November 16, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Nunes dispels CIA director rumor — Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) is happy with his current post and would like to remain there, said Jack Langer, the congressman’s director of communications. Named to president-elect’s Donald Trump transition team late last week, Nunes wants to continue his stint in Congress. Visalia Times-Delta article

Election over, Westlands Water District may get win with controversial drainage plan — The politically resurgent Westlands Water District is set to win House committee approval Wednesday of a big irrigation drainage plan that is opposed by Northern California’s Democrats. Years in the making, the plan forgives a roughly $375 million debt owed by the nation’s largest irrigation district. McClatchy Newspapers article

Dan Walters: Bullet train’s bonds shifting into local rail projects — What’s happening seemingly validates suspicions of some Capitol insiders, when the bullet train bond legislation was being written a decade ago, that it would be a bait-and-switch ploy to get state voters to finance local transit projects they otherwise would not support. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Goh wins Bakersfield mayoral race — Karen Goh has won the race for mayor of Bakersfield, it was clear Tuesday, but she wasn’t ready to declare it so. Kern County elections officials released the results of more than 51,000 additional ballots at 6:22 p.m. Monday – more than half the ballots Kern County had yet to count. Bakersfield Californian article

Silva, Tubbs look forward in City Council meeting – In his first public comments since last week’s election, Mayor Anthony Silva said Tuesday night that “the hate and the political battles” must end “if Stockton is truly going to heal and move forward.” Stockton Record article

Valley Edition: Post-election analysis, what does it mean for the Valley? – We talk politics in a special post-election Valley Edition this week. Should the media and political establishment put so much emphasis on predictive polling? What does a Trump administration mean for the Central Valley, and for local GOP leaders like Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes? And what do local races and voter turnout tell us about future campaigns? KVPR report

Livingston candidate can’t be city cop and councilman at same time, law says – A Livingston police officer who may have won enough votes to put him on the City Council would face a conflict of interest if he were to hold both positions, the Sun-Star has learned. Preliminary results show Wapinder Kang placing second in the race for three open council seats. The top three finishers in the seven-candidate race will win the seats. Merced Sun-Star article

Just elected Lemoore City Council members have plans for city — The three members elected to the Lemoore City Council Nov. 8 have plans for the city. Incumbent Eddie Neal and newcomers Holly Blair and Dave Brown snagged the top three spots for the council last week. They want to improve the city’s infrastructure, bring more businesses to Lemoore and have a variety of other ideas for the community. The three will be sworn in on the council Dec. 6. Hanford Sentinel article

Latest Results:

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

The state’s next governor? A new Field Poll shows Ashley Swearengin in the running — It’s probably not too surprising that Gavin Newsom is the early favorite to become California’s next governor in 2018, according to a new Field Poll. It’s the third-place finisher in the poll that might catch people’s eye in the central San Joaquin Valley – outgoing Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. Fresno Bee article

GOP Assemblyman defeated, giving Democrats supermajority — Republican Assemblyman Eric Linder has been defeated by Democratic challenger Sabrina Cervantes, giving the Democrats an expected supermajority in the California Assembly. AP article

Elections officials across California still face as many as 4 million uncounted ballots — California election officials continue their efforts to review and count as many as 4 million ballots from the Nov. 8 election, a daunting process that has kept a few closely watched races in limbo for almost a week. LA Times article 

In California, some winners and losers — It’s all over and, with a few exceptions, it will stay that way for two more years. But like any other public event, ranging from bridge tournaments to the Super Bowl, there were winners and losers.  Here’s our take on who came out winners and who lost in the 2016 general election. Capitol Weekly article

Other areas

Amid rumbles of discontent, House Democrats push back leadership election as Pelosi faces possible challenge – With Democrats still reeling from last week’s loss, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi agreed Tuesday to a request to move the Democratic Caucus’ leadership election until after Thanksgiving. LA Times article

House Majority Leader McCarthy wants Pelosi to keep her job so ‘we keep the majority’ — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi received back-handed praise Monday from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. McClatchy Newspapers article

Marcos Breton: Sorry, Kaepernick. Your protest no longer gets my vote — I backed Kaepernick’s constitutional right of free speech and his nonviolent protest because we need to remain vigilant about how the police applies use-of-force tactics. Too many officer-involved shootings have raised too many questions. But Kaepernick’s credibility was almost completely destroyed on Tuesday after The Sacramento Bee’s Alexei Koseff reported Kaepernick has never registered to vote in any election since becoming eligible in 2005. Breton column in Sacramento Bee

