October 15, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

Why Silicon Valley is pouring money into efforts to repeal California’s death penalty – As voters weigh two dueling death penalty measures on the Nov. 8 ballot, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the effort to end executions in California, saying they want to see the practice abolished both in the state and across the U.S.  LA Times article

AD 12: Battle of the Republicans: Vogel, Flora seek seat – One thing’s certain in the race for California’s open 12th Assembly District seat: A Republican will continue to represent eastern San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties in Sacramento. The low-profile race to fill the post being vacated by termed-out Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, the former Assembly minority leader, pits former San Joaquin County Supervisor Ken Vogel of Linden against political newcomer Heath Flora of Ripon. Stockton Record article

Gov. Brown 

Sutter Brown health update brings bad news – The latest prognosis for Gov. Jerry Brown’s beloved pet corgi Sutter won’t wag many tails. News that Sutter had fallen critically ill rocked the world of California politics earlier this week, prompting a flood of well-wishing for the stricken pooch. Now biopsy results are in, and the news is grim: Sutter has “very aggressive cancer,” which the vets were not able to entirely remove, Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said in an email. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Fractured or fixable? Silva, Tubbs share differing views of Stockton during mayoral candidates forum – Mayor Anthony Silva said the city’s governance system is “broken.” City Councilman Michael Tubbs, Silva’s opponent in an election that is less than four weeks away, argued for working within the existing system. Stockton Record article

Carter backs Bredefeld in Fresno’s District 6 council race — After coming in third in a bruising June primary election for Fresno City Council District 6, Holly Carter on Friday revealed her choice among the two remaining candidates facing off in the Nov. 8 runoff. In a post Carter shared on the Facebook page for Fresno Citizens for Clean Water, she included a photo of her ballot marked for Garry Bredefeld. Fresno Bee article

Glenda Dywer leads council candidate spenders list — The biggest spender among Hanford City Council candidates is District B contender Glenda Dwyer, who forked over $5,073 – most of it borrowed – to promote her campaign, according to the latest documents filed with Hanford City Clerk Jennifer Gomez. Hanford Sentinel article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Prop 53 aims to give voters say on big projects — At first glance, Proposition 53 on California’s November ballot could bore you to tears. The measure is about revenue bonds, but its outcome at the polls could throw a roadblock in front of the state’s plans to build a high-speed rail system or its biggest water project in decades.  Capital Public Radio report

Tim Ward and Jason Salazar: No on Prop 57: The increasing burden of crime – Tulare County District Attorey Ward and Visalia Police Chief Salazar write, “Every single day, deputy district attorneys answer “ready for the people” and every day (and night) Visalia Police Officers start their shifts “clear for calls,” with the intent to make our community safe. Please join us in voting NO on Prop 57.” Ward/Salazar op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Ad by hospital fee proponents is truthful – Supporters of Proposition 52 took to the airwaves in mid-August and have run a heavy rotation of ads meant to build support for the hospital industry-sponsored measure that would place in the California Constitution an existing state charge on hospitals. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento Bee: Kamala Harris is the clear choice for U.S. Senate – Attorney General Kamala Harris, an adept lawyer and polished politician, is the clear choice to replace Barbara Boxer as California’s next U.S. senator. Sacramento Bee editorial

Joe Mathews: Bags of Carpinteria — Next month, California might almost catch up with Carpinteria. The small beach town in Santa Barbara County, population 13,500, is rarely cited as a leader in anything. But when it comes to the California cause of eliminating single-use bags — a cause responsible for two measures on the November ballot — Carpinteria is our model city. Mathews in Bakersfield Californian

Other areas

Thanks to Trump, Democrats may see gains in once-safe GOP districts in California – California Republicans running for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives are struggling in the age of Trump, with their challenge intensified by the growing numbers of registered Latino voters. McClatchy Newspapers article

California reproductive clinics must inform clients about abortion services – A federal appellate court on Friday rejected an attempt by reproductive health clinics to block enforcement of a California law requiring the clinics to inform patients that abortions are available elsewhere. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Is the soda tax on your ballot actually a grocery tax? — Supporters of taxing soda distributors in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany see these November 2016 ballot measures as a fundraising tool to stem a growing Type 2 diabetes epidemic. But opponents say it’s really a “grocery tax” that will hurt low-income residents and small businesses. KQED report

Cindy Marks: California needs more women in leadership – The member of the Modesto City Schools Board of Education writes, “The fight to nominate and elect women remains an uphill battle – especially in California. While we’ve made steady progress over the years, there is much more work that needs to be done for women to gain parity in elected office both locally and statewide.” Marks op-ed in Modesto Bee

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg voices regret over her ‘harsh’ put-down of Colin Kaepernick’s protest — For the second time in recent months, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg voiced regret for unwisely sounding off in an interview. On Friday, the liberal justice said she should not have denouncedNFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protests during the national anthem as “dumb” and “disrespectful.” LA Times article

