October 29, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

CD 21: Is Huerta making late bid to take out Valadao? — This week, for the first time in months, the National Republican Congressional Committeetook note of Emilio Huerta, the Bakersfield Democrat who is trying to unseat incumbent 21st Congressional District Republican David Valadao. That for the most part is more national attention than Huerta has received from his own party, at least at the national level. Fresno Bee articleHanford Sentinel article

CD 10: Denham v. Eggman contest has become a big-time money magnet — Serious money is coming into, and out of, the closely watched San Joaquin Valley congressional race pitting Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, against Democratic challenger Michael Eggman, the latest disclosure statements show. McClatchy Newspapers article

Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown touted his pension reforms as a game-changer. But they’ve done little to rein in costs – The governor pushed for sweeping action in 2011 to close a funding gap and ease the burden on taxpayers. Then lawmakers blocked his most ambitious ideas. LA Times article
Valley politics

CD 21: President Obama endorses Huerta – President Barack Obama has endorsed Democrat Emilio Huerta to replace Republican Congressman David Valadao in the 21st District, Huerta’s campaign announced Friday. Bakersfield Californian article

CD 10: Denham’s net worth becomes issue in race – Critics in the Democratic Party say Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, supports billionaire Donald Trump for president because his own net worth has grown to as much as $27.9 million during his tenure. But the math is squishy, given how members of the U.S. House of Representatives disclose their finances in the annual reports. They only have to say where they fall within various ranges, and the ranges can be big. Modesto Bee article

PoliticFact CA: DCCC makes False claim about Denham’s role in Trump hotel deal — A TV ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says Rep. Jeff Denham of California “helped broker” a deal for a Washington DC hotel for Donald Trump “and bragged about it.” In reality, Denham chaired a House committee that sought to sell or redevelop excess and underused federal properties, including the Old Post Office Trump later turned into a luxury hotel. PolitiFact CA article

Power struggle seen in race for State Center board — Unusually contentious races for the local community college board of trustees have revealed a power struggle underway at the highest levels of the district. Three members of the State Center Community College Board of Trustees, which governs 45,000 students and employs 4,000 from four counties, have challengers this year. Two were recruited by the former chancellor to dislodge a pair of board members who the challengers contend don’t understand their roles and responsibilities. The mud-slinging battle lines are drawn like this.  Fresno Bee article

Four seek Area 2 seat in Lodi Unified — Four candidates are competing for one seat in Area 2 in the Lodi Unified School District seven-member board of trustees. Providing more opportunities for students in vocational education and improved communication between families and teachers were among key issues. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

The official California Voter Guide: Longer than ‘Grapes of Wrath,’ shorter than ‘Moby Dick’ – Have you read your official California Voter Information Guide yet? You should probably get started: It’s going to take awhile. With 17 propositions on the ballot, this year’s voter guide — printed by the Secretary of State’s Office and mailed to millions of households — runs 225 pages and is about 181,000 words long.  Sacramento Bee article

Who’s making all the money from 17 California ballot measures – California’s tradition of direct democracy once again is proving to be very lucrative for television stations and cable providers, with campaign committees connected to the 17 propositions on next month’s ballot spending millions to put their message out on the airwaves. Sacramento Bee article

Michael Salerno: Why Marc Klaas is wrong about Proposition 57 – The principal consultant on sentencing in 1976 and a law professor at UC Hastings writes, “Proposition 57 would not release criminals convicted of crimes such as kidnapping, rape and murder, as argued by victims’ rights advocate Marc Klaas (“Prop. 57 would release violent criminals and undermine the rights of victims,” Viewpoints, Oct. 25).” Salerno op-ed in Sacramento Bee
Dueling ads aim to persuade Latinos on proposition to legalize marijuana in California – With a poll indicating Latino voters lag in their support for a ballot proposition that would legalize recreation marijuana in California, the campaigns for and against the measure are launching dueling ads aimed at that large demographic. LA Times article (scroll to item) 

Andrew Fiala: Proposition 64: Discerning the pros and cons of legalized marijuana – The professor of philosophy and director of The Ethics Center at Fresno State writes, “There are difficult questions to confront in thinking about Proposition 64. If the polls are right, the pot proposition will likely pass. And if it passes, we will need to think carefully about the morality of marijuana.” Fiala column in Fresno Bee

Where is the NRA as California moves toward ammunition control? – Despite being a favorite boogeyman of California liberals, the NRA is actually a relatively minor political player in the Golden State, where the voice of gun rights has traditionally been represented by state groups like Gun Owners of California. The NRA has contributed just $95,000 to the campaign against Proposition 63, a mere fraction of the nearly $5 million it has poured into neighboring Nevada to fight a background check proposal. Sacramento Bee article

