May 29, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Dan Walters: Extending California income tax to local governments a minefield — Local tax-the-rich schemes are probably ill-advised for many reasons. But if politicians want to move that way, they should take a long, hard look at practical effects and not just do something slap-dash in the dark of night for one revenue-hungry county. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Some vote-by-mail ballots being returned — Apparently some vote-by-mail ballots aren’t getting to the right place, according to elections officials. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office is reporting that, because of a software update by the United States Postal Service, some ballots are being returned to sender rather than to the various county registrars of voters. Stockton Record article

Valley politics 

Lois Henry: Judgment, or the lack thereof, matters — I will not vote for Cory Woodward for Kern County Superior Court judge, seat 34. I don’t think he deserves to be a judge. He lost any potential support he might have had from me when he had an affair with his clerk, then lied about it repeatedly when administrators tried to move the woman out of his courtroom. It’s not a character thing. It’s about the job. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Measure F would change Modesto city charter on school elections — A first step in switching to by-area elections for Modesto City Schools is on the June 7 ballot, a move school district lawyers say is needed to comply with the California Voting Rights Act. Measure F would eliminate wording in the Modesto city charter mandating at-large school board seats, leaving it up to the board to decide whether to elect members by areas and, if so, where to draw the lines. Modesto Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Senate hopeful Tom Del Baccaro is forging his own version of the California GOP — Del Beccaro vowed to widen the party’s reach, targeting voters not traditionally aligned with the party, including Democrats, independents, Latinos and young Californians. But he failed to stem an ongoing loss of GOP voters or brighten the fortunes of Republican candidates. When his term as chairman ended two years later, the party was struggling to pay its bills. LA Times article


Kathryn Steinle’s parents sue over daughter’s San Francisco slaying — The parents of a woman who was shot to death on a San Francisco pier last year sued former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the city and federal officials on Friday, saying the gunman would have been kept in custody, disarmed and deported if they’d done their jobs. San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas 

Why cities have an incentive to cheat under the governor’s new housing plan – Cities, especially those that don’t want more development or density that comes with affordable housing, might fight back against Brown’s plan. Under the proposal, if land is zoned to have 100 apartments on it, for example, a developer can build that many units without delay, provided some qualify as affordable. But if, for example, a city changes the property’s zoning to only allow for 50 units, the speedy approval offered by Brown’s plan would not be available. LA Times article

Kings CCW permits require long process – If you’ve been thinking about getting a permit to carry a concealed firearm due to your job or other circumstances, you might have to wait a while. Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson said it currently takes up to four months to get a concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit. While demand for the permits has increased in recent years, he said, the wait time is due to regional demand for fingerprinting and background checks through the Department of Justice. Hanford Sentinel article

Foon Rhee: Region Business plays to win in Sacramento politics – There’s no denying that Region Business is a growing force in Sacramento politics. It vows to be a zealous advocate and proclaims it is the largest funder of local campaigns. Rhee in Sacramento Bee

Victor Davis Hanson: The lessons of Pearl Harbor 75 years later — The road to Hiroshima and the massive loss of life in the Pacific was paved by unprovoked Japanese aggression at Pearl Harbor. Americans and their president should remember the lessons of that surprise attack 75 years ago this year. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Presidential Primary in California

Thousands in Bakersfield hear Sanders’ call for ‘political revolution’ — A town that votes solidly Republican turned out in the thousands Saturday to hear Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders proclaim that after talking to locals, “It sounds to me we need a political revolution where government works for all of us and not the few.” Bakersfield Californian articleLA Times article

Robin Abcarian: Trump weirdness in Fresno: Latinos who love him, police who charm the protestors – After listening to Donald Trump charm his audience for almost an hour — “Who’s gonna pay for the wall?” — I waded into the crowd at the Selland Arena to find Latino supporters. Who were these people, exactly, who could vote for a man who has called Mexicans rapists and murderers, who insulted the Republican Latina governor of New Mexico, who tweeted “I love Hispanics” as he ate a taco bowl at his desk on Cinco de Mayo? Abcarian in LA Times

Willie Brown: Clinton’s edge on Sanders: Reliable voters – One advantage Hillary Clinton has over Bernie Sanders in the upcoming California presidential primary is that her voters know how to vote. San Francisco Chronicle article

