November 21, 2016


Political Stories –Top stories

Where California and Trump could clash over the next four (or more) years — The state’s overwhelmingly Democratic politicians are already publicly rebuking Trump, setting California up to become the center of dissent and legal challenges to his agenda over the next four (or more) years. Here are six key areas that could produce significant political clashes. Sacramento Bee article

Dan Walters: Brown probably won’t leave budget deficit, but future cloudy — Brown’s fix is temporary, rather than permanent. And with so many variables, the next governor could easily be back in the soup. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

‘Give us a choice’: Marijuana advocates applaud approval of more dispensaries — It’s quite possible that nobody was more pleased than Dorothy Hillbrant when Stockton voters approved two medical marijuana measures earlier this month. Stockton Record article


Undocumented Pulitzer Prize winner warns of ‘humanitarian crisis’ — Jose Antonio Vargas left the Philippines for Northern California at 12 and has spent 23 years fighting to become a legal resident. He hasn’t succeeded, despite sharing in a Pulitzer Prize at The Washington Post in 2008. Now he says he is fighting for thousands of “Dreamers” – young undocumented immigrants brought here as children who finished high school and legally obtained their work permits but could face deportation by the Trump administration, which has called for the removal of the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. Sacramento Bee article

Trump and immigrants: Wide fear of deportations in Bay Area, but how will it work? — High in hyperbole but short on details, Trump’s plan raises many more questions than it answers, but immigrant advocates are girding for a crisis, urging potential deportees to meet with lawyers now and make “safety plans.” East Bay Times article

‘Here I am above average’: Chinese ‘parachute kids’ are coming to the U.S. at younger ages — A growing number of students, however, are leaving the Chinese system even earlier. In the past decade, the number of Chinese students in U.S. high schools jumped from 1,200 to 52,000. More than a quarter of these students – called “parachute kids” because they often come here without their family – land in California. LA Times article

Other areas

George Skelton: Colin Kaepernick chose not to vote.  He should stop complaining about the system – Yes, he has a constitutional right to refuse to stand during the anthem. Yes, he has a right to say a pox on politics and not vote. But no, he doesn’t have a moral right to both disrespect the country and not exercise his fundamental birthright — and duty — to help change it. Remember: Blacks and whites were beaten, busted and bitten by police dogs while marching for voting rights in the 1960s. Some were murdered. Skelton column in LA Times

Obama gives strong support to Pelosi as she faces leadership fight – President Obama all but endorsed Nancy Pelosi to continue to lead House Democrats on Sunday, defending her as she faces a challenge to her position from restive members of the Democratic caucus.  LA Times article

Republicans’ plan to repeal Obamacare could be more disruptive than the law itself – They plan to not only repeal the law but are contemplating changes that are significantly more far-reaching and could disrupt insurance coverage for many more Americans than did the original law. LA Times article

Transgender Day of Remembrance honors those killed over gender identity – “Representation matters, and that is why we’re here today,” said Nicholas Hatten, founding director of the San Joaquin Pride Center, addressing a small but diverse crowd assembled downtown Sunday evening to remember Stocktonians who have lost their lives simply because of their gender identity. Stockton Record article

Presidential Politics

‘We will rise to the occasion because there is no one else’: California Democrats gather to strategize in wake of Trump win — With a gloom hanging over them after the election of Donald Trump, leaders of the California Democratic Party this weekend began plotting how to combat the policies of the incoming Republican president, discussing how to reach out the millions of disaffected voters who supported the president-elect. LA Times article

How fake news goes viral: A case study — Eric Tucker, a 35-year-old co-founder of a marketing company in Austin, Tex., had just about 40 Twitter followers. But his recent tweet about paid protesters being bused to demonstrations against President-elect Donald J. Trump fueled a nationwide conspiracy theory — one that Mr. Trump joined in promoting.  New York Times article

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Tim Clark — Capitol Weekly sits down with Donald Trump’s man in California, Tim Clark. Clark ran Trump’s west coast operation out of his Auburn, California offices, directing thousands of volunteers and staff. Capitol Weekly Podcast

News Stories

Top Stories

Medical marijuana is legal in California, except when it’s not — The bruising ordeals of one of the state’s largest cannabis companies, CannaCraft, have made many in the marijuana industry fearful, and they also suggest a long and bumpy road from marijuana’s approval at the ballot box to the same on-the-ground acceptance enjoyed by wine and beer businesses. New York Times article

Sierra trees may be dead, but they’re bringing new life to local businesses – Local counties, the U.S. Forest Service, Caltrans, Cal Fire, Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison are spending millions of dollars to ensure that dead and dying trees don’t lead to traffic obstructions, fires, damaged homes or injuries. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

CalPERS, CalSTRS considering more rate increases – The two systems are still seriously underfunded, CalPERS at 68 percent and CalSTRS at 65 percent. This is not money in the bank. It’s an estimate of the future pension costs covered by expected employer-employee contributions and the investment earnings forecast. Last week, the CalPERS and CalSTRS boards got separate staff briefings on how the “maturing” of the two big retirement systems creates new funding difficulties. Both are nearing a time when there will be more retirees in the system than active workers. Calpensions article

