May 6, 2017


Political Stories

Top stories 

Study: Undocumented immigrants contribute $49.1 million in local, state taxes — Undocumented immigrants living in San Joaquin County contribute just over $49.1 million dollars in local and state taxes annually, according to a recent study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Stockton Record article

Undocumented immigrants pay $32.4 million in taxes — In California, undocumented immigrants contributed to $3 billion in taxes each year. Tulare County’s undocumented immigrants paid $32.4 million. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, there are an estimated 35,800 undocumented immigrants in Tulare County. Visalia Times-Delta article

Bakersfield artist to run against Kevin McCarthy from the right – Democrats have pledged to use the healthcare vote against vulnerable Republicans. The fight also has prompted something unusual in Bakersfield: a Republican is mounting a long-shot challenge to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Joe Aleman, a photographer and artist who has never run for office, said that as a Christian he struggled with the details of the House plan to roll back the Affordable Care Act. LA Times article

Valley politics

Macareno to try to state Senate seat — At a Latino Democrats Cinco de Mayo celebration, Ruben Macareno announced he will run for the 14th seat of California’s Senate. Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra brings on Washington and campaign veterans, immigration experts — Since taking office in January, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra has remade the executive staff of the state Department of Justice, bringing in a large number of new staffers from Washington with legal expertise to reflect his special interest in immigration, civil justice reform and the environment.  LA Times article


Here’s why some immigrant activists say not even criminals should be deported – As President Trump continues to vow to come down hard on illegal immigration, supporters of immigrants find themselves at odds over how much to fight for those whose criminal history is fodder for advocates of harsher and broader crackdowns. LA Times article

Amid fear and resistance, immigration agents in LA have not ramped up arrests — While arrests by ICE are up 35% nationwide since Trump took office, they remain relatively flat in Southern California. Arrests of immigrants without criminal pasts have remained low in the L.A. region as well, as agents do little, if anything, differently from what they were under the previous administration, Marin said. LA Times article

Could Congress and California thwart Trump’s mass immigration deportation plans? — Since Inauguration Day, Immigration Customs and Enforcement has detained thousands of undocumented immigrants across the country. But now the administration might have to scale back. KQED report

Other areas 

Political analysts shift races toward Democrats after healthcare vote —  Citing the House vote to roll back the Affordable Care Act, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report has shifted the race ratings evaluating the electoral fortunes of four vulnerable California Republicans toward the Democrats. LA Times article 

In the health care debate over pre-existing conditions, who’s lying? – Someone must be lying about health care coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. McClatchy Newspapers article

Locals give health bill mixed reviews — The GOP health care bill that squeaked through the House of Representatives this week drew widely differing reactions from people interviewed for this story. Hanford Sentinel article 

Jack Ohman: Charming politician who’d take health care from 24 million people — Rep. Greg Walden, a warm and amusing Republican, has led efforts to repeal Obamacare. What will come of babies with terrible congenital heart defects? Ohman in Sacramento Bee

In California book tour stop, Ohio Gov. John Kasich blasts ‘woefully inadequate’ GOP healthcare bill — Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Friday blasted the healthcare bill Republicans passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, saying that it fails Americans in need. LA Times article

California proposes new rules and standards for marijuana testing laboratories — Laboratories that test marijuana for medical use in California will have to be licensed and show their employees are properly trained, and will face strict guidelines for how to conduct examinations of samples, according to rules proposed Friday by the state Bureau of Marijuana Control. LA Times article

Presidential Politics

LA City Council backs effort to investigate Trump for impeachable offenses — The Los Angeles City Council wants to know whether President Trump violated federal law by using the office of the presidency to enrich himself or his family. LA Times article

Bernie Sanders returns to California this weekend — Bernie Sanders returns to California for an awards ceremony Saturday that will gather nearly 700 trial lawyers, labor union officials, activists and others from Sanders’ left wing of the Democratic Party. Sacramento Bee article

News Stories

Top Stories

Is Merced’s economy improving? Business owners say yes – Local investments are driving up interest in commercial real estate in downtown Merced and optimism in the minds of business owners, according to agents and owners. The biggest investment is coming from the state in its $1.3 billion 2020 Project at UC Merced. Merced Sun-Star article

Departure of State Farm could hurt, but no one knows how much – The presence of State Farm’s operations center in southwest Bakersfield — and the hundreds of jobs it created — has been touted for years as a significant economic driver for the southern San Joaquin Valley. But will its departure have the opposite effect? Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

