October 26, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

500,000 Californians register to vote in two days, set record — More than 18.7 million Californians have registered to vote in the Nov. 8 presidential election, a state record. Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Tuesday that 500,000 people enrolled for the first time or updated their information in the final two days the state accepted registrations. AP article 

Latinos in California have one big reason to go to the polls: Donald Trump – Galvanized to vote in the presidential race by Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric, Latinos in California are expected to turn out in large numbers in November and have considerable influence on down-ballot races and statewide propositions. LA Times article

Valley politics 

Election 2016: Lee Brand on experience, leadership style in Fresno mayor’s race – For the last seven-and-a-half years, Lee Brand has been the Fresno City Council’s resident policy expert. He’s helped write and pass laws about city debt and finance that many say helped the city recover from a deep financial crisis. Now he wants to lead the city from the office of mayor, squaring off against current Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea in the November election. KVPR report 

Ahora en Espanol: Candidates hold first Spanish forum – Candidates seeking to represent the new City Council district that includes south Merced appeared before community members during a forum that organizers said was the first ever to be conducted in Spanish. Merced Sun-Star article 

In book he helped write, Condit says he did not woo – or kill – Chandra Levy – Those faithful to the memory of Condit Country glory days of the 1980s and ’90s, when Gary Condit seemed to enjoy rock-star status around Modesto before his stunning fall from grace, will find much to embrace in “Actual Malice,” an edgy new book written with the former congressman’s help. Modesto Bee article 

Gary Condit to discuss Chandry Levy case on ‘Dr. Phil’ – Former congressman Gary Condit is set to discuss the 2001 disappearance and death of Washington intern Chandra Levy on the “Dr. Phil” show. AP article 

Kings official: County ready for polling station observers — With GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump calling for more observers at polling stations on Nov. 8, Kings County Registrar of Voters Kristine Lee said Monday that her office is ready. Hanford Sentinel article

Fresno Bee: Payne, Leal, and Ikeda for State Center Community College trustees — The Bee recommends Eric Payne, John Leal, Deborah Ikeda for State Center board. Fresno Bee editorial 

Candidate profile: Los Banos school district board Area 2 — A tense election season in Los Banos is pitting incumbent school district Trustee Tommy Jones against a former city and police department employee, Megan Goin-Soares, for the district’s Area 2 school board seat. Los Banos Enterprise article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Jaycee Dugard opposing Jerry Brown’s prison reform initiative – One of California’s most famous kidnap victims is opposing a parole overhaul backed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would make more inmates eligible for early release. Jaycee Dugard, who spent 18 years in confinement after being kidnapped by Phillip and Nancy Garridowrote on Facebook that she fears Proposition 57 could speed the release of former criminals. Sacramento Bee article 

Cities prepare to take driver’s seat in marijuana trade – Proposition 64 would give local governments a lot of control over recreational marijuana. Already, cities are taking very different approaches on how to proceed if the measure passes. KQED report 

Sheriff Mims, religious leaders argue against marijuana legalization – Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims joined several other public safety officials and religious leaders Tuesday to urge a vote against Proposition 64, the marijuana legalization initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot. Fresno Bee article 

California ag chief talks about balancing state and local marijuana rules – California is still writing the rules on regulating medical marijuana. Meanwhile Agriculture Department Secretary Karen Ross says the state is mindful voters may decide to legalize recreational marijuana. Given that possibility, she says the state is working on making medical marijuana rules as “adaptable as possible.” Capital Public Radio report 

California correctional officers launch pro-death penalty campaign – With polls showing California voters poised to abolish the death penalty in just two weeks, the state correctional officers’ union is underwriting a major drive to save capital punishment. Sacramento Bee article 

Birgit Fladager: California’s death-penalty flaws can be fixed – The Stanislaus County district attorney writes, “The overall changes to the death penalty system are simple fixes that will reform capital punishment and fix what’s broken. I urge a ‘no’ vote on Proposition 62 and ‘yes’ on Proposition 66 to ensure the worst of the worst killers receive the strongest sentences, while saving California taxpayers millions of dollars every year.” Fladager op-ed in Fresno Bee

