May 4, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

California marijuana legalization initiative has the signatures — The California campaign to legalize recreational marijuana will announce at a formal kickoff Wednesday that proponents have collected enough signatures to place the initiative on the fall ballot. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Political tension ramp up at hearing on Newsom’s gun control initiative – Backers of a gun control initiative proposed for the November ballot argued during a legislative forum Tuesday that it is needed to make California safer, while opponents said it will unfairly harm law-abiding gun owners and is primarily aimed at getting Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom elected governor. LA Times article

Gov. Brown

Reminding Jerry Brown of Jerry Brown — More than 50 civil rights and education reform groups are using Jerry Brown to remind Jerry Brown of his pledge to help black and Latino students following an interview with CALmatters in which he suggested that disparities will persist despite government intervention. CALmatters article

Valley politics 

Brand dominates Fresno mayoral fundraising; Perea a strong second — The latest money totals are in, and at least in the fundraising battle, Lee Brand is dominating the Fresno mayor’s race. Brand, currently a Fresno City councilman, has cobbled together more than $287,000 in the race and had $292,000 cash on hand as of April 23. The closest fundraising competitor to Brand in the mayor’s race is Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea. He has raised more than $213,000 and had $148,117 in his account on April 23, the close of the fundraising period. Fresno Bee article

Goh far outpaces the pack in Bakersfield mayoral race fundraising – It’s still more than a month until Bakersfield residents get their first chance to pick a new mayor but in terms of fundraising, former Kern County Supervisor Karen Goh is handily beating the 24 other hopefuls. Bakersfield Californian article

Stockton rivals clash over mayoral power – Beginning a gauntlet of three public forums in seven nights, Mayor Anthony Silva and his challengers clashed Tuesday night over just how much power ought to belong to the city’s top elected official. Stockton Record article 

Interview: Bakersfield’s T.J. Esposito says he’d be ‘the people’s mayor’ – Kern County marketing firm owner T.J. Esposito brings a unique personal story to his candidacy for Bakersfield mayor. In his youth, Esposito was a self-described cocaine and methamphetamine addict, was homeless for a time, and was convicted of several crimes, including burglary, assault and domestic violence. Since then Esposito says he has turned his life around, with a successful business and a family. KVPR report

Interview: Gary Bredefeld tries for second stint as Fresno City Council member — Garry Bredefeld was a leading voice and vote behind the push to build Chukchansi Park when he served on the Fresno City Council from 1997-2000. Now Bredefeld wants to once again represent north Fresno’s District 6, as he is one of three candidates running for the seat this June. KVPR report

San Joaquin County supervisor candidates share views in second day of forums – The three candidates for the District 3 seat on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors addressed issues such as job growth, groundwater management and public safety during their turn to participate in a forum at San Joaquin Delta College on Tuesday night. Stockton Record article

Michael Fitzgerald: Sam Fant’s conspiracy theory — Today: It’s a conspiracy. A funny thing happened to Sam Fant on the way to the forum. Stockton’s District 6 City Council candidate first had to attend his arraignment on felony conspiracy and election-fraud charges. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Will Loretta Sanchez benefit from Ted Cruz’s demise? – A competitive California presidential primary had all sorts of potential to scramble the other races on June 7. One possible outcome: A surge in Republican turnout could have dashed Senate candidate Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s hopes of making it past the primary and to the general election. After Sen. Ted Cruz’s departure from the GOP race all but handed Donald Trumphis party’s nomination, Sanchez dismissed speculation she might benefit. LA Times article 

Kamala Harris, silent on dams, says she would protect species law – U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris said Tuesday that she would not support efforts to weaken the federal law governing endangered species, breaking with fellow Democrat and rival Loretta Sanchez, who has said she would be open to amendments to help address the state’s protracted drought. Sacramento Bee article

Gavin Newsom offers dugout full of booze for campaign fundraiser – Newsom’s experimental approach to the time-honored tradition of campaign fundraising has reached new levels of interactivity. On Tuesday, the 2018 gubernatorial candidate asked supporters to join him for a five-inning baseball game at AT&T Park. For $150, donors get access to the game, food and drinks. Participants at the $5,000 level can pack their gloves to join Newsom in the game (the invite also promises a full bar in the dugout, for those who want to do their best impression of David Wells). Sacramento Bee article

