October 2, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

McCarthy would bring California clout, though limited, as House speaker — Bakersfield native Kevin McCarthy will get a better salary, a bigger staff and a lot more clout on his state’s behalf when he becomes House speaker, as all in Congress now expect. But the old days of bringing home the bacon are now gone, or have at least been put on a diet. McClatchy Newspapers article 

As California goes … But will nation follow state’s lead on healthcare for immigrants? — The many blue states, California enthusiastically embraced Obamacare, signing up millions for health insurance. Now, it’s venturing into a potentially costly and controversial new frontier of health policy: offering medical coverage to hundreds of thousands of people living in the country illegally. LA Times article


Gov. Brown  

Video: Jerry Brown defends air board, says climate change ‘not stuff for amateurs’ – Gov. Jerry Brown, defending California air regulators following a brawl this summer over petroleum regulations, said Thursday that climate change is “not stuff for amateurs” and that the California Air Resources Board has the expertise and political will to move forward on greenhouse gas reductions. Sacramento Bee article 

California Gov. Jerry Brown rallies regulators working on new emissions plans – As California regulators prepare new steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Gov. Jerry Brown visited a public hearing near the Capitol to voice his support. LA Times article


Valley politics 

Vidak asks Brown to veto environmental bill — State Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, finding himself in opposition to a sweeping environmental bill awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, decided to get creative. He wrote to Brown in Latin. Hanford Sentinel article


Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Dan Walters: Poor acts contribute to malaise — What is it about California and its politics that is so off-putting? Could it be the seemingly endless revelations of self-serving acts by those in public positions? Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Joel Fox: PPIC poll examines tax proposals — In the shadow of my commentary yesterday on the possible tax measures on the 2016 ballot comes the Public Policy Institute of California poll that takes the standing of many of the potential tax initiatives. This snapshot in time indicates supporters of the tax increases have a lot of work to do to convince the public to vote for them. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announces campaign for attorney general — California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who last year mounted an unsuccessful initiative campaign to assume more control over health insurance rates, said Thursday that he plans to run for attorney general in 2018. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Political Potpourri: California Politics Podcast — We examine new polling on the electorate’s appetite for taxes and new efforts to fight poverty. We also discuss how critics of 2015’s new vaccination law failed to force a statewide vote on new mandate. And we examine this week’s report on the record, so far, of 2011’s public safety realignment. California Politics Podcast in KQED

How an immigration law passed 50 years ago helped change the face of America — An immigration bill passed by Congress fifty years ago this week prompted  dramatic, still unfolding changes in the racial and ethnic composition of the U.S. population. KQED report


Other areas

McCarthy returns to Fox to explain his Benghazi statement – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield returned to the Fox News set Thursday night to walk back a remark he made earlier this week about the political victories of the Benghazi committee, according to Talking Points Memo. Bakersfield Californian article

McCarthy does damage control on Benghazi remarks – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s campaign for speaker veered into damage control mode Wednesday after he suggested that the House Benghazi committee can take credit for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s slumping poll numbers. AP article

McCarthy’s Benghazi gift to team Hillary — Team Hillary has found its opening.

After months of being dogged by the controversy surrounding her private email account, the 2016 Democratic contender and her supporters are taking the offensive against her congressional nemesis: the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Politico article

Time Machine: Kevin McCarthy, Rookie of the Year — The following appeared in the August 2004 issue of the California Journal about then-state Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, who was the magazine’s pick as Rookie of the Year. The selection of McCarthy was a remarkable achievement for the young lawmaker in a Democrat-controlled Legislature that had 31 rookies, including then-Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez.  Capitol Weekly article 

Thomas Holyoke: Money, speech and oligarchy in U.S. politics – The Fresno State political science professor writes, “Common sense suggests that people who donate tens of thousands expect a return, so the system appears plenty corrupt and thus ripe for congressional action. All we need is for Congress to show the backbone it did in 2002 and stand up to the small circle of well-heeled donors dominating American politics today and regulate it to the extent the court will allow.” Holyoke op-ed in Fresno Bee

