November 7, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

White House won’t support California water bill that’s already divided its senators — The White House on Tuesday voiced doubts about controversial California water legislation that has already caused an unusually public split between the state’s two Democratic senators. Meeting with reporters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the California provisions that span some 91 pages of often-technical text seemed problematic, though he cautioned that analysis continues. McClatchy Newspapers article

Dan Walters: Obamacare repeal would hit California’s Republican districts hardest — How is this for a cosmic coincidence? Last week, Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, declared anew that once Donald Trump becomes president, Congress will repeal the Affordable Health Act, popularly known as Obamacare. As McCarthy was speaking in Washington, 2,377 miles away in Sacramento, the liberal California Budget and Policy Center was releasing a report on Obamacare’s import to low-income residents, revealing that McCarthy’s district could feel the state’s greatest impact of the repeal he advocates. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

A source Democrats could tap for future leaders: California — California Democrats (and to a lesser extent Republicans) are in the midst of a generational renewal, as some of the old lions of the party – Gov. Jerry Brown, 78, Senator Barbara Boxer, 76, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, 83 – approach the end of their time in public office. And there is no shortage of rising Democratic figures ready to take the reins in California – and, not incidentally, offer a pool of potential leaders for the national party. New York Times article

State budget

Assembly Democrats seek $1 billion in state spending despite risks — California Assembly Democrats are pushing for $1 billion in new state spending even as some warn that the policies of President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress could have devastating consequences for the state budget. AP article

Gov. Brown 

Jerry Brown predicts ‘negative, and very powerful’ reaction if Donald Trump halts climate change action — In his global evangelism about the threat of climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown has dismissed skeptics as “troglodytes” and “deniers of the obvious science.” But Brown, who in recent years has emerged as a premier climate warrior, has refused to ascribe those characteristics to Donald Trump since his election as president, despite the Republican businessman’s support for fossil fuels and repeated dismissals of climate change as a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

As Mayor-elect Brand hires top aides, what’s next for Fresno City Hall? – For the first time in eight years, Central California’s largest city is about to get a new leader. Last week Fresno Mayor-elect Lee Brand announced his transition team, plus the hire of two top aides to senior positions in his administration. Brand’s former campaign manager Tim Orman will become the mayor’s chief of staff, and former campaign rival H. Spees will become Brand’s director of strategic initiatives, both with six-figures salaries. KVPR report

Local legislators named to leadership posts — Two Bakersfield legislators have been elected to leadership positions, it was announced Tuesday.  Assemblyman Vince Fong said he’s been named chief Republican whip for the 2017-2018 legislative session. He will work with the leader and floor leader to devise legislative floor strategy and help guide the caucus’ positions during floor sessions. And Bakersfield state Sen. Jean Fuller was unanimously re-elected as Senate Republican Leader for the coming year. Bakersfield Californian article

Many Merced incumbents unseated after official election results tallied — Final Merced County Elections results posted on Tuesday declared winners in many close school board races, giving the green light for newly elected officials to take their oaths. Merced Sun-Star article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California’s new Legislature has biggest gender gap in quarter century – As California’s state legislators began a new session this week, data shows the 120-member Legislature is far more male and white than the state it represents. KPCC report

Joel Fox: Lessons from the Senate race won’t apply in 2018 gov. battle — California witnessed its first statewide race featuring contenders from the same political party but listening to campaign consultants for Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez at a Friday forum presented by the USC’s Schwarzenegger Institute lessons that might translate to future similar contests—say the 2018 governor’s race—may be hard to draw. In many ways, the senate race was a unique contest. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Does Proposition 54 cover resolutions? California Legislature says no — t didn’t take long for the first disagreement over Proposition 54. Mere hours into the new Legislative session Monday, shortly after members of the Senate and Assembly were sworn in, both houses took up resolutions calling for Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration law and urging President-elect Donald Trump not to pursue mass deportations of undocumented immigrants. Sacramento Bee article


Santa Ana declares itself a sanctuary city in defiance of Trump — Santa Ana City Council members voted Tuesday to declare Orange County’s second-most populous city a sanctuary city — a largely symbolic gesture to protect immigrants who are in the country illegally. LA Times article

Other areas

Urgent appeal: California Democrats to invoke new anti-Trump weapon — As they suit up for battle against the Trump administration, Democrats who dominate California’s Legislature vow to unleash one of the superpowers of holding a supermajority: the ability to enact laws immediately. CALmatters article

