October 14, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

Dan Walters: New California law restricting ammunition sales sparks buying frenzy — Now, with one new ammunition law on the books and another on the ballot and likely to pass, sales of cartridges are also exploding. Firearms dealers, even such chains as Big 5 Sporting Goods, and online sellers are offering bulk sales of ammunition to Californians, knowing that there’s a big demand, at least until Election Day. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

See the deep pockets behind California proposition campaigns – A relative handful of trade groups, tobacco companies, unions and wealthy individuals are responsible for almost all of the more than $350 million received by the main proposition campaign committees. With less than a month before Election Day, the big checks keep rolling in: Ballot measure campaigns this week reported receiving $12.1 million through Wednesday. Sacramento Bee article

State budget

SEIU leader wants bigger raise for state workers amid revenue upturn — The leader of state government’s largest union is pointing to better-than-expected tax revenue in encouraging workers to hold out for a more lucrative contract than the one Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is offering. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown 

Mayor blames California governor in sheriff’s sergeant death — The mayor of Lancaster claimed Thursday that a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant who served his area until being shot to death on duty last week would be alive if not for Gov. Jerry Brown’s “realignment” plan to reduce the state prison population. The governor’s spokesman said the mayor’s “wild claims” are baseless. AP article

Valley politics

Bill Thomas endorses in Bakersfield mayor’s race, campaign cash rolls in — Former Bakersfield Congressman Bill Thomas has weighed in on the city’s mayoral race. He’s with Kyle Carter. In a press release Tuesday, the Carter camp tipped the support of the 14-term congressman, now a member of the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees. Bakersfield Californian article

AD 9: Businessman versus incumbent – Lodi residents are the only voters from San Joaquin County who will cast ballots in the race for the state’s 9th Assembly seat. Incumbent Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, will fight to keep his seat on the state Assembly against Republican challenger Tim Gorsulowsky next month. Stockton Record article

Patti comes out swinging against Zapien at candidates’ forum – With less than a month to go before the Nov. 8 election, Tom Patti leveled accusations of misrepresentation and failed leadership at his opponent during a candidates forum at San Joaquin Delta College on Thursday night. Stockton Record article

Candidates talk water, TRMC and career readiness at Tulare forum — Candidates vying for seats on Tulare Local Healthcare District, Tulare City Council, Tulare Joint Union High School District and California Assembly faced off in front of a standing-room only crowd at the Tulare Candidates Forum on Thursday night. Visalia Times-Delta article

Lemoore City Council candidates speak at forum — Lemoore City Council candidates got a chance to give their views on city issues Wednesday at a Lemoore Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Hanford Sentinel article

Andreas Borgeas: Voters must update the Fresno County charter – The Fresno County supervisor writes, “Fresno County’s charter has not kept up with the times. Originally approved by voters in 1933, it has been decades since the charter has been updated and glaringly outdated provisions obstruct accountability, efficiencies and legal mandates. On Nov. 8, the voters of Fresno County will have the opportunity to update our charter with the following two propositions: Measure T and Measure U.” Borgeas op-ed in Fresno Bee

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Law enforcement, elected officials oppose governor’s Prop 57 – Officials from Merced, Mariposa and Stanislaus counties came together Thursday to voice opposition to Proposition 57, the governor’s public safety and rehabilitation act. Merced Sun-Star article

Republican Congressman Tom McClintock endorses legalizing marijuana – California’s November ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana has a surprise new endorsement: Republican Congressman Tom McClintock. He’s a staunch conservative who represents a district that ranges from Roseville to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. McClintock says he abhors the use of marijuana, but current laws have failed. Capital Public Radio report

Ken Carlson: More car crashes is one possible local effect of legalized marijuana – As the Nov. 8 election approaches, some of the ramifications of initiatives tend to come into sharper focus for voters. As an example, there’s evidence that legalization of recreational marijuana could raise the risk of getting in a fatal car crash with a stoned driver. Carlson in Modesto Bee

A drug policy expert, neutral on legalization, answers some important questions about pot – Beau Kilmer, a senior researcher at RAND Corp., specializes in drug policy. As a co-author of the book “Marijuana Legalization,” he has been thinking a lot lately about California’s upcoming ballot initiative to allow all adults to use pot and its implications for public policy, including health, safety and criminal justice. LA Times article

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, supporters make case for Prop 64 –  Led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, supporters of the measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in California gathered at Liberty Station Thursday to discuss the safeguards Proposition 64 would put into place. KPBS report

Modesto Bee: Prop 51 invests in tomorrow’s students – California’s housing shortage will lead to more homes in the Valley; without Proposition 51, we’ll lack resources to create modern classrooms for new students. Modesto Bee editorial

