May 28, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Senate Republican priority bills shelved on deadline day — Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, had characterized the GOP effort as “a very positive agenda that gives voice to Californians being left behind by their own Capitol.” But like so many GOP-introduced bills, eight of the priorities met a bitter fate last week, when they failed to advance ahead of a legislative deadline. Sacramento Bee article

Trump belittles Clinton, whips Fresno crowd into frenzy— Donald Trump came to Fresno on Friday, one day after he won enough delegates to officially become the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee. It was a visit, Trump told a raucous but smaller-than-expected Selland Arena crowd, that he didn’t have to make. After all, he is now all but assured the GOP presidential nomination. Fresno Bee articleFresno Bee editorialVisalia Times-Delta articleThe Business Journal articleKVPR reportSan Francisco Chronicle article

Valley politics 

CD 23: Challengers criticize McCarthy for missing debates – For the third time in a month, a 23rd District congressional debate will be held without the incumbent congressman there — and his challengers are calling him out on it. Bakersfield Californian article

Several Bakersfield mayoral hopefuls throwing own money at race – Five of Bakersfield’s record 25 mayoral candidates were among their own biggest fans, loaning themselves around $100,000 during the past month to try to stand out from the crowd, according to campaign finance reports due Thursday evening. Fresno Bee article

10 candidates vying for 3 Merced County supervisor seats – Sun-Star reporters interviewed each of the candidates about the top issues affecting Merced County, including their positions on public safety, priorities for county spending, economic development, high-speed rail, medical marijuana and water. Below are brief summaries of each. Merced Sun-Star articleMerced Sun-Star editorial
Four Fresno councilmen back Jeremy Pearce in primary — A quartet of current Fresno City Council members, including current District 6 incumbent Lee Brand, have lined up behind Elvis tribute artist Jeremy Pearce in the June 7 primary to replace Brand on the council. Fresno Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Days before primary, many voters realize their ballots don’t have presidential candidates – A lot of voters with no party preference who were hoping to cast ballots in California’s June 7 Democratic presidential primary could be in for an unwelcome surprise if they don’t act fast. KQED report

Modesto Bee: Finally, transparency could be coming to the Capitol — Legislators should know better than to try to deny Californians their fair share of sunshine. We’ve grown accustomed to basking in the light of public disclosure. We like it. And after Nov. 8, denying us that sunshine could be illegal. Modesto Bee editorial

Kevin Faulconer quietly recedes from governor’s race he never joined — Faulconer’s elevated status in the beleaguered party, and the relative ease with which he’s expected to cruise to another term, has made him the GOP frontrunner to challenge for the governorship in 2018, when Democrat Jerry Brown leaves the office because of term limits. But then Faulconer said he wasn’t interested, recently telling the editorial board of The San Diego Union-Tribune he’s committed to serving out a full term as mayor. Sacramento Bee article

San Bernardino Shootings

Coroner releases autopsies of San Bernardino terror victims: ‘The room was in disarray’ — The scene inside the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino hours after the deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11 still had the hallmarks of the holiday festivities that brought the victims together and the bloodshed that followed. LA Times article

Other areas

California bills fail to advance on police records, body camera funding – Hundreds of bills face a vote before the California Senate and Assembly next week after passing off the suspense files in both houses on Friday, but a pair of high-profile public safety measures aimed at increasing transparency in law enforcement agencies will not. Sacramento Bee article
California to allow transplants between HIV-infected people – A San Francisco surgeon seeking to perform a liver transplant between two patients infected with HIV will be able to proceed after legislators this week rushed through changes to state law. Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

California bill to combat eating disorders in modeling stalls — Lawmakers on Friday shelved a bill that would have set more strict health and employment standards for fashion models in California. Sacramento Bee article

Foster children take over Congress for a day — Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) wants members of Congress to picture the face of a constituent when they vote on legislation about the nation’s foster care system. So this week, she brought foster kids to Washington. Ninety-nine young people trailed representatives through the halls of the Capitol, telling their stories between hearings and meetings. LA Times article

