May 9, 2017


Political Stories – Top stories

Dan Walters: California Democrats wanted more tax dollars to spend, but it’s not working out — Democratic legislators have counted on a revenue surge to persuade Gov. Jerry Brown to loosen up on spending – but just the opposite is occurring. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

After a bumpy tax report and unsettled politics, all eyes turn to Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget — The odds seem low, lawmakers and advocacy group leaders say, that the governor will radically restructure his January blueprint, a $179.5-billion proposal for California’s fiscal year that begins July 1. On the most wide-ranging issue — the financial impact of major policy changes by President Trump — Brown has been steadfast that any state action should only be taken once there’s clarity about what actually will happen. LA Times article

Gov. Brown

Gov. Brown to host fundraiser for senator facing possible recall to show ‘he’s got his back’ after tax vote, aide says — Gov. Jerry Brown is taking the unusual step of hosting a political fundraiser for state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) because he thinks it is unfair that some activists are trying to recall Newman for his vote favoring an increase in gas taxes to pay for road repairs, Brown’s top aide said Monday. LA Times article

Valley politics

Tracy nurse will challenge Denham in 2018 – A registered nurse from Tracy will challenge incumbent Jeff Dunham, R-Turlock, for California’s 10th Congressional District in 2018. Dotty Nygard, a Democrat and longtime resident of the district and former Riverbank City Council member, announced her candidacy Sunday. According to a news release, she is entering the race because of her concern for her grandchildren’s future and the decisions being made by President Donald Trump, which, she said, will affect future generations. Stockton Record article; LA Times article

Jeff Jardine: Political watchdog gives Gray an ‘F’ that would translate into an ‘A’ for others — Adam Gray got an “F” on his report card – or one of them, anyway. That could really mess up the 21st District Assemblyman’s chances of being valedictorian some day. What makes this rating interesting is that it comes from the far left-leaning People’s Report Card of California, and Gray is a Democrat in a district in which 45 percent of the voters are registered Democrat, 31 percent Republican and 18 percent want no part of either party. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Gavin Newsom made $350,000 from his book, and more from selling silver bars — The frontrunner in California’s governor’s race and his wife made more than $1 million annually and gave away about $100,000 a year on average to charitable causes over a recent six-year period.  Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

Here’s who spent the most lobbying California government this year – This year’s fight over the road-funding package that will raise fuel taxes and registration fees involved lobbying from dozens of labor, business and local government organizations. Yet the lobbyist employer that spent the most from January through March, the Western States Petroleum Association, largely had a hands-off approach to the measure that will increase taxes on its product. Lawmakers narrowly approved the increase, Senate Bill 1, on April 6. Sacramento Bee article

Trump-bashing begins in California’s race for state insurance commissioner — President Trump may not be running for California insurance commissioner but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a political target in the campaign. State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) devoted his first online ad in the 2018 race to depicting Trump as anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-healthcare and a climate change denier. Lara urged voters to support his campaign for insurance commissioner so he can protect California from Trump’s reach. LA Times article

‘Berniecrats’ roil state Democratic Party leadership fight — For California’s “Berniecrats,” the fire’s not out yet. Nearly a year after propelling Sen. Bernie Sanders to a close second finish against Hillary Clinton in California’s presidential primary, some of his most ardent supporters are still organizing – this time within the state Democratic Party itself. Capitol Weekly article


This company says it’s been tapped to Trump border wall prototype — The Trump administration will not release the names of companies selected to work on prototypes of a border wall slated for construction next month in San Diego. San Diego Union-Tribune article

California may give legal help to deported veterans — California may start giving legal help to veterans who have been deported. The state Assembly passed a bill Monday to provide legal representation for people who were honorably discharged from the military but have since been deported. AP article

Trump White House kept travel ban secret from first Attorney General— The White House instructed administration lawyers not to let the acting attorney general know that it was working on a travel ban temporarily barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, according to testimony Monday. McClatchy Newspapers article

As Trump threatens deportations, Bay Area funding immigrants’ legal defense — Immigrants facing deportation have no right to a lawyer if they can’t afford one. But Bay Area governments are leading a movement — which could take hold throughout California — to ensure there’s an attorney by their side anyway. San Jose Mercury News article

Hundreds of refugees flow into Sacramento despite Trump’s ban — The Sacramento region is bucking President Donald Trump’s moves to cut back the flow of international refugees entering the United States. The region is experiencing a mini-boom of refugees resettling here, even as the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. plummets, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of data kept by the national Refugee Processing CenterSacramento Bee article

Texas governor signs ‘sanctuary cities’ ban, but law enforcement leaders see problem ahead — Law enforcement officials across Texas on Monday moved to revise policies after Gov. Greg Abbott signed a “sanctuary cities” ban that allows police to ask about immigration status during routine stops and threatens authorities with jail if they do not cooperate with federal agents. LA Times article

