November 6, 2014


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Political Briefs

Top stories

CD16: Political parties scratching heads over Costa-Tacherra shocker – Not a single person steeped in the world of federal politics saw this coming. Not the political pundits of the Washington Beltway. Not the National Republican Congressional Committee or its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Not the deep-pocketed independent groups that shower cash on candidates in competitive races. Not even, it seems, Jim Costa.  Fresno Bee article

Jerry Brown plans final touches on his legacy as governor –  In what may be the last act of a political career spanning more than four decades, Jerry Brown will begin his fourth and final term as governor uniquely positioned to build his legacy as California’s longest-serving chief executive.  LA Times article

Gov. Brown

GOP victories will test reach of Jerry Brown’s California-made agenda – As popular as Brown remains in California, his agenda for a record fourth term now faces stiffer headwinds nationally than he has faced at any time since taking office in 2011.  Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

SD14: Too close to call, but it’s advantage – Vidak – Democrat Luis Chavez has a razor-thin shot at pulling out a come-from-behind win in California’s 14th Senate District. But only that. There were 78,514 unprocessed ballots in Kern, Fresno and Kings counties Wednesday morning — all but 584 of them in Democratic Kern and Fresno. Bakersfield Californian articleHanford Sentinel article

AD26: Post-mortem begins in surprising race – The apparent victory of Devin Mathis over Rudy Mendoza in the race for the 26th Assembly District in Tuesday’s election rocked the political world in Tulare County, where the district is centered. Mathis received 55.6% of the vote to 44.4% for Mendoza. Both are Republicans.  Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Kern incumbents coast to victory – A pall of silence fell over south San Joaquin Valley politics Wednesday as campaigns stopped to take stock of what happened Tuesday night. On Twitter and Facebook, and in small groups over lunch and coffee, the political warriors talked about what happened and what comes next.  Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno County: More than 40,000 ballots still to be counted – Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth said Wednesday that her elections staff has 32,500 vote-by-mail ballots and 10,100 provisionals still to be counted from Tuesday’s election. The next update will be issued by Orth at 3 p.m. on Friday, she tells voters on a new message on her website.  Fresno Bee article

Experts: Gamoian’s tough-on-crime approach worked in Fresno County judge’s  race – Republicans and Democrats — and a majority of Fresno County Superior Court judges — gave Rachel Hill hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on billboards, campaign signs, and television, radio and newspapers ads. And when her opponent, Fresno prosecutor Lisa Gamoian, attacked her, Hill stayed the course and touted her credentials, hoping to sway undecided voters. Hill, however, couldn’t overcome Gamoian’s message to voters: that she would be tough on crime.  Fresno Bee article

Early numbers show voter turnout plummeted in Kern, California – Kern County elections chief Karen Rhea estimated Wednesday morning that turnout among Kern registered voters in Tuesday’s election was 32.1 percent so far. But there were 30,000 ballots left to process, so the turnout potential is as high as 42.2 percent, she said. Bakersfield Californian article

Kings turnout hits 46 percent – Earlier reports of lower voter turnout compared to previous years proved true Wednesday with Election Day vote count results revealing its lowest turnout since 2002. Of the 48,265 registered voters in Kings County, a total of 22,270 voted in this year’s general election — that’s an estimated 46.1 percent of voters. Hanford Sentinel article

Voter turnout falls short in Merced County and statewide – Registrar of Voters Barbara Levey set her goal at having 55 percent of the county’s 95,453 registered voters show up to vote. A similar election four years ago brought out about 51.23 percent of voters. But Levey said Wednesday the county likely did not meet its target.  Merced Sun-Star article

Some San Joaquin County races remain too close to call – Some candidates walked to easy victories on Election Day, but the outcome of San Joaquin County’s closest races won’t be decided until election officials work through thousands of uncounted ballots.  Stockton Record article

Catalano, Soria wait for last batch of ballots to be counted in Fresno City Council race – It’s hurry-up-and-wait time for two candidates fighting for the Fresno City Council District 1 seat. A mere 20 votes separate Cary Catalano and Esmeralda Soria in their campaign to replace the termed-out Blong Xiong.  Fresno Bee article

Five seeking open seat on Stockton council – At the end of 2014, Councilwoman Kathy Miller will move on to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors with two years remaining in her term representing District 2 in north-central Stockton.  Stockton Record article