Meet the new people California is sending to Congress — California’s five incoming House members, and two potential colleagues in races too close to call, are attending two weeks of daylong briefings on topics such as managing their office budget, how to write legislation and ethics, all while getting to know their way around and meeting their fellow lawmakers. LA Times article

Presidential Politics

Four Valley issues where President-elect Trump could act quickly — The impact of a Donald Trump presidency on the Central Valley is still a great mystery. However, modern American presidents have broad powers that they can put into effect quickly. There are more than a few very specific actions Trump could take that would directly affect Central California. KVPR report

Some California leaders vow to resist deportations under Trump – As he works to implement the immigration crackdown that guided his populist campaign, he will have to contend with state and local officials in California who have resisted the federal government on immigration before and appear poised to do so again. The result could be a struggle between different levels of government over the fate of millions.  Sacramento Bee article

Cathleen Decker: What to make of Trump one week in? He’s unpredictable and keeping his options open — One week after Donald Trump won the presidency, the country he will take over in 65 days lacks a precise idea of what he will do as the nation’s chief executive. Decker in LA Times

Trump faces multiple lawsuits as he prepared to take office – The Trump University lawsuit isn’t the only civil case Trump is involved in. And his legal entanglements put him, and the country, in an unusual position. An analysis by USA Today finds Trump has dozens of open cases to contend with. Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson says that, depending on how those play out, we could see more to come. KQED report

Vida en el Valle: It’s time for Trump to begin behaving presidential — President-elect Trump will have two months to prove to the American public that his intention is not to target minority communities and México. That he is the president all of Americans. Vida en el Valle editorial

Sen. Feinstein says Bannon pick spreads fear as nation sees racist acts – 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said Tuesday that Donald Trump’s choice of Stephen Bannon as senior advisor inflames fears spreading along with hostile acts against minorities. McClatchy Newspapers article 

California Sen. Boxer files legislation to abolish the electoral college — Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California filed legislation on Tuesday to abolish the electoral college and give the presidency to the candidate who wins the most votes.  McClatchy Newspapers articleLA Times article

Trump protestor accused of kicking officer in the groin, but did she really do it? – Fresno police said Aaminah Norman-Taquee kicked a police officer in the testicles and spit in his face after she resisted arrest during a downtown rally in May for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. But defense lawyer Rebekah Tychsen said in court documents that the Muslim defendant, who stands 5 feet tall and weighs 95 pounds, was a victim of excessive force by Fresno police Officer Mark Witrado. Tychsen also accused Witrado of making false statements in his police report. Fresno Bee article

Donald Trump’s transition team loses a key figure as he struggles to find his footing – The shoot-from-the-hip style that helped Donald Trump win the presidency is now playing out in his transition to governing. An insular group of loyalists and family members are at the helm, giving the public little information. A top establishment figure abruptly departed the transition team. And officials from across the federal government say they have heard nothing from the people who are supposed to take their place two months from now. LA Times article

LA’s Latino archbishop now holds a top position among U.S. Catholics. Some think that’s a shot at Trump – Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez — a native of Mexico, an American citizen and a supporter of immigration reform — was elected vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday. LA Times article

Joe Mathews: Why I’m really leaving the country post-election — Now that the election is over, are you leaving the country? If not, you should reconsider. Before the election, only a few prominent Californians — including Samuel L. Jackson and Miley Cyrus — pledged to depart the U.S. to express their disgust with our democracy. And they’re still here. But I do know one non-celebrity Californian who is taking his frustrations with American-style democracy to Europe this weekend: yours truly. Mathews in Bakersfield Californian

News Stories

Top Stories

Fresno looks to win cosmetic company’s distribution center – and jobs that go with it — ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc., a major retailer of cosmetics and fragrances, is eying Fresno as the site for a 670,000-square-foot distribution center that could employ as many as 1,300 workers and fulfill internet sales orders throughout the West. Fresno Bee articleThe Business Journal article

UC lays groundwork for tuition increase at two-day regents meeting – The University of California will lay the groundwork for a possible tuition increase for the first time in six years at a two-day regents meeting beginning Wednesday. LA Times article

As students protest, Cal State trustees seek more state funding to avoid tuition increase — No decision on whether to increase tuition will be made until after January, officials said. But the idea has raised the ire of many students and faculty members, who plan to continue demonstrations Wednesday at the downtown offices of Chancellor Timothy P. White.   The proposed increase, which could amount to $270 for the 2017-18 school year, was introduced as a last resort to help address Cal State’s budget shortfall. LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Michael Fitzgerald: The city ‘books’ a better future – James Fallows of The Atlantic keeps an eye on all things urban. Fallows was pleased when Stocktonians voted on Measure M, a tax to raise $9 million a year for libraries and recreation. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

