May 26, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Assembly Democrats seek $1.3 billion boost for affordable housing — Assembly Democrats hoping to alleviate California’s affordable housing crunch are asking Gov. Jerry Brown to sign off on more than a $1.3 billion boost. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article 

Kamala Harris in driver’s seat at California’s first U.S. Senate debate – The first debate in California’s sleepy U.S. Senate campaign seemed to present a question: Who has the best chance of securing the second and final spot on the November ballot, alongside Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris? Because Harris ended the evening where she started — firmly still in the driver’s seat. LA Times articleSacramento Bee articleAP articleKQED reportStockton Record article

Valley politics

Fresno mayoral hopeful H Spees pitches statewide ballot initiative to boost public safety – Fresno mayoral candidate H. Spees on Monday said he plans to push a statewide ballot initiative as a way to generate more money for understaffed law enforcement departments, not just locally but for cities and counties across California. Fresno Bee article
Cox, Shuklian battle it out for Visalia – The gloves were off and District 3 supervisor candidates came out swinging Monday night. Visalia Times-Delta article

First Look: Mayoral Monday finishes strong with 7 candidate interviews — Making a lasting impression can be a challenge when you’re vying against 24 other candidates for the position of Bakersfield mayor.  On Monday, hosts of “First Look with Scott Cox,” TBC Media’s daily simulcast with NEWSTALK 1180 KERN, concluded their series of “Mayoral Mondays” by individually interviewing seven candidates about their platforms. Bakersfield Californian article 

Fresno Councilman Olivier utters open-mic expletive during meeting — Straight talk from politicians may be rare, but a moment of inadvertent open-microphone profanity from the Fresno City Council dais several weeks ago might have gone a little too far. Councilman Clint Olivier, in a conversation with City Manager Bruce Rudd during a lull in the council’s March 31 meeting, uttered the expletive as he referred to the mental state of a man who addressed the council several hours earlier during public comments. Fresno Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Even Republicans swing left in first U.S. Senate debate — Most of the candidates running for California’s up-for-grabs U.S. Senate seat were swaying so far to the left during Monday’s televised debate that even the Republicans were talking about raising the minimum wage, the problem of income inequality and how bad George W. Bush’s foreign policy was. San Francisco Chronicle article

Reviving color codes to measure border security would be ‘disaster,’ experts tell Homeland Security — Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security dropped its color-coded terror threat index developed after the 9/11 attacks amid widespread confusion and ridicule. So what did it do when tasked by Secretary Jeh Johnson in 2014 to measure security along the country’s borders? Agency staff proposed another system of reds, yellows and greens. LA Times article 

Other areas

Dan Walters: Big feud over school accountability rages in Capitol – The clash between the CTA-led establishment and reform groups will grow more heated as court battles over specific issues, including tenure, continue, as the state Board of Education plows ahead with its hotly disputed version of accountability, and as the Weber bill makes its way through the legislative process. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

California Senate rejects drug-sentencing bill – The California state Senate is rejecting a bill that would end a practice of extending jail and prison sentences for repeat drug offenders. AP articleSacramento Bee article

LAO in retrospective: A conversation with Elizabeth Hill –Elizabeth Hill became the first woman to head the California Legislative Analyst’s Office in 1986 when she was eight months’ pregnant with her second child. For 22 years, she held one of the most important positions in state government — advising the 120-member Legislature during fractious times and sometimes clashing over policy recommendations in an increasingly partisan environment beset by the passage of term limits, deep budget cuts, and recession. Capitol Weekly article

Donald Trump’s California swing now won’t include Fresno – For a time Monday, campaign officials for Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump considered a stop in Fresno this week before heading to the Bay Area for the state GOP convention. But late Monday afternoon, Tim Clark, Trump’s California director, said that the candidate would not come to Fresno this week. Fresno Bee article

Cathleen Decker: New poll of millennial voters shows clear shift toward Democrats, away from Trump — Republicans long have worried about how to survive as conservative GOP voters die off and are replaced by more liberal younger Americans. A new national poll of millennial voters suggests that the 2016 presidential race has only hastened the shift they have feared. Decker in LA Times

