May 17, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


One GOP lawmakers wants Trump to come clean on sharing classified info. Another isn’t talking — One day after the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump revealed classified information to the Russian foreign minister, Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, urged the administration to be forthcoming about the matter. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, did not respond to a request for comment. Fresno Bee article


Dan Walters: California tolerates failing schools for millions of kids — Were California as progressive as its politicians pretend, and were they not in thrall to the California Teachers Association and the rest of the education establishment, they would condemn the shameful conditions revealed in the report and insist that the successful schools be replicated statewide. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


State budget


Agriculture teachers balk at what governor proposes to do with $15 million in budget — High school agriculture teachers object to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed shift of $15 million for technical career training. The plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 would put this money under workforce programs at community colleges, added to the $33 million they already were getting in recent years. Modesto Bee article


Gov. Brown’s revised budget plan draws mixed reviews from early education advocates — While early education advocates say they appreciate Gov. Jerry Brown keeping last year’s promise to increase preschool funding – which he proposed postponing when he introduced the 2017-18 budget in January – they were disappointed that the May budget revision didn’t include additional money and changes that would allow more low-income families to qualify for subsidized child care. EdSource article


Gov. Brown

Gov. Brown clashes with environmentalists over fracking – A growing number of environmentalists argue that the governor’s long-standing refusal to ban hydraulic fracking, a controversial process that has helped revive the oil industry in California, opens the state to just the type of environmental disasters he regularly rails against. San Francisco Chronicle article


Valley politics


Political newcomer Andrew Janz hopes to challenge Devin Nunes – The 2018 mid-term election is a year-and-a-half away, but Republican Congressman Devin Nunes has already drawn a challenger in the race for the 22nd Congressional District, Democrat Andrew Janz. The political newcomer and current Fresno County Deputy District Attorney faces a tough challenge. Valley Public Radio report


Businessman faces election fine — A local businessman faces a proposed $2,500 fine for violating state political finance rules during Lathrop’s mayoral campaign in 2014. According to a Fair Political Practices Commission document, businessman Dhalwinder S. Dhoot spent $1,385 on an anonymous mailer in opposition to Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal’s re-election campaign in 2014. Dhoot has admitted to the violation. Stockton Record article




California leader, a child of immigrants, welcomes new citizens — California Secretary of State Alex Padilla helped welcome 1,000 people to U.S. citizenship Tuesday during a naturalization ceremony at the Fresno Convention Center. Fresno Bee article


Advocates urge LAPD to do more to distance itself from federal immigration enforcement — At a Police Commission meeting Tuesday devoted to immigration, immigrant rights advocates urged the Los Angeles Police Department to do more to distance itself from federal immigration enforcement. LA Times article


Fearing deportation, parents worry about enrolling undocumented kids in Medi-Cal — In the current political climate, immigration and health advocates worry that children, like Luz’s son, will drop out of Medi-Cal and that new kids won’t enroll out of concern that personal information may be used to deport families. KQED report


Other areas


Sweeping reform of California’s bail system would come with a hefty price tag, says new analysis — A new legislative committee analysis predicts that overhauling the bail system in California could be costly, adding a significant hurdle for Democratic lawmakers seeking to pass sweeping reform in the face of heavy opposition from law enforcement and the bail industry. LA Times article


California state Senate advances bill to repeal mandatory sentence enhancements for some drug convictions –The state Senate on Monday approved a bill that would repeal three-year mandatory sentence enhancements for some prior drug convictions, part of a reform package that lawmakers say would protect juveniles and create parity in the justice system. LA Times article


San Francisco forces gun suppliers to agree to halt sale of high-capacity kits –Five online gun suppliers have agreed to halt their California sales of “repair kits” that buyers can assemble into high-capacity magazines outlawed by the state, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Tuesday. San Francisco Chronicle article


Hunting for a job – with a felony — Should someone convicted of a felony have to admit that on the first application for a job? Assemblyman Kevin McCarty of Sacramento and a group of his fellow Assembly Democrats don’t think so. They are pushing a bill that would prohibit a public or private employer from asking a prospective employee, on an initial application for employment, if they had been convicted of a crime. Capitol Weekly article


Presidential Politics


Comey memo says Trump asked him to end Flynn investigation – President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting. New York Times article


Why the Comey memo could be so explosive for Trump – A memo in which former FBI Director James B. Comey says President Trump asked him to shut down a criminal investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn is likely to emerge as a key piece of evidence in the case, legal experts say. LA Times article


Everything we know so far about the Russia investigation and the Trump White House — Here’s a timeline on the drama that has unfolded since Trump won the Nov. 8 election.  LA Times article


Kamala Harris to Trump: Leave grandma’s marijuana alone Sen. Kamala Harris of California used the year’s first big 2020 presidential spotlight Tuesday to rail against Trump administration drug policies and call for easing laws governing marijuana. McClatchy Newspapers article; LA Times article