Donald Heller: California’s death penalty is beyond repair and should be repealed – The former state and federal prosecutor who is the primary architect of California’s death penalty statute writes, “Almost 40 years ago, I wrote California’s current death penalty law. I attempted to write a constitutionally sound law that would be fair and equitable. As a Republican and as a former prosecutor, I believed and still believe that people who commit heinous crimes should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. I thought that the death penalty was appropriate for willful and intentional murder. Unfortunately, history and irrefutable data has shown that the death penalty is dysfunctional and costly, and may well have resulted in the execution of an innocent person.” Heller op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Anne Marie Schubert and Richard Riggins: California’s death penalty can be fixed by speeding up appeals – Schubert, the Sacramento County district attorney, and Riggins, father of murder victim John Riggins, write, “Proposition 66 was written by experienced legal experts who know what’s needed to fix the system. It was drafted to ensure due process and to balance the rights of all involved – defendants, victims and their families.” Schubert/Riggins op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Opponents of drug-price measure use veterans to raise cost-increase fears – Drug-company funded TV ads urging Californians to oppose Proposition 61, which deals with prescription drug prices, have been filling broadcasts. Some of the spots feature U.S. veterans arguing that not only will the measure not save money, as it purports to do, but that it would actually harm their bottom lines. Sacramento Bee article

Democrats’ road to Assembly supermajority leads through Tri-Valley – Cheryl Cook-Kallio is running to unseat Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, the only Republican from the Bay Area in the state Legislature. More important to the vote counters in Sacramento, Democrats need to pick up just two seats this election to gain a two-thirds supermajority in the Assembly. The party’s 10-point registration advantage in the 16th District, which stretches from Walnut Creek south and east out to the Altamont Pass, makes it a top election target. KQED report

Accusations of racism against Latinos fly in legislative races – Two California legislative races featuring Latino candidates have drawn charges of racism, adding a caustic ingredient to the home stretch of the 2016 election. In one case, a Latino Republican candidate has accused Democrats of doctoring photos to make him appear darker and threatening. In the other, the California Latino Legislative Caucus has assailed ads linking a Latina Democrat to a Spanish-speaking cartoon character, Dora the Explorer. Sacramento Bee article

Ted Cruz alums focus on down-ballot California races — Ted Cruz’s California operation, which wound down when the Texas senator bowed out the race a month before the primary here, is quietly whirling back to life as the fall election approaches. Sacramento Bee article

Other areas

The GOP dead zone: You won’t find any Republicans to vote for in LA County – When 818,000 voters in Los Angeles County fill out their ballots this election, they will find themselves in strange political territory: the only Republican names they’ll see will be presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence. LA Times article 

25 years later, Anita Hill says she would testify again — Twenty-five years after Anita Hill testified during the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, the acclaimed attorney and academic denounced a long list of sexual harassment and assault cases, illustrating that the national conversation about such issues continues to evolve. Hill’s comments came during a ceremony Monday night in which she was presented with UC Merced’s Spendlove Prize for social justice, diplomacy and tolerance. Merced Sun-Star article

Presidential Politics 

Giving cash to Hillary Clinton’s campaign? Good chance you work for University of California – Individuals working for the University of California were the biggest source of cash for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Individuals affiliated with the University of California system gave nearly $1.2 million to Clinton’s campaign committee, the largest bloc of contributions she received for her presidential run. McClatchy Newspapers article 

No, there is no evidence that thousands of noncitizens are illegally voting and swinging elections — Records in these fights show that small numbers of noncitizens do end up registered, and a few have cast votes. However, no one has uncovered evidence of thousands of noncitizen voters — and no evidence has emerged to support Trump’s theory of a coordinated effort to throw an election by stuffing the voting rolls with ineligible immigrants. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

Six takes on six years of drought – It might have been sprinkling outside the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium on Tuesday, but inside the building some of the state’s brightest water experts were taking stock of California’s enduring drought. As we enter into what could be a sixth year of shortage, here are six lessons gleaned from Tuesday’s forum sponsored by the nonprofit Water Education Foundation.  Stockton Record article 

New McKinsey report offers 15 big ideas for tackling California’s housing crisis – California is facing an unprecedented crisis in housing affordability for a one simple reason: Nearly every community in the state has been failing, for decades, to build enough housing. And not just by a little bit, according to a new McKinsey Global Institute report released this week. In A Tool Kit to Fix California’s Housing Shortage: 3.5 Million Homes by 2025, McKinsey estimates that California has fallen several million homes behind since the last major housing construction boom in the 1980s. To match the number of houses per person in New York or New Jersey, the state would need to build 3.5 million more homes over the next decade. California Economic Summit report; KPCC report

