May 4, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories

Fresno mayor rejects call by faith leaders to better protected undocumented immigrants — Faith leaders have been calling for more protections for undocumented immigrants in Fresno through a city-supported legal defense fund and the creation of an Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, along with the dismissal of misdemeanor charges related to a protest march urging officials to make Fresno a sanctuary city. The short answer Wednesday from Fresno Mayor Lee Brand: No. Fresno Bee article

California’s senators just proposed a path to legal status and citizenship for farmworkers — California’s two Democratic senators filed legislation Wednesday that would shield farmworkers who are in the country illegally from deportation and create a path to citizenship. LA Times article

State budget

Did a court just create a new pathway to ‘tax’ Californians? — Could a few words buried within a recent court ruling make it easier for the state to raise money from Californians? The words — contained within a decision affirming the constitutionality of California’s policy of charging polluters — are causing a stir among some state budget experts, who wonder if the ruling could be used to pry loose constitutional constraints that have long restricted lawmakers’ ability to increase taxes. CALmatters article

Gov. Brown

California’s governor once opposed sanctuary status. Have time – and Trump – changed his mind? — If Gov. Jerry Brown ends up signing a pending bill to make California a “sanctuary state” for undocumented immigrants, it will be an about-face for the governor, who publicly opposed the idea of sanctuary cities several years ago. CALmatters article 

Don’t scrap Paris deal on global warming, Gov. Jerry Brown and other Democrats write in letter to Trump — California Gov. Jerry Brown was one of a dozen governors who sent a letter to President Trump on Wednesday urging him not to withdraw from the Paris agreement to fight global warming. LA Times article

Valley politics

Jeff Denham gets new 2018 challenger — A 30-year-old investor will challenge the Central Valley’s Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) in 2018. Turlock native and Democrat Josh Harder announced a bid for the 10th Congressional District on Wednesday. LA Times article 

Jeff Jardine: Denham in 2018? Only if Democrats bet lots of money on right candidate — The Democrats believe Jeff Denham is beatable in 2018. They think his support of President Trump and reticence to face the public in a town hall meeting until several months after the election make him vulnerable. They feel they can capitalize on the blowback against conservatives displayed in town halls across the county, and can benefit from a resurgence of political activism largely dormant since the turbulent 1960s. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

State Sen. Anthony Cannella, Assemblymember Adam Gray, Daron McDaniel and Mike Murphy: Getting a fair share for our Valley – Cannella (R-Ceres), Gray (D-Merced), Mereced County Supervisor McDaniel and Merced Mayor Murphy write, “Merced County does not always get its fair share. As elected officials, we see it on almost a daily basis. Funding formulas typically favor more urban and coastal areas while communities in the Valley get what’s leftover. In a recent interview with the Sun-Star, Gov. Jerry Brown agreed saying, ‘The Central Valley often feels it is being neglected – and often it is.’ That is about to change.” Cannella/Gray/McDaniel/Murphy op-ed in Merced Sun-Star

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Unfunded health care promises are ‘snake oil,’ says would-be California governor – Now as a candidate for governor, Villaraigosa said he isn’t prepared to embrace single-payer without first identifying a way to pay for it, putting him at odds with his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who says he would push a universal, single-payer system, and is working with allies on such a proposal. Sacramento Bee article

Atty. General Xavier Becerra recaps his first 100 days in office fighting Trump administration – In his first 100 days in office, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra has filed a flood of legal briefs challenging Trump administration orders on immigration, the environment and other issues, and he said Wednesday he expects much of his future to be taken up by fighting new attacks on the state’s policies. LA Times article

Former U.S. ambassador to Australia and Obama counsel plans to run for California lieutenant governor — Bay Area attorney Jeff Bleich, former U.S. ambassador to Australia and special counsel to President Obama, plans to run for California lieutenant governor. Bleich, a Democrat, has formed a campaign committee and is expected to launch an official bid sometime this month. LA Times article

