November 5, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

CD 21: After months of irrelevancy, cash jolts keep rocking the race – What a difference a few weeks makes. The 21st Congressional District – which covers all of Kings and parts of Kern, Tulare and Fresno counties – has gone from the back burner to the front burner, from forgotten castoff to the center of attention. Now, political watchers are wondering if Hanford Republican David Valadao is in trouble? Fresno Bee article

If Prop 64 passes, will testing positive for pot still get you fired? — With California voters likely to approve recreational marijuana use through Proposition 64 in Tuesday’s general election, pot use is likely to increase exponentially in the next few years. So will Marin’s situation – fired for using a state-legalized substance – repeat itself after Proposition 64? Probably. Fresno Bee article

California has 19.4 million registered voters – a new record – A record 19.4 million Californians are registered to vote in advance of Tuesday’s election, according to the secretary of state’s office in its final report before election day. LA Times article

Valley politics

Stockton Record: Political sleaze as mayor, ‘silent’ group take the low road – As we reach the home stretch before the Nov. 8 General Election, there still is time for aggressive, issues-based campaigning. Unfortunately, there also is time for sleaze-ball politics. We had two prime examples this week. Stockton Record editorial 

Transportation, crime, wall among Bakersfield Ward 5 issues — Three men are competing to represent Ward 5 on the Bakersfield City Council: incumbent Harold Hanson, union president Ryan Nance and irrigation company owner Jeffrey Tkac — or, listing them by past vocations, two skateboarders and a banker. They share common platform planks of completing Bakersfield’s truncated freeway system and improving public safety, but differ on exactly how to make the city safer and, of course, on who is right for the job. Bakersfield Californian article

Stanislaus Democratic club slapped with state fine – The defunct Stanislaus County Democratic Club has agreed to pay a $1,746 fine for failing to share financial information with state watchdogs eight times over a three-year period, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Modesto Bee article

Election in Tulare County shaped by numbers — Republicans have held Tulare County since September 1996. They overtook Democrats that month by 1,064 registrations, adding nearly 2,000 registered Republicans while Democrats shed 1,100. Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Prop 64: It makes pot legal to have, but not to buy – at first – In one of the more curious twists to the proposition, while Californians would be able legally to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and smoke it the minute they wake up on Nov. 9, they may have to break the law to get their hands on the stuff in the first place. Why? Because it may be as late as 2018 before pot sellers are licensed to sell it under Prop. 64. San Jose Mercury News article 

Nancy Pelosi will vote to legalize pot in California — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said Friday she plans to vote for California’s Proposition 64, making her one of a small number of high-level politicians to support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. LA Times article

Resident’s views on pot aren’t cut and dried – Conservative-leaning Kings County has a reputation for being anti-marijuana. For evidence, consider the fact that Hanford and Lemoore have adopted stringent anti-marijuana regulations to prepare for the potential passage of Proposition 64, the ballot measure that would legalize weed for recreational use if it passes on Tuesday. Hanford Sentinel article

LA City Council passes resolution in support of ending the death penalty in California – Pointing to a costly system that has resulted in only 13 executions since 1978, the Los Angeles City Council on Friday passed a resolution in favor of Proposition 62, which would repeal the death penalty in California and replace the punishment with life in prison without parole. LA Times article

Why Californians have to vote on 17 ballot measures – To say the November ballot challenges voters may be an understatement. Casting fully informed votes requires cutting through the campaign spin and comprehending far-reaching policy proposals covering everything from legal marijuana to the death penalty and parole policies to the complexities of drug pricing. Some ask voters to resolve policy struggles the Legislature could not or would not tackle. A few are conceived or bankrolled almost entirely by individuals or self-interested industries. Sacramento Bee article

Modesto Bee: Prop 53, the toughest of them all to pick – We recommend voters ignore the highly deceptive ads against Proposition 53 and look instead at the Legislative Analyst’s Office explanation, then make their own wise choice. Modesto Bee editorial

