October 11, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

More than $340 million raised by California proposition campaigns — Campaigns for and against the 17 propositions on California’s November ballot are closing in on $400 million in total contributions. Through Sunday, the committees had reported receiving about $345 million from donors, according to state filings. Sacramento Bee article 

CD 21: Huerta’s challenge climbing a steep road — Emilio Huerta’s bid to unseat Congressman David Valadao, R-Hanford, in the 21st Congressional District was jolted back to life this weekend when the Democratic House Majority PAC pumped $390,000 into a television attack ad against Valadao. But will the jolt be enough to deliver a win for the son of United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta? Bakersfield Californian article

Regulating pot in California: Voters to decide on more than 50 local initiatives in November — As California voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use underProposition 64, the local measures could signal how much the cannabis economy may grow under expanded legalization and state regulation. They also add to the debate over whether California is acting sensibly on marijuana or surging ahead too fast. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Valadao denounces Trump over sex comments – Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, has issued a statement criticizing GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump for making lewd sexual comments about women in a recently released video. Hanford Sentinel article

CD 9: McNerney vs. Amador, round two – Two years ago, Republican challenger Tony Amador came within 5 points of upsetting incumbent Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton. Granted, the Democrats’ registration advantage was a bit smaller then. Still, McNerney isn’t making any assumptions this November as he faces Amador once again, seeking a sixth term that would push his tenure in Washington, D.C., beyond the one-decade mark. Stockton Record article 

Woodward resigns judge’s seat — Kern County Superior Court Judge Cory Woodward has resigned the job he’s been asking voters to give him all year. In one month (or today for those receiving mail-in ballots) Woodward’s name will be on the ballot beside opponent Tiffany Organ-Bowles as the incumbent candidate for his judgeship. But he doesn’t want the job anymore. Bakersfield Californian article

Merced College board trustees draw challengers — After a tumultuous year that saw controversy at Merced College, two board of trustee incumbents have drawn competitors looking to unseat them. Merced Sun-Star article

Kaweah Delta board candidates clash in forum — Measure H, the failed local tax initiative that sought to finance the expansion of Kaweah Delta Medical Center, dominated a forum held Monday night for those seeking a seat on the hospital board. Visalia Times-Delta article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Dan Walters: California Democrats could regain supermajorities in Legislature – Even if Democrats regain supermajorities, it may not mean much in policy terms, given the substantial number of moderate Democrats who are unlikely to support such liberal goals as tax increases. Therefore, the real legislative election issue this year is what kind of Democrats fill the seats that they either regain from Republicans or are vacant due to term limits. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Individual donors spend big in California initiative battles – Typically, large organizations like corporations, unions and political parties are responsible for the largest contributions in political campaigns; individuals generally contribute less. In the 2016 election cycle in California, however, a few individuals are making a huge financial impact. KQED report

How MASH actor Mike Farrell became a leading voice against the death penalty in California – The day in 1979 that Tennessee Rev. Joe Ingle landed in Los Angeles and made his way to the set of the popular television series “MASH,” he wasn’t starstruck. He was angry. As he drove his rental car through the Santa Monica Mountains to the sprawling 20th Century Fox Ranch near Malibu Canyon, Ingle thought of  John Spenkelink, a death row inmate. After years of talks with politicians, countless legal filings and many sleepless nights, the state of Florida put his close friend to death in the electric chair, Ingle said.  LA Times article

Kamala Harris, in bid to reach millennials, debuts emoji-inspired ad — First Loretta Sanchez dabbed – a late debate surprise dreamed up by a 9-year-old dancer. Now, her U.S. Senate rival Kamala Harris is appropriating some popular culture in her first digital ad, a bitmoji-inspired animation debuting Monday. Harris, in the ad running on digital platforms and social media, appears as “Kamoji,” part of her campaign’s effort to reach students and millennials. Sacramento Bee article

Prop 53 would give California voters bigger say on mega-projects – A proposition that a prosperous farmer brought to the California ballot would threaten two ambitious water and rail projects that Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing, requiring voters’ OK before launching any state building project requiring $2 billion or more in revenue bonds. AP article

