October 9, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories  

John Myers: Political Roadmap: Don’t expect big changes if Democrats win a Sacramento supermajority on Nov. 8 –Let’s play out the “what if” game: What could Democrats do with a supermajority of seats in the Legislature? In truth, it’s probably more bragging rights than brawn. Myers in LA Times

Dan Walters: Election will test California voters’ attitudes on new bonded debt — we Californians have placed ourselves on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in debt without really understanding how the money is being spent or what its ultimate cost will be. Given that, Proposition 53, while widely opposed by the political establishment, might be a wake-up call. Requiring bond promoters to justify their big plans to voters – Brown’s twin water tunnel and bullet train projects, for example – isn’t such a bad idea. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Brand and Perea hit high gear in nip-and-tuck Fresno mayor’s race — These days, everybody wants a piece of Fresno mayoral candidates Lee Brand and Henry R. Perea. In the past few weeks, they’ve been sitting on stools in front of one Fresno interest group or another in what seems like an endless line of campaign forums and debates. They’ve shared their thoughts and opinions with the Downtown Rotary Club, Fresno State students and organizations supporting downtownwest Fresno, bicycles and parks. Fresno Bee article

Bakersfield Californian: Two good choices for the office, but elect Kyle Carter for mayor – Both Kyle Carter and Karen Goh, the survivors of a remarkably diverse and enthusiastic field of 25 primary-election candidates, are worthy and well-equipped to succeed him. In a close call, we like Carter, who has succeeded as both a multi-faceted businessman and in public service. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Fresno voters will select two new City Council members in November — Voters in Fresno will be deciding two seats on the Fresno City Council on the Nov. 8 ballot – including one that wasn’t supposed to be up for election for another two years. Fresno Bee article

Central Unified candidates look to tackle growth, improve academics — Seven candidates are vying for three seats on the Central Unified School District Board of Trustees this November, where the issues continue to revolve around the district’s growing pains and improving student academics. Fresno Bee article

Mike Klocke: Countdown to election day already started — Election Day 2016 will be remembered for some time, due to the rather bizarre presidential matchup and some intriguing and quizzical local election decisions for voters to make. Here’s a primer of 12 things you can expect.  Klocke column in Stockton Record

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Judges appear inclined to preserve plea bargains affected to Prop 47 – The California Supreme Court appeared unwilling Wednesday to allow prosecutors to withdraw plea bargains affected by Proposition 47, which reduced some felonies to misdemeanors. LA Times article

Pot legalization an unpopular idea in Kings – One by one, Kings County jurisdictions are taking steps to crack down on the potential legalization of recreational marijuana – and the idea hasn’t even gone before voters yet in the form of Proposition 64. Hanford Sentinel article

Proposition 55: Should California extend ‘temporary’ income tax on top earners? — Four years after threats of teacher layoffs and massive cuts to social service programs followed Californians to the voting booth, the tax hikes on the wealthy they approved to bail out the state are back on the ballot. San Jose Mercury News article

NRA not putting up much of a fight against California gun control ballot measure — The National Rifle Assn. has poured $4 million into fighting a Nevada initiative that would require background checks for firearms buyers but just $145,000 into battling a gun control measure in California. The difference has not been lost on gun owners and those pushing Proposition 63 on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot. LA Times article

Proposition 52: Extending hospital fee would help fund Medi-Cal — Supporters, ranging from Republicans to Democrats, hospitals and health care consumer groups, say the proposition that asks voters to lock in billions of dollars in hospital fees in order to take advantage of billions in federal matching funds is vital to California’s ability to pay for the health care of the state’s poorest residents. San Jose Mercury News article

Stockton Record: Harris the pick to succeed Boxer — While it may seem unusual to state that a Capitol Hill newcomer could do more than a 20-year member of the House of Representatives, Kamala Harris is the stronger candidate to fill the considerable shoes of Barbara Boxer. Stockton Record editorial

