November 22, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

Dan Walters: Lame-duck legislative session to raise transportation funds fades — For weeks, key officials, their staffs and stakeholders have noodled around with bringing the Legislature back to Sacramento for a post-election session on financing much-needed upgrades to highways, local streets and transit systems. However, with just days remaining, officially, in the 2015-16 biennial session, and no acceptable compromise in sight, the prospect is fading fast. Walters column in Sacramento BeeSacramento Bee editorial: ‘California’s roads worsen as legislators make excuses’

California Legislature sees a rise in diversity but a drop in women— The new California Legislature will look slightly more racially and ethnically diverse than the last, but its number of women has dropped lower than it has been in more than two decades, according to an analysisof preliminary 2016 election results from the California Research Bureau.  LA Times article

Valley politics

Crocker takes lead in Tulare County supervisor race — The race for District 1 supervisor in Tulare County has switched in favor of candidate Kuyler Crocker. Crocker has 50.5 percent compared to 48.7 percent for candidate Dennis Smith, according to updated numbers from the Tulare County elections office. Fresno Bee article

Carlton Jones new Tulare mayor? — The next Tulare City Council may be one for the history books. Carlton Jones may become the first African American mayor in the city’s history. At the same meeting, Jose Sigala will become the first Mexican-American to be sworn in after being elected. Current Councilwoman Maritsa Castellanoz will serve a second term after being appointed, not elected, twice. Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Razor-thin margin separates California Democrats from supermajority — After months of campaigning and millions of dollars, fewer than 200 votes stand between California Democrats and an ironclad legislative super-majority. As of Monday morning, a mere 187 votes separated Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, from Democrat Josh Newman in the expensive battle for an open seat spanning parts of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.  Sacramento Bee article

California Democratic Party leaders may be asked to fess up when paid to back ballot measures — The California Democratic Party is considering a new policy that would require party leaders to fully disclose any compensation they receive to advocate for a statewide ballot initiative or candidate for state office.  LA Times article


Garcetti pushes back against possible cuts in federal funds over immigration stand — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that President-elect Donald Trump would be making a “mistake” if his administration cuts federal funding to L.A. over the city’s immigration stance. LA Times article

Critical Silicon Valley H-1B visa issue unclear under Trump – Of the many questions around a Donald Trump presidency, one of the most important to Silicon Valley is whether he’ll take action on the H-1B visa program that tech firms use to secure foreign talent.  San Jose Mercury News article

Other areas

Secessionists formally launch quest for California’s independence — Supporters of a plan for California to secede from the union took their first formal step Monday morning, submitting a proposed ballot measure to the state attorney general’s office in the hopes of a statewide vote as soon as 2018.  LA Times articleSacramento Bee article

 Joel Fox: Can Prop 13 survive California’s new appetite for taxes? — California’s reputation as an anti-tax mecca took a beating at the polls with the passage of three statewide taxes and hundreds of local taxes. Here’s betting that a battle over the Holy Grail of the tax revolt, Proposition 13, is on the horizon. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Presidential Politics

Donald Trump’s first promises since winning election leave out the border wall, NAFTA and his Muslim ban – President-elect Donald Trump spent more than a year campaigning to build a border wall, repeal Obamacare and rescind President Obama’s moves to protect from deportation some immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally. But in his first extensive public comments since winning the election this month, Trump mentioned none of those issues. Nor did he talk about withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement, banning Muslims from entering the country, or ending the Syrian refugee program. LA Times articleNew York Times articleMcClatchy Newspapers article

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: Trump doesn’t have mandate; stop using Twitter – KQED’s Politics and Government desk senior editor Scott Shafer sat down with U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Monday to talk about the presidential election and the road ahead for Democrats and the nation, especially on key issues such as immigration and Obamacare. Here is the interview, which has been edited for brevity and clarity. KQED report

Trump’s pick for attorney general could be bad news for Silicon Valley – President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general probably wouldn’t have been the tech industry’s first choice. Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, is on the opposite side of several issues that are close to Silicon Valley’s heart and related to the Justice Department. Washington Post article

Foon Rhee: What it means to be loyal opposition to Trump — For our democracy to work, it’s essential that an independent and aggressive press hold our public officials accountable, especially the most powerful. That doesn’t change no matter how often the leader of the free world calls us names. Rhee column in Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee: Don’t let Trump roll back good food policy – Ideally, Trump’s cabinet would include a smart California voice, such as former Secretary of Food and Agriculture A.G. Kawamura. But either way, political ideology must not be permitted to trump basic access to clean air, pesticide-free water, safe meat and produce and decent school lunches. Sacramento Bee editorial

House Democrats try to block Trump from creating national registry for Muslims — President-elect Donald Trump would be prohibited from creating a Muslim registry under a bill introduced Monday by a group of nine House Democrats. McClatchy Newspapers article

Trump aide Kellyanne Conway: No plan to pursue charges against Clinton – President-elect Donald Trump’s administration will not pursue further investigations of Hillary Clinton related to her private email server or the Clinton Foundation, Trump’s former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday, a significant break from a major campaign promise. CNN report

