September 20, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

That encyclopedia in your mailbox is a voter guide — If you’re planning on casting an informed vote in November, you’ve got some homework to do. Official state voter guides have started landing in mailboxes, though given the weight of a tome that spans 17 different ballot initiatives “voter guide” seems like a bit of an understatement. “Initiative encyclopedia” may be a more accurate description. Sacramento Bee article

Brown backs rules on cow emissions — California will begin regulating greenhouse-gas emissions tied to dairy cows and landfills under legislation signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown, escalating state efforts to fight climate change beyond carbon-based gases to include methane and other pollutants. Stockton Record articleSacramento Bee article

Valley politics

Eastside Tulare County supervisor race reveals farm water worries — Getting more water for agriculture after years of drought has emerged as a key issue in the race for the Tulare County Board of Supervisor’s District 1, which includes Lindsay, Exeter, Farmersville and east Visalia.But it’s not the only thing the candidates are talking about.The relationship between the county and other levels of government, especially the federal government, also comes up on the campaign trail. Seeking the nonpartisan seat are business owner Dennis Smith, 64, of Exeter, and citrus farmer and energy adviser Kuyler Crocker, 29, of Strathmore. Fresno Bee article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

George Skelton: Proposition 53 is a measure Gov. Brown hates, but it’s one voters should love – There’ll be a skunk at the establishment picnic on election day in California. It’s Proposition 53. That ballot initiative is an irritating pest for many who rely on giant government public works projects for their livelihood. Hardly any establishment group likes it — whether political, business or labor. Most major newspapers have editorialized against it. Skelton column in LA Times

New catalyst for bilingual education on November ballot — In November, California voters will have a chance to reverse parts of the 1998 law, possibly enabling an expansion of bilingual schools and classes. Proposition 58 would eliminate the need for waivers and allow districts to create new language programs in consultation with parents on behalf of 1.4 million English learners. Sacramento Bee article

California Prop 53 would expand voter approval to revenue bonds — As part of KQED’s Election 2016 coverage, we’ll discuss California’s Proposition 53. The measure would require voter approval for any public works project using more than $2 billion in revenue bonds, which are repaid with funds generated by the project.  KQED report

Joel Fox: Public pension problem is not old news – A couple of years ago, sitting on a panel discussing the recent election and looking at future policy and political topics, I raised the public employee pension issue. A public union representative on the panel dismissed the issue as “old news.” Not hardly. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Joel Fox: Prop 54: Positive Reform — On Friday, Joe Mathews took to this page to argue that Proposition 54, demanding more transparency in the legislative process, is ill advised. He took on a George Skelton column in the L.A. Times that equated Prop 54 with motherhood and apple pie, claiming mothers would object to the goals of the initiative. However, I think the ingredients in Joe’s pie are half-baked. Fox in Fox & Hounds

Other areas

Steinberg spending leftover money from mayor’s race to push transportation tax — Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg is taking his money to the streets. He says he will loan $200,000 in leftover campaign funds to support Measure B, the November ballot measure that would raise the sales tax in Sacramento County by a half-cent for 30 years to fund road repairs and transit projects. Sacramento Bee article

The ‘tortuous and sordid history’ of a state incentive for a powerful energy upstart – The victories in the final days of the legislative session need momentum. Others need muscle. Bloom Energy had both.  Lawmakers agreed last month to extend a vital subsidy for the Silicon Valley company, one that makes its pricey power generators more attractive to buyers such as hospitals, data centers and mega-retailers. For Bloom and its industry cohorts, the win marked the end of a hard-fought slog against powerful adversaries including utilities and labor groups. LA Times article

Lawsuit seeks millions in fines from 5 coastal commissioners, alleging 590 transparency violations – A lawsuit served this month against five California Coastal Commissioners could cost them millions of dollars in civil fines if the courts confirm hundreds of alleged transparency rule violations. LA Times article

