November 3, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

San Joaquin Valley congressional races attract big bucks and big names — The politically ambitious daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney has joined the fray in two increasingly expensive San Joaquin Valley congressional races. Amid a flurry of last minute fundraising, Reps. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, and David Valadao, R-Hanford, both reported receiving $1,000 contributions on Oct. 31 from Wyoming congressional candidate Liz Cheney. The 50-year-old attorney is the eldest daughter of the ex-vice president. McClatchy Newspapers article

Obama endorses Tubbs for Stockton mayor — Mayoral challenger Michael Tubbs announced Wednesday he has received the endorsement of President Barack Obama, a rare and possibly singular occurrence in Stockton political history. Stockton Record article

Younger voters overwhelmingly favor marijuana measure, which is likely to pass, poll finds – California appears poised to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, with a strong majority favoring Proposition 64 ahead of Tuesday’s vote. A new statewide poll shows 58% of likely voters support Proposition 64 and 37% oppose it. The number who said they don’t know how they will vote dropped from 8% last month to 4% in the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released this week. LA Times article

Valley politics

Stockton mayor posts, then removes, addresses of political rivals on social media — Mayor Anthony Silva has apologized for a Facebook post, since deleted, that revealed addresses for three of his political foes. But Silva also said Wednesday that those opponents — behind-the-scenes political operatives Jeff Acquistapace, Scott Winn and Jake Tyler — received “a small taste” of what he endures every day. Stockton Record article

Stockton Unified board candidates answer questions — Four of the five candidates running for a trustee seat in Area 1 of the Stockton Unified School District board fielded questions at a one-hour forum at Edison High School on Wednesday night.  Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Jeff Jardine: Pot sales planning put off until voters weigh in on Prop 64 Tuesday — Are you ready for some legal ganja? The bigger question locally, should Proposition 64 pass next week legalizing recreational marijuana, involves the readiness of Stanislaus County and local city officials to deal with regulating the pot industry. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Alice Huffman: Why Prop 64 is the right way to legalize pot in California – The president of the NAACP California writes, “Proposition 64 is a comprehensive approach to marijuana policy which we believe will become a model for the nation, and it begins with ending the social and fiscal injustices of criminalization.” Huffman op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Assemblymember Jim Cooper: Why Prop 64 is the wrong way to legalize pot in California – The Elk Grove Democrat writes, “Proposition 64 has been exposed as a shameful and cynical ballot initiative that wouldn’t effectively protect our kids or our communities. I am strongly urging voters to oppose Proposition 64 because even if it was the right time, it is fatally flawed. Cooper op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Before Proposition 64, simple possession of marijuana was already decriminalized –  In 2011, the year after California changed marijuana possession to an infraction, misdemeanor arrests involving cannabis plummeted by 85% in the state. The law signed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger meant some 47,000 fewer Californians were arrested the first year for a misdemeanor. Having a misdemeanor placed on one’s record can make it harder to get jobs and apartments, activists said. LA Times article

George Skelton: Why vote for both death penalty propositions?  Because anything would be better than the system we have now – The absolute worst thing would be if neither proposal passed. Then California would remain stuck with a dysfunctional capital punishment system that gobbles tons of tax dollars while coddling the worst murderers. The current law is the epitome of government waste and abuse. Skelton column in LA Times

If California votes to keep the death penalty, what does that mean for the state’s execution methods? – If voters approve Proposition 66, prison officials would be exempt from the existing regulation process, meaning they would no longer have to comply with the rule-making process under the Administrative Procedure Act. Opponents of the proposition argue the move hurts transparency and gives unchecked executive power to a state agency. Proponents argue it would remove bureaucratic barriers and speed up the system. LA Times article‘Should California execute these 749 death row inmates’ in LA Times

California voters support gun control initiative, Prop 63, poll says – California voters continue to show strong support for Proposition 63, a gun control initiative on next week’s statewide ballot, according to a new statewide USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. The initiative is supported by 58% of likely voters, while 35% are opposed. LA Times article

Brown hits campaign trail for Prop 57, against Prop 53 – Gov. Jerry Brown wants voters to change the way California inmates serve their time behind bars. He argues the state’s current system does little to rehabilitate convicts before sending them back to the streets. But many prosecutors are fighting back against Proposition 57 ahead of Tuesday’s election. Capital Public Radio report

