October 7, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

Ballot admission price: $48 million — It’s like a poker game: If you want to play, you have to ante up. And this year, the ante for Nov. 8 was nearly $48 million. That’s how much the rival interests for 15 initiatives paid to get on the ballot. Capitol Weekly article

Barely half of illegal border crossers caught — Immigration authorities caught barely half of the people who illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico last year, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security report that offers one of the most detailed assessments of border security ever compiled. AP article

Valley politics

Stockton Record: McNerney, Denham should retain seats – The Stockton Record is endorsing incumbents Jerry McNerney and Jeff Denham in races for congressional seats.  Stockton Record editorial

Four vying for two seats on Kern High School District board — When Kern County voters cast their ballots this year, they’ll find three political newcomers and one incumbent vying for two seats on the Kern High School District board. Bakersfield Californian article

Turlock council candidates face off at League of Women Voters forum – Turlock candidates for two City Council seats spoke to voter concerns about failing roads, campaign finance, land use planning and other topics at a League of Women Voters forum. Candidates for city treasurer gave brief statements. Modesto Bee article

Who’s behind the Maxwell flier? — Downtown Councilman Terry Maxwell, accused recently by an anonymous flier of having a conflict of interest in his many votes on widening 24th Street, said Wednesday he thinks he knows who may be behind it. Bakersfield Californian article

Ex-Manteca trustee wants DA out of fraud case — Former Manteca Unified trustee Ashley Drain wants the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office removed from her felony election fraud case, the same legal strategy already tried unsuccessfully by City Council candidate Sam Fant’s lawyer. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Supporters of marijuana legalization initiative say it will end ‘war on people of color’ – Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and other elected leaders on Thursday called on California voters to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, saying the current laws are unfairly entangling minorities more than white users. LA Times article

Jerry Brown pushes earlier release of felons under Prop 57 – Proposition 57 could allow many inmates to serve shorter prison terms than the ones handed down in court when they were sentenced — if the state parole board judges them suitable for release. The governor believes the change will make prisons and the public safer by giving inmates an incentive to improve themselves while they are incarcerated. KQED report

Steyer stars in Prop 56 television ad – Billionaire Tom Steyer is featured in the latest television advertisement in favor of Proposition 56, a $2 per pack increase in the cigarette tax. LA Times article

George Runner: Marijuana tax revenue could go up on smoke – The member of the California State Board of Equalization writes, “The official ballot summary for Proposition 64 says the measure could generate up to $1 billion in new tax revenue annually for state and local governments. Only time will tell if this is true, but voters – regardless of how they plan to vote – would be wise to take these revenue projections with a grain of salt.” Runner op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Fresno teachers stage ‘walk-in’ to support state school-funding tax — Fresno teachers staged a “walk-in” Thursday, as opposed to walking out of schools in protest, to take part in a national push for better education. For California schools, that means the passage of Proposition 55, according to the Fresno Teachers Association. Fresno Bee article

Crowell Elementary rally urges support of Prop 55, Turlock bonds – Turlock teachers took to the streets Thursday morning to urge parents and passing motorists to vote for extending education taxes as part of a statewide push in support of Proposition 55. Modesto Bee article

Most of California’s congressional delegation already wants to get rid of Citizens United regardless of Prop 59 — California’s lengthy ballot includes a proposition that would instruct members of the state’s congressional delegation to do something that many of them are already trying to do: change how money is involved in politics. LA Times article

Buttressed by the support of top Democrats, Kamala Harris shores up her lead after U.S. Senate debate – After spending more than a year meticulously crafting a U.S. Senatecampaign to conjure up an air of inevitability, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris appears as close to Washington as ever after delivering a measured debate performance Wednesday night and winning the coveted endorsements of California’s two senators just hours later. LA Times article

Beyond the dab, Harris and Sanchez have their differences – The more significant revelations from the hourlong confrontation at California State University, Los Angeles, were the policy differences between the two Democrats competing for the first time in a general election for a statewide seat. Sacramento Bee article

Dan Walters: California’s U.S. senators always a study in stylistic contrasts – The names and parties have evolved, but over the last half-century, California’s two U.S. senators have displayed sharply contrasting styles. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

