October 28, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories


Jerry Brown stepping up campaign against measure on Delta water tunnels — Gov. Jerry Brown, keeping a somewhat low profile throughout the fall campaign, stars in a new TV ad debuting Thursday in which he urges Californians to oppose Proposition 53, arguing it will constrict local control, increase the cost of critical infrastructure and is brainchild of a single wealthy farmer. Sacramento Bee article

Scott Peterson deserves death for ’02 double murder, mother-in-law says – With misty eyes and firm resolve, Laci Peterson’s mother stood before news cameras in Modesto once again to remind people what it means to lose loved ones at the hands of a killer. “I support the death penalty because some crimes just warrant the death penalty,” Sharon Rocha said Thursday, less than two weeks before a statewide election that could decide whether capital punishment is abolished or expedited in California. She and a roomful of authorities hope voters reject Proposition 62 and embrace Proposition 66. Modesto Bee article

Gov. Brown


Bill Whalen: Jerry Brown is one lucky California governor — The Roman quote machine Seneca observed that luck is where opportunity meets preparation. Other times, it’s as simple as drawing an inside straight. Six years into his second stint as governor, such is the hand dealt to Jerry Brown. Whalen column in Sacramento Bee
Valley politics

CD 10: Voters in two different districts get very similar letters from wives of GOP candidates – Voters in the 7th and 10th congressional districts might have gotten similar letters in the last few days from the wives of their Republican congressional candidates. The personal appeals to Northern California voters have matching stationery with font that mimics handwriting and use similar language, including language on college affordability, hard work and the integrity of their husbands. The letters are each dated Oct. 22. LA Times article

CD 10: House Speaker rallies Denham backers in Modesto — House Speaker Paul Ryan came to Modesto on Thursday to cheer on supporters of Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock. Ryan paid an afternoon visit to the McHenry Avenue headquarters for Denham’s tight re-election bid, where volunteers and local Republican leaders were gathered. Modesto Bee article

 Mayoral attack ads call Carter thoughtless, sexist – A group called Bakersfield Voices recently posted two short Facebook videos, one of which still exists on YouTube, attacking mayoral candidate Kyle Carter for his alleged stance on the disabled and for allegedly sexist remarks. Bakersfield Californian article

 Manteca Unified candidates want to move past bad year — After a rough year in the Manteca Unified School District board that involved election fraud and accusations of racism, candidates in five of the seven open seats are hoping for peace and unity. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Scrap the death penalty or speed it up? For the frustrated families of murder victims, it’s not a tough call — As voters consider doing away with the death penalty on Nov. 8, public opinion of capital punishment has hit a record low and debate has centered on the expensive costs of a broken system. But emotional appeals like Friend’s have become integral to a campaign that seeks to preserve the practice, their voices a reminder that justice, closure and vengeance are still a painful part of the discussion for hundreds of families.  LA Times article

 Phillip Cherney: No more fixes; time to abolish death penalty – The local/national capital case attorney with an office in Visalia writes, “As a matter of conscience, and as matter of dollars and cents, don’t be fooled by Prop 66, or vote “Yes” on both propositions. If both pass, we will be guaranteed litigation for years to come. Vote “No” on 66, and “Yes” on 62. Enough with the fixes! It is time to abolish the death penalty in California.” Cherney op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

 LA County Bar says expediting death penalty system will ‘compromise justice’ – The Los Angeles County Bar Assn. has joined opponents of a Nov. 8 ballot measure that intends to expedite executions in California, saying it would likely “compromise access to justice at all levels” of the court system. LA Times article

 Outsiders spending $29 million, still going in California legislative races – The district is among 10 Assembly and state Senate seats on the Nov. 8 ballot that have featured at least $1 million in so-called independent expenditures, out of more than $29.2 million in 46 races statewide. The money pays for TV ads, mailers, phone banks and other campaign efforts. Sacramento Bee article

