November 25, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

Dan Walters: California’s workers’ compensation overhaul saved bigger bucks — The highly respected Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, or WCIRB, conducted a comprehensive study of a major overhaul of the system enacted by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature four years ago. And it found that it did what it was supposed to do – cut costs, especially for medical care, to offset higher cash benefits. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Boy’s town? California just sent even fewer women to its Capitol — The overall decline is due to fewer women Democrats in the state Senate and fewer women Republicans in the Assembly. One of those being lost is Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, who is terming out of office and will be replaced by Bakersfield Republican Vince Fong. CALmatters article

Gov. Brown 

Bill Whalen: Which other jobs could Jerry Brown take on? — The looming divide between Sacramento and Washington shapes up as World War I-like trench warfare: two dug-in armies, a dangerous no man’s land in between and, at worst, another four years of scorched earth politics. Maybe a fifth career path is most appealing to Brown – retiring from public office and letting someone else solve the world’s problems. Whalen column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Hub Walsh concedes seat to Lee Loh during Merced supervisors meeting – District 2 county Supervisor incumbent Hub Walsh has conceded his seat to challenger Lee Lor following newly released election results that showed Lor in the lead.  Merced Sun-Star article

Tulare County election office nearing results deadline — The countdown to final results has begun. In 11 days Tulare County Elections Office will release the final tally. The closest race continues to be between incumbent Greg Vejvoda and opponent Greg Nunley. The two are separated by 36 votes ––Vejvoda holds the lead. Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California marijuana legalization comes with legal reprieves — Proposition 64 does more than legalize the adult use of pot. It grants a reprieve to those already in the criminal justice system — reducing tough penalties and sentences, offering greater leniency to juveniles and wiping the slate clean for some old marijuana offenses, ending a lifetime of stigma. California now joins Oregon, Washington, Colorado and other states that are re-structuring their cannabis penalties. San Jose Mercury News article‘How Bay Area’s marijuana laws differ’ in San Jose Mercury News

Other areas

Ami Bera’s tough path to re-election in 2016 — Rep. Ami Bera is 3-for-3 in the perennial political battleground that is Sacramento County’s 7th Congressional District. But the wins for the Elk Grove Democrat haven’t gotten any easier.  Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Top choices for Secretary of State divide Republicans – The debate inside Mr. Trump’s wide circle of formal and informal advisers — pitting supporters of one leading contender, Mitt Romney, against those of another, Rudolph W. Giuliani — has led to the kind of dramatic airing of differences that characterized Mr. Trump’s unconventional and often squabbling campaign team.  New York Times article

Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say — The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.  Washington Post article

Robin Abcarian: No  joke: A priest, a rabbi and a social scientist consider the election’s emotional fallout — This week, the president-elect was supposed to settle down, put aside his narcissistic bluster and start bringing together a deeply divided country. Instead, we all learned a new vocabulary word: emoluments.  Abcarian in LA Times

News Stories – Top Stories

To save San Francisco Bay and its dying Delta, state aims to re-plumb California — The report’s findings were unequivocal: Given the current pace of water diversions, the San Francisco Bay and the Delta network of rivers and marshes are ecological goners, with many of its native fish species now experiencing a “sixth extinction,” environmental science’s most-dire definition of ecosystem collapse. CALmatters article

Number of international students in U.S. colleges at an all-time high, and California is their top destination –  It may come as no shock to those who live here, but more international students choose to study in California than in any other state. A record high of more than 1 million foreign students came to America for higher education last school year. Four of the top 20 institutions that welcomed them were in the Golden State, according to a new report this month. LA Times article

Kids first: California flu bug is circulating through California schools — Give grandma a hug – not the flu – this holiday season. Doctors say schoolchildren are beginning to show up at clinics and hospitals with the telltale signs of influenza – cough, fever, body aches. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Stockton Record: Think local: Spending holiday gift dollars ‘here’ prompts community benefits – We urge people to do most — or all — of their shopping locally. There are so many inherent benefits for a community when those holiday dollars are spent locally — and they can have a residual impact throughout the years. Stockton Record editorial

When Black Friday sales strike Thursday, shoppers stick it out — It was 43 degrees Thursday morning, but that didn’t seem to bother Tony Mejia, or any of the other Black Friday warriors who have been sleeping outside Best Buy this week, eager to take advantage of sales starting before most Thanksgiving meals were even served. Bakersfield Californian article