This ballot measure keeps bringing Bernie Sanders back to California – Bernie Sanders and his political revolution can’t seem to get enough of California. Plans are in the works for the Vermont senator to make another trip to the Golden State before Nov. 8 to stump for a statewide ballot initiative he’s made a top priority: Proposition 61. The measure would bar California government from spending more for prescription medications than the lowest price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, prompting more than $105 million in drug industry spending to defeat the proposal. Sacramento Bee article

California Politics Podcast: Down-ticket lowdown – This week, we take a look at the political landscape in races below the marquee Nov. 8 contest. There’s new poll data on the U.S. Senate race, and the Trump effect is being talked about in a number of congressional and legislative battles. Plus: Our weekly side dish! With John Myers of the Los Angeles Times, Marisa Lagos of KQED News and Anthony York of the Grizzly Bear Project.  California Politics Podcast

CA 120: Tracking the absentee ballot tracker — The 2016 General Absentee Vote Tracker, brought to you by Political Data and CA120, is up.  And over two million voters have already returned their ballots. Capitol Weekly article

Other areas

Dispute over transgender student’s bathroom use reaches Supreme Court — A shorthanded Supreme Court on Friday entered the bathroom wars, as justices agreed to consider a transgender student’s access rights. Taking on a volatile social issue, the high court agreed to hear a challenge from a Virginia school board that wants to limit which bathroom a transgender teenager can use. Potentially, this could become the new term’s blockbuster. McClatchy Newspapers articleNew York Times article

Victor Davis Hanson: Lessons from the Highway of Death — Highway 99 also reminds the nation of California’s unique lessons about how to ruin a paradise: The more taxes are raised, the worse public service often becomes. Californians pay among the highest sales, income and gasoline taxes in the nation. Yet in return, the state’s decrepit transportation system in many national surveys rates nearly last. California public school test scores are likewise near the bottom of national rankings. Hanson column in Modesto Bee

Rallying cry for youth: #SchoolsNotPrisons tour aims to encourage, empower young leaders – The messages — Get loud! Vota! (Vote!) and Schools Not Prisons — were the rallying cries of Friday’s Stockton Freedom Fest, an event organizers said was about communities reclaiming their neighborhood, raising awareness of the school-to-prison pipeline and empowering youth. Stockton Record article

Presidential Politics

FBI says emails found in Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal may have links to Clinton probe – Just as Hillary Clinton appeared to be cruising to election day with the wind at her back, the FBI rattled the presidential race Friday by announcing it is again probing emails that might be related to her private server, rekindling a politically damaging controversy for Clinton and reinvigorating Republicans scrambling to hold on to congressional seats. LA Times article

Michael Moore tells Modesto what he really thinks about Trump, Clinton and election – Academy Award-winning documentarian Michael Moore talked via video conference with a Modesto audience Thursday night about his latest film and the presidential election. Modesto Bee article

California, your official presidential write-in options include Bernie Sanders and Even McMullin — California Secretary of State Alex Padilla released the names of the five officially qualified write-in candidates for the presidential race in California, along with their vice presidential running mates. Sacramento Bee article

Trump says many trade agreements are bad for America. The architects of NAFTA say he’s wrong — Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have said they oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would be the largest multilateral trade agreement ever negotiated.  On Friday, some of the men who negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement about 20 years ago came together to warn against dismissing these pacts. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

In California state government, women earn 80 cents on the dollar compared to men – A new report from the California Department of Human Resources shows that women in the state workforce earn about 79.5 cents on the dollar compared to men. That’s a greater disparity than the gender pay gap in both California’s private sector and in the federal workforce, according to the report. Sacramento Bee article

Wonderful Company continues charter expansion in Delano – The Wonderful Company, the agricultural giant that has been establishing charter schools throughout the San Joaquin Valley where much of its business interests lie, unveiled a new $30 million campus Friday in Delano. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

Coalinga gambles on medical marijuana — As Hanford officials consider whether to approve a proposal for a large-scale medical marijuana cultivation and manufacturing business in the Hanford Business Park, Coalinga is already moving forward with the idea. Hanford Sentinel article 

State, federal pot laws remain at odds – As laws regulating medical marijuana in California evolve, the clash between state and federal laws continues to pose legal and financial gray areas for marijuana-related businesses. Hanford Sentinel article

