November 6, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Massive ballot, important issues await – will voters take part? — Election Day is Tuesday, and for many weary voters, it can’t come soon enough.  California and its 55 electoral votes, however, are all but certain to go to Clinton, who is widely predicted to win the state by a comfortable margin. Even though that makes the Golden State irrelevant at the top of the ticket, Tuesday’s ballot is still voluminous and packed with important issues.  Fresno Bee article 

Dan Walters: California Legislature’s ‘reform’ of campaign spending was phony — We would be better off removing the fallacious and duplicitous Proposition 34 limits and allowing candidates to collect and spend as much as they want – but with full and immediate disclosure so that they would be accountable for whose money they accepted and how it was spent. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

California voters may be too scared to stay home – It’s still too early to get a good handle on how many of the state’s 19.4 million voters — a record number — will actually go to the polls on Tuesday. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that many of California’s newest voters are millennials and Latinos — two groups that have little affinity for Hillary Clinton and deep antipathy for Trump. San Jose Mercury News article

Valley politics

Candidates speak out – Michael Tubbs had a few things he wanted to make perfectly clear Saturday in the final hours of his long campaign. First of all, Tubbs doesn’t live with his mother. Also, he really does have a job. And when he is contacted by those he represents in his south-side City Council district, Tubbs says he always makes certain to respond to his constituents. Stockton Record article

Modesto Bee: To help end water war, elect Ken Vogel to the Assembly – If we’re going to win the war for our water, we’re going to need someone who will do just that. Ken Vogel is the most qualified to represent the 12th Assembly District. Modesto Bee editorial

As election approaches, Stanislaus County voter registration at all-time high — Stanislaus County is showing signs of a strong turnout for the presidential election Tuesday. Some 48 hours before Election Day, an all-time high of 241,000 county residents are registered to vote, Registrar of Voters Lee Lundrigan said. Modesto Bee article

Take the bus to polls for free — If lack of transportation has kept you from voting at the polls in recent years, San Joaquin Regional Transit District has a solution. On Tuesday, RTD will make passenger service free on many of its routes as part of its new “Buses for Democracy” program. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

George Skelton: Need guidance at the ballot box Tuesday? Here are four final takeaways to help you cast your vote – Here are some final mumblings before this distressing election is mercifully concluded. Yes, practically everything to be said already has been repeatedly. But not quite everything. Skelton column in LA Times 

Who is funding the effort to legalize marijuana in California? – Eight campaign committees and roughly 800 itemized contributions later, one thing is clear about the effort to pass Proposition 64, the measure on Tuesday’s ballot that would legalize recreational marijuana: Its flow of money has been really complicated. Sacramento Bee article

Marcos Breton: Put this in your pipe and smoke it: California is ill-prepared for legal recreational marijuana – Is California ready for the regulatory, social and health consequences of this? No. Is the state prepared to cope with marijuana operations propagating in poor neighborhoods? Or with emergency rooms flooding with knuckleheads freaking out after eating one cannabis-spiked brownie too many? Or with more stoned people getting behind the steering wheelBreton column in Sacramento Bee

Why a pot farmer opposes legal marijuana – A ballot initiative on Tuesday may be a turning point for marijuana growers in California. Visit a pot farm where the owner is against legalization for recreational use. New York Times article

Peter Thiel opens wallet for pot legalization in California — Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire who co-founded PayPal and has become an outspoken supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, has cut a big check to the California campaign to legalize recreational pot. Thiel contributed $300,000 to Proposition 64, which would allow adults to consume cannabis, possess one ounce and grow six plants. Sacramento Bee article

Good government or gumming up the works? With Prop 54, California voters will decide – Proposition 54 on next week’s ballot would require legislation to be in print for 72 hours before final votes in both houses, as well as mandate videos of all legislative hearings to be posted on the Internet within 24 hours. Sacramento Bee article

Bernie Sanders: Here’s how to send a message to Big Pharma – The U.S. senator and former Democratic candidate for president writes, “The drug industry argues that only about 12 percent of Californians will benefit from Prop. 61. Not true. All taxpayers will save about $1 billion a year. One of the industry’s biggest lies about Prop. 61 was debunked – that it would it would increase what veterans pay for drugs. The nation is watching California. When Prop. 61 passes, I predict the revolution against drug industry price-gouging will sweep across the country like a prairie fire.” Sanders op-ed in Sacramento Bee

