May 16, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

California November ballot will have as many as 18 measures — California voters this fall will likely wade through the longest list of state propositions since Bill Clinton was president, a sizable batch of proposed laws that is likely to spark a record amount of campaign spending. LA Times article

Lots of transportation measures are headed to November ballot — It’s looking like the November ballot will be a big one for transportation in California. A dozen counties, including Sacramento and Placer, are planning to put sales tax measures on the ballot, asking voters to chip in billions of dollars to help fix rutted roads and relieve at least some of the state’s growing post-recession congestion. Sacramento Bee article

State budget

Governor seeking extra $5 million for drought relief — California Assemblyman Devon Mathis is praising Gov. Jerry Brown for revising his state budget proposal to add $5 million for grants to pay for deepening wells and cleaning contaminated wells in small communities that could include East Porterville. Visalia Times-Delta article

Gov. Brown 

George Skelton: At budget time, Gov. Jerry Brown cashes in on penny-pinching reputation — Budgeting is where Gov. Jerry Brown makes his money. Willie Sutton had his banks. Brown has budgets, the primary source of his political capital. The seasoned four-term governor cleans up at budget time — in January when he proposes a state spending plan, in May when he revises it, in June when he signs the legislation. Skelton column in LA Time

Valley politics 

Zapien leads fundraising among San Joaquin County supervisor candidates — Over the last year, Moses Zapien has raised the most money in his bid for San Joaquin County Supervisor, with local businessman Tom Patti a close second. Stockton Record article 

Tulare County District 1 supervisor candidate questionnaire: Brian Poochigian – Poochigian, 34, logistics manager.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

GOP Senate candidates take long shot at Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat – For any of the three top Republicans running to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, finishing second would be an upset victory. Attorney Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette, attorney Duf Sundheim of Palo Alto and high-tech businessman Ron Unz of Palo Alto are all running low-cost, long-shot campaigns to keep November’s general election from becoming a Democrats-only affair. San Francisco Chronicle article

Voter Guide: Know the candidates, issues before you vote — The 2016 Sacramento Bee Voter Guide includes information on key races and issues in California and in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties. Sacramento Bee Voter Guide


Repairing border wall a daily endeavor — Keeping California’s border fence intact is a $9 million-a-year job requiring surveillance cameras, underground sensors, stadium lights and roving bands of welders. In the stretch between the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa border crossings, human-sized holes are punching through the fence about 550 times a year. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Other areas

Where’s Cleveland? Some California politicians are skipping the Republican National Convention – Five of the 14 Republicans in California’s delegation say they won’t attend the convention to officially pick the party’s nominee and vice presidential pick. LA Times article
California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Dan Walters: California faces conflicts over billions in school bonds – The seemingly mundane matter of issuing bonds to build and fix schools has suddenly morphed into a bubbling stew of highly contentious politics. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Michael Fitzgerald: A big idea: Tiny homes – The most interesting idea to emerge from the mayor’s race so far is Michael Tubbs’ proposal to use “tiny homes” to help solve Stockton’s deplorable homeless problem. Tubbs, a council member, drafted codes that permit tiny homes — 440 square feet or less — to be built near the shelters and dining hall. The Council has yet to vote on his proposal. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Jobs and the Economy

News on homelessness will bombard San Francisco – One particularly vocal group of residents, San Francisco’s journalists, say they feel a sense of urgency in addressing the problem. They are banding together in an exasperated, but as yet vaguely defined, attempt to spur the city into action. Next month, media organizations in the Bay Area are planning to put aside their rivalries and competitive instincts for a day of coordinated coverage on the homeless crisis in the city. New York Times article

A test exchange over LA County’s homelessness finance plan exposes a rift among supervisors – A majority bloc of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has split over how best to fund a wide-ranging plan to reduce homelessness. Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis — both labor-backed Democrats who are typically political allies — got into a heated exchange during two hearings last week over a proposal that would enable the county to pursue a new income tax on millionaires to address what many see as the region’s growing crisis. LA Times article

San Jose reduces pension reform to attract police – A city of San Jose request to repeal a pension reform approved by voters in 2012 was granted by a superior court in March, allowing a more generous plan negotiated with unions to attract police to a long-depleted force now working mandatory overtime. Calpensions article 

Low Modesto gas prices could continue as summer nears – Drivers in California continue to pay the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline, but AAA officials say gas prices could remain relatively steady even as more travelers are expected to opt for a road trip this summer. Modesto Bee article

Warren Buffett and Dan Gilbert unite in bid for Yahoo – Yahoo appears to be making progress in efforts to sell itself, despite some initial skepticism. The latest piece of evidence: Among those vying for the company is the unusual combination of the investor Warren E. Buffett and Dan Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. New York Times article

The hidden workforce expanding Tesla’s Richmond factory — When Gregor Lesnik left his pregnant girlfriend in Slovenia for a job in America, his visa application described specialized skills and said he was a supervisor headed to a South Carolina auto plant. Turns out, that wasn’t true.  San Jose Mercury News article

Jim Knox: For health’s sake, CalPERS should stay out of tobacco investments – The vice president of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network writes, “Reinvesting in tobacco would pit CalPERS’ portfolio against the financial and physical well-being of its members and other Californians. The tobacco industry inflicts more than $23 billion a year in health care and lost productivity costs upon Californians, including $3.5 billion in direct costs to California taxpayers to pay for treating tobacco-related diseases afflicting Medi-Cal patients.” Knox op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Robin Abcarian: California is poised to become the center of cannabis culture – California, with a thriving medical marijuana industry, already produces and sells more pot than any other state, including Colorado, Washington and Oregon, which have all legalized adult recreational use of marijuana. In California, we could see a tenfold increase in what is already a billion-dollar-plus industry, and this despite the continuing federal classification of marijuana as a dangerous substance with no medical value. Abcarian op-ed in LA Times

