May 14, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Jerry Brown’s budget predicts slowdown in California revenue — Days after the state’s biggest revenue month fell significantly short of his office’s expectations, Gov. Jerry Brown released a $169.3 billion revised spending plan Friday that assumes nearly $2 billion less revenue through June 2017, with the governor warning that people need to prepare “for a time of necessity.” Sacramento Bee articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article; AP: ‘By the numbers: Details of Gov. Brown’s budget plan’EdSource article

Gov. Jerry Brown backs $2-billion plan to ease homelessness across California – Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday threw his support behind an ambitious $2-billion plan to build housing for California’s mentally ill homeless population. LA Times article

A question for the ages: Can Congress pass a California water bill? — California’s two Democratic senators remain somewhat out of sync over proposed water legislation, underscoring its ambiguous future on the eve of a big hearing. McClatchy Newspapers article

State budget

This is how Gov. Brown wants to make it easier to build affordable housing — For years, Gov. Jerry Brown has resisted efforts to spend more money to build affordable housing. As part of his revised budget released Friday, Brown announced what he said was a better solution: making it easier to build homes for low-income residents. In a new package of legislation, Brown is proposing to streamline the permitting process for developers building affordable homes. LA Times article

Governor proposes millions for dead tree removal — Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal for California includes a one-time $11 million allocation to pay for cutting down and removing trees killed by drought and beetle infestation. Visalia Times-Delta article

Brown uses children’s story to explain California’s budget situation — Does California want to be a grasshopper that uses everything it has, or an ant that saves food for winter? That was the question posed today by Gov. Jerry Brown as he released his May budget revision. Not surprisingly, Brown made the case for being a frugal ant. KQED report

Governor’s revised budget moves ahead with eliminating transitional kindergarten — Some 4-year-olds in California may miss out on public preschool as Gov. Jerry Brown stuck to his Child Care Block Grant proposal in his revised budget plan released Friday that eliminates the transitional kindergarten (TK) program. KPCC report

Gov. Brown 

Governor vetoes bill to shed more light on state contract lobbying — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday vetoed a bill to require disclosure of lobbying around state government contracts. The bill, from Palo Alto Assemblyman Rich Gordon, would have required lobbyists communicating with officials on a contract worth more than $250,000 to register and report their activity. KQED reportLA Times article

Valley politics

All eyes again on 31st District is Assembly races in Valley – As the countdown to the June primary elections winds down, the two candidates who battled fiercely for California Assembly District 31 are gathering themselves for another round. The district is one of a few local Assembly seats up for grabs. The June 7 primary will thin the field in two races, but virtually all of the Assembly candidates are planning for the general election on Nov. 8. Most eyes – especially in Fresno – are firmly set on AD 31. Fresno Bee article 

Democratic registration surges in Kern — New voter registration data for Kern County and its political districts show a surge in Democratic Party numbers, outstripping both Republicans and “no party preference” growth. Bakersfield Californian article

San Joaquin County supervisor candidate profile: Ralph White trumpets political experience – Ralph Lee White says his long career in politics makes him the most qualified candidate to fill the District 1 seat on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. Stockton Record article

Bakersfield mayoral candidate profile: Kenneth Whitchard — Kenneth Whitchard, 26, elementary school vocal music instructor. Bakersfield Californian article

Working the job: Valle runs for third term in Kings — Incumbent Richard Valle is running for a third term as the District 2 representative on the Kings County Board of Supervisors, and he isn’t doing so quietly or behind the scenes. Hanford Sentinel article

Debra Kwast: Businesswoman running for supervisor — Debra Kwast has a family, is a businesswoman, a community member and is running for supervisor of District 2. Hanford Sentinel article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California voters to get chance to decide if cigarette taxes will go up by $2 a pack – A coalition of health groups including the California Medical Assn. has collected more than enough signatures to qualify an initiative for the Nov. 8 ballot that would raise the tobacco tax in California by $2 a pack, the group said Friday. LA Times article

 Harris, Sanchez ramp up Senate race with endorsements, new ads — California’s U.S. Senate race has been overshadowed by the high-profile presidential campaign but that might change a bit Friday when Democrats Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez launched TV commercials. San Francisco Chronicle article

PoliGRAPH: Kamala Harris hits highlights in TV ads — Democrat Kamala Harris, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in California, is out with a trio of television ads, the first in the contest to succeed Barbara Boxer. One of the ads, titled “Fearless” and featuring U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, touts some of Harris’ accomplishments as the state attorney general. Sacramento Bee article

