October 19, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Gov. Brown, allies spend millions to kill measure that could doom high-speed rail, Delta projects — With less than three weeks until Election Day, Gov. Jerry Brown and his political allies are suddenly pumping money into the campaign to defeat Proposition 53, a previously low-profile measure that could be the death knell of Brown’s high-speed rail and Delta tunnels projects. In the past week, Brown, labor unions, Indian tribes, Silicon Valley venture capitalists and other Democratic supporters have contributed $7 million to kill the measure, tripling the size of the opposition’s treasury.  San Jose Mercury News article 

These 12 races will determine the California Legislature’s balance of power — The question for California legislative races is no longer whether Democrats will secure a majority. It’s how large their margin will be. Once again, liberal leadership is contemplating a two-thirds majority that would allow them to pass taxes, amend political spending laws and move measures to the ballot without any Republican support. Valley race mentioned: SD 5 contest between incumbent Democrat Cathleen Galgiani and Republican challenger Alan Nakanishi.  Sacramento Bee article; Capital Public Radio report

Gov. Brown 

Ailing Sutter Brown released from animal hospital — Sutter Brown, the cancer-stricken dog belonging to Gov. Jerry Brown, has been released from the animal hospital and returned to the Governor’s Mansion. Sacramento Bee article

Valley politics 

Democratic group releases misleading ads tying Rep. David Valadao to Trump — A super PAC supporting Democratic House candidates has produced two misleading ads connecting Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. LA Times article 

Speaker Paul Ryan, Benghazi committee head Gowdy coming to Valley — Central San Joaquin Valley Republican congressmen Devin Nunes and David Valadao are bringing some of their high-powered Washington colleagues here this month to help dig into the wallets of local donors. It only seems like they’re teaming up because of the timing of their respective events. Fresno Bee article; LA Times article 

Felony charge against Stockton mayor reduced to misdemeanor – Anthony Silva scored a significant legal victory late Tuesday morning when a judge reduced the lone felony charge against Stockton’s mayor to a misdemeanor in a case filed two months ago in Amador County. Stockton Record article 

Michael Fitzgerald: Black leaders pick their mayor – Given that Michael Tubbs, if elected, would be Stockton’s first black mayor, I asked numerous black leaders who they support for mayor, and why. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record 

Election 2016: Henry Perea on his vision for Fresno — Henry Perea has spent the past 20 years in public service, first as a member of the Fresno City Council, and most recently as a member of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Now he wants to be Fresno’s next mayor. With election day just weeks away, he recently visited Valley Public Radio for a hard-hitting conversation about the issues, from homelessness to the influence developers have at city hall.  KVPR report

Civility reigns in Stockton City Council District 4 race – Michael Blower says he and opponent Susan Lenz are “probably going to have the most civil race out there.” For her part, Lenz calls Blower “a very, very nice man.” Stockton Record article 

More California voters this year – Last month California hit a record high of more than 18.2 million registered voters. That means that nearly three-quarters of eligible state citizens are registered to vote as of Sept. 9, according to state election officials. Kings County has not followed the state trend. As of Friday, there are 50,326 registered voters in Kings County, which is an increase from the 48,868 registered voters for the general election in 2012, but not a record high. Hanford Sentinel article 

Why it’s hard to ‘rig’ a Kern election – Kern County elections chief Karen Rhea has heard the worries about voter fraud and the allegations this presidential election might be “rigged.” She’s gotten the phone calls. She’s not buying it. If you stop to listen for a minute, she’s happy to tell you how her office prevents fraud.  Bakersfield Californian article 

Ballots with insufficient postage will still be delivered – The San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters is urging residents to carefully read the insert included with their vote-by-mail ballots before returning them. Stockton Record article 

Merced candidate pleads not guilty, city files injunction — A Merced City Council candidate arrested this month pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three misdemeanor allegations of illegally running a commercial cannabis business in Merced. Lakisha Jenkins, 39, entered her plea through attorney Patrick L. Fortune in Merced County Superior Court. Merced Sun-Star article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

2016 Election: California ballot measure preview — With 17 ballot measures going before voters in November’s general election, on issues ranging from plastic bags to the death penalty, there’s a lot of information for the average voter to digest before election day. On Valley Edition this week, we invited Fresno State political science professor Dr. Thomas Holyoke to help us wade through the slate of measures and provide some extra insight into who is behind them, and what they claim they would do. KVPR report 

Modesto Bee: It’s a question of conscience for Props 62, 66 — Vote for Proposition 66, and deadly mistakes will be made. Pass Proposition 62 and at least our conscience will be clear. Modesto Bee editorial

