May 27, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Assembly, Senate move state budget plans to conference committee — Lawmakers have approved Gov. Jerry Brown‘s effort to stash away an extra $2 billion in budget reserves, but Democratic leaders are gearing up for a showdown with the governor over spending levels for welfare and child assistance programs. LA Times article 

Connecting the donor dots in California outside spending campaigns – As of midweek, more than 50 outside spending groups had pumped more than $19.5 million of TV ads, mailers and other advocacy into almost four dozen Assembly and Senate races on next month’s ballot. But voters bombarded with the groups’ advocacy might have a hard time discerning who’s behind them, some of which feature blandly uplifting names such as the Coalition to Restore California’s Middle Class and Keep California Golden. Sacramento Bee article

State budget 

Dan Walters: California’s cap-and-trade carbon emission system may be failing – The legal cloud on cap-and-trade revenue has made securitization a dicey game at best; the sharp downturn in the market makes it an even less likely strategy. It would be foolhardy for Brown and legislators to dip into a barrel of pork that may be, in fact, virtually empty, just as it was foolhardy for politicians to ignore private warnings from cap-and-trade market analysts about the likelihood of the collapse now occurring. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

AD 26: Big money backs Republican candidates – This year, Devon Mathis is seeking his second term, and Rudy Mendoza is once again trying to beat him. The race has a third candidate: Democrat Ruben Macareno. Each candidate says he’s the best option for voters. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Independent groups weigh in for Fresno mayoral candidates – Even by his own admission, Fresno mayor candidate H. Spees is running his campaign on a shoestring budget. Of the three major mayoral candidates – Spees, Lee Brand and Henry R. Perea – he’s raised the least amount of money. As of April 23, he had less than $58,000 in his campaign account. But Spees is getting some help from the outside. Fresno Bee articl 

Stockton council candidate sues over defamation – City Council candidate Sam Fant, who is facing felony conspiracy and election fraud charges, recently sued a Weston Ranch resident for defamation. Stockton Record article 

Stockton: Medical marijuana proponents withdraw ballot petition – Proponents of a ballot measure that would allow for a maximum of four medical-marijuana dispensaries within Stockton’s city limits withdrew their petition Wednesday afternoon, only two days after submitting more than 8,500 signatures to the city. Stockton Record article

Political Scramble: The inside scoop on this year’s elections — One question from Bakersfield’s May 19 mayoral debate — whether candidates, if elected, would march in a lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender pride parade — continues to inspire debate on Facebook. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Gavin Newsom’s transgender posts about guns stoke online fervor — As the Democratic gubernatorial aspirant campaigns for a sweeping gun-control initiative expected to appear on the fall ballot, he’s facing a backlash over posts to his social media accounts in which he asserts that a National Rifle Association group is using the transgender community to combat his measure.  Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Survey shows deep GOP stresses — Californians have deeply mixed views about the major political parties, with fewer than one in four viewing the GOP favorably and about half giving Democrats a thumbs up, according to the latest survey by the Public Policy Institute of California.  Capitol Weekly article

A fight within the Democratic family: oil vs. environmentalists — The public jabs are part of a multimillion-dollar election battle between oil interests and environmentalists backing Democrats on opposite ends of the party’s political spectrum. Chevron, Valero, Tesoro and California Resources Corp. have given nearly $6.9 million since mid-2015 to three independent expenditure committees that support business-friendly candidates. Thus far, the committees have spent $1.4 million on three unusual intraparty races with incumbents facing opponents in re-election bids. Sacramento Bee article 

Pink razors and blue razors should cost the same under gender-pricing measure the California Senate just approved — The state Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would prohibit businesses in California from charging customers different prices for similar goods on the basis of gender. LA Times articleSacramento Bee article 

Mailer attacks Steinberg over senator arrests, McKinley Village — A campaign mailer that landed in mailboxes Thursday attacks Sacramento mayoral candidate Darrell Steinberg for criminal charges brought against three Democratic state senators while Steinberg was leader of their caucus. The mailer also tries to use his support of the McKinley Village development in East Sacramento as an example of undue influence by a developer. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento mayor’s race sets new city record for spending – The race for Sacramento mayor is now the most expensive political campaign in city history. And nearly two weeks remain until Election Day. Spending in the primary for City Hall’s top political post has eclipsed $1.86 million, according to campaign finance records analyzed by The Sacramento Bee. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Special interests spend big in mayor’s race – Both Ashby and Steinberg are playing by the rules. But voters should be aware of the special interests who are backing them with lots of cash. Sacramento Bee editorial

