October 5, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Democrats deploying Donald Trump as weapon against Rep. Jeff Denham and House GOP — Democrats are turning to Donald Trump as they try to topple Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, from his San Joaquin Valley congressional perch. In a newly unveiled 30-second ad, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee characterize Denham as “Trump’s man in Washington.” McClatchy Newspapers article 

Dan Walters: Huge impacts of California measures attract big campaign money — Spending by moneyed interest groups to pass or kill California ballot measures may set a record this year and could approach a half-billion dollars. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

Valley politics 

Merced council candidate arrested – Merced City Council candidate Lakisha Jenkins was arrested Tuesday, according to Merced County jail records, several hours after taking part in a candidates forum. Merced Sun-Star article 

Stockton mayor’s donations plummet in summer – If Mayor Anthony Silva wins a second term in next month’s election, it will be a victory achieved despite a massive disadvantage in recent campaign fundraising. Silva reported last week he has not received a single campaign contribution since July 5, when the local Plumbers & Pipefitters union gave him $1,500. City Councilman Michael Tubbs reports having raised $78,000 more than Silva during the same period. Stockton Record article 

Bredefeld outgains, outspends Pearce in Fresno City Council race – Entering the crucial last month before the Nov. 8 runoff election for the District 6 seat on the Fresno City Council, Garry Bredefeld has an 11-to-1 advantage in available cash over opponent Jeremy Pearce – and he’s not afraid to use it. Fresno Bee article 

Maxwell only Bakersfield incumbent to score Chamber PAC endorsement — The Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce’s PAC has endorsed Karen Goh for mayor plus Terry Maxwell and Jeffrey Tkac — instead of incumbent Harold Hanson — for council, it announced this week. Bakersfield Californian article 

Flier accused Maxwell of conflict of interest on 24th Street widening — With less than a week until absentee ballots go out, someone is trying to turn up the heat under the hottest Bakersfield City Council race. An anonymous flier that’s been making the rounds for at least a week accuses Ward 2 Councilman Terry Maxwell of having a conflict of interest with respect to the 24th Street widening project, which he’s opposed since first campaigning for the seat in 2012. Bakersfield Californian article 

Merced District 1 and 3 hopefuls pitch their plans — Merced City Council candidates gave their pitch on how they would be best suited to serve their districts during a forum Tuesday at City Hall. Merced Sun-Star article 

Stockton Record: Service to the city — Two councilmen who were appointed to fill vacant terms — Dan Wright in District 2 and Michael Blower in District 4 — should be retained on the council. They receive the endorsement of The Record, along with Jesús Andrade in District 6 — a seat that is open because Councilman Michael Tubbs is challenging incumbent Anthony Silva for mayor. Stockton Record editorial

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Kelly Richers: Prop 51 will fill urgent, unfunded void – The superintendent of the Wasco Union Elementary School District writes, “Vote yes on Proposition 51 or condemn an entire generation of your children and your future children to inferior, deteriorating facilities, because that is what the anonymous Californian editorial board is proposing.” Richers op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

The anti-tobacco tax doctor is in: New ad from Prop 56 opponents targets ‘wealthy special interests’ – So far, opponents of the Proposition 56 tobacco tax increase have used a high school math teacher and a woman planting flowers in their television advertisements. Now, they’ve added a doctor to the list. LA Times article 

A state budget crisis sparked this fall’s Proposition 52 to generate money for Medi-Cal – Californians wading through the long list of statewide ballot measures on Nov. 8 may wonder why they are being asked to weigh in on Proposition 52, a wonky measure to generate money for Medi-Cal, the state’s subsidized healthcare program for the poor.  The answer dates back to a state budget crisis in 2012. LA Times article 