PolitiFact CA: Bold claims about California’s drug price measure persist, despite unknowns – Many experts say they’re doubtful the measure could ever be implemented if passed. Because analysts describe numerous scenarios for how drug costs could go up or down as well as the possibility companies could refuse to sell some pharmaceuticals in California, we did not place a Truth-O-Meter rating on the claim. It’s a prediction and PolitiFact does not rate predictions or opinions. PolitiFact CA article

If Kamala Harris wins the U.S. Senate race the governor has a rare chance to pick a new attorney general — For Californians who have had enough political intrigue this year, there might not be much of a respite even after Nov. 8 if Kamala Harris wins the race for the U.S. Senate, as most polling suggests. Harris’ current post as California attorney general would become vacant, leaving open one of the state’s most powerful and influential positions for Gov. Jerry Brown to fill through the end of her term in 2018. LA Times article

John Myers: California’s election maps, drawn without party favoritism, hit the halfway mark — Tuesday’s election here in California offers a glimpse into an alternate universe, what happens when the maps are drawn in public and guided by a bipartisan panel of citizens. And that panel, selected in 2010 and 2011, made one thing very clear: Data on the impact to Democrats and Republicans wouldn’t be included. Myers in LA Times

Robin Abcarian: Reaching voters the old-fashioned way: canvassing, calling and, yes, even suing to register jail inmates — With three days to go until this execrable election bites the dust, I decided to meet up Saturday with activists at the ground level, people idealistic enough about the democratic process to spend time knocking on doors or making phone calls for the causes they support. Abcarian column in LA Times


Free now to visit Mexico, immigrants face an iffy future – Thousands of undocumented immigrants have used travel permission under a 2012 program to visit the countries they left as children. The program could be canceled. New York Times article

Immigrants in U.S. illegally see this election as crucial — For Alvarez and the estimated 11 million other immigrants living illegally in the U.S., this is a potentially crucial election, with Republican Donald Trump talking about mass deportations and a border wall and Democrat Hillary Clinton pledging to support immigration reform and protect President Barack Obama’s executive actions on behalf of immigrants. AP article

Other areas

Over 400 tax, debt proposals crowd California ballot – There’s a price to pay for living in California, and for many it’s about to get higher. There are more than 400 proposals on ballots across the state Tuesday to raise taxes or borrow money as governments struggle to keep up with costs for everything from road paving to skyrocketing pension obligations. AP article

Sacramento County sees increased number of early voters – Voting is off to a strong start in Sacramento County this election season, as nearly 40 percent of mail ballots have been returned, according to the county election office. Sacramento Bee article

Firearms industry soars amid election-year angst, shattering records – The FBI processed more than 2.3 million background checks nationally last month — those background checks being the best available proxy for gun sale numbers. That was the most ever for the month of October and an increase of more than 350,000 background checks compared to the same month last year. NPR report

Lois Henry: Women, politics, vice and corruption, it’s all right now — According to the pundits (oh, soooo many pundits these days…sigh), this presidential election is all about women voters as never before. It’s the female vote, they say, that holds the keys to the oval office. Pshhhaw. Broads in Bakersfield have been using those keys since before our sisters in the rest of the nation were even allowed near a polling booth. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Mike Klocke: Election levity: Is it Breitbart? Is is Breitler? — Here are a few thoughts as we reach the Election Day finish line and the futures of our city and nation are impacted. Klocke column in Stockton Record

Presidential Politics

Cathleen Decker: Across America, the end of the election looms with a question: What now? – Across the broad swath of America that will decide the next president, the mood is bleak. An uncivil war of rhetoric and resentments has scoured the country, unearthing deep ruptures. The candidates are unpopular and disdained for their shortcomings. Voters are fed up, mad at each other and despairing that anything can stem the corrosive animosity that will trail the winner to Washington. Decker in LA Times

Hillary Clinton’s popularity in California has jumped, and she has a commanding lead, poll finds – Months after a fractious primary season, California Democratic and independent voters have come home to Hillary Clinton, sharply boosting her popularity and giving her a commanding lead in the nation’s most populous state, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times pollLA Times article

Chip Pashayah: Why I cannot vote for Donald Trump – The Republican who represented the Fresno area in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 through 1991 writes, “I cannot vote for a candidate as unprepared as Trump, despite his good intentions. Historically, Republican candidates have always been prepared in one degree or another. Alas, not so this time. Right now, John Kasich is looking pretty good as a write-in on the ballot.”  Pahayah op-ed in Fresno Bee