PolitiFact CA: Loretta Sanchez ‘passed one bill in 20 years’: Technically correct, but misleading – U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris claimed her opponent Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez “has passed one bill in her 20 years in office, and that was to rename a post office.” That’s technically correct. But it ignores the fact that relatively few standalone bills introduced by members of Congress are passed on their own. PolitiFact CA article

Are California roadways ready if recreational marijuana is legalized? – Polls show the initiative has the support of some 60 percent of expected voters. But a number of traffic safety groups have raised concerns about the impact of legalizing marijuana, including the Automobile Club of Southern California. KPCC report

A cannabis candymaker seeks to reassure worried parents as it prepares for California’s post-legalization boom – If California voters approve Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, next month, Kiva products will be available to anyone 21 and older. Based on what happened in Colorado after voters in that state approved recreational marijuana in 2012, Knoblich said, the couple anticipates a big — possibly huge — growth in sales. LA Times article

Joel Fox: Same publication, different headlines on Prop 13 — The Los Angeles Times ran columnist Michael Hiltzik’s story on the Legislative Analyst’s Office new report on Proposition 13 Monday but someone glancing at the print headline as opposed to the online headline would come away with a different impression. The print headline read: Prop 13’s effects remain unclear. The digital headline read: Four decades later, California experts find that Proposition 13 is a boon to the rich. Fox in Fox & Hounds

‘This ballot’s too darn long,’ so maybe this song will help — You know how you can remember song lyrics from a decade ago even if you’ve forgotten where you just put your car keys? The California Voter Foundation hopes the power of song can help people navigate this election, too, once again recording a ditty detailing the ballot measures before voters. Sacramento Bee article


Obama administration is quietly delaying thousands of deportation cases — The Obama administration is delaying deportation proceedings for recent immigrants in cities across the United States, allowing more than 56,000 of those who fled Central America since 2014 to remain in the country legally for several more years. New York Times article

Haitians mass at U.S.-Mexico border despite deportation policy — A crowd of about 1,000 Haitians shouted and shoved at the door of Mexico’s immigration agency at the U.S. border, which has found itself an unhappy gateway for thousands of would-be migrants in recent months hoping to cross into the United States. AP article

Other areas

‘Voting wasn’t something that was discussed at our household’ — Born and raised in Fresno, 28-year-old Samuel Molina has been working for Mi Familia Vota (My Family Votes) for the last two and a half years. Molina is currently the state director of Mi Familia Vota with offices in Fresno, Modesto and Riverside. During his first year with the non-profit, he registered 4,900 people in Fresno in 2014. Last year, the group registered 4,500 people and hopes to register at least 4,000 people this year. Vida en el Valle article

Victor Davis Hanson: From Greek tragedy to American therapy to Colin Kaepernick — In the plays of the ancient dramatists Aeschylus and Sophocles, heroism and nobility only arise out of tragedies. The tragic hero refuses to blame the gods for his terrible fate. Instead, a Prometheus, Ajax or Oedipus prefers to fight against the odds. He thereby establishes a code of honor, even as defeat looms. In contrast, modern Americans gave the world therapy. Life must always be fair. If not, something or someone must be blamed. All good people deserve only a good life – or else. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Balmeet Singh: Racism on display before a patio of diners – The real estate agent and medical clinic administrator writes, “One of the simple joys of life is being able to go enjoy a meal with your loved ones. Unless you happen to be a member of Bakersfield’s Sikh community.” Singh op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Presidential Politics

Ben Boychuk: Trump’s ‘nationalistic’ agenda not that far outside American mainstream – Donald Trump has been characterized as Hitler, but Trump’s nationalism and the nationalist sentiment of many of his supporters is quintessentially American. Alexander Hamilton was a nationalist. Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln were nationalists. Boychuk column in Sacramento Bee

White nationalist super PAC funds new radio ads urging votes for Donald Trump — A white nationalist who funded robocalls for Donald Trump during the primary season will be out with a new radio ad this weekend urging votes for the Republican nominee. LA Times article

News Stories – Top Stories

Lawmakers press park service for documents in Yosemite National Park probe — Frustrated lawmakers are now threatening to issue subpoenas as their investigation into Yosemite National Park management problems heats up. Impatient with a slow National Park Service response to an earlier request for Yosemite-related documents, top members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday amplified their demands with the words no federal official wants to hear. McClatchy Newspapers article

