October 13, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Why are there two plastic bag ban propositions on the California ballot? — The most straightforward is Proposition 67, a referendum asking voters to either vote yes to preserve the law or no to reject the statute, which bans disposable plastic bags and lets grocers charge customers 10 cents for paper bags or more durable reusable plastic bags.  But even if voters keep that law in place, they could also alter the law by approving Proposition 65, an initiative that would send the proceeds from that 10-cent fee to a state fund for environmental projects. LA Times article 

Registration surges but GOP’s share shrinks – 1 in 3 new voters is Latino — A CALmatters analysis of voter registration data estimates that up to 2.2 million people who are likely new to the California political process have joined the state’s voter rolls since primary season began in earnest in January of this year. These new voters reflect major growth in the number of Latinos and Asian-American voters, who—along with younger voters registering for the first time—are steering clear of the GOP. CALmatters article 

Valley politics 

SD 5: Incumbent Galgiani faces political veteran Nakanishi for seat – Two political veterans from San Joaquin County are vying for the state Senate District 5 seat that includes San Joaquin and portions of Stanislaus and Sacramento counties. Incumbent Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Alan Nakanishi, a former Assembly member and current Lodi councilman. Stockton Record article 

Silva attorneys file motion challenging Amador County charges – Mayor Anthony Silva’s defense attorneys filed a court document this week arguing that charges leveled against Stockton’s top elected official when he was arrested in early August are “vague and do not give the defendant adequate notice so that the defense may fairly respond to them.” Stockton Record article 

Bakersfield Californian: Andraes Gonzales for Ward 2 councilman — One and done. That ought to be Terry Maxwell’s record in the Bakersfield City Council ledger. One term, four years and several thousand hours of mostly misguided obstruction. The Ward 2 councilman had his chance. Now it’s time to turn to a challenger with a distinguished record of public service and an optimistic, realistic vision for the city. The Californian recommends voters choose Andrae Gonzales. Bakersfield Californian editorial 

Tulare Regional Medical Center candidates state their case — Two months after Tulare Local Healthcare District voters overwhelmingly turned down a $55 million bond issue, two incumbents who vigorously supported it are up for reelection. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Lemoore City Council ordinance — Lemoore City Council candidates submitted answers to questions from The Sentinel. There are seven candidates vying for three seats in the at-large election. Two incumbents — Lois Wynne and William Siegel — have decided not to run again. Incumbent Edward Neal is running again. Hanford Sentinel article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Tom Steyer, starring in TV ads for tobacco tax hike, invested in tobacco companies – Tom Steyer, the billionaire former hedge-fund manager starring in a TV ad for a California ballot measure to raise state tobacco taxes, once invested millions of dollars in tobacco companies, federal records show. Sacramento Bee article 

Patt Morrison asks: ‘Chessman’ playwright Joseph Rodota on California’s ongoing civil war over the death penalty – One reason Californians will be voting, again, about the death penalty, next month, is because of a man named Caryl Chessman. He was called the “Red Light Bandit,” and he was executed in 1960 for several crimes, but none of them was murder. Morrison in LA Times; Sacramento Bee article 

Trio of corporate interests spend big, urging Californians to just vote no – On three key ballot measures, corporate opponents have collectively raised four times as much money as supporters. Now it’s voters in the middle of that push-and-pull—and voters who will determine which side wins. Here are three corporate industries pouring millions into “no” campaigns on California ballot measures. CALmatters article 

Proposition 54 would put California bills online for 3 days – California lawmakers worked in the dead of night in August during the final hours of the legislative session, approving last-minute policy changes that affect millions of people. Activists are asking voters to outlaw that practice in November through Proposition 54, an effort to increase transparency in the Legislature. AP article 

Chanel Preston and Jay Gladstein: Prop 60 isn’t needed to protect porn actors – Preston, chairwoman of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, and Gladstein, internal medicine/HIV specialist at UCLA School of Medicine and Cedars-Sinai Medical write, “The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates Proposition 60 will cost the state millions of dollars a year. That’s money that could be going to real HIV prevention and treatment and workplace safety regulations – not one man’s misguided condom crusade.” Preston/Gladstein op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Gary Richwald: Prop 60 is needed to protect the health of porn actors – The former director and chief physician of the Los Angeles County sexually transmitted disease program writes, “California’s compassionate and fair-minded voters should ensure that the young, marginalized performers in the adult-film industry receive the same workplace safety protections that millions of other California workers now enjoy. Proposition 60 does that.” Richwald op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Fresno Bee: Proposition 63 won’t keep Californians any safer from gun violence – After you examine all the issues, it should be apparent that Proposition 63 deserves a “no” vote. Fresno Bee editorial 

