September 21, 2014


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Political Briefs

Top stories

A show of disunity at California GOP convention –  It was a double indignity for Neel Kashkari this weekend when not just one but two fellow Republicans on November’s statewide ballot declined to endorse his campaign to oust Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.  LA Times article

Kern among counties receiving ‘unaccompanied minors’ – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials released 71 unaccompanied minors to Kern County in the first seven months of this year, part of a flood of undocumented children detained by immigration officials at the U.S. southern border. Kern is one of only 14 California counties that has received more than 50 of the 37,477 undocumented immigrant children released to trusted adults in the United States during that time period.  Bakersfield Californian article

Valley politics

CD9: The great debate over no debate – Republican congressional candidate Tony Amador challenged Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney to debate before voters decide who will represent the Ninth District in Washington for the next two years. McNerney’s campaign dismissed the challenge as dishonest, saying that it was Amador who wouldn’t commit to face McNerney, D-Stockton, in a public forum being scheduled by the League of Women Voters.  Stockton Record article

Pacheco, Xiong supervisor race will be expensive, tight – Only eight votes separated Blong Xiong and Brian Pacheco in June’s primary election for Fresno County supervisor in District 1. The seat is being vacated by Phil Larson, who has served 12 years on the board. During the hard-fought primary, Xiong’s and Pacheco’s campaign funds combined to total nearly $700,000, and the spending is starting to pick up for the November election.  Fresno Bee article

Vogel endorses Winn to succeed him as San Joaquin County supervisor – Outgoing San Joaquin County Supervisor Ken Vogel picked who he would like to replace him when he leaves his seat on the Board of Supervisors at the end of the year. Vogel endorsed Ripon Mayor Chuck Winn for the slot representing the county’s District 4 that is up for election in November. Winn is running against Lodi businessman Russ Munson.  Stockton Record article

Modesto Bee:  Incumbents Forrest White, Bill DeHart Jr. have served Turlock well on city council – Turlock is a city headed in the right direction. The best way to keep it on track is to return Bill DeHart Jr. and Forrest White to the City Council.  Modesto Bee editorial

Modesto Bee:  Measure B support gives Mike Brem edge to be Turlock mayor – We like both candidates, but only one can win. If the losing candidate walks away from public service after Nov. 4, it will be Turlock’s loss. Vote for Mike Brem, but keep Gary Soiseth in mind.  Modesto Bee editorial

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Kevin McCarthy ribs Jerry Brown, backs Neel Kashkari – After two statewide Republican candidates refused to commit to their gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield on Saturday left little doubt who he’s voting for in November.  Capitol Alert

Tim Donnelly endorsing ‘liberty,’ not Neel Kashkari – Tim Donnelly, the conservative state legislator defeated by Republican Neel Kashkari in the gubernatorial primary election, declined on Saturday to endorse his former rival.  Capitol Alert

Amid tense California Republican Party convention, chairman calls for fewer gatherings – California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte said in an e-mail to party leaders Saturday that he never thought the party should hold a convention so close to the general election and that he wants fewer conventions in the future.  Capitol Alert

California GOP pins hopes on female candidates – As more than 1,000 Republican activists gather this weekend at the Los Angeles Marriott for the party’s statewide convention, the prominence of Ashley Swearengin – who was scheduled to give the keynote speech Friday night at an opening reception honoring top GOP women – underscores a key strategy for state Republicans in 2014. They’re increasingly betting on moderate female candidates to lead a comeback charge in the deep-blue state, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 43 to 28 percent among registered voters.  San Francisco Chronicle article

California Republicans plotting beyond 2014 – Republican Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator and probable presidential candidate, urged a fundamental transformation of his party Saturday, challenging California’s GOP leaders to swell their ranks with diverse candidates that embrace a broad range of ideas.  Sacramento Bee articleAP article

GOP runners-up in California are November underdogs – The GOP candidates for lieutenant governor, treasurer and attorney general all find themselves facing popular, well-known Democrats who already hold statewide office. Each of those Democrats collected about half the primary votes and has millions of dollars in the bank for the fall campaign.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Democrats divided: The race for state schools superintendent – For an obscure elective office that is often ignored, unknown or regarded as superfluous in California’s convoluted education bureaucracy, the November election for state Superintendent of Public Instruction is shaping up as one of the most contentious — and costly — races among statewide candidates.  Capitol Weekly article