Dan Morain: Hillary Clinton treads on California Nurses’ turf – Now, the union dominated by women is shunning the first woman with a legitimate shot at becoming president. In their view, Clinton is a mainstream Democrat beholden to the Wall Street cartel and the pharmaceutical industry – and they hate drug companies. Morain in Sacramento Bee

These Hollywood stars are crisscrossing California in an RV for Bernie Sanders — California is a sprawling state. And Hollywood actress Shailene Woodley, a die-hard Bernie Sanders supporter, had access to a motor home. So this week, Woodley decided to take the RV on the road to campaign for Sanders ahead of California’s June 7 Democratic primary. She invited a few celebrity friends and fellow Sanders fanatics, including actors Rosario Dawson and Kendrick Sampson. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories 

Store closings, bankruptcies hit 12 area retailers — Tumbling like a line of dominoes, retailer after retailer has been hit by bankruptcies and store closures this year. About a dozen chain stores have closed locations in the Fresno area or face an uncertain future as they wade through bankruptcy proceedings. Fresno Bee article 

Modesto could use court to collect delinquent motel taxes – Superior Court could be Modesto’s next step as it tries to collect $68,304 it is owed in back taxes and penalties by Budgetel Inns & Suites, a McHenry Avenue motel that has drawn attention from the police because of its high level of calls for service. Modesto Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Svenhard’s Swedish Bakery brings jobs to Exeter — Svenhard’s is now Exeter’s largest private employer. The company has 190 positions and operates 24 hours a day, five days a week. Another 80 people work in the field in sales. Fresno Bee article

Downtown Modesto’s Fat Cat nightclub sold, closing doors — Downtown Modesto’s Fat Cat Music House & Lounge will close its doors for good at the end of June. Original owner Jeff Duarte, who purchased the two-story 11th Street property in 2001, has sold the building to a new owner. The spot operated for some 15 years as one of Modesto’s premier nightclubs and concert venues. Modesto Bee article


John Herrick, Joan Buchanan and Bill Jennings: Concerns with Garamendi bill – Herrick of the South Delta Water Agency, Buchanan of Restore the Delta, and Jennings of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance write, “This is a bad bill for Northern California water interests and for the people Garamendi represents. We believe Garamendi does really care about the Delta. The best way to act on that care is to author a bill that requires The State Water Resources Control Board and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to update the Delta Water Quality Control Plan in a timely manner.” Herrick/Buchanan/Jennings op-ed in Stockton Record

John Mirisch: Restore Hetch Hetchy Valley, help repair the world – The mayor of Beverly Hills writes, “One hundred years after the founding of our National Park Service, the time has come to unlock the divine spark, which we have literally buried. The time has come to perform the ultimate act of tikkun olam and to bring Hetch Hetchy Valley back to life.” Mirisch op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Tulare County jail project in Porterville will add 510 beds — A new jail is being built in Tulare County, finally allowing the Sheriff’s Department to think about shutting down the aging Main Jail in Visalia. The 510-bed jail will cover 10 to 15 acres of a 75-acre parcel north of the Porterville Airport. It should take two years to build. Fresno Bee article 

Sacramento County paid nearly $640,000 to fight deputies’ bias suit, county says – Sacramento County paid outside lawyers nearly $640,000 to fight allegations that Sheriff’s Department superiors retaliated against four veteran female deputies for speaking out against discrimination and preferential treatment, county officials disclosed this week. Sacramento Bee article

Jeff Jardine: Merced sheriff makes his point about nails at bloodless bullfights — Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke used to rodeo, so he knows all about bulls and horns, and how you can get the latter by messing with the former. Thus, those who challenge these large, angry snot-spewing animals assume the risk of injury. The animals themselves should be exempt from the pain. Which is why he began investigating the Portuguese bloodless bullfights in Stevinson and elsewhere in his county. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Fair will help people change felony records — Proponents for Proposition 47 estimate the initiative approved by California voters in 2014 made one million people eligible to have their felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors, including more than 50,000 people in San Joaquin County. Californians for Safety and Justice has partnered with billionaire philanthropist B. Wayne Hughes Jr. and several community organizations to hold a Prop. 47 Record Change and Health Fair from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 25 at San Joaquin Delta College. Stockton Record article