Vida en el Valley: Voter registration is only the start — There are many decisions made at the county, municipal or school level that impact issues important to Latinos. They need to move off the sidelines and realize the potential of their growing numbers. Voting is the American way. Vida en el Valle editorial

Proposition 55 may be good politics, but is it good policy? – Should rich Californians pay higher state income taxes to fund schools, health care for the poor, and other programs? If that question sounds familiar, it’s because voters faced the same choice four years ago. They said yes in 2012, during the state’s budget crisis. Now, with the budget much healthier, the question is whether to extend taxes that supporters, including Gov. Jerry Brown, vowed would be “temporary.” Capital Public Radio report

Q&A: California Senate candidates Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris on policy, politics and the state of their race – The Times invited U.S. Senate candidates California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Rep.Loretta Sanchez to answer questions that might help readers get a better sense of the race. Twitter users submitted some questions via social media, and others came from Times reporters and editors. Each campaign received the same questions. The questions and answers have been edited for length, style and clarity. LA Times article

What you need to know about the $9-billion school bond on the ballot – The first statewide initiative Californians will see on their ballots next month is Proposition 51, which would authorize $9 billion in school construction spending statewide. LA Times article

Veteran California pollster heads online — One of the state’s most respected polls has begun incorporating online surveys for the first time, underscoring the increasing difficulty of relying on telephone questioning. The Field Poll, which was founded in 1947, started using online surveys to gather voter opinion on nine of the 17 statewide ballot propositions that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. Capitol Weekly article

Presidential Politics

Fresno County Republicans stand behind presidential nominee Trump – Fresno County Republican Party Chairman Fred Vanderhoof on Thursday put out an official statement. “The Fresno County Republican Party fully supports Donald Trump for the Office of President of the United States. Fresno Bee article

McCarthy reiterates support for Trump, questions timing of allegations – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is standing behind Donald Trump — unlike several of his GOP colleagues — despite the mounting number of allegations that the presidential candidate has sexually abused women. Bakersfield Californian article

Trump wanted $1 million guarantee to attend Tulare fundraiser – Last week during a Fresno County Bench Bar Media panel discussion on the two national political conventions, local businessman Bob Smittcamp said Trump required at least $1 million to attend a fundraiser at the home of Tulare County pistachio grower Corky Anderson. Fresno Bee article

Analysis: Trump’s ‘Access Hollywood’ unmasking and the searing power of video to shape the historic moment – Everyone thought they knew Donald Trump. We’ve heard the stories, the blustery asides. A brash ornament in our celebrity-driven culture, he’s devoured the spotlight for decades. But it was a hot mike and video clip on a bus that exposed him, as if for the first time, in the unfiltered glare of public opinion. LA Times article

Donald Trump’s libel threats could backfire against him – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump exposes himself to interrogation under oath about his sex life and faces long odds against winning if he follows through on his threat to sue newspapers over reports that he groped multiple women. McClatchy Newspapers article

Hillary Clinton’s top advisers claimed Jerry Brown’s support – as far back as 2014 – Amid unbridled, yet ultimately misplaced speculation that Gov. Jerry Brown might consider another run for the White House, top Hillary Clinton advisers talked about the Democratic governor privately offering early assistance, according to hacked correspondence released by Wikileaks Thursday. Sacramento Bee article

Bill Whalen: Whom to write in for president – Let me be clear: I’m not defending Trump in any way for his abhorrent words and piggish behavior. But for future elections, we need to decide: What levels of lewdness and infidelity are deal-breakers? Just suggestive words or actual deeds? Does disqualifying misconduct need to be private, public or prosecutable? Now then, whose name should I write in on my ballot? I’m taking requests. Whalen column in Sacramento Bee

In surprise San Francisco appearance, Clinton addresses Trump comments – Hillary Clinton said at a surprise appearance at a San Francisco campaign office Thursday that the nation has “already learned who Donald Trump is.” She said the election is about “who we are and what we stand for.” AP article

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Buffy Wicks — With the election just four weeks away, Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster sit down with Buffy Wicks, Democratic strategist and California State Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 primary campaign.  Capitol Weekly Podcast

News Stories – Top Stories

Highway 99 rated deadliest in nation, study says — Highway 99 in the Central Valley is the deadliest major highway in the country, according to an analysis released Thursday. The 400-mile highway that runs through the centers of Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto and other valley cities recorded 62 fatal accidents per 100 miles over a recent five-year span. Fresno Bee article

Clinical trial to begin amid looming valley fever epidemic — On the eve of what could be the worst year for valley fever cases since the so-called Great Epidemic of the early 1990s, national health care leaders announced Thursday the start of a clinical trial to gain more insight into the effectiveness of early treatment. Bakersfield Californian article

