November 18, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

Dan Walters: Pelosi, McCarthy personify divide of cities and nation – It would be difficult to name two California cities more culturally, economically and, of course, politically disparate than San Francisco and Bakersfield – just 300 miles apart but in different existential orbits. As it happens, the majority and minority floor leaders of the House of Representatives hail from Bakersfield (Republican Kevin McCarthy) and San Francisco (Democrat Nancy Pelosi).  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Did money buy California ballot measure contests? — This year campaign committees supporting and opposing statewide measures collectively raised nearly $500 million through Nov. 8. The money pays for everything from office expenses to campaign-related travel, although much of it goes to advertising. Proposition 61 is perhaps the best example of the benefits of a well-funded campaign. Sacramento Bee article

State budget

Sacramento Bee: Trying to gauge Trump’s impact on the budget – Because of the $11.5 billion in reserves, California could weather a recession. But elections matter. And just as he shook up national politics, Trump’s impact on California’s fiscal state should not be underestimated. Sacramento Bee editorial

Joel Fox: A budget forecast using a cloudy crystal ball — The Legislative Analyst’s Office tried to do its best with the impossible—layout a budget forecast for the next four years in uncertain times. The budget estimates offered yesterday assumed state and federal laws and policies remain in place . But policy changes from a new administration in Washington will come and probably produce counter policy moves in Sacramento, all affecting the budget. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Valley politics

Devin Nunes continues fight to build U.S. listening post in Azores — Devin Nunes has pushed for years for the installation of a costly U.S. intelligence facility in the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago in the North Atlantic. On Thursday, the Tulare Republican who’s also chair of the House intelligence committee kept at his campaign, confronting two senior Pentagon officials and the top U.S. intelligence chief over why they favored a site in England. McClatchy Newspapers article

Oakdale Irrigation District recall signatures gathered with lies, opponents say — Some people were tricked into signing petitions for the recall of a water leader, said a Modesto-based private investigator hired by a recall opponent. Modesto Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Kamala Harris talks about her plans for dealing with Donald Trump’s agenda — Harris will join the U.S. Senate in January days before Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, and already she is preparing to fight Trump on immigration, health care and the environment. She spoke to California reporters in Washington about her plans. Here is a selection of the questions and answers. McClatchy Newspapers articleVisalia Times-Delta article

California Democrats’ supermajority hangs on this Orange County district – California’s Democratic and Republican parties are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the ultra-tight race for State Senate District 29, which straddles Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.  KPCC report


California Democrats ask Obama to pardon nearly 750,000 ‘Dreamers,’ but White House says it wouldn’t work – The members of Congress who persuaded President Obama to grant temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought into the country illegally as children are now asking him to protect them from being deported under President-elect Donald Trump. A White House official was cool to the idea. LA Times article

California politicians condemn Trump supporter’s remarks about internment and a ‘Muslim registry’ – Several members of California’s congressional delegation denounced a prominent supporter of President-elect Donald Trump for his remark that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II provided “precedent” for creating a national registration list for immigrants from predominately Muslim countries. LA Times article

LA leaders just vowed to fight deportations under Trump. Here’s what they’ve proposed — Los Angeles city officials on Thursday began outlining a wide-ranging battle plan for dealing with the Donald Trump presidency, vowing to push back against efforts to deport people in this country illegally while also working to protect — and perhaps even increase — federal funding for projects ranging from transportation to homelessness. LA Times article

Border Patrol union welcomes Trump’s wall as ‘vital tool’ – The National Border Patrol Council has high hopes for President-elect Trump’s border security policies.  San Diego Union-Tribune article

After Trump’s election, Santa Ana hopes to quit ICE contract — In light of a president-elect who has said he will deport undocumented immigrants, several Santa Ana City Council members on Tuesday called for the city to fast-track a decision to end its contentious contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at Santa Ana Jail. Orange County Register article

Other areas

Pelosi, under fire by younger Democrats, says problem isn’t party agenda – Facing a serious challenge to her leadership, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi insisted Thursday that the Democrats’ problem is communication, not its views. Sacramento Bee article

Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio challenging Pelosi for House minority leader — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is being challenged for her leadership position by seven-term Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio. LA Times article

Political watchdog approves fines against Sacramento County officials — The state’s political watchdog approved $17,500 in fines against three local officials and political action committees Thursday. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

