May 15, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Dan Walters: Jerry Brown sees budget trouble for California, wants to hold line — Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his revised budget on Friday the 13th, which implies that he’s not superstitious. However, amid signs of a cooling economy – and therefore flattening revenue – Brown’s run of fiscal luck may be ending, and he knows it. Walters column in Sacramento BeeSacramento Bee editorial: ‘Brown’s budget isn’t quite done’ 

McCarthy being challenged from the left and right – There’s a lot of political daylight between the Democrat and Republican hoping to topple House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy this year. But on one thing they agree: McCarthy should be challenged. He should have to answer for his record, say Democrat Wendy Reed of Quartz Hill and Republican Ken Mettler of Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article

For next Fresno mayor: Fight crime, create jobs, clean up slum housing — Talk with business, community and civic leaders around Fresno about the top issues ahead for Fresno’s next mayor, and the answers will be as varied as the individuals queried. If their input is any indication, there will be a lot of demands on the next mayor. And they won’t all necessarily be Swearengin’s current priorities. Fresno Bee article

Valley politics 

June provides rare opportunity to vote in contested judge races — Cicadas emerge more often than a sitting judge is challenged in Kern County, but voters this year will have the opportunity to decide whether to re-elect a sitting judge or move on to someone new. Bakersfield Californian article

Modesto Bee: Madueño, Marks offer voters best choices for Assembly District 12 – Former Riverbank mayor Virginia Madueño has people skills to build coalitions. City schools board member. Cindy Marks has strong experience, but lacks monetary backing. Modesto Bee editorial
Jeff Jardine: Campaign signs near Modesto annoying as ever in number, placement — Folks get turned off by many aspects of elections at many levels, not the least of which can be some of the candidates themselves. For today, though, we’ll stick with those annoying clusters of campaign signs. Through the June 7 election, they will continue to coagulate on prominent corners, along fences, stuck into lawns and just about everywhere you look, covering every race for every office. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Cathleen Decker: Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez look to raise name I.D. and court Sanders voters – The long-obscure race for a U.S. Senate seat in California is arriving on the state’s airwaves, and the ads being put out by the top two candidates, bothDemocrats, explain a great deal about their political goals and, for that matter, about California itself. Decker in LA Times

Michael Hiltzik: Industry spending for to be a pharmaceutical initiation could set a new standard for ‘drug money’ — One measure on this November’s California ballot appears poised to set a new standard for corporate spending. The so-called California Drug Price Relief Act would cap the price any state agency or healthcare program could spend on prescription drugs at the level paid by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, which customarily receives the largest discounts of any government agency. Hiltzik column in LA Times

Other areas

Darrell Steinberg says he’s ‘all in’ to become Sacramento’s mayor – Darrell Steinberg is trying to leave no doubt: he wants to be mayor of Sacramento and nothing else. Sacramento Bee article

Trump support leads Teamsters to withdraw Scott Jones endorsement — Republican congressional candidate Scott Jones’ pledge to support his party’s likely presidential nominee Donald Trump has cost him the endorsement of a key labor ally. Sacramento Bee article

Mike Klocke: Columnists continue to play Trump cards – Random thoughts for a Sunday morning.  Klocke column in Stockton Record

Will doctors choose to prescribe lethal drugs under California’s new aid-in-dying law? — After 23 years of passionate debate over the issue, California’s controversial right-to-die law becomes a reality next month, when doctors will finally be allowed to legally prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients who want to end their lives. But will they? East Bay Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

Michael Fitzgerald: A city’s water on the brain – Stockton is used to fighting everybody else over water. Now we are fighting ourselves. Many citizens seem to think City Hall is shafting them with its proposed 18.5 percent water rake hike (scaled down from the originally proposed 26 percent). And certain folks want citizens to be angry. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Alaska Airlines want to replace Southwest as California’s go-to airline — The parent company of Alaska Airlines is rushing forward with a $2.6-billion deal to acquire Virgin America in hopes of becoming the predominant airline of the Golden State — and the entire West Coast. LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

