May 18, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

California water bill: Here’s why it’s so hard for Congress to pass — Five years into California’s latest drought, a major water bill compromise can seem as far away as ever. The perennial conflict, often summed up as fish vs. farms, subtly surfaced again Tuesday at a key Senate hearing. A Western growers’ advocate pleaded for relief, a Trout Unlimited leader urged caution and lawmakers insisted on optimism while conceding the tough road ahead. McClatchy Newspapers articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article 

Early reviews of Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget offer a glimpse of debate to come – As budget negotiations begin at the state Capitol, keep an eye on the fate of about $3.5 billion of tax revenue. In the push and pull between legislative Democrats and Gov. Jerry Brown, the fate of those dollars is where the real debate is likely to play out. LA Times article

State budget

Dan Walters: California’s glut of cap-and-trade allowances may cut revenue – Over the last three years, $2.6 billion in cap-and-trade funds have been spent, supposedly on programs to reduce emissions. Brown’s proposed 2016-17 budget, however, would ramp up spending to $3.1 billion in just one year with a $500 million chunk going to his pet bullet train project, whose financial prospects are otherwise dim. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

California had nation’s 11th highest state debt burden in 2013 — As a proportion of personal income, California had the nation’s 11th highest long-term state debt in 2013, a new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts says. However, Pew’s three-year-old calculations, like other state-to-state comparisons, suffer from being based on the latest available official data, which are several years old. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown 

Gov. Jerry Brown’s housing proposal should be even stronger, legislative analyst says – Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed legislation to spur housing development is a significant change in how cities and counties approve housing and could be “an important first step toward addressing California’s housing shortage,” the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office said in a review of the plan LA Times article 

Mariel Garza: Jerry Brown for vice president? Why not? – Brown seems an obvious candidate to me. He will be halfway through his fourth and final term as California governor when the next president is sworn in, and it has been a successful run. (We gave him a B-plus last fall, the highest grade of all our politician report cards last year.) There are reasons that Clinton would be wise to consider Brown as VP — starting with the fact that so many young Democrats seem to relish having a cranky septuagenarian lecture them about the correct way to think. Garza in LA Times

Gov. Jerry Brown proposes change to state agency’s name that has become a joke — It may be a bummer to those who enjoy clever acronyms, but Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to change the name of a new state agency called the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. LA Times article

Steve Lopez: Gov. Brown: Notice anything fishy about your Coastal Commission? — For months, I’ve been hearing the same question over and over from readers following the ongoing festival of the absurd at the California Coastal Commission. Where in the name of the father, son and holy coast is Gov. Jerry Brown, and why doesn’t he say or do something? Good question. Lopez column in LA Times

Valley politics

Old fire truck injects political dispute into Fresno mayor race – An antique fire truck has unexpectedly become a campaign issue in the Fresno mayor’s race – and driven a wedge between candidate Lee Brand and the city’s fire fighter union. Who would have guessed? Fresno Bee article 

Interview: Nathan Magsig wants to be the newest Fresno County supervisor – City of Clovis Ex-Mayor Nathan Magsig has put his name in the hat to become a member of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. On this week’s Valley Edition Magsig joins Valley Edition Host Joe Moore for a discussion on why thinks he should be the newest Fresno County Supervisor. KVPR report

Bakersfield Californian: Vote in top-two congressional races – In CD 23, Democrat Wendy Reed should advance to be Kevin McCarthy’s general election challenger. In CD 21, clearly the face-off in November should be between Republican David Valadao and Democrat Emilio Huerta. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Tulare County District 1 candidate’s questionnaire: Dennis Smith – Dennis Smith63, business owner. Co-founder of National Builders Supply in Visalia in 1978. Moved business to Farmersville in 1988. Visalia Times-Delta article

Cox, Shuklian ready for Thursday forum – Incumbent Phil Cox and challenger Amy Shuklian said public safety and water are top issues this election. Visalia Times-Delta articl 

Judge candidate criticized for campaign-finance lapse — A steady stream of emails has trickled into The Californian recently asking reporters to bang the gavel on a local judge candidate for failing to file required campaign-finance reports. They asked whether Kern County Court Commissioner W. Steven Shayer, running against prosecutor David Wolf to replace retiring Judge Michael Lewis, had filed a Form 460 detailing contributions and spending. The answer is complicated. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California marijuana legalization draws lawmaker opposition – Two Democratic state lawmakers with deep law enforcement ties announced their opposition on Tuesday to legalizing recreational marijuana use. Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, a former Sacramento County sheriff’s official whoregularly warns about the consequences of drug use, and Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, the Democratic senator most aligned with law enforcement, warned in a statement about impaired drivers and exposing children to marijuana. Sacramento Bee article 