Pedersen sends Bond packing in Kings supervisor race – In the District 4 county supervisor contest, farmer Craig Pedersen decisively defeated Iraq War veteran Justin Bond with 53.3 percent of the vote, according to a semi-official tally listed on Kings County’s election results web page Wednesday morning. Bond received 46 percent. Hanford Sentinel article

Hanford election sees council turnover – With the results of Tuesday’s election tallied, the newly selected Hanford City Council is going to see some fresh new faces and some seasoned veterans. The biggest victory in the race for three seats on the council went to Area E candidate Justin Mendes.  Hanford Sentinel article

Bakersfield Ward 7 winner: Community and I made ‘connection’ – Updated election results Wednesday offered no surprises in four Bakersfield City Council races, with incumbents returned to office in Wards 1, 3, and 4, and retired Department of Justice special agent Chris Parlier maintaining a comfortable lead in southern Ward 7. Bakersfield Californian article

Visalia Council’s Area 2 low voter turnout concerns candidates – Visalia Democratic Club President Louie Campos says, almost in tongue-in-cheek matter, he’ll suddenly become popular if he were to figure out why there was such low turnout for the Tulare City Council Area 2 race Tuesday night.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Atwater votes for big changes – More than 30 percent of Atwater voters hit the polls Tuesday with one mission – to change the city’s politics. Their voices were heard loud and clear. In one sweeping election, voters selected a new mayor, two new council members and gave overwhelming support for a measure limiting the terms of local politicians.  Merced Sun-Star article

Turlock council margins widen a bit – Updated results show challenger Matthew Jacob and incumbent Bill DeHart extending their narrow leads in the race for two seats on the Turlock City Council. They also suggest that Measure B, a sales tax increase to pay for street repairs in Turlock, will fail to reach the required two-thirds approval. Modesto Bee article

Madrigal, Chedester win in Lemoore – The Lemoore City Council could head in a new direction, with voters selecting 30-year California Highway Patrol veteran Ray Madrigal and Jeff Chedester, sales manager for a Stratford-based seed and grain business, to serve on the council for the next four years.  Hanford Sentinel article

Police union blasts Merced City Council – The Merced Police Officers Association has designed an image that has appeared in social media this week in which the union condemns the Merced City Council, saying it “failed” voters.  Merced Sun-Star article

Milla holds on to lead in tight Central Unified race –  Central Unified Trustee Diana Milla took a thin lead over businessman Rama Dawar in the Area 7 race with just 25 votes separating the candidates early Wednesday morning.  Fresno Bee article

Gundacker re-elected to Kings school board – It looks like the Kings County Board of Education won’t be seeing any shake-ups next year. Board incumbent Bill Gundacker was re-elected for another four-year term on Tuesday. Gundacker ran against former district attorney Greg Strickland to keep his Area 4 seat, which covers a large northwest portion of the county.  Hanford Sentinel article

Plascencia elected to Tulare school board – Incumbent Phil Plascencia took an early lead in the race for the Tulare City Elementary School District Area 4 and went on to win easily over Priscilla Elaine Musgrove with more than 60 percent of the votes.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Neel Kashkari releases 12-page document reflecting on his loss to Gov. Jerry Brown – It didn’t take long for Republican Neel Kashkari to reflect on his loss to Gov. Jerry Brown. He started before Election Day. That’s according to a 12-page document Kashkari released Wednesday titled “Lessons from the Trail.”  KPCC reportCapitol AlertLA Times article

California’s credit rating upgraded after Prop 2 passage – A day after voters passed Proposition 2, which creates a “rainy day fund” to cushion the state budget from future economic downturns, major credit-rating house Standard & Poor’s on Wednesday upgraded California’s general obligation bond rating. S&P raised the state’s credit rating from A to A-plus, citing the stability offered by Proposition 2.  Sacramento Bee articleAP article

Leaders cite reasons Democrats failed to regain state Senate supermajority – Political scandals, low voter turnout and concern about one political party having too much power were cited by legislative leaders and others as contributing factors in the failure of Democrats to regain a supermajority in the state Senate in Tuesday’s election. LA Times article