Anaheim City Council to consider resolution denouncing Donald Trump – The Anaheim City Council is set to vote at its Tuesday meeting on a resolution condemning GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s “divisive rhetoric.” LA Times article

Why millions of Californians won’t see any presidential candidates on their mail ballots – Californians registered as “no party preference” that vote by mail can vote in the Democratic Presidential primary. But those non-partisan voters must request that ballot, otherwise they’ll receive one without the candidates. Cards notifying voters of that choice were sent out already and the deadline to reply has passed. Capital Public Radio report

Billionaire environmentalist to spend $25 million to turn out young voters – The billionaire environmentalist Thomas F. Steyer and his political advocacy group, NextGen Climate, will spend at least $25 million on a get-out-the-vote campaign targeting young voters this year in seven mostly battleground states, the group announced on Monday. New York Times article

Shawn Hubler: David Daleidan: A soldier, home from the abortion wars — “It started out a day like any other,” David Daleiden was telling the crowd outside the Sacramento Planned Parenthood clinic. “I was making lunch.” The gathering wasn’t large, maybe 75 people. Most were too old to personally ever have to deal again with the topic of Daleiden’s speech, abortion. Still, as the 27-year-old activist behind the Planned Parenthood video sting discussed his crusade to shut down the abortion provider, they listened with the rapt deference of elderly civilians greeting a war hero. Hubler column in Sacramento Bee

Ex-ambassador who lost job over ‘genocide’ talk speaks in Fresno – Former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, whose outspoken use of the phrase ‘Armenian genocide’ ended his Foreign Service career, appeared at Fresno State on Monday to talk about the mass killings and his decision to speak out. Fresno Bee article

Federal judge upholds North Carolina Voter ID law — The state demonstrated a legitimate interest in requiring voters to provide certain credentials before casting their ballots, the judge ruled, despite criticism that the law disenfranchises black and Hispanic voters. New York Times articleAP article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

California water board denies bias claims in Delta tunnels dispute – Two members of the state board that will play a crucial role in the fate of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant tunnels through the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta rebuffed demands from a south state water agency that they disqualify themselves from upcoming hearings on the issue. Sacramento Bee article 

Xerox plans to hire 545 at Bakersfield call center – Xerox Corp. said Monday it will soon hire 545 people to work full-time at its Bakersfield calling center, 401 34th St. The announcement continues the “ebb and flow” of jobs at the location, Xerox said. In February it announced the layoff of nearly 500 workers at the call center. Last year it said it was hiring some 500 people there. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Four consequences of a $15 minimum wage – It’s a grand experiment with potentially profound consequences — some good, some bad — that could extend far beyond the borders of the nation’s two largest states, with ramifications for the health and direction of the U.S. economy and society. Here’s what some experts are expecting.  LA Times article

David Krause: Local growers can improve hunger situation in Kern – The president of Wonderful Citrus writes, “Wonderful Citrus will continue to supply food banks with citrus and other products. We want to be part of the solution to alleviate hunger in our neighborhoods and in our state. But we don’t want to do it alone. We want other Kern County growers, ranchers, packers and shippers to get involved.” Krause op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Modesto Bee: We don’t want X-Fest to become ex-Fest – The Xclamation Festival – in all its noisy, raucous, rock ’n’ rolling, hipping and hopping, rapping and rip-roaring glory – should take place this August in Modesto. The city shouldn’t impose any more conditions than it normally imposes, nor should the festival’s promoter be given any more leeway for meeting those conditions than he normally gets. Modesto Bee editorial 

San Joaquin Valley leaders return with hope, knowledge – Although delegates representing a variety of San Joaquin County governments and agencies did not return from the nation’s capital with commitments to transportation funding, their excursion was still a success, they said. Stockton Record article 

