November 20, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

Dan Walters: Could California succeed if it became a nation? — The political, legal and financial impediments are immense. Would, for instance, a hostile U.S. government be willing to sign over all of its vast property holdings, from trackless deserts to dams and jewels such as Yosemite, without charging us countless billions of dollars? Like it or not, we’re probably stuck with each other like a bickering couple that cannot afford to divorce. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

From the left, groups plan to push Brand to remember the disadvantaged as Fresno mayor — On the campaign trail Lee Brand consistently talked of inclusiveness, saying he wanted to be mayor for all of Fresno. Now the mayor-elect, it’s a message he is continuing to push. Advocates for the city’s poor and disadvantaged say they intend to hold Brand to his word. Fresno Bee article

Valley politics

Nunes asks officials to answer questions on NSA chief – The GOP chairman of a top committee in Congress on Saturday asked the nation’s intelligence chief and defense secretary to appear and answer questions about reports that they recommended the ouster of the director of the National Security Agency. AP article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

John Myers: This is why it takes so long to count votes in California —  In an era when there’s almost nothing that can’t be found out quickly, the long wait for final results from an election in California feels interminable. And yet, there’s a pretty simple reason why it takes so long to count all the votes. California is not just home to more voters than any other state in the U.S. But it also has more election laws designed to maximize a voter’s chances of casting a ballot. Myers in LA Times

Sacramento region scrambles to regulate pot growers after passage of Prop 64 – Cities across the Sacramento region have been scrambling to regulate marijuana following passage this month of Proposition 64, which legalizes adult recreational use of pot in California. Sacramento Bee article

California Democratic Party shuns donations from ‘big oil’ – for now — The California Democratic Party will no longer accept political donations from oil companies or their representatives in Sacramento. LA Times article


Immigrants who came to U.S. as children fear deportation under Trump — Young immigrants, who call themselves Dreamers, are already protesting at many colleges, and they have called for a march from New York to Washington starting Tuesday. They are pressing universities and employers to organize to defend the program and are making plans for havens on campuses and in churches. New York Times article

Other areas

Colorado’s pot paradox: Recreational marijuana is legal, but it’s tough to find a place to consume it – The options quickly narrowed late Friday after state licensing authorities weighed in with a new rule saying bars and restaurants with liquor licenses could not allow pot use on the premises. The Colorado Department of Revenue said it made the decision after talks last summer with the liquor industry, health experts and groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. LA Times article

Donald W. Blount: Agitate, agitate, agitate – Conversations on the issue of race cause discomfort — We have to admit that something is seriously wrong in our country when the same concern is shared by my 79-year-old mother, who has lived through Jim Crow, and my 10-year-old daughter, who has a rainbow coalition of friends. But the conversation on race always disintegrates because it causes people to be uncomfortable. Some become angry. And you can include gender, sexual orientation and immigration on that list as well. But I don’t care about that discomfort. Blount column in Stockton Record

Presidential Politics

We knew Michelle Rhee was meeting with Trump, but why Kevin Johnson? – President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday heaped praise on Sacramento first lady Michelle Rhee, considered a candidate for secretary of education, as well as her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who accompanied Rhee to an afternoon meeting with Trump in New Jersey. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

In California, a bastion of red waits for Trump to nudge this blue state — Surrounded by blue, Kern County, a sprawling area at the southern end of the state’s Central Valley, stands out as a rare bastion of red — a Republican island in the country’s most liberal state. Nearly 55 percent of voters chose Donald J. Trump over Mrs. Clinton in Kern, making it among the most solidly Republican counties in California.  New York Times article

San Diego judge who mediated Trump University case praised as ‘steady hand’ — The $25-million Trump University lawsuit settlement announced Friday came 10 days before a trial was to start and slightly more than a week after U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller stepped into the case as a mediator. LA Times article

Anti-Trump protestors say they march near River Park to show they won’t live in fear – Chanting “Sin papeles, sin miedo!” – Spanish for “without papers, without fear” – about 65 protesters marched and waved signs opposed to President-elect Donald Trump during an anti-Trump rally near River Park Saturday afternoon. Fresno Bee article

Lewis Griswold: True believer places long-shot bet on Donald Trump victory, wins big — Tom Fife of Visalia, a delegate to the Republican National Convention, made a long-shot Scottish bet that Donald Trump would win the presidential election. It paid off handsomely. Griswold in Fresno Bee

Emotions running high after election — With the recent presidential election bringing out strong emotions on all sides, it was perhaps inevitable that there would be some highly charged incidents. At least that’s what Hanford resident Angelina Walker thinks happened when she was shopping. Hanford Sentinel article