Some Merced retailers taken Thanksgiving off, some offer 36 hours of deals – Holiday shopping season has arrived. Though Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the traditional kick-off to holiday shopping, retailers over the years have learned to capitalize from the event and have extended sales and hours in both directions. Merced Sun-Star article

Will Trump help or hurt LA’s bid for Olympics? — It would be no stretch then to imagine Trump as a natural supporter of the effort to bring the Olympics back to Los Angeles in 2024. But Olympic bidding is a contest decided more by secret handshakes than a scoreboard. Though it claims to be above politics, the International Olympic Committee is teeming with them – and many of its 98 members factor in geopolitical considerations when deciding which city to entrust with their most sacred and valuable property, the Olympic Games. AP article


Don Curlee: Farmers endorse organic product — Conventional farmers have a new and more receptive view of organic farming these days, the result of experiences they are having with organic fertilizers. Curlee in Visalia Times-Delta

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Oakdale police become fourth agency in Stanislaus County to use body cameras – The Oakdale Police Department has joined the growing list of law enforcement agencies in California and the nation to outfit its officers with body-worn camera. Modesto Bee article

Hanford police almost fully staffed — The Hanford Police Department is nearly fully staffed for the first time in months, according to Police Chief Parker Sever. Sever said that the department now has 56 sworn officers, which is one position shy of the 57 slots allocated in the budget. Hanford Sentinel article


UC Merced reaches out to Valley seniors – UC Merced has hosted scores of San Joaquin Valley high school seniors this month in what amounts to small pep rallies and pitches to draw applications from the region’s teens. Merced Sun-Star article

Trump school voucher plan comes against backdrop of opposition in California – While K-12 education issues were rarely mentioned in the 2016 presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trumps’s proposal to give children taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend a range of schools, including private schools, could find fertile ground in his administration. EdSource article

Helping third-graders cope with post-election fears — Third-graders at Cali Calmécac Language Academy in Windsor are in the middle of presenting book reports to each other when one little boy bursts into tears. Their teacher, Rosa Villalpando, pulls him aside to check in. Sobbing, he tells her that, as a result of the presidential election, he’s afraid he’ll have to move to Mexico. Some kids on his street won’t play with him anymore, he says. KQED report

When can our Rio Bravo-Greeley kids drink the water again? — The Rio Bravo-Greeley Union School District has been dealing with unsafe drinking water for about a year, with nitrate levels in its sole groundwater well exceeding the maximum levels allowed by State Water Resources Control Board. Water officials issued a compliance order in October 2015 giving the district three years to fix its nitrate levels, according to Tricia Wathen, a district engineer with the water board’s Visalia district. Rio Bravo-Greeley has done a couple of things to address that problem. Bakersfield Californian article

Young Waterford actors play tragic, drug-ruined lives — Ten-year-old Ava Anderson walked into school knowing she would die that day. But being arrested, her stay in juvy and waiting outside through her funeral proved the worst of it – the death scene just took lying still. Not every drug overdose patient lives to tell the tale, but the Waterford fourth, fifth and sixth grade actors were back on their feet in no time. Agencies putting on the day, however, hope the message lasts a lifetime. Modesto Bee article


Trump has climate change skeptics eager, scientists and green groups anxious — Environmental groups and scientists are gripped with anxiety about the prospect of President-elect Donald Trump, who has denied the existence of climate change, slashing government money for climate research, gutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s staffing and authority, and pulling out from international agreements to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Health/Human Services 

Laura’s Law: Court-ordered psych treatment considered for Stanislaus County — Mental health advocates are hoping that Stanislaus County leaders will implement a state law that enables counties to seek court-ordered outpatient treatment for people with serious mental disorders. Modesto Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Fresno County to cellphone tower companies: Stay off our land – at least for now — Fresno County supervisors have slapped a moratorium on cellphone towers that a company has proposed building in three areas of the county, and they are not alone in their concerns about the Southern California firm’s plans. Fresno Bee article


Sacramento RT’s latest dilemma: Imbibe or abstain? — RT plans to sign a contract to use stations, stops and the sides of buses and light-rail trains for advertisements as a way to raise some extra cash. The agency has ruled out accepting cigarette and marijuana ads. But it’s debating whether to accept alcohol ads.  Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

Chowchilla council votes to display ‘In God We Trust’ sign — The Chowchilla City Council has voted to install a sign reading “In God We Trust” in a prominent location in the council’s chambers. The council voted unanimously Tuesday to direct staff to draft a report on design, location and cost. Merced Sun-Star article

Fitz’s Stockton: The invisible man of the Delta — Heads turn when Rick Stanley putters through Village West Marina in what looks like a big chunk of tule-covered Delta levee — a perfectly camouflaged boat. No part of the boat is visible, just a big, shaggy heap of Delta greenery, except for a startling 80 mm gun jutting off the bow and an Old Glory waving in the breeze. Fitz’s Stockton in Stockton Record

Valley Editorial Roundup

 Fresno 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.