California bill aims to help National Guard veterans forced to pay back enlistment bonuses – A state senator has introduced legislation meant to aid thousands of California National Guard veterans who were ordered to repay largeenlistment bonuses used to entice them to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. LA Times article

State lawmakers may tell California pension funds to divest from Dakota pipeline companies – California lawmakers will consider a proposal next year to block the state’s pension funds from investing in a controversial oil pipeline that is planned to cross North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. LA Times article

Legislators hope to shine a light on elected officials’ wealth and who pays for robo-calls with new transparency bills — State elected officials would have to disclose more details about their wealth and investments to the public under a bill reintroduced this week by newly elected state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge). LA Times article

Mayor’s farewell party features cake, accolades and an arena tempest — Step back, Kriss Kringle. December now belongs to KJ. The City Council passed a resolution on Tuesday naming December in honor of outgoing Mayor Kevin Johnson, who chaired his second-to-last meeting in a chamber filled with well-wishers. Sacramento Bee articleMarcos Breton column in Sacramento Bee

GOP to start Obamacare repeal Jan. 3 (but might not finish until 2019) — Republicans are wrangling over whether to give themselves two years to devise an alternative to President Obama‘s signature domestic achievement — which would push toward the midterm election in 2018. Or they might wait three years, until 2019, when the race for the White House will be underway. LA Times article

Presidential Politics

How Tulare Republican Devin Nunes helped James Mattis become Trump’s defense pick – President-elect Donald Trump needed a defense secretary, and Tulare Rep. Devin Nunes had an idea. Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis would be good, Nunes recalled telling the Trump transition team. Nunes, a member of the transition team’s influential executive committee, then called Mattis. The deal was eventually sealed. Trump selected Mattis for the top Pentagon post, and Nunes had another win with the incoming White House. McClatchy Newspapers article

Trump economy poses big risk, high reward for California – It shouldn’t be a surprise that the latest report from the UCLA Anderson Forecast found that Trump’s plans for the economy could deeply affect the health of the California economy, the sixth largest in the world, one way or the other. At stake are up to 24,000 logistics jobs, 50% of the state’s agriculture jobs and an untold number of military manufacturing jobs, according to the report. LA Times article

Liberal Hollywood faces challenges in cultural wars sparked by Trump’s election – Trump’s victory is redrawing many narratives and story lines across the country, including those at the center of the entertainment industry. In addition to the new activism and footwear, “Jane the Virgin,” a family saga of a young Latina in Miami, will be recalibrated in other ways to address America’s unsettling cultural and political climate. LA Times article

Trump to meet with Silicon Valley tech leaders — President-elect Donald Trump is known for making headlines with his social media posts, but apparently when it comes to meeting tech leaders, he still prefers communicating the old-fashioned way: in person. San Jose Mercury News article

California KKK leader arrested in North Carolina stabbing before pro-Trump Klan parade — The California Ku Klux Klan leader who led a “white lives matter” rally that erupted in violence in Anaheim this year was arrested last week in connection with a North Carolina stabbing hours before a Klan parade celebrating Donald Trump’s election, authorities said. LA Times article

News Stories – Top Stories

Officials: California water conservation steadies, but Valley savings shrink — Californians did a good job of saving water in October, a month of heavy rainfall amid easing drought conditions in a state enduring five straight dry years, regulators said Tuesday. In the central San Joaquin Valley, most suppliers met their state conservation standard in October, but every supplier conserved less water than in October 2015, according to state data. Fresno saved 15.5 percent in October versus 20.8 percent in 2015, and Clovis saved 13.3 percent versus 23.4 percent in October 2015. Fresno Bee articleSacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Kern County loses in critical sewage sludge ruling — Kern County has lost a key round in its decade-long battle with Southern California waste districts over the land application of treated human and industrial waste. Now the Board of Supervisors will have to decide whether to appeal the loss and continue the fight. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Will OPEC production cuts boost Kern County’s oil economy? — For most people, the price of a barrel of oil is felt in the pocketbook in the cost of a gallon of gasoline. But for Kern County, the highest oil producing county in the United States, the price of a barrel of oil has a huge impact on employment, the economy and county government revenue. KVPR report

Tulare County supervisors ban commercial growing of recreational pot – The Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday for an emergency ordinance prohibiting the commercial growing of marijuana for recreational use in the unincorporated areas of the county. It takes effect immediately and will be in effect for 45 days, allowing the county time to study the impacts of Proposition 64. Fresno Bee article