Analysis: California GOP victory: Democrats denied supermajority – California Republicans scored a rare victory in Tuesday’s election by denying Democrats a two-thirds legislative supermajority that would consign GOP lawmakers to virtual irrelevance in the state Capitol.  LA Times article

California Republicans achieve pared-down goals in Tuesday’s election – Despite faltering in every contest for statewide office, California Republicans appear to have attained their objectives in the general election Tuesday, depriving Democrats of supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature and chipping away at their numbers in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Sacramento Bee article

California GOP emboldened by Election Day showing – Long shunted to the political margins, California Republicans showed signs of a small revival on Election Day, thanks in large part to a lukewarm turnout by Democrats who dominate politics in the nation’s most populous state.  AP article

Dan Morain: GOP ran a hungry race, Dems clammed up – Sure, Democrats swept statewide offices for the second time in four years, and held strong majorities in the Legislature and in the congressional delegation. But unlike other recent elections, when the GOP wave stopped on the eastern side of the Sierra, California Democrats for the first time in years felt the cold splash of defeat. Although votes remain to be counted, the ripples surely are washing back east.  Morain in Sacramento Bee

Nowhere to go but up for state’s embattled GOP – California Republicans watched their candidates for governor and other statewide offices get thrashed on election day, while both houses of the state Legislature remained in firm Democratic control — but out of the ashes of 2014, party activist say, may come a spark of hope.  San Francisco Chronicle article

George Skelton: California GOP survives, barely, to fight another day – The GOP won enough legislative seats to deny Democrats another two-thirds majority — not a hugely significant achievement in practical terms, but important for morale and symbolism.  Skelton column in LA Times

GOP wave hits California – gently – Though the final chapter is still unwritten on Election 2014, we know this much: Republicans took advantage of a traditional dip in midterm turnout and some big spending in targeted races to pick up enough legislative seats to end Democrats’ supermajorities in both houses.  Capitol Weekly article

Marshall Tuck concedes to Tom Torlakson in state schools chief race – Challenger Marshall Tuck conceded Wednesday morning to incumbent Tom Torlakson in the contest for California superintendent of public instruction, a race that became the most expensive on the state ballot.  LA Times article

Money talks: Biggest spenders on CA ballot props won (chart) – One lesson from the results of California’s ballot propositions: Big spenders won big. Doctors and insurance companies (and a few stray tech execs) wrote the biggest checks in support of — or opposition to — the state ballot measures, and for the most part, they were rewarded with victories. Of the top 20 spenders on California ballot campaigns this year only one — the California Nurses Association — spent money on a losing campaign. San Francisco Chronicle article

California election results defy national trend – mostly – The wave of Republican victories in Washington and state capitals across the nation turned into a small, but not insignificant, trickle by the time it hit the shores of California after Tuesday’s election.  LA Times article

Prop 45’s resounding defeat a boon for health insurers – Already a financial bonanza for health insurers, Obamacare paid off for the industry again at the ballot box as Californians soundly rejected a bid to rein in health insurance rates.  LA Times article

Scott Shafer: Run for statewide office: No experience necessary – As I was looking down the ballot the other day, one thing jumped out at me : The relatively high number of first-time candidates for statewide offices in this year’s relatively sleepy election. Of the eight statewide offices from governor on down, five are being sought by rookie politicians who survived the top-two primary in June. All but one are Republicans.  Shafer in KQED

Tony Quinn: First take on the election – Unlike what happened in 2010, the great Republican tide of 2014 seems not to have stopped at the Sierras.  While it will take awhile to get all the votes in, it looks like California Republicans may actually makes some gains in this election.  Quinn in Fox & Hounds

Joel Fox: The Democratic wall in CA has leaks – The Republican election day tide which saw a gain of 7 senate seats, 13 House seats and 3 governorships across the nation banged into the Sierra Nevada wall that has often separated California metaphorically from the rest of the country with Democrats once again sweeping all the statewide offices. But this time there were leaks in the wall. Fox in Fox & Hounds


Immigrants facing deportation do better in court with a lawyer – Of the thousands of immigrants held in custody while awaiting deportation hearings in San Francisco, not many have lawyers. But those who do are three times as likely to win the right to remain in the United States, according to a new study by an immigrants-rights group and a Stanford law clinic.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Other areas