Michael Ong: Prop 56 will save lives and discourage young people from smoking – The associate professor of medicine in residence at UCLA and chairman of the state Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee writes, “Proposition 56 will save lives, protect children and improve health care with a $2 per pack cigarette tax increase, with an equivalent increase on products containing nicotine derived from tobacco, including e-cigarettes.” Ong op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Ourania Riddle: Prop 56 will enrich hospitals and insurance companies – The former president and current board member of the Solano County Taxpayers Association writes, “Helping people stop smoking and stopping kids from ever starting is important, but that’s not what Proposition 56 is really all about. When you follow the money, it’s clear that Proposition 56 – the $1.4 billion tobacco tax increase on the November ballot – is just another example of special interests rigging the system.” Riddle op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Why Prop 57 could keep more kids out of adult court — Part of Proposition 57 would end a practice whereby a district attorney — not a judge — gets to decide whether to send a young person into the adult system. KQED reportKQED report: ‘Explainer: Why and how kids end up in adult court’

Other areas

Trump figures large in California congressional races – Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign plays large in a number of California’s most competitive congressional campaigns. With polls showing Hillary Clinton comfortably ahead of Trump in California and the state’s U.S. Senate race featuring two Democrats, there is less reason for Republicans to turn out and that could hurt down-ticket candidates. Here are the contests to watch. Races cited include the CD 10 race between Republican Jeff Denham and Democrat Michael Eggman and the CD 21 race between David Valadao (R) and Emilio Huerta (D). AP article

Republican Scott Jones says abandoning Trump ‘may cost me the election’ — Republican Scott Jones, a congressional challenger who renounced his support for Donald Trump after release of a video showing the GOP presidential nominee talking about women in vulgar terms, predicted Monday that his defection “may cost me the election.” Sacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorial

Sheriff says he complained about deputy who allege he sexually harassed her — Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said Monday that he complained up the chain of command about the deputy whose sworn allegations of unwanted sexual advances against him have risen to the center of his congressional contest with Democratic Rep. Ami Bera. Sacramento Bee article

Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks ‘arrogant’ Kaepernick national anthem protest is ‘dumb and disrespectful’ — Ruth Bader Ginsburg is known for saying what she means. So no one should be surprised the Supreme Court justice shared her opinion about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest in stark terms. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Soda firms’ lobbying at odds with health donations — A new report documents the beverage industry’s deep financial ties to health groups as part of a strategy to silence critics and gain unlikely allies. New York Times article

Tom Steyer pitched as possible Obama energy secretary in 2008, emails show — Tom Steyer, the billionaire climate activist and possible candidate for California governor, was under consideration to become President Barack Obama’s first energy secretary, according to a hacked email exchange released Monday by WikiLeaks.  Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Joel Fox: The Trump anchor in CA – Even before the Washington Post reported the videotape revealing Donald Trump’s lewd comments about women, the Republican candidate was proving to be an anchor weighing down Republicans in California. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Joe Mathews: California’s Never Trumpers are the state’s only viable Republicans – The party has two choices—keep the Trump appeasers around and shrink down to a few white supremacists. Or start over from scratch. Apologize for Trump. Purge anyone who didn’t oppose him. And put itself in the hands of its few viable politicians – Ashley Swearengin, Kevin Faulconer – while trying to move into the space occupied by moderate, diverse and pro-business Democrats. Mathews in Fox & Hounds

GOP split deepens as House Speaker Ryan abandons Trump – Republicans faced a deepening split in their ranks Monday as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan declared he would no longer defend Donald Trump and instead focus the last four weeks of the presidential campaign on preserving the GOP’s majority in Congress. LA Times articleNew York Times article

Trump has tepid support, some opponents among Stanislaus County Republican leaders – Republican leaders in the Northern San Joaquin Valley are divided over whether they can support Donald Trump’s bid for the White House. Some could not conceal their disappointment when they promised, as loyal Republicans, to support their party’s nominee. Modesto Bee article

