September 1, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

Jerry Brown, Democrats reach deal to spend cap-and-trade funds — Dangling the carrot at the end of cap-and-trade’s stick, Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders announced they’ve reached a deal to spend $900 million in revenue from the climate program. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article

Bill to advance California’s high-speed rail project is sent to Gov. Brown — In the last few hours before the end of session, lawmakers passed a measure to advance the California bullet train project. Voters approved nearly $10 billion in bonds for the high-speed rail project in 2008, but it has since stalled. The bill passed Wednesday would clarify wording in the 2008 measure and allow some of the money for the project to upgrade existing rail lines. LA Times article

John Meyers: Two years and thousands of bills later, here are California Legislature’s wins and losses — On Wednesday, the final gavel fell on the two-year session of the California Legislature, which saw the introduction of more than 5,000 proposed laws, resolutions and constitutional amendments. Legislative leaders have praised efforts on a variety of important issues, while admitting that a few big items were left unfinished.Meyers in LA Times

Valley politics 

Video: Judge talks law career, censure and re-election fight on ‘Off the Press’ — Kern County Superior Court Judge Cory Woodward held a frank discussion on Off the Press Wednesday about why he got into the legal profession, his experience developing his skills as a judge and the political fight he faces to defend his seat on the bench from Deputy District Attorney Tiffany Organ-Bowles. Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

James Ardaiz: Don’t be fooled by deceptive Proposition 57 – The retired presiding judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeal writes, “When you receive the statewide ballot explanation of the various propositions, my signature, James A. Ardaiz, retired presiding justice Fifth District Court of Appeal, will be on the opposition arguments to Prop. 57. Why? Because it is a misleading and disingenuous ballot proposition that will decrease public safety and increase crime.” Ardaiz op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Sacramento Bee: Five good arguments against legislative term limits — We spend plenty of time criticizing, ridiculing and excoriating the 120 men and women who represent us in the Capitol. But today, with the legislative session over, we acknowledge a handful of departing lawmakers who left marks worthy of note. They share certain traits: a willingness to work hard, tackle complex issues and cultivate relations, understanding that compromise is not a sign of weakness. Sacramento Bee editorial 

Is this the last time a legislative session ends in Sacramento with quickly amended bills? – At several points Wednesday night, with only hours before the end of the legislative session, proposed laws were being quickly rewritten and placed in front of weary lawmakers for a fast vote. It’s a familiar scene at the state Capitol. But one group hopes it’s also the last time it happens. LA Times article 

Hurting for support in her own party, Loretta Sanchez tilts her Senate campaign to the right — Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s U.S. Senate campaign has swerved away from the left side of the road in recent weeks. LA Times article

Other areas 

Marcos Breton: Countdown to Jerry Brown: Will he help farmworkers, or stab them in the back? – It’s not over yet. Gov. Jerry Brown still has to sign overtime pay for farmworkers into law, and there is no guarantee that he will. This particular issue is just that divisive. Breton column in Sacramento Bee 

California soon could expand the state’s family leave law to smaller businesses – California soon could expand its family leave law to 2.7 million residents across the state, the latest of legislative efforts this session that have sought to assist working parents. SB 654, dubbed the New Parent Leave Act, is headed to the governor’s desk after it passed out of the state Senate on Wednesday with a 24-12 vote. LA Times article; San Francisco Chronicle article 

Working Thanksgiving? No pay bump from California – Siding with employers, the California Assembly on Tuesday halted a bill that would have guaranteed double pay for working on Thanksgiving. Sacramento Bee article 

Local officials oppose farmworker overtime bill – Kings County officials are fuming as Gov. Jerry Brown decides whether to sign a bill that would phase in additional overtime pay for farmworkers over the next decade.Hanford Sentinel article 

Internet poker bill dies amid bickering between competing gambling interests – After 10 bills over eight years failed to legalize Internet poker in California, the latest plan also died Wednesday in the Legislature amid continued squabbling by competing factions of the gambling industry. LA Times article 

Public financing of elections could expand in California – Publicly financed election campaigns, long a goal of reformers who decry the role of money in politics, could proceed in many California locales under legislation sent to Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday. Sacramento Bee article

Surprise medical billing measure heads to Jerry Brown – Compromise legislation seeking to limit out-of-network medical bills sailed from the Assembly to Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday. Sacramento Bee article 

Planned Parenthood bill on secret videos advances after compromise – With final amendments removing opposition from media groups, a bill to increase the punishment for secret recordings like those that enveloped Planned Parenthood in controversy last summer is on its way to the governor’s desk. Sacramento Bee article 