Presidential Politics

Former ‘Apprenticeship’ contestant accuses Trump of unwanted sexual advances – – A former contestant on TV’s “The Apprentice” on Friday accused GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump of making unwanted sexual advances as she sought a job from him. LA Times article

News Stories – Top Stories

UC Merced has come a long way, officials say – UC Merced leaders broke out the obligatory golden shovels to mark the beginning of what has been hailed as a $1.3 billion project that will transform the campus and the surrounding community. Merced Sun-Star article

Is Fresno ready for recreational pot? — Other Valley cities are taking steps to ban marijuana shops as a just-in-case measure should Proposition 64 be approved by California voters on Nov. 8. But Fresno might be caught unprepared for the legalization of recreational marijuana, despite already having a prohibition in place on medical marijuana dispensaries. Fresno Bee article

Corrupt cops compel Kern DA to inform defense attorneys about ‘tainted’ cases – In a remarkable statement Friday, Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green said her office will mail out 64 letters to defense attorneys who represented clients whose past cases may have been “tainted” by former Bakersfield Police Department Detectives Damacio Diaz and Patrick Mara. Bakersfield Californian article

 Jobs and the Economy

Sales tax increase stirs controversy – Visalia has been called the jewel of the Valley. While the population has increased by 9 percent since 2008, public safety staffing has remained stagnant. The city council voted to place Measure N on the November ballot because, they said, they wanted to better maintain city services. The measure is a locally-controlled half-cent sales tax increase that would fund police, fire, street maintenance and other city services. Visalia Times-Delta article

Food truck offers mobile café for the homeless, needy — The Poverello House in Fresno, which provides more than 1,500 hot meals daily to homeless people and others in need, on Friday debuted a food truck that will allow the program to expand to other communities in Fresno County. Fresno Bee article

Foon Rhee: What is entire categories of jobs just disappear? — For all the big talk in the presidential race about creating millions of jobs, the candidates are sidestepping a huge question looming over America’s economic future: What if, not that long from now, some kinds of jobs – especially blue-collar and manual labor ones – disappear entirely as technology and automation take hold in our knowledge-based service economy? Rhee in Sacramento Bee

In secretive marijuana industry, whispers of abuse and trafficking – For decades, the ancient forests here have provided cover for the nation’s largest marijuana-growing industry, shielding pot farmers from convention, outsiders and law enforcement. But the forests also hide secrets, among them young women with stories of sexual abuse and exploitation. Some have spoken out; a handful have pressed charges. Most have confided only in private. Center for Investigative Reporting article

Stadium bill passes, Raiders move to Vegas looks more likely – Nevada took a giant step closer to becoming home of the Raider Nation on Friday, after state lawmakers narrowly approved a hotel tax increase that would put $750 million in public money toward an NFL stadium partly funded by billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. AP articleKQED report

Why Amazon holiday jobs are the new holiday retail jobs — Over the years, the popularity of online holiday shopping has meant fewer “help wanted” signs in the mall. Instead of ringing up merchandise on a cash register, more seasonal workers are needed to unload merchandise from trucks and prepare boxes for home delivery. KPCC report

Hard to believe, but rents fell again in San Jose and San Francisco – According to new data from Abodo, the apartment search web site, rents dropped 7 percent between September and October in San Jose — from $2,455 to $2,293 for a one-bedroom apartment. Percentage-wise, that was the fifth largest drop in the nation. During the same period, San Francisco rents fell 6 percent for one-bedroom flats, from $3,698 to $3,483. That decline was the sixth largest among the nation’s markets. San Jose Mercury News article

Low inventory, rising home sale prices prevalent in Sacramento region — Only 4,828 homes were active and available for sale throughout the greater Sacramento region on Sept. 30, according to a new report by Lyon Real Estate. Sacramento Bee article

How did Walmart get cleaner stores and higher sales? — What if paying workers more, training them better and offering better opportunities for advancement can actually make a company more profitable, rather than less? New York Times article


Leaked Clinton emails include pledge to help UFW in fight against Fresno’s Gerawan Farming  — Hillary Clinton agreed to help United Farm Workers in its conflict with Fresno-based Gerawan Farming, according to internal campaign emails exposed this week by WikiLeaks. Fresno Bee article

South San Joaquin farmers say ‘no’ to flow plan — Manteca-area farmers voted this week to oppose a state proposal to permanently allow more water to remain in the Stanislaus River to protect fish. Stockton Record article

Gray urges public to speak out against Bay-Delta Plan — Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, is urging residents to attend meetings next week and share input on a state plan for diverting more water from the Merced River for fish in the Delta. Merced Sun-Star article

Mandarin mania: Citrus value doubled in 2015 — Mandarin plantings, production and value have grown substantially in recent years, landing the citrus fruit on the top 10 for Fresno County crop value for the first time. The Business Journal article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Second lawsuit filed in Fresno police shooting of Dylan Noble — The father of Dylan Noble, who was fatally shot by Fresno police during a traffic stop in June, has filed a civil rights, wrongful-death lawsuit against the city and its police department that contends two officers used excessive force when they fired on the intoxicated 19-year-old as he lay wounded. Fresno Bee article

