October 12, 2014


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Political Briefs

Top stories

Prop 47 would cut penalties for 1 in 5 criminals in California – One in five California criminals could get a break under proposed new sentencing laws before voters this fall, but the measure is unlikely to produce big benefits for schools and communities, as its name suggests.  LA Times article

Michael Fitzgerald: Boiling the water bond down to one question – So there are two ways of looking at Prop 1. First: Politics is the art of the possible; this is the best California can do; at least Delta representatives muscled their way into the smoke-filled room and softened impacts on the Delta. Second: Prop 1 is duct tape on a broken system. We are failing to address, as our predecessors did, the root of California’s water problems. Both may be true.  Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Valley politics

Stockton Record:  McNerney, Denham deserve re-election – Jerry McNerney and Jeff Denham have represented San Joaquin County and the Valley well on Capitol Hill and deserve to be re-elected to Congress.  Stockton Record editorial

Modesto Bee: Kristin Olsen ready to have big impact in Assembly – Kristen Olsen, who will be termed out in 2016, has worked hard to put herself in position to have a significant impact on the district and state over the next two years. Voters must give her the chance by returning her to the Assembly.  Modesto Bee editorial

Stockton Record: Eggman stellar in first term, deserves another – Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, had a successful first term in the California State Assembly that portends good things in the future for San Joaquin County. She deserves another two years in office.  Stockton Record editorial

Most expensive Bakersfield City Council race is still Ward 1 – The Ward 1 Bakersfield City Council race continues to be the city’s most expensive contest to represent its poorest area, with incumbent Councilman Willie Rivera raising more than $100,000 this year.  Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno County judicial race offers candidates with different credentials, philosophies – Fresno County’s lone judicial race is a grudge match with big-time power players pumping more than $500,000 into a winner-take-all affair between candidates with opposing philosophies about how to deal with the criminal element.  Fresno Bee article

Nine vying for three City Council seats in Patterson – The nine include all five council members, with two-term incumbent Mayor Luis Molina defending his seat against council members Sheree Lustgarten and Dominic Farinha and political newcomer Ralph Arredondo, who is backed by former mayors Pat Maisetti and Becky Campo.  Modesto Bee article

Two school board areas in Lodi contested – There are two contested area races for the Lodi Unified School District board, with a new voice assured on the seven-member board from Area 4, where Daryl Talken and Jennifer Wise are on the ballot.  Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Jerry Brown promises restraint in bid for fourth term – Mandarin Restraint and steady progress don’t necessarily make for catchy political slogans. But a sure-handed approach to managing California’s fiscal recovery is Gov. Jerry Brown’s central pitch to voters as he seeks re-election to an unprecedented fourth term as governor.  AP article

California’s Prop 2 would expand rainy-day reserve – Will Proposition 2 finally settle the years-long debate over budget reserves? Supporters say the measure would be much more effective than Proposition 58, which lawmakers suspended in almost every year since it took effect. The loudest complaints have come from the group Educate Our State, which contends that the separate school reserve created by Proposition 2 would divert too much money from schools.  Sacramento Bee article

Dan Walters: Tax reform is a better option, but Prop 2 is the only game in town – There are two long-term approaches to the fiscal gyrations – changing tax laws to level out revenues or socking away money during boom times to cushion revenue downturns. Tax reform is cleaner and has a better chance of working, but is politically unpalatable, as a commission appointed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders quickly learned.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Bakersfield Californian: Prop 46: Trial lawyers’ malpractice scam – Voters should reject Proposition 46. It is a misleading ruse that can do more harm than good. Bakersfield Californian editorial

California same-party races force hard choices – In California, 25 same-party contests populate the fall ballot, intraparty battles made possible by voter-approved Proposition 14 in June 2010. Under the measure, the top two candidates regardless of party advance to the general election. The system is changing the mechanics of some campaigns, and putting many voters in an uncomfortable spot.  Sacramento Bee article

Dan Morain: George Soros ought to fix the drug initiative mess he made in 2000 – Soros, the true believer in drug legalization, donated $990,000 for the marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot in Oregon, and helped fund the initiative that legalized marijuana in Washington state two years ago. And there is the “Yes on 47” campaign. Being a billionaire, Soros can afford not to care what other people think. But maybe instead of funding new initiatives to change the world in his image, he ought to spend some of his money to clean up the mess he made with Proposition 36.  Morain in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

