November 2, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Dan Walters: Some sneaky borrowing in billions of bonds up for voter OK — Next week’s ballot carries not only a $9 billion state bond issue for schools, but about 200 local bond measures totaling more than $30 billion, also mostly for schools. While voters are told that the bonds would finance much-needed capital spending, many are really a sneaky way of borrowing to pay for current operations. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Will ending the death penalty save California more money than speeding up executions? – As voters weigh two dueling death penalty measures on the Nov. 8 ballot — one to eliminate executions, another to speed them up — researchers are at odds over the actual costs and potential savings of each. Independent legislative analysts, meanwhile, believe Proposition 62 could save taxpayers millions, while concluding that the fiscal impact of Proposition 66’s attempt to expedite death sentences is unknown. LA Times article 

Valley politics 

In battle for bucks, one Fresno mayor candidate has the lead, but will it help on Election Day? – In the final campaign finance reports filed before the Nov. 8 election, Fresno mayor candidate Lee Brand is continuing a fundraising dominance over his opponent, Henry R. Perea, that has been a constant in the race from the start. Fresno Bee article

Fresno Bee: Arambula, Bigelow, Gray, Mathis and Patterson for Assembly — One of the few parts of California where Republicans still wield considerable power is the San Joaquin Valley. We are recommending that voters return three of them – Frank Bigelow, Devon Mathis and Jim Patterson – to their seats in the Assembly. We also recommend that incumbent Democrats Adam Gray and Joaquin Arambula be re-elected to their Assembly seats. Fresno Bee editorial

Clovis Unified forum sees mostly agreement among challengers – and no incumbents – A Clovis Unified board candidate forum Tuesday night offered few fireworks and little disagreement among the candidates who showed, but highlighted a general disapproval of the current school board, whose incumbents skipped the debate. Fresno Bee article

Stockton council candidate Fant to stand trial on felony fraud charges – Sam Fant will stand trial for felony election fraud and conspiracy, a judge ruled late Tuesday afternoon, only one week before Stockton residents decide whether to vote him onto the City Council. Stockton Record article

State Center trustee Eric Payne fails to file required campaign finance reports — A State Center Community College board of trustees incumbent running for reelection has not yet filed mandatory campaign finance reports, Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth said. Orth said Eric Payne, trustee for Area 2 in the large community college district, missed both the Sept. 29 and Oct. 27 filing deadlines for the finance reports. These documents are required for all nominees on the Nov. 8 ballot. Fresno Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

A record 3 million Californians have already voted, but there’s a catch – California’s votes cast by mail have now topped the 3 million mark. That number outpaces recent election seasons in raw numbers, but lags behind the 2012 election in terms of the percentage of the ballots that were mailed out. LA Times article

The campaign to legalize marijuana is flush with cash from billionaire activists and the pot industry – Activist billionaires Sean Parker and George Soros and companies hoping to profit from legalizing marijuana in California have helped this year’s campaign for Proposition 64 raise close to $16 million, about four times the amount spent on a failed effort in 2010. LA Times article

Will passage of Prop 64 shake up ‘Mendocino Shakedown?’ – Next week, California voters may decide to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state. And if Proposition 64 passes, California’s justice system will face a number of unexpected impacts. But in many parts of the state, including Mendocino County along the northern coast, widespread marijuana cultivation and its side effects are already a fact of life. KQED report

San Jose council approves ban on recreational marijuana sales – With little discussion Tuesday, San Jose leaders approved a temporary ban on recreational marijuana sales — just one week before voters decide whether to legalize the drug. San Jose Mercury News article

Jerry Brown overstates initiative’s impact in anti-Prop 53 ad – Like other opponents, Brown overstates the expected impact of Proposition 53. Though the effects he describes are real, they are far from the certainty that he suggests. Sacramento Bee article

Brown’s resistance to Medi-Cal rate increases spurs ballot push — Doctors, hospitals and health care advocacy groups are hoping two November ballot measures will do what they’ve been unable to do at the state Capitol: Bring more money to California’s health care program for the poor. Capital Public Radio report

Deborah Howard: Prop 54 finally brings transparency to our Capitol – The executive director of the California Senior Advocates League writes, “Prop. 54 will result in more access to state government and the laws that affect us – ensuring the public’s right to know. I hope Bee readers will join me in voting Yes on Prop. 54. We deserve the transparency it will create.” Howard op-ed in Modesto Bee

