October 7, 2014


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Political Briefs

Top stories

CD21: DCCC pulls ads from CD21, other district to show up vulnerable Democratic incumbents – Two Washington D.C. political organizations on Monday reported that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was moving millions of dollars in television advertising from Democratic Party challengers to incumbents in tight races. One of the losers in this political shell game, according to the news agency Politico and The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress and national politics, is Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria, who is challenging incumbent Republican David Valadao of Hanford.  Fresno Bee article

Dan Walters: Legislature could regain power over congressional seats in Supreme Court case – The court agreed last week to hear a challenge by the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature to the authority of that state’s independent redistricting commission, which also had been created by ballot initiative in 2000, to draw congressional districts because the U.S. Constitution places that power in state legislatures.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

CD10: Jeff Jardine: Which ‘farmer’ candidate wins the title for most local? – The race is for the 10th Congressional District seat held by Jeff Denham, R-Turlock. But by their respective campaign signs, you’d think Denham and Democratic challenger Michael Eggman seem to be vying for a different title: local farmer.  Jardine column in Modesto Bee

AD26: Experience factors into race – The two candidates vying to become the next representative for California’s 26th Assembly District have one thing the clearly agree on — for voters, the choice may come down to experience. But Rudy Mendoza of Woodlake and Devon Mathis of Visalia strongly disagree on who’s experience is the best to replace Connie Conway, R-Tulare, the current 26th representative who is reaching her term limit.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Vote-by-mail ballots arriving soon in 184,000 mailboxes in San Joaquin County – Elections officials sent out tens of thousands of ballots to San Joaquin County on Monday, marking the start of the month-long voting period leading up to Election Day on Nov. 4.  Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Jerry Brown’s war chest grows to $23.6 million – Gov. Jerry Brown has increased his war chest to $23.6 million while continuing to refrain from any significant spending in his re-election bid, according to a campaign finance statement filed Monday.  Capitol Alert

Neel Kashari reports less than $700,000 on hand – Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari has less than $700,000 on hand for the final month of the campaign, as he continues to struggle raising money, according to a campaign finance report filed Monday.  Capitol AlertLA Times article

Gov. Jerry Brown returns PG&E donations and money – Gov. Jerry Brown reported Monday that he returned campaign contributions from six Pacific Gas and Electric Co. officials, as the utility released more emails in the controversy surrounding its close ties with state regulators.  Capitol Alert

Fresno Bee: Pass Prop 1 water bond and invest in California’s future – Severe drought has exacerbated weaknesses in California’s water system, highlighting problems that a $7.5 billion water bond would begin to address and giving voters ample reason to approve Proposition 1 on Nov. 4.  Fresno Bee editorial

Newsom, Harris clobbering GOP rivals in money race – The Republican Party’s dim prospects for unseating Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris appeared to dim further Monday as new finance reports showed that both of their GOP challengers were close to broke.  LA Times article

Outside money flows in state schools superintendent race –  In the race to be the state’s schools chief, candidates Tom Torlakson and Marshall Tuck have roughly the same amount — well under $1 million — going into the election’s final weeks, according to campaign reports filed with the state. But the real intrigue is in the groups and individuals pouring money into independent efforts that could sway voters. LA Times article

Democrats eye 2016 tax extension vote – As Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan lobbied for a school bond near the end of this year’s legislative session, she was asked at a Senate committee hearing why the measure could not wait two years, for the November 2016 ballot. The presidential race is almost certain to increase turnout among Democratic voters, resulting in a more bond-friendly electorate. But Buchanan, leaning into the podium, suggested Democratic lawmakers and their public school allies may have bigger plans for that election: extending temporary tax increases passed in 2012.  Sacramento Bee article

Dan Walters Daily: November election likely to have another record-low turnout – Mail ballots are headed to voters this week, but there is still little enthusiasm for this year’s races, Dan says.  Dan Walters Daily in Sacramento Bee

C.V. Allen: Prop 46 cloaks money grab with promise of reform – Supported by some, opposed by many – including two unusual bed partners, the Republican party and the ACLU – Proposition 46 deserves a solid no from voters in November. As for raising the award limit, an ancient warning – “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” – and lawyers, too.  Allen column in Modesto Bee

Other areas

California FPPC suggests money laundering fines for 3 Republican committees – Three Republican central committees in California have admitted laundering money during the 2010 election, according to settlements the Fair Political Practices Commission announced Monday.  Capitol Alert