Ed Coughlan: Help wanted: More California women needed to run for public office – It is hard to believe that the first state in the country’s history to have two women serving as U.S. Senators at the same time might have a problem attracting women to run for public office, but that’s the situation in California. A recent study of local government in California showed there’s been an increase in the number of women elected to city councils. Yet, other data points are still discouraging. Coughlan in California Forward 

Fresno jury: Former gubernatorial candidate eligible for Three Strikes — A Fresno County jury ruled Thursday that former California gubernatorial candidate Tye Glenn Champ Jr. has three prior felony convictions that make him eligible for a sentence of 25 years to life in prison under the state’s Three Strikes law. Fresno Bee article

Oregon college gunman Chris Harper Mercer liked target shooting, ex-neighbors say — Neighbors at a sprawling apartment complex in Torrance thought it was odd a few years ago when they saw Chris Harper Mercer and his mother carrying black cases that they suspected held firearms. LA Times article 

Mike DeBartoli: Give the dying a fleeting chance – The former Sacramento firefighter writes, “We do believe there’s a chance that some of the promising drugs and therapies currently being tested could give us a little more time – a little more time to walk on the beach with the people we love, to watch our children grow up and to cross a few more things off our bucket lists. Right to Try gives us the hope of time.” DeBartoli op-ed in Sacramento Bee


News Stories

Top Stories 

Officials: California meets water saving target for third straight month — Californians cut water use by 27 percent in August, marking the third consecutive month that residents and businesses surpassed the 25 percent conservation goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown to deal with the relentless drought, officials said Thursday. AP article; San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times articleSan Jose Mercury News articleStockton Record article

State, San Joaquin County economic recovery remain on track – California’s long, slow economic recovery is picking up the pace with jobs growing faster than previously projected and should maintain solid 3 percent growth in real gross state product, University of the Pacific economists said Thursday. Stockton Record article


Jobs and the Economy

UOP forecast predicts continued growth for Fresno County economy – Fresno and the northern San Joaquin Valley have outperformed initial expectations for economic recovery since the nadir of a recession, and University of the Pacific economists anticipate that employment and average annual wages will continue to grow over the next few years. Fresno Bee article

Summit on homelessness draws big crowd at Modesto Centre Plaza – Some 500 people attended the Focus on Prevention summit Thursday at Modesto Centre Plaza, where they were invited to get involved in a 10-year initiative to reduce and prevent homelessness. Modesto Bee article 

Chukchansi election unlikely to unite factions, reopen casino – Saturday’s tribal elections for the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians were supposed to mark another step forward toward tribal unity sought by state and federal regulators. But political wrangling has intensified, driving wedges even deeper between battling factions and likely further delaying the reopening of the tribe’s casino. Fresno Bee article

What to expect from September jobs report – Analysts are hoping Friday’s report will show gains that at least top the 200,000 mark as the economy heads into the final quarter of 2015. New York Times article

Monthly central San Joaquin Valley real estate numbers: August – Home sales in the central San Joaquin continued to show year-over-year growth in most statistical categories – most notably in new and existing home sales in Fresno County. Fresno Bee article

Rail service shutdown could cost economy $30 billion, group says – A looming shutdown of the nation’s rail system could have a bigger economic impact than the 2013 government shutdown and could even trigger a recession, according to a new report. McClatchy Newspapers article

CalPERS long-term care insurance pool shrinks — Despite a campaign to add new policyholders, the number of people covered by a CalPERS’ long-term care insurance policy has declined 4.5 percent since the fund reopened enrollment at the end of 2013. Sacramento Bee article

Apple plans huge Sunnyvale campus, eyes fresh San Jose expansions – Apple is eyeing fresh expansions here and in north San Jose that would add about 1 million square feet to what has turned into a stunning growth spurt for the tech giant, sources and experts said Thursday. San Jose Mercury News article 