Chuck Alexander: California prison guards have good reason to fear death penalty repeal – The president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association writes, “As correctional peace officers working inside California prisons, we take Proposition 62 very personally, because it directly impacts our safety and the safety of the inmates we oversee. Proposition 62 would repeal California’s death penalty law, putting inmates and correctional officers at serious risk.” Alexander op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Marcos Breton: Why I’m voting to keep the death penalty alive in California – I would never presume to tell you how to vote, but I am voting no on Proposition 62 and yes on Proposition 66. There are 19 men on death row whose legal appeals have all been exhausted. The families of their victims deserve justice. And some punishments do fit the crime. Breton column in Sacramento Bee

Stephen Green: How voters can save California’s plastic bag ban – The president of Save the American River Association writes, “By some estimates, more than 30 billion plastic bags were being distributed in California each year before the first local ban was enacted in San Francisco in 2007. Today, it’s estimated that only as many 13.8 billion bags are being handed out. The benefits will increase once the statewide law is in force. Don’t let the bag makers kill this important law.” Green op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Joe Altschule: Other than Prop 53, vote yes on state props on ballot — Politics depends on people working together with intelligence and good will and making things work. Too often today we criticize and vilify the political process and impede it’s success. Here are my suggestions about these political paths to take. Altschule column in Visalia Times-Delta 

Lee Califf: How voters can stop a big giveaway to California grocers – The executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance writes, “By voting “yes” on Proposition 65, voters can ensure any money associated with SB 270 goes to an environmental fund administered by the California Wildlife Conservation Board. The board will issue grants toward drought mitigation, recycling, clean drinking water, parks, beach cleanup and litter removal. City and county governments with existing bag bans and fees would also have the option to ensure bag fees go to the same state environmental fund, rather than to grocers.” Califf op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Golden Valley Health Centers rallies support for tobacco tax – Advocates for Proposition 56 showed up on Tuesday at Golden Valley Health Center to urge residents to vote “yes” and inform them of what will happen if the proposition is approved. Proposition 56 is calling for an increase on the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, as well as electronic cigarettes. Merced Sun-Star article

Tom Fife: Here’s my conservative take on 17 state propositions — No question I’m for Trump but you know that. That said, we have other things on the ballot this year, too. For instance, this is how I’m voting on the 17 California Propositions this year. Go Trump! Fife column in Visalia Times-Delta

 Running for governor? Antonio Villaraigosa not interested in Clinton cabinet – Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday that he has no interest serving in a possible Hillary Clinton presidential administration and will make his decision about the 2018 California governor’s race within days of next Tuesday’s election. Sacramento Bee article

Civil liberties group sues over California ballot selfies — California’s ban on sharing photographs of marked ballots violates voters’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech by preventing them from expressing their political views, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a lawsuit. AP articleSacramento Bee article

Delaine Eastin says she’ll launch education-focused bid for California governor — Democrat Delaine Eastin, a longtime state lawmaker who went on to become California schools chief, said Tuesday she plans to mount a bid for California governor centered on improving education.  Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Other areas

Democrats up their ad spending in four California congressional races – The House Democrats’ campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has increased spending on digital and radio ads in four closely watched California districts in the final week of the campaign, including the 10th Congressional District race between Republican Jeff Denham and Democrat Michael Eggman.  LA Times article 

Steyer, oil companies spent big to lobby as California lawmakers weighed bills – Led by environmentalists and oil companies, California lobbyist employers spent $84.4 million to advocate to officials and influence legislation from July 1 through the end of September. Sacramento Bee article

Longer terms for California’s Legislature mean a flood of cash from interest groups trying to sway the balance their way – Outside interest groups had spent a record $63.7 million in legislative races as of Monday, according to numbers compiled by the California Target Book. That number far surpasses the $48.4 million in independent expenditures in 2014, and with a week left until the election is likely to grow. LA Times article

‘False and disgusting’ – Christy Jones defends husband in race with Ami Bera — Republican Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, facing persistent criticism from Democratic Rep. Ami Bera over recently revealed allegations he made unwanted advancestoward a sheriff’s deputy more than a decade ago, has turned to his wife to defend his character. Sacramento Bee article 

In rural California, LGBT seniors often are forced back into the closet — The reality of aging is a hard pill to swallow for anyone, but for the LGBT population in rural places it can be an even rougher experience. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports getting older for LGBT seniors in Central California often means going back into the closet. KVPR report

