October 6, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

More Californians than ever registered to vote Nov. 8 — California had more than 18.25 million people registered to vote as of early last month, the most in state history, election officials announced Wednesday. The total is certain to rise by the Oct. 24 registration deadline for next month’s election, amid a presidential race and several high-profile statewide ballot measure campaigns. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article 

Virtual landlord unlocks campaign websites – for a fee — Andrew Naylor was working at a digital advertising firm in Silicon Valley when the “a-ha” moment struck. It was 2008, and money—more than $83 million—was gushing into the advertising world as Californians prepared to vote on Prop. 8, the measure to limit marriage to heterosexual couples (later ruled unconstitutional.) CALmatters article 

Kamala Harris, Loretta Sanchez trade jabs over who will work harder in the U.S. Senate in their only debate of the campaign —  In their only scheduled debate before election day, the two Democrats vying for California’s open U.S. Senate seat clashed as much over personal style as policies in what was a frenzied and often caustic event compared with a campaign that has seemed to amble through a long, sleepy few months. LA Times article; Sacramento Bee article; AP article 

Valley politics

Imagine this: Mayoral donnybrook on Facebook – Imagine opposing mayoral campaigns waged on Facebook. It’s easy if you try. In fact, followers of Stockton’s mayoral candidates didn’t have to imagine it at all late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. They just had to visit Facebook. Stockton Record article 

Arrested candidate appears in court — A Merced City Council candidate who was arrested Tuesday on more than a dozen allegations, including tax code violations, appeared in Merced Superior Court on Wednesday to face separate charges. Lakisha Jenkins, 39, appeared briefly before Judge Paul C. Lo. Merced Sun-Star article

Stockton Record: Medina, Zapien top choices for board — The Record endorses Gustavo Medina in District 1 and Moses Zapien in District 3 for the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.  Stockton Record editorial

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Yes, America, Loretta Sanchez really did dab during U.S. Senate debate –
In their only one-on-one debate, U.S. Senate candidates Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris tussled over weighty topics, bounding from escalating crime rates, to legalizing marijuana to staunching global terrorism, and Islamic State. But in the end, it was Sanchez’s brief nod to popular culture – and Harris’ stunned reaction to the move – that may endure. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article 

Kamala Harris wins endorsements from Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein in U.S. Senate race –  Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein on Thursday endorsed state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate, cementing Harris as the chosen candidate among California’s top Democrats and dealing another stinging blow to the campaign of rival Rep. Loretta Sanchez.LA Times article; KQED report; Sacramento Bee article 

United Farm Workers back Harris over Sanchez in U.S. Senate race – Democrat Kamala Harris, who early in her U.S. Senate campaign won the support of labor leader Dolores Huerta, on Wednesday picked up the endorsement of the iconic organization she co-founded, the United Farm Workers. Sacramento Bee article 

Senate committee assignments? Kamala Harris isn’t sure what she wants – During Wednesday’s debate, the moderator asked Rep. Loretta Sanchez and state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris which Senate committees they wanted to serve on if elected. Sanchez said she wanted to continue to focus on national security. Harris said she was focused on the election and hadn’t thought about it. LA Times article 

Kamala Harris says she’s for increased transparency in law enforcement.  Here’s her record — Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris has opposed legislation that would require her office to independently investigate fatal police shootings. Harris has also stopped short of endorsing statewide regulations on the use of police body cameras, saying that she believed all officers should wear them but that local agencies are best equipped to enact policies. LA Times article 

Loretta Sanchez attacks Senate rival Kamala Harris over prison inmate ballot measure – Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez on Tuesday criticized her rival in California’s U.S. Senate race, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, for drafting a “misleading” ballot summary of Proposition 57, a measure that offers a chance of early release to more prison inmates. LA Times article 

Fact-check: Loretta Sanchez didn’t say exactly 20 percent of Muslims were ‘inclined to commit violence’ – During tonight’s debate, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris said Rep. Loretta Sanchez had undercut the war on the Islamic State with her comments about Muslims. LA Times article 

Rep. Loretta Sanchez did vote in shielding the gun industry from liability for the acts of gun owners – In 2005, Rep. Loretta Sanchez voted in favor of legislation that shielded the gun industry from liability for the criminal or negligent acts of gun owners, with certain exceptions. LA Times article 

Barbra Streisand endorses California gun control initiative – Barbra Streisand is hoping California voters will soon make gun violence the way we were. In a fundraising email Wednesday, the Oscar-winning actress and singer endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Proposition 63, the November ballot initiative that would institute background checks for ammunition purchases and other new gun control regulations. Sacramento Bee article 