Presidential Primary in California

After Fresno’s Trump rally, riot police clear out protestors — Fresno police, California Highway Patrol officers and Fresno County sheriff’s deputies in riot gear lined up Friday afternoon to move anti-Trump protesters off the streets and disperse them following presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rally in Selland Arena. Two women were arrested after they refused to leave a blockade on Ventura Street after Trump’s motorcade departed. Fresno Bee article

Trump tells California ‘there is no drought’ – Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told California voters Friday that he can solve their water crisis, declaring, “There is no drought.” AP articleLA Times article

Fresno youth skip class to attend, protest Trump rally – Daniel Prieto skipped class on Friday and stood outside Fresno’s Donald Trump rally holding a sign with a Bible verse from Exodus. Fresno Bee article

Trump in Fresno: A ticktock of tweets, videos and more – Donald Trump brought his campaign for the presidency to downtown Fresno on Friday morning, appearing before a half-empty Selland Arena crowd waving Trump signs as protesters outside shouted. About 30 minutes after Trump departed, a heavy police presence began to move in on a knot of protesters at Ventura and M streets. Fresno Bee article

Selland Arena jumps to the Trump beat — Whatever their purpose, they kept the atmosphere electric inside and around Selland Arena. Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer estimated the attendance at 7,000; others said there were fewer. Fresno Bee article

Sanders to discuss education, climate change at Bakersfield rally — Preparation for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign rally Saturday evening at the Kern County Fairgrounds were in full swing Friday. At the event, dubbed “A Future to Believe In Bakersfield Rally,” Sanders plans on discussing a wide range of issues, including, according to a campaign statement, “getting big money out of politics, his plan to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, combating climate change and ensuring universal health care.” Bakersfield Californian article 

Getting ready for Bernie and bicyclists — Despite a year of campaigning hard for Bernie Sanders, Robert Cole wasn’t too focused on preparing for his candidate’s planned last-minute campaign swing through Visalia on Sunday. Visalia Times-Delta article

Actress Rosario Dawson stumps for Sanders, brings push for change to Stockton — The cramped downtown conference room off Market Street was packed Friday afternoon with residents and activists and survivors of the countless obstacles and challenges that encompass everyday life for so many in Stockton. They had gathered to listen as a movie actress told them the time is right for them to rise up for change. Stockton Record article

On the stump, Bernie Sanders makes pitch for legal pot in California – As Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders darts across the state ahead of the June 7 Democratic presidential primary, he’s seamlessly woven into his pitch to voters an unyielding message of support for an effort that would legalize recreational pot in California. LA Times article

Sacramento Bee: Forget Trump, Hillary Clinton should debate Sanders – No one would even be talking about a #SandersTrumpDebate (or #TrumpSandersDebate, depending on your political persuasion) if the Democratic front-runner had kept her promise to California. Sacramento Bee editorial

Donald Trump won’t debate Sanders, but John and Ken will — Bernie Sanders continued with his gambit to debate Donald Trump in California, issuing a statement Friday suggesting he’s received two offers from TV networks to broadcast the clash between the Democratic presidential hopeful who won’t quit and the presumptive Republican nominee. Trump shot down Sanders’ hopes within moments Friday, calling it inappropriate to debate the almost-certain second-place finisher. Sacramento Bee article

News Stories

Top Stories 

Logistics, e-commerce spark San Joaquin County comeback – San Joaquin County will continue to lead Northern California in employment growth this year and next, says the latest economic forecast from the Center for Business and Policy Research at University of the Pacific. Stockton Record article

State moves to drop $1.5 million fine in water rights case – In a case that highlights how difficult it is to enforce agricultural water reductions in California, a state panel has moved to dismiss a $1.55 million fine it levied last year against a Delta-area agency accused of ignoring an order to stop diverting water in the drought. Sacramento Bee article