Twitter makes fun of Congressman who connected Colin Kaepernick to Manhattan bombing — Colin Kaepernick has received widespread condemnation for his decision not to stand during the National Anthem, but the latest critique has some people scratching their heads. Suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami was arrested Monday morning following a bombing in Manhattan Saturday night that injured nearly 30 people. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-NY, tweeted after Rahami’s arrest, linking it to 49ers quarterback Kaepernick. McClatchy Newspapers article

Presidential Politics

Hillary Clinton still way ahead in California, but she’s slipping — Even in California, Hillary Clinton has slipped. Though Clinton is still running 17 percentage points ahead of Donald Trump in this heavily Democratic state, her advantage has fallen 7 percentage points from July, according to a new survey by the Field Poll and UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. Sacramento Bee article

Clinton, flush with tech money, calls for Silicon Valley to fight terror — Hillary Clinton is calling on Silicon Valley to do more to fight terrorism, just weeks after collecting millions of dollars from technology moguls in California. McClatchy Newspapers article

News Stories

Top Stories

Manchester Center’s owner unveils revamp plan for aging mall – Life for Fresno’s aging Manchester Center is about to get a lot better. The mall owners, Omninet Capital based in Beverly Hills, and Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced on Monday long-awaited plans to transform what was once Fresno’s premier shopping destination into a new unique multi-use property in the heart of the city. Fresno Bee articleKVPR report

Tulare Regional Medical Center lays off 29 – Tulare Regional Medical Center and the private firm that runs it, HealthCare Conglomerate Associates, laid off nearly 30 people last week. Visalia Times-Delta article

Jobs and the Economy

Parking for Rams games hits $200 and up – good news for mass transit backers — Parking price inflation is nothing new in car-dominated L.A., but the Rams have brought the sticker shock to new heights. The return of NFL football to L.A. after an almost 22-year absence has also turned the Coliseum area into an unlikely laboratory for a way of thinking about traffic, parking and mass transit. LA Times article

Report: Real estate market putting downward pressure on commissions — A lack of quality inventory is fueling an increasingly hot seller’s market for residential real estate in the Valley — and in the competition to get new listings, many local Realtors are willing to offer better commission rates to sellers. The Business Journal article

Southern California gas prices may soon spike.  Here’s why – A widespread Southern California Edison power outage early Monday forced the shutdown of the Torrance refinery, raising concerns that gasoline prices throughout Southern California may see a temporary spike. LA Times article


John Chiang: California must invest in watersheds, must like dams – The California state treasurer writes, “Californians can agree that enhancing our water security is a good idea. I urge the governor to sign AB 2480. It will enhance our water security and help ensure more reliable, cleaner and likely more water as our weather patterns change.” Chiang op-ed in Merced Sun-Star

J.M. Equipment Co. has served farmers and others for 80 years — For 80 years now, farmers have tilled, planted, sprayed and harvested with the help of J.M. Equipment Co., founded in Modesto. The company also sells forklifts that move farm and other products in processing plants, grocery warehouses and elsewhere. Modesto Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Federal prosecutors, probation spar over Diaz sentencing recommendations – Former Bakersfield Police Department Detective Damacio Diaz will be sentenced to between 17 and 22 years in prison next week if a federal court judge in Fresno follows the recommendation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. That could be a big “if.” Bakersfield Californian article 

20-year-old fatally shot in south Stockton is second homicide of day, 38th of year for city – A 20-year-old man was found shot Sunday afternoon on West Eighth Street in southwest Stockton. He died from his wounds later at an area hospital, police reported. The victim was identified Monday as Robert Scott Pierce III of Stockton, according to the San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office. On social media posts, he was known to friends and family as “Pookie.” Pierce’s death was Sunday’s second homicide of the day for Stockton police detectives who, to date in 2016, have investigated 38 homicides. Stockton Record article

Public safety is focus of San Joaquin County supervisors’ night session – The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors will hold an evening study session Tuesday with a focus on public safety. Stockton Record article