Fresno County workers get more money for insurance as pension debt looms — Fresno County supervisors voted Tuesday to give employees $50 more per pay period to cover their higher health insurance rates, but another financial problem looms that could jeopardize the county’s ability to maintain those payments. Fresno Bee article

Battered San Bernardino is one step closer to exiting years-long bankruptcy – A federal judge said Tuesday she would approve the city of San Bernardino’s plan to exit bankruptcy, marking a major step toward the end of one of the nation’s longest-running municipal bankruptcies. LA Times article

Kings County writes off $7.15 million in court-ordered debt – What do you do if you’re the Kings County Board of Supervisors and you have $7.15 million on the books in uncollected court-ordered fines and penalties that people haven’t paid in at least five years? You write it off as a loss. Hanford Sentinel article

State exports rebound in October; analysts concerned about Trump trade comments – California exports bounced back in October, but analysts expressed concerns about the future of trade based on statements made by President-elect Donald Trump. Sacramento Bee article

CoreLogic: Valley home prices rose in October – Central Valley home prices continued their annual upward trend in October, according to new data from real estate information firm CoreLogic. The Business Journal article

Index finds Fresno home prices among least recovered – Fresno’s housing market is among the country’s least recovered from the Great Recession, according to data from mortgage research website The Business Journal article

Sacramento is finalist for electric truck factory owner says will ‘create thousands of jobs’ — Sacramento is a finalist for a major factory proposed by a Utah-based startup that is building electric trucks. The Greater Sacramento Economic Council announced Tuesday that Sacramento is a “top finalist for a major investment” by Nikola Motor Co. of Salt Lake City. Nikola’s founder and chief executive, Trevor Milton, recently met with Sacramento County Executive and the Greater Sacramento organization’s chief executive, Barry Broome. Sacramento Bee article

SeaWorld lays off hundreds of employees – SeaWorld Entertainment announced Tuesday it is laying off 320 workers company-wide, part of an ongoing effort to sharply cut its costs. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Quarter-cent sales tax measure to aid LA homeless is placed on March ballot — After listening to a cavalcade of speakers praise them for a vote they hadn’t yet taken, Los Angeles County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously placed a quarter-cent sales tax proposal on the March ballot to fund homeless programs. LA Times article


Lois Henry: One more try for federal fixes to California’s water woes — Local water folks are hopeful, but not holding their breath, that the latest congressional effort to move a little more water down the pike from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will actually succeed. Even if it does, I’m sure environmental activists already have their lawyers prepped and ready for launch. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Oakdale Irrigation District hopes for $5 million profit from shopping river water in 2017 – Irrigation leaders on Tuesday took a break from arguing, pausing long enough to unanimously approve a new annual budget reflecting a promise not to raise water prices in 2017. The $16 million operations spending plan envisions selling 50,000 acre-feet of water to outsiders, a unique revenue strategy among water agencies in Stanislaus County but common for the Oakdale Irrigation District. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Lyle Martin selected as new Bakersfield police chief – Lyle Martin, who has served as assistant chief of police since 2008, has been selected Bakersfield’s new chief of police. Martin replaces Greg Williamson, who is retiring after serving as chief since 2010. Both Martin and Williamson are reserving comment on Martin’s selection until Dec. 14. Bakersfield Californian articleKVPR report

Sheriff: Deputy shot in the leg because of a buckle – The sheriff’s deputy who shot himself in the leg Nov. 4 likely did so because his weapon got caught on a holster buckle, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday. Fresno Bee article

Trust builds, slowly but surely, in Stockton Police Department – Police Chief Eric Jones is among the first to acknowledge that local and national efforts to build trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve will be a lengthy process marked not only by small successes but by significant setbacks along the way. Stockton Record article

Gang member found guilty in ambush on Stockton police officers – A documented gang member was convicted Tuesday of the attempted murders of two Stockton police officers. A San Joaquin County Superior Court jury returned a guilty verdict against Marcus Henson, 20, following a trial that lasted nearly a month. Henson was convicted of the attempted murders of Officer Travis Weber and Officer Robert Barrington. Stockton Record article

Pot plays starring role in new state campaign addressing DUIs – Officials from the California Highway Patrol, the state Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Safety Administration also warned of driving under the influence of two or more substances at a time. The agency has created public service spots on driving dangers of marijuana and prescription drugs, particularly when combined with alcohol. Sacramento Bee article