Art Torres: Prop 54 plays into the hands of special interests – The former state senator and former chair of the California Democratic Party writes, “Why is nearly every major lobbying group in Sacramento lined up behind Proposition 54, the ballot measure being funded by one billionaire with a narrow political agenda? It’s simple: Prop. 54 is a special interest power grab.”Torres op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Helen Hutchison and Teresa Casazza: Prop 54 will make Legislature more transparent, accountable – Hutchison, president of the League of Women Voters of California, and Casazza, president of the California Taxpayers Association, write, “There are times when an issue is so important, people from all points of view come together to demand change. This is one of those times. Proposition 54 will bring transparency to our state Capitol by putting voters first and reducing the influence of the special interests.” Hutchison/Casazza op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Timothy Lemucchi: Vote yes on Prop 57 to reform state sentencing laws – The local defense attorney writes, “Prop. 57 will give felons hope of living better lives. And it will give Californians hope that the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will meet its full responsibilities.” Lemucchi op-ed in Bakersfield Californian 

Prop 58 would undo limitations on bilingual education — Proposition 58, on California general election ballot, would remove those limits on native language instruction. The measure would directly affect instruction for the state’s 1.3 million English learners and indirectly for those students whose parents want them to be bilingual. KPCC report


“‘In my journey to the United States, I asked myself, ‘What am I doing?’” — Since he was 10 years old, Patricio Morales traveled throughout Ecuador as a musician with his older brother. He played the guitar for a band that played Latin American music throughout the country until a group of Ecuadorian friends who were living in San Francisco convinced him and his brother to leave their native land to bring their musical skills and talent to the United States. The decision to leave wasn’t a difficult one. Vida en el Valle article 

Other areas 

Arnold Schwarzenegger back in Sacramento, says California ‘terminated’ climate change opponents — Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a rare sight in Sacramento these days, but he occasionally finds time between hosting reality TV shows and crushing things with his tank for return visits to celebrate his legacy. A 10th-anniversary commemoration of Assembly Bill 32, which established California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, marked one of those rare events. Schwarzenegger appeared Wednesday at the California Museum with Gov. Jerry Brown and other supporters of the landmark law he signed in 2006. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; Sacramento Bee editorial 

Presidential Politics 

George Skelton: Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan have just one thing in common: Both failed to pay their taxes — Finally we’ve found a similarity between the ignoramus Donald Trump and the iconic Ronald Reagan. Both dodged paying income taxes. Skelton column in LA Times

News Stories

Top Stories

Author James Fallows: Fresno, Valley are examples of ‘places that are working’ — James Fallows has roamed the country over the past few years to report on how cities outside the national media spotlight – places like Fresno – are striving to recover from the ravages of recession. After repeated trips to Fresno, the noted author and national correspondent for The Atlanticmagazine said Wednesday that he likes what he sees. Fresno Bee article 

Forecasters see job growth in region through 2020 — Jobless rates in the Northern San Joaquin Valley will stay at comparatively low levels though 2020, forecasters at the University of the Pacific said Wednesday. The roughly 10 percent level is about double current statewide and national figures, but far from the upper teens the region’s workers endured in the worst of the Great Recession. Modesto Bee article 

Water board fears water-saving has been abandoned – Californians conserved about a third less water in August than a year earlier, state regulators announced Wednesday, evidence that the decision to ease up on conservation mandates caused some to revert to old habits. AP article; Sacramento Bee article; Stockton Record article; LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy 

All eyes – and ears – on Bakersfield for conference – While the cachet of the speakers relative to years past can be debated, Martin has sold out another conference (though because of the new dorms, there were far fewer tickets available this year — just 6,000 compared to the 10,000 at the last conference, in 2010). Bakersfield Californian article 

Obama budget director tours Fresno’s Fulton Street project — Shaun Donovan, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, visited Fresno on Wednesday and got a firsthand look at how the city is spending federal taxpayer dollars on downtown revitalization. Fresno Bee article

Modesto rejects $1.5 million firefighter paramedic grant – The Modesto City Council on Tuesday turned down a $1.08 million grant that would have paid for a dozen firefighters to become paramedics after an emotional roller coaster of a discussion that lasted more than two hours. Modesto Bee article

San Joaquin County leaders hope for order to return – San Joaquin County Counsel Mark Myles is hoping supervisors do not have to resort to clearing their chambers again. With another meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Myles said the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and staff can only wait and see what unfolds once the meeting is called to order at 9 a.m.Stockton Record article 

Tax board’s turn for outside audit closely follows report of misspending – A state tax board that in the past two years misdirected millions of dollars in revenue and approved an expensive office remodel for one of its elected members is under the microscope of a new audit. Sacramento Bee article 