Jamee Gardner and Laura Shirley: Prop 55 will protect schools from painful budget cuts – Gardner, a site maintenance technician with the Roseville Joint Union High School District, and Shirley, a math teacher at Rosa Parks Middle School in Sacramento, write, “By passing Proposition 55 – which simply asks the wealthiest to temporarily continue paying the same amount they are now – we can protect our schools and vital services from another round of deep cuts. It does not raise taxes on anyone. And, we know the money from Proposition 55 will go to the classrooms, because there are strict accountability and transparency requirements.” Gardner/Shirley op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Jon Coupal: Prop 55 is another money grab by special interests – The president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association writes, “In 2012, California voters approved Proposition 30, the largest state tax increase in American history, because of a huge budgetary shortfall. We were promised it would be temporary and end in 2017. But now, the usual suspects, whose appetite for more tax dollars is insatiable, want to break that promise and extend the nation’s highest income tax rates for 12 more years withProposition 55.” Coupal op-ed in Sacramento Bee

He’s not running for office, but this AIDS activist has his sights set on national political stage –  In a state as expensive as California, and during a political year as crowded as 2016, most organizations would struggle to sponsor just one ballot measure. Fighting on two fronts is often reserved for the most formidable interest groups. But that’s just what the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation is doing this year. LA Times article

A new Jay Z video says pot should be legal in California and calls the war on drugs an ‘epic fail’ — Rapper Jay Z has weighed in to support Proposition 64, which would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California, calling the war on drugs “an epic fail,” in a YouTube video, which also describes how the effort filled prisons with young African American and Latino men. LA Times article

Other areas 

Californians more likely to use gun to kill themselves than others – The debate over firearms safety and the effects of rising gun sales tends to revolve around the best way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. But about 21,000 Californians committed suicide with a firearm between 2001 and 2014, almost equal to the number of firearm homicide victims. Sacramento Bee article 

Ami Bera, Scott Jones grapple over character in congressional debate – Rep. Ami Bera and Scott Jones, running in one of the state’s most closely watched congressional contests, tangled Tuesday over the economy, firearms and immigration, with the men using their only televised debate to defend their character while painting the other as ethically suspect. Sacramento Bee article; Dan Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Marcos Breton: The most important Sacramento issue on November’s ballot is one you may have overlooked – Measure B is the most important local issue on the November ballot. It’s a chance for Sacramento County to invest in itself, to actually work cooperatively in a way that rarely happens in this region. It will raise a projected $3.6 billion over 30 years to be spent on fixing crumbling roads, building badly needed bridges and creating safer bike paths. Breton column in Sacramento Bee 

Federal prosecutors seek five years in prison for former Sen. Ron Calderon — In a scathing sentencing position filed late Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, federal prosecutors requested five years’ imprisonment in their corruption case against former state Sen. Ron Calderon. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

Presidential Politics 

Cathleen Decker: To win the debate, Donald Trump needs to turn the attention to Hillary Clinton – On Wednesday, from a stage at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Trump will face an imperative that sounds simple but has eluded him for months: to turn a fierce spotlight onto his Democratic opponent, Hillary ClintonDecker in LA Times 

Even lots of Donald Trump’s supporters are starting to think he’ll lose the election – Add another item to Donald Trump’s list of problems: More and more, his own supporters no longer think he can win, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak poll has found. LA Times article 

Panetta is no Trump fan, but says nation’s larger problem is partisan divide — Leon Panetta knows a little about Washington, D.C., having served 16 years in Congress and in a half dozen administration positions under multiple presidents, both Republican and Democrat. The Monterey native also knows a little about bipartisanship, having been a member of both major political parties during his long and storied career, and working in the nation’s capital when politicians from both sides of the aisle communicated and cooperated. Given that history, Panetta, 78, is uneasy about what he’s seeing now in Washington. Fresno Bee article 

Voting on minds of new U.S. citizens — Sergio Casillas Carrisoza figures that at age 81, it’s never too late to respond to Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump’s attacks on Mexican immigrants. Vida en el Valle article 

WikiLeaks email shows Garcetti was possible VP pick – along with some tension — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti may have fumbled his endorsement of then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton last fall, but it didn’t knock him off the list of potential vice presidential candidates, according to new emails released by WikiLeaks. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

Madera voters will decide sales tax hike for public safety — Madera County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to put a measure on the ballot to raise the county sales tax by one cent to pay for additional firefighters, fire stations and sheriff’s deputies. The measure will go to voters in a March 7 special election. Fresno Bee article 