Other areas

Bakersfield Californian: Senate, save us from this rushed, unstudied mess – Now that House Republicans have passed the American Health Care Act, we can, to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, read it to find out what’s in it. Millions of Americans, apparently including many of the congressional Republicans who voted for it Thursday, have been doing just that. They’re learning that, in many cases, it doesn’t say what GOP leaders said it would say. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Joel Fox: The California 7 — The political question facing the seven California congressional Republicans who are holding vulnerable seats is why did they jump aboard the American Health Care Act when up to the last day a number of them were undecided or leaning against the bill? Fox in Fox & Hounds

A proposal to eliminate sales tax on tampons and diapers in California fails – A closely watched proposal to eliminate sales taxes on tampons and diapers, which aimed to recoup the lost revenue by increasing taxes on hard liquor, failed at the Capitol on Monday. LA Times article

EPA dismisses half of its scientific advisors on a key review board — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has chosen to replace half of the members on one of its key scientific review boards, the first step in a broader effort by Republicans to change the way the agency evaluates the scientific basis for its regulations. Washington Post article

Legislature will keep Eric Holder as outside counsel for another month, but longer-term plans are unclear – The initial three-month contract for former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder to serve as outside counsel to the California Legislature is being extended for another month, legislative leaders said Monday. LA Times article

California may end ban on communists in government jobs — Being a communist would no longer be a fireable offense for California government employees under a bill passed Monday by the state Assembly. Sacramento Bee article

Rolling bicycle stop bill pulled in California — A bill that would allow California bicyclists to roll through stop signs has hit the brakes for now. Facing heavy opposition at its first committee hearing Monday, Assemblyman Jay Obernolte said he would hold Assembly Bill 1103 until next year to work through concerns from law enforcement, automobile organizations and advocates for the blind. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Thanks to Trump’s vague order, LGBT activists find reason to worry — The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community read between the lines in what seemed like a harmless executive order last week on religious liberty — and now is concerned it could restrict hard-fought rights. McClatchy Newspapers article

President Kamala Harris? She’s making the first moves — Now’s the time prospective presidential candidates start taking the subtle but crucial behind-the-scenes steps that get them noticed by the political intelligentsia, and Sen. Kamala Harris is quietly following the script. McClatchy Newspapers article

Mexico decides Trump isn’t so fierce after all — The worst may be over — though it’s not quite time to celebrate. That seems to be the guarded consensus here more than three months into the administration of President Trump, whose targeting of Mexico and Mexicans yielded profound economic, social and political disquiet throughout the country. LA Times article

California Government Today:

Senate Daily File

Assembly Daily File

News Stories – Top Stories

California high-speed rail opponents likely to appeal ruling — Opponents of California’s bullet train said they are likely to appeal a judge’s ruling Monday that will let the state spend about $1.25 billion in voter-approved bond money, rather than taking up the judge’s offer to refile the lawsuit. AP/Merced Sun-Star article

Evidence from hundreds of rape survivors’ bodies sat in a Fresno police freezer for years – Between 2000 and 2016, hundreds of women went to Fresno hospitals for sexual assault forensic exams. Many had just been raped, but they chose to have their bodies scraped and prodded for physical evidence to assist law enforcement in finding their attacker. Until the last few months, 765 rape kits – each marked with the victim’s name and the date of the assault – gathered from these exams sat untested in a freezer at the Fresno Police Department. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Report: California doesn’t know if it’s business tax breaks work – California does a poor job tracking the impact of billions of dollars in tax breaks and credits it provides to businesses each year, according to a new national study. The non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts ranks California among 23 states that are “trailing” in their ability to evaluate whether tax incentive programs are having the desired effect. Capital Public Radio report

Millions of dollars at stake. Fight brewing over Merced defense contract — A multimillion-dollar fight looms over Merced County’s criminal defense services as the deadline approaches quickly for Merced County to approve a new contract for attorneys working on dozens of open homicide cases. Merced Sun-Star article

Bakersfield, Kern County still growing … but slower – It’s a race whose finish line keeps getting pushed farther down the track. Projections released this month by the California Department of Finance indicate Kern County will eventually overtake Fresno County, its larger sibling to the north, in population. But don’t plan a parade just yet. Bakersfield Californian article

Stanislaus County to increase planning fees, charge 25 cents for bus transfers — Contractors and business people are faced with a 10 percent across-the-board increase in planning fees if supervisors give approval Tuesday. Bus riders will pay a 25-cent transfer charge if they switch from Stanislaus Regional Transit to another bus service. In addition, fees for inspection of dairies and underground storage tanks will be higher. Modesto Bee article