Sacramento’s $961 million budget plan funds development efforts, homeless services – Sacramento would direct money toward development in the railyard and along the riverfront, as well as pay for homeless needs and after-school programs under a $961.1 million budget proposed Monday by City Manager John Shirey for the upcoming fiscal year. Sacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorial

Auto center closes at Valley Plaza, half Sears space to be vacated — The Sears Auto Center at Valley Plaza has closed permanently, and half the space inside the nearby Sears store along Ming Avenue will soon be converted for another use, the company said Monday. Bakersfield Californian article 

Intel plans 269 layoffs in Folsom — Intel Corp., embarking on a plan to cut 11 percent of its global workforce, plans to lay off 269 workers at its Folsom research campus, the chipmaker told state officials Monday. Sacramento Bee article

Homeless rights lawyer to create tent city in downtown Sacramento – Advocates of a city-sanctioned homeless encampment said Monday they will erect a camp of 20 to 30 tents on a downtown Sacramento lot and threatened to sue the city if their application for a permit is denied. Sacramento Bee article

Empire residents to decide on tax for sidewalks, other upgrades – Stanislaus County will hold a public hearing Tuesday morning and then count the ballots to see if Empire residents want to tax themselves for community improvements. Modesto Bee article

California tax official got $130,000 worth of office furniture — Last fall, more than $118,000 of designer furniture rolled into to a new downtown Sacramento high-rise office suite for Jerome Horton. The then-chairman of the tax-collecting Board of Equalization a few months earlier had moved operations from the 9th floor of the U.S. Bank Tower to its 21st floor. Sacramento Bee article

New-home sales plunge in the West – Sales were flat in the Northeast and rose in the Midwest and South. Prices dipped, with sales declining in Western states where land often commands a higher premium. The median new-home sales price fell 1.8% from a year ago, to $288,000. AP article

Three more local restaurants will open in Golden 1 Center — The $507 million Golden 1 Center continues to move the ball toward becoming a first-class food court by the time it opens as the Sacramento Kings’ new home in October. Joining the culinary roster will be three more top-tier teammates – Mulvaney’s Building & LoanPetra Greek and the Mikuni restaurant group. They will join four groups that also have committed to serving quality food to the expected throngs – the Paragary Restaurant Group,Selland Family RestaurantsStar Ginger and LowBrau BierhallSacramento Bee article

Airbnb, HomeAway would police rentals under proposed San Francisco law – San Francisco’s struggles to regulate vacation rentals in private homes aren’t over. Short-term-rental sites like Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO would be on the hook to ensure that their hosts follow the city’s registration requirements under amendments to an existing law that Supervisors David Campos and Aaron Peskin plan to propose on Tuesday, The Chronicle has learned. Platforms that flout the mandate would face fines of up to $1,000 a day per listing and misdemeanor charges. San Francisco Chronicle article

Gannett offers $815 million for Tribune Publishing – On Monday, Gannett went public with an unsolicited bid to acquire Tribune Publishing, an offer it had put forth in a letter on April 12 that was subsequently reviewed by The New York Times. After two weeks without a definitive answer from Tribune Publishing, Gannett decided to go straight to shareholders, disclosing the bid and corresponding letter. New York Times articleLA Times article

FCC chairman, Justice Department sign off on Charter’s takeover of Time Warner Cable – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has recommended approval of Charter Communications‘ $78-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, subject to several conditions aimed at increasing the number of homes with high-speed Internet connections. LA Times article


Modesto looks to ease drought restrictions, raise sewer rates – The Modesto City Council is expected Tuesday to consider easing outdoor watering restrictions and raising sewer rates. The Utilities Department is recommending the council let homes, businesses and other city water customers increase their outdoor watering from one to two days a week as of May 1. The city went to once a week watering in December. Modesto Bee article 

Kaweah Lake to fill by July — What a difference a year makes. The Kaweah watershed delivered just 7 percent of average runoff last year but this year expect around 84 percent, according to Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District General Manager Mark Larsen. Visalia Times-Delta article