Fresno philanthropists creating a new culture of giving – A group of Fresno-area Latinos have started a philanthropy group to pool their money, raise funds and give it to Central Valley organizations dedicated to helping the Latino community thrive. The first 41 members of the Central Valley Latino Giving Circle already have pledged $41,000 – giving at least $1,000 each to jump-start the pot. The goal is to bring on 10 more members by the end of this year and raise $100,000 by next spring, when the first grants are expected to be awarded. Fresno Bee article

Holiday jobs: Who’s hiring and how to apply – It may seem early, but hiring for seasonal holiday jobs is well underway with many Fresno-area stores still hiring. Hiring usually starts in September, but retailers from BevMo! to Kohl’s to a slew of mall-based stores still have job postings for temporary employees needed to handle the crush of holiday shoppers. Fresno Bee article

Homelessness became a crisis in LA during the 1980s, but the city struggled to act – Leaders first considered the scope of the problem in the 1980s, when L.A.’s homeless population began to swell — particularly around downtown. Despite some temporary measures, the city struggled to address what it acknowledged was a major problem. LA Times article

Abused, attacked and often forgotten: Women now make up 1 in 3 homeless people in LA County – One in three homeless people in Los Angeles County are women, according to government figures released this year. The total of more than 14,000 women is a 55% increase from 2013. The number of women camped out in RVs, tents and lean-tos doubled in the last three years. Homeless women face staggering levels of violence, in shelters and homeless housing as well as on the streets. A survey released this week by the Downtown Women’s Action Coalition, a consortium of service providers and advocates, found that nearly half of skid row women had been attacked in the previous 12 months; more than a quarter of them were sexually assaulted. LA Times article

Steve Lopez: ‘It’s almost like a death watch’: Severely ill homeless people are dying are at risk of dying on streets of Hollywood – Raquel was the one who got to me. Not that it was easy to forget all the other people I saw while touring Hollywood in the pre-dawn hours Friday. Lopez column in LA Times

Holly Lightner: Whatever happened with the Erskine Fire Fund? – The Kern Valley resident who lost everything she owned in the Erskine Fire writes, “Thank you to everyone who has donated to the “Erskine Fire Fund.” Thank you for your generosity and caring. But at this time we have not received any of it. We are still waiting.” Lightner op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

New stores open to sell wine, cleats and giant packs of toilet paper — From Fresno to Hanford, new stores are coming to the Valley. They range from a sporting goods store to a big-box store and at least one new-to-Fresno national wine store. Plus, how does the scent of fresh-baked pretzels wafting through the air while you shop at an outdoor center sound? Fresno Bee article 

Fresno Grizzlies enjoy record-setting $700,000 in merchandise sales – While filling seats at Chukchansi Park proved to be a challenge this past season in the wake of recent downtown construction, for the third consecutive year the Grizzlies once again broke merchandise records and are on pace to hit $700,000 by year’s end. The $700,000 figure substantially exceeds last year’s record-setting $500,000 in merchandise sales. The Business Journal article

Bastille proposal on hold – An official business proposal to fill the Bastille and occupy the third floor of the Old Courthouse has been put on hold due to the need to replace the courthouse’s failing HVAC system, according to Hanford officials. Hanford Sentinel article

Report: Reliance on petroleum-based fuels costing California, other states billions – A report released Thursday by the American Lung Association in California says that an overreliance on petroleum-based fuels for transportation costs 10 U.S. states, including California, $37 billion in health expenses and climate costs annually. Sacramento Bee article

Does cruise ship idea for NBA All-Star Game hold water? — West Sacramento and Yolo County officials sent letters to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver saying the Port of West Sacramento can accommodate mid-sized cruise ships for guests of an All-Star Game. The Sacramento Kings plan to bid on the 2020 All-Star Game and have explored using cruise ships to add to the region’s stock of hotel rooms. Sacramento Bee article

Avocado shortage hurts San Diego’s Mexican restaurants — An avocado shortage is disappointing Mexican food aficionados and hurting San Diego’s numerous family-owned Mexican restaurants. Earlier this week, some grocery stores ran out of avocados. Restaurant managers were having trouble finding them at all. And the avocados that were available were double or triple the usual price. KPBS report


Rain delivers, flooding areas downtown, contributing to crashes – The first big rainstorm of the season delivered to Modesto on Friday. By the time the downpour let up early afternoon, the area had received 1.77 inches of rain, according to the Modesto Irrigation District. Modesto Bee article

