October 2, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Dan Walters: Medical care now California’s largest industry, dwarfing all others — Four of the 17 measures on the Nov. 8 state ballot relate directly to financing Californians’ health care, and collectively they would have tens of billions of dollars in impact. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Why opponents of increasing the tobacco tax aren’t talking about tobacco — In television advertisements in heavy rotation across the state, opponents of the initiative to raise the cigarette tax by $2 a pack are arguing that voters should be wary of the gains by doctor groups and insurance companies that are backing the measure. LA Times article

Gov. Brown 

John Myers: There’s a reason Jerry Brow signs so many bills — Of the 1,059 bills sent to him this year, Brown vetoed 159, or 15%. And that was the peak of his pickiness since returning to Sacramento in 2011. Brown’s six-year average veto rate for bills approved by the Legislature is just 13%. “I’ve always signed more bills, even when I was governor last time,” said Brown in an interview after 2012’s bill-signing season. Myers in LA Times

Valley politics

Lee Brand rises from humble roots to thrive in business, seek mayor’s office — Brand doesn’t want to talk about such riches, but does allow that it can be measured in the millions. It’s a life far removed from Brand’s humble beginnings, growing up as an underachieving juvenile delinquent in a two-bedroom, one-bath house in the working-class neighborhoods near Roosevelt High School. Fresno Bee article 

Henry R. Perea wants to cap long political career by becoming mayor — Outside of close family, it isn’t often that Henry R. Perea opens his home to visitors. He lives alone in an 80-year-old, three-bedroom cottage a little north of Fresno High School, and prefers the privacy and solitude it offers. During those times, if the television isn’t going, the radio is on – all night long. It’s a throwback to Perea’s youth, when he shared a two-bedroom southeast Fresno home with his parents and four siblings in a space high on volume and short on privacy. Fresno Bee article

Brand continues fundraising lead over Perea in Fresno mayor’s race – A little more than a week before voters can begin casting ballots, new campaign finance reports show Lee Brand continuing to raise more money than Henry R. Perea in the Fresno mayor’s race. Brand, a Fresno City councilman, raised $219,610 from July 1 to Sept. 24. During that same time, Perea, a Fresno County supervisor, raised $172,375. Fresno Bee article

Stockton Record: Tubbs clear choice for Stockton mayor – The city does not need more soap opera episodes. Michael Tubbs is the clear choice to be elected as mayor. Stockton Record editorial 

Armstrong says retirement from Clovis City Council is bittersweet – You don’t last 50 years in municipal government without strong principles. In Harry Armstrong’s case, those principles came through loud and clear nearly 25 years ago when a group of developers tried to overrun planning in Fresno and Clovis. Many, including local politicians, were swept up in an investigation that the FBI dubbed Operation Rezone. Fresno Bee article 

San Joaquin County voter registration up, participation down – San Joaquin County has had one of the largest increases in voter turnout throughout the state, but state records show that election participation has decreased over the past 18 years. Stockton Record article 

Five campaigning for two Turlock Council district seats — Turlock’s first by-district voting for City Council will take place on Election Day. In northwest Turlock, by far the most expensive race, three familiar faces will vie for one seat, while west Turlock south of Fulkerth Road will choose between two political novices. Modesto Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Bakersfield Californian: Elect Sanchez; don’t let party bosses pick your senator — California’s next senator should have political courage. She should be willing to work with people in both political parties. She should have a business-friendly, moderate voting record. And she should have demonstrated that she gives a hoot about the entire state, including rural counties, like Kern. She should be Loretta Sanchez. Bakersfield Californian editorial 

Sacramento Bee: A California gun measure that’s too high-stakes to fail – California has among the lowest firearm-related death rates in the nation, at least partly because of its efforts to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. Gun legislation here tends to be closely watched. That is why we recommend a yes vote on Proposition 63. Sacramento Bee editorial