Fresno Bee: ‘Red tide’ midterm results could be a lift for Valley – The “red tide” that swept much of the nation in Tuesday’s elections and enabled the Republicans to add control of the U.S. Senate to their dominance of the House of Representatives could prove to be beneficial to the San Joaquin Valley.  Fresno Bee editorial

How did Berkeley pass a soda tax when other cities failed? – The city of Berkeley was basking in glory Wednesday over its passage of the nation’s first soda tax, an accomplishment that the beverage industry dismissed as just a whacky – and inconsequential – victory.  KQED report

Strong-mayor plan defeated, Mayor Johnson concedes – After six years, it appears Sacramento’s strong-mayor debate has been put to rest. Mayor Kevin Johnson on Wednesday conceded the defeat of his strong-mayor ballot measure and said it was time for the city “to get back to work.” Measure L was soundly defeated by voters, trailing 57 percent to 43 percent with most of the ballots counted.  Sacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorial

Ose leads Bera but many ballots uncounted – It could take days to determine a winner in the closely watched race for suburban Sacramento’s 7th Congressional District. Capitol Alert

Cities in San Diego County reject medical marijuana dispensary measures – While voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. were approving pro-marijuana measures, residents in two San Diego County cities on Tuesday made a different decision.  LA Times article

Pot legalization spreads through the West and into D.C. – Joints, pot brownies, cannabis–dosed sodas and other marijuana products will soon be sold in retail shops to any adult who wants them throughout a large chunk of the West, after voters in Oregon and Alaska approved legalization measures Tuesday. And an initiative approved overwhelmingly by Washington, D.C., voters legalizes the use and cultivation of marijuana there, but stops short of allowing retail sales.  LA Times article

Oakland’s next mayor: Libby Schaaf unseats Jean Quan – Oakland native and one-term Councilwoman Libby Schaaf cruised to victory Wednesday in the Oakland mayoral race, holding a consistent lead over incumbent Jean Quan and others as ballots were counted and poll workers ran a ranked-choice voting formula that eliminated all but two of the 15 candidates in the congested contest.  San Francisco Chronicle article

San Jose mayor’s race:  Sam Liccardo appears to have slim win – Councilman Sam Liccardo was headed for a narrow victory over county Supervisor Dave Cortese in Tuesday’s hotly-contested battle to become the next mayor of San Jose.  San Jose Mercury News article

Chevron’s $3 million backfires in Richmond election – Richmond voters handed Chevron a resounding rejection in Tuesday’s election, defeating all four candidates supported by the oil giant despite Chevron outspending its opponents by a 20-to-1 margin.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Tom Steyer gets little payoff for millions spent on green issues – California hedge fund titan Tom Steyer’s $74-million bet — most of it from his own wallet — yielded little payoff. On Tuesday, voters elected the most hostile Congress environmentalists have faced in years.  LA Times article

For Pelosi, Feinstein and Boxer, D.C. is now a bleak landscape – California’s top three Democrats in Washington — all of them older than 70 and all with outsized influence on national policy that took decades to achieve — woke up Wednesday to crippled prospects and questions about their future in politics.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Nancy Pelosi declares run for minority leader – Despite losing more than a dozen Democratic seats Tuesday, leading to the biggest House Republican majority since 1929, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco told the Democratic caucus Wednesday that she is running for minority leader again.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Democratic disaster casts shadow on Nancy Pelosi – All but overlooked in the Republican Senate landslide is the double-digit loss of seats for Democrats in the House. The outcome casts a cloud on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s future, potentially throwing the House out of reach for Democrats in 2016 and dashing Pelosi’s dream of serving as House speaker with a President Hillary Rodham Clinton.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Buckle up: The 2016 presidential campaign starts now – The end of the 2014 midterm elections can mean only one thing: It’s time to launch the 2016 presidential race. The contest to the White House kicked off Wednesday, two years before voters will decide who succeeds President Barack Obama.  McClatchy Newspapers article

Obama, McConnell speak of cooperation, but conflict is apparent – President Obama and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell talked of cooperation Wednesday in the aftermath of the huge GOP election victory, but the two sides prepared for renewed conflict on issues that have dominated the campaign and national debate for the last two years.  LA Times article

