October 1, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

California vaccine referendum falls short in internal count — A referendum measure to overturn California’s new vaccine mandate will not go before voters, according to a preliminary signature count from proponents. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

How Jerry Brown and farmers settled a major wage dispute — In the waning days of the recently concluded legislative session, the Brown administration, business and labor officials emerged from dozens of hours of private meetings and conference calls with a plan to resolve a festering dispute over pay for farmworkers and other low-wage laborers in California. Sacramento Bee article


Gov. Brown  

Jerry Brown’s $56,440 flight — So far as points of symbolism go cultivating a frugal image, nothing has replaced Gov. Jerry Brown’s old Plymouth Satellite so much as his frequent flights on Southwest Airlines. But recently, the fourth-term Democrat has made occasion to fly in higher style. Sacramento Bee article 

Fighting traffic tickets just got easier — Californians will be allowed to challenge most routine traffic tickets without having to first pay the contested fines under a bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown. LA Times article


Valley politics

Kevin McCarthy off to a rough start — House Speaker-in-waiting Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield put his foot in his mouth in a big way Tuesday night in an interview with Sean Hannity in which he directly tied the Benghazi hearings — the longest in congressional history — to Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times articleWashington Post articleMcClatchy Newspapers article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Joel Fox: Tax initiatives poker game begins — This post-legislative period is shaping up as the great California initiative poker game – with taxpayers’ money as the chips. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Californians say undocumented immigrants should get to stay: poll — A strong majority of Californians say immigrants benefit their state and that those who came to the United States illegally should be allowed to remain to live and work, a poll published on Wednesday shows. Reuters article


Other areas

Poll finds California tax hike support varies by subject – new poll finds that nearly half of likely California voters favor temporarily extending Proposition 30’s sales and income tax hikes, but support falls to just 32 percent when asked if they should be made permanent. Sacramento Bee articleContra Costa Times article 

Suit to limit use of teacher union dues for political purposes is tossed – A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed a lawsuit that, if successful, would have hindered the ability of teachers unions to raise money to engage in political activity. LA Times article 

San Diego business group hires Brown friend to kill bill — A years-long political and legal dispute over control of development in downtown San Diego boils down to a bill sitting on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, and its opponents, who want a veto, have hired one of Brown’s oldest friends. Sacramento Bee article

Twitter has a 136-page handbook for politicians, and it’s hilarious — NPR recently discovered that the social media giant has a very special handbook just for people running for elected office. And it’s 136 pages long. KQED report

Carly Fiorina’s ‘Super PAC’ aids her campaign, in plain sight — The Federal Election Commission forbids direct coordination between campaigns and super PACs, lest candidates effectively rely almost entirely on the huge, unlimited donations of a small number of billionaires. But in 2016, the groups are aggressively exploiting gray areas and loopholes in the rules, few of which the commission — deadlocked with its three Republican and three Democratic members — has hastened to close. New York Times article


News Stories

Top Stories

Cal State University faculty to vote on strike – A threatened strike by California State University faculty could extend to all 23 campuses of the nation’s largest public university system if an impasse over raises is not resolved, faculty union officials said Wednesday. LA Times article

Officials: California meeting water conservation targets – A state water official said Californians have met a mandate to save water for a third consecutive month during the grinding drought. AP article

Report: Valley nonprofits stretched thin by epic drought – Four years into an epic drought, nonprofits in the San Joaquin Valley are stretched thin. That’s according to a new report prepared by the Fresno Regional Foundation and funded by the California Endowment. The report authors surveyed 60 community organizations, conducted in-depth interviews with organization leaders and held four workshops in July with 69 representatives. Fresno Bee article


Jobs and the Economy

Study: Higher salaries, better benefits making farm work more stable – A new study finds California farm workers have become less of a migrant labor force than they had been historically. Mechanization, higher salaries, and better benefits are helping make farm workers more stable. Capital Public Radio report

