September 16, 2014


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Political Briefs

Top stories

Gov. Brown repeals unenforced sections of Prop 187 – Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday that repeals unenforceable provisions of Proposition 187, the two-decade-old measure that sought to withhold public services from immigrants in the country illegally.  LA Times articleCapitol Alert

AM Alert: Jerry Brown to sign historic groundwater management legislation – Despite strong objections from Central Valley lawmakers and agricultural groups, who argued that it would create burdensome and costly requirements, Gov. Jerry Brown is now poised to sign the legislation during a ceremony in his office at the Capitol at 10 a.m.  Capitol Alert

Valley politics

CD 21: ‘First Look’: Debate set for Cal State Bakersfield – The race for the 21st Congressional District seat is now on overdrive as the Nov. 4 election nears. Congressman David Valadao, R-Hanford, and Democratic challenger Amanda Renteria of Sanger will go head-to-head at a live debate from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at Cal State Bakersfield.  Bakersfield Californian article

Bakersfield council election profile: Parlier calls for southern Bakersfield Police Department substation – It’s no surprise Ward 7 candidate Chris Parlier considers public safety south Bakersfield’s biggest issue. Parlier was a member of the military police during four years in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1980s.  Bakersfield Californian article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Kashkari’s model on business climate: Scott Walker – One of Neel Kashkari’s foremost criticisms of Gov. Jerry Brown is that the Democrat has made California an unfriendly place for business. Too much taxing, too many regulations, and the latest evidence is Tesla’s decision to locate its electronic car battery factory in Nevada. So what would Kashkari do to improve the business climate if elected governor? Who’s his role model? Scott Walker.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Do newly registered voters actually vote?  In California: Yes – Turnout among the newly registered voters matches or even exceeds the turnout for the voting population as a whole — in general elections. They are substantially less likely to vote in primaries.  Washington Post article

Prop 46 campaign blasts opponents for payments to official’s committee – Supporters of a Nov. 4 ballot initiative to increase medical malpractice awards blasted a Los Angeles County supervisor Monday for scheduling a board vote to oppose the measure after a group he founded accepted a $75,000 donation from opponents.  Capitol Alert

Sacramento Bee: Six Californias campaign was chance to look at disparity in state – Although this is a classic example of how the state’s initiative process is flawed, we were looking forward to the campaign because it would have provided the perfect platform for a little healthy introspection.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Dan Walters Daily: Six Californias initiative does some good – Even in failing to qualify for the ballot, the Six Californias initiative performed a service by exposing the state’s economic divides, Dan says.  Dan Walters Daily in Sacramento Bee

Fabian Nunez: California must stay united to fix its problems – The former Assembly Speaker writes, “The failure of the Draper initiative does not mean that California is perfect. There are a number of changes that could help make the state a better place to live, to work and to do business. But those solutions can and should come from all Californians – its citizens and its elected representatives – who have proved time and time again that they can stand, together, and meet any political challenge.”  Nunez op-ed in Sacramento Bee


Border agency reports fewer immigrant deaths – Although the number of immigrants caught illegally crossing the Southwest border increased this summer, the number of border deaths decreased, authorities said.  LA Times article

Deportation delay allows brother to donate kidney – Puthy Hak got the surprise of his life last week. The surprise, in fact, may save his life. His brother, Touch Hak, who had been in a Texas detention center facing imminent deportation to Cambodia, now will be allowed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to remain in this country for at least one year. Stockton Record article

Other areas

Several domestic violence bills pending – Women’s advocacy groups are eagerly waiting to see how many domestic violence-related bills California Governor Jerry Brown will sign. There are more than 20 on his desk. But several important measures have already gone into effect.  Capital Public Radio report

Rod Wright steps down from California Senate – Sen. Rod Wright, sentenced to jail Friday for being convicted of perjury and voting fraud, said that he has resigned from the Senate. But he plans to stay on the payroll for one more week.  Capitol AlertLA Times articleAP article