David Nevarez: Prop 58 will give school districts, parents more choice for bilingual education – The principal at Harmon Johnson Elementary School in North Sacramento writes, “As a school principal, I support Proposition 58 because I see first-hand how hard parents work to make sure their kids can learn. Proposition 58, the LEARN Initiative, would let all California students have the chance to succeed in school and be fully prepared for the opportunities in today’s global, multilingual economy.” Nevarez op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Ron Unz: Prop 58 would undo an English learning system that’s working – The Silicon Valley software developer and chairman of English for the Children writes, “If immigrant children can be placed in non-English classes without their parents’ written permission, we may once again see Latino parents forced to carry picket signs to get English classes for their children. Let’s keep an educational system that works and defeat Proposition 58.” Unz op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Millions spent on television ads touting initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use – A barrage of television and radio ads has been launched by the campaign for Proposition 64, arguing that the measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has restrictions to keep pot out of the hands of minors and will generate $1 billion in new tax revenue. LA Times article 

Legalizing marijuana for adults appears unlikely to increase teen usage – As Californians prepare to vote in the November election on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use, one pressing public health question is whether legalization will contribute to greater use of cannabis by teenagers. Based on the emerging evidence from other states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational usage, the answer seems to be no. EdSource article 

What to expect from tonight’s U.S. Senate debate – California voters Wednesday night get their only chance to see the two Democrats running for California’s first open U.S. Senate seat in 24 years go head-to-head in a debate. LA Times article 

Loretta Sanchez slams Jerry Brown’s criminal justice initiative, blames Kamala Harris — Rep. Loretta Sanchez, on the eve of her debate with fellow Democrat Kamala Harris, joined law enforcement officials Tuesday in sharply criticizing a fall initiative backed by Gov. Jerry Brown to make certain prison inmates eligible for early parole. LA Times article 

Showhorses vs. workhorses: What makes an effective U.S. senator? – The Senate is more intensely partisan than it used to be. So what does it take to be effective? And between Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez, who best represents those qualities? KQED report 

U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez is now on her third campaign manager — U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez, trailing in the polls behind front-runner Kamala Harris, brought in a new campaign manager for the final stretch of the campaign. The Orange County congresswoman hired organizer Maria Unzueta to replace Millie Herrera, who served as Sanchez’s campaign manager through the June 7 primary election.  LA Times article 

Campaign debt piling up for California legislative candidates — Candidates for the California Legislature are running into the red as they enter the campaign home stretch for the Nov. 8 election. Recently filed reports with the state show that campaign committees of candidates for the state Assembly and state Senate reported more than $4.6 million in outstanding debt as of Sept. 24. Sacramento Bee article


How U.S. immigration judges battle their own prejudice — Immigration judges, who, according to experts, suffer high burnout rates and tend to fall back on generalizations, have been attending anti-bias training for deportation proceedings. New York Times article

Other areas 

Yahoo helped U.S. government spy on emails, report says – Yahoo Inc. reportedly built a program allowing the U.S. government to scan millions of customers’ emails for a specific phrase last year, raising questions in the tech industry about why Yahoo didn’t fight the demand. LA Times articleAP article 

Danny Morrison: Why I’ve changed my mind about Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter — I take it all back. Within my circles of family, friends and associates, I have relentlessly castigated the backup quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian 

Presidential Politics 

Cathleen Decker: The vice presidential candidates bicker for 90 minutes, to little effect on presidential race — The two vice presidential candidates had their 90 minutes onstage Tuesday, and henceforth will be where they have been since summer, in the shadow of two dominant personalities engaged in a fierce fight for the White House. Decker in LA Times

News Stories

Top Stories

Hanford council nixes recreational pot, but cautiously eyes industrial pot farm —  The Hanford City Council decided Tuesday that it doesn’t want recreational marijuana cultivation and dispensaries in town if a statewide ballot measure legalizing pot passes in November. But it’s not quite ready to turn its back on industrial-scale marijuana cultivation at a former tire plant at the city’s south end. Fresno Bee articleHanford Sentinel article 

Shaun Donovan and Ashley Swearengin: Building a stronger Fresno together by crossing party lines – Donovan, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and Fresno Mayor Swearengin write, “This sense of turnaround in Fresno is palpable. The city’s transformation can be felt in nearly every corner. So how did a city in economic distress fight its way back to a place of resilience and opportunity? It was a team effort – with local leaders, the federal government, and the people of Fresno working hand-in-hand to help each other back up.” Donovan/Swearengin op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Official: California water conservation slipping – Water conservation continues to slip in drought-stricken California after officials lifted mandatory cutbacks, officials said ahead of formally releasing the figures on Wednesday. AP article