Court: San Jose cop must pay punitive damages in excessive force case — A tech salesman whose legs were kicked out from under him by a San Jose police officer investigating a noise complaint is entitled to the $45,000 in punitive damages he was awarded two years ago by a jury, a federal appeals court has ruled. San Jose Mercury News article

Man gunned down near Weber Square Stockton’s 47th homicide of year – The San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office has not released the victim’s name. Officer Joe Silva, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department, could not immediately say whether the victim was an adult or a juvenile. His death represents the 47th homicide Stockton police have investigated this year. Stockton Record article

Ex-LAPD sergeant broke city rules by leaking record of ‘Django Unchained’ actress, ethics group says —  The Los Angeles Ethics Commission decided Tuesday that a former police sergeant broke city rules by leaking to reporters an audio recording from his controversial stop of an actress from “Django Unchained.” LA Times article


San Diego State researchers shared report with state report.  The reply was unprintable — On Monday, a San Diego State University-affiliated research laboratory sent out multiple emails with a link to a new study it had conducted on hunger and homelessness among community college students across the nation. The apparent response from one state Department of Education employee: “Go f— yourself.” Fresno Bee articleSacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Jeff Jardine: Political race, racist attack start with off with a thud for Yosemite Community College District, Modesto Junior College – The political race is over and three incoming Yosemite Community College District board of trustees members are ready to pick an interim successor to retiring Chancellor Joan Smith at a special meeting today. They might not be allowed to, though. Meanwhile, on Modesto Junior College’s East Campus, an alleged racially motivated attack against two Hispanic students and white racist posters glued to buildings have students, faculty and administrators frustrated. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Lamont school board leaves assistant superintendent role unfilled — Lamont Elementary School District board members, expected to appoint a new interim assistant superintendent Tuesday that would have closed the chapter on the Jose Cantu scandal from earlier this year, instead chose to fill the former administrator’s position by spreading it out between three officials. Bakersfield Californian article

Los Banos trustee calls special meeting day before swearing in of new board — Los Banos Unified School District Trustee Marlene Smith called a special board meeting for Wednesday – the day before new trustees are sworn in – to vote on an electronic probe into district officials the board rejected just last month. Merced Sun-Star article

Students are anxious about Trump, so the LA public school district started a support hotline – The Los Angeles Unified School District has set up a hotline and opened “extended support sites” to respond to a high level of student anxiety about the election of Donald Trump as president. LA Times article

Young men outnumbered in college readiness efforts; more male recruits sought – A persistent gender gap is troubling many community and school-based programs in California that seek to move low-income, first-generation and African-American and Latino high school students onto a path to college. EdSource article

The big burden of charter school oversight – With the California Charter Schools Association’s goal of serving a million students – a nearly 75 percent increase – within six years, charter school growth is raising the stakes for effective monitoring. But there’s a sharp contrast in charter oversight capacity between California’s largest district and other districts. EdSource article

Modesto gets a jump start on 2017-18 school year — After facing community upset over two years of delayed calendars, the Modesto City Schools Board approved the next year’s schedule ahead of time. Modesto Bee article

Growing healthy, happy kids — Dozens of after-school program officials from San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties collaborated on ideas Tuesday night at the San Joaquin County Office of Education. The Center for Collaborative Solutions provided an opportunity to educators to learn firsthand how the Healthy Behaviors Initiative is helping a number of programs to promote healthy eating, physical activity and food security. Stockton Record article

Former Cal State Chancellor Charles B. Reed dies at 75 — Former Cal State Chancellor Charles B. Reed, who steered the nation’s largest university system through record budget cuts and widened access to underserved students, died Tuesday at 75. LA Times article


State exploring eminent domain to force billionaire to open Northern California beach —  The California State Lands Commission decided Tuesday to explore condemnation proceedings as a way to gain public access to Martin’s Beach, where landowner and Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla has restricted entry. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Teen bullying associated with serious psychological distress, study finds – Nearly a third of California teen’s who were bullied later report serious psychological distress, a new study has found. About 30 percent of California teens who were victims of bullying reported that they were depressed, anxious or had other serious psychological distress in the months after, according to the report, published in the peer-reviewed California Journal of Health Promotion in October. California Health Report article