Nine vehicles linked to sideshow seized — Stockton police on Saturday seized several vehicles linked to a sideshow that turned violent when sideshow participants surrounded a marked patrol car and threw glass beer bottles at officers, authorities said. Stockton Record article 

Prison riot leaves several inmates in hospital — Officials from High Desert State Prison in Susanville are still trying to determine what prompted a riot Friday that sent several inmates to hospitals. LA Times article


Sales of Fresno State’s sweet corn sets record on opening day — A record number of Fresno State’s sweet corn ears were sold when the crop hit the stands for the first time this season on Friday, the university said Saturday. Cash registers at the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market collected an estimated $10,799 from the sale of the campus-grown yellow, white and bi-color corn. Fresno Bee article

Dolores Huerta: Chad Vegas creates hostile environment for LGBTQ students – The president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of the United Farm Workers writes, “The oath of office for a Kern High School District trustee implies a commitment to all KHSD students to provide a safe and supportive learning environment. Chad Vegas’ personal beliefs are causing him to violate his oath and to create an unsafe learning environment for LGBTQ students in the district.” Huerta op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Boy who battled blindness now a graduating senior — Colton Meyer grew up in the public eye. A trove of newspaper archives and online journals has documented his life since age 4. He’s the boy wearing cowboy boots and shorts, his crooked glasses at the tip of his nose while wheeling around on his tricycle, his Superman cape flapping behind him. Bakersfield Californian article

Larry White: Teaching is the role of a lifetime — We all recall that in school we were indeed taught by teachers. Some we remember. A few were spectacular, a few horrific. The vast majority were those who went about performing their jobs to the best of their abilities and performed their role as a professional. In most instances, the influence that teachers had on students’ lives did not manifest itself immediately. It was through the accumulation of the actions of dozens of caring thoughtful professionals that led us in new directions. White column in Stockton Record


Vance Kennedy: We can deal with a quake better if we know it’s coming – The retired geologist living in Modesto writes, “The May 18 Wall Street Journal wrote about the technology of early earthquake warning. This kind of technology is important. We need a system to warn us that an earthquake is imminent. Such a system would save lives and diminish property loss.” Kennedy op-ed in Modesto Bee 

Electric mower program offered by air district — People who want to swap out their gas-guzzling lawn mowers for a clean electric model can earn a rebate of up to $250 or 50 percent off the purchase of a new zero-emission electric lawn mower courtesy of the Valley Air District’s Clean Green Yard Machines program. Stockton Record article

Health/Human Services 

Steve Taylor: What you learn hanging around Modesto’s busiest emergency room – The Oakdale resident and behavior analyst writes, “Four things I learned from hanging around Modesto’s Doctor’s Medical Center for a week.” Taylor column in Modesto Bee

A question of timing: A lawsuit claims Gilead Sciences could have developed a less-harmful version of its HIV treatment sooner — More than a decade ago, researchers at Gilead Sciences thought they had a breakthrough: a new version of the company’s key HIV medicine that was less toxic to kidneys and bones. LA Times article


LAX arrivals are slowest at getting to the gate after landing, study finds — Perhaps the best moment in a commercial flight is when the plane lands safely and you know you are only minutes away from getting out of your cramped seat and into the terminal. The bad news for passengers at Los Angeles International Airport is that it takes planes landing at LAX longer to get to the gate after touchdown than at any other major U.S. airport. LA Times article

Other areas

A grave duty beckons: Finding the Californians lost in war – From World War II, 5,649 Californians remain unaccounted for. The Korean War left more than 600 California service members unaccounted for, including about 100 with hometowns in the Central Valley, stretching from Redding to Bakersfield. The remains of 166 Californians, including at least 20 from the Central Valley, are still missing from the Vietnam War. McClatchy Newspapers article

Mike Klocke: Respectful meaning of the ‘real’ Memorial Day — The actual date, May 30, is a big deal. It’s the original Memorial Day. The holiday in which we remember the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country always was held on May 30 before it was turned into a three-day weekend. Klocke column in Stockton Record

Norris Burks: Remembering fallen soldiers on hero’s highway – The Sutter hospice chaplain writes, “Memorial Day often takes me down ‘hero’s highway.’ This particular highway consisted of about a hundred feet of concrete from the helicopter landing pad into the back door of the Air Force field hospital in Balad, Iraq.” Burks op-ed in Sacramento Bee