September 15, 2014


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Political Briefs

Top stories

Voters support a path to legalization for immigrants here illegally – Though deeply concerned about the effects of illegal immigration on California, state voters broadly support a path to legalization for the nation’s 12 million unauthorized residents, according to a new poll.  LA Times article

Dan Walters: Brown dons rose-colored glasses for his look backward – Those entering old age – psychologically, not necessarily chronologically – often embrace rose-tinted nostalgia, a yearning for times past when, they believe, life was better. Jerry Brown, at 76 California’s oldest-ever governor and seeking a fourth term, revealed that tendency in an interview with Bloomberg News as he recounted his efforts to establish a military-oriented charter school as mayor of Oakland.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Fresno’s District 1 council race: When will voters take notice? – The only Fresno City Hall race on the Nov. 4 ballot features two District 1 candidates who are promising to love the voter more than their opponent.  Fresno Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

George Skelton: Secretary of state’s race is one worth watching –  In a mostly lackluster election season, at least one statewide race in California is intriguing. It’s for secretary of state. Skelton column in LA Times

Sacramento Bee: John Chiang is the best choice for state treasurer – In an election in which the California Republican Party has provided few good alternatives for voters, Controller John Chiang is the best choice to be the state’s next treasurer.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Other areas

Sacramento Bee: California has an abundance of democracy, maybe too much – There’s only one way to counter an overabundance of democracy, short of eliminating it. Citizens have to get involved. Just think, if every adult picked just one local elected body to pay attention to just once a year, it would go a long way to keeping just the right amount of democracy. Sacramento Bee editorial

Dan Walters Daily: Rod Wright’s punishment unique for lawmakers – While plenty of California legislators face questions over their residency, they are unlikely to be prosecuted like Sen. Rod Wright, Dan says.  Dan Walters Daily in Sacramento Bee

Hilary Clinton to Iowa: ‘I’m back’ – Hillary Clinton all but kicked off her 2016 White House bid Sunday before a festive crowd of 6,000 in this pivotal state, presenting herself as a child and champion of the still-struggling middle class.  McClatchy Newspapers articleLA Times article

News Briefs

Top Stories

Pensions may be key to Stockton bankruptcy exit – Bankrupt Stockton says it does not want to cut its biggest debt, pensions promised employees, because the CalPERS plan is needed to be competitive in the job market, particularly for a short-handed police force in the crime-ridden city. But despite Stockton’s wishes, during a hearing Oct. 1 on Stockton’s “plan of adjustment” to cut debt and emerge from bankruptcy, something else may emerge: a landmark ruling on whether CalPERS pension debt can be cut in bankruptcy.  Calpensions article

California poised to restrict groundwater pumping – On Aug. 29, the Legislature passed a package of bills that impose sweeping new regulations on groundwater extraction. If signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the laws would create new local agencies with broad powers to restrict groundwater pumping, shut down harmful wells and impose fines and criminal penalties for failing to allow inspections.  Sacramento Bee article

Wildfire burns 21 structures near Bass Lake, prompts 1,000 evacuations – A fire that swept from outside of Oakhurst to the edge of Bass Lake on Sunday damaged or destroyed 21 structures, blackened 320 acres and prompted an evacuation of hundreds of residents and visitors, including from the Bass Lake resort area.  Fresno Bee articleLA Times articleKVPR report

Jobs and the Economy

S&P: California recovers growth with tax increases – Rising income inequality has led to slowing tax revenue growth in California, but the state has responded by increasing its top marginal tax rate, causing its growth rate to accelerate after 2009, according to a new study released Monday by credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s.  AP article

Tulare County supervisors could get raises – The Tulare County Board of Supervisors will consider on Tuesday approving a budget for this fiscal year that could include a raise from themselves.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Stockton wastewater bond rating on the rise – Positive financial news has not exactly flowed in recent years in Stockton, but a recent refinancing of millions of dollars of waste-water bonds coupled with upgraded bond ratings provide signs the city is becoming more flush.  Stockton Record article

Garcetti asking nearby cities to join LA in boosting minimum wages – When Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti pitched his plan to gradually boost the minimum wage across the city, critics argued that businesses might move to nearby cities to pay workers less. Now Garcetti is trying to persuade those neighboring cities to increase their minimum wages as well — and some are showing interest. LA Times article

Think Sacramento is all about state workers?  Health care sector is surging – Sacramento has long been known as a state worker town. These days, it’s just as accurate to call it a health worker town. The health care sector in the four-county Sacramento region has grown steadily and significantly for more than a decade, according to the California Employment Development Department.  Sacramento Bee article

Q&A: Turlock attorney addresses ADA compliance issues businesses face – More than 50 businesses in Stanislaus and Merced counties have been sued by serial plaintiffs making a living from lawsuits alleging barriers confronting disabled people. They say they are standing up for rights guaranteed under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Modesto Bee article

Will Congress renew tax relief for homeowners’ debt forgiveness? – Congress is back from its summer vacation, so the burning financial question on thousands of homeowners’ minds right now is this: Are you guys finally going to help out consumers who are underwater on their mortgages, many of whom face crushing federal tax bills if they accept — or have already accepted — principal reductions by their lenders?  LA Times article