Public Utilities Commission reform bill collapses in session’s final hours – Legislation to overhaul California’s public utilities regulator stalled in the final hours of the legislative session as its backer said the Senate Republican leader blocked a vote. Sacramento Bee article 

‘Let’s get the Olympics back to California’: Lawmakers OK $250-million spending guarantee for 2024 Summer Games – State lawmakers on Wednesday sent the governor a bill that would allow him to provide up to $250 million in financial guarantees in case the city of Los Angeles goes over budget in its proposal to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. LA Times article

An overhaul of California’s taxi regulations passes the Legislature – In potentially a major change to California’s taxi business, state lawmakers passed legislation late Wednesday to centralize control over the industry, an effort supporters said would allow cabs to better compete with Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services. LA Times article 

Legislature Oks background checks for Uber, Lyft drivers – Drivers for Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies would be required to have state and national background checks under a bill passed by the Legislature on Wednesday. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Consumers could pay a new battery recycling fee under a bipartisan bill sent to governor’s desk – Californians who purchase lead-acid batteries like those used to start cars and trucks would pay a new $1 fee under legislation sent to Gov. Jerry Brown early Thursday morning, with the funds earmarked for cleaning up contaminated sites such as the former Exide battery plant in Los Angeles County. LA Times article 

Methane-limiting measure heads to Jerry Brown – Moving to expand California’s already-sweeping efforts to blunt climate change, lawmakers on Tuesday sent Gov. Jerry Brown legislation to limit methane from sources like landfills and dairies. Sacramento Bee article

Late bill hikes pension formula for next Assembly sergeant-at-arms – A single line in Senate Bill 834 and Assembly Bill 1630, identical 43-page budget trailer bills to ratify a new collective bargaining agreementbetween the state and government attorneys would elevate the Assembly chief sergeants job to peace officer status. Sacramento Bee article

Contract deal with state attorneys wins legislative approval – An agreement announced last week between Gov. Jerry Brown and the state’s legal professionals over their new contract won final legislative approval Wednesday on the last day for bills to be sent to the governor. Sacramento Bee article 

Environmentalists suffer defeat on coastal commission bills – Efforts by Democratic lawmakers to overhaul two state environmental boards they viewed as too tight with developers and the oil industry foundered badly on the final day of the legislative session. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article 

California lawmakers ask governor to criminalize possession of synthetic drug ‘spice’ – Alarmed that dozens in Los Angeles have been sickened after ingesting a synthetic drug called “spice,” state lawmakers on Wednesday sent the governor a bill outlawing possession of the substance. LA Times article 

Bill allowing landlords to bar medical pot use is dropped — A state lawmaker has dropped a proposal that would have allowed landlords renting apartments in California to bar their tenants from smoking medical marijuana in their residences.  LA Times article 

New processing standards for medical marijuana would be set under bill sent to governor – The University of California would conduct a study of the effects of marijuana on motor skills, and new standards would be set for manufacturing medical cannabis products under legislation sent Wednesday by state lawmakers to the governor. LA Times article 

U.S. court upholds ban on gun sales to marijuana card holders — A federal government ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment, a federal appeals court said Wednesday. The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals applies to the nine Western states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, including California, Washington and Oregon. AP article 

Victor Davis Hanson: Here we are, doing 1966 all over again — America and the rest of the world have made enormous progress in technology, science and social relations. But beneath the veneer of 2016, human nature remains the same, and life often operates on principles similar to those from a half-century ago – and even before that. Hanson op-ed in Fresno Bee 

Jeff Jardine: Silence not golden for Kaepernick in old hometown of Turlock — Turlock Unified School District Superintendent Dana Salles Trevethan is prohibiting school personnel from talking publicly about Kaepernick. That gag order extends to Pitman High Principal Amy Curd, whom I’m told was Kaepernick’s favorite teacher when he was a student there. DiGrazia refuses to be silent, though. She believes he deserves support, not rejection.Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Presidential Politics 

Trump vows to remove millions living in country illegally – Seeking to end confusion over his aggressive but recently muddled language on immigration, Donald Trump vowed Wednesday to remove millions of people living in the country illegally if he becomes president, warning that failure to do so would jeopardize the “well-being of the American people.” AP article; Washington Post: ‘Fact-checking Trump’s immigration speech’; LA Times article; New York Times article 

Trump says border wall discussed with Mexican president but not payment – Standing alongside the president of Mexico, a measured Donald Trump on Wednesday defended the right of the United States to build a massive border wall along its southern flank, but he declined to repeat his frequent promise to force Mexico to pay for it. AP article; 