In Donald Trump’s America, is California the new Texas? – Now, the circumstance in which California finds itself recalls that of a perennial rival: Texas playing the role of chief antagonist to President Obama. That brand of resistance — a barrage of lawsuits seeking to stymie Obama’s priorities, and an elevation of state identity over a national one — may be a model, albeit an imperfect one, for California leaders wondering where the state fits into Trump’s America. But taking a pugnacious posture would be relatively out of character for a state that in recent times has not tended to view federal power with hostility. LA Times article

Sacramento First Lady Michelle Rhee mentioned as possible Trump Cabinet pick – A spokesman for president-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday mentioned education activist and Sacramento first lady Michelle Rhee as a possible candidate for Secretary of Education under the new administration. Sacramento Bee article

George Radanovich: Trump offers hope for California water – The former Valley Republican congressman writes, “The Bee’s post-election editorial, “California was a bulwark against Trumpism,” said that Trump must find it within himself to be president of the entire nation and not ignore California. Rather than go on a California apology tour, as The Bee suggests, perhaps Trump and Congress will deliver on something real for California – water for cities and farms.” Radanovich op-ed in Fresno Bee

The electoral college isn’t a real place. So who answers all the angry phone calls? – The Office of the Federal Register administers the electoral college and now finds itself at the center of a populist brouhaha. The electoral college exists for one day every four years and then vanishes until the next presidential election. Washington Post article

Victor Davis Hanson: Trump’s bizarre but winning formula – The Democratic Party handed Donald Trump a rare opportunity to make radical changes to the electoral map that could last for years to come. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Strategists explain what happened during the 2016 election at Times symposium – How did Donald Trump end up on the path to the White House?  Nine days after the presidential election, a bipartisan group of consultants and politicians came together for an L.A. Times panel to figure out what we all just went through and what’s next. LA Times article

Trump runs risk of ‘unprecedented’ conflict of interest, ethics group warns – Open government and ethics watchdogs are calling for Donald Trump to place his sprawling business assets and investments into a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest.  McClatchy Newspapers article

Trump’s win brings ‘white pride’ out of the shadows –  As he watched the news of the presidential election in the last week, Kory Duquette became increasingly agitated. Pundits were blaming a “whitelash” for Donald Trump’s win and called it a massive exercise of angry white ballot power. LA Times article

Danny Morrison: Dear Trump voters: Your hypocrisy is showing — Look. Donald Trump won. Fair and square. Personally, I respect the American democratic process and have fully accepted that he will be my president for the next four years or more. I will support him and his endeavors for the betterment of this nation. That is, until he resigns or is impeached. Oops! Did I say that out loud? Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian

This is Bernie Sanders’ plan to lead Democrats out of the wilderness — With the Democratic Party lost in the post-election wilderness, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is aggressively reasserting himself, offering his vision for the path out as he takes on a leadership role in his caucus as the chair of outreach. LA Times article

Man charged with destroying Donald Trump’s Walk of Fame star with sledgehammer – A man who publicly smashed President-elect Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star with a sledgehammer and pickax has been charged with vandalism. LA Times article

 News Stories – Top Stories

New jobs and taxes possible, but will national cosmetics firm choose Fresno? — The Fresno City Council has authorized an economic package of up to $18 million in tax rebates and other incentives to entice ULTA Inc., a major retailer of cosmetics and fragrances, to build an e-commerce and distribution center in the city and hire hundreds of new employees. Fresno Bee article

Kern High School District board allows teachers to carry guns on campus — Kern High School District trustees voted 3-2 Thursday to allow teachers and certificated staffers with Concealed Carry Weapon permits to bring guns to campuses. Bakersfield Californian article

Hanford moves forward with medical pot idea – The Hanford City Council directed staff this week to begin crafting an ordinance that would eventually allow large-scale medical marijuana cultivation/manufacturing facilities to apply for a conditional use permit to locate in the city’s heavy industrial zones. Hanford Sentinel article

Jobs and the Economy

Rising housing costs may be a factor in homeless uptick this year – The homeless population in Fresno and Madera has fallen by more than half over the last six years, outperforming the nation which saw a 14 percent decrease between 2010 and 2016. But the greater Fresno area is among a slew of West Coast cities and counties – including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle – experiencing an uptick in homelessness this year compared to 2015, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. Fresno Bee article

SEIU: Workers, San Joaquin County have tentative contract – More than 4,400 workers for San Joaquin County represented by the Service Employees International Union 1021 have reached a tentative contract agreement with the county, according to SEIU sources. Stockton Record article

Want to make a major league pitcher mad? Outmaneuver his bid for downtown lot – Fresno developer Terance Frazier, with investor partner Matt Garza, a pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, scored a win Wednesday in an auction to purchase a piece of land across the street from the city’s future high-speed rail station. But that $2.4 million victory was short-lived. Fresno Bee article