The Electric Highway: Why California is sputtering along — A half-dozen years into Gov. Jerry Brown’s futuristic vision of carbon-free transportation, California is encountering even more potholes along the electric highway—obstacles born from both practicalities and politics. Consumers, put off by high costs and concerned about limited range, just aren’t buying into the state’s ambitious aims. As a market share, hybrid electric and fully electric cars have been stuck at only 3 percent of new cars sold in the state. Undaunted, the state intends that by 2025, just nine years from now, zero-emission cars will make up 15 percent of California’s new car fleet—a five-fold increase. CALmatters article

Jobs and the Economy

Obtaining fresh fruits and vegetables no longer a money issue for Merced food pantries – Local food pantries and individuals needing food assistance now have greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables – at no cost. The Merced County Food Bank recently developed methods to improve the flow of fresh produce to pantries and residents in need, said Bill Gibbs, executive director. Merced Sun-Star article

Threatened by lawsuit, San Joaquin supervisors rescind vote – Threatened with a lawsuit that could have delayed a long-awaited improvement project, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rescinded a Sept. 13 vote to consider a project labor agreement at a future meeting. Stockton Record article

Tate Hill steps down as CEO of Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce – Tate Hill, president and CEO of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce, is stepping down from his position of seven years. Hill accepted a position with the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission. Fresno Bee article

Lizards and frogs taking over empty Fresh & Easy in northeast Fresno — Neighbors have been wondering for weeks what is moving into the former Fresh & Easy at Cedar and Nees avenues. The answer: Lizards. And frogs. And a whole bunch of other reptiles because a reptile store and zoo is moving into the space. Fresno Bee article

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer led illegal purse of male employees, lawsuit charges – A prominent local media executive fired from Yahoo last year has filed a lawsuit accusing CEO Marissa Mayer of leading a campaign to purge male employees. San Jose Mercury News article

Rockin B’s, on McHenry Avenue since 2013, to close next week — Citing their inability to bank enough profit, owners Barry and Shay Peterson will close their Rockin B’s Burger Co. on McHenry Avenue on Oct. 12. Modesto Bee article

Campaigns supporting Metro’s transportation tax bring in more than $4.5 million — Supporters of a proposed sales tax increase that would fund a dramatic expansion of Los Angeles County’s passenger rail network have contributed more than $4.5 million this year, campaign disclosures show. LA Times article

Golden 1 too steep? Building meets city code, but some fans say it’s scary — Sports arenas are built pretty steep these days, especially in the nosebleed sections, and Golden 1 Center is no exception. Betty Harter and Pattye Downing say they learned that the hard way during Paul McCartney’s concerts at downtown Sacramento’s new arena this week. Sacramento Bee article

$50,000 in free rent lures bold Sacramento-area entrepreneurs — Real estate developer Ethan Conrad dangled a chance to win up to $50,000 in rent credits to a growing Sacramento-area business in a contest that culminated with pitches being made on the same evening that rock idol Paul McCartney played his first show at Golden 1 Center. Sacramento Bee article


Sacramento Bee: Time to stop backsliding on California’s water conservation – If California is to hold onto the historic strides it has made in saving water, the water conservation mandate should be restored. Sacramento Bee editorial

California tightening rule on popular pesticide — California will tighten rules on how much farmers can use a common pesticide listed by the nation’s most productive agricultural state as a chemical known to cause cancer, regulators told The Associated Press on Thursday. AP article

San Joaquin County reports half billion dollar loss in agricultural production – More than half a billion dollars…that’s how much San Joaquin County lost in farm production last year. The drought and lower prices were to blame. Capital Public Radio report

How California is learning to love recycled drinking water — Would you rather drink a cup of recycled wastewater or advanced purified water? Actually, that’s a trick question – both terms are often used to talk about the same thing. But when it comes to public acceptance of the practice, the language you use makes a big difference. And so does education about how the process works. KQED report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Lawsuit says California could have stopped prison slaying — A federal lawsuit claims California officials could have stopped what it says was the “assassination” of a notorious California inmate who was stabbed 19 times just days after he was released into the general prison population last year. AP article