Trump says Mexico will pay “100 percent” of the border wall despite Mexican president’s tweet – Donald Trump insisted that Mexico will pay for the wall he wants to build along the length of the southern border. Hours after a meeting he called “thoughtful and substantive” with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Trump told a campaign rally in Phoenix that Mexico will pay for the wall, “100 percent.” AP article 

Meg Whitman stumps for Hillary Clinton, demurs when asked about Cabinet post – Republican billionaire Meg Whitman, in her first appearance on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton, wouldn’t rule out serving in a Cabinet position if the Democratic presidential nominee wins the White House in the fall. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

Clovis Unified parents urge district to fight transgender bathroom law – Clovis Unified parents are pushing the school board to separate transgender students from the general student body in bathrooms and locker rooms, despite federal and state laws that protect those students’ rights.  Fresno Bee article 

This may be one reason so many federal prisoners end up back in jail – Three federal prisons in California and others nationwide appear to be falling short in preparing inmates for safe release into society, investigators are warning. McClatchy Newspapers article

Jobs and the Economy 

Fresno is one of nation’s 20 hottest markets for real estate – Fresno has made’s August list of “America’s 20 Hottest Markets for Real Estate.” We come in No. 15, two spots better than last month, and are among 11 California cities on the list including San Francisco, Stockton and San Diego. Vallejo is No. 1 continuing its streak of four straight months at the top.  Fresno Bee article 

Dinuba food maker shuts down to deal with pest problem – Ruiz Food Products Inc. has suspended operations at its 300,000-square-foot factory in Dinuba to take care of a pest problem. The company, in a statement released Wednesday, said it was working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address the government’s discovery of beetles, roaches and other insects in or around the Dinuba factory. Fresno Bee article; Visalia Times-Delta article 

Gallo’s new offices hope to spur innovation – E.&J. Gallo Winery christened a major addition to its Modesto headquarters Wednesday – an office building designed to keep the creative juices flowing. The Dry Creek Building will house up to 700 of the 3,500 or so people who work for Gallo in Modesto. Employees in marketing, creative services, finance and information technology are moving in. Modesto Bee article 

Bay Area rents plateauing, studies confirm — Two new studies confirm that Bay Area rents are softening, after years of double-digit increases. The San Francisco metro area saw average rents decline year over year for the first time in more than six years last month, according to a survey by Dallas research firm Axiometrics. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Sorry, Sacramento, it’s time to start feeding the meter at night – Heading downtown for dinner? Get out your wallets. The long run of free evening parking on central Sacramento streets is officially over. Starting Thursday night, the city is extending parking meter hours to 10 p.m. downtown and 8 p.m. in a slice of midtown. Sacramento Bee article 

State bars Modesto nonprofit from operating – A state agency has barred the Latino Community Roundtable from operating because the Modesto nonprofit failed to submit paperwork covering several years.  Modesto Bee article 

Michael Hiltzik: Inside the Apple tax bombshell: Why it’s not good for anyone (especially Apple) — There also are grounds for Apple investors — and those of other U.S. corporations that have been playing international tax rules like an orchestra for profit — to be worried about the EC investigation and its outcome. First and foremost, the jig is up. Hiltzik column in LA Times


Tulare water forum draws big crowd — There are solutions to the water issues befalling farmers and growers in the southern San Joaquin Valley, said Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) during a forum held Wednesday in Tulare. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Citrus farmers want tighter regulations — When was the last time a farm group called for more regulatory oversight, tighter rules and penalties as well as more crop inspection? It may not be typical but in this case the orange industry is facing a “death sentence,” fears Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelsen. That threat comes from the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) that can carry deadly citrus greening disease (HCP) that has already devastated Florida’s citrus groves. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Landscaping for drought could make warm nights cooler – As drought-stricken residents of Los Angeles’s hottest neighborhoods replace thirsty lawns with native plants, pavers and bare soil, new research has shown how their local climates could begin tipping back in the direction of their desert-like origins. KQED report 

Project aims to feed Delta smelt – ‘They’re starving to death’ — Sommer is leading an effort to improve conditions for plankton in the hope it will help save from extinction the species that’s most emblematic of the Delta’s ecological woes – the Delta smelt. The tiny fish eat plankton, and smelt numbers are at all-time lows. Sacramento Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Ex-Los Banos mayor Tommy Jones arrested on bribery charges – Tommy Jones, a school board trustee and former Los Banos mayor embroiled in an alleged public corruption scandal, surrendered to authorities Wednesday, a day after he was described as a fugitive by the Merced County District Attorney’s Office. Merced Sun-Star article