 ‘An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal’: Kamala Harris presses for Latino vote – Standing in front of a multicolored mural in Los Angeles, on which a historical sign urged “No A La Prop. 187,” U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris scanned the room and asked all of the immigrants – or children of settlers to the United States – to raise their hands. Sacramento Bee article

 Danny Morrison: Prop 57 could finally right wrongs of California’s past – Vote yes on Proposition 57. Let inmates use their prison stay to not only learn a lesson, but make life better for themselves. And let’s finally give the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation the opportunity to live up to its name — and correct and rehabilitate. Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian

 California cannabis gets THC boost, as voters consider legalizing pot — As Californians prepare to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana, innovations in cultivation practices are pushing the plant’s psychoactive properties to unprecedented heights — packing a powerful punch that delights some but alarms others. San Jose Mercury News article

 California voters eye changing course on ‘English only’ — Proposition 58, titled the “English Proficiency, Multilingual Education” initiative, would repeal key provisions of Proposition 227 approved by voters in 1998. For instance, parents would no longer need to sign waivers to get into bilingual education programs. Schools could more easily institute bilingual programs. Capitol Weekly article

 Nathan Ahle: California voters will like this proposition, but special interests won’t – The president and chief executive officer of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce writes, “Our state legislators and the public need time to absorb proposed laws that could profoundly impact entire industries and communities. Enactment of Proposition 54 will help ensure public legislative meetings are conducted fairly and openly and it will enable the public to observe and share what is happening so we may all more fully participate in the political process.” Ahle op-ed in Fresno Bee

 Joel Fox: The politics of tax reform – Voters tend not to like tinkering with the tax system they know, fearing what they might face with a new tax structure. When times are relatively good, no one wants to make drastic changes. All this adds up to inertia on tax reform efforts while waiting for the next economic downturn that provides proof that the tax structure is not working well. This situation is brought into clear relief with Proposition 55, the income tax extension on the November ballot. Fox in Fox & Hounds

 Barack Obama endorses in three California Assembly races — President Barack Obama, delivering on a promise to assist legislative hopefuls across the country, swooped in Thursday to offer a rare endorsement to a trio of Democratic candidates for the California Assembly. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, in a congratulatory message posted on social media, said Obama is backing former Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, and fellow Democratic challengers Abigail Medina, a school board member in San Bernardino, and ex-Pleasanton Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio. Sacramento Bee article


 What’s the evidence of an immigrant crime wave in California? — Johnston’s shooting is among the cases cited by Trump as he promotes the notion that immigrants who are in the United States illegally play an outsized role in crime. The heartbreaking cases he highlights often are more complex than they appear on the campaign trail, however, and studies don’t support the idea that immigrants commit more crimes than people born in America. McClatchy Newspapers article

 The Justice Department closed this private prison. Immigration authorities are reopening it — When the Justice Department announced two months ago that it wanted to end the use of private prisons, Cibola County Correctional Center was exactly the kind of facility that officials desired to shut down. After a history of questionable deaths and substandard medical care, the New Mexico facility lost its contract. In recent weeks, it was emptied of inmates. But the vacancies won’t last for long. Washington Post article

 Other areas


Who could replace Paul Ryan? — The biggest name waiting in the wings is Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a Ryan ally who made an aborted bid for the job last year. But the question marks surrounding McCarthy haven’t gone away, GOP insiders say. Other possibilities include someone else from the current leadership ranks or a compromise candidate from the backbenches. Politico article

We went through the election mail so you wouldn’t have to — We know — it’s been a LONG election season. And your mailboxes are just as overwhelmed as you probably are. So, KQED collected as many campaign mailers as we could get our hands on, and took on the tough task of sifting through them. Below, check out some of our favorites. KQED report

 Presidential Politics

Cathleen Decker: Who’s helping Clinton make this a ‘Year of the Woman’? Mostly, it’s Trump – Polls show female voters siding with Clinton by near-record levels in many key states, as support for her and antipathy toward Trump merge to give her leads in most of the battleground states that the Republican nominee needs to win. Decker in LA Times