Developers claim increasing San Francisco transit fees would be crippling – A fight is brewing between developers and lawmakers over how much the builders should pay to support the city’s transit system. San Francisco Chronicle article

Oregon open for marijuana business, and Californians are buying – On Oregon’s first day of selling recreational marijuana, the siren scent of legal weed drew a surprising number of Californians and other pot tourists — even at the risk of getting nailed for the federal offense of carrying marijuana back across the state line. Contra Costa Times article 

Judge’s ruling clears way for Ione tribe to establish Amador casino — A Sacramento federal judge has ratified the U.S. government’s decision to take 228 acres of Amador County land into trust so an Indian tribe can build a casino on it. Sacramento Bee article

A plea to rediscover Fresno’s Discovery Center — Fresno’s Discovery Center has faced its share of obstacles over the last 60 years, from funding cuts and fire to burglary and vandalism. The most damaging threat, however, seems to be its gradual disappearance from the community’s memory. The Business Journal article

State calls off audit plans, Richmond officials say — The state controller’s office has called off its plans to investigate the city of Richmond’s finances, city offices said Thursday. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Skiers, resorts cast hopeful eye toward El Nino — Forecasts of an approaching El Niño winter have ski resort operators dreaming of the kind of snowy peaks that were a common sight in California before a four-year drought dried up the state’s $3-billion ski industry. LA Times article



Many Valley water agencies fall short of goal in August – Most central San Joaquin Valley water agencies fell short of their state conservation goals in August, officials said, though Selma, Kingsburg, Merced and Bakman Water Co., which serves an area southeast of Fresno, achieved their goals. Sacramento Bee/Fresno Bee article

California’s biggest water guzzler is someone in Bel Air — In the midst of a searing drought, one home in the exclusive West Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air used an astonishing 11.8 million gallons of water in one year – enough for 90 households. Center for Investigative Reporting article

Lloyd G. Carter: Westlands’ drainage dilemma – The president of the California Save Our Streams Council writes, “In a Sept. 20 editorial The Bee opined that a proposed settlement of the Westlands Water District federal lawsuit over farm drainage water was ‘a smart compromise’ and ‘a fair deal for taxpayers, the environment and Westlands growers.; Not everyone sees it that way. Carter op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Large roaches head into human homes, thanks to drought — That’s right. Our history-making drought strikes again. As California’s front lawns brown, dry tree limbs fall on city streets and neighbors scramble to water their yards by the light of the moon during a state-mandated Phase 2 water restriction, these cockroaches are now cruising residential streets for their next meal and a drink. KQED report


Criminal Justice/Prisons

Sacramento Bee: A big step forward on sentencing – Given politicians’ predilection to appear tough on crime, a bipartisan compromise to possibly reduce draconian sentences for nonviolent drug offenders is a big deal. Sacramento Bee editorial

East Bay cell phone surveillance plan gets attorney general’s support – The California Department of Justice supports a plan by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and the Oakland and Fremont police departments to obtain controversial cellphone surveillance tracking technology, according to documents obtained through the California Public Records Act. Center for Investigative Reporting article

Cooling towers blamed for Legionnaires’ Disease at San Quentin State Prison — A new report finds that dirty cooling towers were to blame for an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease that has sickened dozens of inmates and at least four employees at San Quentin State Prison. AP articleLA Times article

Gang sweep nets 80 arrests, drugs and guns — As the bright orange dawn woke many in Tulare County Thursday, a select group of Norteno street gang members were awoken in a different light. A Department of Justice-led, multi-agency, multi-county effort to dismantle Nortenos in Tulare County culminated Thursday morning with the arrest of 52 men and women from towns across the county. The District Attorney’s Office is calling the sweep the largest gang case ever prosecuted in this county. Charges could be filed on more than 80 individuals. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Mariposa deputy in critical condition after gunfight with Merced man – Shots rang out here on a crisp and rainy Thursday morning, shaking up a normally quiet, close-knit community after a gunfight ended with a sheriff’s deputy and a suspect in hospital beds. Merced Sun-Star article 