CalSTRS rates are doubling, but is that enough? – Long-delayed legislation is more than doubling the CalSTRS rates paid by school districts and the state. But even if the all-important pension fund investment earnings are on target, the huge CalSTRS debt is expected to continue to grow for another decade. Calpensions article

Downtown Fresno Partnership CEO Blair to step down – Aaron Blair, president and CEO of the Downtown Fresno Partnership, is stepping down early this summer after three years on the job. A national search for his replacement will begin immediately. Blair said he accepted a position as city manager for the town of Granby, Colorado, which has a population of 1,864 people and sits at nearly 8,000 feet in the Rockies. The Business Journal article

PG&E rate increase on the agenda for Merced meeting – The California Public Utilities Commission will hold a meeting in Merced on Thursday. The commission will be asked to approve a rate increase by Pacific Gas and Electric and to identify disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley, according to the agenda. Merced Sun-Star article

The water district wanted to hike rates 83 percent.  Residents said ‘no’ in droves – An Arden Arcade water district voted late Friday to kill a proposed rate hike that would have increased bills by 83 percent over five years. Board members for the Del Paso Manor Water District voted unanimously after a contentious meeting in which residents and district officials repeatedly argued with one another. Sacramento Bee article

Oakland’s sanctioned homeless project ends on ‘sad’ note — The underpass that Oakland officials dedicated as a sanctioned homeless encampment was cleared on Friday after a fire broke out earlier in the week, bringing a sour end to the project at a time when cities around the Bay Area have struggled to deal with homelessness. KQED report

California high-court rules on work-week issues — Californians can be required to work more than six consecutive days without overtime as long as they don’t work more than six days in a single week, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. San Francisco Chronicle article


Oroville Dam: With bills rolling in, state borrows heavily — California is borrowing up to $500 million to pay for the crisis at Oroville Dam, although it expects to be reimbursed for its costs. Sacramento Bee article

U.S. ends ban on importing Argentine lemons, angering California citrus growers — The California citrus industry was livid Tuesday over the Trump administration’s decision to allow lemon imports from Argentina’s top producing region for the first time in 16 years. AP article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Chandra Levy’s mom still seeks justice; man once charged with murder is deported – Chandra Levy’s mother isn’t rock-solid sure who killed the vivacious intern from Modesto 16 years ago in Washington, D.C. But Susan Levy is satisfied that Salvadoran native Ingmar Guandique, whose murder conviction was overturned, has been deported. McClatchy Newspapers article

Silva’s attorneys get mountain of paperwork, want more – Attorneys defending former Mayor Anthony Silva received 6,700 pages of discovery Monday morning but within 90 minutes expressed dissatisfaction with the information given them by prosecutor Robert Himelblau. Stockton Record article

Disgraced former deputy records ‘I AM SORRY!’ video – The former Kern County sheriff’s deputy looks into the eye of the camera, takes a breath and proceeds to tell the world he is contemptible, a disgrace to the badge he once wore, and an embarrassment to his family and friends. Bakersfield Californian article

Valid reasons claimed by Sacramento County lawyer in kicking blacks off jail-abuse case – A lawyer for Sacramento County said his side had “valid reasons” to exclude two African Americans from a jury that won’t be hearing the case anyway, since it settled Monday with a $2.5 million award to a black former inmate of the county jail. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento County tried to exclude black jurors, judge found. Now it’s going to pay — Sacramento County lawyers who were found last week to have improperly excluded African American jurors from a trial over a lawsuit brought by a black former inmate at the downtown jail agreed Monday to settle the case for $2.5 million. Sacramento Bee article

Juvenile fare cheats’ free ride: BART can’t cite them — BART is poised to spend millions of dollars to halt fare cheating, but it turns out the transit agency is largely powerless to punish gate-jumping juveniles — thanks to a new state law. Under the law, which took effect in January, “those under 18 years of age cannot be arrested or cited for fare evasion,” acting BART Police Chief Jeffrey Jennings wrote in a training bulletin to his officers on March 16. San Francisco Chronicle article

San Francisco officers using less force overall, but racial disparities remain — San Francisco police officers are using force less often as the department enacts reforms and deploys body-worn cameras, but the uses of force continue to reveal wide racial disparities, according to department figures released Monday. San Francisco Chronicle article

Deputies kill man who hit officer and K-9 with large rocks, sheriff’s department says — Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man who allegedly hit an officer in the head with a large rock in Rancho Cordova on Monday evening. Sacramento Bee article


California education leader calls immigration ‘the civil rights issue of our time’ — As President Donald Trump and his new cabinet members focus increased attention on immigration and school choice, a longtime education leader in California says it’s more important than ever for schools to meet the needs of all their students, especially immigrants. EdSource article