Land Use/Housing

Kern supervisors approve new Grapevine-area community – The Kern County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday gave Tejon Ranch clearance to raise a new city at the foot of the Grapevine, where Interstate 5 begins its climb over the mountains to Los Angeles. The Grapevine project would add 12,000 homes and more than 15 million square feet of commercial and industrial space to the existing warehouse center, freeway retail development and outlet mall along the interstate. Bakersfield Californian article

Putting the brakes on industrial development: West Fresno seeks cleaner businesses — After a one-week delay, the Fresno City Council is expected Thursday to initiate an environmental analysis for a land-use plan covering southwest Fresno, one of the most impoverished areas of the city. Fresno Bee article


Are cheaper fares, more airlines headed Sacramento’s way? – Travelers using Sacramento International Airport could see more flight options and lower fares in the new year, thanks in good part to a fee agreement being hammered out now between the airport and airlines. Sacramento Bee article

When pigs (help you) fly! First therapy pig debuts at San Francisco airport — Airport travel has already gone to the dogs. Now it’s gone to the pigs, too. More than 30 American airports have added therapy dogs as a way to ease passengers’ stress during travel days. Now San Francisco International (SFO) has a therapy pig — LiLou. She is the first known airport therapy pig in the U.S., according to a statement from SFO.  McClatchy Newspapers article

Other areas

LA executive named Kern county administrative officer — Kern County supervisors on Tuesday announced the appointment of an out-of-towner with local roots and experience as the new county administrative officer. Ryan J. Alsop will replace current CAO John Nilon, who is set to retire from county government’s top appointed position in January. Bakersfield Californian article

Mark Salvaggio: Bring Nilon rehire proposal out from closed doors – The former Bakersfield City Council member and political observer writes, “There is a drastic need to reform Kern County government by streamlining its operations, scrubbing all department budgets with audits and eliminating as much waste as possible. The County is in the midst of another financial crisis, a $44 million general fund budget deficit and a $12 million fire fund shortfall. There is a movement afoot by some members of the Board of Supervisors to hire back retiring CAO John Nilon and pay him a ‘retirement annuity’ to either shepherd the Lean Six Sigma methodology to remove waste and/or help with a “transition” of the new CAO, who now has a contract in hand.” Salvaggio op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Merced County CEO receives $10,000 raise in extended contract – Merced County CEO Jim Brown, who consistently ranks among the highest-paid county chiefs in the San Joaquin Valley, received a $10,000 raise on Tuesday from the outgoing County Board of Supervisors. Merced Sun-Star article

Old courthouse to stay, house DA for years – It has been nearly six years since San Joaquin County made plans to move the District Attorney’s Office to a new location downtown, and it looks like it may be another six before it actually happens. Stockton Record article

Official: Refrigerator potential source of deadly fire – Investigators honed in on a refrigerator and other electrical appliances as possible causes of the fire at a warehouse in Oakland that killed 36 people, as crews were set to finish their search for bodies. AP article

Emergency declaration sought in Oakland after deadly warehouse fire – Officials in Oakland asked for a declaration of emergency Tuesday, clearing the way for the city to receive federal and state funding to cover the massive response to a warehouse fire that left 36 people dead. LA Times article

After Oakland warehouse fire, calls come for more inspectors – In the wake of the deadly Ghost Ship fire, questions are being raised whether the city has sufficient fire inspectors to cover its diverse and sometimes problematic housing stock, including many older manufacturing warehouses that have been converted to artists’ collectives. East Bay Times article

New report highlights sexual harassment in Forest Service fire ranks — Wildfire season may be over in the Sierra Nevada, but there’s one issue that is still burning white hot among those fight forest fires for the federal government. A recent article in the Washington Post documents a number of high profile claims of gender discrimination and sexual harassment among female firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service. We spoke with reporter Daryl Fears about what he learned and what the government says it is doing to address the issue. KVPR report

Vision for the Valley symposium addresses politics, education and healthcare — An audience of 300 gathered at Bakersfield College’s Simonsen Performing Arts Center Tuesday morning for Vision for the Valley, a business symposium sponsored by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and TBC Media. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Ghost Ship deaths are what happens when cities don’t enforce rules; As Pearl Harbor taught us, nothing can or should be taken for granted. We should always be on alert, be it on our own shores on a balmy morning day in the Pacific or elsewhere around the world.

Merced Sun-Star – A salute to those who perished on a day that still lives in infamy.

Modesto Bee – A salute to those who perished on a day that still lives in infamy.

Sacramento Bee –- The date that, 75 years later, must still be remembered; The honorable thing to do for Afghan refugees.