GOP’s Chad Mayes: A warrior in an uphill battle — Chad Mayes, the affable leader of Assembly Republicans, says he wakes up every morning thinking about the low state of his party in California. “We just haven’t been successful in sharing our belief system with others,” Mayes says.  Capitol Weekly article

California attorney general targets political nonprofits — California’s new attorney general said Wednesday that he plans to target political nonprofit organizations that he said mislead donors and influence campaigns. Attorney General Xavier Becerra put some political nonprofits in the same category as those that scam veterans or the elderly with false promises in a bid for contributions. AP article

Other areas

Rep. Valadao undecided on American Health Care Act – Republicans in Washington are once again pushing hard for a vote on the American Health Care Act as some moderate members say they will now vote ‘yes’ on the bill. One remaining holdout, however, is Central Valley Congressman David Valadao.  Valley Public Radio report

As House prepares to vote on Obamacare repeal, California Republicans are key to its fate — Nearly six weeks after Republican leaders in the House canceled a vote on a controversial replacement for the Affordable Care Act because they lacked the votes, they are set to try again on Thursday. And California’s 14 Republican members of Congress will be critical in deciding its fate. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, boldly predicted success after a day of wrangling votes and personal arm-twisting by President Donald Trump. San Jose Mercury News article; San Francisco Chronicle article

For 2 more votes, GOP may pass health bill that could leave millions behind – A new Republican proposal to beef up funding for high-risk pool coverage has won two converts to the struggling GOP health care bill. But it’s unclear if the change will cause other moderate Republicans to come aboard as well. McClatchy Newspapers article; LA Times article 

California shows why the Republican plan to rely on states to replace Obamacare may not work – President Trump and congressional Republicans are trying to shift responsibility for overseeing health protections back to states. This approach, including re-creating state high-risk pools, is a cornerstone of the GOP healthcare bill that Republicans are laboring to get through the House this week. California’s experience underscores the limitations of what states can do on their own. LA Times article

TJ Cox: Repealing the ACA would bring a ‘politically induced coma’ to the Valley –The president of Central Valley NMTC Fund, LLC, writes, “Just last week, I received a call that I’d been dreading. The banker at the end of the speakerphone announced to all of us, the architect, engineer, contractors and owner sitting around a conference room table, that our project – a new 15,000 square-foot community health clinic to serve Central Valley MediCal patients – was being put on hold.” Cox op-ed in Fresno Bee

A little-noticed target in the House health bill: special education — With all the sweeping changes the Republican bill would impose, little attention has been paid to its potential impact on education. School districts rely on Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor, to provide costly services to millions of students with disabilities across the country. New York Times article

Mark Leno to announce candidacy for mayor of San Francisco – Veteran San Francisco politician Mark Leno is running for mayor in 2019. “I’m the first in the race,” Leno told The Chronicle Wednesday, a day before a scheduled City Hall news conference at which he will officially announce his candidacy. San Francisco Chronicle article

After mass shootings, Californians respond by buying guns — Long after the victims are laid to rest and the shell casings are collected and cataloged, new research shows, mass shootings have a lasting ripple effect: For several weeks after the mayhem stops, a shooter’s deadly rampage pumps a higher-than-usual number of firearms into general circulation in the United States. LA Times article

Presidential Politics

George Skelton: California is right close to its door to offshore drilling – Trump can’t be trusted with our beaches – President Trump was the clincher: He wants more offshore oil drilling, so forget it. California is right to put up the barricades. This guy just can’t be trusted. He shows no respect for history or the truth. No way should California place its beautiful beaches in his soiled hands. Skelton column in LA Times article

Environmental groups sue to block Trump’s offshore drilling order – Less than a week after President Trump moved to open protected coastal waters to offshore oil drilling, environmental groups are pushing back with a federal lawsuit. The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Alaska, claims Trump has no legal authority to undo protections adopted by President Obama. LA Times article

Trump to relax tax rules on churches active in politics – Several officials said the president would mark the National Day of Prayer by issuing an order easing the risk of religious groups losing their tax-exempt status. New York Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories

Top Stories

Can state run on sun and wind alone? California weighs aggressive climate change measures — Faced with a presidential administration that’s dialing back climate change policies, California is getting even more aggressive on battling greenhouse gases. Sacramento Bee article

Give Big organizers pleased, but see need for improvement – Raising $144,000 for local charities in a single 24-hour period is nothing to sniff at. On the contrary, organizers of the second-annual Give Big Kern community giving project are thrilled that new dollars — and volunteers — are flowing into local nonprofits as a result of their efforts. But they are also candid in their assessment of where the event fell short of expectations — and where it needs improvement. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Miguel Arias: It’s high time to pass a Fresno public safety tax – The member of the State Center Community College Board of Trustees writes, “The time is now for our community to discuss how we secure additional sustained public-safety resources, green space amenities and prevention programs. I am confident that, given the opportunity to collaborate, our civic, business and resident leaders will produce a comprehensive plan that earns our community’s support and has a lasting impact on our collective public safety. The time is now.” Arias op-ed in Fresno Bee

Most homes in California and nationwide are still worth less than before the recession – Home values have risen for years amid the economic recovery. And in some corners of California, prices are even setting records, surpassing levels reached during the height of the housing bubble. LA Times article

Hanford council adopts business restrictions – The Hanford City Council voted this week to adopt policies restricting what kinds of businesses can come to the Wal-Mart/Target/Hanford Mall area or the new Costco shopping center. Hanford Sentinel article

LA County considers another path on homelessness: Prevention — Now, a new and largely unproven approach is emerging as a major element of Los Angeles County’s homeless initiative. Those drafting plans for the Measure H sales tax funds approved by voters in March have proposed spending more than $40 million over the next three years to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. LA Times article

Study shines light on one particular effect of rising minimum wages in Bay Area — Rising minimum wages are increasing the chance some restaurants in the Bay Area will close, but not just any restaurants — mostly those with average and poor Yelp reviews. KQED report

California plans for collecting taxes on spaceflight – The earthly convention of paying taxes may soon extend into outer space, if California regulators have anything to say about it. The state’s Franchise Tax Board is seeking public comment on its proposal for computing taxes on commercial space transportation companies. San Francisco Chronicle article

In crackdown on leaks, CalPERS board disciplines one of its own – The CalPERS Board of Administration won’t publicly settle an argument about whether one of its members leaked confidential information to the press, but it will compel the suspected source to attend special training on open government laws. Sacramento Bee article

Gaming gone bust, tribe turns to marijuana farming – A small Indian tribe in a remote stretch of San Diego County has traded in its failed dream of casino riches for what could be the next big payout: marijuana cultivation. LA Times article

With Garcetti’s budget relying on millions from Airbnb, will LA still clamp down on short-term rentals? – Worried about homes being operated like hotels, Los Angeles lawmakers have been weighing new regulations that would cap the number of nights Angelenos can rent out their homes for short stays. But when Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed his budget, he banked on allowing Airbnb rentals to continue without those kind of restrictions. LA Times article

In Silicon Valley, even mobile homes are getting too pricey for longtime residents — During the last week of March, Apple reached a record market value of $754 billion, Google tweaked a policy to protect its $22-billion-a-quarter advertising business and Yahoo inched toward closing a $4.83-billion sale. Meanwhile, Judy Pavlick drove around her Sunnyvale, Calif., mobile home park collecting plastic bottles and empty drink cans to save her future. LA Times article


Award-winning dairy calls it quits –Brian Medeiros sat in the office of his Hanford dairy Tuesday and let out a long sigh. On the desk was a pile of paperwork that had to be sorted through, the visual evidence of what it takes to wrap up the Medeiros and Son dairy after 27 years in the business. Hanford Sentinel article

Rains end, but flooding dangers loom if massive Sierra snowpack melts too quickly — The rain has largely stopped after one of the wettest winters in California. But as spring temperatures begin to climb and snow in the Sierra Nevada melts, the threat of flooding has communities across the Central Valley on edge. LA Times article

