October 5, 2014


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Political Briefs

Top stories

Valadao, Renteria face off in Spanish-language debate in Fresno – The two candidates in the 21st Congressional District race took jabs at each other Saturday morning during a debate sponsored by Univision Fresno and Bakersfield at Fresno State. But unlike other debates incumbent David Valadao, R-Hanford, and Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria have participated in, this one was conducted entirely in Spanish. It was geared toward Latino voters and focused on topics including immigration, water, agriculture and the economy.  Fresno Bee article

California congressional races heat up as parties look ahead to 2016 – With major political parties and groups of their deep-pocketed supporters are playing big in the handful of fiercely fought congressional races in California this year.  Congressional District 21 race between Republican David Valadao and Democrat Amanda Renteria mentioned.  LA Times article

Gov. Brown

Dan Walters: Brown honors principle of subsidiarity sometimes – German Catholic theologian Oswald von Bell-Breuning developed the principle that government should do only what individuals and private organizations cannot do, and that governmental activities should be as local as possible. Brown’s tendency to honor subsidiarity inconsistently continued this year. While citing it in several vetoes, the governor also signed Assembly Bill 155, requiring the Monterey County Water Resources Agency to use a project labor agreement on a pipeline project – against the agency’s wishes.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

 AD32: It’s Salas’ to lose – Kern County’s westside Assembly district has produced some epic election battles featuring multimillion dollar campaigns, ballot-counting controversies and the clashing of two political families. This year, however, the race to represent what now is the 32nd Assembly District is more of a second-tier affair, one that is incumbent Rudy Salas’ to lose.  Bakersfield Californian article

Stockton Record: Trio best suited for Stockton council seats – The Record endorses Burgos Medina, Holman and Susan Lofthus for the three contested seats.  Stockton Record editorial

Stockton Unified board could see major overhaul – Answering questions on everything from evaluating teachers to engaging parents, candidates in the crowded race for Stockton Unified’s Board of Trustees participated Saturday in a series of forums sponsored by the League of Women Voters of San Joaquin County.  Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Governor hopefuls agree on some key issues – As the Nov. 2 election approaches, the candidates for governor seem to be melding – a bit.  AP article

Kashkari aims to rebrand GOP in gubernatorial bid – Neel Kashkari is trying to rewrite the playbook for Republican gubernatorial candidates in California and nudge the party back to relevance after years of declining registration.  AP article

State controller’s race: GOP rising star vs. Democratic policy wonk – A California Republican rising star — that rarest of specimens — is squaring off against a veteran Democratic politician and policy wonk in the race for state controller. But Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s run to the political center for an office she says should be nonpartisan — aimed at attracting crucial voters not on her party’s meager rolls — has caused some within the state GOP to wonder if their rising star is shooting away from them.  San Jose Mercury News article

Fresno Bee: Swearengin for controller – As controller, Ashley Swearengin could provide a check on the power of one-party control, which is reason enough to support her. Fresno Bee editorial

State schools chief challenger Marshall Tuck wants to change Sacramento, if he can get there – Marshall Tuck is an optimist. He must be to talk so confidently about when – not if – he becomes California’s next superintendent of public instruction.  Sacramento Bee article

Bakersfield California: Schools superintendent: Vote Marshall Tuck – California children deserve better. And the state’s economic future depends on having educated citizens. This requires having an education leader with vision, independence and courage to make changes. Voters should elect Marshall Tuck to be the next superintendent of public instruction.  Bakersfield Californian editorial

Modesto Bee: Reject Prop 47, the ‘catch-and-release’ law – Reject the catch-and-release law for criminals; vote “no” on Proposition 47.  Modesto Bee editorial

Should drug possession be less illegal? – Overcrowded prisons. Sentencing discrepancies. Higher awareness surrounding the connection between mental illness, addiction and crime. They are topics shaping the ongoing discussion on criminal justice in the United States, as officials and voters alike try to balance punishment with rehabilitation, safety with second chances. Backers say Proposition 47 is California’s solution.  U-T San Diego article

Ad Watch: Rate-regulation opponents parrot misleading claims – The coalition trying to stop the rate-regulation initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot has gone up with another TV ad, this one focusing on small-business owners. Proposition 45 would require the state’s elected insurance commissioner to sign off on health insurance rate changes.  Sacramento Bee article


U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein: Border with Mexico is secure – The California senator writes, “The bottom line is that the southern border is more secure than ever, and the border security package included in the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform bill would further lock it down. There is no excuse to delay action on a reform bill pending additional action on border security. Let’s do what’s right for the country and get this done.”  Feinstein op-ed in Fresno Bee

LA County supervisors to weigh county jails’ collaboration with ICE agents – Los Angeles County supervisors are nearing a decision on whether to extend a controversial program with federal immigration authorities that targets potentially deportable immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes.  LA Times article