The Californian recommends: A guide to California’s crowded initiative ballot — The Californian is publishing a summary of its recommendations regarding a series of local school bond measures, as well as the 17 statewide propositions. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Other areas

Erika D. Smith: Colin Kaepernick, the unexpected leader, is finding his voice — Kaepernick has tapped into this squeamishness that many Americans feel, but have pushed down for fear of being labeled unpatriotic. Without a doubt, he has started a movement among athletes – one inextricably linked to the larger Black Lives Matter movement – that particularly resonates with millennials. Smith column in Sacramento Bee

Presidential Politics

Donald Trump tax records show he could have avoided taxes for nearly two decades, The Times found – Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show. New York Times articleLA Times article

Bakersfield Californian: Presidential decision: The lesser of two evils – Pick someone. That’s our recommendation in the Nov. 8 presidential election. Understand, we’re not being wise guys. We’re simply asking voters to make a selection; don’t stay home in disgust. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Victor Davis Hanson: Thanks to Obama’s overreach, the next president is unbound — In 2017, a President Trump or President Clinton will be able to do almost anything he or she wishes without much oversight – thanks to the precedent of Obama’s overreach, abetted by a lapdog press that forgot that the ends never justify the means. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

Modesto poised to move one forward on one-stop center for homeless – Modesto could take a big step toward establishing a one-stop center for the homeless, where they would access such services as treatment for mental illness, signing up for benefits or getting into permanent housing. The City Council on Tuesday will consider allocating $250,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funding for the project. Modesto Bee article

More local school districts allowing guns on campus – While no government agency is tracking how districts are voting, multiple district leaders said they’re hearing most of Kern County’s 47 school boards are approving guns on campus. The Kern High School District did so earlier this year following spirited community debate, along with the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Jeff Jardine: Cool-down means cold nights ahead for most of Valley’s homeless – With all of the talk and forward-thinking discussions about solving the problem of homelessness, are Modesto and other Stanislaus County cities any better prepared heading into this winter than previous winters? The answer is barely, if at all. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

New director has big plans for Gospel Center Rescue Mission – With a history of turning underperforming nonprofit organizations into self-sufficient entities, Wayne Richardson has big plans for Gospel Center Rescue Mission. Richardson was hired as the organization’s new chief executive officer in April, and his first day of work was Aug. 10. Stockton Record article 

Bethany Clough: Macy’s woman closes, other shopping news — Macy’s Woman at Fashion Fair mall has closed. Note I said “Macy’s Woman,” not the main three-story Macy’s at the end of the mall. Macy’s Woman carried women’s plus sizes in a separate store. Clough in Fresno Bee

Golden 1 says Kings arena sponsorship will boost California membership – So why has Golden 1, with its comparatively modest world view, committed a reported $6 million a year to jump into the world of big-time sports sponsorship? Because it believes there’s enough new business to be found just in California to make the naming-rights deal worth the money. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento’s new downtown palace dazzles thousands — On a perfect autumn day, with temperatures in the 70s and the sky a luxurious blue, they streamed into downtown Sacramento by light rail, by Uber, on bikes and on foot. Officially, this was the public unveiling Saturday of Golden 1 Center, an “open house” that was orchestrated in shifts to introduce the new arena built for the Sacramento Kings and that was expected to draw 100,000 visitors Saturday. Sacramento Bee article 

When a job’s not enough to get you off food stamps — Guadalupe Beltran makes $11 an hour, but still depends on food stamps. Now, a new program with USDA funding is helping her toward her goal of becoming a nurse. KQED report

A peek at the secret English farm where Amazon tests its drones — Amazon, the giant e-commerce company, began secretly testing unmanned aircraft this summer at an undisclosed location in Britain (its largest outdoor test site, according to an Amazon executive). I set out to find the top secret site, wanting to see how we all may one day receive online deliveries. New York Times article


Lewis Griswold: Brown signs water projects bill aiding Friant-Kern farmers – Farmers getting irrigation water from the Friant-Kern Canal received good news last week: Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that should result in more water in the canal. Griswold in Fresno Bee

