May 2, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

How Donald Trump’s attorney general could change life in California – No one in the Trump administration is better positioned in the coming months to upend the direction of California than Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Pick an issue, and he doesn’t agree with the majority of state residents. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento may start paying for legal defense of undocumented immigrants — Sacramento leaders are poised to spend up to $300,000 to boost the city’s status as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, even as the federal government threatens to crack down on jurisdictions providing such immigrant protections. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

When you will vote for school board has local, state officials at odds — A state law taking effect in 2018 requires odd-year elected boards to shift to even years if voter participation is significantly higher then, but in Stanislaus County the elections office has provided figures that would let many odd-year elections stay put. Modesto Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

The race to become California’s next governor is already awash in cash – A small field of candidates hoping to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown next year has already raised more than $20 million. Here’s what we know. LA Times article


Meet the immigrant legislators putting their stamp on the Capitol — State government is increasingly taking up bills supporters say will help protect that population. And immigrants themselves are becoming more involved in the political process. These eight immigrants are members of the state Legislature, and are helping to craft policy at the state Capitol — or in some cases to oppose it. KQED report

‘They treated us like criminals.’ U.S. border crossers report severe reception — To judge by the chorus of travelers who have spoken out about a rough greeting at America’s doorstep, the customs experience is not helping Mr. Trump’s image. New York Times article

Other areas

Bill would return California carbon-free money to consumers – California Senate Democrats on Monday proposed a significant overhaul of the state’s cap-and-trade program that would use money raised from taxing polluters to give rebates to consumers. AP article

Peter Weber: Climate change and our inner elephant – The retired business executive and co-chair of California Forward writes, “Last August, the California Business Roundtable released results of a statewide survey that showed 79% of Californians saw global warming as a serious (50%) or somewhat serious (29%) issue threatening to California’s economy and quality of life. The same survey, however, showed strong opposition to regulation (57% oppose vs. 37% support) if the result was a significant increase in the price of gasoline, and even more opposition (66% oppose to 24% favor) if the result was shutdown of manufacturing facilities and loss of middle-class jobs. In this two-part series, we’ll explore if it’s possible for California to lead on climate change without placing undue burdens and displacing job opportunities for poor and middle-class Californians.” Weber in Fox & Hounds

In a state that loves Obamacare, Republicans could kill Trump’s hope of ending it – One California House Republican is “listening to his constituents” about health care reform. Another is “still studying” the issue. A third, one GOP press secretary said, is “reviewing the text.” McClatchy Newspapers article

How much can you buy? California’s medical marijuana rules broken down — Since most of these rules are likely here to stay, here are some of the more interesting regulations from the first draft. Fresno Bee article

Supreme Court clears way for cities, including LA, to sue banks over foreclosure crisis — The Supreme Court expanded the reach of federal housing law Monday, ruling that cities — including Los Angeles — can sue major banks for discriminatory lending practices that hurt low-income neighborhoods during the Great Recession. LA Times article

May Day rallies throughout Valley – Residents from throughout the San Joaquin Valley participated in May Day rallies. Bakersfield Californian article; Visalia Times-Delta article; Stockton Record article; Fresno Bee article

As Trump budget plans fade, Republicans brace for war – with each other – Look out, Republicans up for re-election in 2018. Look out, House Speaker Paul Ryan. The fiery, never-give-in ultra-conservative wing of the GOP is highly displeased with the budget agreement reached this week. McClatchy Newspapers article

Danny Morrison: Don’t let racial microaggressions become macro — I was sitting at a local restaurant recently when an elderly white woman came up to my table. She politely grabbed my face, placed it in both her hands and said: “You’re that columnist Danny Morrison, aren’t you? I recognized you by your hairstyle. I don’t agree with anything you write, young man. But I respect your right to say it. I just can’t believe that you can write so well.” Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian

Should California allow bicyclists to roll through stop signs? — Here’s a counterintuitive proposal currently circulating at the Capitol: Make California roads safer for bicyclists by allowing them to yield at stop signs, rather than coming to a complete stop, if there is no oncoming traffic. Assemblyman Jay Obernolte is prepared for your skepticism. Sacramento Bee article

Pie guy gets felony assault trial.  Will former Mayor Kevin Johnson show? — Sean Thompson has a judge. But his attorneys are still looking for the former mayor. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Robert Twiss will hear the case of the pie-throwing activist. Jury selection is scheduled to start Tuesday as prosecutors narrowly made a statutory deadline to bring the case to trial. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Winners and losers of the spending deal (Spoiler Alert: Trump lost) – Here is a look at some winners and losers in the current spending deal. New York Times article

No money for Trump’s wall, plus 6 other GOP issues missing from $1T spending bill – Congressional negotiators have come up with a $1.07 trillion plan to keep the government running through the end of September – but there’s a lot missing from the 1,665-page bill. And much of it involves items that President Donald Trump promised during his campaign and the early days of his presidency. Here’s a list of GOP-friendly issues missing from the spending bill. McClatchy Newspapers article