California needs to think long-term after extra election funding approved — The issue of how to pay for elections has been a source of tension between state officials and county officials, who administer elections. California Forward, thanks to a grant from the James Irvine Foundation, has been the studying the issue and will release its Election Funding Project in late May. California Forward repor 

Joel Fox: Key argument on revenue bond initiative debated — A key argument on the initiative to require a vote of the people on revenue bonds that exceeds $2 billion centers around the question if taxpayers could be on the hook for defaulted bonds. Fox in Fox & Hounds


Claustrophobic? Don’t even think of joining the Border Patrol’s ‘tunnel rats’ — You can’t be claustrophobic if you want to work for the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tunnel Entry team — the unit that explores underground drug-smuggling passages near the U.S.-Mexican border. LA Times article

Other areas

California lawmakers question cost of tax board members’ offices — The California Board of Equalization’s spending came under legislative scrutiny Tuesday, with lawmakers questioning the cost of separate office space for the tax overseer’s leadership.  Sacramento Bee article 

Bill to help widow stave off foreclosure passes Senate committee – A bill that would give California widows and widowers greater protections against foreclosure passed a state Senate committee Tuesday. LA Times article

Ted Cruz’s departure crushes California’ primary hope – On Tuesday, Trump’s overwhelming victory in the Hoosier state – and Cruz’s withdrawal from the race – made it all but certain that California voters will not play a pivotal role in the GOP presidential primary. Sacramento Bee articleSan Jose Mercury News article

Poll: Bernie up with independents, but Hillary still holds sway – It may not be as consequential a contest as we had hoped for a few weeks ago, but California’s Democratic presidential primary on June 7 still presents a fascinating case study for political junkies. Capitol Weekly article

Sacramento Bee: The one California dig Florida Gov. Rick Scott gets right – The sinking Sunshine State doesn’t hold a candle to California, but its governor has a point about this state’s tax system. Sacramento Bee editorial

Lower voting age looks to have support of San Francisco Board of Supervisors — A proposal to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in San Francisco’s local elections appears headed for the November ballot, after a hearing Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors. San Francisco Chronicle article

John Pappas: Legislature needs to protect online poker players – The executive director of Poker Players Alliance writes, “Online poker in California already exists – unlicensed, unregulated and untaxed. Assembly Bill 2863 will protect California players. If the Legislature fails to regulate Internet poker this year, consumers will pay the price.” Pappas op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Hunger strikers made it to mayor’s office, but he’s not there — Five hunger strikers in wheelchairs and hundreds of their supporters crossed San Francisco on Tuesday, from the Mission Police Station to City Hall, to reiterate their demand that Mayor Ed Lee fire Police Chief Greg Suhr or resign. San Francisco Chronicle article
California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Doubling of Kern County cuts could mean ‘multiple dozens’ of layoffs — Kern County supervisors gave the nod Tuesday to a county plan that doubles the size of the proposed budget cuts that county departments will face next year. That move could result, County Administrative Officer John Nilon said, in several dozen layoffs. Nilon called Tuesday’s discussion a “clarion call” for fiscal austerity and a demand for cultural change at the county. Bakersfield Californian article

Grand vision for technology in Fresno, and jobs for those living beyond — In two years, Bitwise Industries has grown from a fledgling tech startup stuffed into a “crappy building” at the northern fringe of downtown Fresno to a renovated, 50,000-square-foot technology hub in a century-old building south of Chukchansi Park. Bitwise CEO Jake Soberal is eager to keep that momentum going. Fresno Bee article 

Visalia voters reject Kaweah Delta hospital bond — Voters on Tuesday gave an emphatic “no” to a $327 million bond to build a new acute care hospital for Kaweah Delta Health Care District. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Jobs and the Economy

Merced council supports putting half-cent tax on the ballot – The Merced City Council unanimously approved putting a proposed countywide half-cent sales tax on the November ballot, saying Monday the county can’t compete for state or federal funding against “self-help” counties. Merced Sun-Star article

Merced County sees its population rise – Like many cities across the state, all six of Merced County’s cities added residents in the past year, state officials said Monday. Fresno Bee article

Lemoore, Hanford, Corcoran grow – Lemoore had the biggest non-prison related population increase in Kings County in 2015, according to new estimates released Monday from the California Department of Finance. Lemoore’s 2 percent growth rate more than doubled the .9 percent growth Hanford experienced from Jan. 1, 2015, to Jan. 1, 2016. Hanford Sentinel article 