Activists appeal dismissal of voting rights lawsuit in Whittier – Activists in Whittier on Monday filed an appeal to a judge’s dismissal this month of their lawsuit challenging the city’s system of electing its officials.  Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael M. Johnson on Thursday granted the city’s request to dismiss  the suit alleging that  its at-large method of electing council members violated the California Voting Rights Act. LA Times article

Obama’s Iraq policy gains bipartisan support, poll shows – Majorities of Republicans and Democrats say they support President Obama’s plan for attacking Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, a rare bit of bipartisan backing for the president, two new polls show.  LA Times article

Where will Obama’s presidential library be? There are four finalists – Columbia University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago are all set to submit official proposals to house the library. Each of the universities demonstrated in initial proposals the ability to develop and design the library and enhance economic development in the communities in which they reside, according to officials with the foundation. LA Times article

Simone Young:  McCarthy should push for vote on Chinese human rights bill – The naturalized U.S. citizen originally from China writes, “We, the 15,000 people who signed the petition to support HR 281, are hoping Congressman McCarthy can schedule a vote this month and show the world that Americans will not stand silent in the face of China’s egregious human rights abuses.” Young op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

News Briefs

Top Stories

73,000 state university students awarded Middle Class Scholarship funds – Despite concerns that California’s new Middle Class Scholarship program awards would have to be reduced because of high demand, officials said Monday that there was plenty of money to fully fund all the eligible applicants. Nearly 73,000 state university students were notified Monday that they would receive the tax-funded tuition credits — about half the number projected several months ago.  LA Times article

‘Like a war zone’ as 33 homes destroyed near Bass Lake – The home in the Bass Lake Heights neighborhood, along a ridge above the lake, was one of an estimated 33 homes destroyed and four damaged by the Courtney fire that started around 1:35 p.m. Sunday.  Fresno Bee articleKVPR report

More ‘no burn’ days coming to air district vote – Thursday could be a red-letter day for people who either suffer from breathing problems or enjoy burning logs in a fireplace. They can comment at a public hearing before air district leaders, who are expected to take a landmark vote that could double the number of “no burn” days for many. In Stanislaus County, burning in fireplaces and older stoves would be outlawed on most winter days.  Modesto Bee article

Jobs and the Economy

California bouncing back after slow start to 2014, report says – The economic recovery in California struggled through the first half of the year but now is picking up speed, driven by improvements in the real estate and the job markets, according to a quarterly report from Beacon Economics and City National Bank.  LA Times article

City of Fresno, Grizzlies remain in negotiations with Giants to keep affiliation – Fresno is still in the game to renew its legal ties to the San Francisco Giants, the city’s chief executive said Monday, despite a move in Sacramento that supports rumors of a looming divorce between the Grizzlies and their 17-year parent club.  Fresno Bee article

Sacramento’s River Cats file paperwork that could lead to switch from A’s – Sacramento’s minor-league baseball franchise – which has been the A’s Triple-A affiliate since the team was purchased by Art Savage in 2000 – has filed the paperwork needed for it to seek a new major league partner, the team confirmed Monday. It has been widely speculated in recent weeks that the team will switch from the A’s to the wealthier San Francisco Giants.  Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

San Joaquin County foreclosures drop sharply – Foreclosure activity in San Joaquin County dropped sharply in August, falling nearly one-third from July and more than 50 percent from August 2013, real estate data firm RealtyTrac Inc. recently reported.  Stockton Record article

Appellate court upholds $9 million furlough decision against Jerry Brown – A San Francisco appellate court has upheld a trial judge’s decision that Gov. Jerry Brown wrongly furloughed thousands of state-government scientists and engineers three years ago.  Sacramento Bee article