SEIU Local 1000 union members authorize strike over labor contract – California state government’s biggest union won a mandate from its members to strike if SEIU Local 1000 can’t reach an agreement on a new contract, the union announced Tuesday. Sacramento Bee article

Measure K vote gap widens – The public safety sales tax initiative Measure K continues to flounder as Kings County election officials count more ballots from the Nov. 8 election. Hanford Sentinel article

Rebuilding America’s infrastructure – There is widespread agreement that infrastructure in the United States needs major repair. But the data provides conflicting pictures of how to go about it. New York Times article

Ralph Shaffer: Why some grocers can’t wait to collect bag fee – The professor emeritus of history at Cal Poly Pomona writes, “My Vons grocery in Los Angeles County added 30 cents to my bill as the bagger reported to the cashier that I had taken three recyclable brown paper bags. Obviously, Vons – and probably all other grocers up and down the state – have decided that they could impose the 10-cent fee the day after voters seemingly approved Proposition 67, the referendum on bag fees. However, elections are not legal until the secretary of state has certified them.” Shaffer op-ed in Modesto Bee

The 1,000,000 Homes Challenge: Will workers who build new housing be left housing cost-burdened? – The Legislative Analyst’s California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences explicitly lays the blame for the state’s unaffordability crisis on inadequate housing production. While the problem is most acute in coastal regions, high housing cost burdens exist in every part of the state. California Economic Summit report

California’s housing crisis, construction labor, and the costs of multi-family housing — As the housing policy debate escalates and various solutions are proposed, costs become an inescapable topic of discussion. Linkage of construction wage standards to streamlined residential project approvals processes quickly became a particular focus of attention in 2016. We argue that it is unlikely that elevated wage standards could have major impacts on total housing costs, given that construction labor comprises only 14 percent of total California housing costs.  California Economic Summit article

Pot brownies and other marijuana products could soon be made in Sacramento — Sacramento is one step closer to legalizing the manufacture of pot cookies, brownies and other goods after a proposal cleared a key city committee on Tuesday. Under the proposal, marijuana manufacturing facilities would only exist in enclosed buildings in commercial zones and could not exceed 6,400 square feet. By state law, they could not be within 600 feet of a school. Sacramento Bee article

Sikh truck drivers reach accord in religious discrimination case involving a major shipping company – After a seven-year federal investigation, authorities announced Tuesday that a national shipping company has agreed to change its employment practices and pay $260,000 in damages to four Sikh truck drivers in California who complained of religious discrimination. LA Times article

Placer supervisors OK controversial Squaw Valley expansion – Placer County supervisors approved a major expansion at Squaw Valley ski resort despite widespread opposition from residents during an all-day hearing Tuesday in Kings Beach.  Sacramento Bee article

LA County saw a 95 percent drop in porn film permits. With the condom law defeated, the industry looks to make its return — L.A. has seen a staggering 95% drop in on-location porn permit requests in the last four years, following the passage of a separate 2012 county measure requiring condoms, according to county permit data. But porn industry leaders say they are now bullish that the defeat of Prop. 60 as well as other recent condom-related victories will reverse the exodus.  LA Times article


San Joaquin County supervisors assail state water flow plan – San Joaquin County has joined several local water districts and boards in opposing a state plan to increase pulse flows in the lower San Joaquin River. Stockton Record article

Lois Henry: Oilfield water injection nothing to fear — If I never hear the term “aquifer exemption” again, it’ll be too soon. But since I had to dive down this rabbit hole, you’re going with me. The whole aquifer exemption stink has to do with how oil companies dispose of water that comes up with every barrel of oil. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Kettleman water project poised to start — Kettleman City’s long-delayed clean water plant appears to have cleared all obstacles that have been standing in the way of construction starting. Hanford Sentinel article

If it’s grown without dirt, is it organic? — With investment up in hydroponic and aquaponic systems that grow plants without soil, the question rages over whether the produce can be labeled organic. New York Times article

Walnut growers focus on preventing thefts — Walnuts are one of the top 10 most profitable crops in Tulare County. Last year, walnuts were valued at $197 million, according to the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. However, the cash crop has long been the target of nut thieves. Visalia Times-Delta article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Machado enters ‘not guilty’ plea in sheriff’s deputy’s death – Stanislaus County’s top law enforcement official stared intently at David Machado as the man accused of fatally shooting a sheriff’s deputy entered a courtroom Tuesday afternoon. Machado didn’t look back at District Attorney Birgit Fladager as he took his seat a few feet away from her. He looked around the courtroom audience, his gaze finding two women sitting in the front row reserved for members of his family. Modesto Bee article