News Briefs

Top Stories

Stockton bankruptcy plan sets good precedent for CalPERS, credit firm says – Stockton’s court-approved plan to continue full contributions to its CalPERS-administered pension program sets a positive course for the retirement system, Moody’s Investors Service said in a Wednesday statement.  Sacramento Bee article

Prop 47 jolts landscape of California justice system – The greatest effect, experts said, would be in drug possession cases, noting that California is now the first state in the nation to downgrade those cases from felonies to misdemeanors. Thousands of felons are now eligible for immediate release from prisons and jails.  LA Times article;Sacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorial

UC seeking 5 percent tuition increases in each of next five years – For the first time in four years, UC leaders are proposing tuition increases — as much as 5% in each of the next five years — to help cover rising costs and to expand the enrollment of California students.  LA Times articleSacramento Bee articleJanet Napolitano/Bruce Varner op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Jobs and the Economy

Valley business survey points to ongoing growth – A survey of business executives across the central San Joaquin Valley points to continuing economic growth in the region, according to a Fresno State economist.  Fresno Bee article

Fresno County retirees’ checks to be cut because of accounting error – Fresno County’s retirement board is stopping payment later this month of a bonus benefit that has been added to the checks of about 6,700 retirees in the county’s retirement system. The bonus, which ranges from $2.50 to about $150 a month per retiree, was ended Wednesday by the Fresno County Employees Retirement Administration board.  Fresno Bee article

Hanford voters defeat Measure S – Following months of high-visibility campaigns for and against Measure S, Hanford voters struck down the sales tax increase.  Hanford Sentinel article

Retailers show interest in former car lot on Bakersfield’s California Avenue – Half a dozen retailers and restaurants are finalizing plans to occupy the former Three-Way Chevrolet Co. property on California Avenue, a local commercial real estate broker said Wednesday in a wide-ranging update on local shopping center development activity.  Bakersfield Californian article

Deborah Nankivell and Richard Johanson:  Merging generations – the Boomers and the Greatest – The Fresno Business Council leaders write, “The two generations are beginning to ask each other the same questions and are seeking a common answer. When did the accumulation of excessive wealth become the sole measurement of success? When did living in poverty become an acceptable societal life style for the under educated and unskilled? Why has this gap continued to grow greater and separate us in our nation when researchers tell us the planet’s happiest peoples live in the Scandinavian countries where the earnings gap is the narrowest?” Nankivell/Johanson op-ed in Fresno Bee

Andrae Gonzales: Here’s what can be done to help prepare future workforce – The president of the Bakersfield City School District Board of Education writes, “The bottom line is that we’ll all need to work together — educators, parents and businesses — to help our students. By coming together as a community, the support in Bakersfield will strengthen our future workforce and build paths to promising futures. Let’s give our students the building blocks they need for a better future.” Gonzales op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Madera County industrial vacancies inch up in Q3 – While Madera County’s industrial properties have grown scarcer over the last few years, a little more space opened up during the third quarter for incoming businesses to fill.  The Business Journal article

Dust Bowl Brewing’s expansion nears approval – The proposed expansion of Dust Bowl Brewing Co. will go before the city Planning Commission on Thursday. The craft beer company plans a 30,000-square-foot building that would include brewing, bottling, a tasting room and other operations on Dianne Drive at Fulkerth Road. Founder Brett Tate said the brewery’s workforce of eight to 10 people could double. The tap room and restaurant would continue to employ 25 to 30 people.  Modesto Bee article

CEO: Virgin Galactic looks to resume tests in 2015 – The space tourism company that suffered a tragic setback when its experimental rocket-powered spaceship broke apart over the California desert could resume test flights as early as next summer if it can finish building a replacement craft, its CEO said Wednesday. AP article

Aerojet rocket engines may be discontinued for International Space Station flights – Just one week after the fiery explosion of a cargo ship headed for the International Space Station, the Virginia aerospace company that launched the ship in a contract with NASA said Wednesday that it will likely discontinue using rocket engines provided by Rancho Cordova-based Aerojet Rocketdyne.  Sacramento Bee article


Report: Valley water use drops – A new report on daily water use throughout the state showed Central Valley communities conserving more than ever.  The Business Journal article

