May 30, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Cathleen Decker: California officials ponder: Now that they’re registered, how do we keep new voters interested? — California’s elections officials are waiting for the answer to one question: Will the hundreds of thousands of Californians who recently signed up to voteactually show up for the June 7 primary? And they are contemplating a second question: If they do, how do we keep them around? Decker in LA Times

Dan Walters: Change in California election rules downgrade June primary vote — Incremental changes in California’s electoral system in recent years have had the effect – intended or inadvertent – of making its June primary elections less decisive. What will happen, or not happen, in next week’s primary will drive home that degradation of importance. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Cathleen Decker: Bernie Sanders looks for success in an unlikely place: California’s Central Valley — As Sanders found out over the course of two days in the valley, it also is the nexus of many of the issues foremost in the campaign, particularly among Democrats: lagging incomes, immigration complications, environmental woes. No one, however, has delved into the central complication of the region: The very industries that cause pollution, water and income issues here are the ones on which it relies for survival: agriculture and the oil and gas industry. Decker in LA Times

Gov. Brown

Success of Jerry Brown, and California, offers lessons to national Democrats — California is one of the few states in the country, and easily the largest, where Democrats are completely in control, holding every statewide office as well as overwhelming majorities in the Assembly and the Senate, not to mention both United States Senate seats. Mr. Brown and his party are using that power to try to enact legislation — on guns, tobacco, the environment, the minimum wage and immigrant rights — that suggest the kind of agenda that has eluded national Democrats. New York Times article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Spending by special interest groups reaches record levels to influence California legislative races — Independent expenditures already have cracked $24 million in the run-up to the June 7 primary, with millions more likely to come in over the next week. The spending has set a record and is a hefty increase from $16.7 million spent two years ago. The result? Voters are hearing less from the candidates they’re electing and more from oil companies, education advocates, business groups and labor unions. LA Times article

Independent expenditures 101: An introduction to outside spending in state races — Here’s a guide to independent expenditures, why we’re seeing so many of them this year and what it means for California’s Legislature. LA Times article 

Other areas

Sacramento Bee: Let’s strive for common sense in freeing dogs from hot cars — While it’s true that dogs can overheat quickly, especially in a vehicle, because they can’t sweat, there are other reasons a dog might be panting and restless. Anxiety about being left alone, is one example. A keen eye can tell the difference. Ideally, no dogs would ever be left in a hot car. But handling such situations when they arise should come down to common sense. Sacramento Bee editorial

Presidential Primary in California

Bernie Sanders welcomes Fresno to his ‘political revolution’ – Under the swaying palm trees on a sweltering Sunday at the Fresno Fairgrounds, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders rallied thousands to his long-shot bid for the White House. “Fresno,” the Vermont senator said just before 8 p.m., “welcome to the political revolution.” Fresno Bee article 

Bernie Sanders makes pitch in Visalia for Democratic nomination — Bernie Sanders brought his pitch for the Democratic nomination for president to a large and warm crowd gathered at Groppetti Automotive Visalia Community Stadium at Golden West High School Sunday. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article‘Sanders talks drought, guns and wages’ in Visalia Times-Delta

Bernie Sanders did something special for this California farm town: He showed up – Charles Rothbaum has waited a long time for a presidential candidate to visit the traditionally red, Central Valley agricultural town of Visalia. The last he can remember was Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee in 1988. Rothbaum, 70, was at that Dukakis rally. And 28 years later, almost to the day, he was at Visalia Community Stadium Sunday to see Bernie Sanders. He thinks he knows what took so long. Washington Post article

Arnold Schwarzenegger ducks – and ducks – on Donald Trump — Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can still duck a question. Let the predicament of Donald Trump – and a few minutes on NBC’s “Meet the Press” – count the ways. Four times on Sunday, moderator Chuck Todd asked Schwarzenegger about the presumptive Republican nominee, and four times Schwarzenegger avoided answering. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article 

California Latino Republicans see Prop 187’s ghost in Trump campaign – Latino leaders in California working to mend the GOP’s relationship with their community were filled with dread, not joy, as Donald Trump clinched their party’s nomination for the presidency. LA Times article

Sanders visits Delano home of UFW, calls for fracking ban to improve water quality — Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, on a stop Sunday at the original Delano headquarters of the United Farm Workers union, called for renewing efforts to help Central Valley ag laborers, such as improving drinking water quality, raising wages and limiting exposure to harmful pesticides. Bakersfield Californian article

Water crisis not on presidential candidates’ radar – The state’s record drought, only dented by last winter’s rains, comes amid a 16-year dry spell in the Colorado River basin, which provides 16 percent of California’s water. The basin’s giant reservoirs are dwindling and may never fill again, even as the nation’s population continues to shift relentlessly into the arid West. So far, the three major presidential candidates have hardly noticed these problems as they barnstorm the state heading into the June 7 primary. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Hillary Clinton wants you to remember the 1990s — Streaming through California as the presidential primary comes to a close, Hillary Clinton looked past Bernie Sanders last week and moved to claim ground on economic issues for the general election ahead. Sacramento Bee article

News Stories

Top Stories 

Data show more students leaving public schools for charters — In financially struggling urban districts from L.A. to Philadelphia — and most notoriously, Detroit — the increasing popularity of charter schools, combined with family flight to the suburbs and declining birth rates, have caused enrollment to plummet. The changes have unfolded slowly for years and recently accelerated in some places. AP article