Jobs and the Economy

Obama tells Pentagon to speed up review of California Guard enlistment bonuses – President Obama has told the Defense Department to expedite its review of nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers who have been ordered to repay enlistment bonuses improperly given a decade ago, but he is not backing growing calls for Congress to waive the debts, the White House said Tuesday. LA Times article 

Google Fiber officially suspended, ‘employee reductions’ coming, unit CEO resigns – Plans for Google Fiber super-fast internet service are officially suspended in “most” of the cities where the service isn’t already operating or under construction, including San Jose and four other Silicon Valley cities. San Jose Mercury News article 

Judge approves Volkswagen’s $14.7 billion diesel settlement, automaker to start buy-back — A federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday approved Volkswagen’s $14.7 billion settlement over its diesel pollution scandal, paving the way for the German automaker to start buying back several hundred thousand tainted vehicles in the United States. Volkswagen reportedly plans to begin buying back cars in November. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article 

Disney may try to get even bigger to compete with merged AT&T-Time Warner – If regulators approve AT&T’s  $85.4-billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc., the combined company would be far bigger than Disney and boast top-tier assets such as DirecTV, HBO and Warner Bros. That has spurred some industry observers to speculate on whether Disney might need to pursue a significant acquisition of its own in order to continue thriving in a rapidly changing media business. LA Times article 

‘Explosive’ growth spurs relocation, expansion at Deerpoint Group – Business is “blooming” for the first company to move in to Madera’s new Freedom Industrial Park. Recent growth has been “explosive,” according to Sean Mahoney, CEO of Deerpoint Group (DPG), who plans to hire more than a dozen new employees as farmers embrace the company’s “fertigation” and water treatment solutions. The Business Journal article 

Fair Oaks Library reopening on track for April – The renovation of east Stockton’s shuttered Fair Oaks Library is progressing as originally expected, with reopening planned for early April. Stockton Record article 

Benefits of social media for small businesses — Not only is social media a way for people to post about their daily lives, it is also a way for businesses to market their products and services. Some Lemoore businesses rely on social media to promote their products in the community, advertise for other small businesses and inform people about community events. Hanford Sentinel article 

Micke Grove Zoo’s future debated – What started out Tuesday as consideration by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors to appropriate $92,000 in one-time funding to a nonprofit organization providing education programs at the Micke Grove Zoo turned into a lengthy discussion on the very future of the zoo itself. Stockton Record article 

Marcos Breton: Who to thank for Sacramento’s new arena? The line doesn’t start with Ranadive – It should not be forgotten that Ranadive likely would be in the Bay Area right now, as a secondary figure in the Golden State Warriors ownership group, were it not for other key people whose names should not be discarded like rubble from the construction site Golden 1 Center used to be. Breton column in Sacramento Bee 

Uber’s self-driving truck makes its first commercial delivery: Beer – The first commercial shipment by a self-driving truck was a beer run. Uber Technologies Inc.’s self-driving trucking unit, Otto, said Tuesday that it partnered with brewing giant Anheuser-Busch Cos. to carry 51,744 cans of Budweiser on a shipment through Colorado. LA Times article 

Is electric car start-up Faraday Future already running out of cash? — Nevada’s state treasurer has a message for electric car company Faraday Future: Show me the money. The company building a $1-billion factory for Faraday in Nevada has a similar message: Pay up now. Money problems appear to be plaguing the secretive Gardena-based start-up, which is trying to rival Tesla and other automakers. LA Times article 

Thongs for larger men? Life lessons from a big-and-tall retailer — Thirty-five years ago, Ed Huffman was 24 years old, working as a mechanic for Caterpillar and looking for a change. “I didn’t know what it was, though, so I started looking at this, that and the other thing,” Huffman said in an email. “I looked at franchises and different businesses and kept looking around to see if I could figure out what it was I was looking for. Somehow, I stumbled into the menswear business.” Modesto Bee article


Lois Henry: New groundwater world a scary, confusing place – The county continued its pattern on Tuesday of declaring itself a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) over the exact boundaries previously declared a GSA by water agencies. To date, the Kern Board of Supervisors has “filed over” five nascent GSAs, creating a lot of grumbling and ill will along the way. (I’ll get back to that.) What’s it all mean to you? Henry column in Bakersfield Californian 