Who should decide how juvenile suspects are tried? Prop 57 would change the answer – Proponents of Proposition 57, a statewide measure on next week’s ballot, say Aguilar’s case illustrates the need to end prosecutors’ power to decide whether suspects as young as 14 are tried as adults. Instead, they say, juvenile cases that qualify for adult court should be vetted by a judge. That proposed change to the juvenile justice system is the less known, and least controversial, provision of Proposition 57, which also would expand parole opportunities for nonviolent adult offenders. CALmatters article

Linda Fiddler: Prop 58 allows superior ‘dual immersion’ education – The lecturer in the Education Department at CSU Bakersfield writes, “The passage of Proposition 58 would allow local communities to decide how they want to educate their English Language Learners. It gives our community the ability to decide what is the best way to educate our children.” Fiddler op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

See how they run: Candidates lining up for 2018 governor’s race – Up and down the state, candidates are gearing up for the next election. The 2018 gubernatorial election, that is. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is in and is quickly assembling a war chest. Ditto state Treasurer John Chiang. Former California schools superintendent and East Bay Assemblywoman Delaine Eastin says she’s gearing up to run, and Bay Area billionaire Tom Steyer is said to be considering it, too. And former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he’ll be jumping in as soon as next week. KQED report

School bonds are popular, but polls show the big one on the ballot is struggling –  New spending on school construction tends to be reliably popular when proposed in California ballot measures.  Yet Proposition 51, the $9-billion school bond measure on next week’s ballot, is struggling, according to PPIC polls from the last two months. LA Times article

Joel Fox: The power of editorials – amplified — I was once told that only 3-percent of newspaper readers read editorials. I suspect that figure is low, but when I mentioned this to a Los Angeles Times editorial writer yesterday he responded: “It depends who the three percent are.” True enough. Influencers and decision makers read editorials and editorial arguments and positions often become part of policy debates. And, during election season the power of editorials are often amplified. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Judge: No sharing selfies with marked California ballots — California voters heading to the polls should leave their selfie sticks at home. A federal judge on Wednesday refused to lift the state’s ban in the current election on sharing photos of marked ballots. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup said changing the rules so late in the election process would create confusion. AP articleSacramento Bee article

Other areas

California’s congressional candidates have spent $91.7 million on their campaigns already. Here are the cheapest and most expensive races — California political races are notoriously expensive: Congressional candidates on the state ballot have spent $91.7 million overall so far during the 2016 campaign. LA Times article

From loyal to lost? Vietnamese voters and the California GOP — It’s bad news for a party who has relied on Vietnamese-American voters as a predictably conservative voting bloc since the 1970s, when refugees fleeing Vietnam’s communist regime began populating cities such as San Jose and Garden Grove in large numbers. What once was one of the few key minority groups the California GOP could bank on at the polls increasingly trending Democrat and independent. Today young Vietnamese voters are now more likely to register Democrat than your average young Californian. CALmatters article

San Jose: Mayor, council members solicited nearly $1 million to support political causes — In the last three months, Mayor Sam Liccardo and several council members reported that they have solicited nearly $1 million from Silicon Valley’s most prominent developers, wealthy landowners and powerful business leaders — many of whom have business before the council — for their political causes and favored candidates. San Jose Mercury News article


Presidential Politics


Poll says Clinton cruising to victory in California, but may not match Obama – Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is poised to win California next Tuesday by 20 percentage points, according to a new survey of likely voters from the Field Poll and UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. Sacramento Bee article

Campaign to write in Bernie Sanders sees good news in FBI’s Clinton email probe – Donald Trump’s supporters were not the only ones cheering when FBI director James Comey last week revealed the agency was reviewing new emails related to Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders’ write-in hopefuls celebrated as well. They want him to win enough states to deny Clinton the 270 electoral votes for the presidency, and then take the White House by congressional action. It’s a long shot. McClatchy Newspapers article

As Merced County goes, so goes the presidential race – usually – While Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump point to polls that show them ahead, there is one strong indicator that few seem to have noticed: When it comes to picking the presidential race, Merced County voters are almost always right. Merced Sun-Star article

Specter of Trump heightens political engagement in Silicon Valley – Billionaire technology investor and entrepreneur Peter Thiel made headlines last week for his full-throated support of Donald Trump. And while Thiel’s stance isn’t winning many supporters in Silicon Valley, it is a sign of how this year people in the tech industry are taking their political engagement to new levels. KQED report