Restaurants, Verizon store nearing completion on former Three-Way site – Tenants in the new California Pavilion, a 26,000-square foot retail center nearing completion on the former Three-Way Chevrolet Co. site on California Avenue, should get their keys later this month, a development official said Wednesday. Bakersfield Californian article

Details emerge on Sacramento minimum-wage hike plan – Sacramento would require larger businesses to pay a higher minimum wage before small businesses with fewer than 40 employees, according to a draft of the ordinance obtained by The Sacramento Bee. Sacramento Bee article

Job cuts affect Fresno Whole Foods – The Fresno Whole Foods store will lose jobs as part of cuts announced by the companyMonday, but a specific number was not released. Fresno Bee article 

Coal-shipping plan divides Oakland over health, jobs issue — Oakland’s City Council has until early December to make a costly choice: agree to move millions of tons of potentially lung-damaging coal through the city each year for export, or ban the coal and disrupt — potentially derailing — a major development that promises nearly 12,000 jobs. San Francisco Chronicle article

Toys ‘R’ Us brings temporary foreign workers to U.S. to move jobs overseas — When Congress designed temporary work visa programs, the idea was to bring in foreigners with specialized, hard-to-find skills who would help American companies grow, creating jobs to expand the economy. Now, though, some companies are bringing in workers on those visas to help move jobs out of the country. New York Times article 

Stephany Aguilar and Hing Wong: State should give cities more redevelopment aid – Aguilar, president of the League of California Cities, and Wong, a senior regional planner with the Association of Bay Area Governments, write, “A successful future for urban development requires state involvement as well. In the next stage of legislative discussions, we urge state leaders to find additional creative ways to partner with local governments on urban revitalization, affordable housing and infrastructure projects. Doing so would help avoid lost opportunities and ensure the highest quality projects are produced.” Aguilar/Wong op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Paul Betancourt: Predatory trial lawyers put crunch of food businesses – The Fresno County farmer and supporter of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse writes, “Trial lawyers looking to make a quick buck at the expense of productive businesses have found a good business model California: find a successful food product and sue its manufacturer.” Betancourt op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Atwater homeless ordinance starts in October – Many business owners in downtown Atwater are looking forward to the new ordinance that prohibits people sleeping or camping within the city limits, which will go into effect soon, but not everyone is on board. Merced Sun-Star article

Steve Lopez: Plan offers new hope for housing the homeless — One man was curled up at the entrance to a restaurant, asleep, passed out or dead. It wasn’t immediately clear. Lopez column in LA Times 

UC Berkeley contractor is under investigation for cheating workers — Federal authorities are investigating allegations that a UC Berkeley custodial contractor underpaid workers who cleaned up after Golden Bears football games and other sporting events, denying them overtime pay for weeks that stretched to 80 or 90 hours. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Bulmaro Vicente: UC system is shortchanging low-wage contract workers – The Associated Students of University of California senator at UC Berkeley writes, “The ignorance of the UC president’s office about the most vulnerable members of our campus communities goes on. A case in point is the plight of the university’s growing army of contract workers.” Vicente op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Report: Cash sales made up 21 percent of Fresno home sales in June – The cash sales share in Fresno was down for the month of June over the same period last year and sits at 21.7 percent, a 4.8 percentage point decrease compared with June 2014. The Business Journal article 

Michael Hiltzik: That Airbnb study of rentals in LA isn’t what it seems — Should you accept the study as the last word on the subject? Plainly not. Indeed, Airbnb may have misrepresented the study, which is obviously a major problem. Hiltzik in LA Times



‘Godzilla’ El Nino expected to last into spring months – Although nothing is definite, there is a 95 percent chance of an El Nino this winter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The system is being touted as a beast, with some referring to it as a “Godzilla” El Nino. Bakersfield Californian article

Delta farmers: Voluntary water cuts pay off – Whether an act of goodwill or a desperate move under duress, an agreement by Delta farmers to voluntarily reduce their water use last spring likely spared them from deeper cuts in the middle of the summer growing season, a state official said this week. Stockton Record article 

