May 15, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


High court could soon signal view on Trump immigration plans – Supreme Court decisions in a half-dozen cases dealing with immigration over the next two months could reveal how the justices might evaluate Trump administration actions on immigration, especially stepped up deportations. Some of those cases could be decided as early as Monday, when the court is meeting to issue opinions in cases that were argued over the past six months. AP article


George Skelton: While California spends liberally, the governor talks like a penny-pincher — California’s status as a far-left state was emphatically reconfirmed by Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget last week — not so much by his proposal, but by his presentation. Brown’s entertaining rhetoric itself made him sound, as usual, like a skinflint, a penny-pinching scold. Skelton column in LA Times


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures


Trump presidency easing Gavin Newsom’s path in second run for governor – His agenda carries broad appeal in a Democratic state that has been drifting leftward for more than two decades. With much of California seething over President Trump, the climate could hardly be better for the unabashed liberal politics of a former San Francisco mayor still best known for his trailblazing 2004 decree legalizing same-sex marriage. LA Times article


Feinstein, Harris find fresh focus in wake of Comey’s ouster — The burgeoning fallout from President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey has thrust California’s two senators into a new prominence on the national stage that shows no sign of diminishing anytime soon. San Francisco Chronicle article




U.S 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments against Trump’s revised travel ban – A San Francisco-based federal appeals court will hear arguments Monday on whether President Trump’s revised travel ban violates a constitutional prohibition against religious discrimination. LA Times article


How could hundreds of undocumented immigrants fall for adoption-for-citizenship scam? — Many of Helaman Hansen’s hundreds of victims first heard about his citizenship-through-adoption scheme in their neighborhood churches. Sacramento Bee article


Other areas


Dan Walters: Legislature tries State Bar fix, but remedy falls short — It’s been an odd duck, functioning as both consumer protection agency and a trade association for lawyers and jointly overseen, more or less, by the governor, the Legislature and the state Supreme Court. With that hybrid and somewhat isolated status, the State Bar became an inbred, self-serving bureaucracy that consumed mandatory “dues” from attorneys, spent lavishly but amassed a huge backlog of disciplinary cases. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


Unity on sentencing was emerging. Then came Jeff Sessions — The attorney general’s call for the toughest penalties possible ran counter to a growing bipartisan view in Washington and many state capitals. New York Times article


California courts look to modernize with chatbots, video tech — California court officials are on a mission to pull the technology underpinning their operations into the 21st century. This month, state Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is expected to weigh in on a series of recommendations to enhance the public’s access to the court system and reducing costs. San Francisco Chronicle article


Jared Martin: Want to create wealth? This is one way to do it – The Fresno Realtor and president-elect of the California Association of Realtors writes, “If the White House truly wants to help working-class citizens seeking the American Dream, then it is imperative to maintain a tax incentive for homeownership and protect Californians against double taxation. We can’t allow tax reform to become a tax on homeownership.” Martin op-ed in Fresno Bee


Presidential Politics


Senators push Trump not to choose a political figure to head FBI – Even before he announces his choice for a new FBI chief, President Trump is getting pushback from the Senate, which will need to approve his pick to replace the fired former director, James Comey. Democrats say they may try to block Trump’s nominee, whomever it might be; at least one leading Republican and many Democrats are saying the appointee shouldn’t be a political figure. LA Times article


Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey supports Donald Trump’s use of the social media platform — Silicon Valley is known for its politically progressive culture and distaste for the policies of President Trump. But Twitter executives are voicing their support for Trump’s frequent use of their social media platform — and have even encouraged the president to use Twitter more. LA Times article


Republicans and Democrats agree: If Trump has tapes, he’ll need to turn them over to Congress — Lawmakers in both parties said Sunday that President Trump will need to hand over any recordings of conversations in the White House if such a taping system does exist. Washington Post article


Political chaos in Washington is a return on investment for Moscow — Russia has yet to collect much of what it hoped for from the Trump administration, including the lifting of U.S. sanctions and recognition of its annexation of Crimea. But the Kremlin has gotten a different return on its effort to help elect Trump in last year’s election: chaos in Washington. Washington Post article


Trump reportedly considering replace Spicer with Bay Area’s Guilfoyle — President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a major shake-up in his communications department, and a Bay Area native may be part of his plans. San Francisco Chronicle article


News Stories

Top Stories


What your government won’t tell you today: What was on those Kern High School District police chief recordings? — Just what kind of conversations was a former acting police chief at the Kern High School District recording that landed him with four criminal eavesdropping charges? The details may never be known publicly. That’s because the Kern County District Attorney’s office denied The Californian’s Public Records Act request for the audio files that Dave Edmiston, the former police chief, made of his discussions with other officers in his department. Bakersfield Californian article


Drugs a bigger factor than alcohol in California impaired driving — Visalia police say drugs are a much bigger contributor than alcohol in impaired driving in California. Sgt. James Andrews said a study of California drivers found that about 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study also found that about 14 percent of drivers test positive for drugs that impair driving, compared to 7.3 percent of drivers who test positive for just alcohol. Fresno Bee article


Jobs and the Economy


Family Dollar edging closer to construction on New Grand Save site – A court-appointed receiver said late last week he has a signed agreement with the developer of a national bargain-store chain to open a Family Dollar outlet at the site of the former New Grand Save Market in south Stockton. Stockton Record article


Suspense growing over Oakland A’s stadium decision — The Oakland A’s — soon the only game left in town — have committed to staying put. Now they just have to tell their faithful fan base, the ones who stuck with the team through good times and bad and numerous threats to move, where team majority owner John Fisher plans to build his self-financed ballpark. East Bay Times article


