May 22, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


Dan Walters: Borrowing scheme for CalPERS deserves more scrutiny — When local pension bonds have fallen short, Crane points out, borrowers then face double debts, one for the bond and the other for pensions. As Taylor advises, this may work out, but before the state takes a major plunge into uncharted waters, Brown’s proposal should be fully vetted and not merely slipped into a budget trailer bill in the dead of night. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


A battle of liberal vs. more liberal exposes a divided California Democratic Party at state convention – A blistering contest to lead the California Democratic Party and near-constant protests during its weekend convention provided proof that schisms between party factions at the national level are also pulling apart the ranks at home, where the group has long prospered. LA Times article


State budget


California FFA wins battle against budget cuts— A massive statewide objection to proposed budget cuts to Future Farmers of America has caused Gov. Jerry Brown to rethink his 2017-18 budget proposal. For now, the future of California’s FFA program is no longer in jeopardy. Visalia Times-Delta article


Gov. Brown’s proposal delays $1 billion for schools until 2019 — Regarding the $1 billion in one-time funding for K-12 schools that Gov. Jerry Brown proposed last week in his 2017-18 budget: The word is don’t count on it – at least not next year.  EdSource article


Gov. Brown

George Skelton: Gov. Brown travels the globe talking about climate change. He should focus on this basic program at home — Gov. Jerry Brown traipses all over the world trying to save the planet from global warming. But he needs to salvage one basic environmental program here at home. That’s the widely popular beverage container recycling program. People use it and feel good about themselves, particularly younger generations that have grown up separating recyclable cans and bottles. Skelton column in LA Times


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures


State Democrats’ family feud imperils 2018 rebound – The ongoing family feud among California Democrats just got worse. The election of longtime party insider Eric Bauman as the new chair of the California Democratic Party has inflamed painful feelings among progressives that the party isn’t listening to its grassroots members. San Francisco Chronicle article


Election of new California Democratic Party leader may face legal challenge — Lawyers are now involved in the California Democratic Party’s election of a new chairperson. Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman won a razor-thin victory Saturday to be elected the party’s next chairman, beating rival Kimberly Ellis by just more than 60 votes, according to the state party.  LA Times article


Bernie Sanders backers say Democrats are ‘in absolute crisis and denial’ — RoseAnn DeMoro, the outspoken leader of the California Nurses Association, looked out at a horde of red-clad supporters as they prepared to march on the state Democratic Party’s convention Friday to advocate for public-funded, universal healthcare. “They are a party in absolute crisis and denial,” DeMoro said of the resistance her group, which supported Bernie Sanders for president, encounters from the Democratic establishment.  Sacramento Bee article

Other areas


Democratic hopefuls hope to unseat Republicans in 2018 — President Donald Trump and Republicans’ control of Washington loomed large over this weekend’s California Democratic Convention in Sacramento — including among the handful of candidates who are challenging sitting Republican members of Congress in 2018. KQED report


Presidential Politics


Trump to propose big cuts to safety-net in new budget, slashing Medicaid and opening doors to other limits – President Trump’s first major budget proposal on Tuesday will include massive cuts to Medicaid and call for changes to anti-poverty programs that would give states new power to limit a range of benefits, people familiar with the planning said, despite growing unease in Congress about cutting the safety net. Washington Post article


California Democrats flip off Donald Trump — The anti-Trump fervor at California’s Democratic Party convention this weekend can be summarized in choice words from outgoing chair of the California Democratic Party, John Burton: “F*%! Donald Trump.” Sacramento Bee article


California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories


Courthouse delays put final price tag at $308.4 million – Construction errors that have delayed the scheduled opening of Stockton’s new downtown courthouse until the end of July ultimately will increase the final cost of the project by as much as $35.5 million. Stockton Record article


‘We can’t let them serve this.’ Kern County Public Health mobile food inspectors hit the streets — Some days on the job, nothing goes right. That’s the kind of day Diana Wilson and Krishli Cantarero were having Friday. Wilson is an environmental health specialist with the Kern County Department of Public Health, and Cantarero is in-training. Bakersfield Californian article


Jobs and the Economy


Ten years in, Gallo Center slashes its debt by half, sets up new season of stars — A decade after it opened, the Gallo Center for the Arts continues to see growth, success and what it hopes will be another record-setting season. Downtown Modesto’s premiere performing arts center has its eighth consecutive season in the black this past year, while not quite surpassing last year’s record sales. Chief Executive Officer Lynn Dickerson said the 2016-2017 season’s sales should come in at or slightly below the previous year’s $5.475 million, the highest in its history. Modesto Bee article


Modesto Bee: Focus on Prevention is working; with more resources it can work even better — Saying how badly you feel for all those poor homeless people is easy when no one is asking you to do much about it. It gets harder when the bill arrives. We’re beginning to see what it costs to truly do something about homelessness – an issue bedeviling us and virtually every community in California.  Modesto Bee editorial


CalPERS may cut Trinity water district pensions — Swinging the blade for the third time, CalPERS may cut the pensions of five current and former employees of a water district serving the small town of Hayfork in Trinity County, a rugged area in the northwest part of the state with heavily forested mountains. Calpensions article