Prison to pot farm, Coalinga hopes to cash in on cannabis – Californians will vote in a couple weeks on whether or not the recreational use of marijuana should be legalized or not. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports one Central California city is looking at how it can cash in on this green revolution. KVPR report 

Call for order after outbursts, angry exchanges disrupt Stockton council meeting – Two Stockton City Council members called for a sergeant-at-arms to attend future meetings after decorum crumbled Tuesday night during emotional public testimony over homelessness, police shootings and violence. Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy

Valley business index soars in September – After three straight months of slipping below growth neutral, the San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index soared above the 50.0 threshold, with a September index of 55.0 in, up from 47.9 in August. While index conditions over the summer pointed to slowed economic growth, September’s index is encouraging, indicating an expansionary economy over the course of the next three to six months. The Business Journal article 

Indian tribes may be sovereign, but their casinos remain subject to federal scrutiny — A California-based tribe’s recent loss at the National Labor Relations Board could reignite interest in controversial legislation affecting Indian casinos and union workers nationwide. As part of a ruling that the San Diego-area Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians had violated federal labor law, NLRB Administrative Law Judge Mara-Louise Anzalone reaffirmed that the labor board had the authority to oversee the treatment of Indian casino workers. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Fresno on verge of new plans to guide downtown development – Six years after planning-reform efforts began, significant changes to the way Fresno deals with planning and development in its downtown area could be approved Thursday by the Fresno City Council. Fresno Bee article 

Stores taking varied stands on Black Friday/Thursday — Well, it’s a week and a half before Halloween. So let’s talk about Black Friday. Vintage Faire Mall this week released its plan for holiday hours. It includes opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24. That’s an hour later than Macy’s, which announced this week that it will open at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving. Modesto Bee article 

Sacramento council approves major rehab of Community Center Theater – Hold on, arts patrons: The end of those notoriously long bathroom lines at the Community Center Theater are in sight. The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday approved plans to rejuvenate the city’s aging performing-arts venue on L Street, including adding much-needed ladies’ lavatories and private second-floor bathrooms for donor-level ticketholders. Sacramento Bee article 

Sacramento Kings plan apartments, shops on vacant, blighted K Street block — The Sacramento Kings’ owners say they plan to begin construction on a new apartment building and shops at the devastated corner of Eighth and K streets as soon as next summer. Sacramento Bee article 

Here are 4 ways Orange County can help its homeless – To help its homeless population, Orange County needs to increase affordable housing, create more mental health and drug treatment centers, and improve access to low-income benefits. Orange County Register article 

At long last, Bay Area rental market cools – At long last, the Bay Area rental market is cooling. That’s the takeaway from a new report by Novato-based RealFacts showing that third-quarter rents for the nine-county region have barely budged — they’re up 1 percent from a year ago — and in some cities have even fallen. San Jose Mercury News article

San Jose City Council approves medical pot deliveries, multiple grow sites – In an effort to quash illegal pot delivery services that have mushroomed in recent years, San Jose leaders Tuesday agreed to allow the city’s 16 sanctioned pot shops to deliver marijuana to a patient’s front door. San Jose Mercury News article 

Walmart offers curbside pickup for online grocery shoppers in Sacramento area — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday is launching online grocery shopping and curbside pickup service at three of its Sacramento-area stores. The free service enables customers to order groceries online and pick them up at Walmart locations, without even leaving their vehicles. Sacramento Bee article


Merced leaders blast river flow plan – Merced County leaders urged a top state water official Tuesday to rethink a proposed boost in river flows. The doubling of reservoir releases would hurt farmers while doing little good for fish on the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers, members of the Board of Supervisors said. Modesto Bee article 

La Nina may be back this winter – Forecasts are already showing a possibility of La Niña in our future, with the Climate Prediction Center for the National Weather Service rating our chances at about 70 percent. San Francisco Chronicle article

It’s early, but Sacramento is 524 percent above normal for rainfall – Rain will be hard to come by in Sacramento for the foreseeable future, but we are 524 percent above normal for the young rainfall season. Sacramento Bee article 

Franklin-area Merced residents ordered to boil water as precaution — More than 1,000 customers in the Beachwood/Franklin area of Merced are under instructions to boil their water before using it, a day after a “low-pressure” event cut off water for a short time, the Meadowbrook Water Company confirmed. Merced Sun-Star article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Second former Bakersfield cop could receive up to 27 years, but … — Disgraced Bakersfield Police Department Detective Patrick Mara will be sentenced to between roughly 21 and 27 years in prison on Monday if a federal court judge in Fresno follows the recommendation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. But sending the former cop that far down the river doesn’t seem likely if the experience of Mara’s former police partner, Damacio Diaz, is any indication. Bakersfield Californian article 