New Tulare County deputy gets first assignment: Her hometown — It’s rare to make a major public production of a deputy trainee being sworn in, but Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Monday’s ceremony marked the first time a Sheriff’s Pathways scholar has been hired under a new program. Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Pot harvest time raises concerns for public safety – As marijuana harvest season hits its stride, Merced County sheriff’s investigators are hoping to head off the violence and robberies they say are commonly associated with this time of year. Merced Sun-Star article

Case of doctor who sued city of Bakersfield for negligence settled for $4 million – A $4 million settlement has been reached in the case of a Bakersfield doctor who was handcuffed by police and forced to wait more than an hour for treatment after suffering a massive stroke in 2007. Bakersfield Californian article

Fresno police cite dozens of freeway litterbugs in crackdown — Six Fresno motorcycle cops issued about 90 tickets for littering along freeways over a two-week period as part of a crackdown on trash. Fresno Bee article

Three more Bay Area law enforcement officers charged in sex crimes scandal –An Oakland police officer and a former Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy were formally charged with sex crimes Monday stemming from allegations made by a teenage trafficking victim who has said she slept with dozens of Bay Area law enforcement officers, according to court records. LA Times article;  KQED report

Group founded by ‘Hangover’ producer aims to reform Sacramento’s juvenile offenders — The coalition, also known as ARC, was founded in 2013 by Scott Budnick, executive producer of “The Hangover” trilogy of raunchy comedy films. Budnick quit his successful Hollywood career to focus on prison reform, and his group now has roughly 340 members statewide. They all sign a pledge to avoid crime, drugs and gangs, and to enroll in school, look for work and serve the community. Sacramento Bee article


Visalia Unified goes green, Tulare to discuss class schedule change – Visalia Unified School District has saved an estimated $1.7 million in energy costs since the installation of solar panels at schools throughout the district. The efficiency and savings have prompted interest in expanding the program to include more school sites. Visalia Times-Delta article

UC reinstates controversial history course on Palestine – UC Berkeley has reinstated a course on the history of Palestine, just days after suspending it amid criticism that it fostered anti-Semitism and indoctrinated students against Israel. LA Times article


California wildfire becomes costliest ever to fight at $200 million — A wildfire burning for nearly two months on California’s scenic Big Sur coast has surpassed $200 million in firefighting costs, becoming the costliest to fight in U.S. history, according to date released Monday. AP article 

Bathroom biologists can study Sacramento Valley salmon from home — Sacramento-area fish lovers and wannabe scientists: Here’s your chance to do some salmon biology – all without changing out of your bathrobe. Sacramento Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Hookah lounges could be subject to cabaret law, restrictions — After hearing a police lieutenant call a recent slaying outside a hookah lounge “incredibly brazen,” a city committee on Monday recommended making Bakersfield’s five hookahs subject to conditions similar to those of bars. Bakersfield Californian article


SFO flying high on renovations, regional growth — Lifted on the wings of the Bay Area’s economy, San Francisco International Airport is working its way through a huge, $5.7 billion to-do list over the next five years. The goal is to move travelers quickly, enjoyably and safely through the nation’s seventh-largest airport, as befits SFO’s emerging status as the nation’s fastest-growing airport for international travelers. On Thursday, the airport raised $881.7 million to fuel the growth, the largest bond sale in the airport’s history. San Francisco Chronicle article

Feds preview rules of the road for self-driving cars — Federal officials say they intend to aggressively shape the emergence of driverless cars, increasing their role well beyond the traditional recalls of cars when they prove defective. Washington Post articleNew York Times article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Drug pricing is too complex to fix with Prop 61.

Merced Sun-Star – From mysterious outages to relentless Russian hackers, this just isn’t the year for digital correspondence.

Modesto Bee – From mysterious outages to relentless Russian hackers, this just isn’t the year for digital correspondence.

Sacramento Bee – Real progressives can’t afford to cast a protest vote; Sacramento’s new $8 million Jeff Koons sculpture is the talk of the city. And it won’t even be officially unveiled for another couple of weeks.
Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers: Athena honors for women, uncertainty for San Joaquin General Hospital’s trauma center, and other issues.