With state backing, Sacramento bids for 1,500 health insurance jobs – Backed by a state tax credit, the Sacramento region is in the running for 1,500 back-office jobs with a major health insurance company, including about 1,000 information technology jobs. Sacramento Bee article

Judge blasts serial ADA lawsuit filer – A local hotel has settled a lawsuit filed by an Arizona woman who alleged its spa was not handicapped accessible, despite the fact that the woman never visited the hotel. Hanford Sentinel article

Californians file bills to stop Pentagon from reclaiming illegal Guard bonuses — Californians in the U.S. House and Senate introduced legislation Thursday to permanently forbid the Pentagon from demanding that California National Guard veterans repay their bonuses. McClatchy Newspapers article

Yellen affirms interest rate hike likely near month – Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen gave a relatively upbeat assessment of the economy Thursday, further signaling a likely interest rate hike next month. But she also noted that there is a “great deal of uncertainty” following the election and that she expected it would last for “some considerable time.” LA Times article

John Spaulding: Apprenticeships in Kern trades help shape future – The executive secretary of the Building and Construction Trades Council writes, “An aging, retiring workforce and a recovering, growing economy combine to create challenges and opportunities in California’s and the nation’s skilled trades. National Apprenticeship Week and two local events hosted in Bakersfield, including one on Thursday, highlight the need to prepare more workers for well-paying jobs in the skilled trades, and the opportunities that exist for young men and women who are just beginning their careers.” Spaulding op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

For America’s poorest, it’s like living in 1975; for the rich, it’s like the future — The United States is one of the richest countries in the world, but it would look dramatically different if its 50 states were organized according to income instead of geography. If that were the case, residents of the poorest state in the union would have a median household income that’s just above the federal poverty line for a family of four. They would also expect to live shorter lives than people in more than half of the world’s countries. LA Times article

Steak ‘n Shake coming to Fresno, cult following expected to freak out – Fresno is getting the Valley’s first Steak ‘n Shake. The chain is hugely popular in the Midwest and other parts of the country, with many media outlets describing the restaurant as having a cult following. Fresno Bee article

Here’s how Sacramento incomes compare with U.S. – Sacramento personal incomes grew faster last year than the national average but lower than California’s. Average personal incomes jumped 5.2 percent in 2015, to an average of $49,639, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. That represented an accelerated growth rate; in 2014 incomes rose by 4.6 percent in the greater Sacramento region. Sacramento Bee article

Erika D. Smith: Temporary shelter from the storm of homelessness in Oak Park – Six months ago, hardly anyone in rapidly gentrifying Oak Park paid much attention to Alfreda and Bobby. They were just two elderly homeless people, lugging around overflowing shopping carts and bags of precious stuff, struggling to make their way in the world. Smith column in Sacramento Bee

Ornellas, Castillo honored by chamber — They work for others. That describes Athena Award winner Carol Ornelas and Young Professional Leadership Award winner Erin Guy Castillo, who were honored at a luncheon Thursday by the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce.  Stockton Record article

Kingsburg vying for $500,000 to makeover business community – Kingsburg is a semi-finalist in a national contest that promises $500,000 for six businesses in the city to split to transform their businesses. The Business Journal article

LA Rams break ground on $2.6-billion Inglewood stadium, ‘new era’ of NFL — The idea came into focus for Stan Kroenke, the billionaire Rams owner and real estate developer, during a pre-dawn drive around Inglewood’s Hollywood Park racetrack in the summer of 2013. It grew into an audacious plan to transform 298 acres into one of the world’s premier sports and entertainment districts with a $2.6-billion stadium as the centerpiece. LA Times article

A’s leadership change improves chances for new Oakland ballpark – The Oakland Athletics announced changes in their leadership structure on Thursday, adding substance to speculation that a plan for a new ballpark in Oakland is imminent.  KQED report

Volkswagen to shed 30,000 jobs, cutting costs after scandal – Volkswagen announced plans Friday to cut 30,000 jobs in a wide-ranging restructuring of its namesake brand as it tries to recover from a scandal over cars rigged to cheat on diesel emissions tests. AP article

DPW owes LA customers $67.5 million because of rampant overbilling — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power owes its customers at least $67.5 million in refunds and credits after the utility overbilled them, an independent monitor has concluded. LA Times article