State Farm to leave Bakersfield in 2021 as part of nationwide reorganization — State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company has announced plans to leave 11 facilities nationwide including in Bakersfield over the next several years. The moves, to be made in stages, begin in 2018, the company said in a news release Thursday. A timeline indicates it’s not leaving Bakersfield until 2021. Bakersfield Californian article

Officials: Zoning rules hurt mall — Hanford Mall officials and other retail experts say Hanford’s restrictive zoning policies are hampering their ability to fill the mall’s vacant spaces. Hanford Sentinel article

City memo: No Walmart coming to Olive and 99; fencing coming to Centennial Corridor area – City Manager Alan Tandy’s weekly memo to the mayor and city council Friday had several items of note: No Wal-Mart at Olive and Highway 99

Walmart announced to city staff that it will not open a Supercenter at Olive Drive off of Highway 99. However, the supermarket chain said it is reviewing sites in Bakersfield to add Walmart Neighborhood Grocery Stores, like the newly opened one in Artisan Square that is near Brimhall and Allen roads. Bakersfield Californian article

Her small-business success grew into WWE. Now she wants to inspire other entrepreneurs – Linda McMahon made her business reputation as a partner with her husband Vince building World Wrestling Entertainment from a basement-based enterprise into an entertainment empire. Now, as administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration in President Donald Trump’s cabinet, McMahon sees her job as not only advocating for entrepreneurs and business start-ups, but also bringing more intensive marketing to make sure business owners are aware of the range of services available from the SBA. Fresno Bee article

Bronco Wine expansion, with 30 new jobs, wins support — Bronco Wine Co. got support Thursday night for a major expansion at its headquarters south of Ceres — and praise for a notable product. Modesto Bee article

Speed-dating service in its own storefront? Safer than bars or nightclubs, owner says – In a strip mall on Lakewood Avenue at Briggsmore in Modesto, a shopper can buy insurance, do laundry, visit a salon, get a snack at Quik Stop and, now, make another quick stop – for fun, romance and possibly true love. Modesto Bee article

LA tourism board to spell it out: Everyone is welcome — Travelers flying into Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday will get an unusual welcome to the city, even before their planes touch the ground. Hundreds of volunteers working with the Discover Los Angeles, the area’s tourism board, plan to stand in a park just north of the airport’s runways, holding up signs that spell out “Welcome” in four languages. LA Times article

Fair Oaks Library ready for action — Nearly seven years ago, Fair Oaks closed its doors, seemingly forever. But at 3 p.m. Wednesday, those same doors will swing open again and a community will celebrate. Stockton Record article

California housing costs fuel Gen X and boomer anxiety about retirement — A new AARP survey shows widespread financial anxiety among Gen Xers and baby boomers in California. Many worry about saving for retirement — and the cost of housing is one of the main reasons why. San Jose Mercury News article

Beleaguered Big Sur institutions turn to crowdfunding — In February, as news spread that a dozen monks were stranded at the end of a winding, washed-out, two-mile road in their Benedictine monastery in the hills above Big Sur, a crowdfunding campaign got underway to bring relief. San Jose Mercury News article


Agricultural workers sickened in the field — A dozen agricultural workers were sickened apparently by a pesticide Friday east of Maricopa, according to the Kern County Fire Department. Bakersfield Californian article

EPA to pay for new well in Arvin – The Kern County city of Arvin has received funding to drill a new drinking water well to serve its nearly 21,000 residents. Valley Public Radio report

DA warns of toxic pesticide sold in Tulare County — Two people are accused of selling a highly toxic, illegal pesticide in Visalia, according to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office. Visalia Times-Delta article

Want sweeter strawberries? You might have to wait until this lawsuit ends — Strawberries grown in California have been getting plumper, juicier and sweeter over the years, thanks in large part to a world-renowned plant-breeding program at UC Davis. But the breeding program is caught in the grips of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by two former UC Davis scientists – a case that the scientists’ lawyers say has halted the flow of plant innovation from the Davis labs for the time being. Sacramento Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

A top cop once chose his badge over family. As his trial begins, that decision could cost him – Fifteen years ago, Keith Foster made a decision that could come back to haunt him in his coming drug-trafficking trial. Fresno’s former deputy police chief chose to stay silent, instead of standing with his family, after officers shot and killed his unarmed nephew, Foster’s sister said. Fresno Bee article

Mother offers no comment after viewing video of son’s police-involved shooting — The mother of a man killed by police in August had no comment after reviewing security video of the incident at the San Joaquin County Courthouse on Friday morning. Denise Friday and her attorney, Lateef Gray, were granted access by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office to video footage recorded the afternoon of Aug. 16 behind a market at Jamestown Plaza. Stockton Record article