Bakersfield Police Department chief expects additional indictment in federal investigation, says department not corrupt — Fourteen hours after a respected local attorney dropped a number of verbal bombs on the Bakersfield Police Department, alleging police corruption and poor oversight, BPD Chief Greg Williamson went before the microphones Friday to say that while serious problems have come to light, Thursday night’s allegations by veteran attorney David Torres were overstated. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy 

City leaders debate funding Merced Youth Council – Leaders of the Merced Youth Council are pressing officials to dramatically increase their budget, but members of the City Council say they need more time to consider the request. Merced Sun-Star article

Sacramento Bee: California’s tax system is in need of reform – Voters shouldn’t have to delve into the weeds of public finance every two years. Elections are complex enough as it is. Sacramento Bee editorial

LA will convert motel units for 500 apartments for homeless vets – The city of Los Angeles has approved a deal for nonprofit and private developers to convert “nuisance” motels into 500 permanent supportive apartments for homeless veterans. LA Times article 

How would bankruptcy help – or hurt – Beaumont? – Beaumont has a few things in common with San Bernardino and Stockton, which filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Insolvency, years of deficit spending and borrowing from restricted accounts to shore up the city’s general fund are among the issues that state auditors and local officials have identified as problems in Beaumont. Seven former city officials have been arrested on several charges including embezzlement and misappropriation of funds. LA Daily News article

Are 365 by Whole Foods’ automated kiosks the future for grocery stores? – This week Whole Foods opened its first younger, hipper and cheaper brand in Silver Lake, 365 by Whole Foods. Dubbed a “chain for millennials,” the store replaces many human workers with robots and computerized kiosks, something that will likely become increasingly common as labor costs rise and California moves towards a $15 minimum wage by 2022. KPCC report

Downtown Hanford coffee shop opens — Among the offerings at downtown Hanford’s new coffee shop are Nitro coffee, the Fizz and a Black Curtain. One Eleven, a Seventh Street coffee shop owned by Koinonia Church, opened its doors Friday. Hanford Sentinel article 

San Francisco Bay: $12 parcel tax for wetlands has big financial backers – When environmentalists wade into political contests, they’re almost always outspent by big business. But that’s not the case with Measure AA, a $12 annual parcel tax that will appear on the June 7 ballot in all nine Bay Area counties to fund wetlands restoration and flood control projects around San Francisco Bay’s shoreline. San Jose Mercury News article

North Coast marijuana growers fear a takeover by ‘Big Alcohol’ – For some veteran growers in the North Coast, the requirement to sell to distributors looked like the corporate seed to their destruction. They would operate like the alcohol industry, where Budweiser and Miller have ruled since Prohibition, where beer, bourbon or wine makers can sell their products only through state-licensed brokers, who then sell to stores. While prices for marijuana have sunk to all-time lows, new players would be taking a bite out of increasingly thin margins. LA Times article

Valley Business Bank recognized as a top community bank — Valley Business Bank in Visalia was recently recognized by American Banker Magazine on its annual list of the Top 200 Community Banks. The Business Journal article


Effort to force vote on twin tunnels stalls — Assemblywoman Susan Eggman’s bill to force a public vote on the Delta twin tunnels has stalled in the state Legislature, her office reported Friday. But the Stockton Democrat noted that Assembly Bill 1713 advanced much further than similar previous efforts by other Delta legislators. Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Fresno wins first round in police shooting trial — The city of Fresno won big Friday in pretrial motions in the upcoming federal civil rights trial of two police officers who are accused of fatally shooting a mentally ill woman two years ago who was allegedly armed with two knives. Fresno Bee article

Hanford Police Department working to grow K-9 program — The Hanford Police Department is seeking help from the public to expand its fledgling K-9 program. The nonprofit Hanford Police Department K-9 Foundation recently kicked off a GoFundMe campaign aimed at raising $40,000 to buy two dogs for the department. Hanford Sentinel article

Promotions, additions bring new perspectives — The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office promoted four of its own and welcomed two new deputies to the force at a ceremony Friday morning. Stockton Record article