Mike Dunbar: Weather forecast for hell: Freezing with chance of thaw – Now, the weather report from hell: A cold spell developing Monday, becoming a hard freeze by Tuesday. But expect a thaw by the end of the week, with a return to the normal torment before Thanksgiving. For just under half of America, Election Day is going to be that proverbial cold day in Hades. They won’t have voted for whoever wins the presidency and they will be adamantly opposed to the winner – whoever it is. Dunbar column in Modesto Bee

Jeff Jardine: Just an opinion, but the idea newspapers should be banned from endorsing is news to me — Earlier this week, The Modesto Bee published an editorial explaining why Donald Trump should not be elected president. This column isn’t about Trump, sexual harassment, support from white hate groups, his verbal incontinence, his track record of stiffing contractors or the fact he’s turned the campaign into a hazmat event. It’s not about Hillary Clinton, her emails, the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi or anything else she’s been linked to and ridiculed over. It’s about the right to express an opinion guaranteed by the First Amendment that – and this might surprise some folks – includes a free press. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

Forecast: Higher mortgage rates, food prices ahead – The Central Valley’s limping recovery will slow to a crawl over the next two years, a university forecaster says, if projections of less water and higher interest rates come to pass. The annual forecast by California State University, Stanislaus, professor Gökçe Soydemir mirrors the rising regional indicators noted in a report out of the University of the Pacific in Stockton last week. But Soydemir’s report looks forward, predicting the upturn will level out and even dip in some areas through December 2018. Modesto Bee article 

California divided by drought – north is wet, south is dry – California’s historic drought finally is easing in parts of the north, thanks to October rains that were three or more times the norm. But the five-year drought only is deepening in parts of Central and Southern California, including the 21 percent of the state that remains stuck in the deepest category of drought.  AP article

Jobs and the Economy

She’s a Latina from Caruthers. She’s not supposed to run a tech company.  Now she is – One of Fresno’s newest business CEOs describes her path from a rural farm-labor family through college and into a technology career as both “accidental” and “unlikely.” And that is something Irma Olguin Jr. wants to change for others growing up in similar circumstances. Fresno Bee article

$20 million grant aids Parlier housing, city improvements — The city of Parlier is receiving $2 million in federal funding aimed at increasing affordable housing and making citywide home improvements. Fresno Bee article

Ripon company raises money for wounded Marines, their families — An event Wednesday in Ripon helped raise money for wounded Marines and their families. The Semper Fi Fund event, at Mistlin Park, included a flyover of F-18 jets along with speakers and other festivities. Sponsored by Van Unen Miersma Propane of Ripon, it generated $22,500 to benefit the families, raising money through deliveries from specially decorated trucks. Modesto Bee article

Sam Farmer: Stadium vote in San Diego on Tuesday likely to provide more questions than answers – It’s unlikely that the Chargers will get the necessary two-thirds supermajority to move ahead with that project, so the question becomes: Do they get enough support to encourage them to stay in San Diego, or are they slapped down so hard that they feel compelled to exercise their soon-to-expire option to join the Rams in Los Angeles? The clock runs out on that option in mid-January, when it would open a one-year window for the Raiders to decide whether to move back to L.A. Farmer column in LA Times

Why these southeast LA cities are banding together to fight Measure M, the transportation tax – The sales tax increase is tied to transportation and would fund more than a dozen major transit projects, including a rail line that would connect downtown Los Angeles to more than a dozen southeast cities, such as Huntington Park, South Gate, Paramount, Bellflower and Artesia.  The only problem, critics say, is that the West Santa Ana Branch Line, as it’s called, probably won’t be completed until 2041. LA Times article

Bay Area business group fires back at BART bond critics — A regional business group that’s one of the biggest supporters of BART’s $3.5 billion bond measure is firing back at opponents who have branded BART management as incompetent and untrustworthy to handle the money. KQED report 

Big hospital network cracks down on right to sue – San Francisco Bay Area companies say Sutter Health is strong-arming them into a contract that would help the hospital system secure its power over prices and potentially raise the cost of medical care for their employees in the future. KPCC report

Most agree Davis needs more hotels, but few want to live near one — Davis city leaders are poised to review two hotel projects in the coming weeks, as developers are buoyed by increasing enrollment at UC Davis and the growth of businesses in the college town. While developers Presidio Cos. and Jackson Properties have proposed similar $25 million hotels, reaction from the community has been noticeably different. Sacramento Bee article