 Jobs and the Economy

Amazon hiring for thousands of seasonal jobs – If you’re looking for a job with Amazon, this is a good time to apply. The internet giant announced Thursday it is creating more than 120,000 seasonal positions in the United States to get through its busiest time of year. Of those, more than 10,000 will be in California, a spokeswoman said in an email. And more than 3,500 will be located within commuting distance from Modesto. Modesto Bee article

Bethany Clough: It’s loud and over-the-top: Dave & Busters to open Monday – With games that make people scream, boozy snow cones with blinking lights inside and a “caveman combo” of ribs and sliders served in a bucket, the new Dave & Buster’s is wildly different than anything in Fresno. The all-ages entertainment place with a restaurant, sports bar and games opens Monday, Oct. 17. Clough in Fresno Bee

SilverTip project moves forward in Madera County — In 2003, the multi-million-dollar SilverTip Resort Village project in Fish Camp behind the post office was officially approved by the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors. More than a decade later, work may actually begin next spring on the site, which will include a 137 unit hotel with 30 cabins, a restaurant, retailers, tennis courts, pool, three decorative ponds, large conference center plus four smaller centers, and employee apartments. Sierra Star article

Mendota offers home loan, raise to keep city manager; Selma still looking — The Mendota City Council was about to lose another in a string of city managers, ending nearly two years of progress and continuity for the small, mostly farmworker-inhabited town of 12,000 in western Fresno County. The city manager was offered the same position in Selma, a city more than twice the size of Mendota. With far more sales and property tax revenues, Selma was favored to attract him. Mendota officials, leading a community historically saddled with high unemployment and a reputation as a poor city, would have been on the hunt again. Fresno Bee article

Big names in burgers, crafting coming to Turlock – Exciting news for crafting and burger enthusiasts in Turlock (and who doesn’t love both?). Hobby Lobby and Habit Burger are coming to Monte Vista Crossings. Modesto Bee article

Court upholds governor’s power to allow Indian casinos – California’s governor has the authority to allow casinos on Native American land and did not illegally take that power from the state Legislature, a state appeals court ruled Thursday. AP article

Sacramento will stop doing business with Wells Fargo after scam revealed – Sacramento City Council members confirmed their intent to end business ties with Wells Fargo in the wake of a scandal involving fraudulent consumer accountsSacramento Bee article

HP Inc. plans to cut 3,000 to 4,000 job over the next three years –  HP Inc. says it will cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs over the next three years as it faces continued challenges in the markets for personal computers and printers. LA Times article

Hyperloop One gets $50 million in funding led by Dubai’s DP World Group, one of the world’s largest port operators — One of the world’s largest maritime ports operators led a $50-million financing of Hyperloop One, a Los Angeles company aiming to transport cargo and people faster and cheaper than existing options. LA Times article

Comfort Inn hit with ADA lawsuit — An Arizona woman is suing the Comfort Inn in Hanford, alleging the hotel’s swimming pool is not handicapped accessible. Hanford Sentinel article

Hoff hired as new Reedley Chamber CEO – Longtime Reedley area resident, Kimberly Hoff has been appointed as the new CEO of the Greater Reedley Chamber of Commerce, effective Oct. 3. Hoff replaces interim and retired Fresno CEO of the Fresno Chamber, Al Smith, who has been serving in the position since July while Reedley Chamber members search for a permanent executive. The Business Journal article

Sacramento prepares to sell downtown parcels to Kings for $5.9 million — The city of Sacramento has an agreement in place to sell several key parcels on downtown’s K Street corridor to the Sacramento Kings, a key step in sparking development of the long-vacant sites. Sacramento Bee article


Farmers were paid $32 million to pump and not farm. Was it a waste of money? – In a move that could have ramifications across the arid West, a government watchdog agency accused federal water regulators of wasting taxpayer funds when they gave Klamath Basin farmers more than $32 million to stop growing crops and to pump groundwater instead of drawing from lakes and rivers. Sacramento Bee article

Fresno City Council agrees to join regional groundwater agency — Fresno leaders on Thursday approved signing on with a new regional authority that will develop rules to reduce strain on the underground water table for much of Fresno County. Fresno Bee article

Agencies form to enforce new water law – Come June 30, 2017, every inch of Kings County ground in the San Joaquin Valley will have to be under the regulatory authority of a groundwater sustainability agency. Hanford Sentinel article

Strange bedfellows form coalition to increase water supply – California’s drought has brought about a strange partnership that includes corporations like Coca-Cola and environmental groups like the Nature Conservancy.  They’re partnering on projects aimed at helping increase water supply in California. Capital Public Radio report

Manuel Cunha of Nisei Farmers League named 2016 Agriculturalist of the Year – Longtime farming advocate Manuel Cunha was named the 2016 Agriculturist of the Year by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce. Cunha, president of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League, has a long history of lobbying for farmers. In his 20 years with the organization, Cunha has been at the forefront of several issues, including air quality, immigration reform and government regulation. Fresno Bee article