Fresno residents balk at plan to put sex offender in their neighborhood – Residents from a northwest Fresno neighborhood came out Wednesday to protest the placement of a “sexually violent predator” in one of the neighborhood’s vacant homes west of Highway 99. Fresno Bee article 

Kern sheriff’s office closes Rosamond substation – The Kern County Sheriff’s Office has closed its Rosamond substation and sheriff’s officials are looking for another location in the area for a new substation. Bakersfield Californian article

Two K9s added to Madera County Sheriff’s Office – Two K9s have been added to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office with the help of donations from the community, said Bill Ward, commander with the Sheriff’s Office. Nacho and Gastone, both Belgian Malinois, were imported from France and completed a six week training and certification with their handlers Deputy Logan Majeksi and Deputy Eric Jackson. Fresno Bee article

Driver finally arraigned in hit-and-run collision that killed Stockton officer – The man arrested after a hit-and-run in Escalon that killed an off-duty Stockton police officer was arraigned Wednesday morning, 11 days after the collision that claimed the life ofJustin Kepler. Stockton Record article 

Suspect in paintball attack on gay nightclub released, ordered to return to court – One of the three teen suspects in aJune paintball attack on a gay nightclub in north Stockton was ordered released on his own recognizance Wednesday afternoon, two days after his arrest. Stockton Record article 

Sacramento Bee: End the confusion with real rules for body cams – For two years, the Legislature has been trying to come up with reasonable statewide rules for the use of body cams, only to be thwarted by police unions. For the sake of restoring public trust in law enforcement across California, this needs to change. Sacramento Bee editorial 

White House panel expected to issue report critical of some forensic evidence in criminal cases – A presidential commission will recommend that federal judges stop allowing expert witnesses to link guns, blood and shoe prints to criminal suspects because such testimony is not based on sound science, according to a draft report obtained by The Times. LA Times article 

New policy in LA cracks down on problem of police shooting at moving cars – Heavy scrutiny surrounding officer-involved shootings has some law enforcement leaders rethinking firing at moving cars. One of those agencies is the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which recently changed its policy on the issue. The LASD is the largest sheriff’s dept in the country, with about 10,000 full-time sworn personnel. NPR report 

Assigning LAPD officers to work security at Rams games an ‘illegal’ gift from city, lawsuit claims — Former Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, alleging an illegal “gift of public funds” for providing police security at Ramshome games. LA Times article 

Man arrested after trying to enter San Joaquin County courthouse with explosive device — Authorities arrested a man Wednesday morning after he tried to enter a Stockton courthouse with an explosive device, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said. Stockton Record article


For students, the overlooked test score gap that isn’t closing – While the state’s newly released 2016 scores show small improvements overall compared to last year’s results, one largely overlooked gap persists. In virtually every major school district in the state, boys continue to score lower than girls in English. That gender gap is not only dramatic; it actually increased slightly from last year. CALmatters article 

Los Banos school board terminates contract at center of criminal probe – The Los Banos Unified School Board voted 5-0 Wednesday to terminate a hotly disputed construction contract that was revealed this week to be at the center of a criminal probe into alleged payoffs by the contractor and a school board trustee. Merced Sun-Star article 

Does Opinski live in the school area he represents? – Well over a year has passed since Greg Opinski confirmed he did not live in the area of the Merced Union High School District he was elected to represent. Developments this week indicate the prominent Merced contractor may still live outside the boundaries. Merced Sun-Star article 

Stockton Unified teachers rally for new contract, plan strike authorization vote – Hundreds of Stockton Teachers Association members packed together on the corners of Pacific Avenue and March Lane, ringing cowbells and trading thumbs ups with passing motorists. Stockton Record article 

Dissenting judge awaits second chance to corral a majority on school funding lawsuit – California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu made it clear in his long dissenting opinion last week that he hasn’t given up hope that there’ll be another lawsuit asserting students’ right to adequate school funding, and that next time, one more justice will switch sides and agree to hear the case. EdSource article

Dual enrollment programs attract more high school students – Local community colleges have seen an increase in the number of high school students taking advantage of programs that allow them to earn college credit while in high school. Hanford Sentinel article 

Legislators send new visual and performing arts standards for California schools to governor – State legislators passed a bill Tuesday to update the state’s content standards in the arts for the first time since 2001. Arts education advocates say the changes are overdue: while California educators have updated standards for most school subjects in recent years to reflect changing technology, research and educational priorities, arts standards have languished. KPCC report 