White House fights a familiar enemy: The press – As the White House reeled on Tuesday from a chaotic 24 hours, bookended by a pair of bombshell scoops raising serious questions about President Trump’s comportment in the Oval Office, the administration and its surrogates quickly settled on a blunt message: Blame the press. New York Times article


Kimberly Guilfoyle says she’s talking with Trump administration about press secretary’s job — Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former first lady of San Francisco and current Fox News host, is in conversations with the Trump administration about becoming White House press secretary, she said in an interview with the Bay Area News Group on Monday night. San Jose Mercury News article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories


Merced’s city budget increasing.  Is the local economy improving? — The Merced City Council got a look on Monday at a $218.4 million preliminary budget for the coming fiscal year, which would add more than two dozen city jobs and includes a study on noise-making trains. Merced Sun-Star article


November ballot will include 12-year extension of county library tax — Stanislaus County supervisors voted Tuesday evening to put a 12-year library tax extension on the November ballot. If approved by voters countywide, the 1/8-cent sales tax that supports county libraries will be renewed until the year 2030. Modesto Bee article


Jobs and the Economy


Layoffs coming for 170 employees of Pacific Pulmonary Services in Bakersfield – A medical equipment company founded in Bakersfield nearly four decades ago will lay off 170 employees in July. Pacific Pulmonary Services notified the Kern County Board of Supervisors of the proposed layoff in a May 12 letter. Bakersfield Californian article


Advocate: Addressing homelessness starts with permanent housing – One of the most dedicated homeless advocates in the county told Stockton City Council members and San Joaquin County Supervisors this week that permanent housing is needed if they want to address the homelessness issue. Stockton Record article


Market Place vendors must get business permits — Going forward, the dozens of for-profit vendors who come to downtown Hanford’s Thursday Night Market Place will have to pay business license fees to the city, according to city officials. Hanford Sentinel article


Statewide new-car sales cooling down, but pace still brisk – California’s new-car sales market is cooling down, but Golden State dealers remain on track to again ring up more than 2 million unit sales in 2017, according to the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association. Sacramento Bee article


‘If you can make soup, you can make beer.” Turlock business promises to help — Renegade Brewing is aimed at helping brewers with their hobby. Want some pizza to go with that beer? A new Pizza Factory has opened in Santa Nella. Modesto Bee article


These miners won a massive $107 million ruling against Sacramento County.  Will it stand? — Whether government officials became “blinded” and “corrupted,” or if they only demanded regulatory complicity from a rogue gravel-mining operation, the matter of Hardesty and Schneider v. Sacramento County isn’t done yet. Sacramento Bee article




New water standards could drive up rates — The city is waiting for the California State Water Resources Control Board to set its new standards on the amount of 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, in drinking water. The city would have to increase its water rates if the state board sets those purification standards later this year, Tandy said in his budget message for the proposed fiscal year 2017-18 budget. Bakersfield Californian article


Criminal Justice/Prisons


Stockton Police reach milestone with 443rd officer on force — For one new police officer, it was a day more than five years in the making. For the Stockton Police Department, it was a significant milestone en route to an elusive destination. Stockton Record article


Judge throws out lawsuit challenging California’s execution law – A judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law that gives prison authorities responsibility for establishing procedures for lethal injection executions. LA Times article


Keith Foster upends defense, denying his lawyer’s claim he was undercover when busted for drugs – Former Fresno deputy Police Chief Keith Foster, taking the stand Tuesday for the first time in his federal drug trafficking trial, upended his defense by denying his lawyer’s repeated assertion that he was “deep undercover” when he was arrested on drug charges. Fresno Bee article


Fresno police honored for heroism and lifesaving efforts — More than two dozen Fresno police officers were honored Tuesday in a City Hall ceremony for exceptional work. The awards included medals for lifesaving, exceptional performance and heroism. Fresno Bee article


Memorial service will be public for Stanislaus sheriff employees killed in crash – The public can attend separate memorial services next week for two Stanislaus County sheriff employees killed in a patrol car crash Saturday. Modesto Bee article


Appellate court overturns murder conviction after finding Bakersfield police suppressed evidence – A state appellate court has overturned a Bakersfield man’s murder and attempted murder convictions after finding that police suppressed evidence in the case. Bakersfield Californian article


LA County Sheriff’s Department enacts transgender policy — The nation’s largest sheriff’s department has enacted a new policy requiring deputies to address transgender and gender non-conforming people using their preferred names and pronouns, officials said Tuesday. AP article


Voters decisively back measure to rework discipline at LAPD —  A ballot measure to significantly change the way the Los Angeles Police Department handles serious officer misconduct has won easily, despite warnings from some community activists that it will result in more lenient treatment for problem cops. LA Times article




Fresno Unified sued again for school nurse allegedly putting bleach in student’s feeding tube — A second family has come forward to sue Fresno Unified over an allegation that a school nurse cleaned a disabled student’s feeding tube with bleach, causing physical injuries and emotional suffering. Fresno Bee article