Up in arm over Prop 63 – A proposition aimed at reducing the amount of ammunition that ends up in the hands of people who shouldn’t have it is causing some uproar among gun owners and sellers. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Danielle Hall: Prop 63 just makes more laws criminals will ignore – The Kern County worker, wife, mother and student writes, “Proposition 63 does not make California safer, and it does not even close existing loopholes. All it does is create more laws for criminals not to follow.” Hall op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Monterey Bay Aquarium digs in for battle of the bags — The Monterey Bay Aquarium, which attracts 2 million visitors every year, is no stranger to political advocacy. But this year the institution has ratcheted up its presence in the political arena, going as far as incorporating staff members and aquarium exhibits in its battle against flimsy plastic bags. San Jose Mercury News article

California Politics Podcast: The only poll that matter is … — On this week’s episode, the final hours of the 2016 election season are here and we’re looking at new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times polling data on ballot measures. Plus, a blast of early 2018 gubernatorial election buzz. With John Myers of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of KQED News. California Politics Podcast

New poll shows Prop 61 race virtually tied – The campaign for Proposition 61, the prescription drug pricing measure on California’s ballot, is in a statistical dead heat, according to the latest Field-IGS poll results released Friday.  LA Times article

Joel Fox: Betting elections and consequences of overlapping taxes — What’s the smart money say on some California political races. The website Sports Betting Experts has odds on some California races. The sharps laying odds are on the obvious side of a number of races in the Golden State: That Hillary Clinton will beat Donald Trump in California; that Kamala Harris will capture the U.S. Senate seat; that marijuana legalization will pass. Two other positions the smart money chose may not be as clear according to polls. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Other areas

Here’s why the Legislature’s moderate Democrats see the ‘Mod Squad’ growing on Election Day – As Tuesday’s election nears, this increasingly assertive bloc of lawmakers is hoping to bolster its ranks with like-minded newcomers, several of whom are locked in runoffs with other Democrats thanks to California’s top-two primary system. And the deep-pocketed business interests that have backed more centrist Democrats as the fortunes of California Republicans wane are spending record amounts in some of these races, too. LA Times article

Poverty crosses party lines — Although the poverty rate is higher in districts represented by Democrats, most poor people in the United States live in a community represented by a Republican. Brookings article

Dan Morain: A dispiriting campaign mercifully stumbles to its better end – It’s never wise to predict an election’s winners and losers before votes are tallied. But blunder though it may be, I will get right to it. Morain in Sacramento Bee 

Ami Bera claims his Republican opponent let rapists go free. Is it true? – The advertisement’s implication that rapists have been allowed to go free under Jones as “68 percent of rape kits in Sacramento County go unprocessed” is a big stretch. McClatchy Newspapers article

So you want to be a lobbyist? Read on — Members of the “Third House” are often asked for advice by individuals interested in finding a job as a lobbyist. Our advice to those prospective lobbyists is usually similar to job seekers in many other professions. Nonetheless, we will try here to give some specific advice on obtaining a lobbying job at the state level.  Capitol Weekly article

Presidential Politics

Cathleen Decker: Clinton is seeing early turnout among the women and Latinos she is counting on in crucial states – Donald Trump and his campaign surrogates have been banking that a cadre of voters who rarely surface at the polls will show up and buoy his campaign as it drives toward Tuesday’s election. Yet while reliably Republican voters are showing up at early-voting sites, they are being met there by a countering army: women, Latinos and other supporters of Hillary Clinton. Decker in LA Times

In Orange County, mostly white residents heed Donald Trump’s call to be on the lookout for voter fraud – Linda Reedy has long been convinced that voter fraud was afoot, with ballots cast even by people who were not American citizens. But it wasn’t until after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump began to sound the drumbeat of rigged elections and asked supporters — particularly in hotly contested battleground states — to monitor polling stations that the 53-year-old Laguna Niguel resident finally heeded the call of the election day poll observer. LA Times article

Our next president will inherit an extremely polarized electorate, California poll finds —  California, there’s at least one thing that Hillary Clinton supporters and Donald Trump supporters can agree on: If their candidate loses on election day, they want the victor put under a microscope by Congress.  LA Times article