San Luis Obispo County vineyards seek approval for new grape names — Two Paso Robles, Calif., wine businesses are among those who want federal approval for new grape names. On Thursday, more than 50 potential new grape variety names – from “Black Spanish” and “By George” to the lighthearted “Esprit” – were served up by the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Their fate, technically speaking, will be up to incoming Trump administration officials, who have yet to be asked about grape varietal nomenclature. McClatchy Newspapers article

Kings County: Taking the business pulse – San Joaquin Valley Water JPA executive director Mario Santoyo will be meeting with Bureau of Reclamation state officials this week encouraging the federal agency to free up more water in the proposed final Temperance Flat feasibility study for farms and cities with less of an emphasis on environmental water uses. Hanford Sentinel article

Dairy unveils machine that turns cow manure into electricity — A dairy in west Fresno County that converts manure into electricity is the first to become operational under a state program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Fresno Bee article

Appeals court rejects lawsuit against California egg law – Six states lacked the legal right to challenge a California law that prohibits the sale off eggs from chickens that are not raised in accordance with strict space requirements, a federal appeals court said Thursday. AP article

With an eye on hunger, scientists see promise in genetic tinkering of plants — By altering photosynthesis in tobacco, researchers improved the plant’s production, a method they hope will prove successful in food crops. New York Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

How to show support for slain deputy? Buy a taco or chicken dinner – Two fundraisers in memory of sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace, who was slain Sunday while on duty, are scheduled this weekend to help his family. Modesto Bee article

Three shootings, three hours, three victims on violent night in Stockton – Three people were wounded in three separate shootings over a span of about three hours late Wednesday and early Thursday on a violent night in Stockton. Stockton Record article

Off-duty firefighter carjacked while helping crash victims — An off-duty volunteer firefighter who stopped to help at a car crash in Ballico Thursday morning was carjacked while trying to help the injured, the California Highway Patrol reported. Merced Sun-Star article

Wasco correctional officer injured in inmate attack – Officials are investigating after a correctional officer was attacked by two inmates Sunday at the Wasco State Prison Reception Center, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said. Hanford Sentinel article

Kern prosecutor faces potential one-year suspension for falsifying confession — Kern County prosecutor Robert Alan Murray, who falsified a defendant’s confession in what he described as a joke, faces a potential one-year suspension of his law license.  Bakersfield Californian articleAP article

Paintball shooter officially sentenced — A young man who shot paintballs at two patrons of a gay nightclub in June was officially sentenced by a judge Thursday morning to three years in custody. Stockton Record article

Mike Lynn: The right way to stop stoned driving – The emergency room physician in Oakland and CEO of Hound Labs writes, “With a team of scientists from UC Berkeley, I’ve invented a marijuana breathalyzer, the first device that can reliably measure the precise amount of active THC (the active ingredient in pot) during roadside stops. My goal is to create an objective standard of marijuana impairment, just like the 0.08 percent blood-alcohol standard we use to enforce drunken driving laws.” Lynn op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Students protesting possible tuition hike briefly shut down UC regents meeting – University of California regents abruptly recessed their meeting Thursday morning after more than 80 students furious about a possible tuition increase interrupted proceedings with chants and yells. LA Times article

‘Is it safe?’ Foreign students consider college in Donald Trump’s U.S. — College admissions officials in the United States caution that it is too early to draw firm conclusions about overseas applications, because deadlines for applications are generally in January and February. But they are worried that Mr. Trump’s election as president could portend a drop in international candidates. New York Times article

Children of color face educational disparities in California, report shows – Latino and African American children in California are about twice as a likely to be struggling with reading in third grade than their white counterparts. And by the time these children of color reach high school, they are less likely to graduate on time. These are just a few of the educational disparities pointed out in a report released Tuesday. California Health Report article


PG&E loses ruling in San Bruno explosion trial – PG&E must face sentencing in January on its criminal convictions linked to a fatal explosion in San Bruno after a federal judge Thursday night denied the embattled utility’s request to throw out the jury’s verdicts. San Jose Mercury News article

A fleet of zero-emission buses are coming soon to central California – Communities like Kerman, Firebaugh, Selma and Kingsburg will soon have an eco friendly transit option. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports. KVPR report

Hundreds at Fresno City College protest pipeline near Standing Rock — Several hundred people gathered Thursday at Fresno City College to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, which many in the Native American community oppose, saying it endangers the environment and threatens the water supply for a region from North Dakota to Illinois. Fresno Bee article

