September 13, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

In historic move, California expands overtime to farmworkers — Farmworkers in the nation’s largest agricultural state will be entitled to the same overtime pay as most other hourly workers under a law that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Monday. Central San Joaquin Valley growers and farm groups, however, said the law will cost farmworkers money, saying farmers will move to more mechanization or less labor-intensive crops, or cut hours for crews to avoid hitting the overtime threshold. Fresno Bee articleSacramento Bee articleAP articleThe Business Journal articleLA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

California voters support initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana, poll finds — Six years after a similar initiative was rejected, a clear majority of California voters supports a measure on the November ballot that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in their state, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. LA Times article

Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown accuses critics of parole measure of trying to ‘spook people’ — Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday accused California district attorneys of spreading propaganda to “spook people” into voting against his November ballot initiative to make nonviolent felons eligible for early parole, while suggesting Proposition 57’s controversial classification of “nonviolent” crimes was based on language the district attorneys themselves once approved. Sacramento Bee article 

Domestic worker overtime pay can continue, Jerry Brown says — Domestic workers in California will continue to be guaranteed overtime pay under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Monday. Sacramento Bee article 

Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown should veto Planned Parenthood bill — Information has always had power, and the internet has weakened important checks on the spread of bad information. That’s something to deal with, but Californians can do better than this bill. Sacramento Bee editorial

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California’s history with recreational marijuana – and why this time may be different – On Nov. 8, California voters will have the opportunity to legalize recreational use of marijuana. It won’t be the first time. We’ve put together a timeline of the Golden State’s history with cannabis, which stretches back more than a century to the Poison Act of 1907. LA Times article 

California’s Citizens Unified ballot measure: Who’s for it, who’s against it and what it could really do – California voters will get to weigh in on the flood of money in politics this November through a ballot proposition that supporters say sends a strong message and detractors say does nothing much at all. LA Times article

Bakersfield Californian: Protect actors, punish violators; vote yes on Prop 60 — Proposition 60 clarifies the laws requiring adult or pornographic film actors must wear condoms or other safety devices. It is no different than requiring oilfield workers to wear hard hats, healthcare workers to wear latex gloves, or machinery operators to wear goggles. It’s workplace safety. Get over it. Vote YES on Proposition 60. Bakersfield Californian editorial

Other areas

California Senate leader and lawmakers head to Mexico for economic meetings – California’s Senate leader is leading a group of 13 state legislators on a weeklong trip to Mexico City to discuss the economy, environmental issues and more. LA Times articleSacramento Bee article

Dan Walters: As Legislature deadlocks, State Bar asks Supreme Court for money – In the wake of a legislative stalemate, State Bar trustees asked the state Supreme Court for authority to collect at least some fees from attorneys to maintain its operations. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Tom Steyer says he doesn’t like getting enmeshed in Democratic legislative fights – Tom Steyer, the billionaire climate activist and Democratic benefactor, is throwing cold water on the idea of wading into a fractious California legislative fight between an incumbent backed by business interests and her environmental challenger. Sacramento Bee article 

Ex-lawmaker gets 1 year for hiding senator-sibling bribe – A former California lawmaker was sentenced Monday to a year in federal prison for helping his brother, a state senator, hide bribe payments he got for supporting legislation. Ex-Assemblyman Thomas Calderon laundered money Sen. Ron Calderon accepted from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for supporting tax credits for the film industry — legislation that never passed. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Dan Walters: Bill addresses local government corruption in LA County – This is not the petty power-grabbing that marks much of the legislation dealing with local government. It is, rather, reform to substitute accountability for insider dealing. And it shouldn’t stop with the Central Basin Municipal Water District. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Hundreds rally in Modesto in support of gun rights – Carrying signs with messages including “No more gun laws,” “We will not comply” and “The 2nd Amendment: America’s original homeland security,” an estimated 500 people gathered Saturday along McHenry Avenue for a gun-rights rally. Modesto Bee article