Activists say Berkeley police data point to racial profiling — Police accountability advocates are calling on the Berkeley Police Department to reform its practices after reviewing traffic stop data that they say reveal a pattern of racial profiling. KQED report



CSU faculty to vote on allowing a strike – Faculty members in the California State University system, including those on the Cal State Bakersfield campus, are readying themselves for a strike if ongoing contract negotiations fail to produce raises. Most professors are a ways away from walking out of their classrooms and manning picket lines, however. Bakersfield Californian article

Jerry Brown signs sex ed mandate, ‘yes means yes’ for high school students – California students will need to take sexual education courses unless their parents explicitly have them exempted under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday. Sacramento Bee articleAP articleLA Times article

PAC critics call for Fresno Unified superintendent’s removal over phone privacy app Cyber Dust – A political action committee, created in response to Fresno Unified’s use of no-bid construction contracts, is demanding that Superintendent Michael Hanson face sanctions for using a controversial privacy phone app to conduct school district business. Fresno Bee article

Board to decide Bakersfield College president’s fate next Tuesday – Kern Community College District staff recommend approval of a 10.5 percent raise and three-year contract for Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian, according to the agenda for a district board meeting next Tuesday in Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article

UC President Janet Napolitano talks affordability with high school students – Local students should not be afraid to attend the University of California at Merced or another UC campus because of expenses, according to UC President Janet Napolitano, who spoke with students at Golden Valley High School on Thursday to assure them that financial aid is available to help make education affordable. Merced Sun-Star article 

Second Roosevelt High attack in classroom caught on camera — For the second time in a month, a classroom at Roosevelt High School in Fresno was the scene of violence. First, a student punched a substitute teacher. Now two students severely beat another student in a classroom. Both incidents were caught in cell-phone video. Fresno Bee article

John Tarjan: Don’t paint all universities with the same broad brush – The management professor at Cal State Bakersfield writes, “While I believe that many degrees at many institutions are overpriced and do not translate into high earnings in the workplace, let’s not paint all institutions and degrees with the same brush. Please note that even though a CSU degree, regardless of major, is one of the least costly in the nation, our graduates have higher average earnings than graduates of private colleges and universities five years into their careers.” Tarjan op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Valley with struggle with tough, new air standard — Federal leaders on Thursday announced their most-protective national ozone standard, saying California alone would save up to $2.1 billion annually in health care after 2025. But the San Joaquin Valley, which hasn’t yet achieved the older eight-hour ozone standard, will struggle to meet this one in the 2030s, a local air-quality leader said. Fresno Bee article

EPA adopts new smog standard that environmentalists say is weak — The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has adopted a stricter smog limit that will force states to reduce emissions and improve respiratory health for millions over the next decade while bringing billions in pollution-control costs to industry. LA Times articleMcClatchy Newspapers article 

Chevron agrees to sell pipeline linking Kern to Bay area refineries – Chevron has agreed to sell a 90,000-barrel-per-day, common-carrier pipeline linking Kern County oil fields with refineries in the Bay Area, prospective buyer Crimson Pipeline LP announced Thursday. Bakersfield Californian article

Why Tom Steyer’s latest fight against climate change involves raising his own cattle —  Tom Steyer’s crusade to force politicians to confront climate change is well known, manifesting itself in millions of dollars of campaign funding, including the windfall he raised for Hillary Rodham Clinton recently in his San Francisco home. Less well known is the billionaire’s crusade to force farmers to confront it. LA Times article


Health/Human Services

Medicare sticker shock: Soaring drug prices could trip up seniors – Heads-up, seniors. For those on Medicare, this month can be critical. It’s the official start of a once-a-year window when seniors can switch their Part C (hospital/medical care) and Part D (prescription drug) plans. Sacramento Bee article 

Ann-Louise Kuhns: Don’t put children’s program in Medi-Cal – The CEO of California Children’s Hospital Assocation writes, “Virtually every stakeholder group representing families or providers – including the March of Dimes, the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation, the Chronic Care Coalition and dozens more – supports AB 187. For children and for families, we urge Gov. Brown to sign it.” Kuhns op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