Victor Davis Hanson: On scandal meter, does Clinton lead Nixon? – Does the death of independent journalism ensure that Clinton’s hubris will never earn a Nixonian comeuppance – or at least not until after the election? Hanson column in Fresno Bee

News Stories – Top Stories

Starting college for free? Valley education leaders make it happen — Starting in 2018, students in five central San Joaquin Valley school districts – including Fresno Unified – will be able to get their first semester of community college for free and will later be guaranteed a spot at Fresno State, if they meet admission requirements. The Central Valley Promise, launched Wednesday, is part of a national campaign to make community college free for students. Three pathways offering the program have been identified so far.  Fresno Bee article

Region’s outlook bright, San Joaquin County leaders say – The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors held its fourth evening work session Wednesday night at the Robert J. Cabral Agricultural Center to discuss economic development. Four county departments and agencies presented outlooks for the region, including University of the Pacific’s Center for Business and Policy Research. Stockton Record article

District attorney, Cal/OSHA look into accidental shooting death of Fresno deputy — Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp said Wednesday that her office is “reviewing everything” related to the accidental shooting death of Fresno County sheriff’s Sgt. Rod Lucas by a fellow deputy. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Modesto will host a stage of 2017 Amgen Tour of California – The Amgen Tour of California is back in town. Modesto officials announced Wednesday the city will host the start of Stage 2 of the 2017 tour, which features some of the world’s top bicyclists pedaling 600 miles over seven days. Modesto Bee article

Tour of California to skip San Joaquin County in 2017 – The Amgen Tour of California will skip San Joaquin County in the 2017 race. Organizers released the race routes for the men’s and women’s races on Wednesday, and neither will come through San Joaquin County. Stockton Record article

Wells Fargo will pay $50 million to settle allegations it overcharges homeowners for appraisals – Wells Fargo  & Co. reached a $50-million settlement this week with homeowners who alleged that the bank marked up home appraisal fees for borrowers who defaulted on their residential loans. LA Times article

Silver Fox 2.0: Couple to revive iconic lounge — For years now, the only silver foxes spotted at the corner of 18th and R have been the kind who forage for stiff drinks at Mexicali. But restaurateurs Rod and Julie Crawford are hoping to do for the old Silver Fox lounge what they’ve done for the Pyrenees Cafe: bring a beloved Bakersfield institution back to life. The Crawfords are purchasing the building that was home to generations of cocktail lovers but in recent years was a deli/restaurant/island-themed bar. Bakersfield Californian article

John Lindt: Kings County business: Taking the pulse — The state Pink Bollworm agency has announced that in the San Joaquin Valley, the total mapped acreage of all types of cotton planted in 2016 was 209,860 acres. That compares to 154,827 acres last year. That reverses the long spiral downward in cotton plantings here. Hanford Sentinel article

New Grand Save: Nonprofit group can proceed with buy – The nonprofit organization that wants to buy the former New Grand Save Market and rehabilitate a downtrodden stretch of southeast Stockton received a judge’s initial approval Wednesday morning. Stockton Record article

Fed on track to raise interest rates in December – The Federal Reserve on Wednesday continued its slow march toward higher interest rates, signaling that it remains on track to raise its benchmark interest in December for the first time this year but holding off on an increase this month. New York Times article

What a slump in ethanol prices means for a Sacramento company – Facing a tough market for its product, Pacific Ethanol Inc. reported a quarterly loss Wednesday, although revenue grew substantially and the loss was smaller than a year ago. Sacramento Bee article

Foster Farms donates 700 turkeys to food bank — Foster Farms delivered 700 donated turkeys Wednesday to Second Harvest Food Bank, part of an annual Thanksgiving drive. Modesto Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Alleys, bushes can’t keep being toilets for homeless people – Providing restrooms is no substitute for housing, but it’s the least the city can do for people who are forced to camp outside, unable to gain access to packed shelters. What’s more, it will force residents and business owners to once again clean up feces and needles, hopefully calling 311 every time to push the issue with the city. Sacramento Bee editorial

The feds’ lawsuit over Dodgers channel could make it harder for AT&T to buy Time Warner – The Department of Justice on Wednesday sued AT&T’s DirecTV unit, alleging it was “the ringleader” in unlawful efforts to prevent widespread carriage of the SportsNet LA television channel owned by the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Making matter worse for AT&T, the Justice Department is the same agency that must review the Time Warner deal to make sure it passes antitrust muster. LA Times article