Jobs and the Economy 

Funding approved for Kern D.A., Public Defender offices – District Attorney Lisa Green will get two new deputy district attorneys and Public Defender Konrad Moore will get an additional attorney after Kern County supervisors on Tuesday approved the use of AB 109 funds to fill the jobs. Bakersfield Californian article

Union creates bedlam at San Joaquin County supervisors meeting – Tuesday’s meeting of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors was interrupted twice in one morning, first by a disruption from the Service International Union 1021 just after 9 a.m., and then by a fire alarm around 11 a.m. Stockton Record article 

Madera County steps up bid for rail heavy maintenance facility – A diverse group of local community and business leaders have formed a coalition to support Madera County’s bid to land the highly coveted High-Speed Rail Authority’s heavy maintenance facility. The Business Journal article 

Forecast: Construction to lead local job growth in 2017 – Fresno’s economic recovery is expected to be a slow and steady affair for the next few years, with construction poised to lead local job growth, according to a new forecast from University of the Pacific. The Business Journal article 

Costco opens Oct. 27 in Hanford: What customers want to know — In honor of Costco’s imminent arrival, here’s a list of queries about the famous store, complete with answers. Hanford Sentinel article 

Cheap beer and movies help make Modesto a fun city, study says – If you’ve lived in Stanislaus County’s biggest city for a while, you’ve likely heard some variation on the complaint, “There’s nothing to do in Modesto.” How, then, to explain that our place of “Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health” is the seventh-most-fun city in the Golden State? Modesto Bee article 

Liana Molina and Matthew Ari Jendian: Regulators need to hear from loan users – Molina, director of community engagement at the California Reinvestment Coalition, and Jendian, a sociology professor at Fresno State, write, “The consumer bureau’s rule-making is an important opportunity to protect people struggling to make ends meet from financial predators looking to make a buck off people’s hardships. This is especially important for communities such as Fresno and others in the Central Valley, which are greatly affected by the issues of poverty and disinvestment.” Molina/Jendian op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Festive atmosphere in downtown Sacramento as McCartney fans inaugurate Golden 1 Center – Downtown Sacramento threw itself a giant party Tuesday night, complete with packed restaurants, a carnival-like atmosphere at an outdoor plaza and visions of a revived central city. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento economic organization makes pact with Bay Area — Greater Sacramento’s economic-development organization has touted its early success in recruiting small high-tech companies from the Bay Area. Now the group has gone a step further: announcing that its economic growth strategy going forward will hinge on being considered part of a Bay Area-Sacramento mega-region. Sacramento Bee articleSacramento Bee editorial 

Yosemite superintendent’s resignation reveals workplace strife – While President Obama did visit the park to celebrate the NPR Centennial this past summer, a new scandal has rocked the park and those who work there. Allegations of a hostile work environment, gender discrimination and sexual harassment led longtime park superintendent Don Neubacher to unexpectedly resign last week. KVPR report 

Veterans and criminals suffer in California’s mandate for professional licenses, report says — Add navigating California’s byzantine professional license standards to the list of obstacles a job applicant faces after leaving the military or getting out of prison. That system – in place since the Gold Rush – often places a disproportionate burden on some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, according to a new report from the Little Hoover CommissionSacramento Bee article 

Rescue Mission still seeking location to serve meals – The Merced County Rescue Mission continues to be bumped around in its search for a new location to serve hot meals to the homeless. Merced Sun-Star article

Local business owners work hard for customers — The next time you shop locally, there are a few things to keep in mind. Even though most small businesses may not be able to offer cheaper prices compared to bigger chain stores, they can offer better service and attest that your money stays here in town. Hanford Sentinel article