‘We are very, very sorry.’ State water officials face frustrated Oroville crowd – Cindy Messer apologized Tuesday to several hundred grim Oroville residents who had been ordered to run from their homes three months earlier. They sat rigidly in their seats inside the Oroville Municipal Auditorium at the first public meeting Messer’s agency, the Department of Water Resources, has hosted in Oroville since the February crisis at the dam. Some sternly crossed their arms as they stared Messer down. Sacramento Bee article

Divided Oakdale Irrigation District board appeals water sale ruling – A divided Oakdale Irrigation District board voted Tuesday to appeal a court ruling requiring an environmental study for a proposed water sale from fallowed land. Modesto Bee article 

Farmers denounce Trump’s lemon law – The United States will no longer regulate imports of fresh lemons from Argentina and local farmers aren’t happy. The announcement came after Trump met with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, U.S. citrus representatives and senior officials. The plan goes into effect May 26. Visalia Times-Delta article

Joe Mathews: Stop higher water rates! Waste more water now! — Water agencies around the state are preparing to increase their rates even higher. Why? Californians have cut back on water use, and since these agencies sell water, that leaves them with less revenue. Their response is higher rates. But such rates will punish the poor in a state where sluggish entrepreneurialism, lagging education gains and high housing prices have made the poverty rate the nation’s highest. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Deputies agree to plead guilty to drug charge in case connected to disgraced BPD cop — Two one-time Kern County sheriff’s deputies have agreed to plead guilty in federal court to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana as part of a criminal plot that also involved at least one Bakersfield police officer, according to court documents. Bakersfield Californian article

Kevin Valine: Police were terrific at Coulter protest but at what cost? — Police Chief Galen Carroll said Tuesday night that the cost for his department is being tallied and he should have an answer by the end of the week. The Stockton Police Department and Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department assisted Modesto police. The deputies and Stockton officers were kept in reserve in case any trouble got out of hand, though Stockton officers in riot gear made a brief appearance before disappearing back into Centre Plaza. A Stockton police spokesman said his department should have its cost in a couple of weeks and will bill Modesto. Valine in Modesto Bee

He tried to smuggle drugs into Fresno. But Buster the police dog busted him — A Fresno Police Department dog thwarted a clever attempt to smuggle $130,000 worth of drugs into the city from Mexico. Fresno police Sgt. Tim Tietjen said his narcotics unit seized 20 pounds of methamphetamine on Wednesday from a hidden compartment inside an SUV. Fresno Bee article

Mother to see video of son’s shooting – The mother of a man shot to death by a Stockton police officer in August is scheduled to be shown a surveillance video of the high-profile incident during a Friday morning meeting at the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office. Stockton Record article

New battles in Fresno County probation, this time over sexual discrimination and retaliation – The Fresno County Probation Department is the focus of a sexual-discrimination investigation that targets the administrator who took over last year from embattled chiefRick Chavez.  Fresno Bee article

San Francisco police shoot, kill man on Market Street – San Francisco police shot and killed a man who was stabbing another man on the city’s busy downtown Market Street. Police Chief Bill Scott told reporters the shooting happened Wednesday morning when the officers came upon the stabbing during their regular beat patrol in the neighborhood. AP article 

‘Driving while black’ gets you pulled over so much, one guy says, ‘I use Uber’ – A Bee review of stops by the Sacramento Police Department from June 2008 to February 2017 found black drivers, especially men, are pulled over more often than others in the city – and have been for years. About 13 percent of the city’s driving-age population is black, but about 32 percent of Sacramento police traffic stops involved black drivers. Sacramento Bee article

Marcos Breton: Women triumph over Sheriff’s Department’s ‘bro culture.’ Too bad we have to pay for it – Sacramento County will have to cough up millions of dollars in court costs and penalties because, well, boys will be boys. In this case, the boys are leaders of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Their “bro” culture is so strong they will defend it, costs be damned. And it’s costing plenty. How much? Try more than $10 million. Breton column in Sacramento Bee; Sacramento Bee article