Water use down in most of San Joaquin, Calaveras counties, except Lodi – For the first time since the drought began, state officials this week revealed how much water communities across California are using on a per-person, per-day basis — and as always there are heroes and villains. The good news is that most of San Joaquin County used less water per capita in September than the Valley-wide average of 167 gallons.  Stockton Record article

Proteus: No more funds for drought relief – There’s bad news for residents affected by the drought and seeking financial assistance for rent and utilities. Proteus Inc., the nonprofit, community-based organization that serves area farmworkers and low-income families, announced Tuesday it has run out of drought-relief funds.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Farmers tackle tough issues at agribusiness management conference – Immigration reform, drought and food safety were among the heavy duty issues discussed at Wednesday’s 33rd annual Agribusiness Management Conference in Fresno. Fresno Bee article

Citrus pests found in traps next Exeter – Two Asian citrus psyllids have been found in an insect trap south of the city of Exeter, the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s office said Wednesday.  Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Madera authorities track down a Chukchansi fugitive in South Carolina – The Chukchansi tribe’s infighting has led to the arrest of a former police officer who now works as a South Carolina jiujitsu instructor,The Island Packet (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) reported.  Fresno Bee article

Study: Sex-offender GPS no panacea against crime – The California law mandating GPS monitoring of sex offenders can provide a false sense of security for the public, according to a report released Wednesday.  AP article

Fourth panel of prospective jurors summoned for Bryan Oliver trial – A fourth panel of prospective jurors was brought to court in the case of alleged school shooter Bryan Oliver, and the trial judge said he expects general jury selection to begin next week.  Bakersfield Californian article

New state law on criminal sentences could affect Modesto murder trial – Closing arguments were supposed to begin Wednesday in a Modesto murder trial, but a new state law approved by voters Tuesday stalled the case and could affect the jury’s verdict.  Modesto Bee article

CHP releases video of fatal chase – The California Highway Patrol on Wednesday released video of its pursuit of motorcycle rider Angel Refugio Sauceda, 37, on the night of March 24, after which Sauceda crashed and died from his injuries.  Stockton Record article


Title IX pioneer says law is still relevant amid growing awareness of sexual assault – Scholar and women’s rights proponent Bernice Sandler says the federal Title IX law that sent a shock wave through education institutions with its passage more than 40 years ago is especially relevant today amid a growing awareness about sexual assault on college campuses.  Fresno Bee article

Oakland career pathway parcel tax passes – Oakland Unified’s first-of-its kind parcel tax to fund college and career programs passed Tuesday by a wide margin. EdSource article

Sacramento Bee: Schools won big – If Tuesday’s results were mixed for other races and measures, they were a clear victory for local school board and school bond races. Sacramento Bee editorial

Voters pass West Hills tech bond – West Hills campuses will finally get the technology upgrades they need over the next few years. Voters in the West Hills district, which spans parts of Kings, Fresno, San Benito, Madera and Monterey counties, approved the measure by 56 percent. It needed at least 55 percent to pass.  Hanford Sentinel article

Cal to tighten academic standards for athletes – Cal’s new athletic admissions policy will bring sweeping changes to the way its football program recruits student-athletes, making it much harder for the school to admit athletic exceptions after an uproar over recent graduation numbers that showed more than 50 percent of football and men’s basketball players were not getting degrees.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Teachers unions defend their ground by getting Torlakson re-elected –  Teachers unions defended their ground in California this week — and bucked national trends — by helping to reelect a state schools chief in a race with broad implications for education policy and politics.  LA Times article

Torlakson victory assures continuity in reforms – One immediate consequence of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s rebuff of challenger Marshall Tuck is to ensure the continuance of the cohesion in state education policy that has been forged since Gov. Jerry Brown returned to Sacramento four years ago. EdSource article

Common Core critics call on parents to act – National speakers against Common Core brought their message of chaotic and misdirected educational change to Modesto, urging the standing-room-only crowd to push back against standards adopted by California in 2010 and made mandatory this year.  Modesto Bee article

Stockton Kids Club sues Stockton Unified, YMCA, others – The former Boys & Girls Club of Stockton has filed a lawsuit claiming there was a conspiracy against the organization, which ultimately lost its charter and a contract to provide after-school services to Stockton Unified School District.  Stockton Record article


San Joaquin Valley air turns unhealthy – Soot, chemicals and other tiny particles turned air quality unhealthy Wednesday across the San Joaquin Valley, local air authorities said.  Fresno Bee article

