May 29, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories


Dan Walters: California courts do poorly in competition for funds – Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, her fellow judges and children’s advocacy groups have been trying for years to persuade Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators to provide more legal aid for 60,000 foster children. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


Your drug costs might drop if lawmakers can agree why they’re so high — From presidential campaign promises to congressional hearings on the price of EpiPens, 2016 was the year that public anger over the rising cost of prescription drugs boiled into a national outrage. California lawmakers responded this session with a half-dozen measures targeting players across the complex supply chain that brings medications to patients and determines what they pay. To tackle what those legislators say is a problem of drug affordability, however, they’ll first have to agree on who is to blame. Sacramento Bee article


Gov. Brown

Brown’s extra pension payments following cities’ lead —  In the search to slow the growth of pension costs, Newport Beach has been a leader in an option that moved into the spotlight this month when Gov. Brown proposed borrowing $6 billion from a state cash-flow fund to make an extra CalPERS payment for state workers. Calpensions article


‘You’re just there, trapped’: Why one Mexican woman decided to ‘self-deport,’ long before Trump – Any time a cop passed her on the road, she began shaking. When police set up checkpoints in her neighborhood, her phone buzzed with warning text messages. She worried about getting carded at bars. Boarding planes. Attending college. Anything that required an ID, which she didn’t have because she was in the country illegally. LA Times article


‘When you’re undocumented and Asian, you’re invisible’ — Five years ago, he couldn’t drive his car without the constant fear of getting pulled over, getting his car taken away, or even getting deported. That’s because Alvin is an undocumented Dreamer. He has temporary protection from deportation under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. But President Trump has sent mixed signals about Dreamers, and Alvin worries his protection could be taken away. KQED report


Other areas


How safe are dialysis centers? California bill would require more oversight — Clinics that provide dialysis for people with diabetes and others with end-stage kidney disease in the central San Joaquin Valley and statewide could be required to have more staffing and be inspected annually if a bill in the California Legislature becomes law. Fresno Bee article


Presidential Politics


Trump returns to increasingly troubled White House and criticism from allies – Whatever respite President Trump may have received from his nine-day overseas trip came to an abrupt end Sunday as administration allies sought to beat back allegations about his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, while the leader of Europe’s most powerful nation suggested the U.S. was no longer a reliable ally. LA Times article


Reported talks by Jared Kushner with Russia would be a ‘good thing,’ Trump official says – John F. Kelly, President Trump’s homeland security secretary, on Sunday defended a reported effort by Jared Kushner, the president’s embattled son-in-law and key adviser, to establish a secret channel with Russia during the transition, calling it “a good thing.” New York Times article


News Stories

Top Stories


After a couple of tough years, city police department looks to Bakersfield’s best to help ‘humanize the badge’ — The video clip is simple, straightforward and powerful: One veteran Bakersfield cop, standing in front of a camera, recalling the story of a difficult case he once worked — one that never left him. The video offers a window into the soul of Bakersfield Police Department Detective Rex Davenport as he recalls his heart-rending interviews with a teen girl who was the victim of longterm sexual abuse by a family friend. Bakersfield Californian article


Donations slow to trickle in for Cleansing Hope Shower Shuttle for homeless and poor — Work on a second Cleansing Hope Shower Shuttle is going full blast, but funding to keep construction rolling along has slowed to a trickle, those behind the effort say. The first shower shuttle, operated by What Would Jesus Do Ministries – aka Church in the Park – was rolled out in early August last year and has provided hot showers to well more than 4,300 homeless and working poor, ministry leaders said Tuesday. Modesto Bee article


Jobs and the Economy


John Lindt: Kings County business — More than two years ago Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announced a formal agreement with the developers of Quay Valley to develop an installation of the Hyperloop along a five-mile stretch of the town running alongside I-5 in Kings County. They said construction would begin in 2016, to be the first working passenger-ready Hyperloop in an urban area. So what’s happening today? In a word – never mind. Lindt in Hanford Sentinel