Celebrating 35 years in business with new digs — It’s always nice to hear about local businesses doing well. And when it’s a business affected by the housing market, it’s even more impressive that it’s celebrating 35 years. The Cooper Company of Modesto is doing just that, by moving into a new headquarters on Coffee Road. Modesto Bee article


Amid drought, San Joaquin County farming down 15 percent – The drought and lower prices for some crops took a roughly $500 million bite out of San Joaquin County’s agricultural value last year, a significant hit after record-high totals in each of the previous four years. Agriculture was still worth about $2.7 billion in 2015, well above the values seen just five or 10 years earlier. Stockton Record article 

River flow proposal stirs debate in Turlock and Sacramento – Four of the five board members at the Turlock Irrigation District voted Tuesday against the state’s proposed boost in river flows. Meanwhile, the fifth board member was in Sacramento to press the same case. Modesto Bee articleStockton Record article 

Fresno homeowners take drastic steps to fix discolored water – While the City of Fresno tries to figure out what to do about discolored water at some homes in Northeast Fresno, some residents there are already taking drastic steps, including repiping their homes. KVPR report 

Leonard Van Elderen: Water creates the connection between farms and our families – The president and CEO of Yosemite Farm Credit writes, “The greatest challenge now lies with the State Water Resources Control Board. The board recently released a new proposal to increase how much water will flow from our rivers through the Delta to the Pacific Ocean. They want to leave us with only 60 percent of the runoff for drinking water and food. That is much less water than our irrigation districts have been allowed to store in the past.” Van Elderen op-ed in Merced Sun-Star 

Coalition seeks pesticide buffer zone increase – Angel Garcia says he wants the quarter-mile pesticide buffer zone around public schools and daycares to be wider. Garcia, a community organizer for El Quinto Sol de America, says the buffer, which seeks to protect students, school staff and children in daycare and preschools from the dangers of agricultural pesticides to be at least one-mile wide. Visalia Times-Delta article

Nikiko Masumoto represents the Valley at White House event — Nikiko Masumoto, an organic farmer from Del Rey, returned home Tuesday from a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C. where she spoke at a White House event on farming’s future. Masumoto, a rising star in the sustainable agriculture movement, appeared on the panel as part of the South By South Lawn festival on Monday, Oct. 3. The one-day event brought together experts from across the country to explore ideas involving food, technology and the environment. Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Black leaders call for murder charges in officer-involved shootings – Members of the Stockton Black Leadership Council and the Stockton NAACP stood with other community activists Tuesday on the steps of City Hall to address a series of officer-involved shootings. Stockton Record article 

Seven Valley school employees charges with sex crimes against children in last two months – The news is startling: Seven school employees in Fresno and Tulare counties have been arrested for suspected sex crimes against children since July 21. Five of the seven were teachers. But what appears to be a disturbing trend isn’t actually that at all. Officials say the number of arrests and allegations against school employees this year is comparable to the last few years. Fresno Bee article 

Cops who killed mentally ill man were threatened, not racist, lawyer says – The mentally ill man killed by two Sacramento police officers in July yelled “Come on bitch” and “turned and confronted them armed with a knife” immediately prior to being shot, according to the officers’ attorney. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Marcos Breton: Whose side is Sacramento really on when it comes to the police shooting of Joseph Mann? – Along with determining the facts of the case, officials investigating the shooting must answer a fundamental question: Whom do they serve? Do they serve the broader public interest – that of the citizens and voters of Sacramento – who deserve accountability, transparency and a fair investigation even when it’s focused on the use of deadly force by police officers? Or do they serve the narrow interests of lawyers, politicians and other officials who sometimes shield from accountability police officers involved in controversial shootings? Breton column in Sacramento Bee 

Central Fresno Policing District officially launched with new station – Fresno city officials joined Police Department leaders Tuesday to officially open the Central Fresno Policing District headquarters at Manchester Center. Mayor Ashley Swearengin, Police Chief Jerry Dyer, City Manager Bruce Rudd and Ben Nazarian, the owner of the center, celebrated the new police station. With it, the city has expanded from four policing districts to five. Fresno Bee article 