Presidential Politics

Will this be the election that finally kills off the Democratic and Republican parties? – Just days before Election Day, interviews with more than 40 independent voters in swing states underscores that the nomination of two deeply unpopular candidates for president is aggravating and reinforcing a growing trend in the country away from the Democratic and Republican parties, which more and more voters see as out of touch with their lives and out of date in a new century. McClatchy Newspapers article

That time Donald Trump got sued by a California men’s rights activist – It had to be one of the most unusual lawsuits Donald Trump was ever involved with: One of his businesses was accused of being sexist. Against men. For promoting breast cancer awareness. LA Times article

Nan Austin: Neighborhood schools vs. private options at stake — In a nutshell, under a President Donald Trump, private schools would be the big winners, with federal money prioritized for open voucher systems. Under a President Hillary Clinton, public schools would get greater support, as would low-income families, preschools and college students. Austin in Modesto Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

Water conservation improved in September, but regulators worry about drought fatigue — Californians halted a three-month slide in water conservation in September, saving enough to hearten state regulators who previously had expressed alarm about possible drought fatigue. LA Times articleAP articleStockton Record article

Lawsuits swell cost of road projects, forcing Bakersfield City Council’s hand – The cost of the Parsons Transportation Group’s support for Bakersfield’s Thomas Roads Improvement Program was supposed to be locked in until March 2017, but on Wednesday the Bakersfield City Council will consider spending an additional $3.6 million — three months ahead of schedule. Bakersfield Californian article

Study: Central Valley workers’ comp claims differ from other regions in state – Injured workers in the Central Valley have shorter time lags between notification and treatment of an injury, fewer claims with permanent disability and lien payments, and lower attorney involvement compared to other regions of the state, according to a report that analyzes workers compensation claims. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Hispanic workers in the United States – There are about 24 million Hispanic workers in the United States. They come from a variety of backgrounds and face unique challenges in the U.S. labor market. Focusing on trends in the overall Hispanic community can conceal notable differences among Hispanics of different ethnic subgroups. Center for Economic and Policy Research report

Why did a protest stop the Fresno County supervisors’ meeting – An ill-timed protest to bring the plight of home health care workers to light briefly halted the Fresno County Board of Supervisors’ meeting Tuesday. About two dozen members of the In-Home Supportive Services workforce started chanting during an unrelated agenda item, saying “Hey, hey, ho, ho, poverty wages have got to go.” Fresno Bee article

Downtown Fresno landmark joining the business revolution – Workspace Fresno, a new downtown Fresno office space for “creators, collaborators and dreamers,” will open Thursday in the landmark Pacific Southwest Building at 1060 Fulton Street, at the intersection of Fulton and the Mariposa Mall. Fresno Bee article

Anthony Ansolabehere: Bakersfield is drowning in debt – The former assistant assessor in the Kern County Assessor’s Office writes, “In just the past two years, the City of Bakersfield’s unfunded pension liability has increased over $100 million to over $400 million. That is double the entire general fund budget. At the current 7.5 percent rate, it will cost nearly a billion dollars for Bakersfield to pay the current debt off. This will result in significant reductions of city services for many years.” Ansolabehere op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Michael Fitzgerald: Bold dream buys Stockton landmark – Downtown’s comeback took a DIY twist recently with the city’s sale of the 1913 Henery Apartments to a lone, 26-year-old preservationist who rides to his property on a bicycle. Alex Thompson, an occasionally employed contractor, paid $24,999 for the dilapidated, six-story landmark at 121 S. Sutter St. Thompson estimated repairs at $40 million. And no, he’s not sitting on $40 million. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record 

BART janitor grossed $270,000 in pay and benefits last year — A BART janitor was paid $162,000 in overtime last year, almost three times his base salary, according to public pay data. Liang Zhao Zhang also received nearly $15,000 in other pay to gross nearly $235,000, records show. Benefits brought his total cost of employment to the rail agency to more than $270,000. East Bay Times article

Gannett gives up on Tronc — USA Today publisher Gannett walked away Tuesday from its attempted takeover of Tronc, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other major dailies. AP articleLA Times article

Modesto expected to be part of Amgen Tour – It’s almost official that Modesto will be part of next year’s Amgen Tour of California, the annual road race featuring some of the world’s best bicyclists. Modesto Bee article