Effort to overturn California gun bills at ballot box fails – An effort to qualify November 2018 ballot measures to overturn six major gun-control laws approved earlier this year has failed, the California secretary of state’s office said this week. Sacramento Bee article 

Mark Baldassare: The end of the post-partisan era? – The president of the Public Policy Institute of California writes, “The growing partisan gap raises many questions. Since it’s easier to register than to vote, will new voters cast ballots this fall? With the latest PPIC Survey indicating a lack of competitive statewide races , will the growing Democratic advantage help to pass state propositions on taxes, corrections reform, and marijuana legalization? Will it allow the Democrats to reach their goal of a two-thirds majority in the state legislature? Looking beyond the 2016 election, the voter registration gap could have implications for the future of the Republican Party, the top-two primary, and California’s democracy.” Baldassare in Fox & Hounds 

PolltiFact CA: Examining Bernie Sanders’ claim: Prop 61 ‘great for California taxpayers’ – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders added his star power to California’s Yes on 61 ballot campaign this month, appearing in TV ads across the state urging voters to support the November initiative to lower prescription drug prices. PolitiFact CA article 

State watchdog unveils online complaint system – With less than a month until the election, the state’s political watchdog unveiled a new online system Wednesday intended to make it easier to file complaints against sleazy politicians and corrupt campaigns. Sacramento Bee article 

Joel Fox: Changing the rules to curb the GOP — A new law setting up a redistricting commission in Los Angeles County is the first move by Democrats hoping to take as tight a grip on local elected offices as they have under the capitol dome. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Other areas 

Sacramento County annual gun sales increase 406 percent in last 15 years – Sacramento County residents continue to buy firearms at an unprecedented rate, according to data released Wednesday by the California Department of Justice. Annual gun sales increased 406 percent in Sacramento County during the last 15 years, a larger jump than in any other urban California county. Each year since 2015, on average, about three guns were sold for every 100 county residents. Sacramento Bee article 

GOP campaign ad overreaches on deeds by Ami Bera, Scott Jones – The National Republican Congressional Committee is running a television ad linking Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, with “dirty money” and “fraud” while touting the record of Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, a Republican running against Bera for Congress. Sacramento Bee article

Victor Davis Hanson: America’s medieval age of excess, poverty and ignorance is here — People living in the first millennium believed in transcendence and a soul, and sought to keep alive culture until civilization returned. People living in the second millennium increasingly live for their appetites without worry about what follows – with little awareness of what has been lost and so not a clue about how to recapture it. Hanson column in Fresno Bee 

Threat against Sikh man spurs dialogue against hate — He grew up in Kern County. Went to school here.Bakersfield is his town, his community. And he’s proud of it. So when an angry stranger accosted Balmeet Singh outside a Bakersfield restaurant two Fridays ago, and allegedly threatened his life, apparently because the 30-year-old Realtor and health clinic administrator was wearing a beard and the traditional turban worn by virtually all Sikh men, he was at first bewildered. Bakersfield Californian article 

San Francisco voters are getting another official mailer after receiving 316-page election handbook — The San Francisco Department of Elections has sent out even more paperwork to the city’s voters after receiving complaints that its 316-page pamphlet for the November 2016 election failed to include the Democratic Party’s candidate endorsements. KQED report

Presidential Politics 

Jeff Jardine: Party favors: Olsen, others in GOP rip Trump but won’t count out voting for him – So the Republican presidential nominee who has been called repugnant, obnoxious, misogynistic, foul-mouthed, sexist and racist – some might consider those among his better qualities – is losing support from some of the party’s highest-ranking officials. The Bee’s Ken Carlson recently polled some local Republicans to see where they stand on Donald Trump, a candidate who is a cult hero to some and toxic sludge to others. Jardine column in Modesto Bee 

George Skelton: If Trump acted more like he did in last minute of debate, he’d probably win the election – Having observed Trump’s demeanor and listened to his vile verbiage over the last year, the debate’s pleasant surprise was his last-minute graciousness toward opponent Hillary Clinton. Skelton column in LA Times 