Report: Some California guards see inmates as ‘wild animals’ — Employees at a remote Northern California prison largely view inmates as “little more than wild animals” incapable of being rehabilitated, according to the latest in a long series of critical reports. AP article

Landmark San Francisco case on police force and mental illness settles for $1 million – U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer approved a $1 million settlement Friday in a case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and set a precedent for the rights of mentally ill people during contacts with police. KQED report


Accusations racism, fears of KKK fly at Los Banos school board meeting – A majority of the Los Banos school board Thursday night agreed to hold a censure vote on one of its members, voting 5-2 in favor of the measure during a raucous meeting clouded by charges of racism, alleged threats and accusations of collusion. Los Banos Enterprise article

Stan State crime statistics point to safer campus – Reports of crime went down last year at California State University, Stanislaus, the 2016 Campus Security Report posted this week shows, with fewer rapes and a dramatic decrease in the largest problem seen, underage or problem drinking. Modesto Bee article

Jeremy Adams: Measure K’s benefits for Kern High School District, and city, are many – The 2012 Kern County Teacher of the Year and 2014 California Teacher of the Year writes, “The benefits of passing Measure K to this community are innumerable. At a time when schools and educators are being asked to do more and more for their students, at a time of economic uncertainty and party polarization, Measure K is an opportunity to come together as a community to invest in the citizens of tomorrow. Even if voters no longer have children in Kern County schools, this measure is a vehicle for widening the web of genuine opportunity for all students and enhancing the quality of life for our current and future citizens.” Adams op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Fresno State selects architect for Bulldog Stadium renovation – Aecom, the global engineering firm that developed the initial renovation plans for Bulldog Stadium, has been chosen by Fresno State as the architect for the project. Fresno Bee article

Tiny-home competition tests students’ efficiency, collaboration skills – What better way to test the 10 tiny homes competing in a design and energy-efficiency challenge than subject them to a drenching rainstorm, says the man behind the competition. Sacramento Bee article

Fresno County non-profits receive $74,000 from AT&T — Six nonprofit organizations in Fresno and Fresno County are receiving a total of $74,000 in donations from AT&T as part of the communications company’s efforts to support education. Fresno Bee article

UC Davis to review animal care after USDA finds research violations — UC Davis Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter called Friday for a comprehensive review of animal care on campus after federal inspectors found more than a dozen research violations in the last three years. Sacramento Bee article


John Holland: Forest tour looks at strategies to thin trees, resist wildfires — I ambled with a tour group last week across a slope near Pinecrest that had grown thick with trees. Researchers with the U.S. Forest Service talked about how best to thin these woods so they resist wildfire. The work also could provide logs for sawmills while enhancing wildlife habitat and a watershed that supplies Modesto and other locales. Holland in Modesto Bee

Health/Human Services 

Report: California needs more Latino doctors – A new report demonstrates the need for more Latino doctors in California. KVPR report

Domestic violence services available — In Kings County, the Kings Community Action Organization and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office Victim-Witness Assistance Program are just a few places people can receive help including from local police departments. Hanford Sentinel article

Land Use/Housing

Group sues Madera County, Vulcan Materials Company to stop Austin Quarry — The Madera Oversight Coalition (MOC) contends Madera County and Vulcan Materials Company, owner of the controversial Austin Quarry at the corner of highways 41 and 145, failed to properly address “significant material and legal issues” when the site was approvedand has filed a lawsuit that seeks to void its approval. Sierra Star article

San Joaquin County sued over land dispute – A Modesto real estate agent is suing San Joaquin County for $30 million over the approval of gravel quarries in the Vernalis area south of Tracy. Stockton Record article

Fundraisers for Awesome Playground lead up to design unveiling — It takes time and money to get awesome. The unveiling of the design for The Awesome Spot inclusive playground planned for Beyer Community Park in north Modesto will come a bit later than originally planned. But in the meantime, two fundraisers for the nearly two-acre playground will be held Oct. 22 in Salida and Oct. 28 in Modesto. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

London Library opens – Giselle Valencia says she’s ready for the London Library to open. Valencia, who attends preschool at the London Community Center, says she already has a library card and can’t wait to use it. She also has a favorite genre that she’s hoping the London Library has plenty of. Visalia Times-Delta articleKVPR report

Former Miss America shares personal story of abuse at Mason awards — On a day that Fresno’s domestic violence shelter honored local heroes for their work on the issue, former Miss America Kira Kazantsev told a Fresno audience that she was abused by her college boyfriend and it always stays with you. Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Thumbs up, thumbs down.

Sacramento Bee – Attorney General Kamala Harris, an adept lawyer and polished politician, is the clear choice to replace Barbara Boxer as California’s next U.S. senator.