Concerns about keeping Tulare County Fair afloat – The state cut about $350,000 of the fair’s operating budget, and Shannon said the foundation got to work raising money to help make up for the loss. In addition, efforts were launched to boost attendance — thus increasing ticket sales — along with enacting other methods to raise additional dollars that included a first-ever $5 processing fee for competition entries.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Atwater city leaders meet with officials from state Controller’s Office – Officials from the state Controller’s Office met with Atwater city leaders Monday for a briefing, following the agency’s four-month investigation of the city’s finances. The state Controller’s Office announced in April that it would conduct an audit of Atwater’s finances after the city failed to submit annual financial reports on time for five years and made substantial adjustments to numbers it did report to the state.  Merced Sun-Star article

Hanford to weigh Costco zoning request – The Hanford City Council will decide Tuesday whether to accommodate the proposed Costco on East Lacey Boulevard by amending a longstanding policy designed to protect downtown.  Hanford Sentinel article

CalPERS decides hedge funds are a sell – The country’s biggest public pension system is getting out of hedge funds. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, with $298 billion worth of investments in its portfolio, announced that over the next year it plans to sell about $4 billion worth of hedge fund investments as part of a continuing process of simplifying its portfolio and reducing investment costs.  LA Times articleSacramento Bee article

CalPERS cleared to sue ratings agencies – The state Supreme Court has cleared CalPERS to sue Wall Street’s leading ratings agencies over a series of disastrous investments that cost the pension fund more than $1 billion.  Sacramento Bee article

Mayor Kevin Johnson reassembling Think Big team to work on soccer bid – Mayor Kevin Johnson is reassembling the team of strategists that helped him keep the Kings in Sacramento, but this time their job will be to get the city a franchise in Major League Soccer.  Sacramento Bee article

Hearings planned on electricity rate hikes in Lodi – Electricity is likely to get more expensive in Lodi beginning next year, but it won’t be like the spike that jolted customers the last time the city-owned utility raised rates nine years ago.  Stockton Record article

Once-troubled reverse mortgages poised for rebound – Advertised as a path to an affordable retirement, federally insured reverse mortgages are showing signs of a rebound, drawing the scrutiny of regulators seeking to reduce historically high default rates that have cost the government billions.  AP article


Gov. Brown’s water diversion project gets bashed in Washington – California Governor Jerry Brown’s $25 billion twin tunnel water diversion project is getting no love from Washington these days. First, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would violate the Clean Water Act.  Now, California lawmakers are trying to pull the plug on federal funding to help launch the project.  KPCC report

California drought: Dramatic before-and-after photos – California is in a historic three-year drought, and recent photos taken in Northern California put a visual exclamation mark on the issue.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Groundwater bank gets corporate funding – Amid a relentless parade of depressing drought stories, here’s a little bright spot: Government, a private corporation, a nonprofit environmental organization and an irrigation district all came together to fund a local $1.5 million groundwater banking project.  Hanford Sentinel article

New quarantine as citrus pest is discovered – Agriculture officials are holding a community meeting Wednesday to educate the public about a citrus quarantine and treatment program in the Pumpkin Center area after the second detection of a dreaded agricultural pest in a year.  Bakersfield Californian article

Likely pesticide ban could lead to almond pests – The California Department of Pesticide Regulation will likely ban some chemicals that are high in volatile organic compounds, including pesticides used on almonds, pistachios, walnuts, citrus, grapes, alfalfa and cotton. Almonds — a highly valued-crop planted heavily in recent years — could be hardest hit by the restrictions. The Business Journal article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Keep the LAPD drone-free, downtown protestors demand –  An anti-police drone coalition demonstrated outside Los Angeles City Hall on Monday and criticized legislation they said would help clear the way for law enforcement to use the unmanned aerial devices.  LA Times article


Fresno Unified gets extension waiver from federal No Child Left Behind – Fresno Unified and six other California school districts will get a reprieve from some of the toughest federal No Child Left Behind regulations for another year, but federal officials have put the districts on warning, saying they’ve got work to do to earn the same flexibility in the future.  Fresno Bee article