New California pot legalization campaign learns from past failure — Nate Bradley, co-founder of the California Cannabis Industry Association, paused for a moment as he assessed how the latest campaign to legalize recreational marijuana differs from an effort in 2010 that was decisively rejected by voters. Bradley, who worked on the failed campaign, said the previous attempt was a grass-roots undertaking, while the latest measure is “run by experts at passing initiatives.” Sacramento Bee article

Police chiefs say GOP congressman’s pot comments ‘offensive’ — When Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher endorsed the California initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, the one-time speechwriter for former President Ronald Reagan railed against a justice system that spends billions “to try to take care of someone who wants to smoke weed in his backyard.” Sacramento Bee article

California Politics Podcast: Revised expectations — This week: we take a look at Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised state budget, what it does (and doesn’t) include, and where state spending debates go from here. With John Myers of the Los Angeles Times and Anthony York of the Grizzly Bear Project. California Politics Podcast

Other areas

Ashby sues Sacramento rival Steinberg over ‘illegal’ campaign cash — Sacramento Councilwoman Angelique Ashby is suing her main rival in the mayor’s race, alleging that former state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg “illegally moved” roughly $220,000 from a lieutenant governor campaign account into his mayoral campaign. Sacramento Bee article‘Ashby would be one of just a few women leading major California cities’ in Sacramento Bee

Dan Morain: Oil industry strikes back – Democrats are in no danger of losing control of the Legislature in 2016. There’s even talk that they could gain supermajorities in both houses in the November election. In theory, Democrats would control all aspects of Sacramento. But that’s theory. As the Beall-Campos race and few others show, Democrats come in different types. Morain in Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers battling to access VA records to help resolve complaints — California lawmakers, distressed by the number of veterans experiencing difficulties accessing benefits, want to use their congressional allowance to pay to train members of their staffs to access veterans’ records. Sacramento Bee article

How a ban on ex parte communications by the Coastal Commission could change the balance of power — Legislation to ban members of the California Coastal Commission from meeting privately with developers, environmentalists, lobbyists and others promises to change the way the panel has operated since its inception 40 years ago — some for the better and some for the worse. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories 

Modesto short in raising money for Amgen Tour of California visit – Modesto has come up short in covering its costs of providing hotel rooms and meals for the Amgen Tour of California, the annual road race featuring some of the world’s top cyclists. Modesto Bee article 

Valley tree-fruit farmers expect big crop this season — Near-perfect growing weather for San Joaquin Valley tree-fruit farmers has produced a limb-buster of a crop this season. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Brandvold talks to Latino group about Modesto budget, goals as mayor – Challenged on the makeup of his budget-review committee, Mayor Ted Brandvold told a Latino Community Roundtable audience the selections reflect the expertise needed to quickly understand the budget process. Modesto Bee article

Larry Gamble: What were they thinking? – The founding member and former president of the Business Organization of Old Town Clovis writes, “New housing opportunities and cultural events are bringing renewal and life to the area. A new generation of people is experiencing downtown. I love to attend Art Hop and experience the rebirth of culture in Vintage Fresno. The community has given me a reason to go downtown once again. So maybe we can work together, to make downtown more vibrant in a different sort of way than it was in the past.”Gamble op-ed in Fresno Bee

Fresno drone services company lands contract with AT&T – Montico Inc., a Fresno company that provides drone-based services, has landed a contract with AT&T, the multinational telecommunications giant. Fresno Bee article 

Madera County creates new office for development services – In an effort to streamline the delivery of services, Madera County is creating a new Office of Development Services, which will house the Department of Public Works, Department of Community and Economic Development and the newly established Department of Water and Natural Resources. The Business Journal article

Bay Area restaurants struggle to keep workers as living costs rise – Restaurants have long been known for high employee turnover, but their struggles to find and retain workers in the Bay Area have grown along with the cost to live here. San Jose Mercury News article 

West Sacramento mayor proposes sales tax hike to fund city initiatives — West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon is calling for a sales tax increase of a quarter-cent on the dollar to help finance a range of initiatives, from repairing roads to reducing homelessness and helping the city’s high school graduates attend community college. Sacramento Bee article

 New law could put some medical marijuana dispensaries out of business — Fifteen years later, DeAngelo runs what may be the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the U.S., but a new law says he will have to get a state license by 2018 — and the state can reject applications from those with drug felonies on their records. LA Times article