A new hope? George Lucas looking at Treasure Island as new San Francisco site for museum – After a lobbying campaign by Mayor Ed Lee, “Star Wars” creator George Lucas is once again looking to San Francisco as a possible home for a museum housing his collection of illustrative art and Hollywood memorabilia — this time on a site already approved for development on Treasure Island. San Francisco Chronicle article

Manufacturing booming in old and new ways during high-tech era – Even in these high-tech days in San Francisco, the city still is a big manufacturing center. But to understand it you have to think small. San Francisco Chronicle article

Hundreds march in Hollywood demanding action on city’s homeless crisis — Hundreds of demonstrators marched down Hollywood Boulevard on Saturday evening demanding that Mayor Eric Garcetti declare a state of emergency and spend $100 million to alleviate the city’s homelessness crisis. LA Times article

Santa Clara mayor: City is spending tax dollars on Levi’s Stadium events — Two years after Levi’s Stadium opened its gates, Mayor Lisa Gillmor says some costs for police and firefighter staffing at the stadium continue to go unreimbursed at a cost to the city’s general fund — a violation of the voter-approved Measure J, which shielded against spending the public’s money on stadium construction or operations. East Bay Times articl 

Start-ups, preaching transparency, settle disputes in the dark – As new companies grow, they are settling workplace disputes through the kind of arbitration used by big corporations to shield themselves from potentially expensive class-action cases. New York Times article

Owner of Bar Method Fresno finds success in boutique fitness — The boutique fitness business is booming, and no one knows that better than Jenny Kasparian-Hoekstra. The former nurse turned entrepreneur is owner of The Bar Method Fresno, a spa-like exercise studio that is rapidly becoming known for its low-impact, total-body workout. Fresno Bee article

Some old, something new at Modesto’s Vintage Faire Mall — Construction crews have been busy at Vintage Faire Mall in recent weeks. Several retailers are moving in to vacant spots. And a few current businesses will relocate temporarily while their digs are refreshed, marketing manager Annie Amies said. Modesto Bee article

Steve Stallings: Governor, feds have agreed to Indian gaming on acquired land – The chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association writes, “Tribes in California have longstanding tribal labor-relations ordinances that are negotiated with the state and provide protections and due process for tribal government employees. Our employees are extremely important to us, which is why tribal governments provide higher-than-average wages and benefits to our employees.” Stallings op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Why the Normandie Casino in Gardena may be hitting its limit — The privately held casino’s finances are unclear, but it has been on a losing streak, observers say. The Normandie benefited from changes to L.A.’s gaming landscape in the early 1980s, when bigger casinos started to crop up along the I-710 corridor, but was eventually unable to keep up with the competition. LA Times article

Barry Bedwell: Change to ag overtime rules will hurt workers – The president of the California Fresh Fruit Association writes, “Employers, as well as those employees who are aware of the details of this issue, can plainly see the negative impact of AB 2757 and they both agree the bill should be stopped as it was previously in 2010 and 2012. If the proponents of this legislation truly care about farmworkers as they say, then they should rethink this effort before proceeding further.” Bedwell op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Police train to deal with mental illness – The officers sat before the woman at folding tables in a portable building at the Stockton Police Department’s shooting range and training grounds at the Port of Stockton. The scene was one of a series of daylong “procedural justice” training the department is holding this year for its approximately 400 officers. The focus this day was on how to better respond to dispatches involving the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Stockton Record article

Cameras ease problems for Hanford police – The Hanford Police Department has seen a significant drop in officer complaints and lawsuits since its body-worn camera program for patrol officers launched in late 2014. Hanford Sentinel article

Ex-convict urges former Stanislaus clerk-recorder to come clean – He waited 19 years for freedom, sentenced for an unthinkable crime he always said he didn’t commit. Not long after Roger Steiner finally was released from prison, his well-known accuser from long ago – former Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder Karen Mathews Davis – was arrested, reportedly caught in a lie that, if it had worked, might have sent Steiner back behind bars. Modesto Bee article
How long will Mayor Lee stand behind Police Chief Greg Suhr? — San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr’s fate rests on a question that has been asked in other American cities torn by shooting deaths involving police officers: Is he the right man to guide his department through necessary reforms, or has his leadership become such a distraction that he should resign or be dismissed? San Francisco Chronicle article