Supreme Court clears way for same-sex couples to say ‘I do’ – The Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for an immediate expansion of same-sex marriage by unexpectedly and tersely turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions. The court’s order effectively makes gay marriage legal now in 30 states.  AP articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle articleSacramento Bee editorial

Pacific prof:  Speed of society’s shift toward same-sex marriage is ‘jaw-dropping’ – Society’s shift toward legalization of same-sex marriage is “jaw-dropping and beyond anything I would have dared to imagine,” University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Professor Larry Levine said today in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to let stand lower court rulings supporting such marriages.  Stockton Record article

Jerry Brown endorses Schaaf in Oakland mayor’s race – With his re-election hardly in doubt, Gov. Jerry Brown inserted himself into his hometown’s wide-open mayor’s race on Monday, endorsing a former staffer, Councilwoman Libby Schaaf, for the job he once held.  Oakland Tribune articleCapitol AlertSan Francisco Chronicle articleKQED report

News Briefs

Top Stories

California officials aren’t following their own call for water conservation – Like Soubirous, many of the local officials urging the public to save water during California’s crippling drought actually are profligate water users themselves, a CIR investigation has found. Center for Investigative Reporting article

Plan to provide free Wi-Fi in Modesto needs work, committee says – The Modesto City Council’s Economic Development Committee asked officials Monday to do more homework on their plan to provide free wireless Internet service downtown to draw more people and help businesses.  Modesto Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Granville building Brio! on Broadway in Mural District – When one downtown Fresno development from Granville Homes opens, the dirt on another begins moving. Construction is underway on the homebuilder’s eighth project in the Mural District called Brio! on Broadway.  Fresno Bee article

Worth Noting in Business: Large sorting hub coming to Shafter, Roll Real Estate Development breaks ground at CrossRoads Business Park – Scannell Properties has purchased 22 acres at Paramount Logistics Park in Shafter for development of what it says will be a 210,000-square-foot sorting hub for a large global delivery company.  In addition, Roll Real Estate Development LLC has broken ground at CrossRoads Business Park, a master-planned development offering speculative and build-to-suit space in southwest Bakersfield. Bakersfield Californian article

LA business groups fear another defeat over minimum wage hike – The chamber and its allies now are bracing for an even bigger battle: Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposal to hike the minimum wage for all workers in the city to $13.25 by 2017. Lawmakers appear likely to approve an increase of at least that amount, further underscoring the diminished clout of traditional business lobbying groups at City Hall. LA Times article

LA-area restaurants adding healthcare surcharge to cover workers – Diners are discovering an unfamiliar new item when the bill comes for the truffled lobster Bolognese at Melisse and for the crunchy Spanish fried chicken and waffles at AOC — a 3% surcharge for employees’ medical insurance.  LA Times article

Quest for Major League Soccer in Sacramento dominated by local investors – It was largely out-of-town money, from Silicon Valley and beyond, that bought the Sacramento Kings last year and kept them from leaving town. The quest for Major League Soccer, by comparison, is almost strictly a local affair.  Sacramento Bee article

HP splits in two; effect on Roseville operations unknown – The company declined to say what the split will mean for its once-booming operations in Roseville, which once employed more than 6,000 workers but have declined in recent years to around 2,500.  Sacramento Bee article

High-tech jobs key to LA County economy, report says – Los Angeles County companies now employ more workers in high-technology jobs than they do in more entrenched sectors such as manufacturing, food services or construction, according to a new study.  LA Times article

Holiday sales seen rising 4.1 percent – Americans are expected to spend at the highest rate in three years during what’s traditionally the busiest shopping season of the year, according to the nation’s largest retail industry trade group.  AP article

Facebook bus drivers looking to unionize – Drivers who whisk Facebook employees off to the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters each morning in Wi-Fi-equipped buses are looking to unionize, complaining of long hours, split shifts and wages so low they can’t buy homes near their jobs. And they’re asking the social media giant for help. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article


Two most controversial groundwater issues – fracking, Kern Water Bank – If you follow water lawsuits in the southern San Joaquin Valley, you will find the two biggest controversies in California’s groundwater world – hydraulic fracturing and the Kern Water Bank.  Fresno Bee article