Business Council chief Ron Addington stepping down — Ronald Addington, president of the Business Council who helped secure key highway and transportation funding, among numerous projects over nearly a quarter-century, has announced his retirement. Council board member and former banker Jane Butterfield is due to take over the post Wednesday, with Addington staying on long enough to ensure a smooth transition. Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy

The arduous process of beautifying a Modesto street — Last year, Modesto embarked on a project to beautify one downtown block. The improvements included installing 15 planter boxes with Chinese pistache trees, decorative cement that looks like bricks, and tables with umbrellas for outdoor dining. The roughly $200,000 project is on Tenth Street between J and I streets, and several businesses along the block say the project has improved the street’s curb appeal. Modesto Bee article

Clock ticking, Sacramento rushes to prepare for arena crowds downtown — A team of police officers, traffic managers, and parking and transit officials has been working for the last year on a game plan for getting 17,000 people in and out of a tightly confined area smoothly. Time is short. Opening night starts with a bang: a sold-out Paul McCartney concert, Oct. 4. And the logistical questions are daunting. Sacramento Bee article

Unions seek to organize new downtown Sacramento hotels — A new battleground is taking shape in Sacramento’s organized labor movement. Labor unions have raised questions about hotel projects on either side of the central city in recent months. And with more hotel development expected in the years ahead, this tension will be worth watching. Sacramento Bee article

Giants ask San Francisco for tax break on AT&T Park, says value has fallen – The Giants are asking the city for millions of dollars in property tax refunds, claiming that the value of AT&T Park has dropped well below the $200 million that the team paid to build it 16 years ago — even as home prices in San Francisco have more than doubled during that time. San Francisco Chronicle article

Subsidized rent, but nowhere to go: Homeless vouchers go unused – With more than 35,000 people sleeping on sidewalks and in alleys, underpasses and riverbeds, the city and county are leaning on rent subsidies for private landlords to bring quick relief to homeless people while elected officials struggle to fund a $1.87 billion construction program. But in the last two years, rents have soared far above baseline federal voucher caps — $1,150 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,500 for two-bedroom units. And with the county’s rental vacancy rate at a scant 2.7%, voucher holders are tripping over one another in fruitless apartment hunts lasting months. LA Times article


Don Curlee: Heat protection draws a crowd — Used to be that heat protection for outside workers involved a straw hat, a canteen and some salt pills. Today it depends on a ton of regulations, a mob of puppets to enforce them, sophisticated equipment and mobile shade. Curlee in Visalia Times-Delta

Calaveras lifts water conservation restrictions — Customers of the Calaveras County Water District no longer are required to conserve water, as they have been under Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandatory water conservation measures. Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Marcos Breton: A sharp censure for Sheriff Scott Jones and company — A jury has spoken. It believed the four plaintiffs over the Sheriff’s Department leadership. It believed the women had experienced retaliation at the hands of their superiors for speaking out against what they saw as abuses of power. If the public can’t be confident in how this department follows labor laws and its own policy directives, how can it be confident in how it enforces any laws? Breton column in Sacramento Bee


College-bound senior fulfills mother’s dying wish — Vanessa Ward can’t wipe the image from her mind. The one from just a few months ago where she startles from her room and hears her stepfather screaming for her mother, Darneisha, to wake up. She remembers the gray hue painted on her face. The paramedics worked in tandem, pumping her mother’s chest as they struggled to wake her from unconsciousness. Bakersfield Californian article

First generation to graduate: Diploma in hand, Ortega hopes next to enlist — Luis Ortega was 10 years old when he knew he wanted to protect and serve his country. He was fascinated by the machinery, the mechanical engineering and the vehicles that assist soldiers on the front lines. Stockton Record article

Former Lemoore High School teacher named one of nine Deans’ Graduate Medalist — Former Lemoore High School teacher Melody Downie-Dack was one of eight students selected as California State University, Fresno Deans’ Graduate Medalist for the class of 2016. Hanford Sentinel article

Despite new law, California lags in personal finance education — While the state curriculum requires financial literacy to be taught in schools, the law did not actually require any basic money management skills to be taught. KPCC report

Health/Human Services

Fired hospital worker’s case points to a trail of stolen drugs and thousands of patients at risk — When a surgical technician named Rocky Elbert Allen was accused in February of stealing drugs from a Denver-area hospital, it was the sort of news that ended up in a police blotter. But as investigators began combing through the 28-year-old former Navy operating-room tech’s past, they say, what emerged was a startling, five-year trail of inside drug thefts at hospitals across the West, the story of a man who was fired repeatedly yet was somehow able to talk his way back into employment – and, authorities say, more drugs. LA Times article

Other areas

Chris Piombo: They jumped for you: The sacrifices of many endures on this Memorial Day – The Stockton native writes, “Today is Memorial Day. Please take a minute to remember the brave men and women who chose to jump into the fight on our behalf. The freedom we enjoy and often take for granted came at their expense. Honor them. It’s the least we can do.” Piombo op-ed in Stockton Record

Air Force vet Eliadas still an institution at North 31 years later — There aren’t too many surviving faculty members from North High School’s inaugural 1953-54 school year. And there aren’t too many fighter pilots still around from World War II. Jordan “Turk” Eliades makes both lists. Bakersfield Californian article

Names of three Vietnam War veterans added to California memorial — Framed by red, pink, yellow and white roses, several hundred veterans and their friends and families gathered in Capitol Park on Sunday for the reciting of each of the 5,660 names on the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial – including three new names etched into history. Sacramento Bee article