Hidden Fire grows – but that’s ok – The Hidden Fire, burning along the eastside of Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest, is growing slowly. But firefighters are OK with that.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Massive drills in California, Nevada simulate the aftermath of devastating earthquakes – The simultaneous weeklong exercise, ending Friday and called Vigilant Guard, was hosted in California by the California National Guard with participation from more than 1,200 members of local, state and federal agencies. LA Times article

Californians like their beaches – if they can get there — Brace yourself for some shocking news: Californians value their coast. A Field Poll coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the California Coastal Act Thursday found that voters place a premium on pristine oceans and beaches, with a resounding 90 percent saying the condition of those spaces matters to them. Across all income levels, majorities of voters said the state of oceans and beaches was “very important.” Sacramento Bee article

Health/Human Services 

Health advocates say they stand ‘ready to fight’ for Covered California — As President-elect Donald Trump threatens to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, which provides health care to millions, supporters of Covered California are joining forces to come up with ways to defend the public health exchange they’ve spent the last five years building.  Sacramento Bee article

U.S. surgeon general issues a ‘new call to action’ on addiction — When Dr. Vivek Murthy left his Massachusetts hospital to become U.S. surgeon general, the nurses who had known him since he was a resident had a parting plea: Do something about addiction. On Thursday, Murthy tried to make good on that request with the release of a first-of-its-kind report calling for “a cultural shift in how we think about addiction.” LA Times article

Surprise! Insurance paid the E.R. but not the doctor — Patients who go to hospitals covered by their medical plans often receive a bill from a doctor who was not in the insurer’s network. New York Times article

Valley Children’s ready for large emergency — As part of a statewide drill for trauma centers, Valley Children’s Hospital treated more than 150 patients Thursday from a fictitious collision involving a school bus and a freight train. While some patients suffered minor injuries, others had severe trauma, including head and neck injuries, gashing cuts to arms, abdomens and torsos and penetrating wounds to the legs. Visalia Times-Delta article

Dissolving heart stent debuts at Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock — Dr. Ali Reza implanted a heart stent in a patient last month that will perform a disappearing act after the artery is healed. The procedure was done at Turlock’s Emanuel Medical Center, one of the first hospitals to use what could be the next generation of stents to treat heart disease. Emanuel’s recent announcement has already sparked debate over how widely the stents will be used at hospitals in the region. Modesto Bee article

Effort aims for safer, healthier neighborhood — Health advocates are cultivating a culture of healthy lifestyles in an area of north Stockton through the introduction of a mobile farmers market and a community garden. Stockton Record article

Land Use/Housing

Fresno council backs new strategy to clean up slum housing — The Fresno City Council on Thursday night adopted a new division of code enforcement dedicated to attacking substandard housing. The resolution authored by Councilmen Clint Olivier and Steve Brandau was approved by a 5-2 vote. It is their solution to a problem Mayor Ashley Swearengin has vowed to fix before she leaves office at year’s end. It consists of two initiatives: an Anti-Slumlord Enforcement Team and Landlord-Tenant Ombudsman. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

Pet fees, permits hot topics at Los Banos animal control meeting — The second public input meeting on the Los Banos Police Department’s proposed changes to the animal control ordinance was only attended by nine members of the public Monday at the Los Banos Police Annex. Los Banos Enterprise article

Merced fills long-vacant assistant city manager position — The city of Merced has hired an assistant city manager, a position that’s been vacant for about several years, city staff announced on Thursday. Stephanie Dietz, a resident of Merced and a management analyst for Merced County, will step into the position on Jan. 3, according to a news release. Merced Sun-Star article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Criminals will find ways to get guns. But states should not make it easy. They should insist that all sellers, including individuals who set up tables at gun shows or transfer weapons over the internet, take the most basic of steps by checking to make sure buyers are not felons, domestic abusers or people with a history of mental illness.

Merced Sun-Star – Criminals will find ways to get guns. But states should not make it easy. They should insist that all sellers, including individuals who set up tables at gun shows or transfer weapons over the internet, take the most basic of steps by checking to make sure buyers are not felons, domestic abusers or people with a history of mental illness.

Modesto Bee – Criminals will find ways to get guns. But states should not make it easy. They should insist that all sellers, including individuals who set up tables at gun shows or transfer weapons over the internet, take the most basic of steps by checking to make sure buyers are not felons, domestic abusers or people with a history of mental illness.

Sacramento Bee –- Because of the $11.5 billion in reserves, California could weather a recession. But elections matter. And just as he shook up national politics, Trump’s impact on California’s fiscal state should not be underestimated; The reasons to praise John Shirey, Sacramento’s outgoing city manager.