May 16, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


Dan Walters: AG Becerra muffs chance to crack down on local government corruption — California’s new attorney general, Xavier Becerra, was given a golden opportunity Monday to change his department’s passive attitude toward governmental corruption. He muffed it.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee


Judge compares Trump travel ban to Japanese-American internment – A federal appeals court reviewing President Trump’s revised ban on U.S. entry of travelers from six mostly Muslim countries on Monday gave few hints of how it planned to rule. But the panel asked some provocative questions, particularly from one judge who compared the ban to the order that sent Japanese-Americans to U.S. internment camps during World War II. San Francisco Chronicle article; KQED report


State budget


Assemblymen Vince Fong and Jay Obernolte: California needs transparency on budget – Fong (R-Bakersfield) and Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) write, “Californians should be able to see how the Legislature prioritizes state dollars and where specifically their tax dollars go. Sacramento needs to be held accountable for policies that continue to increase California’s cost of living based on the false argument that raising taxes and fees are the only way to fund the state’s needs. We will continue to fight for real budget transparency so that we stop the business-as-usual culture that is making our state unaffordable for everyday Californians.”Fong/Obernolte op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Gov. Brown


Jared Blumenfeld: Brown needs to rescue California’s recycling programs – The regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s office under President Barack Obama writes, “The governor’s proposed 2017-18 budget presents a critical opportunity for policymakers to come together and fix what’s been broken: Use surplus program revenue to return recycling center funding to 2015 levels, and provide supplemental funding to reopen closed rural centers. It should also include a timeline for closing loopholes and require beer and soft drink makers to cover at least half the cost of recycling their containers, less than 5 cents per container. Blumenthal op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Joel Fox: Brown makes environmental justice pitch to get two-thirds vote for cap-n-trade – At the budget revision press conference last week, Gov. Jerry Brown tried to assuage Democratic lawmakers over costs on his cap-and-trade extension by arguing for environmental justice so as to assure a two-thirds vote for the plan.Fox in Fox & Hounds


Gov. Brown’s ballot measure committee agrees to pay $1,500 fine for campaign finance violations –Gov. Jerry Brown’s committee for the tax measure Proposition 30 in 2012 has agreed to pay $1,500 in fines to the state’s campaign watchdog commission for not properly reporting all contributions. LA Times article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures


Silicon Valley venture capitalist Sam Altman says he’s considering a run for California governor – Sam Altman, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, is considering a run for governor. Altman, 32, is the president of Y Combinator, a start-up technology incubator that has invested in companies such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Stripe. When he was 19, he co-founded a social media app that later sold for $43 million. LA Times article


California Democratic Party faces $3,500 in state fines for mishandling campaign funds, governor gets warning letter — The California Democratic Party has agreed to pay $3,500 in fines for mishandling a pair of six-figure contributions, but state investigators stopped short of accusing party officials of laundering donations from the oil industry to the 2014 reelection effort of Gov. Jerry Brown. LA Times article


‘Old school vs. new school:’ The battle over who will run the California Democratic Party – A pivotal election is underway in California that could push this Democratic stronghold even further left and recalibrate the direction of arguably the most influential state political party in the nation. LA Times article




10,000 immigrant parents of U.S. citizens detained per year in California, report says — Many of the 65,000 immigrants detained on average in California every year are parents of U.S. citizens, according to a new report from an international human rights advocacy organization. KPPC report


Other areas


California state controller seeks additional restrictions on state tax board to prevent conflicts of interest — State Controller Betty T. Yee on Monday proposed new rules aimed at preventing conflicts of interest and other ethical lapses by members of California’s tax board while it awaits the results of investigations by the state Department of Justice and others into allegations of mismanagement. LA Times articleSacramento Bee article


Fearing new taxes, California Chamber of Commerce appeals cap-and-trade decision — The California Chamber of Commerce is taking its case against the cap-and-trade program to the state’s highest court. LA Times article


Obama-linked group to target vulnerable Republicans – A progressive organization is launching a new campaign to pressure GOP lawmakers in districts where President Donald Trump performed worst, an undertaking it hopes will channel grassroots energy against endangered Republican incumbents. McClatchy Newspapers article