Deputy’s service saluted amid tears and prayers at special meeting — Cops and clergy members gathered Tuesday morning to join in prayer for law enforcement and to honor the life and contributions of Deputy Dennis Wallace. Modesto Bee article 

Victim describes carjacking in wake of deputy’s slaying – When a man in a checkered blue shirt and a black Kansas City Royals baseball cap jumped over a fence and into the backyard of a home in Keyes, the family that lives there had no idea every law enforcement official in the county was looking for him. Modesto Bee article

ACLU files suit to thwart resumption of executions in California – Civil liberties group on Tuesday filed a lawsuit that could slow California’s plans for resuming executions. The ACLU of Northern California challenged a state law that gives the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation wide flexibility in establishing execution procedures. LA Times article

Kings jail expansion targets mental illness, addiction – The Kings County Jail is expanding again, this time to provide new services and programs to help rehabilitate offenders. Local officials broke ground Monday for the latest expansion of the jail, which will create about 33,000 square feet of additional housing, as well as space for jail programs and offices. The project will also include a 24-bed mental health unit, culinary service kitchen, vocations warehouse and a separate day reporting center building. Hanford Sentinel article 

Sacramento Bee: Forget protests.  There’s a better way to reform Sacramento police — The public will get to spell out what they want to see in Sacramento’s next police chief. The current chief, Sam Somers Jr., is retiring next month and his successor likely will be hired after Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg takes office next year. Sacramento residents shouldn’t pass up this chance to make their voices heard. Sacramento Bee editorial 

House in quiet Fresno subdivision was home to elaborate pot operation, sheriff says – Fresno County sheriff’s deputies and federal authorities Tuesday shut down a major marijuana growing operation inside a home in a quiet Fresno subdivision west of Highway 99. Fresno Bee article 

LAPD watchdog takes a long look into allegations of racial profiling – On Tuesday, police commissioners who oversee the department said they were struck by the disparity in how policing is perceived in Los Angeles. One said the results illuminated a “profoundly serious disconnect” between the LAPD and black Angelenos. Another commissioner said the survey underscored the need to improve public trust in police. LA Times article

Communicating with ex-offenders on probation via texting finds success in California county — Texting with smartphones is ubiquitous in our society — it’s the way families, friends and businesses communicate. The Riverside County Probation Department can be added to that list, as it has been testing a program since March that allows probation officers to communicate with their clients through texting via smartphones. California Forward article

Man charged with murder, fleeing police in Friday crash — An 18-year-old man accused of driving under the influence in a police chase ending in a crash that killed his passenger was charged with second-degree murder Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article


Putting students in charge of their learning transforms a rural district – The walls tell the story at Lindsay Unified. In every classroom – from kindergarten through 12th grade – each student’s name is on a list on the wall that shows what students have learned and what they need to do next for every topic they are studying. After checking the list each day, students get to work, with no need for prompting from their teachers. EdSource article

Four-year program coming to Visalia? – The round-trip drive to Fresno State from Visalia will set you back nearly two hours and 100 miles a day. To live near the university, you’d have to shell out anywhere from $9,000 to $12,000 a year. For South Valley students looking to attend the California State University, these factors may decide if they continue on with their education or call it quits. Visalia Times-Delta article

See how Michael Hanson’s pay ranks with other California school superintendents – Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson makes much more than the average school superintendent in California, according to new data. In 2015, Hanson – who oversees the fourth largest school system in the state – earned $369,992 in total pay and benefits. Fresno Bee article

Consultant: Galt land ‘terrific’ for Delta College campus – A San Joaquin Delta College consultant said Tuesday night that land near Galt is suitable for a satellite campus, calling the property a “terrific site” but acknowledging that it could cost up to $6 million to clear endangered species regulations before a single shovelful of earth is turned. Stockton Record article

Schools are ‘safe zones’ for students here illegally, LA education board affirms – The nation’s second-largest school system on Tuesday sent a message to President-elect Donald Trump: Los Angeles’ public schools will continue to be “safe zones” for students in the U.S. illegally. LA Times article

UC workers strike for higher wages – Hundreds of electricians, elevator mechanics, plumbers and other skilled-trades workers at UCLA and UC San Diego are planning separate one-day strikes this week to demand higher wages. AP article 

Nan Austin: All kids, all together the state’s goals for schools – A quiet revolution is underway, despite decades of best intentions driving change in the opposite direction. A unified system of education for all children has been adopted as the California vision for education, and everything from teacher training to funding streams is shifting into line to make it happen. Austin in Modesto Bee 