Kern’s home market outperforms those of other U.S. oil cities – When oil prices plummeted in 2014, and failed to recover last year, local housing market observers worried the toll on Kern home sales would be heavy. But a new analysis indicates the downturn hasn’t hit the county’s residential real estate all that hard — at least, not when compared with other major oil-producing metropolitan areas in the United States. Bakersfield Californian article

Feds drop bid to shut down Harborside in big win for pot industry – In a major victory for the cannabis industry, the federal government dropped its four-year bid to shut down Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the biggest medical marijuana dispensary in the country with more than 100,000 patients, according to city officials. San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times article

Prices on single-family homes in Hanford-Corcoran heat up – Single-family home prices in the Hanford-Corcoran area rose by 11.8 percent when comparing prices in March to March 2015, according to CoreLogic, a service that collects information on property. The price increase includes distressed sales. Hanford Sentinel article

Bay Area residents expect economy to shrink, survey finds – More than half of Bay Area residents think the region will experience a significant economic downturn within the next five years, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Bay Area Council. San Francisco Chronicle article

Trader Joe’s confirms Fresno store will close, move north — After weeks of rumors, Trader Joe’s officially confirmed Tuesday that it is closing its Blackstone Avenue store in Fresno and moving it north. The store will open in Park Crossing, the new development under construction at Friant Road and Fresno Street, as the Bee reported recently. The store will face that intersection. Fresno Bee article

Kern County moves to seize Wasco Kmart’s business equipment – Kern County is taking no chances with the upcoming closure of Kmart’s Wasco store. In order to ensure payment of the store’s 2016 property tax bill, the county filed notice April 22 it intends to seize all $614,900 worth of business equipment inside the Kmart at 2785 Highway 46. Bakersfield Californian article

New events center coming to Clovis this year — A new events center is coming to Clovis after the City Council approved construction of The Falls Events Center north of Old Town Clovis The 17,000-square-foot event center is similar to one that the Salt Lake City-based company operates in northwest Fresno. The company also has similar centers in Colorado, Utah and Arizona. Fresno Bee article 

The Rev. Larry Arce ends 18-year run as CEO of Fresno Rescue Mission – For 18 years, Rev. Larry Arce, the CEO of the Fresno Rescue Mission, has helped feed and shelter hundreds of thousands of homeless men, women and children with hopes of giving them a new life through the word of God. Tuesday, Arce, 67, announced his retirement at the Christian Business Men’s Connectionluncheon at Pardini’s in northwest Fresno, where he was awarded the G.L. Johnson Ministry Leader Award. Fresno Bee article 

Lois Henry: Libraries are there for you, it’s time to return the favor – If I could vote for Measure F twice, I would. The Board of Supervisors has let Kern County’s libraries wither on life support long enough. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian 

Konrad Moore: Think libraries are unfunded now? Just wait – The public defender for Kern County writes, “Measure F, proposing an 1/8 cent sales tax increase, is hugely significant to those who care about our libraries. Even more important, the initiative’s fate will send a powerful message to Kern County leaders and department heads regarding the community’s willingness to pay for public services.” Moore op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Stanislaus supervisor wants closer look at McHenry tax-sharing deal — A rezone for a BMW dealership led to talk Tuesday of revisiting the tax-sharing agreement between Stanislaus County and Modesto for the north McHenry Avenue area. Modesto Bee article

Uber settlement gets a thumbs down from some drivers — With more than half of California’s Uber drivers likely to receive less than $100 and the company refusing to include a tipping option in its ride-hailing app, some already are saying the high-profile settlement is a disappointment. San Jose Mercury News article 

Sacramento’s Big Day of Giving undermined by website failure — Sacramento’s Big Day of Giving came to an online standstill Tuesday after websites set up to process hundreds of millions of dollars in donations across the country failed in Sacramento and dozens of cities holding similar events. Sacramento Bee article

A Santa Barbara ‘safe parking’ program for homeless people may be coming to LA — Goodwin makes use of Santa Barbara’s “safe parking” initiative, a homelessness program that Los Angeles is studying as a possible model for responding to its own explosion of people sleeping in RVs and cars. The Santa Barbara program takes 115 vehicles off the streets overnight, placing them in designated spaces in 20 city, county, church, nonprofit agency and industrial lots in Santa Barbara and Goleta. LA Times article 