What’s wrong with northeast Fresno water? Virginia Tech tests underway now seek answer — A university professor in Virginia is conducting tests on pipe and water samples from Fresno in search of solutions to discoloration and lead contamination issues in tap water in northeast Fresno. Fresno Bee article

Valley food producers land nearly $850,000 in USDA grants — San Joaquin Valley food producers are on the receiving end of nearly $850,000 in grants meant to help small rural businesses develop new products. The Business Journal article

Farm Beat: Healthy soil teems with life, experts say at Modesto conference – Farmers have fertilized for much of the past century with nitrogen obtained from petroleum and phosphorous mined from rocks. Experts meeting in Modesto this week suggested looking at something else right under our feet – the microbes that can enhance the soil if given a chance. Modesto Bee article

Christine Zimmerman: How do we convince anti-oil activists our water is safe? – The Taft native writes, “How much science does it take to convince anti-oil activists that our water is safe? That is what I wondered as I read comments made by Jessica Wohlander in her letter to the editor dated Oct. 21 regarding the safety of beneficial reuse of oilfield produced water for irrigation purposes.” Zimmerman op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Terrorizing town no more: 47 alleged Bulldog gang members arrested – Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims announced Friday the arrest of dozens of gang members in Fresno County following an investigation of a gang in Calwa. Fresno Bee article 

Sacramento police shootings will get review from former federal civil rights prosecutor – Sacramento is hiring a former federal civil rights prosecutor to review two fatal officer-involved shootings that occurred this year, according to an email obtained Friday by The Bee. Sacramento Bee article 

Sacramento DA clears 3 sheriff’s deputies in fatal shooting of suspect – The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has exonerated three Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department deputies in the fatal shooting of Adriene Ludd that began with an attempted traffic stop and car chase in October 2015. Sacramento Bee article

Freeway named for fallen officer, ‘Bakersfield’s brother’ – Friends, colleagues and family members of fallen police Officer David Joseph Nelson remembered lives the young patrolman saved and eulogized him as “Bakersfield’s brother” on Friday as they renamed a bridge in his memory. Bakersfield Californian article

Fallen CHP officer remembered – State and local officials remembered a Corcoran native Friday who died more than 40 years ago while serving as a California Highway Patrol officer. The interchange at state routes 198 and 43 was designated as the “CHP Officer Keith M. Giles Memorial Interchange” during a ceremony at Koinonia Church. Hanford Sentinel article

CHP officers involved in shooting in Sacramento County — Two California Highway Patrol officers were involved in a shooting near Date Avenue and Tyler Street at about 1:20 p.m. Friday in Sacramento County. Sacramento Bee article

Mother says man hit by police Taser ‘not perfect’ but was mistreated — The man who who was hit by a Sacramento police Taser during a scuffle at a light-rail station this week is on medication for anxiety and has spent time homeless, his mother said Friday. Sacramento Bee article


Attorneys to schools: You can allow guns, but it’s risky – An attorney, risk management specialist and insurance director advised school district leaders across the county Friday that it’s their right to allow concealed weapons on campus, but the liabilities could be huge. Bakersfield Californian article 

College of the Sequoias president gets 33 percent raise, faculty gets 6 percent — College of the Sequoias President Stan Carrizosa has been awarded a 33 percent bump in pay, boosting his annual salary from $225,000 to $300,000. The head of the college’s teachers union, which recently received a 6 percent raise after going a decade without, says the union will press for a comparable raise when it negotiates a new contract. Fresno Bee article

No kegs, no liquor: Colleges target drinking and sexual assault — Dozens of universities have introduced stricter rules on alcohol, especially at fraternities. We sent reporters to five campuses to examine the new measures. New York Times article

Sara Sandrik: Why good attendance is critical for student success – The public information officer for the Merced City School District writes, “Research shows for every day a child is absent, they fall two to three days behind their peers because they have to play catch-up. So if a student is absent once a month, they could fall about 30 days behind by the end of the school year. School is also where children learn to socialize and practice skills such as leadership, problem-solving and goal-setting, which can help them throughout their lives.” Sandrik column in Merced Sun-Star

West Hills College Lemoore’s Eagle Pantry Club helps hungry students – In its third year on campus, the West Hills College Lemoore Eagle Pantry Club continues to help feed hungry students. Hanford Sentinel article 

Turlock kids find food for thought, food for tables — Between two wings of Julien Elementary, usually left to a stretch of well-trampled lawn, stands the garden. No ordinary plot of weeds and neglected plans, this expansive plot of foot-high beds and bark offers kids an oasis of fresh air, soft soil, wriggly worms and infinite discovery. Modesto Bee article