CoreLogic: Valley home prices increased in September – Home prices across the Central Valley were up in September, both on a yearly and monthly basis, according to new data from real estate information firm CoreLogic. The Business Journal article

Who else is buying light-rail cars from Siemens Sacramento? Look south – Siemens Corp.’s Sacramento plant has secured another major contract for light-rail vehicles, this one a $187 million job from San Diego’s mass transit system. Sacramento Bee article 

Saying goodbye to Van Andel’s – John Van Andel, 68, is retiring. He hasn’t found anybody interested in taking over. After 64 years of continuous operation in Hanford, Van Andel’s Inc. is shutting its doors. Hanford Sentinel article

Kern supervisors approve fire grant – Kern County Supervisors gave the Kern County Fire Department clearance to take a $4.4 million federal SAFER grant to hire new firefighters. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant would help the county hire 18 recruit firefighters said Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall. Bakersfield Californian article

Mike Villalta: Why Measure V isn’t right for Los Banos – The mayor of Los Banos writes, “As a voter, when I look at my ballot I find it impossible to support Measure V. It contains no guarantees the people of Los Banos – or anyone else – will have projects funded equal to the additional sales taxes they generate. What the measure does contain is a list of vague types of projects our tax dollars could be used for – but only if first approved by MCAG.” Villalta op-ed in Merced Sun-Star

Sacramento drivers will get parking tickets after 6 p.m. if meters expire — Drivers in downtown Sacramento, your evening grace period is over. As of Tuesday, city code enforcement officers will ticket drivers who do not feed meters after 6 p.m. downtown and in part of midtown. The new, extended meter hours coincide with the opening last month of the new Golden 1 Center, as tens of thousands of people come downtown several nights a week for events. Sacramento Bee article

Union-backed Lyft drivers object to $27-million settlement – A handful of California Lyft drivers and a Teamsters-backed drivers’ alliance are seeking to squash a proposed $27-million settlement in a lawsuit against the ride-hailing app company. LA Times article

NASA advisory committee questions SpaceX’s unorthodox fueling process – A NASA advisory committee has twice questioned SpaceX’s fueling process — a procedure that came under closer scrutiny after one of the company’s rockets exploded on a launch pad in September while being fueled. LA Times article 

SolarCity to add $1 billion in revenue to Tesla after merger, firms say – SolarCity expects to contribute $1 billion or more in revenue to Tesla Motorsnext year after they complete their merger this month, the two companies told investors TuesdayLA Times article

Proposition HHH backers try a personal approach to get homeless bond approved — With polling showing homelessness at the top of voter concern, proponents are focusing their effort on two fronts: Motivating voters who are prone to vote yes, and guiding them through the thicket of a ballot with 25 items before Proposition HHH. LA Times article


We saved water in September, but not like we did in 2015, state board says – Most central San Joaquin Valley communities saved less water this September than they saved in September 2015, according to new conservation data released Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board. Fresno Bee article

Folsom, Granite Bay among those called out for dramatic increase in water use — In its announcement, the state board pointed to six urban agencies that experienced “sharp reductions in conservation,” including two in greater Sacramento – the city of Folsom and the San Juan Water District. Folsom’s usage rose 25 percent in September compared with a year ago. Consumption in the San Juan district, which includes Granite Bay, grew by 29 percent. Officials with the two districts weren’t immediately available for comment. Sacramento Bee article

Oakdale Irrigation District fallowing farmers won’t be left high and dry – Farmers who contracted to fallow some land this year will get their money even though no one bought the freed-up water, irrigation leaders said Tuesday. Modesto Bee article

It was Sacramento’s 4th-wettest October on record — A rainy month came to an end with a final storm on Halloween that added to already sizable early season precipitation totals, giving Sacramento its fourth wettest October on record. Sacramento Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

In tragic accident, sergeant fatally struck by bullet from colleague’s gun, sheriff says — A bullet fired accidentally from a colleague’s gun fatally struck in the chest a sergeant with 20 years in law enforcement, an emotional Sheriff Margaret Mims said Tuesday. Mims identified the man, who died shortly after the incident, as Sgt. Rod Lucas, 46, a husband and a father of four. Fresno Bee articleKVPR reportAP article

Stockton police add four new officers, two trainees – The new additions bring the number of sworn officers in the Police Department to 421, 64 short of the department’s authorized staffing level of 485. The Police Department had 441 officers in 2008 before experiencing massive cutbacks when the city descended into bankruptcy. Stockton Record article