Driest water year ever reported on Kings – The 2014-15 water year was the driest in the Kings River’s recorded history, according to statement released Wednesday by the Kings River Water Association. Records go back to 1895. Hanford Sentinel article

Victor Davis Hanson: The underbelly of the California drought — The solutions for the drought are simple: complete the envisioned reservoirs and dams of the California Water Project; cease releasing water from reservoirs for theoretic fish restoration; and lift government regulations on how water is bought and sold. In the meantime, we pray for the long awaited Christmas-time return of El Niño – a divine gift of warmer ocean temperatures. Hanson in Fox & Hounds


Criminal Justice/Prisons

Allen is first of many sick, aged in line at Death Row — Clarence Ray Allen stands to be the first in a long procession of geriatric patients to be ushered into San Quentin State Prison’s death chamber just ahead of the grim reaper. Allen, who is legally blind, sick and uses a wheelchair, will turn 76 on Monday, the day before he is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. He would be the oldest person ever put to death in California. San Francisco Chronicle article

Family of slain Atwater correctional officer critical of convictions – The family of slain Atwater correctional Officer Jose Rivera on Wednesday criticized the plea bargain that allows the men who pleaded guilty to his murder to avoid the death penalty. Merced Sun-Star article 

Family of man slain by Fresno police stage protest outside department – The family of Freddy Centeno, who was mortally wounded in a confrontation with Fresno police, joined the Fresno Brown Berets in a small protest outside the Fresno Police Department on Wednesday afternoon. Fresno Bee article

Attorney responds to police finding shooting within guidelines – Attorneys representing the family of a man shot and killed by police at a Subway sandwich eatery Aug. 22 said police have “zero credibility” in finding the shooting was within state and federal guidelines Tuesday. Bakersfield Californian article

LAPD defends officers who purchased discounted guns — Los Angeles police officials this week defended officers who privately purchased Smith & Wesson handguns at a special discount, saying they did not believe the officers violated city ethics rules when buying the guns after evaluating them for a new department contract. LA Times article

Death penalty sought for ex-wife accused of killing Exeter police officer – The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office will seek the death penalty against Erika Sandoval, who allegedly shot and killed Exeter police officer Daniel Green, 31, her ex-husband and father of their 2-year-old son. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Sheriff: Scores of inmate complaints in jail under review since beating death in widening probe — In her first interview since arresting three correctional deputies for allegedly beating a mentally ill inmate to death, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said Wednesday internal investigations may ensnare more jailers, with two more officers placed on leave and perhaps 100 inmate complaints now under review. San Jose Mercury News article

Clovis police offer new app for residents — If you want to find out what Clovis police officers are doing … there’s an app for that. Clovis police introduced a new app on Wednesday aimed at putting information about department activities at the fingertips of Clovis residents. Fresno Bee article 

Cause of Egkan’s death revealed — Tim Egkan, chief brand officer for Ten Space Development, died as a result of being stabbed in his stomach. Stockton Record article



Former Fresno Unified staffer speaks out about Cyber Dust – A former chief information officer for Fresno Unified says she was instructed by Superintendent Michael Hanson to use Cyber Dust – a controversial phone app that automatically erases messages – to discuss school district business last year. Fresno Bee article

District officials want to avoid overreacting to new test results — As educators across the state examine the results of the Smarter Balanced assessments that millions of students took last spring, officials in several school districts that EdSource is tracking say they want to avoid overreacting to the scores and that they want to take more time to review the results before significantly adjusting what they are already doing. EdSource article

Tulare Union awaits fate of Redskins team name — Tulare Union High School is lobbying to keep its mascot name, the Redskins, in the face of pending California legislation that would outlaw the moniker for all public schools. And the school has an unlikely ally – the Tule River Tribal CouncilFresno Bee article

More rapes being reported on CSU Stanislaus – The U.S. Department of Education released compiled campus crime reports for 2014 Thursday, showing low crime overall but a sharp increase in reports of forcible sexual assault at California State University, Stanislaus. Modesto Bee article 