Trump summons TV figures for private meeting, and lets them have it – It had all the trappings of a high-level rapprochement: President-elect Donald J. Trump, now the nation’s press critic in chief, inviting the leading anchors and executives of television news to join him on Monday for a private meeting of minds. New York Times article

Apple seeking political peace? Safra Cruz in the cabinet? The strange dance between tech and Trump — It’s been an interesting few months at the intersection of Tech and Trump. San Jose Mercury News article

News Stories – Top Stories

With investments soft, CalPERS eyes higher contribution rates.  What does that mean for workers? – CalPERS is preparing more pension rate hikes, and they could cost government agencies billions of dollars. With consultants predicting long-term declines in investment earnings, the big California pension fund is considering substantially higher contribution rates for the state and the thousands of municipalities and school districts that rely on CalPERS to serve their retirees. Workers could get hit with higher contributions, too, although that would depend on contract negotiations. Sacramento Bee article

Jeff Jardine: Long blue sendoff for Deputy Wallace, another hero who shouldn’t need one – Tuesday, family, friends and officers from far and wide will say goodbye to Stanislaus County sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace, shot to death Nov. 13 while investigating a reported stolen vehicle at the Fox Grove Fishing Access near Hughson. He became the 11th California officer killed in 2016, and 44th nationally. Four more senseless deaths have followed, including a San Antonio police officer and a U.S. marshal, both of whom also were shot to death. Jardine column in Modesto Bee;  ‘Authorities prepare for deputy’s funeral, procession’ in Modesto Bee

Jobs and the Economy

In the giving spirit? Fresno’s charities receiving fewer donations this Thanksgiving – With Thanksgiving just days away, Fresno charities and food banks are looking for last-minute donations of turkeys, cash and everything in between. But so far, donations are coming up short compared to last year. Fresno Bee article

The U.S. labor force’s guy problem: Lots of men don’t have a job and aren’t looking for one — Too many men in their prime don’t have a job and aren’t even looking for one. Experts trying to figure out the reasons are probing the roles of criminal background checks, painkillers and even video games. LA Times article

Ron Fong: Grocers just following the law in collecting new bag fees – The president and CEO of the California Grocers Association writes, “The grocery industry prides itself on prompt and thorough compliance with all laws. It is something we owe to our customers for the trust they put in us as the people who help deliver food to their families. Proposition 67 is no different. When we saw it received the most votes on the day after the election, we abided with the will of the people as well as our state constitution.” Fong op-ed in Modesto Bee

Elk Grove casino opponents turn in petitions backed by mystery donor – Opponents of a proposed Indian casino in Elk Grove turned in 14,800 signatures to the city clerk in their effort to block the $400 million project, setting up a potentially nasty and costly ballot fight, city officials said Monday. Sacramento Bee article

Home buyers’ and sellers’ interests must be protected when the same firm represents both, state Supreme Court rules —  In a decision that could shake up the practices of California’s real estate industry, the California Supreme Court on Monday sided with a home buyer who sued a seller’s agent, alleging he was misled about the size of the house he purchased. LA Times article


Mike Dunbar: Economics of state’s water grab don’t add up — Gov. Jerry Brown has insisted his state agencies should reach voluntary agreements with those of us most affected by this drastic change in water policy. While we think the state’s water demands are unreasonable, we cautiously support that approach. But it won’t work unless the state understands the impact its demands will have – impacts we fear will be utterly devastating. If the state can’t even do that much, how can anyone embrace an agreement that might create a better habitat for fish without harming all the humans who live nearby? Dunbar column in Modesto Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Defendant wants to represent himself in deputy’s killing — A man accused of gunning down a Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputy wants to legally represent himself, but the court first has to decide whether the defendant is mentally competent to face charges in a potential capital murder case. Modesto Bee article

Police sponsor ‘community help-out’ – Ask 13-year-old Mikesha Thompson, taking part in a free barbecue lunch and get-together for residents Monday afternoon hosted by police officers and friends in her north Stockton neighborhood, and she’ll tell you matter-of-factly: “It’s a community help-out.” Stockton Record article


Fresno Bee: UC needs to make a better case to increase tuition – Before raising tuition, the UCs should challenge the status quo and do the kind of cost cutting necessary to keep the system affordable. Until the UC system shows it has done all it can to lower costs, it’s difficult to justify even modest tuition increases. Fresno Bee editorial

Where Trump stands on school choice, student debt and Common Core – When it comes to predicting how President-elect Donald J. Trump’s administration will affect America’s schools and universities, education experts say they are struggling to read the tea leaves. New York Times article

Rhee’s support of Common Core could be deal-breaker in possible Trump appointment – If Donald Trump is seriously considering appointing Michelle Rhee as his secretary of education, a deal breaker could be her strong endorsement of the Common Core standards in English and math. EdSource article

How to avoid being deported under Trump? Sac State students strategize – More than 500 undocumented students and their advocates from around California gathered at Sacramento State on Monday to discuss how they could avoid deportation under the administration of the incoming president, Donald Trump. Sacramento Bee article