Police push back against using crime-predicting technology to deploy officers –The  Burbank Police Department has suspended officer deployments based on “predictive policing” technology hailed by top brass as the future of crime-fighting after complaints from police officers. LA Times article

Creepy clown sightings reported at Modesto mall, and around city – Modesto Police have responded to three creepy clown sightings since Monday afternoon, a hoax that has been sweeping the nation. Modesto Bee article

Empty creepy clown threats make their way to Merced — national social media hoax involving people in creepy clown costumes made its way to Merced yesterday, prompting schools to notify parents. Merced police are investigating a group of people dressed as clowns who on Monday made threats of going to Merced High School and El Capitan High. Merced Sun-Star article 

Protestors continue after LAPD releases video showing moments before fatal police shooting – Los Angeles police released a security video Tuesday capturing part of the chase that led up to the fatal police shooting of a black 18-year-old man in South L.A. over the weekend, one of two shootings by officers that sparked protests across the city. LA Times articleAP article

Reporter kicked out of Cheary trial — While the trial continues for the man accused of torturing and killing an Exeter toddler, the courtroom wasn’t open to everyone Tuesday morning. Judge Joesph Kalashian asked a Visalia Times-Delta reporter to leave his courtroom without an explanation on Tuesday. By failing to provide a reason for closing the courtroom and proving that the reason was valid, the judge’s action violated the United States Constitution, said Nikki Moore, a lawyer with California Newspaper Publishers Association. Visalia Times-Delta article


Fresno Unified aims to get students to apply to more colleges across the state – Only about half of college-eligible students at Fresno Unified actually applied to the adequate number of schools they could get into last year. The district announced a new initiative on Tuesday that aims to not only get more students to apply to college, but to get those already applying to put in more applications across the state. Fresno Bee article 

Clovis Unified students said to be behind new social media threats – Two 12-year-old students are facing punishment after they were found to be responsible for social media threats targeting Clovis Unified schools, the Clovis Police Department said. Fresno Bee article 

Forum speakers contend modern education promotes liberal agenda – Two educational experts invited to speak at a town hall event by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove Tuesday contended that new state history frameworks were developed by a democratically controlled legislature to shape the worldview of students to further a liberal political agenda. Bakersfield Californian article 

Robert Reich floated as new head of UC Berkeley – Robert Reich, a public policy professor at UC Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor, is being floated as a successor to outgoing Chancellor Nicholas Dirks by the Berkeley Faculty Association. East Bay Times article 

‘Creepy clown’ threat leads Sacramento County schools to add security — Elk Grove Unified and Natomas Unified sent letters to parents Tuesday informing them of social media posts on Instagram from “sac.townclowns” threatening to do harm at area schools. Sacramento Bee article 

Myanmar officials visit Pacific — A delegation from Myanmar spent Tuesday at University of the Pacific learning about higher education and the pharmacy program in hopes of gathering information that will benefit the students of their Southeast Asian country. Stockton Record article 


Disappearing Yosemite glacier becomes symbol of climate change – When naturalist John Muir explored Lyell Glacier in Yosemite National Park about 150 years ago, the river of ice stretched as far as 10 football fields between the peaks of the Lyell Canyon, a glacier one might expect to see in Alaska, not California. Today, it’s a sliver of the natural feature Muir called a “living glacier.” Sacramento Bee article 

New Sierra Nevada land designation is good for amphibians.  Bad for humans? — Late this summer endangered frogs and threatened toads that call the Sierra Nevada home were given 1.8 million acres of protected habitat. That’s a good thing for the amphibians, but as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports private landowners and ranchers aren’t so sure it will help them. KVPR report

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Donald Trump’s taxes are a big deal. 

Sacramento Bee – No one expects Sacramento to supplant Silicon Valley, and it never will be San Francisco. But Sacramento has much to offer.

Stockton Record – Two councilmen who were appointed to fill vacant terms — Dan Wright in District 2 and Michael Blower in District 4 — should be retained on the council. They receive the endorsement of The Record, along with Jesús Andrade in District 6 — a seat that is open because Councilman Michael Tubbs is challenging incumbent Anthony Silva for mayor.