October 16, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

John Myers: Election day has become election month in California — There’s a good chance that millions of Californians who receive a ballot in the mail this month will leave it sitting on a table for days or weeks, deciding for whatever reason to delay casting their vote in the Nov. 8 election. That may not seem like a big deal until you consider that absentee voters are now in the majority in the state, a shift in voting habits that’s part of what may be a major political evolution. Myers in LA Times

Dan Walters: Was Jerry Brown kidding, or is he worried about legacy projects? — Brown pointed out that Schwarzenegger not only signed the 2006 bill, but also championed two immense public works projects that Brown has adopted as his own. “Arnold, thanks for being for climate change, cap and trade, the tunnels project, high-speed rail and all the other unpopular issues I’m saddled with,” Brown kidded Schwarzenegger. However, maybe he was kidding on the square, revealing worries that boring two huge water tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and running a bullet train up and down the state may be doomed. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Longshot challengers hope to dislodge entrenched Valley congressmen — Congressional incumbents in the central San Joaquin Valley appear to be safe going into the Nov. 8 general election, but two races could be worth a second glance: the 21st District, currently held by Hanford Republican David Valadao; and the 16th District, currently held by Fresno Democrat Jim Costa. Fresno Bee article

Modesto Bee: Denham’s support of Trump is a disqualifier — If Jeff Denham won’t stand against Trump now, voters should not stand with him on Nov. 8. Send Michael Eggman to Congress. Modesto Bee editorial

AD 12: Campaign choice: Tried and true, or fresh and new — The 12th Assembly District race is peculiar because of the surface sameness of the candidates: Heath Flora and Ken Vogel, both conservative Republican part-time farmers from San Joaquin County hoping to represent a district mostly in Stanislaus County. Modesto Bee article

AD 13: Eggman faces political novice in bid for third term – In a field of four last June vying for the nomination to represent the 13th Assembly District in Sacramento, a young clergyman managed to garner almost 20 percent of the vote — good enough for second place — in his bid to unseat incumbent Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman. Stockton Record article

Mike Klocke: Election prompting huge uptick in registered voters — While bemoaning the choices we have for the 2016 presidential election, consider one benefit: more people actually are registering to vote and, hopefully, will take part in the most basic of democratic practices. Not just a few more people — a lot more. Klocke column in Stockton Record

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Proposition 55 would extend ‘temporary’ tax for 12 years – When Gov. Jerry Brown and his allies urged voters to adopt a temporary income tax on the wealthiest Californians and a statewide sales tax on everyone four years ago, the deal was billed as a short-term salve for a state mired in debt and on the verge of insolvency. AP article

Nationwide foreclosure settlement was a victory for California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, but an imperfect one — State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris was showered with applause at February’s California Democratic Party convention after spelling out how she went up against the nation’s five largest mortgage firms to help deliver a landmark $25-billion national settlement. LA Times article

Loretta Sanchez has sparked up sleepy Senate race — The occasional sparks of life in California’s otherwise sleepy U.S. Senate race come courtesy of the freewheeling Loretta Sanchez — sometimes to her benefit, sometimes not. San Jose Mercury News article

Sacramento Bee: The sad state of California’s direct democracy — Californians like the initiative process but dislike most initiatives, typically rejecting two-thirds of them. That’s probably wise. People who write the checks control what’s in the measures, smart consultants package them well, and even seemingly well-intentioned initiatives result in unintended consequences. Sacramento Bee editorial

Other areas

Marcos Breton: What happens when a white politician tries to lecture black people about their outrage? Take a guess — It was a bad look at City Hall on Thursday night when a white council member tried to lecture a largely African American audience about the manner in which they were expressing their outrage. Breton column in Sacramento Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

‘More challenges are coming’: Retiring police chief talks succession, future plans – When Greg Williamson took office as Bakersfield’s chief of police in 2010, Black Lives Matter was years from hashtag status and police body cameras had yet to become part of the national discussion. A lot can change in a few years, and Williamson expects his successor will, like him, encounter an array of unexpected challenges. Bakersfield Californian article

Parlier tax: Without it, supporters say no more Police Department – The budget-strapped city of Parlier needs money to keep its police department open, so officials spent Saturday stumping for a parcel tax measure on the November ballot. Fresno Bee article


Jobs and the Economy

‘Cannabis County’: Some see green, some see red as Calaveras pot industry explodes – Nearly $4 million in fees collected from the growers is supposed to pay for 29 new county employees to manage and enforce the fledgling rules. And Measure C, a ballot measure that will go before voters next month, would tax the growers and could raise at least $10 million per year to pay for other needs around the county. Stockton Record article

Hot pot delivery is now about as easy as ordering a pizza – but is it legal? – The pot-delivery business is booming in California. Using cars instead of dispensary counters, small marijuana startups have proliferated in recent years, serving a diverse customer base that includes homebound medical patients as well as people in communities where dispensaries are banned or few in number. Sacramento Bee article