Charles Fishman: California still needs new thinking about water – A California enters its sixth year of drought, journalist Charles Fishman says that residents aren’t doing nearly enough to adapt to the “new normal” in a state that is becoming increasingly dry. KVPR report 

Reservoirs provide tap water yet significantly contribute to climate change — A growing body of science reveals a dark side. It turns out the reservoirs formed by dams are a significant source of greenhouse gases – particularly methane, about 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In the last 10 years, dozens of studies have shed light on this problem. KQED report

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Two corrupt cops joined forces with drug dealers.  Now, dozens of criminal cases could be in jeopardy – Kern County Dist. Atty. Lisa Green is sending letters to defendants in 64 potentially tainted criminal convictions after her office examined scores of convictions involving the work of the disgraced pair. “The disgraceful and criminal behavior of Diaz and Mara has gravely impacted the Bakersfield Police Department as well as our community as a whole,” she said. LA Times article 

Author: Scott Peterson living in ‘the best’ conditions San Quentin has to offer – By San Quentin prison standards, convicted Modesto murderer Scott Peterson is living large on Death Row. “Scott Peterson is living inside a single cell, inside NorthSeg; the exclusive, the best that you can ever hope to serve,” Nancy Mulane, author of Life After Murder: Five Men in Search of Redemptiontold Geraldo Rivera. Modesto Bee article 

Sorry, wrong number: Why law officers couldn’t alert Navy base to gate crasher — When a Jeep Grand Cherokee trying to outrun the CHP was heading toward Lemoore Naval Air Station last March, the CHP tried to alert the base but couldn’t raise anyone. The reason? They had the wrong contact phone number. The phone just rang and rang. That won’t be happening anymore at Lemoore or any Navy base in the continental United States. Fresno Bee article; Hanford Sentinel article 

LAPD gang injunctions deny targets due process, ACLU lawsuit says – The Los Angeles Police Department has violated the due process rights of thousands of city residents by serving them with gang injunctions without first allowing them to challenge those orders in court, according to a federal lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. LA Times article 

Inmates sue over conditions at Yuba County Jail — Nearly 40 years after a Sacramento federal judge ordered an overhaul of conditions at the Yuba County Jail in Marysville, lawyers for its inmates filed court papers Monday alleging that the jail remains “a dangerous place, rife with constitutional violations.” Sacramento Bee article 

Porterville police officer injured chasing suspects – A Porterville police officer was injured while trying to arrest a man suspected of stealing a car. Visalia Times-Delta article

Probation ‘bridge’ program aims to keep young offenders on track and out of jail — As a low-level offender, Brian was a perfect candidate for the Riverside County Probation Department’s Bridge Program, which works with a select group of 18 to 23-year-olds to help them successfully complete probation and to reduce recidivism. The program was developed last year when Riverside County Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan noticed a number of young offenders coming through the court system. This group was typically undereducated, dealt with moderate to substantial substance abuse issues and lacked maturity. California Forward article 


Stockton Unified superintendent cites ‘safety’ for morning meeting – A 10 a.m. Board of Trustees meeting did not deter several Stockton Unified teachers from attending on Tuesday morning, many who believe was a move made by the district so teachers would not be able to voice their frustration at the board in regards to contract negotiations. Stockton Record article 

Complaint: Fresno Unified school board member failed to disclose $1 million in income — An attorney has filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission alleging Fresno Unified Trustee Brooke Ashjian failed to report numerous sources of income and broke conflict of interest laws. Fresno Bee article 

Candidates for Merced College presidency make public debuts — Three finalists for Merced College’s top position answered questions from the community Tuesday during the first of a series of public forums being held as part of the search for the next president of Merced College. Merced Sun-Star article 

Heated and sometimes off-color presidential campaign puts teachers in a quandary – Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez knew teaching about this presidential election would be difficult after she overheard two students who are Muslims talking about how they believed they would be forced to leave the country if Donald Trump were elected. Sacramento Bee article

California officials reject federal government’s push to administer old science tests – California education officials have decided that students will take only one statewide standardized test in science this spring, a pilot test based on new standards known as the Next Generation Science StandardsEdSource article 