California is making it easier than ever to vote — In California, no law requires voters to show ID. They soon will be registered to vote automatically. Their vote will be counted even if it shows up three days after the election. While many other states have tightened voter access, for more than a decade the Democratic controlled California Legislature has moved in the opposite direction. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento Bee: How we judge statewide measures on Nov. 8 ballot — Here’s a summary of The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s recommendations on the 17 statewide measures on the Nov. 8 ballot. Sacramento Bee editorial

Other areas

Dan Morain: Shedding some light on dark money — Recall the stench that emanated from the secretive $11 million that flowed into California politics in the closing days of the 2012 election. Morain in Sacramento Bee

Marcos Breton: Darrell Steinberg is right man for this Sacramento moment — As I watched Steinberg make his moves in cramped quarters as we traveled west on Interstate 80, I caught a glimpse of a man clearly ascending to his moment. He was thoughtful and effective in the Senate. But his greatest legacy may be the one he’s about to create.  Breton column in Sacramento Bee

Presidential Politics

Denham denounces Trump’s words, but doesn’t address endorsement – The Modesto Bee reached out to Denham’s campaign Saturday, asking for the congressman’s thoughts on Trump’s 2005 statements about women. Dave Gilliard, Denham’s campaign spokesman, emailed a statement to The Bee from the congressman Saturday. “I was deeply disappointed to hear about Donald Trump’s language toward women and I find it to be beyond inappropriate from anyone, but especially someone seeking the highest office in the land,” Denham said in the statement. Not long after sending the first statement, Gilliard sent a revised statement from the congressman that read: “I was deeply disappointed to hear about Donald Trump’s language toward women and I find it to be beyond inappropriate.” Modesto Bee article

Tic Tac mints, Scott Jones, Schwarzenegger running from Trump’s lewd remarks taped in 2005 — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s October surprise landed Friday, and the response has been quick in coming from California and beyond. Sacramento Bee article

Biz con all Trumped up – It was not a great day for the Republican Party in most of the country Saturday, but you’d never suspect anything was amiss with the GOP presidential candidate at the Bakersfield Business Conference, a sea of red, white and true-blue American conservatism. Bakersfield Californian article

Bakersfield Business Conference boosts Trump’s campaign – If Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump lost any momentum after a video surfaced Friday that shows him making crude remarks about how he approaches women, it wasn’t in evidence Saturday at the 2016 Bakersfield Business Conference held before up to 7,000 participants. Vida en el Valle article

Bill Press: Trump video makes his defeat inevitable – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s derogatory 2005 comments about women make his defeat by Democrat Hillary Clinton a virtual certainty, nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press told a sparse afternoon audience in the political tent at the Bakersfield Business Conference. Bakersfield Californian article

Advice for Trump from chief of staff for longtime California support: Explain how you’ve changed in the last 10 years — Donald Trump should explain how he’s changed in the last 10 years, the chief of staff for one of his first congressional supporters said Saturday. LA Times article

Cathleen Decker: Amid Trump chaos, Republicans seek a path to survival – A deeply wounded Donald Trump struggled to salvage his presidential campaign Saturday as Republicans who had remained at his side out of loyalty or fear abandoned him to try to save themselves and their party’s congressional majorities. Decker in LA Times

The GOP exodus from Donald Trump couldn’t have come at a worse time – After spending the better part of the 2016 calendar year trying to make the best of their Donald Trump Situation, Republicans began to cut bait in a big way on Saturday. By day’s end, more than 30 high-profile Republicans had not only ditched Trump, but said that he had disqualified himself and should step aside for another nominee, thanks to his lewd comments about women on a hot mic in 2005. Washington Post articleSacramento Bee editorialMcClatchy Newspapers article 

News analysis: Donald Trump’s conduct was excused again and again. But not this time — Why did a decade-old three-minute video provoke a sudden revolt by party officials against their nominee, an uprising that could very well destroy their chances of taking the White House? New York Times article

Laura Ingraham: Obama and Clinton an ‘epic fail’ – Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham addressed the 800-pound gorilla right away: She is not happy with Donald Trump’s lewd comments, recorded from a live mic 11 years ago and revealed by the Washington Post on Friday, two days before Sunday’s Trump-Clinton debate. But then it was time to get back to our regularly scheduled program: Hillary Clinton must be stopped. Bakersfield Californian article