Jurors excluded because of ‘the color of their skin,’ Sacramento judge finds — A federal judge has ruled that Sacramento County attorneys improperly excluded two African American jurors “because of the color of their skin” in an upcoming trial in which the plaintiff was black. Sacramento Bee article

LA police panel pushes fairness and courtesy as powerful weapons to improve trust in LAPD — They call it “procedural justice,” and the concept is pretty simple. If people believe they are treated fairly and with respect by police, they are more likely to have a favorable view of law enforcement — even if their encounter ends with a ticket or an arrest. It’s a form of community relations that officials believe can help build goodwill and reduce mistrust. LA Times article


Emails raise questions about Napolitano’s testimony on audit – The office of University of California President Janet Napolitano directed administrators at UC campuses to reveal their confidential responses to a state auditor’s survey, according to emails obtained Wednesday by The Chronicle that call into question the accuracy of Napolitano’s testimony to state lawmakers about why her office interfered with the probe. San Francisco Chronicle article

Shawn Hubler: Watching the Capitol go Benghazi on Napolitano – Watching California state lawmakers attack UC President Janet Napolitano like the House Select Committee going at Hillary Clinton, it was hard not to wish both sides would simmer down and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Hubler column in Sacramento Bee

U.S. colleges send warm welcome overseas amid dip in interest – Many U.S. colleges and universities, seeing declining numbers of applications from overseas, are trying to reassure potential international students they will be welcome on campus despite what they see in the news. Schools are ramping up marketing efforts geared toward foreign students to combat growing fears that President Donald Trump’s stance on immigration reflects a United States that is becoming less welcoming to foreigners. AP article

Fresno State student has bacterial meningitis. Now, 72 others are getting antibiotics – A Fresno State student has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis and 72 students who might have been exposed are being given antibiotics, county health officials said Wednesday afternoon.  Fresno Bee article

Visalia Unified denies equal access resolution – With President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, local parents are concerned with their children’s safety within Visalia Unified School District. In response to these fears, an Equal Rights Resolution, drafted by the California School Board Association, was discussed at the April 25 Visalia Unified board meeting. The resolution reinforces state and federal laws stating the confidentiality of student’s files and the idea of campuses being seen by law enforcement as sensitive locations. Visalia Times-Delta article

Victor Davis Hanson: Beware our fake universities – College campuses still appear superficially to be quiet, well-landscaped refuges from the bustle of real life. But increasingly, their spires, quads and ivy-covered walls are facades. They are now no more about free inquiry and unfettered learning than were the proverbial Potemkin fake buildings put up to convince the traveling Russian czarina Catherine II that her impoverished provinces were prosperous. Hanson column in Fresno Bee 

Student accused in Stanislaus State assault identified – The California State University, Stanislaus student accused of attacking two of her roommates in a campus dorm was identified Wednesday evening as 21-year-old Jasmyne Casey. Modesto Bee article 

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo receives $110 million, largest private donation in CSU history – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has received $110 million — the largest private donation in the history of California State University — from William and Linda Frost, Cal State alumni who have worked extensively with administrators for more than a decade “to transform science and mathematics education at Cal Poly,” school officials announced Wednesday. LA Times article

Students need real-world career experience – Some Hanford high school students are getting to add real-life work experience to their book learning. The students in the linked learning academies at Hanford Joint Union High School District have studies that are focused on a career path that appeals to them. Then, between junior and senior year, they are to participate in internships that let them get a better taste of the type of career that intrigues them. Hanford Sentinel article

Modesto school board will revisit delay of Latino area election – Facing community backlash and a legal threat, the Modesto City Schools Board will revisit the election timing of its newly created trustee areas, which as it stands would leave solidly Latino south Modesto without representation until 2019. Modesto Bee article

California’s largest charter group pushes its agenda with money and people power — Buttressed by its roughly $18 million in political spending in 2015 and 2016 by its political action arms, the California Charter Schools Association is a rising political force in California that’s challenging the teachers unions’ prowess in shaping local and state education law, at least when it comes to anything affecting the future of charter school growth. EdSource article 