Joe Altschule: Truth, Trump not on the same page – Trump cannot be easily believed. We must be on guard to call out these lies to protect our democracy. Stay alert. Altschule column in Visalia Times-Delta

Tom Fife: I’m behind Trump; Ryan, not so much –In truth, I am deeply dissatisfied with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Ryan’s inability to communicate with voters and understand their desires leads me to believe he is a product of the “Peter Principle,” having risen to one job higher than his capabilities. Perhaps Ryan can survive politically, but one or two more missteps and the calls to replace him will begin in earnest. In my opinion, it is very close to time for Speaker Ryan to step aside. Fife column in Visalia Times-Delta

Foon Rhee: Does Trump know less about history than eighth-graders? — Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, the saying goes. If that’s true, then we may be in even bigger trouble with Trump than we thought. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories – Top Stories

Sierra snowpack is huge – and melting fast. What that means for spring flooding — The wettest winter in Northern California history ended the drought and produced an abundant Sierra Nevada snowpack. Now it’s starting to melt, and quickly. As state officials completed the final snowpack survey of the season Monday, forecasters predicted high river flows throughout spring into midsummer. Sacramento Bee article; Bakersfield Californian article; Merced Sun-Star article; San Jose Mercury News article

Some schools asked for parents Social Security numbers. Now they’re on state’s radar — Some central San Joaquin Valley school districts have been flagged in a complaint to the California Attorney General’s Office for requiring proof of a Social Security number or other personal information upon enrollment – a practice advocates say is harmful to undocumented families.  Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Merced County continues to grow about as fast as the state – Merced County’s six cities grew — some faster than others — last year, according to state analysts. The county grew by 1.1 percent and topped out at 274,665, adding more than 3,000 residents to Merced County, according to a report released Monday by the state Department of Finance. Merced Sun-Star article

Lindsay schedules vote on sales tax hike – A special election will be held June 6 in Lindsay on a proposed 1 cent sales tax increase. If Measure O passes, sales taxes in Lindsay, population 13,000, would increase to 8.75 percent. Fresno Bee article

Jeff Jardine: ‘We haven’t seen any of it.’ $500,000 gift to Stanislaus Special Olympics stalled – James Desch left the Stanislaus Special Olympics upwards of $500,000 when he died 18 months ago in Lake County. But there’s a glitch: More than a decade ago, the individual county Special Olympics non-profits fell under the umbrella of Special Olympics Northern California. So the money the longtime but low-profile Modestan bequeathed them must go through the mother ship, which holds the non-profit status and handles the cash flow. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Sacramento is fastest-growing big city in California – Sacramento is the fastest-growing big city in California, according to numbers released Monday by the state finance department. The state capital grew by nearly one-and-a-half percent last year, the highest percentage among California’s ten largest cities. Capital Public Radio report

Report: National parks spur $668 million in local tourism spending — Spending by visitors to the Central Valley’s three national parks totaled more than $668 million last year, the highest amount in the five years federal officials have calculated regional commerce generated by the parks.  The Business Journal article

Linda McMahon: 5 years ago, he asked for SBA’s help; now, he’s Small Business Person of the Year – The U.S. Small Business Administration administrator writes, “When Ron Heskett was hired five years ago to revitalize Borga Steel Buildings and Components, a 30-year-old manufacturing company in rural Fresno County, he turned to the U.S. Small Business Administration for help.” McMahon op-ed in Fresno Bee

Airbnb, HomeAway settle SF suit, agrees to register all local hosts – Airbnb and HomeAway settled a lawsuit against San Francisco on Monday by agreeing to help the city ensure that all local hosts are registered. The agreement caps a multiyear struggle by Airbnb’s hometown to rein in burgeoning vacation rentals, which critics say divert precious housing stock into the lucrative travel market.  San Francisco Chronicle article; LA Times article

Modesto closing in on deal over legal fees in civil rights lawsuit – Modesto may have an agreement on how much it will pay the lawyers representing a family that successfully sued the city, claiming police officers entered their home without permission or a warrant. Modesto Bee article

Woman-run business hits the streets – A woman-owned construction company is rare. But, for the past 10 years, Kelly Anderson has been running Anderson Striping and Construction Inc. Thirty years ago, Kelly and her husband Rick Anderson, jumped into the industry and “put every penny back into the company,” to make it what it is today, they said. Visalia Times-Delta article

Oakland planning worker quadrupled pay with overtime — Oakland’s highest-paid city employee last year was not the fire chief, mayor or top cop. It was a civil engineer who reviews building plans and who has long reaped one of the sweetest overtime deals in the city. San Francisco Chronicle article

Uber fights to block San Francisco’s demand for drivers’ names, addresses — Uber is going to court seeking to block San Francisco from forcing it to provide the names and addresses of its drivers.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Sacramento seeks to overturn ‘staggering’ $5 million verdict in internet child-sex case arrest — Sacramento officials are balking at paying a $5 million jury verdict awarded to a man who claimed he was falsely arrested by city police. They argue a new trial is needed because the amount of the verdict is excessive and the federal judge who oversaw the case was “highly prejudicial” against the main city detective who testified.  Sacramento Bee article