Erika D. Smith: Hey, Trump supporters! Are you feeling guilty yet? — Dear supporters of Donald Trump, I know it’s only been a few days, but are you by chance starting to feel guilty about your vote for president? I wasn’t going to ask – really, I wasn’t – but the oddest thing just keeps happening to me. Smith column in Sacramento Bee

News Stories- Top Stories

California continues to bet on public-private partnerships.  Will it pay off? — That contract adds UC Merced to a small but growing list of public agencies in California that are turning to the private sector for help with projects that otherwise might wait indefinitely for state funding. The roster includes a new city hall complex in Long Beach and a tunnel off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Each likely will tie up public finances for decades. At UC Merced, the university expects to pay about $103 million a year from 2020 to 2055 for an upcoming growth spurt. It’s so expensive that the 12-year-old university might not be able to afford another development until it pays off the current expansion.  Sacramento Bee article

Jeff Jardine: As Stanislaus looks at long-term homeless solutions, Merced County wants to start with housing — Stanislaus County officials are more than 18 months into a long-term approach through Focus on Prevention, aimed at addressing the root causes of homelessness from economics to substance abuse to mental illness, and reaching families with children and who either are homeless or on the verge of homelessness. If it works, say a decade or two from now, it will be considered revolutionary. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Jobs and the Economy

Modesto fire officials pitch $5.9 million plan for fire engines, ladder trucks – Fire officials will make the case for Modesto spending $5.9 million over 10 years to lease five fire engines and two ladder trucks. This comes after a similar proposal was met with questions from city officials. Modesto Bee article

Get a sneak peak behind the scenes of a Black Friday store opening preparations – Best Buy and other stores in Fresno are gearing up for Black Friday and Thanksgiving openings. Here is a sneak peek at what happens at the River Park Best Buy and info about Fashion Fair, JCPenney, Target and other stores. Fresno Bee article

Marcos Breton: ‘Marijuana meets Silicon Valley’ comes to Sacramento – In an anonymous industrial park in North Sacramento, the seeds for a potentially lucrative business are being planted, but you’d never know it just driving by. Breton column in Sacramento Bee

Tioga-Sequoia Brewing is filling former thrift store with beer – and the stuff to make it –– Fresno’s leading brewing company, Tioga-Sequoia, is growing its downtown operation with the acquisition of a 14,000-square-foot building. The nearby building, home to the former Team Amvets Thrift Store at Inyo and Broadway streets, will allow the brewery to expand its production and create a bigger footprint in downtown Fresno. Fresno Bee article

City of Modesto ranks seventh for its size in tech savvy, use of social media – The city of Modesto earned a seventh-place award in its population category in the 2016 Digital Cities Survey contest, selected by the Center for Digital Government. It ranks the cities that are the most strategic, efficient and innovative guardians of public-sector technology in the nation. Modesto Bee article

Michael Fitzgerald: A stop on the Oblivion Express – To be a preservationist in Stockton is usually to find yourself (between occasional successes) somewhere between heartbreak and antidepressants. The latest pass-the-Prozac building may be the historic Western Pacific passenger depot at Main and Union streets. A Mission Revival gem built in 1910. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Wells Fargo hit with new sanctions following fake-accounts scandal – A federal regulator has tightened restrictions on Wells Fargo & Co., requiring it to get approval to replace or hire new executives and make other changes, in the latest fallout over the San Francisco bank’s fake-accounts scandal. LA Times article

Charitable donations increase in time for the holidays — The holiday season is in full swing and so is the holiday spirit of giving to those in need in Kings County. Local nonprofit organizations such as the Lemoore Christian Aid, Kings Community Action Organization (KCAO) and St. Vincent de Paul Center in Hanford are lining up their donations in an effort to make the holiday season more enjoyable for families in need. Hanford Sentinel article


Tunnels spawn algae worries — The governor’s proposed Delta tunnels could worsen toxic algae blooms like the one that stunk up Stockton’s downtown waterfront this year, according to testimony last week from an expert offered by San Joaquin County. Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

California parole changes may speed end to federal oversight — Voters’ approval of Gov. Jerry Brown’s sentencing reform initiative may finally give California the long-term solution it needs to end a decade-long legal battle over prison conditions that twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court and has cost taxpayers billions of dollars. AP article

Deputy is gone, but his lawsuit lives on – Deputy Dennis Wallace’s lawsuit against his Stanislaus County bosses did not die when he was gunned down on duty a week ago. Yet to be determined is how much money the Sheriff’s Department owes Wallace for the two years he didn’t work, when the county said he was too injured and Wallace said he wasn’t. Modesto Bee article

Three finalists chosen for Bakersfield police chief — Three finalists have been selected for consideration as Bakersfield’s next police chief. Assistant Chief Lyle Martin, Capt. Rene Chow and Lt. Jason Townsend will be considered for the position, according to KERO Channel 23. Bakersfield Californian article