David Mas Masumoto: Farms and food forgotten in 2016 campaign — One topic that probably won’t be discussed during the presidential debates: farming and food. There was a time that the rural vote mattered in national elections. Presidential candidates carefully crafted an “ag” policy agenda as they barnstormed across the nation campaigning for the farm vote. That train left long ago with the rapid decline in rural populations. But candidates still claim to be the farmer’s friend in campaign stops and serve up slogans that cater to specific audiences. Masumoto column in Fresno Bee

News Stories

Top Stories

Measure L taking another road this time – This year’s Measure L – again, seeking a half-percent raise in sales tax – may seem a little “here we go again” to some old-timers. But supporters, who want to elevate Stanislaus’ profile with smoother streets and an expanded transportation network, say they remember past failures and have incorporated lessons learned this time. Modesto Bee articleModesto Bee editorial: ‘If you want better roads, fewer potholes, you have to vote for Measure L’

Grim dropout stats for California colleges to rethink remedial education – The entrenched and costly system of remedial education in community colleges — pre-college courses that a staggering three out of every four students are forced to take — is quietly undergoing a seismic shift in California. East Bay Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Special guests: A trio of heroes — The end of the Bakersfield Business Conference’s program is reserved for special guests, and this year featured a triple dose with a military twist. Bakersfield Californian article

How California’s ‘paid family leave’ law buys time for new parents – Back in 2002, California passed a law that provides paid family leave benefits to eligible workers. In many ways, the law mimicked paid parental leave policies that are in effect in nearly every other country in the world. But it was the first its kind in the U.S. Here’s how California’s law, part of of the state’s disability insurance program, works: Most workers in the state have small deductions (less than one percent of their wages) withheld from each paycheckCapital Public Radio report

San Jose: New law would make city first to allow ‘tiny homes’ for homeless — A newly signed law will allow San Jose to become the first California city to create tiny homes for the homeless by bypassing the state’s confining building codes. City housing officials and advocates for the homeless call the new legislation a “game-changer” in the fight to solve one of the Silicon Valley’s most intractable problems. San Jose Mercury News article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Woman fatally shot by Modesto police after domestic disturbance call – Modesto police fatally shot a woman after being called to a domestic disturbance in east Modesto early Saturday morning. Modesto Bee article

Michael Fitzgerald: Why Stockton needs blue movies – Body cams will not be a panacea to the tensions inherent to policing Stockton. We can hope over time they build trust. I can’t resist bringing in George Orwell, who said, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” In other words, all our beliefs, ideologies and cultural lenses sometimes blind us. In a diverse, combustible community, they also can divide us and undermine our most important institutions. So get it all on video. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

Two police killings two decades apart leave same questions for Sacramento families – A.J. Thiel was 15 when his father, Albert Glenn Thiel, was killed in 1997 in an incident involving John Tennis, the Sacramento police officer who fatally shot a mentally ill man in North Sacramento in July of this year. Thiel, now 34, doesn’t remember much of that time except his rage and confusion and this: Tennis and the other six officers involved in the incident were laughing and “carrying on like nothing was wrong” in the lobby as Thiel and his family walked into a lawsuit settlement conference. Sacramento Bee article

Suspect arrested 12 hours after fatal shooting of 2 Palm Spring police officers – Two Palm Springs police officers were fatally shot and another wounded Saturday afternoon while responding to a domestic disturbance call, police said. Just before 1 a.m. Sunday, more than 12 hours after the shooting, the suspect was taken into custody, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said.  LA Times article

Merced victims of violence remembered — Tears welled up in a mother’s eyes, her voice cracking with emotion, as she shared happy memories of the two sons she lost to violence less than a year apart. Merced Sun-Star article

Juvenile justice: Yoga program helps CYA youths cope — He is one of about 30 juvenile offenders at N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility and O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in southeast Stockton who are participating in a 16-week pilot program through the Prison Yoga Project and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Juvenile Justice. Stockton Record article