In Florida, Donald Trump rips ‘radical activists like Tom Steyer’ — Tom Steyer’s relentless jabs at Donald Trump – and the millions of dollars the billionaire environmentalist is spending to help Democrats – may finally be ruffling the Republican presidential candidate.Sacramento Bee article 

Danny Morrison: I hardly knew ye: My open letter to my friend supporting Trump — I miss you, friend. Now that Donald Trump’s meteoric presidential rise has been met with his inevitable, yet predictable crashing and burning, you’re probably somewhere licking your political wounds. Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian

News Stories

Top Stories

Fresno may put up money to secure land for high-speed rail maintenance site – The California High-Speed Rail Authority is continuing to evaluate sites for a heavy maintenance facility that would be the primary statewide site for major service on its trains – and Fresno wants to do whatever it can to encourage the state to select a site at the southern edge of the city. Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article 

Wonderful charter proposal gets positive reviews – A county education official cleared the road Tuesday for ag behemoth The Wonderful Company to set up a charter school in Lost Hills as early as next year after finding few problems with the charter’s application. The Wonderful Company, best known for Fiji Water and POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, plans to open the K-12 charter school in the farming town of Lost Hills, where scores of its employees live. Bakersfield Californian article 

Jobs and the Economy 

See what California cities pay police, firefighters – Average pay for California’s rank-and-file police officers and firefighters continued to rise significantly in 2015, as many cities across the state compete with each other for the best talent. California police officers made, on average, $111,800 during 2015, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of new data from the State Controller’s Office. That figure reflects base pay, as well as overtime, incentive pay and payouts upon retirement. Firefighters and engineers earned, on average, $134,400.Sacramento Bee article 

Steve Carrigan: Merced, let’s celebrate $1.4 million to fight homelessness – Merced’s city manager and chairman of the Merced County Continuum of Care writes, “It’s not often there is good news in the world of homelessness, so the arrival of $1.4 million to help take people off the streets and to keep people from becoming homeless is worth celebrating.” Carrigan op-ed in Merced Sun-Star 

San Joaquin supervisors take no action on PLA requirement – The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-1 to take no action with regards to a proposed project labor agreement for San Joaquin General Hospital’s Acute Care Wing replacement.Stockton Record article 

California reforms target workers’ compensation fraud – California is cracking down on graft in the state’s system of medical care for injured workers with two bills recently signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. Center for Investigative Reporting article 

Verizon to close Rancho Cordova centers; 1,000 workers offered out-of-state relocation – Telecommunications giant Verizon said Wednesday that it will close its Rancho Cordova customer service and telesales call center early next year, resulting in a loss of more than 1,000 local jobs. Verizon said the workers – approximately 700 in customer service and 300 in telesales – will be offered the opportunity to relocate to other customer service call and telesales centers outside of California. Sacramento Bee article

State testing ways to tax road usage, separate from gas tax – The gas tax is a declining revenue source, because of electric cars and more fuel-efficient gas and diesel vehicles. But David Wolfe, with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, worries a road usage charge could lead to double taxation. Capital Public Radio report 

Embattled Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is retiring immediately, will not receive severance — John Stumpf has resigned as chairman and chief executive of Wells Fargo & Co., bowing to mounting criticism from lawmakers and others who said he should lose his job over revelations that bank employees created as many as 2 million accounts without customers’ authorization. LA Times article


New report slams Valley water supply restrictions – A new report commissioned by the Westlands Water District, the largest agricultural water district in the nation, concludes that water supply restrictions are reducing farm production and negatively impacting communities dependent on agriculture. The Business Journal article; Hanford Sentinel article 

Lois Henry: Blended oilfield water shows no signs of tainting fruit — Fruit irrigated with recycled oilfield water has no different chemical makeup than fruit watered by other sources, according to a toxicology report released Wednesday by the Cawelo Water District. Henry in Bakersfield Californian

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

7 arrested as Black Lives Matter protestors, police clash – Black Lives Matter protesters who have routinely blocked some of Stockton’s busiest streets were met with a much different police response Wednesday evening in their first demonstration since a woman and her teenage daughters were attacked during a march last month. Stockton Record article 

Clovis man linked to Keith Foster in drug ring sentenced to prison – A Clovis man who federal prosecutors say conspired with Fresno’s former Deputy Police Chief Keith Foster to sell heroin was sentenced Tuesday to 40 months in prison. Fresno Bee article 