Senate bill says religion no excuse for LGBT discrimination – The state Senate passed a bill Thursday that would make it more difficult for universities to get religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT individuals. Sacramento Bee article

California Republicans ask Roger Hernandez to step down — A California lawmaker accused by his estranged wife of domestic violence must step down, Republican officials said on Thursday. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Beth Hassett: Nonprofits don’t deserve to have a warning label – The CEO of WEAVE writes, “By requiring every charitable organization that seeks donations in California to include a link on their home page to the state attorney general’s website, AB 2855 proposes a ‘warning label’ approach where none is warranted.” Hassett op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Presidential Primary in California 

California looking like less of a sure thing for Hillary Clinton – Mrs. Clinton’s lead in California has evaporated, going from seven percentage points over Mr. Sanders in March to two percentage points, within the margin of error, in a poll released Wednesday nightby the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. That has created the possibility of an embarrassing defeat here for the Clinton campaign and complicated Mrs. Clinton’s plans to turn her focus to the general election against the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump. New York Times article 

Many Valley Hispanic students fearful to Trump presidency – Vanessa Barfield choked back tears as her classmates at Sunnyside High School discussed a potential Donald Trump presidency. Fresno Bee article

Fresno prepares for Donald Trump’s arrival Friday – Preparations were in high gear Thursday at Selland Arena in anticipation of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Fresno on Friday. Fresno Bee article

Fresno Bee: Attention, Trump protestors: Don’t make The Donald’s case — This is our chance to demonstrate that Fresno is, indeed, a Great Melting Pot of people and ideas, and a place where we embrace the noble, high ideals of our republic – even if Trump, in his discourse and in his campaign platform, often does not. Fresno Bee editorial

Just to be clear, Fresno State says Hillary Clinton paid for Bill’s visit – A few hours after former President Bill Clinton left Fresno State, where he was campaigning for his wife Hillary, the university sent out a message to its Twitter followers – Please note: US President #BillClinton was on campus today for a non-Fresno State event; he rented space in the (Satellite Student Union).Fresno Bee article

Cathleen Decker: Why Bernie Sanders keeps popping up in California’s out-of-the-way places – Foremost is the state of the Democratic campaign: Sanders continues to trail Clinton, even if the race appears to be narrowing. So he needs every vote he can get. And there are plenty of voters to get outside of the state’s urban centers. They’re especially important to Sanders because the higher proportion of African American and Latino voters in the cities tends to push the electorate more in Clinton’s direction. Decker in LA Times

Bernie Sanders event moved to Fresno Fairgrounds – Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has moved his Sunday speaking event from Woodward Park to a larger venue at the Fresno Fairgrounds. Fresno Bee article

Sanders to make campaign stop in Visalia – As the presidential races heat up toward party nominations this summer, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will make a stop in Visalia on Sunday, May 29 for a campaign rally. Visalia Times-Delta article

Sanders, Clinton pony up for final stretch – Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders plan on spending about $2 million combined in TV ads in California as their primary election campaigns hit the final stretch. Capitol Weekly article 

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories 

Report: Fresno youth disproportionately ‘disconnected’ — More Fresno youth are out of school and work than those in most other metropolitan areas around the country, according to a new report by the Brookings InstitutionFresno Bee article 

Merced city manager issues challenge to county officials, who accept – Merced City Manager Steve Carrigan has turned up the heat on county officials, issuing a letter that accuses them of “standing in the way” of a $420 million development that would benefit the city and the county. Merced Sun-Star article

Jobs and the Economy

San Joaquin County ranked as fifth hottest housing market in U.S. – With the 2016 home-buying season in full swing, says San Joaquin County is the No. 5 hottest U.S. housing market in May, up from No. 14 on its top-20 hotness index in April. California markets dominate the list, taking 10 spots including Vallejo-Fairfield, at No. 1; followed by San Francisco-Oakland, No. 2; and Santa Rosa taking the fourth spot. Stockton Record article