Stockton officers shoot two armed suspects — The police officers who shot and critically injured two armed robbery suspects Friday night in southwest Stockton didn’t just happen upon the scene of a robbery in progress. Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said they were guided by predictive crime analysis tools that indicated when and where the robbery might occur. Stockton Record article

Ripon PD goes shaggy for a cause — Ripon police officers, who normally adhere to strict grooming standards, are participating in No-Shave November for the first time. About 20 members of the department, including Chief Ed Ormonde, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals and officers, are letting their facial hair grow to raise awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Stockton Record article


Could Donald Trump’s education policies change schools in California and nationwide? – If the president-elect’s education plans haven’t been spelled out in detail, he has given some broad indications. He has said he might eliminate or scale back the U.S. Department of Education. He wants to create a new school voucher program, support home-schooling, beef up childcare subsidies.  Educators across the country are waiting and wondering. Usually they know more by this point. LA Times article

Modesto-area immigrant students fear Trump’s election means an end to their dreams – The transition of the executive branch affects us all, but few have more at stake than young immigrants raised here after a campaign that pledged to stomp their dreams into dust. Modesto Bee article

Say adios to restrictions on bilingual learning: Prop 58 could boost Fresno schools — Dual-immersion programs like the one that Todd teaches are hard to swallow for some skeptical parents, but the research is clear: The “two-way” programs, where bilingual teachers lead class in English 10 percent of the time and in another language 90 percent of the time, then slowly move that ratio to 50/50, are the most effective way to produce successful bilingual students.  Fresno Bee article

Fresno State to give young adult prestigious award — The Arne Nixon Center at Fresno State will name Guadalupe Garcia McCall the first artist-in-residence fellow at a reception this spring. Fresno Bee article

He told his class defense attorneys lie. She took her students to confront him – Julie Mumma says criminal defense attorneys like her have won justice for the wrongly accused and changed unfair laws. Former Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy Jimmy Martinez contends criminal defendants are usually guilty and that their attorneys frequently lie in the courtroom. The clash of ideas between the two Sacramento State criminal justice professors came to a head last month when Mumma took her students to Martinez’s Criminal Justice I class in Solano Hall and demanded a debate. Sacramento Bee article

Young Rembrandts: Drawing the best out of children — “Our old school had a magnificent art program and my kids were missing it,” said Melinda Paull, mother of 11-year-old Peyton and 7-year-old Grayson. “They were missing that part of their day. We got spoiled, and I didn’t pay any attention.” She took to the internet, though, and found Young Rembrandts, a for-profit business that offers art classes in after-school programs from Tracy to Stockton. Stockton Record article


Lois Henry: San Francisco’s stance on Kern oil not well thought out — You probably didn’t know that the citizens of San Francisco own 800 acres of oil-producing lands smack in the middle of Chevron’s Kern River oil field. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Health/Human Services 

CDC technology advances promise better valley fever detection — New technology could reveal the microscopic, sometimes deadly spores that cause valley fever that currently float in the air undetected. Bakersfield Californian article

New valley fever skin test shows promise, but obstacles remain — A new skin test called Spherusol can detect whether a person has developed natural immunity, meaning they’ve overcome valley fever before. Because most valley fever cases are asymptomatic, many people whose immune systems have battled the disease may never know it. Bakersfield Californian article


Just in time for the holidays: BRT work is a headache for North Blackstone businesses — The future of Fresno’s FAX-Q bus rapid transit line along Blackstone Avenue promises faster and more environmentally friendly bus service. But in the present, it’s providing a few headaches for merchants and motorists.  Fresno Bee article

Crashes continue at 43 and Whitley — The Highway 43 and Whitley Avenue intersection has continued to see a spike in traffic accidents, even with the recent installation of a four-way stop aimed at making the intersection safer. Hanford Sentinel article

Other areas

Care packages honor dead Marine — Chuck and Teri Palmer continue to mourn the loss of their son, Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II, who was killed during combat operations in Iraq in 2007. Stockton Record article

Mike Klocke: Hey, Klocke … you take this! — Welcome to another edition of Editor Mean Tweets! These are, of course, a quasi-ripoff of the Mean Tweet segments on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show, where he has celebrities, athletes and politicians read biting Tweets they have received. Klocke column in Stockton Record

Stephanie Taylor: Taft grew out of California’s oil fields – The Sacramento artist writes, “The small city of Taft in the southwestern corner of the San Joaquin Valley exists because of oil. The first oil field was discovered nearby in the mid-1800s. More discoveries followed with the one gusher producing 18,000 barrels of crude a day for 18 months.” Taylor op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – On immigration, Donald Trump offers fear itself.