With defunding threats less imminent, Planned Parenthood turns its focus to low Medi-Cal payments –A Capitol gathering of Planned Parenthood supporters on Monday had many of the same traits as the January Women’s March and other rallies of the Trump era: pink T-shirts and so-called pussy hats, with frequent jeers for the president and the GOP-majority Congress. But behind the familiar feel was a subtle shift in lobbying by Planned Parenthood of California. After months of warning of the existential threat of potential federal defunding, the healthcare organization has trained its focus on another threat: low reimbursements from the state for seeing Medi-Cal patients. LA Times article


California lawmaker proposes making ‘stealthing’ a form of rape under state law — Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) on Monday introduced a bill that would make it a form of rape to remove or tamper with a condom during sex without consent. LA Times article


California ethics watchdog nabs its former leader – Dan Schnur is under fire from a state watchdog agency he once headed for failing to timely disclose a $125,000 personal contribution to his political fundraising committee. Schnur led the California Fair Political Practices for roughly seven months after former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named him chair in June 2010. Sacramento Bee article


‘Brutal beatdown’ by Kevin Johnson for pie attack was justice to some jurors — A Sacramento judge declared a mistrial Monday in the felony assault trial against local activist Sean Thompson, accused of smashing a pie in the face of then-Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson at a charity event last September.Sacramento Bee article


Presidential Politics


Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador – President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. Washington Post article; McClatchy Newspapers article; LA Times articleNew York Times article


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: Trump was ‘sloppy’ if he disclosed sensitive information to Russia — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday called news that President Trump may have disclosed high-level intelligence information to Russian officials “sloppy” and a “messy approach to intelligence that is very endangering.” LA Times article


Sen. Dianne Feinstein pledges to oppose Transportation nominees until Caltrain funding is approved — Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Monday she will oppose the confirmation of every Transportation Department nominee until the Trump administration funds California’s electric train. LA Times article


California’s attorney general says Trump administration is ‘crazy’ for new emphasis on drug prosecutions – California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Monday sharply criticized the decision by President Trump’s administration to reinvigorate federal prosecution of drug crimes, saying the decision will have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. LA Times article


Danny Morrison: ‘Welcome back, my former Trump-supporting friend’ — It was inevitable. His reversal of fortune was as predictable as a 100-degree day in a Bakersfield summer. A Kanye West airport tirade in a swarm of paparazzi. Or a Sarah Palin word salad in an effort to try and make a viable point. Yes, the vast majority of my most conservative friends are holding steadfast to their support for the Cheeto-in-Chief, but the more patriotic ones are starting to come around. Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian


Obama is making $400,000 for a single speech. Is that so different from other presidents? — Profiting on the speech-making circuit has become a not-always-honored tradition for the last several presidents, starting with Gerald Ford, a longtime House member who never really planned to be chief executive; he replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president when he resigned in disgrace, then took over after President Nixon stepped down rather than face impeachment in the Watergate scandal. LA Times article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories


Fresno Mayor Brand lays out vision for creating 10,000 jobs — Fresno Mayor Lee Brand gave community leaders a run through of his first 100 days in office Monday, as well as a look ahead to the future. Speaking at the Fresno Rotary club luncheon, Brand painted the picture of a city that is getting its fiscal house in order and is primed to add up to 10,000 new jobs in the next eight years, according to his vision. The Business Journal article


Bakersfield departments pitch their project wish lists – The City Council began its dive into the next fiscal year budget Monday, listening to presentations from the police and fire departments, financial services, the convention center and the city manager’s office. Bakersfield Californian article


Jobs and the Economy


Homelessness: A problem without a solution – Joesph Carrillo spends his days restoring his vintage beach cruiser under Visalia’s Seven Oaks Park’s arbor. When the sun sets, he tries to find a bed at a local homeless shelter. He’s been living on the streets for four years. He and a group of 15 homeless men and women do their best to keep the park clean. Visalia Times-Delta article


Only 1 in 3 can afford median-priced California home; situation better in Sacramento — Only 32 percent of California households could afford to purchase the $496,620 median-priced Golden State home in the first quarter of 2017, according to a report issued Monday by the Los Angeles-based California Association of Realtors. That marked the 16th consecutive quarter that the index has been below 40 percent and is near the mid-2008 low level of 29 percent. Sacramento Bee article


Sacramento’s billion-dollar budget: Four things you need to know – Sacramento’s budget will be nearly $1 billion for the first time next fiscal year, according to the recently released proposal. What will that 10-figure spend mean for city residents? Here are four things you should know.  Sacramento Bee article


