May 21, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


Dan Walters: Democrats dominate California but squabble among themselves — One might think that a political party wielding virtually total control of the nation’s most populous state – i.e. Democrats in California – would be satisfied. One would be wrong because of a dependable political axiom – by eliminating competition with the rival party, hegemony breeds internal conflict. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


John Myers: Democrats not only dominate California elections, the party is king of campaign cash — As California Democrats wrap up their weekend convention, progressive activists have said loudly and clearly that they want big money out of politics — a position that’s been in the state party’s official platform for years. And yet, the rhetoric is at odds with reality: Since 2000, the California Democratic Party has spent an eye-popping $401.6 million on candidates and campaigns. Myers in LA Times


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures


Governor’s race heats up among California Democrats –  Californians won’t pick their governor until November 2018, but one story line is emerging among the Democrats battling to replace termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown: Because they largely agree on the issues, the race to lead the world’s sixth-largest economy is likely turn more on style and biography. San Francisco Chronicle article


LA nurse wins tight race to head state Democratic Party — Eric Bauman was elected chair of the California Democratic Party on Saturday, winning a tight 1,493-to-1,431 victory over Kimberly Ellis of Richmond, capping a heated battle to replace outgoing chair John Burton, longtime San Francisco legislator. Bauman, 58, is a Los Angeles nurse who is the party’s vice chair and a political operative. The longtime party organizer was endorsed by many elected officeholders. San Francisco Chronicle article; LA Times article


California Democrats say farewell to party leader John Burton at party convention.  To no one’s surprise, he responded with profanity — California Democrats said farewell to chairman John Burton on Saturday, and John Burton said farewell to Democrats, in his usual fashion. Most of it cannot be printed. LA Times article; San Jose Mercury News article


Single-payer healthcare backers disrupt California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s convention speech — Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) introduced himself to convention-goers as a “slacker turned professor” now representing a southeast Los Angeles district in need of “environmental justice… social justice… economic justice” from progressive Democrats.  LA Times article


Villaraigosa tells Democrats to focus less on people who drive Teslas and more on Californians who ride the bus – Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told California Democrats at their convention Saturday that too many people in the state have been left behind in the economic recovery, saying the party needs to “look in the mirror” and bring a renewed effort to creating jobs and improving public schools. LA Times article


State Treasurer John Chiang says California will take ‘a different road’ than Trump administration — State Treasurer John Chiang told California Democrats on Saturday that the state is charting its own course, different from the one taken by President Trump and Republicans in Washington. LA Times article


Delaine Easton says she has ‘brass backbone’ required to govern California – Former state schools chief Delaine Eastin said Saturday that her gubernatorial bid is founded on righting California’s priorities so that the economy serves all the state’s residents, regardless of class. LA Times article


Amid ‘Resistance,’ activists try to push California Democratic Party to the left — An all-star lineup of Democratic leaders on Saturday took turns throwing carefully crafted barbs at President Donald Trump at the California Democratic Convention, but the biggest-yet meeting of “The  Resistance” was not as scripted, nor as unified, as many party faithful had hoped. San Jose Mercury News article


Activists intent on flushing oil money out of Democrats’ campaigns stage a rally outside governor’s mansion — A few dozen protesters, many of them state Democratic Party delegates, marched to Gov. Jerry Brown’s downtown Sacramento mansion Saturday to demand that politicians stop taking campaign money from oil companies. LA Times article




Supporters of Cal State LA student activist detained by Border Patrol hold silent rally on commencement day — They marched in silence down the main walkway of the Cal State L.A. campus, amid the excitement of commencement day, holding up cardboard cutouts depicting a woman in a cap and gown with her fist raised. LA Times article


Other areas


Victor Davis Hanson: Why Battle of Midway success has lessons for America today — Before Midway, the Americans had rarely won a Pacific battle; afterward, they seldom lost. America’s culture of spontaneity, flexibility and improvisation helped win the battle; Japanese reliance on rote probably lost it. We should remember those lessons 75 years later. Hanson column in Fresno Bee