Little-known Sacramento County board hears public complaints about Sheriff’s Department conduct — There is a way to bring community concerns directly to Sheriff Scott Jones, but most residents don’t seem to know it exists. The Sheriff’s Outreach Community Advisory Board meets several times a year to discuss citizen concerns about the Sheriff’s Department, often with the sheriff himself when he attends the meetings. The meetings are open to the public, but meeting minutes for the five meetings in 2015 show only one member of the public addressing the board. Sacramento Bee article


Unsung hero: Teacher gives back in many ways — Brandon Piasecki has no shortage of work to keep him busy. The 27-year-old is a Stockton Collegiate International Schools chemistry teacher, a musician and youth advocate, and is helping friend Billy Chaddock open a microbrewery in downtown Stockton. But if you ask him about “work,” he’ll cheerfully tell you it’s not work if you’re having fun. Stockton Record article


Lois Henry: PG&E rates unfairly calculated to zap non-solar homes — PG&E has another rate case being heard at the state and I’m sure it’ll come as no shock that our bills will be going up. But it’s not the straight-up rate hike I, and others, are concerned about. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

Health/Human Services 

Robot extends reach of Bakersfield surgeons — Bakersfield happens to be at the leading edge of a revolutionary trend in medical technology that makes use of the latest in robotics to extend the reach of a surgeon’s hands and the sharpness and depth of her vision. Bakersfield Californian article

Stanislaus County’s new mental health director praised for ‘focus on solutions’ – Along with overseeing a department with a $109 million annual budget, a 16-bed psychiatric facility and contract with the behavioral center on Claus Road, Richard DeGette is expected to get involved with Focus on Prevention, an effort to address Stanislaus County’s intractable social conditions. Modesto Bee article

VEAC: The bold idea — When you’re feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and bringing smiles to the faces of children across the Valley, you can’t go it alone. Visalia Emergency Aid Council is starting a new chapter. After 85 years of helping the community, they’re looking to the community to help them. Liz Wynn is at the helm and she’s surrounded herself with people who think outside the box. Visalia Times-Delta article


Long Beach Airport can serve international flights, feasibility study says – A long-awaited study on the feasibility of allowing international flights in and out of Long Beach Airport concluded that such flights would not exceed local noise restrictions and would generate millions of dollars in spending by international travelers. LA Times article

Other areas

The National Park Service is melting down over harassment charges in its 100th anniversary year – It is known for its giant sequoia trees, towering granite ridges and tumbling waterfalls. But one of the West’s most majestic national parks has now become the latest cauldron in an unfolding scandal over workplace harassment that has rocked the national parks system. LA Times article

Lewis Griswold: Teacher’s passion for hometown gets a library for London — For Rob Isquierdo Jr., next Saturday will be a day of pride when the new London branch of the Tulare County Public Library opens. “After three years of diligent work, our dream to create a library in our small struggling rural community is finally a reality,” he said. Griswold in Fresno Bee

Multi-agency dispatch makes slow progress — Plans for a multi-agency police and fire dispatch center in Lemoore are pushing forward, but not without a few hiccups. Hanford Sentinel article

Massive LA Coroner backlog comes at a price for loved ones of those lost — The delays have threatened the office’s accreditation and sparked a frantic effort to fix the problems. They have also frustrated law enforcement officials, who use the autopsies to help build criminal cases. Officials blame staffing and budget shortages, broken equipment and the difficulty in recruiting and training highly skilled employees. LA Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian  Both Kyle Carter and Karen Goh, the survivors of a remarkably diverse and enthusiastic field of 25 primary-election candidates, are worthy and well-equipped to succeed him. In a close call, we like Carter, who has succeeded as both a multi-faceted businessman and in public service.

Modesto Bee – If you want better roads and fewer potholes, you have to vote for Measure L.

Sacramento Bee – Donald Trump has come for the Republican Party, finally, and the party can do nothing but succumb; Here’s a summary of The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s recommendations on the 17 statewide measures on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Stockton Record – While it may seem unusual to state that a Capitol Hill newcomer could do more than a 20-year member of the House of Representatives, Kamala Harris is the stronger candidate to fill the considerable shoes of Barbara Boxer; Hillary Clinton is best for the country.