Nan Austin: Sticks and stones: Those unwitting words that wound — Ask me if I would rather visit the ocean or the desert, and I will pick a beach every time. I know that bias. But ask me if toddler boys are more trouble than girls, and the answer is not so easy. My own daughter could have kept a staff of 10 always busy. In my experience, girls are more work. But “boys will be boys” stories are everywhere, so my internalized expectation might well be for boys to be more disruptive. Which would win out if I was a preschool teacher? No one knows, least of all me. Austin in Modesto Bee


No swimming in San Luis Reservoir, and other dire warnings, after latest toxicity tests – A cautionary notice on the water toxicity in San Luis Reservoir has become more severe, theCalifornia Department of Water Resources reported Tuesday.  Fresno Bee article 

Climate-change ruling for Arctic seals has ramifications across U.S., California – In a ruling that has ramifications for land-use and water policy across the United States and California, a federal appeals court ruled Monday that scientists can draw on long-range climate projections to determine whether a species should be listed as threatened. Sacramento Bee article 

Outdoorsy, Episode 2: Mono Hot Springs, dispersed camping and your camp recipes — In our last episode we took you to this mountain oasis called Mineral King in Sequoia National Park. This time, we go 100 miles north of there to a place called Mono Hot Springs. KVPR report

Health/Human Services

 Sexually transmitted diseases hit 20-year high in California — California’s rate of sexually transmitted diseases is at a 20-year high and the state is reporting STDs are increasing at a faster rate than the rest of the nation. The state cites less condom use, an increase in sexual partners and barriers to care as reasons for the rising STD rates. Improved reporting of the diseases by public health agencies also could be a contributing factor. Fresno Bee article; LA Times article 

Fresno County considers shifting strategy to prevent child abuse – Many communities across the country are working to not just respond to reports of child abuse, but to prevent them. Now the Fresno County Department of Social Services is looking to catch up to the national trend, and the potential model for the way forward could come from a very unlikely place. KVPR report 

Patients rights group challenges Bakersfield City Council to change local marijuana law — Representatives of Kern Citizens for Patients Rights initiative announced Friday they had successfully submitted a petition to the City Clerk’s Office to better regulate medical marijuana within Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article 

LA settles with hospital over patient dumping — A hospital will pay $450,000 to settle a lawsuit contending it dumped a homeless woman with schizophrenia on Skid Row in Los Angeles. AP article; LA Times article 

Study harnesses healing power of horses for dementia patients — A groundbreaking program that has helped people with dementia by having them interact with horses will launch at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine at the end of this month after a test run at Stanford University. Sacramento Bee article 

LA County launches initiative to reduce screen time and increase exercise for kids five and under — Los Angeles County has launched an ambitious initiative to reduce screen time and increase exercise among children five and under. California Health Report article

Land Use/Housing 

Judge lets 24th Street widening proceed, again, with demolition halt — A Kern County judge on Tuesday signed his order green-lighting the 24th Street widening, but added a yellow caution beacon at the request of project opponents — halting actual demolitions until Nov. 29 to give them time to file an appeal. Bakersfield Californian article 

Stanislaus County leaders give Modesto nightclub another chance to operate safe dance hall — Stanislaus County supervisors on Tuesday gave a south Modesto nightclub a second chance to safely operate a dance hall. In a separate action, supervisors voted unanimously to revoke the permit of another south Modesto business, Central Valley Recycling, which failed to comply with conditions to minimize impacts on an adjacent neighborhood. Modesto Bee article

Other areas 

Crew removes fire hydrant, then puts it back after dueling complaints — City crews have been working in a residential neighborhood in recent weeks, first to move a fire hydrant about 50 feet down the street and then to return it to its original location at a cost of about $3,000. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup 

Fresno Bee – Lawmakers are right, but late, on enlistment bonuses; The Bee recommends Eric Payne, John Leal, Deborah Ikeda for State Center board.

Modesto Bee – There’s a reason that incumbents Adam Gray, Cathleen Galgiani, Jerry McNerney and Jim Costa are favored to retain their seats: They’ve done a good job. 

Sacramento Bee – Democrats and Republicans are calling for the payments for enlistment bonuses to be forgiven, demanding investigations and falling all over themselves to express their outrage. Where were they three years ago when we and others warned about the looming crisis? And why hasn’t the problem been fixed by now?