Modesto police veteran becomes new Oakdale chief – A former Modesto Police Department lieutenant is returning to the area to become Oakdale’stop crime fighter. The Oakdale City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve an employment contract for its new chief, Scott Heller, who worked in Modesto for 17 years before leaving to become police chief for the Placerville Police Department. Modesto Bee article

Hanford police arrest boy for making alleged online threats to schools – A boy is under arrest in Hanford for making threats online against two high schools and a junior high, police said Tuesday. Fresno Bee article; Hanford Sentinel article 

Four students injured as gunman opens fire on San Francisco schools – Four students were injured Tuesday afternoon after a gunman opened fire on a San Francisco high school as students were being let out of class, according to police. McClatchy Newspapers article

Database has info on 383 police shootings in San Diego County — That database contains 97 fatal shooting cases from 1995 to 2015 for San Diego County. The San Diego Union-Tribune on Monday launched its own database, containing more than twice that many fatal cases during the same time period. The U-T database also goes back farther, chronicling 383 fatal cases from 1980 to present. San Diego Union-Tribune article

Study urges tougher oversight for police use of facial recognition — A new report by a think tank at Georgetown University calls for greater oversight in the use of emerging facial recognition software that makes the images of more than 117 million Americans — a disproportionate number of them black — searchable by law enforcement agencies. New York Times article


Once in place, will school accountability system really work? – The State Board of Education spent two years creating a new district and school accountability system – revising multiple drafts in response to thousands of public comments – before adopting it in September. EdSource article 

California college debt low, but growing quickly – Average college debt in California was $22,000, the third lowest in the nation. But college debt is going up in California at about the same rate as it is nationwide. KPCC report 

Google, Gallup find racial, gender gaps in computer science learning – Hispanic and black students are more likely than white students to be interested in computer science education, but face considerable social and cultural barriers to achieving their goals, Google and Gallup said in a report released Tuesday. San Jose Mercury News article

Merced College names top five candidates for president – Merced College on Tuesday announced the top five finalists for the open president’s position, with the formal choice to be made after a series of public forums with the candidates. The finalists are Sean Hancock, vice president of instruction and student services at Palo Verde College in Blythe; Brian Ellison, vice president of instruction at Merced College; Matthew Wetstein, vice president of instruction and planning at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton; Chris Vitelli, vice president of student services at Merced College; and Orinthia T. Montague, vice president of student affairs at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. Merced Sun-Star article 

College of the Sequoias wins People’s Choice Award at tiny house contest — The tiny house from College of the Sequoias in Visalia was the public’s favorite at the inaugural Tiny House Competition hosted by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District last week. Fresno Bee article 

Nan Austin: Balking at jock talk: Fresh air fans campus locker rooms — Think of the teens at Enochs High, where students are stepping up to change hearts through HARRT, the Healthy And Responsible Relationships Troop. Students are training to spot the signs of unhealthy relationships and counsel peers on how to make a change or walk away. Healthy relationships are now being taught as part of health classes at all Modesto high schools, said Thor Harrison and Mike Coats, who oversee educational services for grades 7-12 in Modesto City Schools. Austin in Modesto Bee

Anti-abortion protests at Sac State spark complaints — Members of Project Truth spent the past two days on the Sacramento State campus protesting abortions by displaying large posters showing graphic images of mutilated, bloody fetuses and offering anti-abortion pamphlets in the quad area, sparking complaints from students and staff, including Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen. Sacramento Bee article 

LA School Board votes to loosen its chocolate milk ban – With a vote of 6 to 1, the Los Angeles Unified School District Tuesday loosened a district-wide ban on sugary, flavored milk that took effect in 2011. The board approved a pilot program to study the effects of reintroducing flavored milk in a small group of schools, all of which must volunteer to take part in the experiment. LA Times article 

Yes, an after-school Satan Club could be coming to your kid’s grade school — The national movement is attempting to establish a dozen After School Satan Clubs across the country. Local chapters have applied for space at public grade schools in cities including Atlanta, Detroit, Washington, Portland, Ore., Tacoma, Wash., Salt Lake City, Tucson and Los Angeles. LA Times article


Modesto Irrigation District utility prices to remain stable in coming year – Electricity customers won’t confront higher prices in 2017, the Modesto Irrigation District said Tuesday as its board approved a yearly budget that envisions unchanged power rates. Modesto Bee article 