Levi’s rent dispute escalates between 49ers, Santa Clara — Training camp hasn’t even started and the San Francisco 49ers are already butting heads with opponents — filing for arbitration Tuesday in their ongoing dispute with the city of Santa Clara over rent payments at the team’s fancy $1.2 billion stadium. San Francisco Chronicle article


Valley water suppliers show improved conservation in March – Many San Joaquin Valley water suppliers found it easier to meet the state’s new, lower conservation standards during March, the state Water Resources Control Board reported on Tuesday. Fresno Bee article

Riverbank, other California cities boost conservation for March – Several Stanislaus County cities also reported strong water savings in March, including Riverbank, which has struggled to conserve. AP/Modesto Bee article

Sacramento residents cut March water use by nearly 40 percent — Water districts across the Sacramento region and California posted big conservation savings in March, aided in large part by cool, wet weather, the State Water Resources Control Board reported Tuesday. Sacramento-area residents used 37 percent less water in March than during the same month in 2013, a decline of about 3.6 billion gallons. Statewide, water use fell 24 percent. Sacramento Bee article 

More Asian citrus psyllids found in Tulare County – Nearly 20 Asian citrus psyllids recently were discovered in Tulare County, as the battle to keep the harmful pest under control continues. Fresno Bee article

Feared citrus pest discovered in Tracy – Local, state and federal farm officials scrambled Tuesday over the discovery in Tracy of a crop pest feared as the carrier of a disease fatal to citrus trees. Stockton Record article

New delay for Kettleman City water project – Kettleman City’s 10-year struggle to provide clean drinking water faces a new delay. The local water district was forced to put off accepting state monies to build a treatment plant last month due to possible endangered species on the building site. The Business Journal articl

Strawberry fight reignites as former UC Davis scientists sue over lucrative breeding technology — UC Davis’ multimillion-dollar strawberry-breeding program is under legal attack again, this time from a pair of former UCD scientists who have gone into competition against the university. Sacramento Bee article

Aubrey Bettencourt: Temperance Flat is answer to environmental groups’ doubletalk – The executive director of the California Water Alliance writes, “As described in The Bee’s April 25 story “Lawsuit claims Delta fish harmed by relaxed water standards,” the Natural Resources Defense Council, Bay Institute and Wildlife Defenders are shopping for a federal court decision that would strip California of having the final say about its water resources. The groups have a long history of talking out of both sides of their mouths.” Bettencourt op-ed in Modesto Bee 

Andrew Fisher: Paying for groundwater recharge – The member of the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Center research network writes, “Water levels in many of California’s groundwater basins have dropped too far, too fast in recent years, prompting a wave of experimental projects to augment the natural recharge of aquifers. But funding is a missing element in many of these efforts. A new local program to provide incentives for groundwater recharge could be replicated in other parts of the state.” PPIC blog

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Merced County supervisors fight back on public safety criticism – The Merced County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday pushed back against criticism over their response to the county’s historic murder rate. However, at least two supervisors acknowledged they haven’t done enough to address the highest homicide rate per capita in the state. Merced Sun-Star article

Visalia police officer shoots, kills man carrying a knife – A man brandishing a knife was shot to death Tuesday by an officer responding to a domestic disturbance call, Visalia police said. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

LA County severely restricts solitary confinement for juveniles — Los Angeles County supervisors Tuesday approved severe restrictions on the use of solitary confinement for juvenile offenders, part of a larger movement away from a practice that many consider cruel and unproductive. LA Times articleKQED report

Sacramento police probe leaflets targeting Muslims, Latinos in downtown Sacramento — Sacramento police are investigating racist leaflets left overnight on the windshields of cars in midtown. Sacramento Bee article

Secret logs on jail informants are ‘distressing,’ Orange County DA’s ffice says — The defense attorney for convicted murderer Daniel Patrick Wozniak peppered two Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials with questions Tuesday about secret records kept on the department’s jailhouse informant program and why the entries were only then coming to light, months after his client was convicted. LA Times article


CSU faculty approve contract to raise pay by more than 10 percent — The California State University faculty union announced Tuesday that its members overwhelmingly approved a new contract that will raise salaries by more than 10 percent over the next two years. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Cheryl Sullivan named new interim Fresno City College president — State Center Community College District Chancellor Paul Parnell has named Cheryl Sullivan as the new interim president of Fresno City College. Sullivan will take over for Cynthia Azari, who is leaving the interim post to become the president of Oxnard College in Southern California. Sullivan has worked at the Fresno City College business office for 18 years. She’s served as the vice president of administrative services for the last four years. Fresno Bee article