 Other areas

Race for the House: Art Moore on his uphill challenge of McClintock – After chatting with McClintock last week, The Sacramento Bee spoke to Moore about the race for the district that runs from Truckee to Fresno. Moore grew up in Auburn and lives in Roseville. He’s a graduate of West Point and former Army officer. Below is a lightly condensed transcript of some of our conversation.  Sacramento Bee article

Taxes on sodas eyed in San Francisco, Berkeley – A tax on sodas and other sugar-laden drinks that voters and courts in other parts of the country have rejected is on the November ballots in San Francisco and Berkeley, two cities that have been open to such social-engineering initiatives in the past. Voters in San Francisco will decide whether to make distributors pay a tax of 2 cents an ounce on sugary drinks, with the revenue used to fund programs promoting healthy eating and physical activity. Berkeley voters will decide on a proposed tax of 1 cent an ounce, with proceeds going to the city general fund.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Pro, con soda tax lists turning into a great debate – The typically mild-mannered and polite “Forum” radio show on KQED got a little fiery the other day when two men on opposite sides of Proposition E, the soda tax measure on the Nov. 4 ballot, got into it.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Voting rules, gay marriage, other issues await Supreme Court – The Supreme Court opens its new term Monday with a fall lineup of cases that includes how to deal with violent threats on the Internet, the role of religious liberty in prisons and whether working women who are pregnant have a right to lighter duties on the job.  LA Times article

As Supreme Court term begins, prospect of a gay-marriage ruling looms large – The 10th edition of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. begins work Monday with the prospect of a monumental ruling for gay rights that could serve as a surprising legacy of an otherwise increasingly conservative court.  Washington Post article

News Briefs

Top Stories

From sorrow to uncertainty to stress: Stockton’s retired workers just want decision on how city moves forward – If Klein rejects the city’s plan — and in the process hints that Stockton should sever its relationship with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System — Susan Stagnaro and her fellow retirees will begin reliving a nightmare.  Stockton Record article

Could those empty Valley reservoirs fill up in one winter? – Long-range forecasters are predicting a dry October, November and December. But longtime California water experts say they’re always hopeful that droughts could turn around quickly, and they cite 1977 as a prime example. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Stanislaus job openings will follow commercial construction projects – Several multimillion-dollar commercial construction projects are underway in Stanislaus County, and they’re expected to create hundreds of new jobs next year. Some of those expanding companies are about to launch recruitment drives for new employees, and others have begun quietly posting staff openings online.  Modesto Bee article

Average earners getting squeezed out of Sacramento region’s tight housing market – Sacramento has long been a place where a family of relatively modest means could own a home, unusual in pricey California. Now that affordability is disappearing, and some housing experts say it may not be coming back.  Sacramento Bee article

Modesto committee to consider Wi-Fi for downtown – The Modesto City Council’s Economic Development Committee will consider a proposal Monday for the city to provide Wi-Fi downtown. City staff is expected to provide committee members with three service options ranging from $37,903 to $100,000 for CelPlan Technologies of Virginia to set up a wireless network downtown. The annual cost of maintaining the network is considerably less, according to a city official.  Modesto Bee article

Downtown Fresno’s Romain House gets new life with tax preparation business – Nestled under the shade of mature trees on a corner of the Mural District in downtown Fresno is a historic home with unlikely new owners — a father and daughter who own a tax preparation business.  Fresno Bee article

Patty Guerra: Holiday hiring ramping up – Shoppers need help, and businesses are hiring right now for the holiday season. Lots of the big retailers, including Kohl’s, Sears, Target and Wal-Mart, have the seasonal “help wanted” sign in the window, either literally or figuratively.  Guerra in Modesto Bee


Lewis Griswold: San Joaquin Valley drought photos make splash – Documentary photographer Matt Black of Exeter achieved a career milestone when The New Yorker magazine published four of his photographs illustrating the California drought. All were taken near Firebaugh and Corcoran.  Griswold in Fresno Bee

Jack Hamm: Harvest is the most exciting time of year in farming – The president of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau writes, “It is the time of year we in agriculture wait for. Sure, some seasons have come and gone, but this is when in agriculture in our region is really cooking.” Hamm op-ed in Stockton Record

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Dyer disputes Australian father’s allegations in alleged assault – Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer is disputing allegations that his department did not give a high priority to making an arrest in an alleged assault on an Australian man who was seriously injured in northeast Fresno in mid-August.  Fresno Bee article


San Jose State’s costly high-tech upgrade with Cisco faces setbacks, questions – Pushed by its ambitious president, San Jose State is spending $28 million on high-tech communications systems worthy of a campus of the future — but an investigation by this newspaper shows the project was crafted largely in secret, purchased without competitive bids and adorned with pricey gadgets that many professors may not even use.  San Jose Mercury News article