Retraining funds to help laid-off Odwalla workers — The California Employment Development Department has awarded Tulare County a $950,000 grant to retrain 474 laid-off employees, including 164 people who lost their jobs in April with Odwalla Inc. Odwalla closed its juice-making plant in Dinuba. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

Floating data center may dock in Stockton – Forget the Google barge. Nautilus Data Technologies Inc. of Pleasanton has built the real deal — a barge 235 feet long and 55 feet wide, capable of carrying up to 540 racks of computer servers — and wants to bring its floating data center to the port of Stockton. Stockton Record article

Ashley Swearengin: Assemi, a Fresno leader, is wrong about our city – Fresno’s mayor writes, “As James Fallows recently said in his series about Fresno in The Atlantic, “People in San Francisco or New York can be smugly confident in their coolness. We like, better, the Fresno kick-ass spirit.” Wouldn’t it be great if insiders like Darius Assemi could take a lesson from outsiders like Fallows and acknowledge the great new spirit rising in Fresno?” Swearengin op-ed in Fresno Bee

$50 oil shouldn’t pose major threat to consumers, economy – The price of oil topped $50 a barrel this week for the first time since July, delivering a cash infusion to oil producers and a lift to beaten-down energy stocks. Yet the arrival of higher energy prices isn’t necessarily bad news for consumers — at least not yet. Analysts expect gasoline and airline fares to stay relatively low at least through the summer travel season. And most think the economy can withstand slightly higher energy costs. AP article

Paul Dictos: Airlines and property taxes – Fresno County’s assessor-recorer writes, “Surely, an industry with $23 billion in annual profitability can at a minimum afford to pay taxes in accordance with the actual value of its equipment, not to mention demonstrating a conscience in regard to the people and communities they serve and mightily profit from.” Dictos op-ed in Fresno Bee

The decline of Sacramento’s middle class — As in much of the United States, an increasing proportion of Sacramento-area residents can be classified as rich or poor, while the region’s middle class is shrinking, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. Sacramento Bee article

New local bank president seeks small business lending opportunities – Just because Ernie Phoenix is a newcomer to Bakersfield’s banking scene, don’t assume he’s coming in with the superficial notion that the local economy revolves exclusively around oil and agriculture. Bakersfield Californian article 

Neill Callis: TPP will help us sell fruit in Asia; politicians should help it pass – The member of the Western Growers Association’s Future Leaders Program writes, “A recent U.S. International Trade Commission report confirms what the 98-year-old family-owned farming company I work for has known for decades: Opening export markets is a good thing, especially for the California fresh produce industry.” Callis op-ed in Modesto Bee 

California foreclosures ripple even after major settlement – The deal that brought about $20 billion in relief to California won national media attention for Harris. But the mortgage meltdown continues affecting homeowners to this day. KQED report

Uber testing ‘upfront pricing’ in some cities to promote carpool option – In an effort to push more of its customers to carpool, Uber is experimenting with a version of its ride-hailing application that displays the maximum cost riders will pay to get to their destination. LA Times article

Uber and Lyft drivers are safer than the average American driver, according to new report — Drivers for ride-hailing services such as UberLyft, and HopSkipDrive are generally safer than the average American driver, according to a new study by automotive analytics firm Zendrive and research firm Aite Group. LA Times article

Google prevails in Oracle lawsuit over Android software — A jury ruled in favor of Google on Thursday in a long legal dispute withOracle over software used to power most of the world’s smartphones. New York Times article


Food processors meet in Modesto to talk about challenges – and robots — Food processors meeting Thursday in Modesto heard concerns about water supplies, the complex rules on air pollution, and the need to improve trucking routes. But never mind that — those were some cool robots that high school students demonstrated at the front of the banquet hall. Modesto Bee article

Two Delta districts may be off the hook – In a significant reversal on Thursday, state water officials moved to drop their case against two Delta water districts accused of illegally diverting water during the drought last summer. Stockton Record articleLA Times articl 