John Chiang opens campaign account for California governor’s race – State Treasurer John Chiang has opened a campaign account for governor in 2018, joining Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom as the first candidates to start raising money in what is likely to become a crowded field. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times articleAP article

California’s next governor: Who’s running, who’s on the fence? – Welcome to your guide to the 2018 California governor’s race. The election may be far away, but listening tours are already underway, political consultants are doling out advice and pundits are handicapping favorites and wildcards. Here are the players to keep an eye on. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin listed as “may run.” LA Times article

Valley law enforcement leaders speak out about gun control ballot measure – A group of valley law enforcement leaders is coming out against a gun control measure that is expected to be on this fall’s ballot. The measure, pushed by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, would, among other things, limit gun magazine sizes and require a permit to purchase ammunition. KVPR reportFresno Bee article 

Death penalty urged, condemned in dueling California hearings – With emotional appeals and celebrity testimonials on both sides, Tuesday hearings on California’s death penalty previewed an incendiary debate should the issue land on the November ballot. Dueling ballot initiatives would either nix capital punishment or reinforce the death penaltyby expediting cases. Neither has yet garnered enough signatures to go before voters, but both measures have drawn enough support to trigger mandatory legislative hearings. Sacramento Bee article

No ballot selfies during June 7 primary, state elections officials say – In the age of sharing all kinds of daily activities on social media, Californians who head to the polls will no doubt want to tell their friends all about it on platforms like Facebook or Snapchat. Don’t let them, a top state elections official is telling county registrars of voters. LA Times article

Joe Mathews: Could dialogue around ballot propositions be as easy as 123? — California’s ballot initiative process has many problems. A big one is that there are few neutral forums so that people can discuss and educate themselves on ballot measures. Other states do better than we do this on this. Oregon, for example, has a jury-like process for reviewing ballot initiatives that has been exported to other Western states. But that process typically takes a week. Is there anything shorter? There is now, in Arizona. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

Closing the gap in voter turnout for California’s disabled — California doesn’t have specific voter statistics for people with disabilities. However, a recent study from Rutgers University found that voter registration nationwide is about 2.3 percent lower for the disabled. But the big gap is in voter turnout – about 6 percent lower than for people without disabilities. Advocates like Cox say there are lots of reasons for this — apathy, feeling left out of the conversation, physical barriers. KQED report 

Other areas

Feds approve California’s health plan tax swap – The Obama administration has signed off on California’s expansion of a tax on health plans that contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to Medi-Cal and other programs, with plans receiving offsetting breaks on other state taxes. Sacramento Bee article

State transportation funding fix still elusive – So far, the Legislature has not taken up the Democratic governor’s plan to raise $3.6 billion annually for 10 years. Lawmakers also have not met in the special session on transportation the governor called last year, or heard two other Democratic transportation proposals. AP article

Bill Clinton’s Bakersfield speech to be open to the public – Former President Bill Clinton will drop in on Bakersfield Sunday to speak at a United Farm Workers convention, a multi-day affair that will feature updates on the union’s work and speeches by some local and state primary election candidates. Clinton’s talk will be open to the public. Bakersfield Californian article

Bill Clinton to hold rally in Stockton on Monday – Bill Clinton will hold a rally for the presidential campaign of his wife, Hillary, at 2:30 p.m. Monday in Stockton. The exact site of the rally is not yet confirmed, but N. Allen Sawyer, a political consultant, confirmed that the former president will be coming to Stockton. Stockton Record article

‘Celebrity surrogates’ for Sanders coming to Bakersfield – Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign will ship a little Hollywood glitz into Bakersfield Wednesday. In attendance will be Josh Hutcherson, who played Peeta Mellark in the popular four-movie franchise The Hunger Games, and television actor Nick Gonzalez, most recently seen on Bordertown and the Flash. Bakersfield Californian article

Gwen Moore: Universal Service must include Internet service to benefit all Californians – The former member of the state Assembly writes, “It’s time for the Legislature to swiftly pass AB 2395 and the Public Utilities Commission to modernize Universal Service. Now is the time to move forward and tackle one of the most important challenges of the day: putting new technology into the hands of those who – without taking steps to update state policy – will continue to be denied access to the life-changing technological advances that exist in today’s communications marketplace.” Moore op-ed in Merced Sun-Star 