Nan Austin: Courts: California laws promise education, not excellence – Several education lawsuits have lost in higher courts in recent weeks, each framed as a loss for children or a win for workers, depending on which side you talk to. But the overarching theme I took away is that the courts are saying nothing in state law ever promised us a rose garden. Austin in Modesto Bee

Anita Hill to receive UC Merced’s Spendlove Prize – Anita Hill, whose testimony 25 years ago during Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas led to many changes in workplace sexual-harassment laws, will receive the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance from UC Merced. Merced Sun-Star article

San Francisco State students go on hunger strike for raise in ethnic studies budget – A protest at San Francisco State University Monday marked the beginning of a hunger strike by four students who vowed to go hungry until the school agrees to increase the budget for the College of Ethnic Studies. KQED report

UC Berkeley chancellor faces skeptical Academic Senate — UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced several policy changes Tuesday evening as he sought to persuade an auditorium full of skeptical faculty members that he should keep his job as leader of the nation’s premier public university. San Francisco Chronicle article


Tree deaths rise steeply in Sierra; drought and insects to blame – Trees in California are dying at the highest rate in at least 15 years, raising the risk of faster-moving and more-intense forest fires, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Sacramento Bee article

Dean Florez: Valley should stay the course on clean air with AB 32 – The past Senate majority leader and current member of the California Air Resources Board writes, “Looking honestly at the road ahead, we find that California’s suite of clean energy and climate policies are propelling us toward cleaner air and healthier communities, and we won’t turn back. Looking in the rear-view mirror and lamenting for the days of more pollution and less action are over.” Florez op-ed in Fresno Bee

Behind the collapse of SunEdison, a solar supernova – Today, SunEdison is in bankruptcy. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice are investigating its financial activities. LA Times article

Where to put the hyacinth? – When it became clear that an early-season water hyacinth invasion could threaten Saturday’s “Ducky Derby” charity event at the downtown Stockton waterfront, state officials called in the cavalry. Stockton Record article

Mothers for Nuclear: New group tries to keep Diablo Canyon open — Heather Matteson and Kristin Zaitz want to use motherhood and global warming to change the way Californians feel about nuclear power — before it’s too late. San Francisco Chronicle article
Health/Human Services 

Kern health officials confirm first whooping cough death of 2016 – Pertussis, better known as whooping cough, has claimed the life of an infant in Kern County. It’s the first death from whooping cough confirmed in Kern this year, and the first death from the disease in Kern County since 2009, county health officials said in a news release Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article

Sutter among nation’s most profitable hospitals, study finds – Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento recorded the second highest profit from patient care services among the nation’s acute care hospitals, according to a report released this week in the journal Health Affairs. Sacramento Bee article

Hundreds possibly exposed to tuberculosis at Fresno City College – More than 200 Fresno City College students may have been exposed to tuberculosis and were advised to get tested, the college said. Fresno Bee article 

ADHD in preschoolers get drugs before therapy, CDC says – Too many preschoolers with ADHD still are being put on drugs right away, before behavior therapy is tried, health officials say. AP article

New report explains OC’s dramatic rise in autism diagnoses — Orange County has the highest number and rate of children with autism in the state but a new report released Tuesday by Chapman University suggests the eight-fold increase over the last 15 years might be related to how psychologists are diagnosing the developmental disability. KPCC report

Brain-dead child’s parents fight to keep him on ventilator at Kaiser Roseville — On Tuesday, his parents, mother Jonee Fonseca and father Nathaniel Stinson, were in federal court again to discuss their temporary restraining order blocking Kaiser from discontinuing life support for their son. The Vacaville couple declined to speak with reporters. Sacramento Bee articl


Bob Hope Airport will be branded ‘Hollywood Burbank Airport’ —  Bob Hope Airport officials voted 8 to 1 on Monday to change the airfield’s branding name to Hollywood Burbank Airport in an effort to increase recognition with passengers outside of Southern California, especially those east of the Colorado Rockies. LA Times article 

Other areas

Merced SPCA shelter calling for community support to stay open — Determined to keep the no-kill shelter running, the society is calling for greater community support and is organizing a fundraising event in which they are asking people to donate gently worn shoes. Merced Sun-Star article