Good Egg Award goes to second generation of Gemperle Farms in Turlock — Ernie Gemperle’s seven children have carried on his Turlock egg business and philanthropy. Thursday, they got a major honor from the state industry. The Good Egg Award went to the second generation at Gemperle Farms during the 54th annual breakfast gathering at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Michael Fitzgerald: Police shooting protocols need change – Whatever you may think about Black Lives Matter, and others who protest police shootings, the method of investigation into officer-involved shootings needs repair. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

8 arrested in drug-smugglin operation at Coalinga State Hospital – Eight people have been arrested in connection with a methamphetamine smuggling operation inside of Coalinga State Hospital, Coalinga police Chief Michael Salvador said. Fresno Bee article

Suspect in shooting of mother, baby takes his own life after hours-long Tulare standoff — An hours-long standoff with a man wanted in the early morning shooting of a 39-year-old mother and her 9-month-old daughter ended Thursday with the man taking his own life, Tulare County authorities announced. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Stockton settles wrongful death lawsuit for $550,000 – The City of Stockton has agreed to pay more than $500,000 to the family of a man who was shot and killed by Stockton police in 2015. Stockton Record article

Sacramento council meeting on police reform stopped by protestors – Protesters briefly shut down the Sacramento City Council meeting Thursday night during a discussion about police use-of-force policies. Sacramento Bee article

Two inmates walk away from Taft prison camp — Two inmates walked away from Taft Correctional Institution’s minimum-security facility Thursday morning, according to prison officials. Bakersfield Californian article


New details emerge in Los Banos school corruption case – Reports from investigators describe an elaborate scheme allegedly hatched by a Merced contractor and a Los Banos school district trustee that investigators believe was fueled, at least in part, by the contractor’s desire for revenge against the former Los Banos schools superintendent. Los Banos Enterprise article

Turlock university copes with white supremacy uproar – News that a leader in a white supremacist movement is attending California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock has caused an uproar. But social science major Nathan Damigo says he is trying to start a conversation about respect for European heritage and the need for a white homeland. Modesto Bee article

Opposition grows against Fresno Unified’s school bond — Two Fresno Unified school board members joined city leaders on Thursday to oppose Measure X, the school district’s $225 million bond up for vote next month. Fresno Bee article

Merced City School District earns top educational award — The Merced City School District has been chosen as one of 56 recipients of the state’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award. Merced Sun-Star article

Duel between California and Obama administration over education continues — The long-running battle between California and the federal government over the direction of state education policy continues, despite passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the new federal education law that delegates far more decision-making powers to local school districts than its much-maligned predecessor, the No Child Left Behind law. EdSource article

Land Use/Housing

Valley affordable housing projects to get cap-and-trade funds — A number of affordable housing projects in Fresno, Tulare and Kern Counties are getting a financial boost from the state’s cap-and-trade program. The state’s Strategic Growth Council announced Wednesday that the four developments will receive around $50 million from the program, which aims to reduce residents’ reliance on cars, through supporting “transit-oriented” development. KVPR report


LA’s new bike-share program isn’t as popular as those in other cities — Ridership on Los Angeles County’s new bicycle sharing system has been smaller in its first months than on similar programs in other major U.S. cities, a Times analysis found. LA Times article

Other areas

Chowchilla City Council initiates process to ban recreational marijuana – The Chowchilla City Council voted unanimously this week to initiate the process of prohibiting the use of recreational marijuana within the city.  This includes the dispensing, cultivating, manufacturing, distributing, transporting and testing of recreational marijuana throughout the city. The Business Journal article

Judge slaps Oakdale Irrigation District for excluding board members from meetings — Two elected Oakdale Irrigation District board members – frozen out of some closed-door meetings by the board majority for 14 weeks – have every right to attend and participate, a judge decided Thursday in a remarkable reversal. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – On the long, long list of reasons that Hillary Clinton  would be a far better president than Donald Trump, the world of difference on climate change is near the top; The Bee’s recommendations for the Nov. 8 election.

Merced Sun-Star – California’s housing shortage will lead to more homes in the Valley; without Proposition 51, we’ll lack resources to create modern classrooms for new students.

Modesto Bee – California’s housing shortage will lead to more homes in the Valley; without Proposition 51, we’ll lack resources to create modern classrooms for new students.

Sacramento Bee – Donald Trump is going down, but not without a fight; Don’t think twice—Bob Dylan deserved that Nobel.

Stockton Record – Norris Palmer, a university professor, is The Record’s choice for endorsement in Area 2 to replace Van Ha To-Cowell on the Lincoln Unified Board of Trustees; One incumbent and two newcomers are The Record’s choices for endorsement for three contested seats on the Stockton Unified School District Board of Trustees.