Presidential Politics


California Democratic activists want Trump’s head, but leaders bat down impeachment calls – Most in the state party’s leadership have been mum or opposed to his possible removal, concerned such appeals could trivialize an anti-Trump message in next year’s elections. The dynamics were further muddled with the appointment of a special counsel to probe Russia’s involvement in the presidential election. Sacramento Bee article


Pelosi tells Democrats GOP is ‘stonewalling’ on the investigation into Russia and Trump — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Saturday that Republicans in Washington are blocking efforts to investigate allegations of Russian influence in the election of President Trump. LA Times article


California’s top elections officer calls Trump voter fraud allegations a ‘smokescreen’ to distract from Russia charges — California’s secretary of state told delegates to the state Democratic Party’s convention that President Trump’s allegations of voter fraud last year are an effort to divert attention away from questions about his own presidential campaign. LA Times article


LA Mayor Garcetti vows to fight Trump policies: ‘The California bear don’t scare’ – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was the final scheduled speaker Saturday at the California Democratic Party convention after more than two dozen others addressed a marathon session. The crowd awaiting Garcetti, mayor of the nation’s second largest city, was thin — shortly before he took the stage, delegates rushed the exits as voting opened in the hotly contested chairperson’s race. LA Times article


Willie Brown: The day Robert Mueller asked for my help — The appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel looking into the possible ties between our president and the Russians was a brilliant pick — one for which I may be able to claim a tiny bit of credit. Brown column in San Francisco Chronicle


News Stories

Top Stories


Modesto’s budget is in good shape, but rising pension costs are coming soon – Modesto is heading into its new budget year in good shape, but the city is bracing for pension costs to jump in future years. Modesto Bee article


Most California farm-water suppliers are breaking this law.  Why doesn’t the state act? — During California’s epic five-year drought, most of the state’s irrigation districts didn’t comply with a 2007 law that requires them to account for how much water they’re delivering directly to farmers, a Bee investigation has found. State regulators are largely powerless to stop them, but they don’t seem too bothered by it. They say they’d rather switch to a different form of reporting. Sacramento Bee article


Jobs and the Economy


Tulare mayor asks community to be business friendly — Tulare Mayor Carlton Jones said attracting retailers and creating jobs is part of the city’s economic development goals. Jones said Tulare also needs to have the infrastructure in place to support businesses interested in moving to or expanding in Tulare. Visalia Times-Delta article


Dust Bowl already expanding in Turlock — The place – 3000 Fulkerth Road in Turlock – is booming most nights and weekends, and already expanding. Dust Bowl spokeswoman Michelle Peterson said it’s served more than 260,000 people since opening. Modesto Bee article




Oroville spillway gates close for season to make way for repairs — The Department of Water Resources ramped down the Oroville Dam flood control spillway flows from 20,000 cubic feet per second to zero cfs on Friday. With no more water gushing down the spillway, contractors working for DWR will start working full-time to shore up the badly damaged spillway before next winter. Sacramento Bee article; Sacramento Bee editorial


Criminal Justice/Prisons


Police, activists, and a mentally ill man converged Friday. Here’s what happened — Since Mother’s Day, Kristopher Rene Jones has not been well. Jones, a 60-year-old black man, takes medication for bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, said his fiancée Lynn Lawrence. But he’d stopped taking the pills and devolved into another “episode” this week. Sacramento Bee article




Fresno State’s 106th commencement graduates celebrated as ‘dynamic,’ ‘experienced’ — Every class that has graduated during Fresno State President Joseph Castro’s four-year tenure has been stronger than the year before, he said Saturday at the university’s 106th commencement. Fresno Bee article




How rollbacks at Scott Pruitt’s EPA are a boon to oil and gas – Mr. Trump and his team believe that loosening the regulatory grip on business will help the economy, create jobs and allow Americans “to share in the riches,” as he said during the campaign. But in the energy field, environmentalists, Democrats and even some in the industry fear the efforts will backfire, harming health and safety without creating much economic benefit. New York Times article


Tree workers and arborists take exams to be certified by the International Society of Arboriculture — If tests are stressful in a classroom with the clock ticking loudly as you mentally sort through everything you’ve ever learned to decide the right answer, try doing all that while climbing a tall tree. Of course, when you want to be a certified tree worker, climbing a few dozen feet in the air is a big part of the job. Bakersfield Californian article