Schwarzenegger: ‘I would’ve run’ for president this year — Arnold Schwarzenegger, likely the only recent ex-governor of California with an international following, always rebuffed the question during his seven years in office: Would you have liked to run for president? “If I’d been born in America, I would’ve run,” Schwarzenegger said in an interview for the latest edition of the magazine Adweek. “Because now? This was a very good time to get in the race.” LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

Will California drivers get in electric cars to save $13.5 billion in health and climate impacts? — Driving gasoline cars is costing California $15 billion a year in health expenses and impacts to the environment, but the state has a chance to reduce the effects of air pollution through its zero emission program, the American Lung Association says.Fresno Bee article

California regulators examine safety of food irrigated with oil wastewater – For more than 30 years, wastewater from oil and gas operations has been used to irrigate food crops in California. Regulators will re-examine the safety of that practice during a public hearing Friday.  Four oil companies in the state currently send oil field wastewater to four irrigations districts. Once treated, it’s then recycled and used on food crops, primarily in Kern County. Capital Public Radio report

Jobs and the Economy

U.S. economy grew 3.9 percent in 3rd quarter, picking up the pace – The American economy moved firmly into higher gear last quarter, expanding at an annual rate of 2.9 percent as a result of continuing strength among consumers and better trade figures. New York Times article

Sacramento leaders feud over cash from legalizing commercial marijuana grows – A proposal to allow commercial cultivation of cannabis in Sacramento has stalled as City Council members jockey for control of tax revenues from the industry. Sacramento Bee article

Twitter to slash 9 percent of its workforce and kill Vine as it tries to eke out a profit – Twitter Inc. plans to lay off a few hundred employees, mostly in sales and marketing, and shut down its Vine video app as the social media service strives to produce an annual profit for the first time next year. LA Times article


New rules: Internet providers must ask you before your sensitive sharing your data — Federal regulators on Thursday approved tough new rules requiring high-speed Internet service providers to get customer permission before using or sharing sensitive personal data, such as Web browsing or app usage history and the geographic trail of mobile devices. LA Times article; New York Times article


Hanford Costco opens to great fanfare – The mood among shoppers, dignitaries, employees and officials was jubilant as the Hanford Costco warehouse officially rolled open its doors Thursday for the first day of business. Hanford Sentinel article


Experts: California DMV was unprepared for disaster recovery – The California Department of Motor Vehicles does not appear to have had an adequate disaster recovery system in place before a computer meltdown wiped out most operations for several days, two information technology experts said Thursday. AP article


Michael Fitzgerald: A zoo (and a bird) that needs love – For my part, I think the county should become a wholehearted partner in the Micke Grove Zoo. Or close it. Insist on better fundraising and marketing. But invest in upgrades. Give the zoo a chance to modernize and to become more progressive towards animal welfare. Or turn out the lights. Go big or go home. But for gosh sake, get the curassow a date. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record


John Lindt: New Visalia brewery — Beer enthusiast Nick Seals is working on plans to launch a commercial brewery in the Visalia Industrial Park next to his construction business.Lindt in Visalia Times-Delta


Sacramento gives away $1 million to start-ups: Which local techies just scored big? – A reality video series about Sacramento’s tech community, a web platform to help local start-ups and an organization that marries tech with civic causes are among the suggested winners of nearly $1 million in city-funded grants aimed at jump-starting a local technology industry. Sacramento Bee article


Sacramento firm Siemans nabs another big light rail deal — Siemens Corp.’s Sacramento light-rail factory announced another significant contract Thursday, grabbing a deal to manufacture 27 new cars for a system serving Minnesota’s Twin Cities. The contract is worth $118 million, according to the Metropolitan Council, the agency that oversees mass transit in the Twin Cities. Sacramento Bee article


A weapon in fight against poverty? Small factories – Small manufacturers are vital if the United States is to narrow the nation’s class divide and build a society with opportunities for everyone, regardless of race or education. New York Times article