Oakland not backing up homeless help with city money — Homelessness is a growing problem in Oakland, both on the streets and now at City Hall as well. Mayor Libby Schaaf recently laid out an ambitious plan to deal with the city’s quickly spreading homeless encampments — but when it came time to put up the money, she came up way short of what was suggested by the city’s Department of Human Services. San Francisco Chronicle article




Don Curlee: Fighting back — It looks like farmers are finding themselves at the head of a resistance movement in California against overreaching regulations, radical environmental foolishness and general interference in their lives – and ours. They get a clearer, uglier picture of their enemies every day. Curlee in Visalia Times-Delta


After decades of shattered expectations at Oroville Dam, can residents trust state? — There was going to be a steam train – and a monorail. Plus a major resort featuring a 250-seat restaurant and a 1,000-seat amphitheater. As many as 5 million visitors a year would show up. When it came to wooing Butte County about the construction of Oroville Dam, state officials weren’t shy about setting grand expectations. In return for losing entire communities and thousands of acres of taxable land, the region would become home to California’s second-largest reservoir, Lake Oroville, and a tourist destination akin to Disneyland. Sacramento Bee article


After massive bee kill, beekeepers want answers from Fresno County AG commissioner — When Rafael Reynaga came to check on his bee colonies in a Fresno almond orchard, he found a carpet full of dead bees on the ground. Reynaga picked up a hive and found two inches of bees at the bottom. He says most were dead, but a few were still moving. Capital Public Radio report


Criminal Justice/Prisons


Stanislaus sheriff’s officials: Deputy shoots woman with knife who reportedly tried to stab boyfriend — A Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputy on Saturday night shot a woman with a knife who reportedly refused to comply with authorities after trying to stab her boyfriend. The 34-year-old woman hit by gunfire was hospitalized and was in stable condition Sunday, according to sheriff’s officials. Her name or the name of the deputy who fired his gun had not been released. Modesto Bee article


Flowers, balloons honor Stanislaus sheriff employees who died in south Modesto crash — Flowers, blue balloons and at least one potted plant with messages expressing grief and offering condolences have been placed at two sites to memorialize the lost of two Stanislaus County sheriff’s employees who died in a fiery crash Saturday morning. Modesto Bee article


Out-of-town ‘sideshows’ cause trouble in Fresno — The California Highway Patrol responded to several large “sideshows” in Fresno on Saturday night into Sunday morning, some involving over 100 cars, Sgt. Joseph Bianchi said. Fresno Bee article


For Mother’s Day, bail reform groups get moms out of jail — Three moms in Alameda County will be spending Mother’s Day at home with their kids instead of locked up in jail or immigration detention. They are among 30 moms being bailed out nationwide by social and racial justice groups looking to reform the bail system. KQED report




Closer look at $175 million UC hid from the public — The Chronicle took a closer look at the $175 million and met Friday with Napolitano’s chief operating officer, Rachel Nava, and other budget experts to learn more about why their office didn’t disclose the money to the regents or the public as part of the president’s office budget. San Francisco Chronicle article


How could Trump impact California schools? A cheat sheet — KQED teamed up with KPCC in Los Angeles, KPBS in San Diego and CALmatters to produce a series called “Trump ED,” exploring the intersection between President Trump’s proposed federal education policies and how they might impact California schools. KQED report


As schools adopt social-emotional programs, a new guide offers help — Parents, teachers and students streamed into the library of Palo Alto’s Gunn High School on a warm evening this spring to hear about a new plan, coming this fall, to help high school students develop empathy and coping skills through “social and emotional learning.” For starters, the audience wanted the answer to a question that has dogged the jargon phrase for years: What is social and emotional learning and why should schools get involved in it? EdSource article


For New York’s tuition-free plan, lessons from Tennessee – In Tennessee, where Ms. Riel and other members of Tennessee’s first cohort of scholarship recipients graduate this spring, community college enrollment numbers are up by a third, while the amount that students are having to borrow from the federal government is down, though it is unclear what effect the money is having on on-time graduation, a key goal of the New York plan. New York Times article


Student film makers show their art, passion at Slick Rock — Buchanan High School, of Clovis, was the big winner at the 15th annual Slick Rock Film Festival Friday night at the Visalia Fox Theatre. Following the spectacle of the “Fury Road”-like cavalcade of limousines and stretch hummers that dropped off immaculately-dressed area teens for their red carpet entrances, the ceremony celebrated the work of hundreds of student film makers. Visalia Times-Delta article




Warmer weather means higher rates of ozone pollution in Central Valley — The warmer the weather becomes, the more aware Valley residents should be of ozone pollution, the dominant pollutant in the summertime that can damage lung tissue, said officials from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Merced Sun-Star article


Health/Human Services


Tax would help Kern River Valley’s only hospital avoid closure — The Kern River Valley’s only hospital may be shut down in 2030 if voters don’t pass Measure C, a parcel tax on the June ballot that would fund state-required seismic retrofitting, hospital officials say. Bakersfield Californian article


LA County considers disbanding child welfare donation unit after audit finds funds, toys unused and mismanaged — Los Angeles County is reviewing how best to handle child welfare donations after an audit found that thousands of toys weren’t given out, inappropriate payments were made and fundraising efforts were largely ineffective. LA Times article


A shocking diagnosis: Breast implants gave me cancer — A rare cancer of the immune system, linked to implants, has had devastating effects on women, many of whom had reconstructive surgery after breast cancer. New York Times article




Lyft and Waymo will collaborate on self-driving cars — As the race to bring self-driving vehicles to the public intensifies, two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent players are teaming up. New York Times article


Valley Editorial Roundup


Sacramento Bee –- Psychiatric patients desperately need housing.  We’re failing them.