Human trafficking: Eight girls rescued, getting help – Two unconnected, long-term investigations into human trafficking in the Stockton area culminated in the rescue of eight underage girls and the arrests of almost two dozen people in the past week. Stockton Record article

Sacramento County drops appeal of huge verdict for four female sheriff’s deputies — Sacramento County has abandoned its appeal of a multimillion-dollar verdict awarded to four female sheriff’s deputies last year for retaliation and harassment by their superiors, court documents show. Sacramento Bee article

Ripon hoping to slow drivers with latest tool – The Ripon Police Department has deployed a new traffic calming tool that already has improved public safety. Earlier this year, the department purchased a Stalker Message Center 360, the latest equipment being used by police around the nation to help reduce speeds on local roadways. Stockton Record article

Teen suspect in BART train takeover arrested after chase – A foiled robbery in East Oakland led police to arrest a teenage suspect in last month’s swarm robbery on BART, in which dozens of juveniles allegedly took over a train stopped at Coliseum Station, officials said Monday. San Francisco Chronicle article

Two LA sheriff’s officials promoted to high ranks despite histories of serious discipline —  In his 27 years at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, James Tatreau Jr. has made plenty of headlines — often for the wrong reasons. LA Times article


Report praises UC for enrolling low-income students; criticizes other elite universities — A new national report praised University of California campuses and the University of Southern California for enrolling large numbers of low-income students who receive federal Pell grants. But the study criticized many other elite schools for falling far short.  EdSource article

How will a new leader fix Los Banos Unified? By looking ahead – not to the rocky past — After a tumultuous year for the Los Banos Unified School District, a new superintendent hopes to leave past controversies behind and focus on moving the district – and its students – forward. Merced Sun-Star article

Researchers find wide variations in understanding, implementing California’s school funding formula — Researchers who closely examined the impact of the state’s funding formula in eight school districts found a continued commitment to the goals of the new system but an uneven implementation and “consistent misunderstandings and confusion” of fundamental aspects of the law. EdSource article

Chocolate milk is heading back to school, thanks to Trump and Congress – Several paragraphs tucked into in a massive 1,665-page government spending bill released Monday would relax Obama-era nutrition standards for school lunches. McClatchy Newspapers article

Marshall Tuck: California’s charter schools should be about students, not profit – The Educator in Residence at the New Teacher Center writes, “By outlawing for-profit charter schools, we can protect students and taxpayers, and ensure our public education dollars go to classrooms, not profits. Let’s put aside the usual political bickering and stand together for students. I urge the state legislature to find common ground that puts our students above all.” Tuck op-ed in Fresno Bee

LA County considers pilot program for foster kids in school — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a motion Tuesday that would help foster children avoid having to switch schools when they move to a new home. LA Times article


What IS that in Modesto-area canals? — Water has been turning red in Modesto Irrigation District canals, thanks to a dye that tracks aquatic herbicides. The sight might be jarring — a crimson tint to this life-sustaining resource — but MID said it’s a safe way of dealing with algae and weeds that could clog the system. Modesto Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Housing construction is on the rise in California, but it’s stlll not enough – Housing construction jumped last year across California, adding new supply in a state grappling with a persistent housing shortage, according to data released Monday.  LA Times article

Weston Ranch residents still waiting for change — Many years ago, Anita Glasper recalls, she attended a meeting at the Weston Ranch library branch and heard promises that someday soon, her southwest Stockton community would be home to a regional shopping center near the house she had just moved into. Monday night, Glasper stood in the very same room in the very same library branch during another city planning meeting and noted that she and her fellow Weston Ranch residents are still waiting. Stockton Record article


If you’re looking for a ride to Fresno’s airport, Uber can’t take you there anymore — Airline passengers who have used Uber to get them to or from Fresno Yosemite International Airport will have to find a new ride. The popular ride-sharing company has pulled the plug on its operating agreement with the airport and is no longer providing rides there, the airport announced Monday. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

Sacramento streetcar line gets $50 million in congressional budget – Sacramento’s effort to build a downtown streetcar got a critical financial boost this week from Congress, opening the possibility that construction could begin in a year or two on the long-stalled project. Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian Every year the deceptively inviting Kern River lures the unsuspecting to their deaths. The years-long drought brought a bit of a reprieve from the deadly cycle, but as this generational snowfall melts, we must again sound the alarm. If that requires us to once again call it the “Killer Kern,” so be it.

Fresno Bee – California’s top lawyers can’t seem to be able to stop themselves from playing politics with initiatives. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley has a fix for that.

Sacramento Bee –- California’s top lawyers can’t seem to be able to stop themselves from playing politics with initiatives. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley has a fix for that.

Stockton RecordCheers and jeers: Stockton crime rate falls, saluting women in blue, and other issues.