Methane bill a mixed bag for locals – A landmark methane reduction law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week has local dairy farmers wondering how they’ll achieve the goal. The bill is likely to require dairies to cut their manure methane emissions to 60 percent of 2013 levels by 2030. Hanford Sentinel article 

Timber company tells California town, go find your own water — The water that gurgles from a spring on the edge of this Northern California logging town is so pristine that for more than a century it has been piped directly to the wooden homes spread across hills and gullies. To the residents of Weed, which sits in the foothills of Mount Shasta, a snow-capped dormant volcano, the spring water is a blessing during a time of severe and prolonged drought. To the lumber company that owns the land where the spring is, the water is a business opportunity. New York Times article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Police embrace ‘de-escalation’ to reduce shootings, but some officers remain skeptical — The recent spate of fatal police shootings of unarmed black men — including Tuesday’s killing of Alfred Olango by El Cajon police — is fueling a movement by agencies across the country to expand the training officers get in de-escalation techniques. Through role-playing with real-life scenarios, they are taught better communication skills aimed at helping them defuse situations that might otherwise turn violent. LA Times article

Poll: Most San Diegans trust police, but shootings are a ‘major problem’ – San Diegans, like the rest of the nation, are divided along racial lines in response to Tuesday’s deadly shooting in El Cajon. More than half of black people said that the shooting of Alfred Olango was not justified, while that same number — 51 percent— represents the number of whites that thought the opposite. Similar divisions were also shown with trust in police, and views of deadly force. San Diego Union-Tribune article 

Lethal force against knife-wielding suspects draws increasing scrutiny – Police encounters with knife-wielding suspects have uncertain outcomes. Five of the eight people shot and killed by police in Sacramento County this year, including Mann, allegedly had knives, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis. The inconsistency in how officers treat “edged weapons” has sparked a polarizing debate around a single question: Just how dangerous is a knife? Sacramento Bee article

Tracy Gallian: Being a good witness can help CHP solve crimes – The CHP officer writes, “The California Highway Patrol wants to remind you that being a good witness means not placing yourself or others in danger. Dialing for help and reporting a crime can be as heroic as stopping the crime in progress. The type of crime being committed won’t tell you what type of suspect you are dealing with, so it’s a good idea to never get between a suspect and his/her escape route. As a witness, the information you provide can lead to the arrest of a criminal or get help there sooner.” Gallian column in Fresno Bee 

LAPD reassigns elite cops after killings fall in South LA but crime jumps in other parts of LA — With homicides declining steadily after a large spike earlier this year, theLos Angeles Police Department has scaled back an emergency crime-fighting operation that had flooded South Los Angeles with officers from the elite Metropolitan Division. LA Times article 

Marcos Breton: Is this sex offender really suing his victim because she called him a rapist on Facebook? — It’s not every day that a registered sex offender sues his victim on his way to jail because she and her family called him a rapist on Facebook. But that’s what Lang Her, 26, did just before he started serving his one-year sentence for the assault of Yee Xiong, who is 24 and lives in Davis. Breton column in Sacramento Bee

Chinese vigilantes steps up patrols in face of crime wave targeting Sacramento Asians — When night falls, Chinese restaurant chef A-Shun heads out in his SUV with a box of Red Bull in tow. A-Shun patrols various south Sacramento neighborhoods from 9 p.m. until the early hours of the morning, waiting to respond to potential crimes targeting Asians. He is part of a self-organized volunteer patrol group of at least a dozen Chinese immigrants. Their ranks include waitresses and construction workers, store owners and massage therapists. Sacramento Bee article


Psychologist helps San Quentin prisoners find freedom through self-reflection — Jacques Verduin knows most of the men in San Quentin by name. And he’s trying to make sure that when they leave the California state prison, just across the San Francisco Bay in Marin County, they don’t ever come back. NPR report