Oakland prides itself on being diverse – until it comes to send kids to school — Oakland prides itself on diversity. Students in the district’s public and charter schools are 44 percent Latino, 26 percent African-American, 13 percent Asian and 9.7 percent white. But only a handful of its public schools fully reflect the district’s diversity. They are more likely to look like their own neighborhoods, which are largely segregated by race and class. That’s due in large part to the district’s enrollment policy. KQED report


Cedar Fire 75 percent contained – Fire officials reported no growth of the Cedar Fire overnight Tuesday as the blaze is now 75 percent contained and more evacuations were lifted. Bakersfield Californian article; Fresno Bee article 

Stockton Record: Our city’s a mess — It’s really not asking too much for people to hold onto their trash and dispose of appropriately. But far too often, that is not happening. Stockton Record editorial

Obama rips climate skeptics in Tahoe visit: ‘You don’t have to be a scientist’ — President Barack Obama, fixed against a pristine backdrop of the Sierra Nevada, issued a forceful defense Wednesday of his administration’s policies to address climate change, warning that rising temperatures could lay waste to decades of conservation efforts at Lake Tahoe and throughout the United States. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

Health/Human Services

Tulare Regional Medical Center won’t shutter – A day after Tulare Local Health Care District’s Measure I failed, the private company managing the district’s assets remains committed to improving the health of the community.Visalia Times-Delta article 

As more parents refuse vaccines, more doctors cut ties with families – Between 2006 and 2013, the percentage of surveyed pediatricians who stopped providing care for families who refused at least some vaccines nearly doubled, from 6.1 percent to 11.7 percent. In a policy paper published this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics says the decision to stop seeing families who refuse vaccination “is not one that should be made lightly.” KPCC report

Here’s why drug prices rise even when there’s plenty of competition – Unlike nearly every other developed nation, the U.S. allows drug manufacturers to set their own prices, a policy that has resulted in overall medicine costs being far higher than elsewhere. Increasingly, insurers are passing the cost along to patients through higher deductibles. LA Times article 

Experimental drug reduces protein clumps and slows memory loss in early Alzheimer’s — In the search for a treatment capable of changing the course of Alzheimer’s disease, new findings are offering a rare glimmer of hope: In a preliminary trial of subjects suffering from memory and thinking problems or diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s, a bioengineered medication called aducanumab has demonstrated the ability to clear accumulations of beta-amyloid proteins — a hallmark of Alzheimer’s — from the brain. LA Times article

Land Use/Housing 

Fresno property owners question city on interior inspection plan — As Fresno leaders debate whether to initiate an interior inspection program of rental housing, members of a code enforcement task force, landlords and residents met with representatives of a company that could manage such a program. Fresno Bee article


Merced looks to improve walking and cycling options — The city of Merced has partnered with the state Department of Public Health, the Local Government Commission and the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute to make a plan for transportation improvement. Merced Sun-Star article 

Other areas 

Modesto awarded $3.3 million in firefighting grants – The Modesto Fire Department has been awarded two grants totaling $3.3 million that will allow it to hire nine firefighters for two years and send a dozen firefighters to paramedic school. Modesto Bee article 

Fresno City Council to vote on Sikh genocide resolution — The Fresno City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday night on a resolution to recognize the 1984 killings of thousands of Sikhs in India as a genocide. Fresno Bee article 

U.S. poet laureate to read at Turlock Carnegie Center — U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will be the keynote speaker for the Carnegie’s Sunday afternoon Centennial celebration Sept. 18 and will lead a writing workshop for high school students the next day. Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Finally, a chance to curb abuse of asset forfeiture laws: Sitting on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk is a chance to right yet another wrong of the criminal justice system. 

Merced Sun-Star – The more we know we know about gun violence and safety, the smarter we can be about dealing with it.

Modesto Bee – The more we know we know about gun violence and safety, the smarter we can be about dealing with it.

Sacramento Bee – A step toward shedding light on gun violence; The city’s deal with the Kings capped the taxpayer contribution toward construction of Golden 1 Center at $255 million, meaning the team would have to cover any increases. Good thing, too, because the total price tag is now $556.6 million; We spend plenty of time criticizing, ridiculing and excoriating the 120 men and women who represent us in the Capitol. But today, with the legislative session over, we acknowledge a handful of departing lawmakerswho left marks worthy of note; End the confusion with real rules for body cameras.

Stockton Record – It’s really not asking too much for people to hold onto their trash and dispose of appropriately. But far too often, that is not happening.