Why did El Nino miss Southern California? It’s complicated, National Weather Service says – A mix of rising global temperatures, mysteriously warmed waters off Baja California and unusually far-reaching storms in the western Pacific Ocean conspired to block this year’s El Niño storms from hitting Southern California, the National Weather Service said this week. LA Times article 

Stockton East agrees to buy water from neighboring districts – With the federal government unable to send Stockton a drop of water for the second straight year, local officials will buy some instead from a pair of neighboring water districts. Stockton Record article 

Farm community rallies for strong political, legal clout — Ag Unite, a program to encourage farmers to get more involved in public policy issues affecting agriculture in California, drew 800 farmers and ranchers from five counties to a meeting Thursday in Modesto. Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Defense attorneys in Chandra Levy case delving into Gary Condit’s life – Defense attorneys for Ingmar Guandique, the man convicted of killing Chandra Levy, are now homing in on former San Joaquin Valley congressman Gary Condit as they prepare for a second trial in the case. McClatchy Newspapers article

Norovirus hits mental hospital in Coalinga, flu bug at state prison — A norovirus that caused Coalinga State Hospital to limit patient activity and visitations for the past nine days is expected to be lifted Saturday. Meanwhile, four inmates at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga remain on quarantine for an intestinal flu bug that tests determined was not norovirus. Fresno Bee article

School trustees blast transgender bathroom guidelines – The federal guidelines detailed Friday directing school districts on how to deal with transgender bathroom use were met with anger by a majority of Kern High School District officials, one of whom called it “massive government overreach.” Bakersfield Californian article

New agricultural center to boost research at Fresno State – The new Jordan Agricultural Research Center at Fresno State will provide students with all the tools they need to study the farming and food processing industries without having to leave campus. Fresno Bee article

Merced College board appoints Walsh as interim president – The Merced College board of trustees this week appointed Susan Walsh as interim president, effective in July, until a new president is found. Merced Sun-Star article

UC Merced engineering students show off innovations – Whether it was picking tomatoes, loading chickens, treating drinking water or some other project, engineering students showed off their ideas to those ends during the annual UC Merced Innovate to Grow on Friday. Merced Sun-Star article

UC Merced: NSF grant brings $5 million for research and outreach – Researchers at UC Merced have won a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study how biological matter such as proteins or cells come together to perform specific tasks, effectively behaving as machines. UC Merced article in Merced Sun-Star

Theater arts at Fresno Unified supported by $100,000 donation — A family’s donation to the Fresno Unified School District is sending students to local theater productions for free, and also will provide a six-week arts program this summer. Fresno Bee article

Lemoore superintendent retires — Rick Rayburn spent the last eight years of his educational career as superintendent of the Lemoore Union Elementary School District and is ready to retire on June 30. Hanford Sentinel article

 ‘They give their hearts and hard-earned money’: Fifth-graders hold walkathon, collection for area homeless — Large groups of children walked — or ran while teachers weren’t looking — on Friday afternoon to make good use of the sunshine and to raise awareness of homelessness. Stockton Record article

Teachers priced out — It’s well known that San Francisco has the highest median rents in the country, but what’s largely unknown is that its 3,292 teachers earn less, on average, than those in most other California public school districts. Many cities where it costs much less to live — Modesto, Newark and Long Beach among them — pay teachers more. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Health/Human Services

Final tally released for Measure H in Visalia — Measure H was a proposed $327 million bond by Kaweah Delta Health Care District to build a new acute care hospital in Visalia. The vote total was 42.91% yes and 57.09% no. A two-thirds yes vote was required for passage. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Judge rejects parents’ bid to keep brain-dead Vacaville toddler on indefinite life support — A federal judge on Friday rejected a lawsuit by a Vacaville couple to keep their brain-dead toddler on indefinite life support at Kaiser Permanente’s Roseville hospital while they seek a long-term care facility. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Tulare city manager announces retirement – Tulare City Manager Don Dorman has announced he will retire in September. Dorman, who started in Aug. 2011, made the announcement during the State of the City address Friday. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Carmen George: Angel behind Halo Café provides food to thousands of Valley pets – Halo Cafe has its own angel, Jennifer Quinn-Yovino. She founded the pantry in 2011 with her husband, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino, after years of volunteering with animal rescue groups and lugging pet food in the back of her car that she would give to homeless with pets and anyone else she spotted who was in need. George in Fresno Bee 

Adopting a new philosophy — The staff of Tulare County Animal Services has been a little busy the last few months. The team, led by Director Tim Lutz, has been put to the test with the management of two shelters, handling major renovations at their outdated facility and saving the lives every animal they can. Visalia Times-Delta article