Official: $7.5 million marijuana farm eradicated in Sequoia forest – Nearly 3,000 marijuana plants were eradicated in the Sequoia National Forest in September, after law enforcement officials discovered a pot farm in the Yucca Creek drainage area of a designated wilderness, a spokesman said. Officials estimated the street value to be $7.5 million. Fresno Bee article 

Task force seizes hundreds of marijuana plants – The Kings County Narcotic Task Force has seized nearly 800 marijuana plants over the past month from illegal grows around the county. Hanford Sentinel article 

Local attorneys discuss new law making it a felony for prosecutors to intentionally withhold evidence – Any prosecutor who intentionally withholds evidence of innocence faces a felony charge punishable by up to three years in prison under a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The law is meant to keep in line those tempted to break the rules to secure a conviction, said Bakersfield defense attorney Kyle J. Humphrey, current head of the criminal defense section of the Kern County Bar Association.  Bakersfield Californian article 

Brik McDill: Shredding the ‘they’ll get out eventually anyway’ argument – Two pieces of information recently provided by our police chief to our city council are of concern: that violent crime rates are increasing, and that decreasing (i.e., improved) response times to crimes has not reduced the crime rate. McDill in Bakersfield Californian 

San Francisco police to implement 272 reforms after feds release report on violence against minorities — San Francisco police officers use force against African Americans more often than against other racial groups, according to a 432-page federal report made public Wednesday. LA Times article; KQED report; AP article 

Family of man shot by El Cajon police appears with Al Sharpton, seeking Justice Department investigation — The Rev. Al Sharpton on Wednesday called on the Department of Justice to investigate the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man last month by an El Cajon police officer, a shooting he called “egregious at best.” LA Times article 

‘Those police officers walked into a trap’: Suspect in Palm Springs police killings charged with murder — The man accused of shooting and killing two Palm Springs police officers had set a trap and ambushed his victims as they stood outside his door Saturday, according to the Riverside County district attorney, who announced the filing of capital murder charges Wednesday. LA Times article 


Facing criticism, Fresno Unified details proposal for Measure X money – Fresno Unified officials have released more details about how the district would spend $225 million if Measure X passes next month, but some say it’s still not specific enough. Superintendent Michael Hanson led a news conference on Wednesday and said that “some of the poorest kids in the state of California would suffer irreparable damage” if the school bond measure doesn’t pass. Fresno Bee article 

President addresses ‘turmoil’ at Merced College – Merced College’s chief administrator addressed Tuesday what she called a “personal attack” and “turmoil” at the campus. Interim President Susan Walsh accused Patrick Mitchell, president of the Merced College Faculty Association, of leading an effort to hold a no-confidence vote against her. Merced Sun-Star article 

Merced College looks to address exchange student concerns – Merced College leaders soon will implement a plan to improve relationships with international students, a response that comes months after complaints from several foreign students living with host families.Merced Sun-Star article 

Want to be a cop? Sacramento State launches job path for police, CHP hopefuls — Sacramento State officially joined forces with Sacramento Police Department and the California Highway Patrol this morning to begin the first program in the nation that promises law enforcement jobs to students who graduate. Sacramento Bee article 

Stan State gets grant to boost science participation – California State University, Stanislaus, has received two substantial grants to help students graduate in fields related to science, technology, engineering or math. Modesto Bee article 

In school reform, relationships are the key, say principals, teachers and students – Both the new federal education law and the new state school accountability system call out the need to address the “whole child” in instruction, discipline and assessment. But many panelists spoke instead of the need to develop what might be called the “whole adult” — school staff who have the time, training and self-awareness to manage an educational culture in flux. EdSource article 

Three LA charter schools could be shut down, largely because of their practice of bringing in teachers from Turkey — Three Los Angeles charter schools could be shut down, largely because of their practice of bringing in teachers from Turkey, The Times has learned. LA Times article


Richard Bailey: Restoring forests to tame wildfires means more Valley water – The attorney, engineer and hiker from Reedley writes, “Californians have the ability to greatly reduce the likelihood of wildfire devastation in the Sierra Nevada. Making the forests a safe, healthy resource again may seem impossible, but forest restoration in other states is already producing excellent results. Besides cleaner air, healthy woodlands come with the benefit of higher levels of runoff water available to local farms and cities – exactly what our thirsty state needs.” Bailey op-ed in Fresno Bee