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin calls 2016 ‘wildest, most crazy election’ in Fresno State talk – Doris Kearns Goodwin, the presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, used history to try to explain to an audience at Fresno State Monday night the “wildest, most crazy election we’ve had in our lifetime.” Fresno Bee article

Merced viewers say debate gave little of substance – Ryan Mirza was walking downtown Merced, headed to a fraternity meeting Sunday evening, when he noticed TVs in The Cue Spot Billiards pool hall had on the second 2016 presidential debate as well as Sunday Night Football. While Mirza has two New York Giants receivers on his fantasy football team, it was the debate that drew his interest. Merced Sun-Star article

Tom McClintock disses ‘hand-wringing’ Republicans in defending Trump’s ‘vulgar language’ – Republican Congressman Tom McClintock on Monday criticized his “hand-wringing” GOP peers for breaking with presidential nominee Donald Trump since the leak on Friday of an 11-year-old tape that showed him crudely describing his use of his fame to kiss and grab women. Sacramento Bee article

Hillary Clinton ad showcases Sacramento’s Doug Elmets rejecting Trump — Soon hitting the airwaves near you: the Republicans rejecting Donald Trump tour, featuring one longtime California conservative. Sacramento-area consultant and former Reagan White House official Doug Elmets already made waves by denouncing Trump and pledging to vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the Democratic National Convention. Now he’ll appear in a television spot sponsored by the Clinton campaign. Sacramento Bee article

News Stories – Top Stories

UC Merced heads south to coax San Diego students to Valley – High school students in San Diego can expect to see more recruiters from UC Merced this year as the Valley school pushes to add 3,000 students by 2020. Recruiters made 82 visits to San Diego in the 2015-16 school year, and more are expected next year, UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland said during a trip to the city last week. San Diego Union-Tribune article

San Joaquin County supervisors will consider rules of conduct – After a series of meeting disruptions, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors plan to take a step Tuesday to put in place — for the first time in county history — rules to govern the behavior of those in attendance. Stockton Record article

 Jobs and the Economy

Forecast: Flood of home buyers ready for ’17 – A prominent real estate analyst believes 2017 could be a boom year for the Valley’s housing market. “There is definitely pent-up demand in the Fresno-Madera market right now,” said Tim Sullivan of Beverly Hills-based Meyers Research. The Business Journal article

Millennials aren’t big spenders or risk takers, and that’s going to reshape the economy — Millennials — adults under 35 — are certain to shape the economy for decades to come. And their coming of age in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has bred distinct traits that could pose special challenges for the nation’s future growth and prosperity. LA Times article

Rescue Mission will serve meals at Calvary Assembly of God – The Merced County Rescue Mission has found a place to serve hot meals to the needy. Calvary Assembly of God church will allow the Rescue Mission to begin using its fellowship hall twice a day starting Monday evening. Merced Sun-Star articleKVPR report

Jeff Jardine: Highway to L: Tax measure would force Modestan to move, but he’s all for it – If the county’s voters approve the measure, 65 percent of the revenue will go to city councils and the county to use as they see fit for street improvements. It also would improve transit systems and transportation for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Sutter’s visiting nurse program to cut 154 jobs in Northern California – Sutter Care at Home is cutting 154 jobs in Northern California, part of a reorganization of its visiting nurses program, officials announced Monday. The cuts, which affect administrative and medical coding positions, include 15 jobs in Sacramento, 20 in Roseville, eight in Yuba City and 14 in Modesto. Sacramento Bee article

Comcast broadband data caps coming to California – Come November 1, Comcast data caps are coming to California and more than a dozen other states that haven’t already had the pleasure. San Jose Mercury News article

John Adams: Secure retirement savings easier for everyone – even without employer’s help – The Fresno County worker writes, “In the Valley, we know that we need to take care of each other. Thank you Gov. Brown for signing the Secure Choice Retirement Program that will help build us up and allow us to take care of ourselves for stronger families and dignity in our retirement.” Adams op-ed in Fresno Bee

Kings players will sport Blue Diamond logos on uniforms – Sacramento Kings players will wear the Blue Diamond Growers logo on their uniforms next season under an experimental NBA marketing program, the team announced Monday. Blue Diamond will pay the Kings a reported $5 million a year under a pilot program starting with the 2017-18 season. Sacramento Bee article