Foon Rhee: Women are with Hillary, but they’re not all alike – Yet while most women are with her, they aren’t all alike. So new maps focusing on girls and young women of color caught my eye. Black girls and women are concentrated in the South, while the highest share of Hispanic girls and women live in the West, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Rhee column in Sacramento Bee

Michelle Obama urges San Diego voters to support Democrats in new TV ad — First Lady Michelle Obama is the star of new television and radio advertisements airing in San Diego. While she doesn’t mention a specific candidate or race, the ads appear aimed at getting out the vote against Rep. Darrell Issa and ensuring that Rep. Scott Peters is reelected. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

World’s largest box of mandarins unveiled in Delano — The Wonderful Company likes to do things in a big way. It’s why the company unveiled what is easily the largest box of Halo mandarins ever made. It’s 80 feet high and 11,000 square feet. Actually, it’s a building that was made to look like a carton of Halos. Fresno Bee article

California looks to single drug for carrying out executions — California’s death row inmates could be executed using one of four different drugs or choose the gas chamber under regulations submitted for final approval Friday, just days before state voters consider whether to do away with the death penalty or reform it. AP articleLA Times articleKQED report

Jobs and the Economy

September setback: California exports fall after a robust August — California exports sagged in September, deflating momentum and optimism prompted by a strong rally in Golden State shipments abroad in August. Sacramento Bee article

Patty Guerra: Following their passion for clothes from San Francisco to Modesto – Kati Koos was on the telephone when I walked into her shop last week, directing the caller how to get to Roseburg Square from Highway 99. That’s the kind of thing to be expected when you relocate to Modesto after 24 years in downtown San Francisco. Guerra in Modesto Bee

Medicare fraud whistleblower gets $631,200 from Fresno County jury — A Fresno County jury has awarded more than $600,000 to a respiratory therapist who said she was wrongfully terminated at a sleep medicine center because she blew the whistle on Medicare fraud. Fresno Bee article

Company to break ground on $10 million almond processing facility in Madera – California Custom Processing will host a groundbreaking next week in Madera for a $10 million almond processing facility.  The Business Journal article

Groundwork begins for Fresno aquarium – Fresno is one step closer to having its own aquarium. In September, grading work was completed at the Fresno aquarium property along Highway 99 overlooking the San Joaquin River and soon the nonprofit taking charge of the project, Aquarius Aquarium Institute, will be able to move forward on constructing the building for phase one. The Business Journal article

John Lindt: Hotels and cotton going up — The total value of all Visalia building permits are up 16 percent through October. The higher numbers reflect a jump in new commercial building in town. The city has seen $51.7 million in new commercial construction through October, compared to $23.8 million for the same 10 months in 2015. Lindt in Visalia Times-Delta

Here’s another way for nonprofits to get inside Golden 1 Center — Golden 1 Credit Union is inviting nonprofit groups to borrow its luxury suite at Golden 1 Center. In a move comparable to a program launched by the city of Sacramento, the credit union said Wednesday it will offer nonprofits access to its suite for selected Sacramento Kings games and other arena events. The offer includes tickets to the events and refreshments. Sacramento Bee article


Jay Lund: Lessons we should learn from the drought – The director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences writes, “You can’t always get what you want, but California’s urban and agricultural water users have mostly prospered during the drought. The drought has created new problems, highlighted others and brought new solutions, particularly for groundwater. For the environment and other users, the drought has shown major gaps in organization and resources needing local, state and federal attention.” Lund op-ed in Sacramento Bee

How a farmworker ‘company town’ is taking shape in Salinas Valley — After a serious farmworker shortage, a light bulb went on for a Salinas Valley ag company: build affordable, safe housing for farmworkers. KQED report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Officer-involved shooting in downtown Modesto justified, DA says – The shooting by two Modesto Police officers of an armed man inside a parking garage last year was justified, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday. Modesto Bee article

Fresno County sheriff’s deputy accidentally shoots himself in leg — A Fresno County sheriff’s deputy was rushed to the hospital Friday afternoon after shooting himself in the leg in southeast Fresno. The wound will not endanger the deputy’s life, Fresno police Lt. Joe Gomez said. The Police Department is investigating the incident because it occurred at East Church and South Gearhart avenues in the city of Fresno. Fresno Bee article