Sheley gives fond, final farewell to Stan State graduates – High fives, smiling pictures, and speeches of congratulations and bright tomorrows. Graduates in the fields of business and science wrapped up commencement celebrations Friday at California State University, Stanislaus, with a salutatory wave from retiring university President Joe Sheley. Modesto Bee article

Kern High School District discrimination suit moves forward – A Kern County Superior Court judge ruled last week that a discrimination suit against the Kern High School District waged by multiple plaintiffs, including the Dolores Huerta Foundation, could press forward, attorneys announced Friday. Bakersfield Californian article

 Craig School: Getting an edge on the market – The Craig School created a real-time stock training lab — one of only four of its kind in California. It’s all part of a bigger, multi-million-dollar plan by the top-rated business school to give its students an edge in the marketplace once they graduate. The Business Journal article 

Lawyer wants gag order in pep rally beating case — A lawyer for the Kern High School District alleges that attorneys representing a former student in a controversial civil suit ready to go to trial next month are attempting to taint the jury pool, and as a result are asking for a gag order and change of venue, court filings show. Bakersfield Californian article

College radio station goes silent — Organizers of San Joaquin Delta College’s fledgling radio station are taking their voices elsewhere after college officials decided that KWDC must shut down for the summer. Their permanent departure is also the apparent result of a disagreement over whether the station should serve primarily the campus or the surrounding community. Stockton Record article

Black teen wearing African attire removed from Elk Grove graduation ceremony – Nyree Holmes was escorted out of Sleep Train Arena on Tuesday by deputies before he could officially receive his high school diploma. His crime: He refused to remove a kente cloth from atop his graduation robes. Sacramento Bee article

UC Davis top financial officer makes quick exit — On Thursday, UC Davis Chief Financial Officer Dave Lawlor smiled from a picture on the university’s website. On Friday, Lawlor was gone and his image, biography and list of duties were removed from the website. Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services

Study reignites debate over phones and cancer – Do cellphones cause cancer? Most health authorities do not think so, but a new federal study could reignite the controversy over this issue. The preliminary study, released Friday, found that radiation from cellphones appears to have increased the risks that male rats developed tumors in their brains and hearts. But there are many caveats and some experts are debunking the study. New York Times article

Sevag Tateosian: All roads point to cluster headaches – The host and producer of The Central Valley Ledger writes, “June is National Headache Awareness Month, where purple will be worn to show support for headache advocacy, awareness, education and research. Let’s remember the millions of Americans who suffer from headaches in the different forms.” Tateosian op-ed in Fresno Bee

Land Use/Housing

Fresno breaks ground on $1.4 million Cultural Arts District Park — After years of fits and starts, city officials broke ground Friday on the new Cultural Arts District Park at Calaveras and Fulton streets in downtown Fresno. Fresno Bee article


Why hasn’t TSA PreCheck reduce airport wait times? – Instead of speeding the screening process for everyone, critics say the TSA PreCheck is worsening the delays by taking up resources for a small group of travelers. LA Times article

Foon Rhee: Open road beckons motorcyclists, but it can be dangerous — Riding a motorcycle, on the other hand, is still far more dangerous than driving a car. And deaths are spiking – up about 10 percent last year, with more than 5,000 fatalities across the country. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

Turlock City Fire welcomes new recruits, awaits engines — The Turlock City Fire Department has four new firefighters on board and a second new fire engine on order. Modesto Bee article

Melissa Aristizabal: Starting your day with hate on your windshield – The Colombian American and third-year law student at McGeorge School of Law writes, “One morning this month started like any ordinary day. I walked my dog, was running late for work and hurried out to my car to find a piece of paper on my windshield. As a longtime resident of midtown Sacramento finding fliers shoved under my windshield wipers is a common annoyance, but I noticed this one was different than the typical laminated postcard-style advertisement. A symbol that looked like a swastika was the first thing I saw. Shock and confusion followed.” Aristizabal op-ed in Sacramento Bee