With Model 3 orders looming, Tesla seeks approval to double size of Fremont factory – Tesla Motors Inc. took a major step toward its ambitious goal of one day building 1 million cars a year by seeking to double the size of its Fremont, Calif., assembly plant. LA Times article

Ballot measure could upset LA’s plan for housing the homeless – A ballot measure billed as a way of cracking down on out-of-scale luxury developments could also derail the city of Los Angeles’ budding plan to help house the homeless, critics said Monday. LA Times article

Once home to Lakers and LA’s first Democratic convention, this arena is getting torn down with little fanfare — Few will mourn it. Many had never seen it up close. Some didn’t even know of its existence. And so the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena — now a mass of dusty concrete and steel — is slowly being razed with little public outcry. LA Times article


Southland’s major water agency is rebuilding depleted regional storage – The Southland’s biggest water agency painted a surprisingly upbeat picture Monday of the region’s water supplies. Although the Southland remains stuck in a severe drought, officials of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California say they are rebuilding depleted storage reserves with imports from the north. LA Times article

Bees are doing just fine.  Beekeepers, however, not so good – You’ve probably heard the bad news, by now, that bees were recently added to the endangered species list for the first time. But if you’re part of the 60 percent of people who share stories without actually reading them, you might have missed an important detail: namely, that the newly-endangered bees are a handful of relatively obscure species who live only in Hawaii. Washington Post article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Attorney calls for federal takeover of Bakersfield Police Department in light of Diaz sentencing – A civil rights attorney representing families of victims gunned down by Bakersfield police officers, including some whose cases were investigated by disgraced detective Damacio Diaz, is demanding a federal takeover of the department. Bakersfield Californian article

Dyer: Officer followed training in Sunday shooting – Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Monday that he had reviewed the Sunday shooting by one of his officers of a man armed with a knife from at least two camera angles, and it appeared that the officer acted in a “very restrained, very professional manner” that was consistent with department training when he fired his service weapon twice, wounding the man. Fresno Bee article

Machete-wielding man dies day after forcible arrest – A 63-year old machete-wielding man accused of making terrorist threats and was injured last week as police took him into custody died in the hospital the day after his arrest, coroner officials announced Monday. Bakersfield Californian article

The cases may be rare, but these are the killers cops fear most – For their portion of the population, black men have ambushed and killed officers at a rate three times that of white men. Criminologists widely attribute the higher level of violence among African Americans to entrenched socioeconomic disadvantages and resentment of police. LA Times article

Study: Texas and California fail to report police shootings — A study says hundreds of police departments in Texas and California failed to report officer-involved shooting deaths in the past decade. AP article

Attorney General Harris launches cyber-crime initiative in Fresno – Attorney General Kamala Harris on Monday announced that Fresno would be the inaugural location for a new cyber crime center that will assist local law enforcement with investigations where digital expertise or assistance is required. Fresno Bee article

Modesto police officer’s squad car broadsided in north Modesto — A Modesto police officer’s squad car was broadsided by another vehicle on Monday afternoon. The accident, which occurred at about 2:40 p.m., happened near the intersection of Tully Road and West Union Avenue in north Modesto. Modesto Bee article

Modesto police identify officers involved in deadly shooting — Modesto police on Monday released the names of three officers involved in a deadly shooting as well as the name of the woman who was shot. Modesto Bee article

Suspect in killing of two California police officers barred from owning gun — A 26-year-old man accused of shooting to death two police officers in Palm Springs, California, is a convicted felon who was barred from owning a gun, which has prompted an investigation into how he acquired the firearm, officials said on Monday. Reuters article


Yosemite Community College District forums herald new chapter – Three finalists to replace retiring Yosemite Community College District Chancellor Joan Smith will participate in community forums this week, as will candidates to fill four of the district’s seven trustee seats. Together, the new leadership will mark a new chapter for the community college district, taking up residence in new quarters after last month’s completion of YCCD headquarters on MJC’s west campus. Modesto Bee article