Blanca Castro: SB 308 would help homeowners in bankruptcy – The director for advocacy for AARP in California writes, “Many of those hardest hit by the recession and its aftermath, who have lost their car and home and now face rising medical costs, have had to move in with relatives or, worse yet, survive on the streets. But common-sense reform is at hand. SB 308, authored by state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, seeks to end two of the more unjust aspects of California bankruptcy law.” Castro op-ed in Fresno Bee

Consensus is the Supreme Court’s new majority — Since the death of Antonin Scalia, the court has appeared more diminished than deadlocked under the agreement-seeking leadership of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. New York Times article

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer calls on DOJ to track ‘sextortion’ — A California senator is calling on the Department of Justice to identify the scope of sexual extortion, a crime in which victims are coerced into sending nude photos of themselves after their computers are compromised. San Francisco Chronicle article
California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

California water officials say they will consider dropping a mandate requiring conservation in the state’s fifth year of drought – Strict rules adopted at the height of California’s drought leading many people to let their lawns turn brown may soon end as state regulators Wednesday consider letting local communities decide how to keep their own water use in check. AP article

California’s high school graduation rate rises sixth year in row – Nearly 402,000 California high school seniors received diplomas last year, raising the state’s graduation rate to 82.3 percent, up 1.3 percentage points from 2014’s class, state schools Supt. Tom Torlakson reported Tuesday. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Jobs and the Economy

Obama administration announces final overtime rule, boosting pay for millions – More than 4 million Americans could get pay hikes under new federal regulations that will double the salary level under which workers must be paid overtime, the White House said Tuesday. LA Times articleNew York Times article

Joel Fox: From homeless to business boardrooms, housing is a big problem — A major concern for California policymakers is the housing crunch. Business says housing cost is a big reason companies move operations elsewhere or are discouraged from coming to California; homeless advocates decry the lack of units for people who find themselves with no place to go; the cost of housing is driving away the middle class. Fox in Fox & Hound 

Hiring hurdle: Finding workers who can pass a drug test – All over the country, employers say they see a disturbing downside of tighter labor markets as they try to rebuild from the worst recession since the Depression: They are struggling to find workers who can pass a pre-employment drug test. New York Times article

LA County seeks state approval on ‘millionaires tax’ for homeless programs – Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to pursue state legislation that would allow them to impose a “millionaires tax” to pay for housing and services for the homeless. The vote signaled resolution of a rift that opened between members of the county board’s liberal majority on the issue last week. LA Times article

Managers struggle to thank California state employees – Two surveys reveal a deep cultural flaw in California’s state government. The first employee engagement survey went to 5,000 state employees last summer. It showed a strong majority of respondents agreed with the statement, “I believe my work makes a difference in the lives of Californians.” But they largely disagreed with the statement, “I receive recognition for doing good work.” Sacramento Bee article

Fresno Hobby Lobby location to open in August – One of the area’s most hotly anticipated retailers, Hobby Lobby is projecting an August opening for its Fresno store. The 53,000 square-foot store is currently being built on Blackstone Avenue between Herndon and Sierra avenues, and will create 35-50 new jobs paying $15.35 per hour for full-time associates and $10.23 for part-time. The Business Journal articl 

Lucas museum just the start: High-rises coming to Treasure Island — The possibility that “Star Wars” creator George Lucas will try to bring his museum of Hollywood memorabilia and illustrative art to Treasure Island highlights what is going to be one of the biggest transformations San Francisco has seen in decades — the building of a high-rise neighborhood right in the middle of the bay. San Francisco Chronicle article

WTF? It’s a new food truck in Fresno. No, really — The back story to Fresno’s newest food truck starts at a nail salon in Kansas, stops at a persimmon farm on the outskirts of Fresno and finally ends with an unusual combination of cuisines at the city’s most popular food truck event. It’s an adventure that might make you say “WTF.” WTF is also the business name. We can’t print what that acronym usually stands for, so it’s a good thing the owners of the business – technically a trailer – say it stands for something else: “Where’s the Food?” Fresno Bee article

Patty Guerra: Divine Swine opens for business in Modesto’s Roseburg Square — Yes, I thought, gazing at the fontina-stuffed turkey burger with red pepper aioli on focaccia bread in front of me, I do like this job. This particular thought came to me as I sat at Divine Swine, a restaurant newly opened in Modesto’s Roseburg Square. Guerra in Modesto Bee