$3 million in Chevron’s political committee war chest – Chevron has funneled $3 million into a trio of campaign committees to influence the Nov. 4 Richmond city election, including a nearly $1.3 million contribution on Aug. 8, according to newly filed campaign finance documents.  KQED report

Marcus Breton: Controversy clouds Steinberg’s legacy as he leaves the Senate – The list of Darrell Steinberg’s achievements goes on and on. But the transgressions of three senators and some longtime Senate employees have clouded his exit from the Legislature.  Breton column in Sacramento Bee

California is key to parties’ U.S. House strategies – Political strategists mapping potential gains in the House next month are circling, of all places, California.  AP article

Mike Klocke: Wedding bells chime beautiful sounds for all – In the past 12 months, I’ve attended two same-sex weddings. One on the East Coast (Boston), one on the West Coast (Portland). One involving the daughter of close Stockton friends, the other involving family. One marriage of two women, one marriage of two men. And you know what hasn’t happened? The Earth hasn’t opened up and swallowed me as if I’m some type of heathen.  Klocke column in Stockton Record

Eric Grunder: Supreme Court’s signal is clear – halt discrimination – Last week the Supreme Court decided without comment to not interfere with lower court rulings upholding the right of same-sex couples to marry in five more states. That’s a pretty clear signal from the court. It’s also an acknowledgment of the public’s growing realization that allowing two people devoted to one another to wed, no matter their gender, does not cause holes to open in the earth.  Grunder in Stockton Record

Tom Steyer’s climate change crusade focuses on midterm races, for now – Tom Steyer wants to save the planet, but first he wants to know about the U.S. Senate race in Iowa.  LA Times article

Obama wraps up California fundraising trip – President Barack Obama on Saturday wrapped up a week that saw him raise campaign money for Democrats on both coasts.  AP article

Campaigns find ad space finite, even on the Web – It turns out that the Internet does not have infinite capacity, at least not for political ads. As an increasing number of campaigns and outside groups are finding out, premium space on the Web has long been booked. Digital advertising is maturing much in the way television did.  New York Times article

For abortion foes, a national strategy built at the state level – Across the country, the antiabortion movement has recorded major success in the last four years, part of a well-funded national strategy to legislate abortion out of existence state by state. Legislatures, many stocked with new Republican majorities, have passed laws that, if upheld, would drastically reduce access to abortion for millions of women.  LA Times article

News Briefs

Top Stories

Children’s Hospital Central California, doctor group in battle – The only children’s hospital in the region and the largest doctors’ group in Fresno are severing ties in a fight for control of patients that could limit access to care in an area already in short supply of doctors, especially ones with special training to treat children.  Fresno Bee article

Looking past the vacancies at a key corner of downtown Bakersfield – In a hopeful sign for the continuing evolution of Bakersfield’s commercial and historical core, investment is suddenly pouring into the intersection of Chester Avenue and 18th Street.  Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Chukchansi casino remains closed, tribal factions chafe over lost revenues – Sheriff’s office personnel remain posted on Chukchansi property, since the federal order barred tribal police or other armed personnel from within 1,000 yards of the casino or other tribal properties surrounding it. The casino closure has generated many unanswered questions for those who had hotel reservations, event plans at the facility, or who have yet to claim money they won gambling Thursday night, when the casino was evacuated. Brides who had planned weddings and organizers of the Hoover High School 20th reunion planned for Oct. 18 have been left in the lurch.  Fresno Bee article

Fresno Chaffee Zoo backers seek Measure Z victory – Fresno County’s voters will decide on Nov. 4 whether to keep assessing themselves an extra one-tenth of 1% sales tax to provide extra money for improvements and operations at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo for another decade.  Fresno Bee article

Oakdale voters will be asked to extend half-cent sales tax – The city’s voters will be asked in November to extend a half-cent sales tax that supporters say is critical for maintaining public safety and other services. Voters approved Measure O in November 2011, but it expires March 31. Measure Y would extend the tax for an additional five years.  Modesto Bee article

Patty Guerra: New stores getting going in Modesto and Turlock – This is a fun week, because I get to tell you about some new stuff coming to Modesto and when some already announced businesses will open in Turlock.  Guerra in Modesto Bee

Living on the bare minimum – More than a third of private-sector workers in Los Angeles make less than $13.25 an hour — the new minimum wage proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti last month. City Council members supporting the bill would like to further boost the floor to $15.25 an hour by 2019.  LA Times article