Stephanie Smith: Want your kids to have arts and music? Here’s how – The teacher at Fern Bacon Middle School in south Sacramento writes, “The programs that will be funded by Measure G – art and music, technology, math and science, student counseling – can change lives. Art and music fuel creativity. Science and technology fuel ideas. And supporting each child’s needs fuels a sense of belonging. These are things our children need to reach their potential. It’s what Sacramento needs to reach its potential, too.” Smith op-ed in Sacramento Bee


One story of need turned into help for hundreds of hungry seniors — The inspiration behind a fundraiser for the Merced County Food Bank’s Senior Brown Bag Program started with a story about a woman who called the food bank three years ago, wondering if it was the day for food deliveries, said Erik Ekizian, a local chiropractor in Merced. Merced Sun-Star article


A wounded California Guard soldier served four combat tours. Now he’s fighting the Pentagon – For the last three years, retired California National Guard Master Sgt. Bill McLain’s wife, Terese, has repaid a bit of his enlistment bonuses to the Pentagon with a caustic note. Each month, she writes “blood money” on the $100 check — the token amount the McLains pay on the $30,000 debt they deny owing — that she sends to the Pentagon. “Shame on you. Extortion,” she writes on the envelope. LA Times article


Sacramento County home sales: Best September in eight years – Amid reports of high buyer demand from residential real estate brokerages in the region, Sacramento County home sales continued at a brisk pace in September. Sacramento Bee article


Bay Area housing market cooling as buyers dig in heels – Is the Bay Area housing market losing steam? Could be. With more buyers saying “no” to mile-high prices, September sales of single-family homes were up a modest 2.3 percent — a far cry from the red-hot market of the last several years. And even more revealing, June-through-September sales for the nine-county region were down 5.1 percent from the same period of 2015. San Jose Mercury News article


Renting an Airbnb home in San Diego could get complicated — Most Airbnb and other short-term rentals would be banned in San Diego under a proposal released this week by the City Council president.  The proposal would make a simple definition change in the city’s municipal code: Visitors and tourists would be reclassified as transients if they rent a home for less than 30 days. LA Times article


Farmers Insurance settles race discrimination case involving Asian employees – Farmers Insurance Exchange will pay $225,000 to three former employees to settle a federal complaint over racial discrimination and retaliation at its Fresno claims office. Fresno Bee article


Could cruise ships help bring NBA All-Star game to Sacramento? – The city is “thousands” of hotel rooms short of the inventory needed to host the league’s midseason event, he said, but the Kings are working on solutions to that issue, including exploring if they can dock cruise ships at the Port of Sacramento in West Sacramento to accommodate fans. Sacramento Bee article


Trips to Mars won’t make quick money, but venture capitalists are jumping on other state projects – In 2015, more than 50 venture capital firms invested in space or space-related companies — the highest number in the 15 years that consultant Tauri Group has been tracking the data. LA Times article


The City of LA didn’t have an accurate count of how much property it owned – until now — The city of Los Angeles now knows how many parking lots, parks, orange groves — even how much of Palmdale — it owns. A database released by the controller’s office Thursday shows the city owns nearly 9,000 parcels in Los Angeles County — more than previously listed by the Department of General Services, whose real estate division is responsible for tracking the city’s parcels and buildings. LA Times article




Haas avocados from Columbia could be coming to a grocery store near you — California’s Hass avocado growers would face new competition, but U.S. consumers could see some slightly lower prices, under a new Agriculture Department proposal to admit imports from Colombia. McClatchy Newspapers article


It’s already Sacramento’s 12th wettest October – and we’re not done — This October is the 12th wettest in Sacramento in the 139 years tracked by the National Weather Service. As much as 2 more inches of rain might fall before the month is over. Sacramento Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons


Homeless, bike-riding man shot at an officer, now faces 25 years in prison — A bicyclist who pulled a gun on a Fresno police officer and fired a shot was sentenced Thursday to 25 years to life in prison for being a felon with a gun and drugs during the early-morning confrontation. Whether Patrick Lee Hall, 36, is guilty of assaulting one of those officers is yet to be decided. Fresno Bee article


Stockton police determine clown video is a hoax — Local, national and international media outlets were hoodwinked by the maker of HoodClips, who has now admitted that he staged a video of a creepy clown being pistol-whipped on the streets of Stockton. Stockton Record article


Parole board denied for convicted Manson follower Charles ‘Tex’ Watson – A California review board denied parole Thursday to Charles “Tex” Watson, the self-described right-hand man of Charles Manson and a key figure in the Manson family’s 1969 killing spree in the Los Angeles area. LA Times article




Finally, districts’ accountability plans may be easier to read and use – For three years, school districts have been writing an annual budget and accountability plan using a state-dictated form that has irritated just about everyone writing and reading it. Next week, the State Board of Education is expected to approve a new version that promises to be simpler, better organized and easier to follow. EdSource article


Fresno Bee: Yes on Measure X: $225 million bond improves Fresno Unified high schools – We recommend a “yes” vote on Measure X. But our recommendation comes with this provision: Fresno Unified must commit to full transparency and give the oversight committee the tools it needs to fully protect students and taxpayers. This newspaper will watch to see that the district carries this out. Fresno Bee editorial


Kristen Beall Barnes: Joint Kern High School District program jump-starts college experience – The president and CEO of Kern Regional Foundation writes, “An exciting opportunity for local high school students is quickly gaining momentum within the Kern High School District. It’s dual enrollment, a program that allows high school students to enroll in college courses for credit, prior to high school graduation, potentially receiving both high school and college credits, simultaneously.” Barnes op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


Stockton Record: Stockton Unified was wrong to move trustees meeting – A succinct piece of advice for Stockton Unified School District board President Kathy Garcia and new Superintendent Eliseo Davalos: Buck up. The decision to move the SUSD Board of Trustees meeting to 10 a.m. on Tuesday was wrong.  Stockton Record editorial


Kern High School District places another acting police chief on leave – David Edmiston, the longtime Kern High School District police officer named acting chief after whistleblower Joseph Lopeteguy was placed on leave this year, has also been placed on administrative leave, officials confirmed Thursday. Bakersfield Californian article


Deborah Rosenthal: Bakersfield College’s enriching culture, decaying infrastructure – The Bakersfield College chemistry professor writes, “One of the top priorities for Measure J is to renovate and expand the science building. The series of short bonds, with more return on investment than one long bond, are strictly to improve the aging facilities. I ask you to support Measure J. It will not be used to increase my salary. It is for the future of students and Kern County.” Rosenthal op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


Mollie Acosta enjoying changes in classroom — Now in her 36th year as a teacher, Pioneer Middle School’s Mollie Acosta has seen a lot of technological advances in the classroom. After a brief stint as a district administrator, she returned to the classroom and teaching about a decade ago to see the first digital projectors. Hanford Sentinel article


Fraternity parties back at UC Berkeley with new guidelines — Fraternity and sorority parties are back on this weekend at the University of California, Berkeley, after a one-week suspension, but with new guidelines aimed at keeping fraternity row free of sexual violence. AP article


McClatchy High students fight to preserve school newspaper in smartphone era — The news was not good: C.K. McClatchy High School students learned that their newspaper would shut down after about eight decades because of funding problems. Students sprang into action. They lobbied Principal Peter Lambert to find money to keep The Prospector publishing. They collected more than 500 signatures. They organized an advocacy group to save the newspaper. Sacramento Bee article




Then and now: Progress on water weed – There’s just something different about Stockton’s waterways this October. Boaters come and go from marinas as they please. Fishermen’s trucks crowd the parking lot at the Buckley Cove boat launch. At dusk, leaping fish send ripples across a serene slough. Something is different, all right: We have our water back. Stockton Record article