LA’s response to domestic violence is underfunded and disjointed, audit finds — Mayor Eric Garcetti started 2015 by announcing that in the face of rising crime statistics, he would devote more money and manpower to helping the victims of domestic abuse, a crime that had been under-reported by the Los Angeles Police Department. LA Times article



Caltrans gets go-ahead to implode pier on old Bay Bridge – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given Caltrans final permission to carry out a $160 million implosion of the largest concrete pier of the old Bay Bridge eastern span next month, the state agency said Thursday. San Francisco Chronicle article 

San Diego’s dueling transportation plans under fire — report co-authored by San Diego environmental groups finds a disconnect between the city of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan and SANDAG’s regional transportation plan.  KPBS report


Other areas 

Tulare County’s Rousseau tapped as Fresno County’s top boss – The Fresno County Board of Supervisors announced Thursday that Jean Rousseau has been selected as the county’s new top boss. Rousseau replaces the retiring John Navarrette as county administrative officer. It’s a bit of a homecoming for Rousseau, who served as Tulare County’s administrative officer starting in 2007. Before joining Tulare County in 2004, he served for 15 years in Fresno County’s Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector office in various capacities. The Business Journal articleFresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Fresno Humane Animal Services faces major challenges as new county animal control service – Fresno Humane Animal Services officially took the reigns as Fresno County’s latest animal control provider on Thursday, and its southeast Fresno headquarters was a whirlwind of activity on day one. Fresno Bee article 

Stockton Record: Little help, governor? – Appointments are needed from Gov. Brown for San Joaquin County supervisor, judge positions.  Stockton Record editorial

City Beat: New biking and walking projects likely to get funding – The County of Kern and the cities of Bakersfield, McFarland and Tehachapi will likely receive more than $5.7 million from the California Transportation Commission on Oct. 22. Bakersfield Californian article

Stockton Mayor Silva detained, at least briefly, at SFO – An attorney for Anthony Silva confirmed this afternoon that the mayor of Stockton was detained, at least briefly, by federal agents Monday morning at San Francisco International Airport as he returned from a trip to China sponsored by a Silicon Valley trade organization. Stockton Record article

Fresno court tosses $8.5 million civil verdict in killing of Seth Ireland – A Fresno appellate court has thrown out an $8.5 million civil jury verdict in connection with the 2009 killing of 10-year-old Seth Ireland and has ordered a new trial against Fresno County’s child protective service, which is accused of failing to protect the boy from abuse. Fresno Bee article

Assistance dog trained to help witnesses, victims in Stanislaus County court – The woman, a victim of an assault, sat in the courtroom’s witness chair and started to talk. As she told a judge what happened and how it affected her – giving what’s called a victim impact statement – the woman started to cry. Quietly, the tawny-colored dog next to her placed its head on the woman’s lap. Honor is a trained assistance dog, and it seems like she can sense when someone needs her help. Modesto Bee article 

Women kicked off Wine Train file race discrimination lawsuit — Members of a mostly African-American book club booted from the Napa Valley Wine Train in August after accused of being loud and boisterous, sued the train’s owners for racial discrimination Thursday, charging they were humiliated in front of other passengers and defamed on social media. San Francisco Chronicle articleAP articleLA Times article

Earl Watson: 1925-2015: From ‘Doorman to the Stars’ to Fresno pillar — Family and friends will gather Saturday in Fresno to remember Earl Watson, who traded a young man’s dream of rubbing elbows with famous Hollywood stars for the rewards of community service in Fresno. Fresno Bee article


Valley Editorial Roundup

Sacramento Bee – Given politicians’ predilection to appear tough on crime, a bipartisan compromise to possibly reduce draconian sentences for nonviolent drug offenders is a big deal; The mass shooting at Umpqua Community College is achingly familiar.

Stockton Record – Appointments are needed from Gov. Brown for San Joaquin County supervisor, judge positions.