Health/Human Services


Why Raiders’ QB Derek Carr feels devotion to Modesto’s Valley Children’s Center — Despite a pending move to that city that shall remain unmentioned, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr promises his heart will stay with Valley Children’s Hospital.  Modesto Bee article


Checking in? Fresno hospitals first want your ‘eyeprint’ for patient ID — At Community Medical Centers, showing a driver’s license or insurance card to identify yourself soon will become obsolete, replaced by iris recognition captured in a high-resolution facial photo. Each time a patient registers for an appointment, a quick photo will be taken to match with the one on file. Fresno Bee article


New records show how state reworked secret cell phone warnings — Newly released public records show that California public health officials worked for five years on a set of guidelines to warn the public about the potential dangers of cell phones, revising their work 27 times with updated research before abandoning the efforts without ever making their concerns public until ordered by a judge. San Francisco Chronicle article


Kaweah Delta CEO search continues — The search for the new Kaweah Delta Health Care District CEO is underway and hospital staff and board members are seeking the input of community members to help make the selection. Visalia Times-Delta article




Deaths of two Bakersfield men and three other people in recent auto accidents on Highway 46 spark call for safety — After the recent spate of accidents, Republican Assemblymen Vince Fong, of Bakersfield, and Jordan Cunningham, of San Luis Obispo County, are hoping to make the route safer in the short term. Bakersfield Californian article


Buses and dial-a-rides scrambling to become more efficient — Bus and dial-a-ride systems throughout Stanislaus County – perpetual money-losers, in the eyes of the state – are in trouble. At greatest risk are those most in need: the disabled, elderly and poor. They may be asked to pay more for fewer ride options, as transit operators scramble to meet a state performance bar that many consider arbitrary. Modesto Bee article


Other areas


Fresno Chaffee Zoo begins next round of Measure Z projects – More Measure Z projects are starting to take shape at Fresno Chaffee Zoo and will eventually cost cost up to $60 million. Among the $10 million in projects, plans and designs approved by the Fresno County Zoo Authority include the African River exhibit with hippos, which will take up more than an acre on the southeastern edge of the zoo’s African Adventure area. The cost of design is about $3.6 million. Fresno Bee article


Michael Fitzgerald: Tubbs – reinventing Stocktonians – When Ed Chavez was mayor (2004-08), he announced at one State of the City address that Stockton was getting a new Olive Garden. People applauded. Don’t get me wrong. I loves me some Olive Garden. But for it to be a high point in a State of the City address, a mayor has to have serious policy inertia. Mayor Michael Tubbs does not suffer from this problem. At his first State of the City address Thursday, Tubbs announced numerous promising initiatives. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record


Donald W. Blount: A tale of two cities within one – It is the tale of two Stocktons One older, the other younger. One more established and mainstream; the other up and coming and seeking a place. In Stockton there is a gap of the so-called haves and have nots. Blount column in Stockton Record


Fresno Bee honored for General Excellence, wins 8 first-place awards in statewide contest — The Fresno Bee received eight first-place awards Saturday in the annual Better Newspapers Contest sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association, including the General Excellence award. Fresno Bee article


Californian wins 10 awards in prestigious California Newspaper Publishers Association contest — The Californian won 10 awards, including eight first-place honors, Saturday at the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual contest, the premier competition for newspapers in the state. Bakersfield Californian article


Record writers, editors, photographers take several CNPA journalism honors — The Record finished second in General Excellence and second in Online General Excellence in its division in the 2016 Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Stockton Record article


Visalia Times-Delta wins statewide journalism awards — The Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register received five first-place awards Saturday in the annual Better Newspapers Contest sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association, including recognition for its year-long investigation of the turmoil at Tulare Regional Medical Center. Visalia Times-Delta article


Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – The Census Bureau is a ticking time bomb for California.


Sacramento Bee –- Oroville Dam reconstruction begins. Department of Water Resources promises straight talk and transparency. The public deserves nothing less.