Ron Agostini: Kaepernick’s protest is gaining steam – is he winning? — Colin Kaepernick’s on-the-field input Monday night was cosmetic – three mopup handoffs for a net gain of one yard. So why was he beaming like a Super Bowl MVP later in the locker room? Why did he talk for nearly 10 minutes though he was a non-factor in the 49ers’ 28-0 victory? And why did he command a presence usually saved for an NFL hero? Agostini op-ed in Modesto Bee

Presidential Politics

Why seeing a candidate’s health records and tax returns matter — It may seem an odd detour from the kitchen-table issues that voters want to hear discussed — especially now, less than two months before election day. But analysts say a candidate’s transparency provides insight into how that person will behave in the White House. San Francisco Chronicle article

News Stories

Top Stories

Merced slow to boost opportunities for budding entrepreneurs – As UC Merced continues to churn out Merced’s most educated workforce ever, by all accounts the city has yet to figure out how to persuade those bright minds to stay. While Merced is not traditionally thought of as a great place to find a technology job, Michael Urner, a 2014 graduate of the university, believes it is a good place to start a business. Merced Sun-Star article

Too many California towns have arsenic in tap water, group says — An environmental group said Monday that 55,000 people statewide are at risk of drinking tap water contaminated with arsenic, and many of the communities are poor, mostly Latino towns in the San Joaquin Valley. Fresno Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

Modesto council to look at more deals with labor groups – Three more of Modesto’s labor groups are in line to receive pay increases. The City Council on Tuesday will consider approving agreements with the Modesto City Employees Association and the Modesto Police Non-Sworn Association that call for 6 percent pay increases over two years and other enhancements, such as the city paying more toward employees’ health insurance. The council also will consider increases for the Modesto Police Management Association, including increasing longevity and special compensation pay. Modesto Bee article

Hanjin bankruptcy likely to affect Valley businesses – The recent bankruptcy filing by South Korean shipping giant Hanjin has roiled ports and exporters around the world — and could result in a hefty price hike for Valley businesses that ship their products internationally. The Business Journal article

Alcazar named Proteus CEO — Robert Alcazar is Proteus Inc.’s new chief executive officer. The organization’s board of directors selected Alcazar, who formerly worked as the organization’s executive officer and chief operating officer, to the new post. Visalia Times-Delta article

Thousands find work building and staffing Golden 1 Center – It could be years before Sacramentans can judge whether the Kings’ new $556 million arena is an economic success, both for the city and the team. The city’s contribution to the project, a public subsidy of $255 million, remains controversial for many. Less than a month before opening night, though, one thing is reasonably certain: Golden 1 Center has been, and will continue to be, a major generator of jobs – considerably more than predicted. Sacramento Bee article

LA officials launch campaign for homeless housing bond measure – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council members on Monday kicked off a campaign for an unprecedented $1.2-billion bond measure on the city’s Nov. 8 ballot that would develop homeless and affordable housing. LA Times article

Yahoo executives win golden parachutes before Verizon sale – Several Yahoo executives, including CEO Marissa Mayer, have been rewarded with golden parachutes worth a combined $89 million ahead of the struggling web giant’s sale to Verizon. San Jose Mercury News article

CalPERS begins open enrollment with more web access — CalPERS’ four-week open enrollment period for health benefits began Monday, with a couple changes for its 1.4 million beneficiaries. CalPERS members this year will get expanded resources to choose health care plans online, and to receive health care statements electronically. Sacramento Bee article

Senate to hold hearing on Wells Fargo’s aggressive sales tactics — The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing next week on the aggressive sales tactics by Wells Fargo & Co. employees that led to a $185-million settlement package with federal and state regulators. LA Times article

California, restaurant group to partner in nation’s first largescale transgender jobs program — California is now home to the nation’s first ever large-scale program to help transgender people find jobs. The goal of the new California Transgender Workplace Project is to eat away at the unemployment rate for trans people, which is twice the rate of other Americans. The numbers are even worse for trans people of color. KPCC report