Is ‘potential Oroville waiting to happen’ at other spillways? — Federal dam regulators are reevaluating how they conduct dam inspections in the wake of the Oroville Dam spillway crisis, and they’ve ordered the nation’s dam operators to thoroughly inspect their facilities to see “if they have a potential Oroville waiting to happen,” a federal dam inspector said Sunday. Sacramento Bee article


Modesto, Turlock irrigation boards will meet on Tuolumne River flow issues — The Modesto and Turlock irrigation district boards will get updates Tuesday on proposed flow increases in the lower Tuolumne River. The boards will hold a rare joint session in Turlock on state and federal efforts to boost releases from Don Pedro Reservoir for salmon and other fish. Modesto Bee article


Criminal Justice/Prisons


Pot convictions go up in smoke with California legalization — Thousands of people convicted of marijuana crimes in California have asked to get their records reduced since the state legalized recreational pot. AP article


Debate over sex offenders moves to court as California undertakes prison parole overhaul – A Los Angeles-based nonprofit is claiming California prison officials have undermined last fall’s ballot measure to overhaul the state’s parole process by excluding sex offenders from consideration for early release. LA Times article




Amid public search for next Fresno Unified superintendent, parents still don’t trust the district — At meetings so far, held at Roosevelt, Bullard and Edison high schools, parents and teachers alike seem to still be reeling from Hanson’s tenure – one they say lacked transparency and has them doubting the school board’s next decision. Fresno Bee article


How LA’s school board election became the most expensive in U.S. history — Charter school supporters and unions spent nearly $15 million to battle each other in last week’s Los Angeles Board of Education races, which crossed the finish line as the most expensive school board election in U.S. history. LA Times article




A California regulator’s curious crusade to remake the Clean Air Act — In California’s polluted San Joaquin Valley, a regulator is under fire for allying with members of Congress who want to weaken the venerable law: a joint investigation from the Center for Public Integrity and The California Report. KQED report


Health/Human Services


Disease threatens to ravage their minds, bodies and voices.  Now they’re fighting back — Feet planted behind her, Tina MacDonald leaned over an inverted balance-training dome and gripped the edge of the base with her hands. She pulled one leg up past her elbow, slapping her foot on the ground with purpose. Then it was back with that leg, forward with the other. Modesto Bee article




How the DMV keeps smutty license plates off our roads – Some California Department of Motor Vehicles workers have to keep their minds in the gutter all day long. Their job is to catch vanity license plate requests that don’t meet the state’s rules of decency. Sexual suggestions, hints of vulgarity or possible gang references earn a “no.” Only plates that are pure win a “yes” from the DMV reviewers – and they don’t take risks. Sacramento Bee article


Pittsburgh welcomed Uber’s driverless car experiment. Not anymore — Nine months later, Pittsburgh residents and officials say Uber has not lived up to its end of the bargain. Among Uber’s perceived transgressions: The company began charging for driverless rides that were initially pitched as free. It also withdrew support from Pittsburgh’s application for a $50 million federal grant to revamp transportation. And it has not created the jobs it proposed in a struggling neighborhood that houses its autonomous car testing track. New York Times article


Other areas


Stanislaus County leaders have packed agenda: Focus on Prevention, 7th Street bridge, Fruit Yard concerts — In what promises to be a lengthy meeting Tuesday, Stanislaus County supervisors will consider new developments for the Focus on Prevention initiative and hold four public hearings. County leaders could approve a multiyear strategy for financing Focus on Prevention, a 10-year effort to reduce homelessness, support families and youth, and break cycles of crime. Modesto Bee article


Edison High student who drowned was ‘what you would want your kid to be like’ – Neng Thao was remembered Sunday as a student and scholar who was “exactly what you would want your kid to be like.” Thao, a senior at Edison High School, was at the San Joaquin River in northwest Fresno with his family, celebrating an older brother’s graduation from Fresno State, when he went under the water about 4 p.m. Rescue crews recovered his body about two hours later. Fresno Bee article


Kern County Fire Engineer Brian Massey dies after ‘significant medical event’ — Kern County Fire Engineer Brian Massey has passed away, The Kern County Fire Department announced Sunday at 5:30 p.m. At 8 a.m. Saturday morning, Massey completed a 48-hour shift at Station 22 in Maricopa, and later that evening, at approximately 10 p.m., Massey “had a significant medical event while at home,” the department says in a news release. He was taken to a local hospital where he died. Massey was 56 years old. The department says his death will be considered a Line of Duty Death. Bakersfield Californian article


Modesto looks to limit IT official’s duties in wake of city investigations— Modesto is looking at narrowing the duties of its top information technology official. This comes after two city investigations substantiated allegations that he had disrespected two female staff members. Modesto Bee article


Merced Sun-Star wins General Excellence Award in statewide contest — The Merced Sun-Star captured nine awards Saturday in the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual Better Newspapers Contest, including the prestigious General Excellence award, naming it the best daily newspaper in the state in 2016 in its circulation category.Merced Sun-Star article


Valley Editorial Roundup


Modesto Bee – Modesto Bee: Focus on Prevention is working; with more resources it can work even better.


Sacramento Bee –- Gov. Jerry Brown proposes to help fund one important health care service by taking money from another one, mental health care.