Silicon Valley job boom intensifies ‘shocking’ commutes and housing crisis – Silicon Valley’s economic boom has created a surge of new jobs and slashed unemployment rates — but it also has drastically worsened the region’s commutes and contributed to the housing crisis, according to two new studies released Wednesday. San Jose Mercury News article

Advertising on Airbnb but not paying taxes? Host Compliance could catch you – A San Francisco-based startup is offering a solution to a vexing problem for local governments – how to find and tax people renting their homes through online services such as Airbnb or HomeAway. Sacramento Bee article

BART janitor’s whopping OT averaged 6.8 hours every day for a year – The BART janitor who swept up $162,000 in overtime pay last year did it by working an extra 2,485 hours, records show. That’s a mind-boggling average of 6.8 hours of OT for every day of the year. San Jose Mercury News article

Good news for lovers of California’s Dungeness crab — Local Dungeness crab will be on the menu in time for Thanksgiving. This year, the recreational crabbing season will open as scheduled on Saturday. The commercial season is scheduled to open Nov. 15. Fresh crab should appear at local grocers soon after. Sacramento Bee article

‘Brexit’ must face parliamentary vote, U.K. court rules — The British government must consult Parliament before proceeding with formal negotiations over its withdrawal from the European Union, the High Court ruled on Thursday, a move that is likely to aggravate the political uncertainty surrounding the country’s exit from the bloc. New York Times article


Hanford keeps up water conservation — While many areas of California have backed off on saving water after regulators lifted mandatory conservation orders this summer, local officials say the city of Hanford is holding the line. For the past 12 months, the city has been using roughly 20 percent less water than it did over the same time period in 2013-14, according to Deputy Public Works Director John Doyel. Hanford Sentinel article

Students help Lemoore get drought tolerant — Following two years of planning between the Lemoore High School FFA and Lemoore city officials, a new landscaped area is in front of Lemoore City Hall. Hanford Sentinel article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Masked man killed by off-duty San Joaquin County deputy — An off-duty San Joaquin County sheriff’s deputy was threatened by two armed, masked men in a northwest Stockton apartment complex Tuesday night when he pulled out his personal gun and fatally shot one of the assailants, Stockton police reported. Stockton Record articleSacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Programs for transitional offenders get big boost – Programs that help transition criminal offenders back into society could get a more than $2.5 million boost in funding if the county board of supervisors approves the action, probation officials said. Bakersfield Californian article

Danny Morrison: Why Lyle Martin should be our next Bakersfield Police Department chief – Chief Greg Williamson’s recent announcement that he’ll step down at year’s end signaled a chance to appoint a forward-thinking person that checks all the boxes for a transformative regime change. That person is Assistant Police Chief Lyle Martin. Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian

Why is Sheriff Mims silent as a prominent attorney is in limbo? — Sheriff Margaret Mims has no plans in the near future to release any information about a criminal investigation involving prominent Fresno criminal defense attorney Anthony “Tony” Capozzi, the sheriff’s spokesman said Wednesday. Fresno Bee article

Ride-alongs remain important tool — Despite a recent police ride-along in Madera that turned violent, local agencies say civilian ride-along programs remain important to teaching people about the realities of law enforcement. Hanford Sentinel article

Sacramento police seize more guns in 2016 – many were stolen — Sacramento police are taking a gun off the street at a rate of about one every six hours this year, a slightly faster pace than during the previous two years. Officers had grabbed 1,184 guns as of Oct. 31, the department said Monday. That’s nearly 3.9 guns per day and puts the department on pace to confiscate 1,420 guns in Sacramento this year. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento Bee: California’s bail law is badly in need of reform — Money bail is supposed to ensure that people facing criminal charges show up for their court dates. It’s not supposed to strip poor people of their liberty. Sacramento Bee editorial

Sacramento County paid dead man’s family $80,000 though he pointed gun at deputy — Sacramento County has resolved a wrongful death lawsuit by paying $80,000 to the father and widow of an Orangevale man who was fatally shot in his home by sheriff’s detectives. Sacramento Bee article


Sonya Christian: Measure J supports a long-held community vision – The president of Bakersfield College writes, “Measure J is part of a renewed vision to meet the needs of students, and will equip the Kern Community College District campuses in response to emerging technologies. Reconditioning our learning spaces that are over half a century old will give the next generations a strong foundation of knowledge and preparation, a learning environment that creates endless opportunities for the dreams of our future students.” Christian op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

