October 30, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Dan Walters: As California turns left, conservatives’ culture war victories are being erased — The 21st century has seen a leftward shift in the state’s politics – in some measure a reaction to the political right’s impressive string of wins two decades ago – and this year’s election is a referendum on whether to repeal what voters wrought then. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Prop 64 would legalize the recreational use of marijuana though it’s illegal under federal law.  How will that work? — Proposition 64 on the Nov. 8 ballot would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California and allow the state to issue licenses to those who grow, transport and sell cannabis. Marijuana is an illegal substance under federal law, which will not change if the initiative is approved by voters. Legal experts believe the California initiative can take effect despite the conflict in law. LA Times article

Valley politics

Chandra Levy’s mom on Gary Condit: ‘The man believes his own lies’ – Chandra Levy’s mother has not yet read the new book that former Congressman Gary Condit helped write, breaking his 15 years of silence after the young woman from Modesto was murdered in Washington, D.C. But Susan Levy knows enough about “Actual Malice” to have problems with it, as well as with Condit’s appearance Thursday on TV’s “Dr. Phil.” Modesto Bee article 

Fresno Bee: Henry R. Perea is the clear choice for Fresno mayor – Henry Perea’s vision for Fresno simply is more ambitious and global than Brand’s, and we believe he possesses the acumen to see these big goals fulfilled. Boiling it down: Perea is the candidate who gets things built; Brand is the candidate who renegotiates leases. Fresno Bee editorial

House Speaker Paul Ryan visits Visalia for Valadao fundraiser — House Speaker Paul Ryan visited Fowler Thursday night to help raise funds for Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, and his re-election campaign. Fresno Bee article

How a ballot becomes a counted vote — It’s a wild ride over vibrating boards, through high-speed machines and under digital imagers until each ballot has been joined with others from the same precinct and secured for early next week when the counting starts. Bakersfield Californian article 

Mike Klocke: The residency red herring – News flash: Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva is running against two people in his bid for re-election. He must defeat the challenger, city Councilman Michael Tubbs. And he’s also matched up against TPWDNLH. The Person Who Does Not Live Here.  Klocke in Stockton Record

Jeff Jardine: A sign of the times? Campaign is MIA in Modesto yards compared to past elections — During the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, Obama signs and bumper stickers were common. So were John McCain signs in 2008 and Mitt Romney signs in 2012. Not this go-round – or not yet, anyway. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Big field running for Stockton Unified trustee seats —  Of the many school districts in San Joaquin County, none feature a heavier field this election than the Stockton Unified School District, where 13 candidates are on the ballot for three seats on the board. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Curious about legal pot? Here’s how the industry is preparing for new users – If it weren’t for the storage room packed with bins of dried marijuana, a novice visitor to the BAS Research Center might have no idea this is a pot processing factory – California’s first locally licensed manufacturer of cannabis concentrates. Sacramento Bee article

California farmer’s measure would take on Jerry Brown’s legacy – Wealthy farmer Dino Cortopassi has a lot in common with Gov. Jerry Brown. Both are in their late 70s. Both are opinionated. Both are Democrats. And both have a lot riding on Proposition 53, which would force state leaders to get voters’ approval before undertaking massive state building projects needing $2 billion or more in revenue bonds. AP article

Prop 51 would issue $9 billion bonds for school construction. Supporters see need to fill; critics question bonds’ affordability – California voters are deciding whether to approve $9 billion in bonds for school and community college construction projects – a measure proponents say is necessary to fill a backlog of needed new buildings and renovations. AP article

John Myers: The California Republican brand has become radioactive — What a difference two years can make in the life of a political party. And for California Republicans, not for the better. Myers in LA Times

Proposition 59 gives voters a voice but little else in campaign financing debate — Among the 17 statewide ballot measures California voters face in the general election is Proposition 59, a rare advisory initiative that, if approved, would direct the state’s elected officials to work on reversing the effects of Citizens United. KPCC report


Being undocumented means they can’t vote, but they registered those who can — Ahead of Nov. 8, undocumented immigrants are canvassing neighborhoods, staffing phone banks and educating voters on issues on which they don’t have a say. Nonprofits utilized noncitizens in voter registration drives, and Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders incorporated them into Latino outreach efforts. Fresno Bee article 

Other areas

California election: Record year for parks and open space measures — Across California, a record $4.1 billion in ballot measures to preserve parks and open space are also vying for voters’ attention in what could become a wave of green riding the tide of a rebounding economy and record voter turnout. San Jose Mercury News article

Mindy Romero: New interactive maps aim to increase voter participation, but more representative electorate – The director of the California Civic Engagement Project at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change writes, “Data is powerful. This new mapping tool provides community leaders new ways to educate their residents about the tangible consequences of voting and not voting, and to encourage their political engagement. In the long term, this kind of map-based analysis of political participation could lead to improved outcomes for our state’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.” Romero op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Presidential Politics

I broke the news to the Clinton campaign about the new FBI emails probe.  Here’s what happened next – As reporters started buzzing, Clinton’s top advisers at the front of the plane scrambled to figure out what was going on. No one had a solid Internet connection. The people who were physically closest to the candidate knew the least about what was happening. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

Modesto employees working hard – or hardly working? – Modesto is investigating some of its wastewater employees after The Modesto Bee observed them during work hours visiting a home improvement retailer yet not turning in receipts to the city; apparently taking a more-than-hourlong break; and one of them seemingly sleeping on the job. Modesto Bee article 

‘Helping them heal’: Fresno schools brace again for refugees – this time from Syria – Fresno Unified has enrolled about 20 Syrian refugees within the past month, mostly coming from Turlock or Modesto, which were designated refugee resettlement sites through the International Rescue Committee. Fresno Bee article