Virginia Corridor contractor files nearly $157,000 claim against Modesto – The contractor that built Modesto’s newest edition to the Virginia Corridor — the paved trail popular with walkers, bicyclists and joggers — has filed a claim against the city seeking $156,706. Modesto Bee article


Food Bank: Thank you for your generosity – The generosity of people from all over San Joaquin County left the Emergency Food Bank positively overwhelmed last weekend as bin after bin of donated food arrived at its lot at 7 W. Scotts Ave. following this year’s Stamp Out Hunger. Stockton Record article


Two local small businesses closing: ‘It’s time to slow down and enjoy life’ – Two longtime mom-and-pop shops are closing: Bear Creek Gifts and Cabin Decor in Old Town Clovis and Bella Bead Boutique in Fresno. The owners cite the same reasons. They’re tired. They want a break or want to retire after more than a decade of the daily grind of running their own businesses. Neither is going away entirely. Both stores plan to have an online presence. Fresno Bee article


Despite efforts on equal pay, the gender salary gap in California state jobs persists – A state report released last fall underscored how far California has to go before its rhetoric matches reality when it comes to paying state workers. According to its findings, there is a 20.5% disparity in pay between female and male state employees — a wider gap than in the federal civil service and the private sector in California and nationwide. LA Times article


This Sacramento store not only sells beer and wine – it serves it as well — Have you ever reached the checkout line at the grocery store and wished desperately for a drink? Compton’s Market in East Sacramento has the answer to your prayers. A row of tap handles for Heretic Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Fat Tire and other beers sits behind the brand-new bar at the longtime neighborhood market. It’s part of a 4,000-square-foot expansion that also features wine by the glass and counter-service food. Sacramento Bee article


Amgen spins through Modesto for first time in six years – Hundreds of fans lined downtown streets Monday to see the Amgen Tour of California — featuring some of the world’s top bicycle racers — return to Modesto for the first time in six years.  Modesto Bee article


SpaceX successfully launches commercial satellite – SpaceX launched a commercial communications satellite Monday afternoon, the sixth launch of the year for the Elon Musk-led company. LA Times article


Sacramento Republic FC formally joins Major League Soccer bid — In a move that could boost Sacramento’s long-awaited bid for a Major League Soccer expansion spot, Republic FC has been acquired by the deep-pocketed investor group leading the expansion bid, the sides announced Monday. Sacramento Bee article




Stanislaus National Forest needed rain after long drought, but this much? Really? – A meeting Thursdaywill deal with the effects of first the drought and then the heavy storms in the Stanislaus National Forest. The public can learn about how the near-record rain and snow of 2017 has damaged roads and recreation sites. Experts also will talk about the millions of conifers killed by bark beetles during the 2012-16 drought, and resources for removing those near homes and other buildings. Modesto Bee article


Criminal Justice/Prisons


Trump and Pence meet with children of fallen Fresno County sheriff’s sergeant – The children of Sgt. Rod Lucas, a Fresno County sheriff’s deputy who died in the line of duty last year, met President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in a ceremony Monday at the U.S. Capitol. Fresno Bee article


Life without parole: Reforms target youthful offenders – New legislation to overhaul California’s youth criminal justice system includes a key provision that could curb life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders. Senate Bill 394 makes inmates eligible for a parole hearing after 25 years of incarceration if they were sentenced to life without parole when they were under the age of 18. Capitol Weekly article


Police say she helped shooting rampage suspect. But she won’t be charged – A woman who was with accused crime-spree killer Kori Ali Muhammad when a motel security guard was gunned down will not be charged with being an accessory after the crime, the Fresno County District Attorney’ Office said Monday.Fresno Bee article


These dogs are the newest members of Clovis’ police force – Clovis police on Monday introduced two new officers — police dogs Jax and Corda — as the department relaunched its K-9 unit after a six-year hiatus.Fresno Bee article


Merced sheriff criticizes Atwater prison’s handling of inmate escape. Prison silent – Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke blasted officials at United States Penitentiary Atwater on Monday, three days after a 26-year-old inmate managed to escape and was on the run for at least four hours before prison authorities alerted county law enforcement.  Merced Sun-Star article