Bakersfield Police Department clears five officers in August shooting – The Bakersfield Police Department cleared five deputies in an officer-involved shooting that took place in August and left one man dead in East Bakersfield, officials said. Those officers shot and killed 37-year old Francisco Villarreal — a suspect wanted for attempted murder — when he fled from police Aug. 18 and led them on a foot pursuit, drawing a firearm and firing at officers, according to a BPD press release. Bakersfield Californian article

Sacramento police will learn how to approach mentally ill suspects without deadly force — The Sacramento Police Department announced Tuesday that some staff will attend training to handle complex incidents, such as those involving mentally ill suspects, with less force. Sacramento Bee article

Get ready to talk about Sacramento police shootings at upcoming forums – Sacramento city leaders have hired a professional facilitator to conduct public discussions on police reforms. The city will hire Carol Wright of local consulting firm Lang & Associates to run four public forums on police reform in coming weeks. Sacramento Bee article

These puppies have a ‘magical’ effect on a state prison.  Can they help inmates change? – Ramnanan, serving life without parole for participating in a murder and kidnapping 24 years ago, is one of a handful of inmates enrolled in a program that gives prisoners a shot at redemption by asking them to nurture service dogs that one day will comfort wounded veterans or children with autism. Sacramento Bee article

San Francisco call on state to abolish cash bail for poor – San Francisco on Tuesday joined a growing nationwide call to abolish cash bail for poor defendants when it announced the city was dropping its opposition to a federal lawsuit. AP article

New sheriff’s oversight commission called ‘game changer’ – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to create a nine-member civilian oversight commission that would examine problems at the sheriff’s department. KPCC reportLA Times article

Stockton police raid internet gambling site — Investigators confiscated computers and other items Tuesday afternoon during a raid on a suspected internet gambling site in east Stockton, authorities said. Stockton Record article

Report cites overworked doctors, poor care at Salinas prison — Doctors felt burned out and some nurses seemed indifferent to inmates’ care at a prison along California’s central coast even after 10 years of federal oversight intended to improve conditions there, the state inspector general reported Tuesday. AP article


‘Thank you, American,’ the Syrian refugee said at school. Then he hugged her, and she cried — Aisar Al Awad knows little English, but three words he spoke last week made Griselda Garcia, who works for Fresno Unified School District’s Language Assessment Center, burst into tears. “I was giving him a test, and he said, ‘Thank you, American.’ I said, ‘Oh, you’re welcome, it’s OK,’ ” she said. “He gave me a hug, and then the rest of them came to me and gave me a hug. An older one said, ‘America is good; Syria is bad.’ Children should not have to go through these things.” Fresno Bee article 

Charter organization fills gap with new school ranking system – The California Charter Schools Association released on Tuesday what the State Board of Education vowed it would not recreate: a statewide ranking of district and charter schools based on standardized test scores. EdSource article

New standards contribute to academic improvement in many states, report asserts — More rigorous standards in math and English language arts have contributed to improved academic achievement for students in many states including in California, a new report asserts. EdSource article

Fresno’s University High School faces criticism over diversity, entrance requirements – Fresno’s University High School is routinely ranked as one of the top public high schools in the nation when it comes to academics. It was started over a decade ago to give students a college preparatory education with a focus on English and math. But the charter school’s future is in now question as allegations have surfaced that UHS has used allegedly discriminatory perquisite requirements, which the ACLU contends are illegal. KVPR report

Carol Mills and Brooke Ashjian: There are many good reasons to oppose Measure X – The Fresno Unified trustees write, “We are opposed to the Fresno Unified School District’s Measure X, a position that we do not take lightly. The 2018 election would be a better time to seek a school bond, when the FBI investigation and lease-leaseback litigation hopefully will be resolved. This bond was rushed, with only a brief window for community input shortly after school started.” Mills/Ashjian op-ed in Fresno Bee

Oliver Rosales: Measure J will help those working in the fields – The professor of history at the Bakersfield College Delano Campus writes, “Measure J expands opportunities to teach students of the field. The Bakersfield College Delano campus has been around for more than four decades, first located on Randolph Street (now the Wonderful Academy) and now located west of Highway 99 next to Robert Kennedy High School. Measure J will expand the BC Delano campus by developing additional physical space for students to study, collaborate with faculty, and learn. It is not far-fetched to say that students at BC Delano literally study in the fields.” Rosales op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Child’s play and adult love: Tracy High students learning in school’s culinary program — Doyle Dixon oversaw the operation like the seasoned manager he is: The tables needed to be set, the salad made, the dessert sliced. Only Dixon wasn’t at a local restaurant. He was directing 16- and 17-year-olds in his Food Education and Service Training program at Tracy High School and the operation was the Thursday monthly luncheon. Stockton Record article