Willie Brown: Why dump Chief Suhr? He’s the best thing going for SFPD — I feel sorry for Police Chief Greg Suhr. From the tone of the attacks against him, you’d think he was the guy who put 20-plus bullets into Mario Woods. That he was one of the guys sending out racist texts. That he personally ordered the stopping and frisking of every person of color in the city. In truth, he’s one of the most progressive police chiefs the city has seen in decades. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle article 

California ballot measure blamed for shoplifting jump — Large retailers including Safeway, Target, Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies say shoplifting increased at least 15 percent, and in some cases, doubled since voters approved Proposition 47 and ended the possibility of charging shoplifting as a felony with the potential for a prison sentence. AP article

In Oakland police scandal, suspicions of murder, suicide and underage sex – Sex. Suicide. Murder? A sex scandal involving Oakland police officers and a young woman who touts her law enforcement liaisons on Facebook has all the makings of a TV thriller, full of twists and turns. San Jose Mercury News article

Foster child says he was held in LA County juvenile hall for a month without charges – A Los Angeles County foster youth says he was held for a month without charges in a county juvenile hall and his social worker did not respond to calls seeking help. LA Times article

Planning spring vacation next year? Modesto, other districts weeks apart – Modesto City Schools will observe a different spring break next school year – one that’s four weeks earlier than the traditional Easter-based vacation observed by the two largest school districts that feed into the city’s high schools. Modesto Bee article

Like father, like son: Astronaut’s son uses ceremony to reveal next frontier – space – There was a special moment during University of the Pacific’s School of Engineering and Computer Science Diploma and Hooding Ceremony on Saturday at Knoles Lawn when 21-year-old Julio Hernandez walked across the stage into the arms of his father. Stockton Record article

Class teaches kids uke can do music — When Jim Schaffer pitched the idea, his principal was wary. How about a year-long class where kids can build their own ukuleles, then learn about the culture of Hawaiian music, and, of course, how to play their instruments? Bakersfield Californian article

Health/Human Services

Raiders’ Derek Carr spends time with patients at Valley Children’s Hospital — Oakland Raiders quarterback and Fresno State alumnus Derek Carr spent Saturday with patients at Valley Children’s Hospital – a relationship the athlete had solidified with the Madera hospital from the first days of his son Dallas’ life. Fresno Bee article

Is tuberculosis making a comeback? — After two decades of steady decline, the number of active tuberculosis cases in the U.S. inched up last year. Hall’s was one of 9,563 TB cases reported last year, up from 9,406 cases the year before. The CDC is still trying to determine the reason for the uptick. Stateline article

Land Use/Housing

Groveland senior says tenants have taken over her home — Hannelore Anderson of Groveland has been trying for months to remove tenants who have taken over her homesite and are not paying rent. Those squatters, or tenants, were once her friends and reputed caretakers of the home that sits at the ninth green of Pine Mountain Lake golf course. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

Lois Henry: Denying settlement in sexual assault is wrong-headed – OMG, just pay the woman. There’s so much wrong with Kern County lawyers trying to hold up a $1 million settlement to a sexual assault victim over a press release that I’m practically speechless. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Lewis Griswold: Tulare County Symphony proposes name change – The Tulare County Symphony is proposing a name change to attract a larger, younger and more diverse audience. The new name being put forth by the staff and board of directors is Sequoia Symphony Orchestra. Griswold in Fresno Bee

Armen Bacon: A prescription for ‘social fasting’ — It’s been more than a month since my hospital stay and unexpected bout with pneumonia. Just for the record, I’m feeling caged and claustrophobic. But I’m breathing – and for this gift, I am beyond grateful. In the span of four weeks, I have watched more than a half-dozen friends leave this earth. At night I stare into space thanking my own lucky stars. I’d be lying though, if I didn’t confess an occasional pity party or moment of despair. I’d like to blame it on new medication, but I suspect it’s coming from somewhere much deeper. Bacon column in Fresno Bee 

Kern Turns 150: Thomas Baker, our city’s namesake – Thomas Baker, after a notable career as civic leader and legislator, had come to the land in which he would make and lose a fortune, engage in momentous enterprises and endow with his name and accomplishments a lasting memorial. Bakersfield Californian article