The Child Development Center at West Hills College Lemoore continues to thrive – The Child Development Center on the West Hills College Lemoore campus has been operating since the college was established in 2002, and the center continues to provide the child care and kindergarten readiness classes that are in high demand in Kings County.  Hanford Sentinel article


Billboard brings up teen drinking hoping to hit the brakes – Just west of Highway 99 on Maze Boulevard stands a wish and a warning – from teens for teens. “Intoxication leads to no graduation” reads a billboard standing above a weed-choked planting strip. Modesto Bee article


Hurexit? Proposal to split Coalinga-Huron Unified reaches state — When local school districts aren’t performing, parents typically turn to school boards or parent-teacher organizations to bring about change. But in one small Fresno County city, education advocates are thinking bigger, trying to enact a much bolder and more ambitious kind of transformation. Valley Public Radio report


Big shift for California community colleges: Remedial classes fail students — For the last two years, a group of community colleges in California have been revamping their approach to remedial math and English courses, and students like Paulo Romero are starting to feel something his friends at other schools are not: hope. San Jose Mercury News article


San Luis Obispo teacher resigns after penning anti-gay letter to student newspaper – A San Luis Obispo High School teacher has resigned amid controversy over a letter he wrote to the school’s student newspaper that cited a Bible verse saying sinners and those who commit homosexual acts “deserve to die.” LA Times article




Under review: What’s at stake in Giant Sequoia National Monument – Last month President Donald Trump signed an executive order putting 20 plus national monuments across the country under review including Giant Sequoia National Monument in the mountains of Tulare, Fresno and Kern counties. Now 17 years after the monument’s creation, its existence is in question. Valley Public Radio report


Report: California fish face more extinctions unless trends change — Nearly half of California’s diverse types of native salmon, steelhead and trout are headed toward extinction in 50 years unless environmental trends are reversed, a team of scientists warned in a report Tuesday. San Jose Mercury News article


Keep Bakersfield Beautiful sees progress in hunt for city’s trash — As the white city-issued van waited to turn from Brundage Lane onto Chester Avenue, Cathy Butler looked over at the colorful annuals on the corner. “It looks so pretty with the flowers there,” Butler said, “and someone had to leave a soda cup there.” Bakersfield Californian article


San Jose approves clean energy program — San Jose approved a program Tuesday to pool funds from residents to purchase energy from green sources, becoming the largest city in the country to do so. Several other Bay Area communities have established such programs, known as Community Choice Energy programs. They are an alternative to purchasing power from the major state utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric in this case. San Francisco Chronicle article


Health/Human Services


Radiologists perform first-of-its-kind liver cancer treatment at San Joaquin Memorial Hospital, marking a milestone for Kern County – Imagine a microcatheter as skinny as a needle. Now imagine threading that through an artery the diameter of a spaghetti noodle. That’s the precision required for a procedure interventional radiologists at San Joaquin Community Hospital performed on a 70-year-old man last week called radioembolization. It’s an intervention treatment for liver cancer that stops or slows the growth of a tumor, buying patients more time to wait on transplant lists, and in some cases, making them candidates for surgery to have the tumor removed entirely.  Bakersfield Californian article


Land Use/Housing


San Francisco supervisors move forward density bonus affordable housing plan — Supervisor Katy Tang appears to be closer to getting the votes she needs to pass a law allowing developers to build taller structures in exchange for creating more affordable housing — an idea that faced opposition from her progressive colleagues last year. San Francisco Chronicle article


San Francisco 1st city in nation with a park 10-minute walk from every house — San Francisco is the first city in the nation to have every resident live within a 10-minute walk of a park or open space. The percentage is calculated by the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit that facilitates the creation of parks and analyzes park systems for the 100 largest cities nationwide. San Francisco Chronicle article




How Uber and Waymo ended up as driverless car rivals — Google was an early ally of Uber when it was a ride-hailing start-up. That relationship changed when both pursued self-driving technology in earnest. New York Times article


Other areas


Relatives of Ghost Ship fire victims add PG&E to consolidated lawsuit – Relatives of 18 of the 36 people who died in Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse fire added California’s Pacific Gas & Electric utility on Tuesday as a defendant in their wrongful death lawsuits. They claimed the company should have known the warehouse’s electrical hookups were hazardous and illegally installed. KQED report


Former Tulare Mayor Tom Drilling dies — Tom Drilling, whose tenure as Tulare mayor was cut short when he was reactivated to military duty in 1952, died Monday. He was 95. Visalia Times-Delta article


Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – President Donald Trump’s disclosure of highly classified information to Russia was even too much for one of his big supporters, Republican Sen. Bob Corker.


Modesto Bee – We don’t believe Trump was trying to pass along classified information to the Russians, he was just doing what he does best – bragging.


Sacramento Bee –- President Donald Trump reportedly shared classified intel with Russians about a threat by the Islamic State. Will this be the tipping point for Republicans?; Democrats reject an attempt to help kids in need of a break;