New California county fracking ban likely to face challenges – In the first major test of how California voters would react to hydraulic fracturing on the ballot, two counties in California approved fracking bans on Tuesday. Opponents of fracking are hoping the movement will spread to other counties. But a measure to bar the controversial oil production technique in Santa Barbara County — where the oil industry is well-established — fell short. And in San Benito and Mendocino Counties, where the bans passed, they are likely to face court challenges.  KQED report

Oil company to stop paying temporary housing of Arvin evacuees – The Bakersfield oil company which owns the leaking pipeline that forced the evacuation of eight Arvin homes in March told evacuees Tuesday it will stop paying for their temporary housing after Nov. 30.  Bakersfield Californian article

Health/Human Services

Childhood trauma is a hidden crisis in California and Valley – Californians who experienced verbal, physical, sexual abuse or neglect in childhood are more likely to have long-lasting serious health problems, according to a health report released to the public Thursday.  Fresno Bee article

Childhood trauma affects more than 60 percent of adults in Kern, California – Between 60 percent and 62 percent of Kern County adults surveyed have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience traumatic enough to affect their lives years later.  Bakersfield Californian article

Jeff Jardine: Impact of ‘moral injury’ now getting recognized – Post-traumatic stress disorder? Sort of. It’s generally the first diagnosis for any veteran with emotional issues. So, for decades, veterans like Schmitt were treated for PTSD through Veterans Affairs and at places like the Modesto Vet Center on Carpenter Road. But in recent years, it became apparent to those treating PTSD that other forces churned inside these veterans – a condition only recently defined as moral injury.  Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Land Use/Housing

Modesto City Council votes to put urban growth boundary on ballot – The Modesto City Council has decided to put an urban growth boundary on the November 2015 ballot, but not before two council members expressed their disdain for the measure, which they claim will hamstring the city’s efforts at economic development.  Modesto Bee article


StanCOG hears ideas to trim costs of North County Corridor – If the government opts for a slimmer North County Corridor east of Riverbank to save money, the future freeway someday could expand without buying more private land by simply adding lanes in the median, transportation leaders learned Wednesday.  Modesto Bee article

Bakersfield council revs up road, senior projects in east – Two road projects aimed at improving a median and freeway off-ramp in the east without costing the city a great deal of money won swift approval from the Bakersfield City Council on Wednesday.  Bakersfield Californian article

Other Areas

Stockton Record: Questions abound for council – So with 42.9 percent of the Stockton council dais set for new occupants, here are 20 questions to consider moving forward.  Stockton Record editorial

After federal probe, state examines need for civil court interpreters – Unlike those charged with a crime, people in civil court do not have the constitutional right to an interpreter. For many of California’s nearly 7 million limited-English proficient speakers — about one-third of whom live in Los Angeles County — that makes the system practically impenetrable.  LA Times article

‘Grapes’ at 75: Exploring our Okie legacy – A graduate student working on his dissertation, James N. Gregory came to Bakersfield nearly 35 years ago to learn whether he could answer the question he asked himself every time he put down his dog-eared 1962 copy of “The Grapes of Wrath”: “Whatever happened to the Okies?”  Bakersfield Californian article

Former Fresno fire chief’s domestic violence conviction expunged – Misdemeanor domestic violence charges against Rob Brown, the former Fresno Fire Department chief, were expunged Wednesday in Fresno County Superior Court.  Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – The “red tide” that swept much of the nation in Tuesday’s elections and enabled the Republicans to add control of the U.S. Senate to their dominance of the House of Representatives could prove to be beneficial to the San Joaquin Valley.

Sacramento Bee – Mayor Kevin Johnson got what he long wanted – a public vote on strong mayor. He lost Tuesday, resoundingly. Now, for Sacramento’s sake, both sides need to work together productively; If Tuesday’s results were mixed for other races and measures, they were a clear victory for local school board and school bond races; Prop 47 is a repudiation of lock-‘em-up policies; B Street Theatre is a good investment for Sacramento.

Stockton Record – So with 42.9 percent of the Stockton council dais set for new occupants, here are 20 questions to consider moving forward.

Visalia Times-Delta – Do polls or post office boxes appeal when it comes to voting?