Kern County crop value dips after five years of growth — The total gross value of Kern County’s agricultural products fell by 9 percent last year, but the dip came after five solid years of increases, the Kern County Agricultural Commissioner’s office said Monday in its annual crop report. Bakersfield Californian article

San Joaquin River revival inches along — An ambitious plan to restore long-dead stretches of the San Joaquin River has proven to be just that: ambitious. Ten years to the day after a legal settlement resolved one of California’s most enduring water disputes, none of the larger channel construction projects have been completed, the cost has risen to $1.5 billion, and the work will take decades longer than first expected. Stockton Record article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Wounded Fresno County correctional officers showing ‘vast improvement’ – Wounded Fresno County Sheriff’s correctional officers Toamalama Scanlan and Juanita Davila have both shown “vast improvements in their health,” sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said Monday afternoon. Fresno Bee article 

Deputy shot in Delhi on path to recovery — A Merced County sheriff’s deputy who was wounded in a gunfight last week is recovering well and went home Monday evening, Sheriff Vern Warnke said. Deputy Alejandro “Alex” Barba, a 17-year veteran of the county Sheriff’s Office, was responding Thursday night to a domestic disturbance call in Delhi when 38-year-old Jose Torres came out of the home on Harmony Ranch Drive with “an assault-like rifle,” authorities said. Torres opened fire, striking the deputy once in the lower abdomen and once in his thigh. Merced Sun-Star article 

Jeff Jardine: Police officers are free agents, available to the highest bidders – Reporter Kevin Valine’s story in Sunday’s Bee about how the Modesto Police Department plans to hire experienced officers away from other area law enforcement agencies explained and exposed a reality about policing in 2016. The departments with more money can hire away officers from those who pay less, and right now Modesto has more to offer. Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Keeping death investigations free from pressure – At a time when fatal shootings of civilians have increased mistrust of law enforcement and other public institutions, there’s growing concern over how to protect and empower the person determining how that person died. KQED report

Five new deputies join San Joaquin County sheriff’s office – Sheriff Steve Moore swore in five new deputies during a public ceremony Monday, bringing the total number of San Joaquin County sheriff’s deputies to 231. Stockton Record article

Clovis pays $650,000 to settle police brutality case — A former Clovis resident who accused four police officers of savagely beating him while he was handcuffed has settled his federal civil-rights case against the Clovis Police Department for $650,0000, his lawyer said Monday. Fresno Bee article 

School board trustee, ex-Modesto police sergeant arrested in DUI charge — A Hughson school board trustee and retired Modesto police sergeant was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence. Modesto Bee article

Frustrated with Sacramento leaders, armed citizen patrols respond to robberies of Asians — Asian residents of south Sacramento say they’ve formed their own armed patrols to respond to a wave of robberies that has terrorized the community, where business owners report a steep drop in customers because people are afraid to go out after dark. Sacramento Bee article


District attorney sends Kern High School District case to Tulare County – The Kern County District Attorney’s office is turning over the investigation of a Kern High School District employee’s alleged misuse of a criminal police database to Tulare County prosecutors, citing the appearance of a conflict of interest with those involved in the inquiry, officials announced Monday. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno Unified leader’s email about ‘black and brown’ students sparks outrage – Some Fresno Unified parents are outraged over Superintendent Michael Hanson’s email to teachers last week that referenced “black and brown” students. As part of his weekly superintendent’s message on Friday, Hanson called on teachers to pay extra attention to minority students, who scored lower than their white peers on state test scores. But his language used in the email to describe those students’ race has been called crude and offensive. Fresno Bee article

Student leaders of CSU, UC talk financial aid, hunger and housing – David Lopez and Ralph Washington, Jr. were elected recently to positions as student leaders with enormous constituencies and responsibilities. As president of the California State Student Association, Lopez represents the 474,000 undergraduate and graduate students at the 23 CSU campuses and is the leading spokesperson for student causes at the system’s headquarters and the state Legislature. Washington has similar duties as president of the University of California Student Association, the leading voice for the 252,000 students at the 10 UC campuses. EdSource article