Racial tensions inflame UCLA student body election, help lead to victory by students of color —  At UCLA, the furor started with a photo of the undergraduate student body president, making a hand sign associated with the Bloods. Danny Siegel is white. He was wearing a suit and tie. LA Times article

Is a 17-year-old child star too young to be San Francisco substitute teacher? — Sage Ryan has never been a regular kid. At age 7, he growled a blues tune with his grandpa on “America’s Got Talent.” At 11, he appeared in “Gianni Schicchi,” Woody Allen’s debut as an opera director. At 14, he enrolled at UC Berkeley — as a transferring junior. Now Sage is a 17-year-old college graduate. And, true to form, he wants to be the youngest substitute teacher in the state. San Francisco Chronicle article

Prosecutors taking tougher stand in hazing deaths — Eighteen Penn State students have been charged in the death of a sophomore: a case that, not so long ago, might have resulted only in hand-wringing. New York Times article


‘Sobering’: How sea level rise could swamp Stockton – Waves lapping up against the steps of City Hall. Nearly every seat at Stockton Ballpark submerged. And in Brookside, rooftops jutting out of the water like reefs in the ocean. A worst-case sea level rise increase of 10 feet to 12 feet by the year 2100 would utterly transform Stockton as we know it today. Stockton Record article

Tule River closed until further notice — As temperatures rise, jumping into rivers that flow through Tulare County is tempting for visitors. However, recent drownings are causing concern for the U.S. Forest Service and Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, both warning visitors against swimming in the rapidly flowing waters. Five drownings in three weeks, six this year, has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to temporarily close Wishon Campground to Lower Coffee Camp and Moorehouse Fish Hatchery, until further notice. Visalia Times-Delta article

Public comment for Giant Sequoia Monument starts — The comment period for the 21 national parks, including Giant Sequoia, put under review by President Donald Trump’s executive order, will start Friday. Visalia Times-Delta article

Health/Human Services

To live a long life in America, it helps to be born in the right county – A child born in the United States in 2014 can expect to live 79.1 years, on average. But that figure doesn’t apply equally to all kids across the country. For example, a baby boy born in South Dakota’s Oglala Lakota County that year has a life expectancy of just under 62.8 years. Meanwhile, a baby girl lucky enough to be born in Summit County, Colo., can plan to live to the ripe old age of 88.5. LA Times article

Justin Timberlake’s team gives kudos to Valley Children’s Hospital video — Valley Children’s Hospital’s lip-synch video set to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” got kudos from the singer’s team. Fresno Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Stockton considers ‘mitigation’ fund for landlords who rent to homeless — The city may be about to follow the lead of several other communities around California and the nation by establishing a “risk mitigation fund” as an incentive to landlords who are reluctant to rent their units to the homeless.  Stockton Record article


United to add flight, seats to Fresno-San Francisco service — United Airlines will dramatically expand its service between Fresno and San Francisco in August, using a much larger aircraft for its early-morning flight. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

Parking in the airport garage? It may cost more soon — Sacramento International Airport officials will ask the county Tuesday for permission to raise parking rates in the main airport garage by $1 a day, making the new daily rate $18. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

‘Tyrannical’ Cal Fire chief who ‘yelled for effect’ kept his post after critical investigation — A high-ranking Cal Fire chief whose subordinates called him “psychotic” and “tyrannical” in an investigation last year retained his position despite recommendations from firefighters that he be removed and the report’s conclusion that he was an “unprofessional” leader. Sacramento Bee article

Visalia’s LGBT+ center reopens — A year ago, The Source LGBT+ Center was overflowing with people, while co-founders Brian Poth and Nick Vargas held a ribbon cutting. On Friday, the nonprofit was once again filled with community members, but in a new space that will hold many more people. Visalia Times-Delta article

Big Fresno Fair rejects group’s bid to host Hmong New Year festival — The Big Fresno Fair is back to square one with who will host the Hmong New Year Festival at the fairgrounds in December. Fair officials recently rejected the winning bid from Hmong Cultural New Year Celebration Inc. after receiving a protest from the Hmong International New Year Foundation, the losing bidder and longtime organizer of the massive event. Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian Now that House Republicans have passed the American Health Care Act, we can, to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, read it to find out what’s in it. Millions of Americans, apparently including many of the congressional Republicans who voted for it Thursday, have been doing just that. They’re learning that, in many cases, it doesn’t say what GOP leaders said it would say.

Sacramento Bee –- We know how to keep pit bulls on a leash, but homeless campers aren’t going to like it; Funny, how Trump didn’t targeted the visa the Kushners needed.

Stockton RecordCheers and jeers: Excitement builds for re-opening of a library, potential for flooding, and other issues.