Matheny Tract to connect to Tulare’s system next week — Matheny Tract residents will start receiving water from the Tulare system starting next week, Tim Doylesaid Wednesday. Water will start flowing to the 300-plus home enclave south of Tulare on Tuesday, said Doyle, Tulare’s Water Utility Manager. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Kings River may be open for floating this year — After three years of a mostly dry Kings River channel, floaters and other water recreationalists can expect regular flows on the Highway 43-to-Laton-Park stretch through mid-August, according to officials. Hanford Sentinel article

You can thank the drought for improved water quality at Southern California beaches — First, the good news: For the second year running, water quality at Southern California beaches has shown marked improvement. The bad news? The cleaner summertime surf is a side effect of the state’s ongoing drought, according to a report released Thursday. LA Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Suspect in surgery for multiple gunshot wounds — An alleged gang member armed with a gun was shot by a police officer Thursday afternoon in northVisalia. Visalia Times-Delta articleFresno Bee article

Court says prisons can’t throw away key for young murderers – Ruling in the case of a Richmond teenager serving 50 years to life for a 2011 killing, the California Supreme Court said Thursday that youths serving potential life terms for murder are entitled to parole hearings within 25 years under a new state law. San Francisco Chronicle articleAP article

Former Bakersfield detective cops plea – Damacio Diaz, a 17-year veteran of the Bakersfield Police Department, whose exploits as a high school cross country athlete were highlighted in the Disney film “McFarland, USA,” has admitted to corruption, large-scale narcotics activities, tipping off a criminal associate to police investigations and stealing drugs seized as evidence — as part of a plea agreement filed Thursday in federal court. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno County sheriff celebrates heroes, new hires, promotions — Sheriff Margaret Mims adds 41 officers and deputies, honors nine people for their outstanding service and issues promotions to nine others. Fresno Bee article

Merced police: car chase leads to death of woman — A Merced woman is dead following a crash that happened late Wednesday. According to Merced Police, the crash stemmed from a pursuit that began in South Merced about 8:30 p.m. A report from the California Highway Patrol says officers with the Merced Police Department attempted to stop an Isuzu Trooper that ran a stop sign at M Street and 13th Street and was seen with a man hanging onto the outside of the vehicle. Merced Sun-Star article 

San Francisco Mayor Lee points at judges in property crime spike – Mayor Ed Lee sees an unexpected group of culprits in the rising rate of property crimes in San Francisco — judges. Lee said judges ought to be “held accountable” if they fail to hand out adequate punishment to people repeatedly charged with home burglaries, car break-ins and other property crimes. San Francisco Chronicle article 

‘Under siege’: East Bay mayors want to halt shootings with cams — In the face of 28 recent East Bay highway shootings, five mayors Thursday sent an emergency resolution to Gov. Jerry Brown asking for funding to stem the tide of high-speed violence, which has injured 12 and killed four since November. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Lee sees ‘consequences’ for San Francisco Police Department officer in fatal shooting — San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said Thursday that “there has to be consequences” for the city police sergeant who fired into a car last week near the Bayview neighborhood, killing an apparently unarmed woman and prompting the resignation of Chief Greg SuhrSan Francisco Chronicle article

New details released in officer-involved shooting in Huron – A man was booked into the Fresno County Jail on Monday after Huron police shot him when he used his partially cuffed hand as a weapon, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. Fresno Bee article 

CHP officer shoots suspect in Malaga — A California Highway Patrol officer wounded a suspect Thursday evening in Malaga, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. Fresno Bee article

Ex-Los Banos student says teacher promised  ‘good grades’ for sex, according to court records — A former Los Banos High School teacher-turned-police officer promised a student “good grades in exchange for sexual acts” and threatened to kill the girl and her family if she told anyone, according to court records obtained Thursday. Merced Sun-Star article


Kings districts see little difference in federal transgender bathroom guidelines — For many local school districts, the response to the federal guidelines that directs educators on how to deal with transgender bathroom use has been quiet. Hanford Sentinel article

Merced teen to earn associate’s degree before high school diploma — Angelica Navarrette will be part of the first graduating class at Merced’s new El Capitan High School, but first she’ll graduate from college. Navarrette, 17, will earn her associate’s degree from Merced College and walk in the Blue Devils’ graduation Friday before she receives her high school diploma as a Gaucho. Merced Sun-Star article 