Police tracking social media during protest stirs concerns – Increasingly common tools that allow police to conduct real-time social media surveillance during protests are drawing criticism from civil liberties advocates, who oppose the way some departments have quietly unrolled the technology without community input and little public explanation. AP article

Bakersfield using social network Nextdoor to improve citywide communication – The City of Bakersfield announced a partnership Thursday with Nextdoor.com, a private social network used to improve citywide and neighbor-to-neighbor communications. According to a Bakersfield Police Department news release, Nextdoor will be used by the department to build stronger and safer communities with the help of Bakersfield residents. Bakersfield Californian article

Former Kern deputy Edward Tucker sentenced to six months in jail for violating probation – Former Kern County sheriff’s deputy Edward Tucker was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail and additional probation terms for walking away from a court-ordered rehabilitation facility in early August. Bakersfield Californian article

Merced residents march to end the silence on domestic abuse – Nine years ago, Chris Jensen lost a “dear sweet friend” to domestic violence. Although he was unable to help her, he said, he continues to care for her son, Gabriel, whom he adopted. On Wednesday evening, Jensen and 10-year-old Gabriel marched with dozens of community members in downtown Merced for the third annual Peace for Families, a march against domestic violence. Merced Sun-Star article

Surely you jester: It seems everywhere you look, there’s a #creepyclown — Law enforcement up and down the Central Valley, and from coast to coast, is dealing with a battalion of creepy clowns on social media (and sometimes in real life). This week in Fresno, a 12-year-old student faces punishment for allegedly threatening Clovis Unified schools on social media. Fresno Bee article

Creepy clowns not a threat but be wary, anyway – Like a plot pulled straight from a Stephen King novel or a bad B-movie horror film, parents and children in San Joaquin County and across Northern California are the latest to become nervous in relation to a string of spooky clown sightings. Officials from numerous school districts and law enforcement are reminding communities to stay calm. Stockton Record article

Teen shot by Los Angeles officer was suicidal, police say — A 16-year-old boy shot dead last weekend as he pointed a fake gun at police wanted to kill himself, Police Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday. AP articleLA Times article

Family of man shot by Sacramento police pushes for department policy change – The family of a mentally ill man shot by police in North Sacramento in July said on Thursday that any resolution of their civil suit against the city of Sacramento must include police reform. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento police said robberies decline in Asian American community — Police say a concerted effort to reduce the number of armed robberies targeting members of Sacramento’s Asian American community has paid off, citing a 43 percent decrease in robberies in the affected areas last month. Sacramento Bee article


Joe Mathews: Is California abandoning its poorest students? – That question would be dismissed as absurd by our state’s education leaders, especially Gov. Jerry Brown and the State Board of Education. For years, they have been building a new educational architecture they say will do more for the poorest kids in the poorest schools. But as the many elements of this architecture are put in place, they have grown so complicated that the structure seems incoherent. It’s possible that it could undermine public accountability, resist public engagement, and obscure how disadvantaged students are really doing. Mathews in Bakersfield Californian

New school at former Heald College site in Salida focuses on health careers— A new vocational school in Salida will start classes Monday for people who want to work in the health care field, representatives said. American Specialty College has taken over the former Heald College site on Pirrone Court. A spokesperson said at a grand opening Wednesday that 15 to 20 students will begin courses next week to become medical assistants and certified nursing assistants. Modesto Bee article

Tablets open world of opportunity – Tears of joy were shed and hugs were plentiful Thursday morning as 16 students in Lori Gobbi’s Stockton Unified Special Needs Adult Program were given new iPads. Not only will the devices connect the 18- to 22-year-olds with special needs to the digital world, they will further promote independence and assist them with adulthood. Stockton Record article

Monica Sigala: Fowler Unified’s ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ capture hearts and minds – The principal of the Fremont Elementary School in the Fowler Unified School District writes, “Tuesdays cannot get here fast enough as our ‘littles’ eagerly await the arrival of the ‘bigs’ for the day. Once those bigs walk through the door, our littles run to greet them and tell them about their school day. The Bigs and Littles Program is a partnership between Fremont Elementary School and Fowler High School, which connects “littles,”the elementary students to be mentored by “bigs,”our high school students.” Sigala op-ed in Fresno Bee