Jim Yovino: ‘Proceed with compassion’ in every moment, every interaction – The superintendent of the Fresno County schools writes, “As the Fresno County superintendent of schools, it is my goal for every child to receive the tools they need to succeed, academically, socially and emotionally. I want every student to have the opportunity to find their bliss, understand their role in making this community a better place, and discover their purpose. Every day in our classrooms, we have the opportunity to teach these skills, model the traits we want to see in our students and cultivate the programs that will bring about their success in every capacity. These lessons are reinforced with each positive outreach and meaningful interaction, from adult to child.” Yovino op-ed in Fresno Bee

Expanding Your Horizons: Where imagination meets education – Louise Stark had just been hired as the first female professor in University of the Pacific’s School of Engineering when she played a key role in bringing the Expanding Your Horizons career conference to the university in 1992. Stockton Record article

‘Sy’ Mack, Fresno State geology professor, dies at 94 — Seymour “Sy” Mack, a retired geology professor at Fresno State, was a creature of habit – a trait illustrated by weekday walks along a precise route at a precise time that became a decades-long tradition on the university campus. Fresno Bee article


Why October is California’s most dangerous month for wildfires — Every October in California, leaves and temperatures fall, pumpkins dot the fields and college football season takes stride. But despite the trappings of autumn, October is California’s most dangerous month for wildfires, posing a deadly mixture of heavy seasonal winds, unpredictable weather patterns and bone dry vegetation. San Jose Mercury News article

Health/Human Services 

Central California Blood Center faces steep decline in donors – The Central California Blood Center is asking for help as the institution faces a 40 percent decline in donors in certain areas. Since 2009, the Central Valley has had a 24 percent decrease in donors, according to the center. Fresno Bee article

Thousands of deaths from hospital superbugs are going unreported, research shows – Many thousands of Californians are dying every year from infections they caught while in hospitals. But you’d never know that from their death certificates. LA Times article

Modesto Junior College professor is another victim of West Nile — For the past nine months, Modesto Junior College professor Kimberly Kennard has been in and out of hospitals, battling a disease that has devastated her health. Students at MJC have missed a professor who inspires them to pursue careers in social work and addiction counseling, and who firmly believes in students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Modesto Bee article 

Land Use/Housing

San Joaquin County preparing for growth, floods, land preservation — The San Joaquin County Planning Commission approved an update to the 2035 General Plan and its environmental impact report Thursday night, emphasizing preserving agricultural and open space and increasing flood protections. Stockton Record article

Other areas

Michael Fitzgerald: The Crocker receives a masterly ‘port-rait’ — Historically, fine art oil painters skipped Stockton on their way to Tahoe or Yosemite. The Crocker Art Museum of Sacramento has found a wonderful exception. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Would you pay a toll to tour San Francisco’s Lombard Street? — Neighborhood residents have long complained about complications of living at one of San Francisco’s top tourist spots. City officials are now studying new ways to manage the crowds, options that include closing the street to cars and nonresident pedestrians, requiring a reservation or charging a toll. Sacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian  California’s next senator should have political courage. She should be willing to work with people in both political parties. She should have a business-friendly, moderate voting record. And she should have demonstrated that she gives a hoot about the entire state, including rural counties, like Kern. She should be Loretta Sanchez; The Californian is publishing a summary of its recommendations regarding a series of local school bond measures, as well as the 17 statewide propositions; Pick someone. That’s our recommendation in the Nov. 8 presidential election. Understand, we’re not being wise guys. We’re simply asking voters to make a selection; don’t stay home in disgust.

Sacramento Bee – California has among the lowest firearm-related death rates in the nation, at least partly because of its efforts to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. Gun legislation here tends to be closely watched. That is why we recommend a yes vote on Proposition 63.

Stockton Record – The city does not need more soap opera episodes. Michael Tubbs is the clear choice to be elected as Stockton’s mayor.