At ‘pinnacle,’ symphony still faces challenges — An exciting new music director charmed the symphony faithful, there were more concerts, more sponsors and attendance soared at the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra last season, one of most successful in recent memory. But those achievements will not spare the orchestra from a leaner season this year amid declining revenue. Bakersfield Californian article 

Latino women get inspired, empowered at annual Valley conference – Latina media mogul Nely Galán, a self-made immigrant from Cuba and founder of the non-profit Adelante Movement, brought inspiration and empowerment to more than 350 Latinas at and annual conference organized by the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Vida en el Valle article 

LA County office market improves in third quarter as economy holds up — Los Angeles County businesses expanded and leased additional offices last quarter, casting off concerns over the direction of the larger U.S. economy. In doing so, firms sent the county’s vacancy rate down slightly to 13.9% from 14% in the second quarter. Average rents in the third quarter rose 5 cents to $3.07 a square foot per month, according to data from commercial real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc. LA Times article 

Merced Rescue Mission Hot Meals Program is now homeless — The Merced County Rescue Mission is looking for a new home for its hot meals program. The mission stopped serving meals at its Canal Street location last Friday. Executive Director Bruce Metcalf says the temporary closure was prompted after complaints about the homeless from the members of the Central Presbyterian Church, which is across the street. He added that the mission wants to be a “good neighbor.” KVPR report


State says Valley is using more water compared to last year – Water conservation fell off in California in August, the state reported Wednesday, including in Valley communities where many larger agencies have chosen to enforce conservation as much as they did last year. Fresno Bee article 

Friant water contractors sue federal government for $350 million — Seventeen water districts in the San Joaquin Valley and the city of Fresno have filed a blockbuster claim for $350 million against the federal government for not delivering water to Friant Division contractors in the drought year of 2014. Fresno Bee article 

Johnny Amaral: Blaming farmers is no substitute for a water solution – The deputy general manager of external affairs for Westlands Water District writes, “The Bee Editorial Board’s cavalier dismissal in a Sept. 30 editorial of the hardworking famers in the San Joaquin Valley who are turning to groundwater to keep their farms alive is not only disappointing, it completely misses the real problem – a water system that is failing everyone. The facts bear this out.” Amaral op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Gary Bobker: Do environmentalists really want to destroy Valley farms? No – Bobker, who works with the San Francisco-based Bay Institute, writes, “I was surprised to read in the op-ed by Lance Johnson (“Learn from history; fight to hold onto your water,” Oct. 2, Page 1D) that he learned from me and other conservationists that our secret agenda was to bring an end to Central Valley agriculture. That’s simply untrue.” Bobker op-ed in Modesto Bee 

Waterwise: Tulare rates increase – Tulare residents will see new water and sewer rates starting this month. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Group wants buffer to keep students safe from pesticides — Children’s safety is paramount, and some rural Valley families are pounding the pavement in hopes of bringing awareness to pesticides that they say are being sprayed too close to schools. Orange Cove resident Claudia Angulo said the buffer zone around schools and daycare centers should be increased to one mile. Currently, it’s a quarter-mile buffer. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Study calculates fertilizer’s hidden social costs — A new study aims to quantify the social costs of nitrogen fertilizer. San Joaquin Valley residents are likely familiar with nitrates that seep out of agricultural fields and into the water supply. But nitrogen also makes its way into the air and the environment, impacting human health, ecosystems, and the climate. And all those exact costs on society. KVPR report

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Modesto awarded $1.5 million grant to hire officers – The city has been awarded a $1.5 million grant that will help offset the costs of increasing police staffing from 218 to 240 officers.Modesto Bee article 

Charles Neilsen: Turn tragedy into action – The Tracy resident writes, “Let’s mourn our loss and let’s do it right. Let’s create a Melanie Day and a Melanie Foundation. Let’s have it be the day we gather together to celebrate her life and work together on non-violence in the county. Let’s have a yearly Melanie Fair where the Stockton city officials can report how crime is down on how much better they’ve made the city over the last year! Let Melanie live forever in that day!” Neilsen op-ed in Stockton Record

K9s donated to Bakersfield Police Department — There are two new additions to Bakersfield’s police force thanks to donations from local residents. Police announced that Rocco, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, and Hero, a 2-year-old German shepherd, both from Slovakia, were purchased through recent donations. Bakersfield Californian article 

Honor, praise, heartache for sheriff’s sergeant killed in Lancaster —  It was a seemingly routine burglary call, like so many Sgt. Steve Owen had answered in his 29 years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He had been through far worse, such as the time three years ago when he and other deputies faced off against an armed man who had taken a driver hostage. LA Times article