Are Sacramento voters willing to pay to repave roads, upgrade transit? — Measure B on the Nov. 8 ballot proposes a half-cent sales tax surcharge that would raise an estimated $3.6 billion over 30 years to finance major fixes and upgrades throughout the county, starting with filling potholes and repaving rutted streets. Sacramento Bee article

Council to consider south Stockton retail proposals — The City Council is considering whether or not to approve six-month negotiating windows with two entities proposing to build retail developments on city-owned vacant lots in south Stockton. Stockton Record article


Jeff Jardine: Be weir-y: Valley, ag getting Water Board-ed by fish flow plans – Most folks in the Valley see the increased flows as nothing more than a water grab to make up for the Sacramento River water that would get sucked into Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels and sent to southern farming and Los Angeles municipal interests. You might even say we’re being Water Boarded. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Lois Henry: Oilfield water proves safe for irrigation – again — Cawelo Water District’s irrigation water continued to prove to be a non-story as testing has shown nothing nasty is in the water, nor in the fruit grown with that water. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Criminal Justice/Prisons

FFA sellers turn fair projects into benefit for wounded officers — Generosity is contagious. A teen’s choice to donate proceeds from her livestock auction at The Big Fresno Fair to the fund for two wounded Fresno County correctional officers spurred another teen to do the same Saturday. Fresno Bee article

San Francisco cop shot in head while responding to reports of mentally disturbed person – A San Francisco police officer was in critical condition after being shot in the head while responding to reports of a mentally disturbed person. The officer is expected to survive. LA Times article


Rebuilding boom: School bonds seek to nail in gains — On Nov. 8 California voters will give a thumbs up or down to $25.3 billion worth of school bonds in 183 local measures, and decide whether or not to restart the state’s matching funds program with $9 billion in bonds under Proposition 51. Modesto Bee article


Denise Newton: Sorting out PG&E’s rates and consumer needs – PG&E’s Kern Division’s senior manager writes, “Working through the California Public Utilities Commission’s process, we have crafted a number of rate options that fit the diverse needs of customers throughout our service area, including those of us right here in Kern County. Additionally, there are a number of programs, tips and tools available to help you manage your energy costs and, of course, we are here 24/7 to answer your questions.” Newton op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Land Use/Housing

Casino fears complicate tribe’s fear for home — Kathryn Montes Morgan went to school at the old Meridian School on David Road near Wheeler Ridge Road from kindergarten to fifth grade. She’s working hard to go back to elementary school. Morgan is the vice chairman of the 832-member Tejon Indian Tribe, which has purchased her old school and will convert it into the permanent headquarters of the tribe – the first home the tribe has owned in 150 years. Bakersfield Californian article


Michael Fitzgerald: Highway 99 – the Valley’s red asphalt – I was surprised to learn Highway 99 ranks as the deadliest major highway in the United States. Why, short version: Highway 99 is stuck in the Fifties. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

JetBlue tries to take Alaska Airlines’ daily route to Cuba — Alaska Airlines plans to start flying from Los Angeles International Airportto Cuba in January despite an attempt by rival JetBlue Airways to hijack the route away from the Seattle-based carrier and leave Southern California travelers out in the cold. LA Times article

Other areas

Lynne Ashbeck: Harry Armstrong’s way: Always do the right thing – The Clovis City Council member writes, “So, Harry, on behalf of all those who call Clovis “home,” thank you for 50 years of unselfish service. If success is defined as leaving a place better than when you found it, then that surely defines you. From those of us serving with you on the Clovis City Council, we will never forget perhaps your most important lesson: ‘Always do the right thing.’ That will be our promise to you. Thank you, Harry.” Ashbeck op-ed in Fresno Bee

Modesto councilwoman believes city manager overstepped his authority – A retired Modesto fire captain claims City Manager Jim Holgersson ordered fire Chief Sean Slamon to recommend the City Council not accept a $1 million grant for the Fire Department. Modesto Bee article

Showing off Stockton’s good side – It’s really a simple — too often overlooked — matter of focusing. “There are lots of great things about Stockton,” Robyn Cheshire said. “Yes, many people don’t know. Yes, we do want to share that with them.” So, the first Stockton Arts Week calls attention to the imagination, creativity and ingenuity that have been mostly-unrecognized hallmarks of a city frequently associated with negativity. Stockton Record article

Fire ravages historic downtown Kingsburg building — An early-morning fire Saturday in Kingsburg destroyed a historic downtown building and businesses including a church coffeehouse and caused one injury to a firefighter. Fresno Bee article

Stanislaus shelter report: Euthanasia down, pet adoptions up, rescues strong — Thanks to operational changes and strong partnerships with rescue groups, Stanislaus Animal Services is delivering a positive annual report, including reduction of the dog euthanasia rate to 29 percent. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – California’s death penalty is beyond repair and should be abolished.

Modesto Bee – If Jeff Denham won’t stand against Trump now, voters should not stand with him on Nov. 8. Send Michael Eggman to Congress; Don’t vote for Hillary Clinton because Trump is bad; vote because she has good ideas, is tough and pragmatic.

Sacramento Bee – The sad state of California’s direct democracy.

Stockton Record – The Record makes its endorsements on the state’s 17 ballot measures.