The Fruit Bowl still fresh as ever at 70 — A lone eucalyptus tree, more than 100 years old, still stands on the edge of Waterloo Road where Frank and Ina Lucchetti sowed the seeds of their family business. It remains large and firm, the only survivor of the 1946 chimney fire that burned down the family’s home and adjacent trees and of the 1991 frost that claimed its two remaining companions. The tree’s thriving existence resembles that of the simple fruit stand it helped provide shade for many years ago. Stockton Record article


How LA County is trying to sign up more people for food stamps – and why it’s not easy — For years, the county, like much of the state, has struggled to enroll all those eligible for California’s food stamp program, known as CalFresh. For a time, it was because of strict eligibility and application requirements, including fingerprinting applicants, requiring them to verify their eligibility every month and limiting the maximum gross income allowed. California has eliminated those rules, yet it still ranks fourth from last in the nation when it comes to enrolling people in the food stamp program, according to federal data. LA Times article


Criminal Justice/Prisons


New Sacramento police chief will have a tough time in tense department – Sacramento is interviewing potential police chiefs this week, moving quickly on a pivotal hire intended to fix a department plagued by community mistrust, internal upheaval and deep discord with city leaders. The new chief will walk into a tough job – attempting to navigate a thin line between anger from rank-and-file officers and calls for continued reforms from community members and some elected officials. Sacramento Bee article


One killed, five wounded in flurry of Stockton shootings — A 60-year-man was shot to death late Saturday in a residence near the Port of Stockton, and five other people suffered non-life-threatening wounds in three separate shootings late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Stockton Record article




George Skelton: This Memorial Day, we should think about protecting California fish — Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. And one thing that means is trout fishing. Especially this summer, because the five-year drought has mercifully ended. Streams are leaping off the mountains in whitewater cascades, carrying bug buffets to fish lurking in deepwater pools. Cold-water lakes are chock-full. Skelton column in LA Times




U.S. official mulling greatly expanded airport laptop ban — Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday he’s considering banning laptops from the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the United States. New York Times article


Other areas


Dick Taylor: In war, it’s always the young who take the brunt of combat casualties – The veterans service officer in the Kern County Veterans Service Department writes, “Some may spend Memorial weekend graveside to shed a few tears and share a few smiles as we remember our incredible family members and neighbors who became heroes of a grateful nation. Celebrating them in big ways and small, we remind the community and our country they loved to relish the freedom so graciously given by a sacrifice so selfless.” Taylor op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


The number of Americans who have died in battle since the Revolutionary War – As decades passed, it became known as Memorial Day, and in 1971 a federal law took effect declaring Memorial Day a national holiday to be held on the last Monday of May, observing all military personnel who have died in American wars. Here are the total battle deaths from America’s wars, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. (These numbers do not include those who died in theater but not in battle.) LA Times article


Stockton steps up with fundraisers to help fire victims – City Councilwoman Christina Fugazi and several community members met over lunch in downtown Stockton on Sunday afternoon to plan a fundraiser to benefit victims displaced by last week’s massive fire on East Weber Avenue. Stockton Record article


2 dead, 11 rescued on Kern River during Memorial Day weekend — Two people died and another 11 people were rescued along the Kern River in separate incidents, leaving Kern and Tulare County rescue teams busy during the Memorial Day weekend. Fresno Bee article; Bakersfield Californian article


Open Cockpit Day dedicated to F-16 Fighter Falcon that flew over Central Valley skies — On Sunday during Castle Air Museum’s Open Cockpit Day, Milton Ames looked up at a World War II C-46 Commando and thought about how pilots in the past were able to fly the 56,000-pound planes. Merced Sun-Star article


Gene Thome ‘never met a stranger’: Owner of Bear Mountain Sports, friend of Bakersfield Sound, larger-than-life community figure died Saturday — Gene Thome, a Bakersfield Sound loyalist and part-time musician who rubbed elbows with local country music royalty, is being remembered today as a man who gave much more than he received. Bakersfield Californian article


Valley Editorial Roundup


Modesto Bee – Fitting words for those who gave it all.