Lemoore approves online bill pay — Want to pay your water, sewer and trash bills with your smartphone? If you live in Hanford, Corcoran or Avenal, you already can through a link on each city’s website. It’s not yet in place for Lemoore, but it’s close. Hanford Sentinel article

Don Curlee: Wage regulation impacts farmers — Farmers and other agricultural enterprises in California will likely be as negatively impacted as any industry in the state if new minimum wage regulations strike next year. Curlee column in Visalia Times-Delta 

Criminal Justice/Prisons

In-jail gang note intercepted, helps bust drug-smuggling operation – An intercepted in-jail gang note led correctional officers to bust a drug-smuggling operation at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility this week, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office reported. Merced Sun-Star article 

‘For a lot of people, it’s part of the healing process’ – A small crowd gathered around a large poster at the entrance of a memorial breakfast fundraiser to honor fallen Tulare County sheriff’s pilot James Chavez and Sheriff Deputy Scott Ballantyne. Visalia Times-Delta article

Ask TBC: What’s the latest on indicted Bakersfield Police Department officer? — A court docket from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California indicates the case’s first status conference was held April 18. Damacio Diaz is represented by longtime Bakersfield criminal defense attorney David Torres. The docket notes that Torres has received and reviewed “discovery,” evidence in the hands of the U.S. Attorneys Office, which is prosecuting the case. Bakersfield Californian article

New Stockton Unified superintendent relishes returning to his roots – Eliseo Davalos has worked in K-12 public education since 1979, from teaching high school and community college to graduate-level teacher education programs. Ask him to describe his experiences and feelings about education, and Davalos’ love and commitment to students, teachers and the community pour out straight from the heart. Stockton Record article 

UC Merced honors graduates – More than 900 students crossed the stage to collect their diplomas over the weekend at UC Merced. Merced Sun-Star article

Despite struggles, UC San Diego confident it can raise $2 billion in private donations over decade – UC San Diego is expressing confidence that it can raise a record $2 billion in private donations over a decade, even though it’s struggling with internal problems and little support from alumni. LA Times article

Is extra funding helping English learners? One school’s contentious decision – Despite getting an extra $187,000 this year to help at-risk kids — the state’s new way of handing out money — Oak Ridge still has to make cuts because several other streams of funding are drying up. KQED report

UC Berkeley’s $700,000 fence keeps protestors at bay — As fences go, the $700,000 one that just went up around the campus home of UC Berkeley ChancellorNicholas Dirks has to be one for the record books. San Francisco Chronicle article

A transgender 9-year-old tells her story – A 9-year-old is growing up. She used to play with Barbies. Now she’s the class treasurer of her West L.A. elementary school. She plays girls volleyball, paints her nails and likes to challenge herself on Minecraft. She’s also transgender. The girl, as well as her parents and school administrators, agreed to share her story to show how they are grappling with a situation that more and more schools are facing. LA Times article

Timothy Yeager: Kindergarten readiness: It’s not just what, but also how children need to learn – The former director of the Autism Center at Fresno State writes, “Teachers hold the keys to a transformative room, where opportunities to learn are always present if the child has the prerequisites to access those opportunities. Teachers are given a tremendous responsibility. Despite their students’ not being ready to learn, and despite all the factors that contributed to them not being ready, we expect teachers to catch them up. It’s possible, that in order to do so, a couple more tools in the toolbox are needed.” Yeager op-ed in Merced Sun-Star

Study: Extended support eases transition for foster youth into adulthood – California foster youth who are taking advantage of newly extended services are having a smoother transition into adulthood, according to a study released this month. But the state needs to do more, the researchers say. EdSource article

Sacramento-area students tough to satisfy with healthier fare — Ever since the federal government required four years ago that schools serve healthier food – less sodium, more whole grains, more fresh produce – districts across the country have observed a marked drop in the number of students getting their lunch at the cafeteria. Sacramento Bee article 

One Table event supports graduation effort — Year Two for the One Table Community Dinner proved a success Sunday evening, raising money for a United Way education program. About 300 people dined at dozens of regular-size tables laid end to end on a block of 15th Street in Modesto. They paid $125 each to support Graduation Coach, which provides mentors for at-risk students and their parents at seven schools. Modesto Bee article


Protestors stage sit-in at Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility — About 20 environmental activists staged a sit-in Sunday afternoon at the entrance to the troubled Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in the San Fernando Valley, calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to keep it closed permanently. LA Times article
Health/Human Services 

State found lapses in infection control at UCLA and Cedars — After “super bug” outbreaks last year involving a hard-to-clean medical scope, state health inspectors descended on two of Los Angeles’ largest hospitals and found numerous safety violations that appeared to put far more patients at risk. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

Homebuilders spend big to fight El Dorado County slow-growth measures – Major homebuilders are pouring more than $575,000 into an El Dorado County campaign committee established to defeat two local slow-growth initiatives. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas 

Sanger native Tim Chapa returns as city manager — Sanger native Tim Chapa thought he would make a life in the San Francisco area – perhaps working for a tech company – but his hometown always seemed to pull him back. Fresno Bee article

Anger over fake service dogs has people snarling at those with the real thing — Under federal law, the only kinds of dogs allowed in public places are service dogs – though some stores, such as Home Depot, have “dog-friendly” policies. Service dogs are what most people think of when they think of support animals – properly credentialed, mitigating a physical disability and more well-behaved in stores than many toddlers. Today, the lines have blurred. AP article