Kern road conditions ‘at risk’ – and getting worse – In what kind of shape are Kern County’s roads and streets? On a scale of 0 to 100 — 0 being “failed” and 100 “excellent” — they rate a meager 63, or “at risk.” Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

High finance: Rappellers drop from historic high-rise to raise funds for hospice – Dozens of people rappelled down the historic Medico Dental Tower in downtown Stockton on Friday and Saturday as part of a fundraiser that generated well over $100,000 for the Community Hospice Foundation. Stockton Record article 

Little-known board helps California new car buyers resolve disputes – As state entities go, the New Motor Vehicle Board operates well under the public radar, is rarely in the news and seldom mentioned by car buyers. That’s ironic considering that the Sacramento-based board mediates disputes between consumers and new car dealers or manufacturers in the most motor vehicle-centric state in the nation. Sacramento Bee article

They stopped building apartments; now Sacramento-area rents have spiked – Sacramento’s rents are so high that the capital region is now the fastest-growing rent market in the nation with year-over-year increases of 11 percent, according to Yardi Matrix, the real estate research arm of Santa Barbara software company Yardi Systems. Occupancy rates have hit 96.8 percent. Sacramento Bee article

Number of homeless in LA rising; voters will weigh in Nov. 8 – People sleeping on sidewalks – some sifting through trash and others sometimes barely old enough to drive – may evoke images of war-torn, distant countries, but these scenes have grown more familiar throughout Los Angeles. Sacramento Bee article

Renters and authorities say apartment listing firms charge $200 and offer little help — While agencies with known track records like Westside Rentals do exist, authorities and consumer groups say a growing number of listing services are fly-by-night operators offering help that often never materializes or is marginal at best.  LA Times article

Patty Guerra: Burgers, groceries, pizza to expand downtown Modesto options — More good news for our little area of downtown Modesto: As I reported last month, Smart and Final will be moving into the anchor spot in the Shops at Lincoln School on H Street. Guerra in Modesto Bee


California drought: Is October rain making a difference? — As California enters the sixth year of its historic drought, something unusual is happening: It’s raining. And raining. San Jose Mercury News article

Matt Weiser: What will it take to make San Joaquin River system healthy again? – The contributing editor at WaterDeeply.org writes, “Streamflows on the San Joaquin and Sacramento river systems have not been comprehensively updated since 1995. It hardly seems surprising that the Delta environment and its fisheries have been careening toward ecological collapse in the meantime.” Weiser op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Lois Henry: Even more testing confirms safety of treated oilfield water — At the risk of further angering the already Angry Dude who called me a “twit” the other day on this topic, new testing shows even root crops aren’t carrying anything harmful after being irrigated with recycled oilfield water. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Wife speaks about man slain by CHP officers — Michelle Morrison-King saw her estranged husband’s number pop up on her phone just before noon Friday. She said she was caught by surprise. Sacramento Bee article


School bond campaigns rely heavily on donations from campus contractors — The building industry is pouring money into campaigns to pass local school bonds that would lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in Sacramento-area campus construction. Sacramento Bee article

Civil discord: Teens go where candidates fail to tread — One ardent Donald Trump supporter will not be voting for his candidate Nov. 8 – he turns 18 one week too late. But Pitman High School senior David Lopez has stood his ground through class debates with equally fervent Hillary Clinton supporters. A few key differences from the candidate debates: The teens stuck to the issues. They listened. They all still like each other. Modesto Bee article

Health/Human Services

Dr. Michael W. Peterson and Thomas W. Peterson: UC grows doctors for the Valley’s future – Dr. Michael Peterson and Thomas Peterson, associate dean provost and executive vice chancellor of UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program UC Merced write, “University of California, San Francisco – Fresno has been training resident physicians in Fresno for over 40 years. Current programs include eight medical specialties, one dental residency and 17 subspecialties. All residency positions are filled each year, and more than 50 percent of the graduates remain in the Valley. Increasing graduates of a local medical school would simply displace trainees unless residencies also are expanded.” Peterson/Peterson op-ed in Fresno Bee

California rules about violence against health workers could become a model — Workers in California’s hospitals and doctors’ offices may be less likely to get hit, kicked, bitten or grabbed under workplace standards adopted by a state workplace safety board. KQED report


Car-crazy LA might have a few things to teach the smug Bay Area about mass transit — Los Angeles is in the midst of a major rail system expansion, building so rapidly that Metro’s 105 miles of rail is nearly equivalent to BART’s 107 miles. If two-thirds of voters approve Measure M — which would raise the sales tax by an additional half a penny for every dollar spent — Los Angeles County would see a dramatic expansion of rail over the next 40 yearsLA Times article

Other areas

Visalia family vs. American Indian tribe: What’s best for the children? — A federal judge in Sacramento has ruled that Visalia residents Efrim and Talisha Renteria can have temporary custody of their three nieces, whose parents were killed in head-on collision. The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians in Placerville said Judge Morrison C. England’s ruling is a direct attack on the federal Indian Children Welfare Act. Fresno Bee article 

Three local military veterans to receive recognition — Three military veterans from Bakersfield will be among more than 100 honored Sunday at an event in Sacramento designed to recognize former soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen who now serve the needs of veterans in their own communities. Bakersfield Californian article 

Michael Fitzgerald: The Hungarian Da Vinci of Delta — Stephen Gyermek, Stockton’s Budapest-born Renaissance-Man-in-Chief, died Wednesday from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 85. Gyermek headed The Haggin Museum. He taught college art classes that everyone seems to have attended. He created masterworks in multiple art genres. He spoke seven languages. He made a mean chicken paprikash. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Henry R. Perea is the clear choice for Fresno mayor.

Sacramento Bee – The real winners and losers so far in the 2016 campaign.