Stormy weather causes damage to local orchards – Gusty winds and rain over the weekend brought scattered reports of losses in Kern County orchards as local growers braced for the possibility even more damage later this week. People working in local agriculture said an undetermined number of almond trees — mostly older ones weighed down by what has been a healthy 2016 nut crop — toppled Sunday night. Bakersfield Californian article

Pete Aiello: Pesticide ban near schools would devastate farms – The owner and operator of Uesugi Farms in Gilroy and member of the Western Growers Association’s Future Leaders Program writes, “Before further restricting the already-cautious and meticulous application of pesticides on many farms around the state, the department must do its due diligence and examine the science where it exists, or commission new science where it does not. The success and viability of farming in our state depend on it.” Aiello op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Brik McDill: The false correlation between poverty and crime – Let’s all put on our critical thinking caps while we think about crime, and not simplistically lump crime into the poverty trap. That leads nowhere except into wrongheaded antipoverty programs motivated by crime prevention thinking. Antipoverty programs for humanitarian reasons are a necessary part of a caring society. But as anti-crime measures they are useless. McDill column in Bakersfield Californian

Los Banos school trustee’s drug possession case still under review – The case against a Los Banos school board member arrested on misdemeanor drug possession allegations remains undecided, the Mariposa County district attorney said Monday. Merced Sun-Star article
Portland police try new approach with mentally ill — The Portland Police Bureau, prodded in part by the 2012 findings of a Justice Department investigation, has spent years putting in place an intensive training program and protocols for how officers deal with people with mental illness. At a time when police behavior is under intense scrutiny — a series of fatal shootings by police officers have focused national attention on issues of race and mental illness — Portland’s approach has served as a model for other law enforcement agencies around the country. New York Times article

Ex-CalPERS chief Buenrostro jailed in Sacramento battery of former girlfriend — The former chief executive of CalPERS, already facing a prison term in the pension fund’s corruption scandal, was arrested in Sacramento over the weekend on charges of committing battery against a former girlfriend. Sacramento Bee article


California college smoking ban advances through Assembly – California State University and community college campuses could soon be cigarette and e-cigarette free, with the Assembly passing a bill to bar students from using either product on campus. Sacramento Bee article
Vineland teachers threaten mass resignations; superintendent calls many ‘lazy’ – Teachers at Vineland School District protested over months of stalled salary negotiations at a board meeting Monday and are threatening mass resignations if they don’t receive a 9 percent pay bump. Bakersfield Californian article 

School budget laws complicate tracking of Common Core spending – The Fresno and Visalia school districts are spending $10 million each on new schools. San Jose Unified put about $12 million toward staff bonuses, while Santa Ana Unified spent $9 million on retiree benefits. EdSource article

Tulare County program connects students to special education services – In an effort to make sure every child attends school and receives appropriate services, Tulare CountyOffice of Education offers the Child Find Program. The program is designed to identify children who may be in need of special education services and connect them with appropriate educational programs. Visalia Times-Delta article

NPR report shows Merced schools spend below average on students – Merced school districts spend less on students than the national average, a National Public Radio report shows, but that doesn’t necessarily correlate with student achievement. Merced Sun-Star article

After 50 years in education, a final hug — Mary Lou Hoffman stepped out of her office and into the playground at St. Anthony’s of Padua School and in less than 15 seconds, she’s greeted by a hug from a young student. Then another child comes in for a hug, followed by another. The love between student and principal is mutual, as Hoffman has served as head of St. Anthony’s for the past 11 years. She has spent the last 50 years in education, and as her retirement draws near, it’s moments like this with her students that Hoffman will miss the most. Stockton Record article

Former Berkeley law school dean blasts new sexual misconduct review against him — A former University of California, Berkeley law school dean who was disciplined last year for violating the university’s sexual harassment policies has lashed out at a new review of his behavior, calling it an unjust attack on his legal and academic rights. LA Times article