Visalia Unified recommends charter school denial — A Visalia Unified School panel recommended denying a new charter school Thursday night during a special meeting to review Sycamore Valley Academy’s petition to expand. Visalia Times-Delta article

Enochs Care Center spreads its arms around all ills — A collaborative center at Enochs High School to help teens with the ills, aches and hard knocks of life has been recognized by a statewide organization. Modesto Bee article

Measure twice, cut once, read forever — A fine powder of sawdust floated gently in the breeze, while the screech of power drills and hammers could be heard throughout a busy morning of class at the Lincoln High Engineering and Construction Academy. Outside in the courtyard, several Lincoln High students put the final touch on their latest project: assembling 50 Little Free Libraries that will be later distributed throughout the city. Stockton Record article


Earthquakes in California are discovered more than 15 miles deep —  Scientists in California have found that earthquakes can occur much deeper below the Earth’s surface than originally believed, a discovery that alters their understanding of seismic behavior and potential risks. LA Times article

Californians wave the flag in fight over Yellowstone-area grizzly bears — Southern California resident Leigh Clark sees the grizzly bear on the state’s flag as a poignant reminder for wildlife managers around Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. McClatchy Newspapers article

Health/Human Services 

Obamacare is no disaster. California is proving why – Even as turmoil in insurance markets nationwide fuels renewed election-year attacks on the Affordable Care Act, California is emerging as a clear illustration of what the law can achieve. LA Times article

Is the Valley ready for a medical school? — When asked the question (Is the Valley is ready for a medical school?), the answer was yes. The response was made by health care professional leaders who gathered last week at University of California, San Francisco–Fresno’s auditorium to talk about the health care needs of underserved communities in the Central Valley, especially when it comes to access to health care and health disparities. Vida en el Valle article

Fallout from trauma center turmoil – In one five-hour period this week, three major medical trauma victims involving violent crimes in Stockton — plus at least one more victim the next day — were transported to one of two trauma center hospitals in Modesto because the closest trauma center — San Joaquin General Hospital — has been temporarily restricted from accepting such cases until it comes into compliance with regulations governing its operations. Stockton Record article

Opiate deaths rising in Kings County — The Kings County Coroner’s office is seeing an increase in overdoses related to heroin and synthetic opioids as the drugs continue to grow in popularity. Hanford Sentinel article

LA County now plans to require hospitals to report superbug infections — Los Angeles County plans to require hospitals to begin reporting when patients are infected with a certain superbug so lethal that it can kill half its victims, health officials said Thursday. LA Times article


California rejects another oil company’s plan to ship oil on trains — For the second time in a month, a California community has rejected an oil company’s plans to ship crude oil on long trains through Sacramento and other cities to coastal refineries. The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission on Wednesday voted to reject a request by Phillips 66 Co. to build a facility at its Nipomo Mesa refinery that would allow it to receive oil shipments via three trains a week, some of which likely would have traveled through Sacramento and other Northern California communities. Sacramento Bee article

Deputy chief of state rail authority will leave by end of year — The second in command at the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Dennis Trujillo, will leave the organization by the end of the year, according to an internal announcement. LA Times article

Other areas

Judge improperly tells Visalia reporter to leave murder trial — A reporter covering a high-profile murder trial in Tulare County Superior Court this week was told by the judge to leave the courtroom and not to publish evidence discussed in open court. But the Superior Court’s presiding judge got involved and said “it was not appropriate to exclude the media from the courtroom.” Fresno Bee article

Judges take the bench in Tulare County — Gary Paden swore in two new Tulare County judges; it is the last time he will perform the honor as presiding judge. Nathan Leedy and John Bianco were formally appointed to the bench Thursday afternoon. Both men were practicing attorneys in the county prior to being appointed in June by Gov. Jerry Brown.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Members explain goals, criticism of CAC — The Community Advocacy Coalition’s name and acronym is familiar and, in some circles, infamous in Los Banos. The group has had success in pushing for change, but also has rubbed many the wrong way. Los Banos Enterprise article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno 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.

Sacramento Bee – If California is to hold onto the historic strides it has made in saving water, the water conservation mandate should be restored.

Stockton Record – The Stockton Record is endorsing incumbents Jerry McNerney and Jeff Denham in races for congressional seats.