Jonah Smith and Nelson Switzer: How a beer maker and a bottled water company want to save Sierra forests – Smith, sustainability manager at MillerCoors, and Switzer, chief sustainability officer at Nestle Waters North America, write, “The new project spearheaded by the Nature Conservancy is using more than 10,000 acres at the American River headwaters to test methods to reduce megafires and increase the water supply. Forests in the American River watershed, like many throughout the Sierra, are overly dense with brush and small trees, increasing the risk of megafires that threaten not only lives and property, but also downstream water quality and quantity.” Smith/Switzer op-ed in Sacramento Bee


New trail opening along San Joaquin River Parkway – The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the opening of the San Joaquin River Parkway Trail as part of the Friant Interactive Nature Site. The trail stretches nearly a mile from the community of Friant to Lost Lake Recreation Area in Fresno County. Fresno Bee article


In Yosemite, endangered yellow-legged frogs are making a comeback – In the 1950s, California wildlife authorities used to fly over remote lakes and creeks in Yosemite National Park and deliver precious cargo: hatchery-raised trout. The policy was great for fishing enthusiasts. But for the yellow-legged frogs that shared those waters, the arrival of hungry trout was a disaster. LA Times article


How is a 1,600-year-old tree weathering California’s drought? — It’s been a brutal forest fire season in California. But there’s actually a greater threat to California’s trees — the state’s record-setting drought. The lack of water has killed at least 60 million trees in the past four years. Scientists are struggling to understand which trees are most vulnerable to drought and how to keep the survivors alive. To that end, they’re sending human climbers and flying drones into the treetops, in a novel biological experiment. NPR report

Health/Human Services


California maintains robust health exchange competition – A new analysis for The Associated Press shows that California is one of just nine states where at least three health plans will be available statewide for people who get coverage next year through the health insurance exchange. AP article


STDs rise in Stanislaus County; higher numbers reported statewide – State health officials are concerned about a two-year increase in sexually transmitted disease cases that is possibly tied to changes in behavior. Modesto Bee article


STD rates rise in Kings County and California — California’s rate of sexually transmitted diseases has risen for the second year in a row and Kings County rates have been increasing since 2011, according to a report by the California Department of Public Health. Hanford Sentinel article


Mourning, fighting for loved one – One family hopes to put a human face on the bureaucratic nightmare that has temporarily shuttered San Joaquin General Hospital’s trauma center. And they are not alone. On Saturday morning, a march, run and “die-in” demonstration has been organized to bring attention to the impact of not having medical trauma services available in a large, sprawling county crisscrossed by major freeways and its largest city afflicted by rampant violence. Stockton Record article


Other areas


Former Merced Symphony director Henrik Hansen dies — Henrik Jul Hansen, an accomplished conductor, pianist, professor and composer who led the Merced Symphony for more than a decade, has died. He was 62. Merced Sun-Star article


Valley Editorial Roundup


Fresno Bee – Yes on Measure X: $225 million bond improves Fresno Unified high schools.


Stockton Record – A succinct piece of advice for Stockton Unified School District board President Kathy Garcia and new Superintendent Eliseo Davalos: Buck up. The decision to move the SUSD Board of Trustees meeting to 10 a.m. on Tuesday was wrong.


Maddy Events


Sunday, Oct. 30, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “California’s Top 10”  Guests: John Howard, editor of Capitol Weekly. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.


Sunday, Oct. 30, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580 (KMJ) – Maddy Report-Valley Views Edition: “Valley Politics: Who Are the Movers and Shakers?” — Guests: John Ellis with the Fresno Bee; Mike Dunbar with the Merced Sun-Star and The Modesto Bee; Paul Hurley, formerly with the Visalia Times Delta. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director Mark Keppler.


Sunday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 a.m. on Fresno Univision 21 (KFTV) and UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy Report: “2016 Propositions: Revenue Issues” – Guest: Sacramento Bee reporter Alexei Koseff. Host: Maria Jeans.