LA gets $36 million in Promise Zone anti-poverty grants – Los Angeles has received $36 million in federal grants for an ambitious program to provide a wide range of social and education services to needy students and their families in several neighborhoods.  LA Times article

Sacramento Bee: There’s nothing sweet about the soda industry’s attack on the sugar tax – The beverage industry has successfully spent more than $100 million over the past five years fighting soda taxes in states and cities from Hawaii to Maine. Now two November ballot measures in the Bay Area are confronting the beverage industry with a fresh Pepsi challenge: Beat back a two-cent soda tax in San Francisco while simultaneously beating back a 1-cent tax in Berkeley.  Sacramento Bee editorial


Trees in Fresno parks are suffering in the drought – Fresno City Hall is coming to the aid of the drought’s latest victim — city parks’ urban forest. It’s not too late, city officials say, but time’s a-wastin’.  Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Police Foundation to review deadly Bank of the West robbery – Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said he has commissioned a national organization to conduct an independent review of his department’s response to a bank robbery that led to a deadly shootout in which a hostage was killed last summer in Stockton.  Stockton Record article

Clown with a gun reported in southwest Bakersfield – The latest in a series of creepy clown sightings came shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday when Bakersfield police officers near Valhalla Drive and Belle Terrace responded to a report of a person in a clown suit holding a firearm.  Bakersfield Californian article


Cal State Long Beach launches ‘I Declare’ fundraising campaign – With a state economy still recovering from the recession and funding for higher education pinched by other priorities, Cal State Long Beach is turning to private donors and alumni for cash. The public university is in the home stretch of a historic $225 million fundraising campaign and is calling on alumni to help raise the final $25 million by 2016.  Long Beach Press Telegram article

LA Unified’s student information system becomes a technological disaster – The Los Angeles Unified School District’s student information system, which has cost more than $130 million, has become a technological disaster. The system made its debut this semester and promptly overloaded the district’s database servers, requiring an emergency re-engineering. In the days and weeks that followed, many teachers were unable to enter grades or attendance or even figure out which students were enrolled in class.  LA Times article


Loma Prieta earthquake left legacy of repair, renewal – If the Loma Prieta earthquake hadn’t struck on Oct. 17, 1989, 63 people wouldn’t have perished. A section of the Bay Bridge wouldn’t have snapped loose. Homes in the Marina district wouldn’t have gone up in flames. And in many ways, the San Francisco we know today would not exist. San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services

AP Exclusive: California gives no-bid health pacts – California’s health insurance exchange has awarded $184 million in contracts without the competitive bidding and oversight that is standard practice across state government, including deals that sent millions of dollars to a firm whose employees have long-standing ties to the agency’s executive director.  AP article

Daniel Weintraub:  Unrelenting stress changes our bodies, affects our health – Look at the health data for just about any collection of neighborhoods in California and one thing will soon become clear: Poor people are sicker and, on average, die younger than people with higher incomes.  Weintraub in Sacramento Bee

Lois Henry: Need a worthwhile project? Consider this one – Every county, including Kern, has a very effective program to help the unbefriended elderly. It’s called the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. It’s so effective, the program has been copied in other venues. But it can’t survive without volunteers.  Henry column in Bakersfield Californian


Sacramento tries to keep $6.9 million, may suspend bridge bids – Competitive bidding for public projects is intended to guard against favoritism and help ensure that taxpayers get the most value for their money. But Sacramento city officials say they must suspend the process for a pedestrian/bicycle bridge or risk losing $6.9 million in federal funding.  Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian  Voters should reject Proposition 46. It is a misleading ruse that can do more harm than good.

Fresno Bee – With Ebola, it will take some distance of time to know if actions today will be counted as overreaction, underreaction or just the right measures to keep us reasonably safe. We’re betting on the latter.

Modesto Bee – Adam Gray has been working hard, keep him on the job in 21st Assembly; Kristen Olsen, who will be termed out in 2016, has worked hard to put herself in position to have a significant impact on the district and state over the next two years. Voters must give her the chance by returning her to the Assembly.

Sacramento Bee – There’s nothing sweet about the soda industry’s attack on the sugar tax.

Stockton Record – Rep. Ami Bera has earned a second term against worthy opponent Doug Ose; Jerry McNerney and Jeff Denham have represented San Joaquin County and the Valley well on Capitol Hill and deserve to be re-elected to Congress;  Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, had a successful first term in the California State Assembly thatportends good things in the future for San Joaquin County. She deserves another two years in office.