Ed Hazard: A voice for the state’s 600,000 oil royalty owners – The president of NARO-CA writes, “The California chapter, NARO-CA, was launched in 2013 to provide a voice for the estimated 600,000 royalty owners in the state. Since that time, we have been active in educating mineral and royalty owners, and have been very active in representing royalty owners’ rights in the face of the many regulatory, legislative, and ballot challenges they have faced.” Hazard op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Stockton restaurant French 25 closing — French 25, the New Orleans-inspired restaurant in the downtown landmark Hotel Stockton, has lost its lease and will close June 4, after a little over three years in operation. Stockton Record article

Oakland approves laws to regulate pot industry – The Oakland City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved laws to regulate the city’s medical cannabis industry, but promised to revisit provisions that have drawn sharp objections from industry leaders. San Francisco Chronicle article

Southern California home prices jump in April — Southern California home sales fell in April, but prices kept right on climbing, underscoring a tight market defined by few homes on the market. LA Times article 

Judge lets homeless ex-inmates fight for mental health services – A federal judge said Tuesday that a group of homeless people can continue to fight Los Angeles County in court over jail release policies that they claim perpetuate the cycle of inmates with untreated mental illness bouncing from incarceration to skid row. LA Times article

Genetically engineered crops safe for humans, major study finds — Genetically engineered crops are no more of a health risk than conventional crops, according to a new analysis released Tuesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and MedicineKansas City Star article in Fresno BeeNew York Times article

Lois Henry: Labor dispute erupts on blueberry farm – A labor dispute that erupted on a blueberry farm near McFarland over Monday and Tuesday illustrates the complexities and hardships of a difficult business not just for farm workers, but farmers as well. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Feared citrus pest turns up again in Tracy — San Joaquin County farm officials said Tuesday they have identified an Asian citrus psyllid in a residential area of Lodi. The aphid-size pest can transmit a disease fatal to plants that has proved devastating to the Florida citrus industry. Stockton Record article

Twists and turns in land-fallowing lawsuit against Oakdale Irrigation District — Some questions about the Oakdale Irrigation District’s evolving money-for-land-fallowing program – hidden from the public, its own board of directors and judges refereeing a lawsuit – remain unanswered in a new spate of court papers as opponents head into another hearing Wednesday. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Two new Stockton police officers, but force is shrinking – Police Chief Eric Jones presented badges to two new officers this week, officially welcoming them to the Stockton Police Department. Unfortunately, in its quest to reach 445 sworn officers by June 30, hiring is falling behind. With the addition of Officers Demetrius Dickerson and Luis Melendrez on Monday, the department stands at 395 officers. That is down four from last month. Stockton Record article

Drug case for Los Banos school trustee under review – The case against a Los Banos school board member suspected of possessing methamphetamine remains undetermined, the Mariposa County district attorney said Monday. Merced Sun-Star article

San Francisco police chief says he is the one to lead reforms – San Francisco Police Greg Suhr said Tuesday he has “no intention” of stepping down amid growing criticism of his five-year tenure, asserting that no one is in a better position than he is to oversee reforms to a city force under fire over recent shootings and racist behavior by some officers. San Francisco Chronicle article

Jury rules against Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department in discrimination suit – In a stunning decision, Sacramento jurors sided with four female sheriff’s deputies claiming their Sheriff’s Department superiors retaliated against them for speaking out against discrimination and preferential treatment in their ranks. Sacramento Bee article 

Sacramento City Council funds ShotSpotter expansion — The Sacramento City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night to continue using the ShotSpotter system in North Sacramento and to add another system to the south Sacramento area. Sacramento Bee article

4 officers injured in inmate attack at Folsom prison – Four correctional officers were taken to an area hospital with injuries following an assault by an inmate at California State Prison, Sacramento, in Folsom. Sacramento Bee article

Ex-Chowchilla officer accused of sex crimes gets preliminary hearing date – A Madera County judge on Tuesday set a July 8 preliminary hearing date in the case against a former Chowchilla police officer accused of raping a teenage girl. Merced Sun-Star article

Panel: San Francisco officers violated Spanish-speaking woman’s rights – San Francisco review board says police violated the rights of a Spanish-speaking woman who complained of domestic violence but was denied an interpreter, was told to speak English and was eventually arrested based on her ex-partner’s unsubstantiated claims. San Francisco Chronicle article