Kings County business: Corcoran pig ranch sold — The Corcoran pig ranch owned by Hormel Foods has been sold to the world’s largest pork producer – Smithfield Foods. The 420 acre ranch raises 150,000 pigs sold under the Farmer John label. The facility has some 43 employees. Hanford Sentinel article

Start-up is pitching a new type of bond to fix California’s water and wildfire woes – The founders of fledgling San Francisco firm Blue Forest Conservation want to use the proceeds of what they call a forest-resilience bond to pay crews to cut down small trees, clear out shrubs and burn off ground cover in overgrown forests. LA Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Four inmates held in suspicious Valley State Prison death — Four inmates are being detained by staff at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla regarding the suspicious death of a fellow inmate. Fresno Bee article

San Jose: Two nabbed, two at large following Thanksgiving Eve jailbreak — Four inmates escaped from Santa Clara County’s Main Jail on Thanksgiving Eve by sawing through the steel bars of a second-floor window and using a makeshift rope to rappel to the ground below, according to the Sheriff’s Office. San Jose Mercury News article


Pair hopes trip wasn’t final frontier – Just barely touching the outer limits of the atmosphere, Manteca Unified teachers Larry Grimes and Jeff Baldwin are still in awe about being able to see comets, asteroids, infrared light, formations of stars and planets and super massive black holes first-hand. Stockton Record article

Standoff between student newspaper and Sac State may leave Hornet homeless – The Sacramento State Hornet may soon end its residency on campus. The student-run newspaper and a number of other tenants at the University Union must move by Jan. 20 to accommodate a long-planned renovation. Sacramento Bee article

Golden Valley helps Merced youths through technology — Before the month is over, Golden Valley Health Centers will be delivering 10 refurbished laptops and three iPads to the Boys & Girls Club of Merced County, according to a statement from Golden Valley.  Merced Sun-Star article

Merced students rally around 11-year-old friend fighting cancer — The friends of an 11-year-old Merced girl are helping her fight cancer with bracelets, bottles, cans and a lot of love. Merced Sun-Star article

Pepperdine will open a Staples Center classroom in partnership with AEG — Pepperdine University is expanding its presence in downtown Los Angeles under a new partnership with AEG that will create classroom space in Staples Center for students pursuing careers in sports and entertainment business. LA Times article


Earthquake coming? New warning system will give Californians precious seconds to prepare — In the next few years, an alert advising of a slight chance of earthquake might fly across your social media accounts in the same week an Amber Alert-like blast hits your cellphone, warning of an imminent temblor. The first one might lead you to avoid bridges for a few days; the second should prompt you to duck and cover. Sacramento Bee article

Westside cities consider earthquake retrofitting for thousands of vulnerable buildings — The movement to retrofit buildings at risk of collapse in a large earthquake could take a major step forward in the coming months as three prominent Westside cities — Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and West Hollywood — consider sweeping laws mandating that thousands of structures be strengthened. LA Times article

Under Trump, fuel economy standards for cars and trucks may be scaled back — Will a President Donald Trump scrap the aggressive fuel-economy targets that automakers and President Obama agreed to five years ago? Nobody knows. But automakers might not push him to go that far. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Book tells life story of ‘bipolar M.D.’ of Modesto — Paul Golden of Modesto has published a memoir titled “Bipolar MD: My Life As a Physician with Bipolar Disorder.” The book is an honest account of his 39 years of medical practice while managing a chronic mental illness. It has chapters on his family heritage and his father, Max Golden, general counsel for the Air Force from 1958 to 1962. Modesto Bee article


 HSR will build trains in U.S. after all — The California High Speed Rail Authority has reversed their plan to buy foreign parts for the California bullet train after pressure from Democratic law makers. Visalia Times-Delta article

Other areas

Contract extended for Stanislaus County CEO, but how long will he stay? — The Stanislaus County chief executive officer has agreed to an extended employment contract after telling supervisors he would not accept a multiyear agreement. Stan Risen, the CEO for the past three years, accepted an amended contract that reflects his current base salary of $257,816 a year, with a 5 percent raise contingent on a performance review next month. His current agreement expires Dec. 31.  Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Don’t let Donald Trump roll back good food policy.

Stockton Record – We urge people to do most — or all — of their shopping locally. There are so many inherent benefits for a community when those holiday dollars are spent locally — and they can have a residual impact throughout the years.