Health/Human Services 

New law will expand mental health services for low-income Californians – The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, is designed to address gaps in mental health care, particularly in rural areas where recruiting and retaining behavioral health providers is a challenge. Under the current law, clinics hire licensed clinical social workers and psychologists for their Medi-Cal patients, but they often can’t find enough to meet their needs. Many clinics don’t provide behavioral health services at all. KQED report 

Care1st insurer to drop Medicare plan in Stanislaus County – In Stanislaus County, more than 1,800 residents will be affected as Care1st discontinues its Medicare Advantage plan next year. Care1st will offer a plan for county residents who are dually eligible for Medicare and the state’s Medi-Cal program for the poor. Modesto Bee article 

Lisa Margonelli: Health care for Fresnans on the edge of the world – The science and humanities editor for Zocalo Public Square writes, “While other cities have taken steps to reduce the harm of IV drugs – by allowing users to buy needles at pharmacies, and operating targeted public health clinics – Fresno’s pharmacies do not sell needles. So local users rely on a web of stalwart volunteers at the Fresno Needle Exchange and the associated clinic.” Margonelli op-ed in Fresno Bee

Land Use/Housing 

Affordable housing projects win $31 million in greenhouse gas funds — Four affordable-housing projects, with features to reduce residents’ need to drive in Fresno and Tulare counties, has won a collective $31.4 million in state grants and loans. Fresno Bee article 

Bakersfield council gives nod to northeast freeway buffer, cabaret ordinance changes – Northwest residents irritated by three years of noise from the Westside Parkway could get a buffer after all if talks between the city and a water district yield results, the Bakersfield City Council learned on Wednesday. Bakersfield Californian article 

Hanford sign ordinance faces criticism — A growing number of downtown officials and business owners are advocating for getting rid of the prohibition against protruding signs in Hanford’s signage ordinance. Hanford Sentinel article


Southwest Airlines to offer nonstop service from Sacramento to Salt Lake City — Southwest Airlines will add new daily nonstop service between Sacramento and Salt Lake City beginning in March. Sacramento International Airport officials said the new service will provide additional competition and capacity into a popular business and leisure destination for Sacramento travelers. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas 

Kevin Valine: Modesto backs away from citing landlords over fireworks – Modesto is backing off from citing property management companies and owners when their tenants set off illegal fireworks. Modesto Bee article 

Don’t send in the clowns: Sonora, Modesto attractions issue bans — Revelers heading to the All Hallows Fantasy Faire in Sonora on Oct. 22-23 will need to leave the oversize shoes, bulbous red noses and squirting boutonnieres at home. In Modesto, Dutch Hollow Farms, which has a pumpkin patch, farm area and corn maze at 5101 Oakdale Road, announced last week on Facebook its own clown ban. Modesto Bee article 

Robin Abcarian: Postscripts that could renew your faith in public officials: Crude oil trains, Camarillo rock slides, and homeless college students — Who says the news is all bad? Last week, after months of hearings and public protest, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission voted to deny oil giant Phillips 66 a permit to build a rail terminal at its Santa Maria Refinery. The project would have allowed Phillips to bring three milelong crude oil trains across California each week from as far away as Canada and Texas. Abcarian in LA Times 

Sacramento makes it easier for downtown residents to throw a dinner party — Sacramento this week made it easier for central city residents to invite friends over at the last minute for evening events in neighborhoods with restricted parking – and not have the night end unpleasantly with citations on visitors’ windshields. Responding to requests and complaints from downtown residents, the city this week began allowing residents to download up to 10 last-minute temporary residential permit parking passes for guests. Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup 

Bakersfield Californian One and done. That ought to be Terry Maxwell’s record in the Bakersfield City Council ledger. One term, four years and several thousand hours of mostly misguided obstruction. The Ward 2 councilman had his chance. Now it’s time to turn to a challenger with a distinguished record of public service and an optimistic, realistic vision for the city. The Californian recommends voters choose Andrae Gonzales.

Fresno Bee – Proposition 63 won’t keep Californians any safer from gun violence.

Sacramento Bee – Donald Trump has repeatedly said that global warming is a hoax and vows to tear up international agreements. Hillary Clinton takes climate change seriously and sees the promise in clean energy, for both our environment and our economy.

Stockton Record – Incumbents deserve another term in San Joaquin Delta College races; Jeff Seybold is the choice for Lodi Unified in Area 2. He has the best combination of vision and leadership among the candidates.