Sacramento Bee: Student debt-relief bill all promise, no delivery – A generation of college graduates staggering under a crushing debt load is, indeed, a pressing national issue. Empty promises don’t cut it anymore.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Edison High grad profiled by White House education initiative – An Edison High School graduate has been featured in a series of profiles by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Marciano Gutierrez, who is now a teacher at Alta Vista High School in Mountain View, was honored as part of National Hispanic Heritage Month.  Fresno Bee article


Well tests find no contamination from waste injections – Initial groundwater testing ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found no evidence Kern County water wells were contaminated by nearby oil field waste injection activity.  Bakersfield Californian article

Health/Human Services

Dan Morain: Mentally ill deserve more of our attention – The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a little-noticed report last week that, based on the history of such tomes, won’t be long-remembered. That’s too bad. It details a story that needs to be retold. The report was inspired by The Sacramento Bee’s reports last year about the dumping of 1,500 mentally ill patients from Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas.  Morain in Sacramento Bee

Parents of micro-preemies work toward the light – It was eight years ago when Anthony and Ali Davis slipped a gold wedding ring over the wrist of a baby boy in the neonatal intensive care unit at Kern Medical Center. The contrast of the hard, precious metal against the infant’s tender, translucent skin spoke volumes about just how tiny and fragile he was. It also symbolized the lifelong commitment the adoptive parents would make to the 3-month-old micro-preemie they would come to name Matthew. Bakersfield Californian article

Other Areas

Questions raised as Modesto seeks city manager – Nineteen people applied for the job, but the city and its executive search consultant have declined to release information about the applicants as a group, such as how many are from California, how many are from other states and the range of their experience. The city also has been stingy in releasing details about the search process. Modesto Bee article

Our diversity: Cultural influence of Latinos: Signs are everywhere – The signs are everywhere: in dual-language marketing, on hand-painted signs along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, in the proliferation of Hispanic festivals, from smart pastors who have added a Spanish-language worship service and with public school districts scrambling to meet the needs of immigrant children. Stockton is a minority-majority city, and all of San Joaquin County is close behind. Stockton Record article

Gay Porterville group to protest against City Council – The group Gay Porterville plans to protest against the Porterville City Council on Tuesday after the council did not sponsor a proclamation that would recognize the LGBT community on National Coming Out Day.  Fresno Bee article

Mike Klocke: Amazing act by one-time Pacific dean – Margee Ensign once wrote columns for The Record’s Opinion Page that created better understanding of the human condition worldwide — and often ticked off some who responded with letters to the editor. Regardless of the reaction, the former University of the Pacific dean made you think about what’s going on well beyond the borders of Stockton, California, and the United States. She’s still doing so.  Klocke column in Stockton Record

Donald Blount: A few things other than bankruptcy – I promise not to write one word today about the recent ruling on Stockton’s bankruptcy plan and what it means for the city going forward. There are plenty of other topics to dwell on.  Blount column in Stockton Record

Stockton courthouse’s basic skeleton starting to show – It’s pretty hard to miss the two towers rising behind the existing Stockton courthouse. The Turner Construction double cranes are a sign that the “basic skeleton” of a new, 13-story court building will be erected by early February.  Stockton Record article

Steven Mayer: Luminaries celebrate 10th anniversary of historic suborbital flight – Saturday marked 10 years to the day since Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne captured the $10 million Ansari X Prize, proving that a non-governmental organization could launch a reusable manned spaceship into suborbital space — twice within two weeks. Mayer in Bakersfield Californian

Matier & Ross: Mayor Lee turns to private ambulances to help solve 911 crisis – After a week of closed-door meetings, Mayor Ed Lee has come up with a two-track plan to deal with the crisis of confidence at the San Francisco Fire Department — starting with bringing in as many private ambulances as needed to help lower response times ASAP. Matier & Ross in San Francisco Chronicle

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian  California children deserve better. And the state’s economic future depends on having educated citizens. This requires having an education leader with vision, independence and courage to make changes. Voters should elect Marshall Tuck to be the next superintendent of public instruction.

Fresno Bee – As controller, Ashley Swearengin could provide a check on the power of one-party control, which is reason enough to support her.

Modesto Bee – As controller, Ashley Swearengin could provide a check on the power of one-party control, which is reason enough to support her; Reject the catch-and-release law for criminals; vote “no” on Proposition 47.


Sacramento Bee – As controller, Ashley Swearengin could provide a check on the power of one-party control, which is reason enough to support her; A generation of college graduates staggering under a crushing debt load is, indeed, a pressing national issue. Empty promises don’t cut it anymore.


Stockton Record – The Record endorses Burgos Medina, Holman and Susan Lofthus for the three contested Stockton City Council seats.