State officials push alternate ways to report test scores – Top education leaders in California are dissatisfied with how the federal government requires calculating school performance using standardized test scores. But they say the California Department of Education lacks the time and money to do analyses that may better measure achievement of low-performing subgroups. EdSource article 

California denied bid to pilot new science tests in place of current tests — The U.S. Department of Education has rejected California’s bid to begin phasing in tests this spring based on new science standards, in lieu of current tests based on standards in place since 1998. EdSource article 

Merced City School District breaks ground on STEAM Center – Merced City School District officials broke ground Wednesday at Ada Givens Elementary for a new STEAM Center, a cutting-edge facility that will provide space for studies in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Merced Sun-Star article 

Hijab Challenges lets Fresno State students experience a day as Muslims — Kate Hobbs, 18, sorted through a pile of scarves on a table at Fresno State, unsure whether she, a white Christian woman, should wear one in the style of a Muslim hijab. The Muslim Student Association at Fresno State hosted a Hijab Challenge on Wednesday to offer non-Muslim students such as Hobbs a taste of what it’s like to wear a head scarf during a time of nationwide anti-Islam sentiment. Fresno Bee article 

Yosemite Community College District narrows search to three candidates – The search to replace Joan Smith, retiring Yosemite Community College District chancellor, has been narrowed down to three candidates. The three finalists are: William A. Dunn, chief business officer of Coast Community College District in Orange County; Donald G. Wallace, superintendent/president of Palo Verde Community College District in Riverside County; and Sandra Mayo, president of Moreno Valley College in Riverside County. Modesto Bee article 

Students learn how to preserve wildlife in Yosemite — In honor of the National Parks Centennial, four students and two teachers from Yosemite High School made a backpacking trip to Yosemite National Park to learn about the importance of preserving wildlife and nature. Fresno Bee article 


Business, employees embrace electric cars — You may have seen them zipping around Hanford: Subcompact Fiat cars, no exhaust pipe in the back, wrapped in the London Properties logo. A really creative advertising strategy? Maybe. But according to some of the agents who work at the company’s Hanford office, leasing an all-electric car for around-town use is proving to be a big personal benefit as well. Hanford Sentinel article

Health/Human Services

Medical marijuana: State’s new weed czar tours state to tout new cannabis rules — California’s Wild West of medical marijuana is about to be tamed, on the eve of a historic vote that could greatly expand recreational use of cannabis. San Jose Mercury News article

The doctor isn’t in: Medi-Cal patients struggle to find primary care – As California continues enrolling people under the Affordable Care Act and shifting the majority to Medi-Cal managed plans, the growing share of doctors refusing to accept low-income patients due to inadequate reimbursement rates from the state has thousands wondering where they can go for care.Sacramento Bee article

A hospital charged parents $39.35 to hold their newborn baby — It’s not the first example of the America’s expensive health care system, but it might be one of the weirdest. A picture of a hospital bill was posted on Reddit Monday showing a partial bill for the delivery of a baby on Sept. 4. The total charges exceeded $13,000 before insurance coverage, but that wasn’t the outlandish part. The parents were charged $39.35 for an item listed as “skin to skin after C-sec.” In other words, a hospital charged parents $40 to hold their newborn baby. McClatchy Newspapers article

Land Use/Housing 

Jeff Jardine: Ben, Willard unwelcome holdovers after Riverbank hoarder’s property cleaned — The bulk of the mess is gone: more than 350 cubic yards of debris – from political signs to rubbish to dried-out Christmas trees to rotted furniture – all sent away to a landfill. There are, however, some residual things that scoops and buckets attached to heavy equipment can’t remove. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Other areas

Jim Houck: Do judges finally ‘get it?’ — the Supreme Court underscored the importance of the First Amendment right of the public to be there by saying that closing a courtroom must be done very carefully, based on the trial judge’s conclusion, only after a hearing examining all alternatives and concluding that there is no other way to ensure a fair trial. This time, the judges appear to “get it.” Houck in Visalia Times-Delta

Valley Editorial Roundup 

Fresno Bee – Indiana Gov. Mike Pence won Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate hands down and, in doing, not only vanquished his opponent, Sen. Tim Kaine, but also made the man at the top of the GOP ticket, businessman Donald Trump, appear decidedly unpresidential. 

Sacramento Bee – It would be a bit much to say that approval of one bill led to the international action. But California’s pioneering legislation certainly helped spur the fight against climate change.

Stockton RecordThe Record endorses Gustavo Medina in District 1 and Moses Zapien in District 3 for the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.