Record number of CSU Bakersfield students start school – More academic programs at Cal State Bakersfield has, in part, led to increasing fall enrollment at the school this year. The university enrolled a record-breaking 8,850 students by the first day of the 2014 fall quarter Monday.  Bakersfield Californian article

Details of plan to split Fresno Unified unveiled – A campaign to break Fresno Unified into two school districts was formally unveiled Monday, complete with a sleek website and report from demographers that explain the theory behind the split and why voters should get a chance to vote on the issue.  Fresno Bee article

State, districts struggle to support foster youth – California’s bold initiative to provide extra support for foster youth in school is proving difficult for most districts to implement, advocates say.  EdSource article

App to connect parents to student grades, attendance and more – The Visalia USD app gives access to an abundance of personalized information including student’s grades, upcoming assignments for middle- and high-school students, attendance information, district and individual school news, cafeteria account balances and more.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Teague Elementary teacher tied up, robbed on campus – A Teague Elementary teacher was tied up and robbed on campus Saturday as she was wrapping up planning for the week’s lessons, police officials said Monday.  Fresno Bee article

Taft High coach, parents decry handling of hazing incident – The head football coach at Taft Union High School, who was put on paid administrative leave after a hazing incident, complained at a crowded school board meeting Monday night that he’s been “stripped of something” he loves for doing the right thing. Also at the meeting, a parent accused the school’s athletic director of traumatizing players by threatening them with an imaginary gun during a scolding.  Bakersfield Californian article

Merced College changes practices after alleged fraud – Exactly how a former Merced College employee allegedly defrauded the school of more than $336,000 over seven years remains under investigation from an outside auditor, according to the school’s president, but officials say they have already made some changes to accounting practices.  Merced Sun-Star article

New Humphreys president has a familiar name – Robert Humphreys Sr., the grandson of the college’s founder, will retire as president by the end of next academic year after nearly 35 years in the position, school officials said. Stepping into his shoes will be his son, Robert Humphreys Jr., who has been selected by the board of trustees to take over.  Stockton Record article


Shakeup at PG&E, state agency over ‘inappropriate’ talks – Three Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executives and a top aide to the head of the California Public Utilities Commission were ousted Monday over “inappropriate” back-channel communications between the company and state regulators in the fallout over the San Bruno gas explosion case.  San Francisco Chronicle articleKQED reportLA Times article

Earth Log: September cooking like it’s August – So far in September, Fresno is averaging 84.3 degrees – the figure is the average of temperatures taken throughout the days. That’s more than six degrees above normal. Last month, Fresno averaged 84.4 degrees.  Fresno Bee article

New solar plant nears approval in California desert – Despite serious environmental concerns, the California Energy Commission has given a preliminary green light to a second big solar project in the California desert by BrightSource Energy of Oakland with investment partners Google of Mountain View and NRG Energy of Houston.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Harry Love: In Kern, fixing climate change isn’t a plan strictly for the birds – The president of the Kern Audubon Society writes, “Can you imagine Kern County without the sandhill crane? An alarming new report by National Audubon Society scientists reveals that the sandhill crane and hundreds of other birds are threatened by global warming. Many could go extinct without decisive action to protect their habitats and reduce the severity of global warming.” Love op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Long haul for Modesto sewer plant pump in need of repairs – After more than 16 years on the job, influent pump No. 1 at the Sutter Avenue wastewater treatment plant has reached the end of its useful life. So, on Monday, about a dozen workers and two cranes removed the pump from its resting place at the Modesto plant.  Modesto Bee article

San Francisco tries ‘shaming’ business owners on quake reinforcement – Cities across California are struggling with how to convince property owners to retrofit buildings at risk of collapse during a major earthquake. San Francisco this week is using an unusual tactic: trying to publicly shame building owners into shoring up their structures to better withstand shaking.  LA Times article

Health/Human Services

Half a million may lose Obamacare or pay more for coverage –  As many as half a million people who signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year may lose coverage or need to pay more because they haven’t submitted proper documentation, the Obama administration warned Monday.  LA Times article