State board praises, then adopts clearer, friendlier accountability plan – The State Board of Education on Wednesday approved a new version of the school improvement plan that districts must create or update annually. EdSource article

CSU Stanislaus podcasts capture campaign rumbles – Political communications students at California State University, Stanislaus, have stepped up to the mike to inform voters about local races and national issues at stake in the election next week. Modesto Bee article

Schools to face teacher shortage if voters end ban on bilingual education – Voters will decide Tuesday whether to expand bilingual education programs in California schools, bringing an end to an almost 20-year restriction on their growth. But passage could create a new challenge: how to find enough bilingual teachers amid an ongoing shortage of teachers, especially those who can teach in multiple languages. EdSource article

UC Merced approaching anniversary of attack – A UC Merced Wellness Fair on Wednesday kicked off a week to build camaraderie and educate students leading up to the one-year anniversary of a violent attack that shook the campus and its surrounding communityMerced Sun-Star article

Tiny house tours and a tiny movie at Fresno State — The Fresno State Tiny House Project and Tiny House Expedition, a community outreach and documentary storytelling project, will hold a tiny house tour, a film screening which includes snippets from Fresno, and a panel discussion at Fresno State from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday. Fresno Bee article

Bloody crime scenes turn CSU Stanislaus students into super sleuths — Sacramento State has converted a former computer lab into a forensic crime lab to train its Advanced Criminal Investigations students to solve crimes. A little more than a year ago, the crime scene would have consisted of a roped-off area somewhere outside Alpine Hall, where the classes are held. Sacramento Bee article

How the University of Alabama became a national player — State schools like Alabama are following a new survival strategy: lure top students, boost reputation, raise tuition, go big.  New York Times article


Fresno County solar project to provide energy to community choice aggregator – A Fresno County solar project will sell energy to Bay Area customers seeking up to 100-percent renewable energy to power their homes. Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar has struck a power purchase agreement with Northern California community choice aggregator MCE (Marin Clean Energy) to provide energy from First Solar’s Little Bear project in Fresno County. The Business Journal article

New male and female wolves confirmed living in rural California – A new gray wolf couple appear to be courting in rural northeastern California. State wildlife officials announced Wednesday that they’ve confirmed that the pair has been in Lassen County likely since late last year. Sacramento Bee article

Committee urges Obama to focus on dead trees — Three members of the House Natural Resources Committee and Oregon Congressman Greg Walden wrote to President Barrack Obama Tuesday to suggest his naming the proposed Sierra Nevada National Monument and expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monumentwould be “utterly irresponsible” at a time of drought and wildfire. Visalia Times-Delta article

Health/Human Services 

California seeks to halve new HIV cases by 2021 – The California Department of Public Health rolled out a hefty HIV plan Wednesday with the aim of stopping new cases of the chronic illness statewide. Sacramento Bee article

Stem cell: $150 million public-private partnership — California’s plan to create an ambitious, $150 million public/private partnership to commercialize state-funded stem cell research edged forward this week as the deadline for applications closed on Monday afternoon. Capitol Weekly article

Merced residents can start enrolling for health coverage this week — The start of 2017 is about two months away, and residents under Covered California health insurance can start enrolling now to make sure they’re covered by New Year’s Day. Merced Sun-Star article

Land Use/Housing

Will Fresno City Council agree to boost fines for slumlords – Big increases in the penalties charged to landlords who fail to fix serious health and safety violations at their rental properties are up for approval by the Fresno City Council on Thursday. Fresno Bee article

Santa Monica could pass highly restrictive growth limits. Is LA next? — Santa Monica has long been viewed as Los Angeles’ innovative neighbor. For decades, the upscale seaside city has been an early adopter of such landmark policies as rent control, bike sharing and a variety of environmental protections. This election appears to be no exception, with Santa Monica taking on a hot-button issue Los Angeles and many other cities are grappling with: urban growth. LA Times article

Other areas

Will California Chrome add another chapter to legacy? — On a recent October morning, while waiting to head out for a gallop around the track at Santa Anita Park, the chestnut thoroughbred that’s poised to become the most lucrative in history let out his alpha horse. California Chrome, bred at Harris Farms in Coalinga, reared up in a rare act of dominance and walked a few steps on his hind legs, as exercise rider Dihigi Gladney held on precariously 7 feet off the ground. Sacramento Bee article