A top LA sheriff’s recruit was just days on the job when he says deputies beat an unresisting inmate — Less than a week into his career as a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, Josh Sather was summoned by his training officer to the sixth floor of the Twin Towers jail. LA Times article

Black Lives Matter activists criticize arrests of LAPD critics at Police Commission meetings — Angry over arrests at recent public meetings, a group of Black Lives Matteractivists gathered outside the Los Angeles Police Department‘s downtown headquarters Tuesday morning, saying the arrests would not deter their calls for police reform. LA Times article 

Police video sheds new light on Oakland man’s in-custody death — Newly released police body camera footage shows the agonizing final moments for a 46-year-old Oakland man who died while being restrained by Hayward police following a late-night traffic stop. San Francisco Chronicle article


Valley and state graduation rates up, dropout rates down – Superintendents in central San Joaquin Valley school districts had good news to report Tuesday with graduation rates up and dropout rates down, according to data released by the state. Fresno Bee article

Graduation rates still on the rise in San Joaquin County – Local school districts’ cohort graduation rates climbed and dropout rates dipped in 2015, continuing steady progress, new figures released Tuesday by the California Department of Education show. San Joaquin County’s overall graduation rate rose to 82.3 percent in 2014-15 from 80.3 in 2013-14, and had a cohort dropout rate last year of 10.6 compared to 13.2 percent the year before. The graduation rate is 11.5 percentage points higher than the 70.8 percent graduation rate from 2009-10. Stockton Record article 

Merced College exchange students denounce living conditions with host homes – Far from her family in Japan, a Merced College student found her new “host mom” feeding her food that was moldy and expired; another pair say their host family spied on them through security cameras; and two other women say their host mother left on a weekend trip that lasted nearly a month, leaving them without the groceries covered by their monthly fee, according to complaints filed by six students. Merced Sun-Star article

Gregori senior’s wild ride to Disneyland: Texting driver, smelly bus and more – Members of the Gregori High Class of 2016 will never forget their senior trip, a chartered bus fiasco Friday that left some teens out, made others late, and took 48 on a wild ride long before they ever reached Disneyland. The school arranged for dozens of families to get their money back, but a few furious parents are threatening to sue. Modesto Bee article

Sacramento State pays $5.4 million for downtown building – Sacramento State said Tuesday it has spent $5.4 million on a three-story building downtown to house its School of Public Affairs. Sacramento Bee article

6 UC campuses named among best public universities by – The University of California, Berkeley, has been named one of the top 10 universities on the ranking list of Top Public Universities. Along with Berkeley, other California universities that were among the top 100 on the list were the University of California campuses in Los Angeles, San Diego, Davis, Irvine and Riverside. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Chad Vegas: Kern High School District serves parents, students, not Dolores Huerta’s political schemes – The Kern High School District trustee writes, “Do our schools need to improve? Absolutely! But the solutions of Dolores Huerta, and the Kern Justice Collaborative, are far from helpful. They are more of the same liberal morass that has led education to the edge of the cliff.” Vegas op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Vineland trustee under fire for rape comments – Freddy Medina, the president of Vineland’s board of trustees and one of Tapia’s former students, read a prepared statement detailing why teachers are undeserving of a raise. One of those reasons? Teachers refuse to visit parents at home because they’re “afraid they’ll be raped.” The words were forceful and emphatic, Tapia said. Bakersfield Californian article 

Nan Austin: Young Ceres Sanders fan makes case for civics education — If presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, 75, needs a pep talk, 11-year-old Savannah Haas is just the ticket. Haas, a fifth-grader at Fowler Elementary School, speaks with some political experience. She is vice president of the Ceres 4-H, raising raises show rabbits and entering sewing projects in the Stanislaus County Fair. She also has experience at winning races, with the gymkhana and barrel racing buckles to show for it. Austin in Modesto Bee

First Look: Show hosts tackle recent government transgender bathroom initiative — During Tuesday’s “First Look with Scott Cox,” Californian CEO Richard Beene joined hosts and VP of Content Louis Amestoy to discuss the tough issues currently affecting our nation. During the 9 o’clock hour the group talked about national reaction to a recent government directive for schools on transgender bathrooms among other popular legislation. Bakersfield Californian article 


Wildfire-fighters warn 2016 could be bad in California – California could face a dangerous and difficult wildfire season in 2016 despite a relatively wet winter, federal officials warned Tuesday. AP articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Discussion returns on moving salmon above Don Pedro – An intriguing and expensive idea – moving salmon to the Tuolumne River stretch just above Don Pedro Reservoir – will return for discussion Thursday. Modesto Bee article 