‘The students I serve on a daily basis are an inspiration to me’ – Dr. Viridiana Díaz was born and raised in Mexicali, Baja California and came to the United States at the age of 12. She learned English as a second language and became the first in her family to graduate from college. Vida en el Valle article

Students endure fear, anger and worry, but no threats – In San Joaquin County, there have been only isolated reports of students feeling unsafe, and no reported incidents of violence or threats against them on campus. Stockton Record article

School employees can get help with a down payment to buy their first home – Fresno remains one of the most affordable areas of the state to buy a home while residents in other parts of California are feeling the housing squeeze as home prices and rent skyrocket out of reach. The California Housing Finance Agency is trying to help more Californians buy homes. Under the agency’s Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program, public school employees could qualify for thousands of dollars in down payment assistance to buy their first home. Fresno Bee article 

Fresno State professor brings new insights into Rosenberg executions – It was one of the biggest scandals the country had ever seen – the theft of U.S. government secrets about the atomic bomb that wound up in the hands of the Soviet Union. The federal government eventually tried and executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for conspiracy, sparking an international outcry. Now the story of the Rosenbergs is back in the news, as there is an effort underway to seek a presidential pardon in their case. There’s also a new book about their trial by Fresno State professor Lori Clune called “Executing the Rosenbergs: Death and Diplomacy In a Cold War World.” KVPR report

Oakland Unified superintendent’s $400,000 pay package highest in Bay Area’s K-12 public sector — Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Antwan Wilson, with an annual compensation package of $400,000, was the highest-paid K-12 public employee in the Bay Area last year, according to a study released Tuesday by Transparent California, with the exception of two former Santa Clara County education officials who received severance packages that put their compensation over $600,000. East Bay Times article


Fresno State energy-innovation incubator receives $500,000 boost — Fresno State’s new energy-innovation incubator has received another shot in the arm with a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Central Valley Regional Energy Innovation Accelerator will use the money to help entrepreneurs commercialize new water- and energy-related technologies and innovations. The Business Journal article

Health/Human Services 

Finding LGBT friendly health care isn’t so easy in rural California — Finding the perfect doctor can be a feat for anyone, but for LGBT people in rural places finding an understanding physician can sort of feel impossible. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports some say visiting a doctor’s office is so intimidating that often they go without care. KVPR report

Judge allows Anthem to continue sales of stripped-down insurance policies – A judge ruled Tuesday against a restraining order that would have stopped Anthem Blue Cross from switching 500,000 Californians to health insurance plans offering no coverage for out-of-network care. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

Fresno Bee: Brandau and Olivier proposal is only a start on curbing slumlords – We remind all involved that the large swaths of substandard housing are dangerous, inhumane and a drain on the General Fund, which funds vital city services. Failing to attack the problem with a rigorous plan, as Fresno leaders have done for more than a century, is not an option. Fresno Bee editorial
How California’s lack of affordable housing can take toll on human health — It’s no secret that California is an expensive place to live as evidenced by the Bloomberg Affordable Housing Index which shows that the state has four of the five least affordable metro areas in the country. And as more Californians fall into the affordability gap, they are finding that the cost of not having adequate housing extends to other parts of their lives. The lack of affordable housing can affect health outcomes and more. California Economic Summit article

Clovis mental health hospital plan is being scrapped for now — Plans for a controversial behavioral health hospital in Clovis have been scrapped, at least for now, by the company that wanted to build it. The company’s lawyer confirmed Tuesday that the company chose to terminate its escrow on the site northwest of Highway 168 and Herndon Avenue. Fresno Bee article


High-speed reality and hyperloop dreams – As the bullet train’s route takes shape in Madera, Fresno and Kern counties, another high-speed travel dream is unfolding: the Hyperloop. KQED report

Other areas

Kern County launches medical marijuana planning process — The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to launch an environmental investigation into the impact of medical and recreational marijuana on unincorporated Kern County. The effort will likely become a venue for the county to discuss how it will deal with the impact of Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana when voters passed it Nov. 4. Bakersfield Californian article 

Nations appointed interim Kern County counsel — Mark Nations, a longtime leader in the Kern County Counsel’s office, was appointed by the Kern County Board of Supervisors to serve as the county’s top lawyer Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – We remind all involved that the large swaths of substandard housing are dangerous, inhumane and a drain on the General Fund, which funds vital city services. Failing to attack the problem with a rigorous plan, as Fresno leaders have done for more than a century, is not an option.

Sacramento Bee –Donald Trump promised to be president for all Americans. Now, the president-elect must start making good on that pledge by employing his powers of persuasion to insist that hate crimes end;