Man will serve 3 years for paintball shooting at Stockton LGBT nightclub — Branden Keithly Staples, who shot paintballs at two patrons of Stockton’s Paradise Nightclub, has taken a plea deal and will serve three years in custody, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office. Stockton Record article

How Riverside County became California’s death penalty leader — Ten years into a state moratorium on executions, many prosecutors have stopped seeking capital punishment altogether. Riverside, however, is condemning killers at the highest rate in the country. The county has sent 22 people to death row in the past five years, the same number as Los Angeles County — where more than six times as many murders were committed. LA Times article


UC Merced changing policy related to free speech – Vague language in a UC Merced policy makes it ripe for abuse, according to a free speech watchdog, but campus leaders say they expect to revise the guideline in the near future. Merced Sun-Star article

Will Fresno Unified’s Hanson cast shadow over Measure X vote, board seats? – The future of one of the most prominent public officials in Fresno could be on the line Tuesday, but his name won’t even be on the ballot. The results of a vote on a local school bond and the political leanings of two new Fresno Unified School Board Trustees could be a signal about how much local support there is for district superintendent Michael Hanson. KVPR report

Fresno Unified could add community health centers to 10 schools — Fresno Unified School District hopes to create at least 10 school-based health centers, which would be built in areas of the city that have the least access to health care. Fresno Bee article

Parlier school offices raided by Fresno County District Attorney investigators – Fresno County District Attorney’s investigators on Friday removed financial and business records from the Parlier Unified School District business offices in a probe that could lead to criminal charges. Fresno Bee article 

New on college admission checklist: LinkedIn profile – Social media experts are advising high school seniors to create profiles on LinkedIn to draw the attention of admissions officers. New York Times article

Peter Truong: Fresno should replicate University High School model, not kill it – The Fresno resident writes, “The UHS charter was approved by the Fresno Unified board in 2007. Since then, its mission statement has remained the same. Admission at UHS is by lottery, so everyone who applies has an equal chance. How can a board member expect that somehow the student body will magically reflect the demographics of the community at large? A charter school is, by its very nature, special. Not everyone wants what it offers or is willing to put up with its shortcomings.” Truong op-ed in Fresno Bee

Kerman school bond campaign fined for filing lapses – The California Fair Political Practices Commission has fined a local school bond campaign for failing to file timely financial reports. Fresno Bee article

CSU Sacramento taps hundreds of students to battle teacher shortage — Hundreds of students at Sacramento State received the call to action. “Congratulations! One of your professors … has nominated you as someone with the qualities to become an outstanding teacher,” read the letter to 300 students. It invited them to come to the “Celebration of Teaching Event” at the university last week to learn about the school’s teacher-education program. Sacramento Bee article

Welding like a girl – Delta College hosted the program for female students from high schools in Stockton, Linden, Tracy and Calaveras County as an opportunity to learn about the vast Career Technical Education programs that are available to study. Girls spent much of Friday with faculty in programs such as automotive, engineering and robotics to work hands-on in shops, as well as get ideas for possible career choices. Stockton Record article 

School expansion project depends on buying Atwater park — A plan to expand Peggy Heller Elementary School in Atwater by having the school district purchase part of a city park is on track to be finalized by the end of the year, public meeting agendas show. Merced Sun-Star article


Air district says don’t burn wood Saturday in Valley — The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is banning wood burning in the Valley on Saturday except for registered devices. Fresno, Madera, Kings, Tulare, Stanislaus, Merced counties and the Valley portion of Kern County are included in the mandatory curtailment. Fresno Bee article

Health/Human Services 

Tulare Regional Medical Center making money, but question is: How much? – Though all indications are that Tulare Regional Medical Center will continue to show operating profits, the monthly financial reports that heralded them have been discontinued. The last one was issued in July. Visalia Times-Delta article

Tulare hospital seeking loan to finish hospital — The Tulare Regional Medical Center has applied for a $55 million loan backed by the State of California so it can finish construction of its long-delayed four-story tower. Visalia Times-Delta article