Forecasters: Wet winter odds aren’t good — Are you dreaming of a wet winter to turn Kings County’s fallowed fields green and end the drought? Prepare for disappointment. Forecasters are calling for a weak La Nina to last into the spring. That usually means dry conditions in Central California. Hanford Sentinel article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Jump in assaults on California police officers alarms police, communities – Nine police officers have died in the line of duty so far this year in California, five of them since October. The total is not unusual – California loses 10 officers per year on average, according to the Attorney General – but the concentration of killings jammed into just a few weeks is unnerving to many on all sides of the thin blue line. LA Daily News article

Carmen George: He used to arrest gang members. Now, he’s turning them into ‘warriors for Christ’ – Police officer Dave Standley no longer patrols the streets of Fresno on Friday nights – he leads church. The founder of Gangland Redemption Ministries preaches in a gymnasium at Valley Dream Center in east-central Fresno. Worship includes rap and hip-hop music, church volunteers wear sports jerseys and churchgoers call Standley coach, not pastor. George in Fresno Bee 

Vehicle theft remains a problem locally – Some Kings County cities are continuing work to address a higher-than-usual number of vehicle thefts, a problem that has carried over from last year. Hanford Sentinel article

Sacramento police arrest colleague at hotel on suspicion of possessing drugs while armed — A Sacramento police officer was arrested on several drug-related charges Friday night at a local hotel, including a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance while carrying a loaded gun, the Sacramento Police Department announced Saturday morning. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Arrests of protestors at Alfred Olango shooting site in El Cajon can continue, judge rules – A federal judge has denied a request by protesters and the NAACP to ban law enforcement from arresting people who continue to gather at the spot where Alfred Olango was fatally shot by an El Cajon police officer. LA Times article


Fresno Unified’s end of no-bid contracts brings end of big donations — The Fresno developer who was the biggest donor to Fresno Unified’s last school bond measure – and financially has reaped the benefits of its passage – has contributed nothing to the current Measure X campaign. Fresno Bee article

David Torres: Bakersfield College is communities ears, ears; but what about bones? – The Bakersfield attorney writes, “Our community’s college is in dire need of replenishment, and the time to provide that is now. Measure J, on the Nov. 8 ballot, is the best, most direct way to provide BC with the badly needed funds to carry this venerable, cherished community institution further into the 21st Century.” Torres op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

These kids tell a good story – and ‘get a lot out of it’ — Seventh-grader Mason Grahek heard the sad tale, “Help! Send Candy Bars!” by Peg Kehret and acted it out Saturday to a second-place finish in his category at the Bakersfield City School District’s annual Oral Language Festival. Forty-one seventh- and eighth-graders from nine schools competed in the event, in which kids use speaking and drama skills to present written stories. Bakersfield Californian article 

UCLA workers authorize strike, but no service disruptions are expected — Members of a union representing nearly 600 skilled-trades workers at UCLA have voted to strike this month, but university officials say no service disruptions are anticipated.  LA Times article

Health/Human Services

Michael Fitzgerald: Killing a killer in Nigeria — The U.S. State Department warns that many parts of Nigeria are dangerous due to “kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks” by the likes of Boko Haram. Yet off Jay Hislop flew to Nigeria. Hislop, 64, president of North Stockton Rotary, traveled to Port Harcourt, a city of 1.9 million, as part of Rotary International’s drive to eradicate polio worldwide. Stockton Record article

Home for young sex-trafficking victims closes even as nonprofit raises money, pitches expansion — Courage House got the good news from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services on June 17: a $60,808 grant had been approved to help fund services at the Northern California home for young sex-trafficking victims. What the state agency didn’t know at the time was that the Courage House outside Sacramento had closed three days earlier, shuttling the four remaining girls off to other providers amid a rash of citations from regulators, including allegations of inadequate staffing and repeat violations of clients’ rights. Sacramento Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Project KaBoom at Modesto park — Getting kids active was part of the goal Saturday as about 200 volunteers helped a KaBoom playground-building project at Fairview Park in Modesto. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Tuesday’s presidential winner deserves your support.

Modesto Bee – If we’re going to win the war for our water, we’re going to need someone who will do just that. Ken Vogel is the most qualified to represent the 12th Assembly District.

Stockton Record – A record of the Record’s recommendations for the Nov. 8 election.