Atwater flight school settles discrimination complaint — An Atwater-based flight school will pay $60,000 to settle a pregnancy-discrimination charge filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced Wednesday. Merced Sun-Star article


Rampant California wildfires can be blamed on last December’s rain – What seemed like welcome relief for California last December – the rainiest month in three years – instead triggered some of the worst fires in the state’s recent history. Center for Investigative Reporting article

Alex Sheriffs and John Capitman: Don’t back off demands for cleaner air – Sheriffs, a physician with Adventist Health Community Care in Fowler, and Capitman, executive director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, write, “We are responding to a commentary in the Sept. 23 Bee written by five of our fellow board members at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. They support federal legislation that we believe will weaken, not strengthen, efforts to improve the Valley’s air quality. As a practicing physician and as a professor of public health policy serving on the board, we cannot support a policy direction which threatens to extend the time Valley residents are breathing unhealthful air.” Sheriffs/Capitman op-ed in Fresno Bee

State board plans deep climate emissions cuts — The California Air Resources Board has released a plan to drastically reduce some lesser known air pollutants implicated in climate change. Capital Public Radio report 

New conservation strategy: Zeroing in on biggest energy users – Wealthier neighborhoods use far more energy per capita than their low-income counterparts, but the biggest energy users overall in Los Angeles County are commercial and industrial businesses. LA Times article

Jeff Jardine: Hughson Arboretum trying to secure founder’s dream for future generations — They recently put up a wrought-iron fence around Margaret Sturtevant’s dream. It has pointy things at the top – the kind that would really hurt if you climbed over it and, well, slipped. That is the point of having all those pointy things, and I’ll get to the point of this momentarily. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Salton Sea backers still waiting for state to keep its word to save lake — Comunity activists, politicians and water officials from the Imperial and Coachella valleys went to the state water board in Sacramento six months ago with a plea: Avoid a “looming catastrophe” at the Salton Sea. LA Times article


Health/Human Services 

African-Americans race higher colon cancer risk, less likely to be screened — Every year, 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer, and more than 50,000 die from it. It’s the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. But among those tens of thousands who are suffering, African-Americans are especially vulnerable. KQED report



Signal sensors can keep Hanford drivers waiting — If you’ve ever found yourself waiting at a Hanford stop light for what feels like forever, you’re not alone. Hanford Sentinel article


Other areas 

Three Valley cities honored with statewide award — The League of California Cities has chosen Reedley, Clovis and Sanger as winners of the 2015 Helen Putnam Award. Fresno Bee article

League of California Cities honors Harry Armstrong — Longtime Clovis City Council Member Harry Armstrong was honored Wednesday by the League of California Cities for his service on its board of directors. Fresno Bee article 

Dan Kukla: Jury duty not all it’s cracked up to be – it’s way better — So next time you get mail that says you’ve got jury duty, I encourage you to not immediately start searching for that “Get Out of Jail Free” card. You don’t need to tell too tall of a tale to escape, but doing so will only short change yourself and your community. Kukla in Visalia Times-Delta

Foon Rhee: A bitter divorce on ethics reform — The big ethics reform push in Sacramento boasted a major selling point: It brought together 23 politically diverse community groups, led by Eye on Sacramento and the local League of Women Voters. Now that promising partnership is broken and bitter. Rhee in Sacramento Bee 

Joe Mathews: Plug pulled early on bold LA Times campaign — The most important political campaign in California has died prematurely, and without a proper obituary. It wasn’t for a candidate or measure, but for the Los Angeles Times. Mathews in Sacramento Bee


Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – U.S. Senate should confirm Dale Drozd as federal judge; The public’s interest in space is surging.

Sacramento Bee – The government shutdown threat over Planned Parenthood funding served no one; Davis council looks inward after a homicide at downtown bar.

Stockton Record – Student’s death emphasizes need for driver awareness; Calaveras community: Schools come together for poignant athletic contest.