Former Kern County sheriff’s deputies plead guilty to drug crimes in federal court — Two former Kern County sheriff’s deputies face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty in federal court in Fresno Monday to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Bakersfield Californian article


‘I’m overwhelmingly concerned,’ sheriff says as department struggles with 2 deaths – The deaths of Deputy Jason Garner and Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson in a vehicle crash Saturday have shaken the men and women of his department to their core, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said Monday. Modesto Bee article


Fake fundraising site looks to gain from Stanislaus Sheriff’s Department deaths — Criminals wasted little time seizing an opportunity to profit from the deaths of a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department deputy and community service officer. The Sheriff’s Department warned Monday morning of a fraudulent Gofundme page that’s been established and uses the photographs of Deputy Jason Garner and CSO Raschel Johnson. The two were killed in a single-vehicle crash Saturday morning on Crows Landing Road. Modesto Bee article


Former sheriff, who said blacks did better before civil rights, leaves Picnic Day probe — John McGinness, the former Sacramento sheriff turned radio host, said he’s stepping down from an inquiry into Davis’ Picnic Day melee after his on-air comments about African-Americans prompted a call for his ouster. Sacramento Bee article




Jeff Jardine: Ex-Modesto Junior College worker said veterans will struggle to get certified, school says they won’t — A couple of weeks ago, some veterans who attend or plan to attend Modesto Junior College received an email from Alberto Aranda who, until May 5, worked in the school’s Veterans Services Office. Jardine column in Modesto Bee


Parents want unbiased sex education at Visalia schools – In January 2016, the California Healthy Youth Act, which requires school districts to provide students with integrated, comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased comprehensive sexual health and HIV prevention education, went into effect. Visalia Times-Delta article


A long journey, almost over — On Saturday, Cristal Harris will graduate from the University of San Francisco School of Law. Soon, she’ll take the bar exam. She wants to be a public defender, representing people who come from difficult backgrounds like her own and in many cases simply made poor choices, she said. Stockton Record article


California bar exam pass rate continues to slump — The proportion of prospective attorneys who passed the California bar exam has sunk yet again, according to data released by the State Bar of California on Friday, with just 34.5 percent of test takers making the grade. San Francisco Chronicle article


Weather delays for school expansion costs Los Banos school district – Rain delays will cost the Los Banos Unified School District Board an extra $59,870 to complete a school expansion project. Los Banos Enterprise article


Stanford pays $130 million for Los Altos apartments — Stanford University, seeking to provide an additional housing choice for faculty and staff near the campus, has paid $130.5 million for an upscale apartment and retail complex in Los Altos. San Jose Mercury News article


Health/Human Services


Kern County launches campaign to stop food cart scofflaws — Kern County Public Health Services officials are warning consumers about the health risks of purchasing pork rinds, tacos and other treats from unpermitted mobile vendors and launched a new campaign Monday to help report scofflaws. Bakersfield Californian article


When the immune system thwarts lifesaving drugs – Patients often produce antibodies to the very treatments keeping them alive. The search for solutions is just beginning. New York Times article




BART’s ‘seat hog’ ordinance, never enforced, likely to die — BART’s “seat hog” ordinance became law last fall, making it illegal for passengers to take up more than a single seat on a commute train. But it has never been enforced, and it may never be. San Francisco Chronicle article


6 people have died in car crashes near Cholame ‘Y’ in past 2 months — A fatal car crash Saturday marked the sixth traffic death near the intersection of Highways 41 and 46 this year — and the third in two weeks. The two-vehicle collision about 7:45 a.m. Saturday at the Cholame “Y” killed 64-year-old Robert S. Villegas of Bakersfield, according to the California Highway PatrolSan Luis Obispo Tribune article


Other areas


Former city manager ‘back in the saddle’ pending Livingston vote — A former city manager in Livingston could fill the role again, he confirmed Monday. Jose Ramirez, who left the city in 2015 after more than three years, could be hired during the city council meeting Tuesday. Merced Sun-Star article


Valley Editorial Roundup


Sacramento Bee –- It’s up to all of us to keep our own computers and smartphones safe from malware because when we don’t, we can spread the virus to many others. We should give information technology workers the respect they deserve, not just when we need them to make an urgent fix; Sacramento County has resorted to restricting sales of butane tostop hash oil labs from exploding. The city should, too.


Stockton Record: Cheers and jeers: New registrar on board, mail carriers help out, and other issues.