Schools to kids: No clown costumes on Halloween — The national clown scare is putting a damper on students at some Sacramento area schools wearing clown costumes for Halloween on Monday.  Sacramento Bee article


Elon Musk unveils much anticipated design for solar rooftops – sans clunky panels – After hinting for weeks about a groundbreaking design to lure more customers to solar energy, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk on Friday showcased a line of high-design roof tiles that generate power from the sun without the clunky panels sold by most companies. LA Times article

A wave of lawsuits follows a billionaire’s effort to keep the public off a Northern California beach — Ocean lovers have long been drawn to the tranquility of Martin’s Beach, a sweeping crescent of sand just south of Half Moon Bay. But a tsunami of litigation began building soon after billionaire Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of the pioneering tech company Sun Microsystems, bought the secluded property for $32 million in 2008. LA Times article

Health/Human Services 

Modesto woman awarded $70 million in baby powder lawsuit – A jury on Thursday awarded a Modesto woman more than $70 million in her lawsuit alleging that years of using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused her cancer, the latest case raising concerns about the health ramifications of extended talcum powder use. AP article

Medicinal cannabis: Helping to treat disease, drug addiction? — Although marijuana is illegal under federal law, many states and territories have legalized cannabis for medical use. Currently, 25 states including the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have approved the use of medical cannabis with laws varying from state to state and medical experts differing when it comes to recommending medical cannabis as a source of treatment. Those who do recommend it say medicinal cannabis is effective when treating different diseases. Hanford Sentinel article

Land Use/Housing

Young adults offer thoughts on how Stockton should move forward on General Plan – Young adults who attended a recent workshop aimed at charting Stockton’s next quarter-century were asked a couple of basic questions. Do you plan to stay in Stockton? Why or why not? Stockton Record article

John Lindt: Quay Valley plan gets independent look — Is the proposed Quay Valley “new town” a risky venture? Kings County BOS have approved an agreement to hire Empire Economics to assess the market potential and risk of the planned community in southeast Kings County – Quay Valley. The consultant vows it has no financial relationship to the developer. The project was first submitted to the county back in February. Lindt in Hanford Sentinel (scroll to item)


Foon Rhee: What more can we do to stop teens from dying in car crashes — Young drivers are still nearly twice as likely as 35- to 40-year-olds to be involved in a deadly collision. And the decline in fatal crashes has been greater for younger teens (ages 15 to 17) than older teens (18 to 20), 56 percent compared to 44 percent. The safety association says that’s at least partly because graduated licensing laws – which ban teens from late-night driving, limit who can be in the car with them, and require training and behind-the-wheel practice – end at age 18. Some teens even wait to start driving until they turn 18 to detour around the restrictions, according to the study. Rhee column in Sacramento Bee

Southwest Airlines seeks more revenue, but rules out bag fees — Bags will continue to fly free at Southwest Airlines. For now. Under pressure to generate more revenues, the chief executive of the Dallas-based carrier rejected suggestions that the airline start charging customers to check luggage, even though bag fees have generated billions of dollars for other airlines. LA Times article

Other areas

Key Clovis city officials announce retirement at end of 2016 – Clovis is losing two department chiefs at the end of the year, City Manager Robert Woolley announced. Woolley previously announced his retirement after 30 years with the city, also effective at the end of the year. He’ll be joined in retirement by Finance Director Jamie Hughson and General Services Director Robert Ford. Fresno Bee article

Pueblo Fest in Tulare to be the ‘Latin Coachella’ music festival — The organizers behind Pueblo Fest 2017 – with headliners like Los Tigres del Norte, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Gloria Trevi and possibly Pitbull (organizers are waiting for his confirmation) – have gone bold in their planning for the three-day music festival next March. Vida en el Valle article

Judge: An ‘indomitable spirit’ — On a cloudy Friday afternoon, friends and family gathering inside St. Mary’s Church to pay their final respects to a man who ruled in Tulare County for 20 years. Retired Tulare County Judge Kenneth Conn died on Oct. 16 after a year-long battle with cancer. Visalia Times-Delta article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – The Bee is making recommendations to voters on contested political races, state propositions and local measures on the Nov. 8 ballot. Here are our recommendations and links to the accompanying editorials; Thumbs up, thumbs down; Questions about Hillary Clinton’s emails need answers – now.

Sacramento Bee – Questions about Hillary Clinton’s emails need answers – now; Even in today’s tawdry politics, Congressman Darrell Issa is taking chutzpah to a whole new level.