Jim Newton: LA’s rush-hour construction ban is costing taxpayers millions – Today, because of the ban, city work crews are often sidelined for hours at a time; money is wasted and projects are delayed. The impact is especially severe at the Department of Water and Power, which is constantly repairing and servicing electrical and water systems. The DWP estimates that it loses more than $20 million a year as a result of the ban.  Newton in LA Times


Chowchilla tightens water restrictions – Afraid that the state could eventually take action against the city of Chowchilla, the City Council here on Tuesday unanimously voted to further tighten its restrictions on water waste effective immediately.  Merced Sun-Star article

Why more trees in the Sierra mean less water for California – With California’s reservoir levels dropping, just about everyone is wishing the state had gotten more water this year. That doesn’t just depend on the weather, according to a team of scientists. Sierra Nevada forests play a big role in the state’s water supply.  KQED report

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Valley jails get boost in funding thanks to realignment – Valley counties will get more money in coming years for jail programs after negotiations led to a change in the state prison realignment funding formula. Among the issues new to the state formula were poverty and the effects of state prisons on counties where they are located. San Joaquin Valley counties are home to about one-third of the state’s penitentiaries.  Fresno Bee article

Stockton family concerned woman’s killer will be released – The days approaching every parole hearing of convicted rapist and murderer Larry Dun are filled with anguish for the family of his victim. More so the upcoming hearing on Oct. 30, given that the parole board has previously approved his release. Gov. Jerry Brown reversed the board’s decision in 2011.  Stockton Record article


Modesto world religions course recognized in new book, state resolution – As religious violence flares, Modesto City Schools’ course in world geography and religions finds itself in the spotlight once again, included in an upcoming book and the subject of a freshly passed Capitol resolution. The district is believed to be the only public school district in the nation to require a class on religions.  Modesto Bee article

Maps and charts: Career academies in California – Check out our new interactive map on career academies in California high schools for 2013-2014. The programs typically combine college-preparatory academics aligned to a specific career field – health care, for example – alongside real-world work experiences, including internships, job shadowing or mentoring opportunities. EdSource article

Denair Unified looks at merging elementary school, charter – The Denair Unified School District is looking at merging its popular elementary charter school with adjacent Denair Elementary by next year.  Modesto Bee article


Yosemite’s Meadow fire estimated cost at $3.9 million to date – Yosemite National Park officials estimate that the effort to put out a 4,760-acre blaze has cost $3.9 million to date.Fresno Bee article

Will California PUC President Michael Peevey get a record third term? – Legislators, lobbyists and Capitol staffers who deal with energy policy are buzzing about whether Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey will get a record third term.  LA Times article

Health/Human Services

Autism benefit finally a reality for children on Medi-Cal – California health officials today are launching a new benefit for thousands of children with autism who are covered by Medi-Cal, California’s low-income health program.  KQED report

West Nile virus still active in Sacramento – Sacramento-area mosquito control officials reported Sunday they have confirmed 25 new samples of insects carrying the West Nile virus, a sign that the virus remains widespread in the region even as summer winds down.  Sacramento Bee article

USC acquires local urology practice – A local urologist has sold his practice to Keck Medicine, a medical enterprise affiliated with the University of Southern California that could bring new services and clinical trials to the Bakersfield market.  Bakersfield Californian article

Steve Lopez: For ailing veterans, endless government delays – As of Sept. 5, only 196 vets were living in a home with a capacity of 396 due to long-running issues that involve licensing, permitting, funding and staffing. And then there’s the fact that the home — designed for assisted living, skilled nursing, memory loss treatment and transitional housing — was built without a kitchen.  Lopez column in LA Times

Other Areas

Lemoore-based Navy pilot presumed dead in crash ID’d – A Navy fighter pilot presumed dead after two jets crashed in the far western Pacific Ocean has been identified. The Navy said Sunday that the pilot was Lt. Nathan Poloski, a 26-year-old native of Lake Arrowhead.  Fresno Bee articleLA Times article

Homeless Outreach Team cuts back, regroups to do street medicine – San Francisco’s in-your-face homeless problem may seem even more pronounced this fall as the city temporarily scales back its Homeless Outreach Team in order to remake it.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Merced gets some ‘Love’ – Whether painting a fence, raking dry grass from an empty lot or picking up trash strewn throughout Merced streets, more than 600 people turned out Saturday to show Merced some love, according to organizers.  Merced Sun-Star article

Stockton man working to assemble Latino veterans exhibit for November – An uncle’s funeral, a gap in the history books, a love of country. Stockton resident Michael Villanueva is motivated by all three things — and pride in his Latino heritage. The one-time state correctional officer has turned to detective work in retirement, launching his own personal crusade to find and to honor San Joaquin County’s Latino military veterans.  Stockton Record article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – As the recession hangs on in the San Joaquin Valley, local governments are faced with real dilemmas and have few alternatives for confronting them. A sales-tax increase is often the best way. But let’s look for ways to make it as palatable as possible.

Merced Sun-Star – Cheating is common in federal stimulus projects.

Modesto Bee – Cheating is common in federal stimulus projects.

Sacramento Bee – California has an abundance of democracy, maybe too much; In an election in which the California Republican Party has provided few good alternatives for voters, Controller John Chiang is the best choice to be the state’s next treasurer.