There’s a hepatitis A risk for anyone who ate strawberry food at some restaurants – A voluntary national recall of frozen Egyptian strawberries has been issued because of the possibility of hepatitis A contamination, and several restaurants in Tulare and Fresno counties have had to throw out the bad strawberries. So far, there are no reports to public health officials in the two counties that anyone has contracted the disease from the tainted strawberries. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Report: Adventist Medical Center receives ‘B’ grade — Adventist Medical Center in Hanford earned the second highest grade for patient safety according to a nationwide report card released earlier this week. Hanford Sentinel article 

Students plan to bring attention to combating diabetes — This “bigger picture” isn’t very pretty. So, some Stockton teenagers want to help repaint it. “We’re targeting the big soda and big sugar producers,” said Tama Brisbane, Stockton’s poet laureate who’s providing the palette to help them draw an alarming image of type-2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. Stockton Record article

Land Use/Housing

Would-be strip club owner, tired of dealing with Modesto: ‘I’ve had enough of these people’ – A Los Angeles businessman said he has dropped his plans to open an adult cabaret featuring strippers performing erotic dances in downtown Modesto. Tony Toutouni said he also will end his lawsuit against the city, which alleges it was trying to stop the cabaret from opening. Modesto Bee article

How to make LA housing more affordable? One vision is on Tuesday’s city ballot — Many tenant advocates say the wave of residential construction is too focused on serving the wealthy or upscale professionals. They are demanding that projects include affordable homes when they get the kind of exemption sought by Jamison, which declined to comment for this report. Opponents, led by development interests, argue that the proposed regulations, however well meaning, will have the unintended consequence of reducing housing production and worsening the affordability crisis. LA Times article

Wilshire Boulevard, once a mecca for drivers, is trying a different path.  It may offer a blueprint for LA — In a scene that makes some longtime Angelenos marvel, the area around Wilshire and La Brea Avenue has become a construction zone as workers begin building the Metro line, which eventually will connect downtown L.A. to the Westside. The new Wilshire Boulevard often is cited by urban planners as a way Los Angeles can evolve. LA Times article


Bike-involved crashes down in 2016 — Following a high number of bicycle-related collisions last year, the Hanford Police Department appears to be successfully curbing the problem. Hanford Sentinel article

Other areas

Kern County Counsel Theresa Goldner resigns abruptly – County Counsel Theresa Goldner resigned her position as Kern County government’s top lawyer Friday – effective almost immediately. The news shocked many in county government, including two of Goldner’s five bosses: the members of the Board of Supervisors. Bakersfield Californian article

David Brust: Oleander is sick of illegal pot shops and city’s recalcitrance – The Oleander neighborhood resident writes, “The Oleander area is one of the oldest and most historic areas in Bakersfield, with beautiful mansions and craftsman homes. But it also has a drug problem. Within a half mile of the center of the Oleander neighborhood are 14 illegal pot shops. They’re illegal because they aren’t in an area zoned for them and the City of Bakersfield has banned them by ordinance.” Brust op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Fresno Bee’s Carmen George wins Best of the West column-writing award — Bee columnist Carmen George won second place for general interest column writing in the 2016 Best of the West journalism contest. Fresno Bee article

Davis 911: ‘I have this huge turkey surrounding my car … I don’t know what to do’ — Aggressive wild turkeys began populating Davis about a decade ago when a flock found a home at the city cemetery. They multiplied and moved into other parts of Davis, including the downtown area where the released calls were placed. Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel cited the 911 tapes when addressing council members before their vote.” Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian  Our endorsements for the Nov. 8 election.

Fresno Bee – The latest anti-democratic outrage by Trump and his minions; Thumbs up, thumbs down.

Modesto Bee – We recommend voters ignore the highly deceptive ads against Proposition 53 and look instead at the Legislative Analyst’s Office explanation, then make their own wise choice.

Sacramento Bee –- Four big remaining reasons Californians must not forget to vote.

Stockton Record – As we reach the home stretch before the Nov. 8 General Election, there still is time for aggressive, issues-based campaigning. Unfortunately, there also is time for sleaze-ball politics. We had two prime examples this week.