UC regent apologizes for ‘inappropriate’ comments about women’s breasts — University of California Regent Norman J. Pattiz is known for his outgoing manner and jovial jibes — but in this time of heightened awareness about inappropriate conduct, he’s learning that some of what’s funny to him is sexually offensive to others. LA Times article


Stockton Record: Water defeating weeds – Conditions could change, and hyacinth has a history of rampant growth during the final weeks of a calendar year. Still, the efforts and success are worth noting and celebrating. Stockton Record editorial

Wind Wolves Preserve celebrates conservation with concert – The thousands of drivers that make their way up the Grapevine on Interstate 5 every day probably have little idea they’re passing through one of the most diverse ecological regions of the state. This place, where the Coast Range meets the Transverse Range and the Tehachapi Mountains is home to the Wind Wolves PreserveKVPR report

Two Stars selected to share solar suitcases in Kenya — Pacific Gas & Electric Company presented two North High students Tuesday with a pair of solar suitcases that they’ll take to Kenya to teach youth and community groups about sustainable energy. Bakersfield Californian article

Health/Human Services 

Anthem is cutting out-of-network health coverage in a ‘bait and switch,’ lawsuit says —  On the first day of Obamacare open enrollment, a consumer group sued Anthem Blue Cross for attempting to automatically renew policies that no longer cover out-of-network costs for hundreds of thousands of Californians. LA Times article

Hospital safety survey: Tulare Regional flunks, Clovis, Kaiser, Kaweah get top grades – Three hospitals in the central San Joaquin Valley got a top grade for patient safety in a nationwide report card released this week, but one hospital – Tulare Regional Medical Center – flunked the report for the second time this year. Fresno Bee article

To fight childhood obesity, task force recommends screening all kids starting at age 6 – The fight against childhood obesity should begin in doctors’ offices with routine weight screening for all kids ages 6 and up, according to fresh advice from health experts. LA Times article

As abortion pill laws relax, more women are choosing it over surgery — For the first time, women taking medication to end pregnancies is almost equal to those having abortion surgery. McClatchy Newspapers article

E-cigarettes can’t shake reputation as a health menace — A growing number of experts say that the portrayal of e-cigarettes as a public health threat is a profound disservice to smokers who could benefit from them. New York Times article

Land Use/Housing

Stanislaus County leaders give consent to wedding venues on ag land — Stanislaus County will allow commercial wedding venues on agricultural land so long as they don’t conflict with farming or create problems for neighbors. Modesto Bee article


San Joaquin County supervisors support future rail connections – San Joaquin County leaders are showing support for inter-regional collaboration that could bring a potential rail connection to the Bay Area that would alleviate traffic along Interstate 580. Stockton Record article

The long, tortured journey to bring rail back to LA — After World War II, the region’s once-mighty streetcar services began to fade and building freeways became the top transportation priority. By the 1960s, planners began proposing new rail routes. But these plans faced numerous problems. Several attempts to get taxpayers to finance these rail networks failed at the ballot box. Here’s a history of the high and lows of L.A. transportation dreaming, from the pages of The Times. LA Times article

Ontario officials get ownership of international airport and pledge more flights and services — After years of litigation and negotiation, Ontario officials assumed ownership of LA/Ontario International Airport from Los Angeles on Tuesday. LA Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – One of the few parts of California where Republicans still wield considerable power is the San Joaquin Valley. We are recommending that voters return three of them – Frank Bigelow, Devon Mathis and Jim Patterson – to their seats in the Assembly. We also recommend that incumbent Democrats Adam Gray and Joaquin Arambula be re-elected to their Assembly seats.

Sacramento Bee – Donald Trump pretends to look out for the little guy and bashes Clinton as part of the wealthy elite. But on the issue of taxes, voters need to realize it’s the exact opposite; It’s time for “the media” to prove it’s not rigged.

Stockton Record – Conditions could change, and hyacinth has a history of rampant growth during the final weeks of a calendar year. Still, the efforts and success are worth noting and celebrating.