Are you entitled to that blue parking placard? The DMV is looking at you — A crackdown on scofflaws who misuse disabled placards resulted in citations issued to 26 drivers in the Fresno area during an operation carried out in Fresno on April 26, the state Department of Motor Vehicles reported. Fresno Bee article; Sacramento Bee article


CSUB reconsiders, says all are welcome at graduation ceremonies after ticket snafu — Following student ire and community backlash over a last-minute decision to limit graduation tickets, Cal State Bakersfield announced Friday that it would be hosting two separate ceremonies to accommodate all of its graduates’ guests. Bakersfield Californian article

Big boost for black college students in new 2017 federal budget: More general aid — Black colleges and universities got a big win in the new federal budget: a major expansion of the Pell Grants used by thousands of their students. The bill expands Pell Grants for the nation’s low-income college students by providing the help for three semesters instead of just two per calendar year. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Editor to leave Record for Pacific — After serving as editor of The Record for 13 years, Mike Klocke announced on Friday he will be leaving to accept the position as community relations director at University of the Pacific. Stockton Record article

Engineering a future — Dozens of Fillmore and Harrison elementary students demonstrated what they learned in their first year of robotics through Project Lead the Way curriculum and VEX Robotics. Stockton Record article

Sacramento city school district hires new chief at $295,000 a year — Fresno school administrator Jorge Aguilar has been officially named the next Sacramento City Unified superintendent with a starting annual salary of $295,000 – $5,000 more than currently paid to outgoing schools chief José L. Banda. Sacramento Bee article


The drought is over. So why is California’s wildfire risk growing? – The drought is over, but that doesn’t mean the end of calamity for Northern California. The abundance of rain and snow could produce more wildfires and drownings, officials say.  Sacramento Bee article

Mammoth snowmelt making rivers so dangerous that ‘if you fall in, you’re done’ — The deaths of five people in two Tulare County rivers in less than a month are prompting officials to warn the public about the dangers of rushing water fed by the heavy snowpack now melting in the Sierra. Fresno Bee article

San Francisco seeking $187,000 from PG&E to cover losses from blackout – San Francisco city departments suffered $187,000 in revenue and operating losses during the April 21 power failure, and they’re going to ask PG&E to pay up. San Francisco Chronicle article

Lemoore to remove 70 trees from Fox Street — Fox Street in Lemoore is lined with trees on both sides of the road that runs north and south. A large number of trees on a portion of the east side of the street will be removed after causing damage to the sidewalk, and some residents are concerned it will change the aesthetic of the street. Hanford Sentinel article

Sacramento housing residents just got free Zipcars — Residents at three public housing areas now have a mini-fleet of free Zipcars to make their way around Sacramento. On Friday, Sacramento launched a pilot program that put eight shared electric Kia Souls at public housing sites. Up to 300 residents can apply for on-demand access to the vehicles, with no charge for maintenance, insurance or juicing up the battery. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Gary Bredefeld: Why I want to put ‘In God We Trust’ in City Hall – The Fresno City Council member writes, “We’re clearly a nation that was founded on faith. ‘In God We Trust’ does not choose one religion over another. It simply and eloquently reminds us that those of us who believe in God should trust in Him to guide us as we make important decisions for all citizens of Fresno. Those who don’t believe have the freedom to interpret the national motto as they wish, or merely disregard it.” Bredefeld op-ed in Fresno Bee

Merced County plans to hire new legal defense firm. Here’s why it matters to you — Merced County appears poised to change who it pays for local criminal defense work. The move would end a 14-year partnership with a Merced attorney and his subcontractors and bring in a defense firm from outside Merced County. Leading criminal attorneys in Merced say that decision could delay dozens of homicide cases and drive up costs at a time when the county has said it wants to save money. Merced Sun-Star article

Keep CALM and thrive on: The history, and future, of our zoo — It’s hard to remember a time without CALM, a magnet for field trips, families oohing and aahing at the annual Holiday Lights and parents introducing their children to the native animals that live there, in the hills east of Bakersfield. Only 15 minutes from downtown, CALM, with its native California plants and trees, bobcats, bears, badgers and sense of tranquility feels like another place entirely. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno BeeThumbs up, thumbs down.

Sacramento Bee –- Proposition 56 promises a windfall of more than $1 billion for Medi-Cal funding. Doctors and dentists should get the increase in reimbursement the campaign promised, but some should go to clinics like Women’s Health Specialists in Sacramento, which was forced to close last week; Why a “troop tax” to pay for GI Bill is ridiculous.