Measure C proposes $485 million boost to community colleges – Some Valley residents may remember Measure E, a bond passed in 2002 that funded repairs and improvements at community colleges in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Counties. Now, 14 years later, the community college district is asking for money—on an even bigger ballot measure. KVPR report

Julie Flapan and Andrea Deveau: California needs a plan on computer science classes – Flapan, executive director of the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools, and Deveau, California executive director of TechNet, write, “Silicon Valley is known for launching new ideas with high intensity and on a massive scale. So it’s no surprise that with the support of the technology industry, computer science education is expanding at lightning speed. But scaling up without a clear strategy could have unintended consequences. That’s why we’re calling on California to develop a comprehensive plan for computer science education across the state.” Flapan/Deveau op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Mentor program teaches kids ‘my life matters’ – Stockton City Councilman Elbert Holman gave about two dozen middle school boys a dose of reality about what it takes to be successful in life. Stockton Record article 

Facing potential economic downturn, LA Unified considers financial future – Members of the Los Angeles Unified school board got a sobering economic report this week as finance experts warned that a slowing state economy and failure of a November ballot measure to extend an increase in personal income taxes could cost the district hundreds of millions of dollars. EdSource article

State bends on deadline for transitional kindergarten training program stipends – California Department of Education officials have made a key change to a faltering program that reimburses new transitional kindergarten teachers for required professional development classes – extending the deadline for counties to distribute the funds to teachers from July 2017 to March 31, 2019. EdSource article

Report: 1.2 million college students drink alcohol on typical day — There’s a lot more going on at U.S. colleges these days than just studying. On any given day, 1.2 million full-time students are drinking alcohol and more than 703,000 are using marijuana, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. More than 2,100 of these students are drinking for the first time, and about 1,300 are getting their first taste of weed. LA Times article


California adopt map showing power-line fire danger — The California regulators who oversee the state’s electricity have adopted a map that shows where power lines pose the greatest wildfire danger. AP article

Fresno’s ParkScore increases, but not by much — A new national ranking of American cities shows Fresno is no longer in last place when it comes to providing access to public green space. KVPR report

Health/Human Services 

The superbug that doctors have been dreading just reached the U.S. – For the first time, researchers have found a person in the United States carrying a bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort, an alarming development that the top U.S. public health official says could mean “the end of the road” for antibiotics. Washington Post articleNew York Times article 

Valley Children’s residency program accredited — The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has granted accreditation to the Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program, affiliated with Stanford University School of Medicine. Fresno Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Riverbank dream of huge growth tabled amid Stanislaus LAFCO concerns — Not quite so fast, Riverbank. That’s what a growth-guiding panel on Wednesday told city officials hoping to extend Riverbank’s footprint 80 percent and double its population in 20 years. Modesto Bee article
Squatters ousted from home of 74-year-old Groveland woman — Tuolumne County deputies served a restraining order Wednesday to remove four squatters from the home of a Groveland woman who had been a victim by elder abuse, her attorney said. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

Limo fire trial: Widower wins $6.5 million in suit but can’t collect any of it — More than three years after five women were killed when they were trapped in the back of a burning limousine, a jury on Thursday determined the life of one of them was worth $6.5 million. But her widower, Aldrin Geronga, won’t collect any of that money. San Jose Mercury News article
Video sought in Modesto Planned Parenthood arson investigation – The Planned Parenthood Modesto Health Center on McHenry Avenue remains closed as multiple agencies investigate a suspicious fire there early Wednesday. Modesto Bee article

Don Pedro recreation area center burns down — The round, wooden building that housed the Don Pedro Recreation Agency’s visitors center burned to the ground late Wednesday. The area off Bonds Flat Road near the dam was closed to the public Thursday as fire investigators looked through the ruins. Modesto Bee article

California appellate court slaps down Harris’ suit against Delta — Four years ago, with some fanfare, Attorney General Kamala Harris sued Delta Airlines for violating the state’s then-new Online Privacy Protection Act. Sacramento Bee article

Tears of joy, seeds of hope: Rose refuge turns former asylum grounds into place of healing, peace — Hers were not the first tears of the day, but when Health Careers Academy High School freshman Danisha Foster saw her original poem engraved and sitting among a row of roses in the University Park World Peace Garden, she couldn’t hold on to her emotions any longer. Stockton Record article