A colossal clean up of the dying forest – Tree climber Josh Gilliam, 28, from Fairplay South Carolina, has been around the logging business since he was a little boy, helping his dad after school at his uncle’s logging and tree service company. He currently works for BKW, a Pensacola, Florida subcontractor for Phillips & Jordan – the disaster relief company contracted by PG&E to remove dead trees on private property that pose a threat to public safety in the Mountain Area. Gilliam is part of a team of 85 to 100 men and women planning to work in Eastern Madera County for the next three to five years. Sierra Star article 

SolarCity, Airbnb partner to offer up to $1,000 to new solar owners – Airbnb announced a partnership with SolarCity on Tuesday that will offer up to $1,000 in solar rebates to those who host or rent properties through the home-sharing firm. LA Times article 

New tunnels in Santa Cruz Mountains will provide cougars safe passage — Two new tunnels under the serpentine highway — one near Lexington Reservoir in Santa Clara County, the other near Laurel Curve in Santa Cruz County — will provide much-needed links in an area where home construction and asphalt have fragmented once-continuous habitat, connecting two major wilderness areas where animals roam for food, mates and new territory. San Jose Mercury News article

Health/Human Services

David Womack: How Measure J can improve Kern’s health – The senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente in Kern County writes, “Bakersfield College plays a key role training our local healthcare workforce by graduating ready-to-work registered nurses, radiology technicians and other health professionals. To be prepared for the future and not the past, healthcare workers must be trained on up-to-date equipment and methods. Measure J will modernize and expand classrooms, labs, technology resources and equipment.” Womack op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Hanford Hospital in top 10 percent in nation for joint replacement care — The Hanford Adventist Medical Center was recognized by Healthgrades for being in the top 10 percent in the nation for joint replacement care. Visalia Times-Delta article

Land Use/Housing 

Work begins crafting new Fresno parks master plan — The last time the city of Fresno re-examined its public parks Ronald Reagan was president. According to one ranking Fresno ranks 97th of out 100 cities in terms of access to public parks. Now, after much community complaint, work is underway to bring city parks into the 21st century. Last week, resident gathered at Fresno High School to share their vision for the city’s parks. KVPR report


Grants get bicycle lane, routes rolling in northeast Bakersfield — Bicycle lanes and routes around Bakersfield College in the northeast should expand in the coming months thanks to one of three grants the city is getting from the Kern Council of Governments. Bakersfield Californian article 

Modesto, Stanislaus County want joint powers to boost Highway 132 project — Modesto and Stanislaus County intend to form a joint powers authority to design and build a bypass of Highway 132 west of downtown Modesto. Modesto Bee article 

Santa Monica temporarily stops airport evictions amid federal investigation — As a federal investigation into Santa Monica’s effort to shut down its municipal airport continues, city officials have temporarily stopped evicting aviation businesses from the embattled property. LA Times article

Other areas 

Lois Henry: Ever wondered what government won’t tell you? A lot – As we all eagerly await the results of three (or are there more?) separate investigations into what the H-E-double toothpicks has been going on with the Kern High School District and its police department, I thought it might be fun to go over what the district has, so far, refused to tell us. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian 

3 Fresno firefighters honored for bravery in rescue of CHP officer — Three Fresno firefighters were honored Tuesday morning for saving the life of a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer injured in a traffic collision in June. Fire Capt. Reginald Zellous and specialists Randy E. Dennis and Darian T. Jackson were presented medals of bravery at a City Hall ceremony by the Fire Department, and also received commendations from the CHP for rescuing the unconscious officer trapped on a burning median on Highway 180. Fresno Bee article 

‘Are you home yet?’ The text that changed one life and ended another – Marie Coyner spent seven months behind bars for a hit-and-run crash that killed 24-year-old Christoper C. Tietjen in 2012. She was texting at the time of the crash. Modesto Bee article 

Kenneth Conn, Tulare County judge, hailed for civility — Retired Tulare County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Conn, who was beloved in the legal community for his civility, fairness and integrity, has died. He was 82. Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup 

Merced Sun-Star – Vote for Proposition 66, and deadly mistakes will be made. Pass Proposition 62 and at least our conscience will be clear.

Modesto Bee – Vote for Proposition 66, and deadly mistakes will be made. Pass Proposition 62 and at least our conscience will be clear. 

Sacramento Bee – Talk of a “rigged” election is a slippery slope to violence.

Stockton Record – Lodi measures: School bond, 2 other measures merit approval.