New NASA images document loss of water in Central Valley – A new set of satellite images released by NASA shows the dramatic loss of water storage in the Central Valley due to California’s long term drought. According to research by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Team, the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins together lost 12 million acre feet a year between 2011 and 2014, largely due to agricultural groundwater pumping. KVPR report

California drought: Team climbs high to assess redwoods threat – Last week, UC Berkeley scientist Anthony Ambrose and others ascended ropes high into the canopy of a dense forest near Santa Cruz, seeking to find out if the trees are getting as much water as they’re used to. If not, they wonder, what is the toll?  San Francisco Chronicle article

Union workers protest alleged intimidation by Gerawan Farming – Nearly 100 United Farm Workers union supporters held a protest rally Monday over concerns that employees of Gerawan Farming are intimidating witnesses from testifying against the company. Gerawan is facing unfair labor charges at a state administrative hearing. Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Supreme Court upholds distress damages for fatal police shootings – When police fatally shoot someone without justification, California law allows the victims’ estates to recover damages for economic losses, but not for the pain the victim suffered before death. That limitation will no longer apply in federal courts in the state, as the result of an order Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Two convicted for pot-growing operation – Two men whose marijuana-growing operations were discovered after they reportedly posted YouTube videos of themselves bragging about the illegal business have been convicted on drug charges.  Visalia Times-Delta article


Kern High School District gets magazine pouches for semi-automatic rifles – The Kern High School District received magazine pouches last year for semi-automatic rifles the district hopes it won’t have to use. The district has 25 AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and received 30 magazine pouches for M4 assault rifle ammunition last school year as part of a federal surplus equipment program. A magazine is the ammunition storage and feeding device attached to the weapons that carry from 10 to 30 rounds. Bakersfield Californian article

Stockton Unified: Students to learn from booklet on city civics – “Stockton Government: How it Works, and How to Make it Work for You,” a 14-page booklet Stockton Record columnist Michael Fitzgerald wrote in his spare time with the help of the newly formed Stockton Civics Group, will be taught in each of Stockton Unified’s high schools. Stockton Record article

Pediatricians say school should start later for teens’ health – Many parents have pushed for a later start to the school day for teenagers, with limited success. But parents just got a boost from the nation’s pediatricians, who say that making middle and high schoolers start classes before 8:30 a.m. threatens children’s’ health, safety and academic performance.  KQED report

Fresno Unified gets $1.3 million arts grant – Eleven Fresno Unified schools will soon get more opportunities to teach art through a $1.3 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education this week. The money will be used to train teachers to integrate more art concepts into English language arts classes in grades three through six. Fresno Bee article

Drug-sniffing dog raises questions at  San Diego High School – In little over a month since school started, San Diego Unified’s new drug-sniffing dog has been deployed eight times – twice to San Diego High School – in an effort to detect narcotics and deter use of illegal substances. The drug searches have raised questions among some parents about whether the procedures infringe on student rights and set them up for criminalization.  U-T San Diego article


Valley air district urges residents to cut back on driving – Valley air district officials are urging residents to reduce their driving and other emission-producing activities this week due to unseasonably high temperatures.  Fresno Bee article

Federal prosecutors probing PG&E-CPUC emails – Federal prosecutors have told Pacific Gas and Electric Co. that they are investigating five years’ worth of back-channel communications between company employees and the California Public Utilities Commission, including several that enmeshed utility executives in a judge-shopping scandal, PG&E said Monday.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Salmon near La Grange spawn debate – Imagine a salmon, in the fall of 1893, swimming up the Tuolumne River and bumping into the brand new La Grange Dam. The question of whether these fish used to spawn above that spot dominated a meeting Monday on the future of the reservoir, owned by the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts.  Modesto Bee article

Health/Human Services

Some Ebola experts worry virus may spread more easily than assumed –  U.S. officials leading the fight against history’s worst outbreak of Ebola have said they know the ways the virus is spread and how to stop it. They say that unless an air traveler from disease-ravaged West Africa has a fever of at least 101.5 degrees or other symptoms, co-passengers are not at risk.  LA Times article

Stanislaus County health workers prepare in case Ebola arrives – American Medical Response is advising its ambulance crews to ask two questions of patients they encounter. The ambulance company serving Stanislaus County and many other areas of the country said it began to prep for the possibility of Ebola more than a month ago, putting protocols in place for transporting infected patients while protecting ambulance crews.  Modesto Bee article