Undocumented students fear returning to shadows under Trump – Mitzia Martinez felt so shellshocked after the presidential election that the 19-year-old UC Berkeley student holed up in her apartment for days, away from her friends and her classes. Martinez needed to make sense of the massive changes her life could face under a Trump administration. Her biggest concerns: losing the ability to support herself financially and, worse, once again feeling vulnerable to deportation. KQED report

Pacific students rally in support of scholarships for Syrians – Students at University of the Pacific are hoping the community will come together and support scholarships for Syrians displaced by conflict overseas. Stockton Record article

Education officials outline plan for downtown career training center – Stanislaus County educators and employers are joining forces to create what they believe is the first business-led career training center in Northern California. Modesto Bee article

Lt. Gov. seeks to combat rise in post-election racist, bullying school incidents – To combat an alarming surge in racism, hate and bullying in the schools post-election, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called on local and county superintendents to act immediately to establish a zero-tolerance policy for hate in the schools and create a clearinghouse to report such incidents statewide. East Bay Times article

UC Merced is ready for ‘Giving Tuesday’ – UC Merced is preparing for an annual event that generates scholarships, and this year’s organizers have set a goal of a half-million dollars. Merced Sun-Star article

Central Union students spread message of kindness – Students at Central Union Elementary School spent the week spreading the message of kindness. Friday, the school finished the week with an assembly as students have been participating in the “Dude Be Nice” project. Hanford Sentinel article

Group awards grants to spawn successful LA schools.  The amount is small, but the symbolism is huge – Two South Los Angeles schools — Public Service Community School and King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science — have won planning grants to re-create themselves in another location. The amount of money, $20,000, is small, but not the symbolism. LA Times article

Stanford unveils plan for future growth — Stanford University has unveiled its blueprint of future campus growth, a plan that envisions construction of nearly 2.3 million square feet of new academic buildings and up to 3,150 new housing units — expansion that it says is essential to retain its leadership in teaching and research. San Jose Mercury News article


Will removing Klamath dams lead to a salmon revival? — Dams aren’t the only reason salmon, trout and other fish need help on the Klamath. But they are a big one. The promise of dam removal is free passage for fish up to cooler spots and native headwaters. And the Klamath River, near California’s northern border, may become the next big western river to see that happen. KQED report

Health/Human Services 

Fresno blood center CEO: A promise made has been ‘fulfilled’ — Dean Eller has spent the past 21 years honoring a commitment he made to his dying daughter to carry on her passion for blood donation. Now the 69-year-old president and executive director of the Central California Blood Center– and the face of blood donation in the central San Joaquin Valley – is ready to find a successor to continue his mission. He will retire at the end of July 2017. Fresno Bee article

More aging baby boomers at risk for falls; ER rates increase — Falling down is going up. Across California, more seniors are winding up in hospital emergency rooms after taking a tumble, hitting a high of more than 232,000 last year, according to new statewide data. Sacramento Bee article

U.S. dementia rates are dropping even as population ages — Despite fears that dementia rates were going to explode as the population grows older and fatter, and has more diabetes and high blood pressure, a large nationally representative survey has found the reverse. Dementia is actually on the wane. And when people do get dementia, they get it at older and older ages. New York Times article

Land Use/Housing

Team planning Modesto park puts a price on Awesome: $2.5 million — Children could be enjoying The Awesome Spot playground at Beyer Community Park in north Modesto by 2018. But before the play comes the work of raising the money to build it. At a public meeting last week, the conceptual plan for the estimated $2.5 million inclusive playground was unveiled and a brochure showing sponsorship opportunities was made available. Modesto Bee article

It’s been one year since a gas leak put Fresno’s housing crisis in the spotlight — Low-income housing advocates gathered for a vigil Monday at Summerset Village Apartments, one year after city officials first learned that about 1,000 tenants at the central Fresno complex were living without heat and hot water. Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Before raising tuition, the UCs should challenge the status quo and do the kind of cost cutting necessary to keep the system affordable. Until the UC system shows it has done all it can to lower costs, it’s difficult to justify even modest tuition increases.

Merced Sun-Star – Before raising tuition, the UCs should challenge the status quo and do the kind of cost cutting necessary to keep the system affordable. Until the UC system shows it has done all it can to lower costs, it’s difficult to justify even modest tuition increases.

Modesto Bee – Before raising tuition, the UCs should challenge the status quo and do the kind of cost cutting necessary to keep the system affordable. Until the UC system shows it has done all it can to lower costs, it’s difficult to justify even modest tuition increases.

Sacramento Bee –- Ideally, Trump’s cabinet would include a smart California voice, such as former Secretary of Food and Agriculture A.G. Kawamura. But either way, political ideology must not be permitted to trump basic access to clean air, pesticide-free water, safe meat and produce and decent school lunches; When artists feel forced to pipe down, we should all be worried. President-elect Donald Trump and some of his supporters don’t seem to get that.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers: Unfortunate, but necessary, higher ed hikes; Delta growth potential; and other issues.