Tom Frantz: Weakening the Clean Air Act is a really bad idea – The Shafter resident, almond farmer and clean air advocate writes, “I would like to thank Lois Henry for calling attention to HR4775, aka the Clean Air Act Modernization Bill, sponsored by our own Kevin McCarthy. For once, McCarthy is trying to move something that will dramatically affect the lives of all Kern County residents. Unfortunately, it is not in a good way.” Frantz op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Health/Human Services 

Profiteering masquerades as medical care for injured California workers — A review of thousands of criminal court records by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting shows a system in which pay-to-play schemes trump patient care, particularly in unregulated treatments rejected by insurers and disputed in obscure courts throughout the state. Center for Investigative Reporting article 

Appeals court reverses $1.38 million award to Kern Health Systems — An appeals court has reversed a jury’s decision that awarded Kern Health Systems $1.38 million in a lawsuit the agency filed accusing an auditing firm of fraud. The 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles also ordered the trial court to determine how much in attorneys fees and other costs the county-created health HMO should have to pay the defendants. Bakersfield Californian article 

Daniel Weintraub: Smoking, diet may help explain health gap – Researchers have long noted the connection between health and wealth. People with higher incomes tend to be healthier and live longer than poor people. But why this is so has puzzled experts for as long as the connection has been known. Evidence has been thin to nonexistent to support the most intuitive reasons: access to health care, income inequality and environmental factors. A recent study appears to shed new light on this quandary, and its conclusions suggest that behaviors – smoking, diet and exercise – are the most important factors driving health disparities. Weintraub in Sacramento Bee

Former Citi CEO’s $185 million gift is UCSF’s largest ever – Former Citigroup head Sanford “Sandy” Weill and his wife, Joan, have given $185 million to UCSF — the single largest gift the university has received — to create an institute to accelerate research and the development of new therapies in neuroscience, including brain disorders from neurodegenerative diseases to psychiatric conditions. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Kaweah Delta earns an A for hospital safety — Kaweah Delta Medical Center has earned its third consecutive A, the top grade for patient safety, in a hospital score released Monday. Fresno Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Surprise! Two families find they’re chosen for Fresno Habitat homes — Two families from Fresno and Clovis, who thought they were going to a meeting, were surprised on Monday with news that they would receive new homes built by Habitat for Humanity Fresno CountyFresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

Other areas

Carmen George: Writer gets into dogs’ heads to save homeless hounds in Valley — Laura Gordon is good at imagining the world from a dog’s point of view. Through colorful tales written from the perspective of abandoned dogs, she’s become the designated spokeswoman for homeless hounds of Labrador Retriever Rescue of Fresno. The stories, aimed at finding families for the forlorn four-leggeds, have attracted a following onthe rescue group’s Facebook pageGeorge in Fresno Bee

A note of thanks: Merced children honor veterans with letters — A pair of Central Valley brothers who were among scores of veterans making a trip to Washington on Monday will have some special words of appreciation to read when they fly back home. Students from Don Stowell Elementary School in Merced practiced their writing on Friday by expressing their thanks to John and Richard Fries, brothers who grew up in Fresno and served in World War II. Merced Sun-Star article

Some Stockton public pool repairs to happen — A south-side swimming pool that serves one of Stockton’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods will be closed all summer because of vandalism to the city-owned facility. Stockton Record article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Lots of money will be raised for education if voters approve the Proposition 30 extension. We all want our schools to be well-funded, but we shouldn’t be naive. If voters and families don’t step up and say what they want, the only loud voice in the room will belong to the teachers’ unions. Which we support, but not necessarily for free.

Modesto Bee – The Xclamation Festival – in all its noisy, raucous, rock ’n’ rolling, hipping and hopping, rapping and rip-roaring glory – should take place this August in Modesto. The city shouldn’t impose any more conditions than it normally imposes, nor should the festival’s promoter be given any more leeway for meeting those conditions than he normally gets.

Sacramento Bee – City of Sacramento’s budget plan is right to boost public safety;

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers: I-5 work delayed again … and again, U.S. Senate debate a positive for University of the Pacific and Stockton, and other issues.