Health/Human Services 

See where in California sports-related concussions happen most often – California emergency rooms treat far more youth for sports-related concussions today than a decade ago, with suburban and rural counties seeing the highest rates of concussions, new state figures show. Sacramento Bee article

UCSF-led study details sugar industry’s attempt to shape science — UCSF researchers believe they have uncovered a decades-old effort by the sugar industry to exonerate sugar as a dietary culprit for heart disease and shift the blame onto fat and cholesterol. San Francisco Chronicle article

Marin hospital could be first in state to allow medical marijuana – If Dr. Larry Bedard has his way, Marin General Hospital would become the first acute-care medical center in California to allow patients to openly consume medical marijuana in the hospital. San Francisco Chronicle article

California wants to pull this doctor’s license. Here’s how it’s sparked a new battle over vaccinations – Dr. Robert Sears is one of the leading voices in the anti-vaccination world, ahero to parents suspicious of childhood immunizations that public health officials say are crucial to preventing disease outbreaks. So when the Medical Board of California announced last week that it was moving topull the Orange County pediatrician’s medical license, it immediately set the stage for a new battle in the long-running fight over whether schoolchildren should be vaccinated. LA Times article

911 delays are a statewide problem — California’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) expects dispatch centers to answer 911 calls within 10 seconds at least 90 percent of the time, a standard suggested by the National Emergency Number Association. Yet news media reports show that callers in San Diego have waited for as long as 16 minutes this year. This problem extends beyond San Diego. Dispatch centers attached to police, fire and sheriff’s departments across the state have had challenges answering emergency calls within the first few seconds. California Health Report article

Land Use/Housing

Divided Madera County board approves Austin Quarry project after marathon hearing — A split Madera County Board of Supervisors approved the Austin Quarry Monday night after a marathon public hearing that saw more than 100 people on each side of the debate line up to share their views. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

Report: Pedestrian deaths are on the rise – With so many deaths and injuries, the state senate has passed a resolution declaring September as “California Pedestrian Safety Month.” The resolution was passed by Senator Jim Beall with the support of the State Transportation Agency, Office of Traffic Safety, California Highway Patrol, Caltrans and Department of Motor Vehicles. Visalia Times-Delta article

7 ways Stockton might crack down on fireworks – City Councilman Elbert Holman has heard enough — from residents in his north Stockton district, as well as with his own set of ears in the weeks before and after Independence Day. Stockton Record article

Kern County parks to be moved under General Services, CAO’s office – Kern County Parks and Recreation might merge operations with General Services, the department that builds, buys, leases and manages property for the county, manages its information technology, cleans up graffiti and runs its television station. Bakersfield Californian article

Local hookah lounges could be in hot seat — Nearly three months after Carlton Bruce Mosley was gunned down in the parking lot of a southwest shopping center, his family members want the City of Bakersfield to turn up the heat on hookah lounges. Bakersfield Californian article

Kern County settles third case brought in sexual harassment scandal — The County of Kern will pay $1.2 million to settle the last of three lawsuits tied to sexual harassment claims against former Kern County Probation Chief David Kuge. Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian – Proposition 60 clarifies the laws requiring adult or pornographic film actors must wear condoms or other safety devices. It is no different than requiring oilfield workers to wear hard hats, healthcare workers to wear latex gloves, or machinery operators to wear goggles. It’s workplace safety. Get over it. Vote YES on Proposition 60.

Fresno Bee – It’s time to raise California’s tobacco tax; The initiative by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation would litigate the industry into using condoms. But its fine print raises red flags and invites frivolous lawsuits.

Sacramento Bee – Ailing Hillary Clinton needs to cure her penchant for secrecy; Jerry Brown should veto Planned Parenthood bill.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers: ITT leaves more students in limbo, archery business thrives and other issues.