Tulare schools given tips to prevent spread of enterovirus D68 – Tulare County’s health officer is asking parents to help prevent the transmission of enterovirus D68, a virus that has been causing severe respiratory illnesses — mostly in children — across the country.  Fresno Bee article

LA County offers $61-million health plan for those still uninsured – Los Angeles County will provide access to a primary care doctor for nearly 150,000 uninsured Los Angeles County residents, including many who are ineligible for Obamacare coverage because they lack legal immigration status.  LA Times article 

Silent Witness Project sheds light on domestic violence – The Silent Witness project, a traveling memorial to the victims of domestic violence, is being displayed in various Merced County communities throughout the month of October.  Merced Sun-Star article


Merced approves matching funds for high-speed rail grant – Merced City Council decided on Monday to put $200,000 in matching funds toward the 2013 High-Speed Rail Planning Grant, which will begin plans for the stop near downtown Merced.  Merced Sun-Star article

Modesto may rebid $3 million road project after sole bid came in higher than expected – The City Council on Tuesday night is expected to reject a bid for a $3 million project to resurface and add bike lanes to several major roads because the one bid Modesto received came in about 18 percent higher than the city estimated.  Modesto Bee article

Other Areas

Marijuana ordinance back on Hanford agenda – Following several delays, the Hanford City Council is set to discuss they city’s options to address safety issues associated with medical marijuana. The council will discuss two possible ordinances regarding the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana in the city limits.  Hanford Sentinel article

City Beat: Lee Brand’s ‘Civility Act’ deserves another look – Fresno City Council members should revisit Lee Brand’s marijuana ordinance. They’re missing a good opportunity to debate the challenges of maintaining public order in a world that prizes personal expression above good manners.  Fresno Bee article

Stockton City Council:  Animal Shelter awaits results of contest, vote – It’s decision day for the Stockton Animal Shelter. At noon, officials at the south Stockton shelter will learn if their summer of hard work paid off in a victory in the $100,000 Rachael Ray ASPCA Challenge. Then, at tonight’s City Council meeting at City Hall, council members are expected to vote on a proposal that would shorten the holding period for stray animals from four days to three.  Stockton Record article

Brik McDill: The anatomy of a crisis: What we can learn from Ferguson – If our communities are to reflect our better angels, we need each to rein in our darker parts. And we need the wisdom to see demagogues for what they are. If we put our hearts and minds to it, we can do better than what happened in Ferguson. If we don’t, I suppose we have to live with the results. But then, I’m probably being heard mainly by the choir.  McDill column in Bakersfield Californian

Lemoore naval base commander declares four Fresno nightclubs off-limits to sailors – Four nightclubs in Fresno have been placed off-limits to sailors and Navy personnel by the commander of Lemoore Naval Air Station after a gang member attacked a sailor at a hookah lounge. Capt. Monty Ashliman imposed the off-limits order in an email last week, and said it would be in effect for at least a few months.  Fresno Bee article

Chowchilla park tabled, could lose $500,000 state grant – City leaders here decided recently to hold off on a $500,000 state Parks and Recreation Department grant-funded project, but a quickly approaching deadline may lead to ending the project altogether.  Merced Sun-Star article

City of Atwater responsible for pedestrian death, says jury – The city of Atwater is solely responsible for the death of Delia Gonzales, a 73-year-old pedestrian killed in 2010, and ordered to pay $3.2 million in damages, a Merced County jury decided Monday.  Merced Sun-Star article

San Diego City Hall’s luxury suite perk may end – Mayor Kevin Faulconer has opened discussions with the Chargers and Padres about ending a controversial perk where City Council members can distribute tickets to luxury viewing suites the city controls at Qualcomm Stadium and Petco Park.  U-T San Diego article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Severe drought has exacerbated weaknesses in California’s water system, highlighting problems that a $7.5 billion water bond would begin to address and giving voters ample reason to approve Proposition 1 on Nov. 4.

Merced Sun-Star – A generation of college graduates staggering under a crushing debt load is a pressing national issue. But empty promises won’t help get them out from under it.

Modesto Bee – A generation of college graduates staggering under a crushing debt load is a pressing national issue. But empty promises won’t help get them out from under it.

Sacramento Bee – History, like love, can feel at once cumulative and sudden. That’s how it was Monday, as the U.S. Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriage to become legal in most of the United States.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers on Lodi losing an animal mascot, a local hero getting national attention and other issues.