California broadens autism therapy coverage for children on Medi-Cal – California children enrolled in public healthcare will regain access to an expensive form of autism therapy after the state Monday became the first in the country to comply with new federal guidelines.  LA Times article

Hospitals see ‘chilling effect’ in AG’s power over mergers – State Attorney General Kamala Harris wants unprecedented authority over contracts dealing with nonprofit hospitals, after a deal in Southern California caused abortion-rights activists to cry foul.  Capitol Weekly article

California health insurance exchange unveils ad campaign and outreach – Preparing for the second year of Obamacare enrollment, California unveiled new television ads and handed out $14.6 million to community groups for consumer outreach.  LA Times article

Prescription painkiller deaths up, but not as fast – Overdose deaths from powerful painkillers are still rising in the U.S., but not like they used to — probably because of new restrictions on methadone, according to government scientists.  AP articleLA Times article

Sodium intake too high among children, CDC report says – Children and teens are eating too much sodium, putting them at risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease in the future, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Merced Sun-Star article

Daniel O. Jamison: Mental health vs. liberty – The Fresno attorney writes, “California law wrongly favors the liberty of the mentally ill over public safety.”  Jamison op-ed in Fresno Bee

Australian mosquito found in LA County, first US report of pest –  An Australian mosquito capable of transmitting viruses to humans and heartworm to dogs was found in the San Gabriel Valley, vector-control officials said Monday. It’s believed to be the first sighting of the species in North America.  LA Times article


High-speed rail board considers farmland in Fresno County – More than 70 parcels of Fresno County farmland now under Williamson Act agricultural preservation contracts will be addressed Tuesday by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.  Fresno Bee article

State says drivers must give bicyclists 3-foot safety cushion – Three feet – 1 yard – may not seem like much in, say, football. But starting Tuesday, it will become a state-mandated cushion of safety for bicyclists, a measurement for motorists and the source of a potential fine for violators.  San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times article

Dan Walters: If bicyclists want respect and safety, they should act like they deserve it – Moreover, if bicyclists want to be taken seriously, they should also be paying some of the cost of marking bicycle lanes and building bike paths, rather than making motorists pick up the tab, as the pending bill would do. Fair is fair. With privileges come responsibilities, both legal and financial. And receiving respect means acting like you deserve it.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Other Areas

Lemoore-based Navy pilot in crash lived life to the fullest – A fighter pilot from Lemoore Naval Air Station who died in an apparent mid-air collision over the western Pacific was a 26-year-old Naval Academy graduate with a zest for life.  Fresno Bee article

Santa Monica using $1 million to evaluate its happiness – This week, officials will begin asking residents how involved they are in community activities, if they know who to turn to in times of crisis, if they know their neighbors, how healthy they are, how lonely they might be and how good an education they believe their kids are receiving. Then they’ll examine what changes are needed to make life better.  KPCC report

Jeff Jardine: Modesto gets a flattering mention in National Geographic – Whenever a national publication mentions Modesto, the tone generally is condescending. From the least livable city surveys to stories about how Modestans lead the world in car theft or wash cars on their lawns, the outsiders seldom paint a flattering picture.  Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Long road to creation of Filipino museum nearly over – For 20 years, Leatrice Bantillo “Letty” Perez has been part of a group that has been dreaming and working and raising funds and dreaming some more. The vision through two decades has been the establishment of a museum honoring and chronicling the struggles and successes of Stockton’s Filipino community. Exhibits for the museum are hidden for the moment in two storage units in north Stockton.  Stockton Record article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – John Chiang is the best choice for California treasurer.

Merced Sun-Star – John Chiang is the best choice for California treasurer.

Modesto Bee – John Chiang is the best choice for California treasurer.

Sacramento Bee – Six Californias campaign was a chance to look at disparity in state; Urban Outfitters shows it’s less than culturally sophisticated.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers on LaTrice Hutchings singing the national anthem, a deserving Athena winner and other issues.