Morelli stepping down as St. Mary’s president in June – After spending 33 years in service to St. Mary’s High School and the Diocese of Stockton, President Peter Morelli announced he will retire at the end of the current school year in June. Stockton Record article

Teacher dies in tragic fall from mountain — A 35-year-old Jacobsen Middle School teacher died in a tragic fall in San Bernardino County over the weekend, leaving students and staff at the school to mourn her death. Tehachapi News article


Human-caused warming doubled how much of the West has burned since 1984, study finds – Scientists have long said that climate change has made wildfires worse in the West — but how much worse? Twice as bad, according to a new study. Human-caused warming in the West has nearly doubled the area burned by wildfires over the last three decades, researchers reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. LA Times article

Bark beetles ravage forests of Tuolumne County — Four years into the drought, bark beetles did what was expected of them in the conifer woods of Tuolumne County. They bored into the trunks of moisture-stressed pines, cutting off the trees’ nutrient flow. Millions of dead trees mark the landscape, some of them in towns along Highways 108 and 120. Modesto Bee article

Sequoia National Park vows to fix Lodgepole treatment plant where sewage spilled — A wastewater treatment plant in Sequoia National Park overflowed this summer but the park service made a temporary fix and is working on a permanent one, Superintendent Woody Smeck said in a letter to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in Fresno. Fresno Bee article

Questions about state’s pipeline oversight after 2 Altamont oil spills — The San Bruno gas pipeline explosion of 2010 brought unprecedented scrutiny to the state’s network of natural gas pipelines. Now, two breaks in an East Bay pipeline have sparked questions about whether the state office charged with overseeing oil pipeline safety is up to the job. KQED report

Health/Human Services 

Portrait of Fresno boy to be on Rose Parade float — A Fresno boy whose tragic death saved three lives through organ donation will be honored on a float at the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 2. Sebastian Amezcua, 9, died in a car accident in 2007. In the aftermath, Sebastian’s family has served as ambassadors for organ donor registration, sharing his story with audiences throughout Fresno County. According to Donor Network West, nearly 1,000 people are currently waiting for organ transplant in Fresno County. Fresno Bee article

Hospitals in California would have to report superbug infections under planned legislation — State Sen. Jerry Hill said Monday that he plans to introduce a bill to require California hospitals to report when patients are infected with lethal superbugs. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

Fresno State, College of the Sequoias send tiny homes to state competition — This week, construction and engineering students from Fresno State and College of the Sequoias are sending two tiny houses to a state competition that promotes energy conservation, energy efficiency and solar technologies. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

Foon Rhee: Sacramento’s new ticketmaster has keys to city suite at arena — Meet Erin Palmer, the woman who controls the keys to the city’s suite at the new Golden 1 Center. Her official title: ticket administrator. Her job: decide who gets into the suite for Kings games, concerts and other must-see events. Rhee column in Sacramento Bee

Chef Maria del Carmen Saenz brings prehispanic dishes to Sacramento — It was one of México’s most defining moments. A historical night. And, Maria Del Carmen Sáenz was there to witness it all. Her knees trembled; her heart beat faster. A knot formed in her throat. She was overcome with emotion and she couldn’t hold back the tears. It was back in November of 2010 when México’s cuisine was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. No other nation’s food has ever been given this honor. Vida en el Valle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Donald Trump uses women and goes low against Hillary Clinton; In the guise of combating government debt, Proposition 53 could increase construction costs and add unnecessary layers of complexity and uncertainty to an already unwieldy state government. And voters have a solution if they conclude that legislators abuse revenue bonds: They can vote them out of office.

Merced Sun-Star – We’ve had it with Trump and his foul act.

Modesto Bee – We’ve had it with Trump and his foul act.

Sacramento Bee – With less than a month in the campaign and Trump flailing, dumping the utterly unfit Republican presidential nominee should be a no-brainer for any politician with a spine. But winning is everything in politics, and politicians do what they must to win.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers: Body camera that wasn’t used, out-of-line comments by local activist and former city councilman Ralph Lee White, and other issues.