Merced students grow science knowledge, life lessons through school garden – Students at Charles Wright Elementary are learning the science of plants’ life cycle in the school garden while building life skills. Teacher Jaime Enriquez is managing the garden, where students learn about the impact of sun, soil, and water on different plants such as marigolds, petunias, onions, tomatoes and peppers. Merced Sun-Star article

Green begets green – Students at Redwood School have worked all spring on their green thumbs. On Wednesday, it was time for them to take stock in another kind of green: as in cold, hard cash. Stockton Record article 

Kevin Johnson’s St. Hope charter schools will unionize, teachers group says – A majority of the teachers at St. Hope Public Schools charter system have signed a petition to become members of the Sacramento City Teachers Association, the labor union announced Wednesday. Sacramento Bee article


After a third body is pulled from Tule River, sheriff wants to close river access — Because of several recent drownings in that area, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux is working with the U.S. Forest Service to close public access to “dangerous portions” of the Tule River. Boudreaux advises visitors to stay away from those areas until the danger of fast-running water has abated. Fresno Bee article


Court: Airlines can be sued over baggage fees when bags are late — Airlines that charge baggage fees can be sued for refunds for failing to deliver a passenger’s bags when the plane lands, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. Individual damages would be modest — in this case, a $15 recovery sought by a US Airways passenger whose bag was delivered a day late — but would be multiplied in class actions on behalf of other customers. San Francisco Chronicle article

Steve Lopez: LAX’s new private terminal for the rich and famous makes flying easier, but at a steep price – I went to Los Angeles International Airport on Monday morning, like I have on so many occasions, but this was an entirely different experience. I didn’t have to deal with the usual crush of airport traffic, or people, or security headaches. I navigated around all that madness and I breezed because this time, I traveled like a champ instead of a chump. How? Lopez column in LA Times

Other areas

 Atwater council members defend meeting with job candidate outside City Hall – The Atwater City Council is not on the path to a formal corrective action following the news that a majority of City Council members met at a restaurant with a city manager candidate, the city attorney said. Merced Sun-Star article

Mike Dunbar: She gave the shoes off her feet to the barefoot woman in the rain — As the Big Day of Giving approaches, columnist Mike Dunbar won’t soon forget the generosity of one woman to someone less fortunate as a cold February rain fell in Modesto.  Dunbar column in Modesto Bee

Rattlesnakes coming out early – and likely in big numbers – It’s a noise that’s nearly unmistakable – even if you’ve never heard it: The startling and potentially dangerous rattle of a rattlesnake that’s been encroached upon. And the noise this year might be louder than ever the Fresno area. Fresno Bee article

Times Delta media group names new executive editor — California native and Redding Record Searchlight Executive Editor Silas Lyons has been named to a regional editing role in North Central California, leading the Record Searchlight as well as the Salinas Californian, Visalia Times-Delta, and Tulare Advance-Register. Visalia Times-Delta article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Former first lady Michelle Obama pushed for standards requiring schools to serve more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains and limited salty, sugary and fatty foods. Trump’s new Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Monday he will partly roll back those rules. But when we have a crisis of diabetes and childhood obesity, why backslide on junk food?

Merced Sun-Star – Sen. Ricardo Lara is flailing at President Donald Trump’s wall at the Mexican border with terrible legislation that would force the state to stop doing business with any contractors that help build the wall. It’s a bully tactic that Trump would appreciate.

Modesto Bee – Sen. Ricardo Lara is flailing at President Donald Trump’s wall at the Mexican border with terrible legislation that would force the state to stop doing business with any contractors that help build the wall. It’s a bully tactic that Trump would appreciate.

Sacramento Bee –- With the president putting social programs on the chopping block, the Big Day of Giving is even more important for nonprofits in the Sacramento region. Organizers hope to beat last year’s total of $7.1 million and 13,800 donors during the 24-hour online fund-raising blitz; Sen. Ricardo Lara is flailing at President Donald Trump’s wall at the Mexican border with terrible legislation that would force the state to stop doing business with any contractors that help build the wall. It’s a bully tactic that Trump would appreciate.