Earthquake: 3.8 quake strikes near Coalinga – A shallow magnitude 3.8 earthquake was reported Tuesday afternoon 14 miles from Coalinga, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 3:58 p.m. Pacific time at a depth of 4.3 miles. LA Times article

Southern California Gas Co. fined $2.25 million for pipeline safety violations – State regulators have fined Southern California Gas Co. $2.25 million for failing to promptly fix corrosion control systems used on its underground natural gas pipelines. LA Times article

Pipeline company indicted in Santa Barbara County oil spill – A grand jury has indicted an oil pipeline company and one of its employees on criminal charges related to a massive oil spill last year in Santa Barbara County, prosecutors announced Tuesday. LA Times articleAP articleNew York Times article 

Kaiser to end its global warming emissions by 2025 — Kaiser Permanente on Tuesday unveiled an aggressive environmental plan that, by 2025, will slash the hospital system’s water use, recycle or compost all of its non-hazardous waste and eliminate or offset its greenhouse gas emissions. San Francisco Chronicle article
Health/Human Services 

Judge upholds San Francisco’s pioneering law on sugary beverage ads – San Francisco’s first-in-the-nation law requiring display ads for sugary drinks to carry warnings of increased risks of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay can take effect in July as scheduled, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in rejecting a challenge by the beverage industry. San Francisco Chronicle article

Congress moves to fund Zika response, but experts say it’s not enough – Under mounting pressure to provide additional funding to combat an anticipated Zika virus outbreak in the U.S., congressional Republicans have begun to move legislation to approve more money. LA Times articleNew York Times article

More lawsuits filed against Stockton, Manteca rehab centers – By the time Wagner Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation Center resident Jacqueline Ann Merritt was admitted to a hospital emergency room in critical condition in February, she required a ventilator. Stockton Record article

Fresno Surgical Hospital earns five-star rating — Fresno Surgical Hospital announced Tuesday it received a five-star rating on the federal government’s Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey. It was the only hospital in the Valley to be awarded an overall five-star rating. Fresno Bee article

Walnut Creek hospital mistakenly diagnoses woman brain-dead — A year ago, four John Muir Medical Center doctors told Mohammad Meshkin his daughter was brain-dead. The hospital refused to operate on Anahita Meshkin’s infected, fractured hip because it said it would not be ethical to treat a dead person. San Jose Mercury News article

Land Use/Housing 

America’s vanishing West: California losing most land to development – The natural landscape of the American West is gradually disappearing under a relentless march of new subdivisions, roads, oil and gas production, agricultural operations and other human development, according to a detailed mapping study released Tuesday. San Jose Mercury News article

Bakersfield council to mull re-approving 24th Street widening — The controversial 24th Street widening, halted in July by a judge who ordered the city to redo the project’s environmental report, could return to court for a restart if the Bakersfield City Council certifies the document and approves the project on Wednesday night. Bakersfield Californian article


Report: Valley Amtrak service needs upgrade — More double tracking, more trains and other infrastructure improvements to Amtrak’s San Joaquin Valley are among the state’s critical transportation needs, according to a recent report from national research group The Road Information Program (TRIP). Hanford Sentinel article

Other areas

Sudden termination of new Merced attorney goes unexplained — The sudden termination of Merced’s city attorney went unexplained Tuesday, with city officials saying only that Jennifer McGrath would receive a severance payment under terms of the contract that brought her to town just two months ago. Merced Sun-Star article

Murals keep ‘Graffiti’ spirit alive in downtown Modesto — You can’t cruise around downtown Modesto anymore, but a look around still offers the “American Graffiti” vibe. Murals adorn several walls, part of the Classic Community Murals project, sponsored by ModestoView, Wells Fargo Bank and the Peer Recovery Art Project. The project got underway four years ago, and though not all of the downtown art is “Graffiti”-related, a good portion of it is. Modesto Bee article

Director David Grabias chats about his documentary ‘Operation P.O.P.C.O.R.N.’ — It’s estimated that around 30,000 Hmong people died helping the U.S. during the Vietnam War when the C.I.A. recruited Laotian Hmong to fight the communists. The first wave of Hmong refugees who emigrated to the U.S. grappled with survivors’ guilt and, for decades, agonized over human rights violations committed against those left behind, including attacks on unarmed civilians, rape, and torture. KVPR report