4 million. The family believed they had a strong case. After all, the federal judge assigned to hear it ruled that the jury could hear the claim that sheriff’s detectives had tampered with the video. For the sake of David Silva’s five children, however, the family accepted. Abcarian in LA Times

Kern coroner: Inmate hanged himself – A Reseda man who died a day after being found unresponsive in his cell at Lerdo Jail had hanged himself, a coroner’s office release said. Bakersfield Californian article

Reports: Kern deputy beat, choked wife to ‘cleanse her soul’ — A Kern County sheriff’s deputy called his wife the anti-Christ and beat and choked her while claiming to “cleanse her soul,” according to newly released court filings. Bakersfield Californian article

First Look: Youngblood on deputy’s arrest: ‘We hire from the human race’ — Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said he was shocked that his department had to arrest one of its own — twice — last week. But it comes with the territory, he said, because “we hire from the human race.” Bakersfield Californian article

Recognizing the past 50 years — Thursday, officials from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and its Division of Juvenile Justice were on hand to commemorate Close’s 50th anniversary and open a time capsule buried on site in 1965. They also recognized the 25th anniversary of the neighboring N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility that houses youth ages 18 through 25. Stockton Record article


Fresno Unified board president faces questions at southwest Fresno forum – More than 200 people showed up for a community meeting Thursday evening to question Fresno Unified board of trustees president Cal Johnson about his votes and actions. Fresno Bee article

Education leaders highlight anti-dropout programs – Community leaders, organizers and educators shared breakfast and discussed education during the second annual Community Leadership Breakfast on Thursday morning, presented by the Leadership Stockton Alumni Association. Stockton Record article

Fresno Bee: Vote yes on Measure C for community colleges – This test of our commitment to the future is an easy one. The bond measure requires 55 percent approval for passage. We recommend that you vote “yes” on Measure C for the State Center Community College District.  Fresno Bee editorial

‘Needle has not moved’ on increasing diversity on UC campuses – More Latino students are attending the University of California — but UC campuses still have work to do in recruiting and building African-American and Native American enrollment. KQED report

Report: California’s charter schools lag behind traditional schools in graduating students – California charter schools account for a disproportionate share of students who fail to graduate high school, according to a report released this week. EdSource article

There will be thousands more LA Unified magnet school seats in 2017 — Magnet schools in Los Angeles are growing.  Los Angeles Unified School District board members unanimously voted Tuesday to create or expand 13 magnet programs for the 2017-18 school year, for a total of 4,677 new magnet seats costing around $3.5 million. LA Times article

Yet another poor scorecard for California’s preschool program — Even though California spent $45 million more on early education last year than it did the year before, the state only managed to enroll 298 more kids in preschool. KPCC report

2 Clovis Unified girls among 15 national reading award winners — The girls are two of only 15 students in the country who received the award. The 180 Student Awards recognize students who have significantly turned around their academics using the adaptive program, a blended learning approach that tailors lessons to individual students. Fresno Bee article


By 2040 we’ll only see a slight fall in fossil fuels, says forecast — Despite the urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions as climate change bears down on the globe, fossil fuel use is not likely to change much in the coming decades. Though renewable energy will grow quickly though 2040, gasoline and diesel will still move most of the world’s vehicles, and coal will still be the largest single source of carbon emissions. KQED report
Health/Human Services 

Golden Valley Health Centers gets $1 million to expand dental care — Golden Valley Health Centers has received $1 million from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to help advance dental services in Merced. Merced Sun-Star article

Sutter hospital faulted in care of former California health care leader Jerome Lackner — A state investigation into the death of Jerome Lackner, an iconoclastic California health care leader who served as a physician for Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr., has found that Sutter VNA & Hospice provided his caregivers with excessive amounts of morphine that, if administered, may have contributed to his death or killed him. Sacramento Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Housing authority will renovate, build Lowell neighborhood apartments — The Fresno Housing Authority held a groundbreaking Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the start of a revitalization project that will renovate an existing apartment complex and build a new one in the Lowell neighborhood, just north of downtown Fresno.  Fresno Bee article


Joel Fox: Hyperloop vs. high-speed rail? Not necessarily — While the hyperloop system was projected by some as an alternative to high-speed rail, former California secretary of business, transportation and housing, Dale Bonner, told a Milken Institute Global Conference forum at the beginning of the month that both forms of transportation would be necessary for a burgeoning population. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Report: Amtrak critical for California residents, economy — A report released by the nonprofit organization TRIP, a national transportation research group founded in 1971, identifies the critical value the Amtrak San Joaquins line plays for California residents — and the state’s economy. The Business Journal article

Modesto to close Sisk-Pelandale intersection, interchange for work — The city will shut down a major intersection and Highway 99 interchange in north Modesto for slightly more than two days as part of an estimated $55 million construction project. Modesto Bee article

Panel Oks $15 million plan to keep Bay Bridge rods from failing — A committee that oversees seismic retrofit work for the Bay Bridge approved a $15 million plan Thursday to keep water from corroding rods designed to keep the new eastern span’s tower safe in a major earthquake. San Francisco Chronicle article

Just as you suspected: Carpool cheating is rampant, study shows — Law-abiding drivers have for years cursed, fumed and complained that the Bay Area’s carpool lanes are crowded with cheaters undeterred by the threat of getting busted. It turns out those observations are correct. San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Saucedo challenges judicial dismissal – The California Supreme Court has until early June to decide whether to review the state Commission on Judicial Performances’ decision to remove Valeriano Saucedo as a Tulare County Superior Court judge. But before that decision is made, Saucedo’s lawyers made a last pitch to try to sway the justices to take on the case, accusing the commission of being overzealous in their decision without considering a less severe punishment. Visalia Times-Delta article

State audit blasts California State Bar salaries, transparency — In the latest hit on the California State Bar, a new audit claims the quasi-public agency overpays its leaders and its recent financial reports “contained errors and lacked transparency.” The review, released by State Auditor Elaine Howle Thursday, says the top 13 executives at the bar are paid more than Gov. Jerry Brown, who takes home $182,791 a yearSacramento Bee article

Ashliman talks NASL security, growth – Security was one of the subjects Navy Air Station Lemoore commanding officer Capt. Monty Ashliman brought up during a speech Wednesday at a Lemoore Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Hanford Sentinel article

Window education a matter of life and death, Modesto fire captain says – A careful line needs to be walked in educating children about windows and safety, said Modesto Fire Department Capt. Rusty Ehrler. Windows – even second-story or higher – can be valuable lifesaving tools in the event of a fire, he said. The fire code requires any room to have a minimum of two entry-exit points,two escape routes, he said. Modesto Bee article

Parents wrongly put on a child abuser list will get $4.1 million to settle their suit — The father and stepmother of a 15-year-old runaway girl who falsely accused them of child abuse are set to receive $4.1 million from the state and Los Angeles County to settle a lawsuit that contended their civil rights were violated when a sheriff’s deputy placed their names on a list of child abusers.  LA Times article

Former Modesto Mayor Peter Johansen dies — Peter Johansen, former Modesto mayor and namesake of one of the city’s high schools, has died. He was 96. Modesto Bee article