Ad Watch: Prop 46 backers hide the ball in first TV ad – Supporters of a Nov. 4 ballot initiative are airing a television advertisement featuring Tennessee Dr. Stephen Loyd. The measure, Proposition 46, would require random drug and alcohol testing of doctors and increase to about $1.1 million the state’s $250,000 cap on medical malpractice awards.  Sacramento Bee article

Dan Walters: Pending bill would change initiative system – for the better? – Since SB 1253 was carried by Democrat Steinberg and is supported by liberal groups, it’s natural to wonder whether it would, like past “reform” bills, tilt the system against their conservative rivals. It appears not. The bill is also supported by the state Chamber of Commerce and drew some Republican votes. And in the main, it would improve, not eviscerate, what has become, unfortunately, the chief process for making public policy. Walters column in Sacramento Bee


In tight Senate races, immigration could still be a priority issue – When the U.S. Senate race in Arkansas heated up this summer, Mark Pryor found himself under attack from his opponent with a nasty — and inaccurate — ad claiming that the Democrat had supported giving Social Security benefits to people who had forged identities to work in the U.S. illegally. LA Times article

Other areas

Kevin Johnson: Ferguson doesn’t need to happen in Sacramento – Sacramento’s mayor writes, “Instead of lamenting the way the world is, I believe we must focus on ways to make it the way it should be. As mayor of Sacramento, I am in a position to lead this effort. No, I can’t give direction to the police chief and department, but I can use the bully pulpit I’m afforded. From that position, I want to outline the things our community must do.” Johnson op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Dan Morain: Pan-Dickinson race is a fight over the biggest business of all, health care – The Dickinson-Pan race will be one of the year’s most costly legislative races. Pan has raised $1 million; Dickinson has raised $650,000. But they won’t be the big spenders. The real money will be spent by interests seeking to elect a senator who will help implement their visions. As they know, the implications are significant.  Morain in Sacramento Bee

Gov. Brown signs bills promoting bike paths – Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed into law two measures aimed at helping cities and counties expand and improve bike paths and trails, including one allowing voters to consider whether to increase some fees to pay for the work.  LA Times article

California’s first wiki bill vetoed, but Assemblyman Mike Gatto says to plans to organize more – Assemblyman Mike Gatto worked to draft the United States’ first bill drafted by the public on a wiki-style Web page — but California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed it. Still, Gatto’s not being deterred, as he plans to organize more wiki bills starting in December.  KPCC report

Sacramento Bee: Measure L is a balanced plan to grant more power to Sacramento’s mayors – The character and leadership of the person we elect as Sacramento mayor matters as much as, if not more than, the powers vested in the office. That said, a mayor stands a stronger chance to succeed and move the city forward with the additional tools and authority granted under Measure L. Sacramento Bee editorial

Rand Paul plays greatest hits for California GOP – Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who is mulling a run for president, stopped off at his party’s state convention Saturday and delivered a sweeping lunch banquet speech that combined some of his greatest hits from his four years in Washington.  Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

As Republicans seek growth, a difficult fork in the road ahead – Democrats have their problems: a lame-duck president whose popularity has slumped, just about zero chance of winning back the House, and a better-than-fair shot at losing the Senate as well. But Republicans were facing multiple sources of tension, in California and nationally, as they met this weekend at the state GOP’s convention in Los Angeles.  LA Times article

Steve Taylor: A taste of hypocrisy in tea party – The Oakdale resident and behavior analyst writes, “When I forced the tattooed hippie yoga instructor to help me work the Stanislaus County tea party booth at the Turlock Farmers Market last month, my plan was to educate.” Taylor op-ed in Modesto Bee

Michael Fitzgerald: On a day of peace, we think about the latest war – If the U.S. cannot “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State, then the war fails to meet one of St. Augustine’s standards for a just war: the probability of success. So the war is wrong.   Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

News Briefs

Top Stories

China’s polluted air may be affecting Fresno – Global pollution may be helping to create those dirty-air days. They say evidence points to plumes of pollution from China and eastern Asia, thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has contributed about $200,000 to help study it.  Fresno Bee article

Teachers and Stockton Unified in stalemate over salaries, evaluations – The Stockton Unified School District, which in July rejected a teachers’ union demand for a 19.5 percent increase over two years, remains at an impasse with the Stockton Teachers Association following a recent meeting with a state mediator.  Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy

Fresno Food Expo pays off for Valley vendors – The Fresno Food Expo, the annual gathering of the San Joaquin Valley’s premier food makers, is paying dividends for many of its exhibitors. Several products displayed at the late-July event held in downtown Fresno, including specialty tea, smoky jalapeños and fresh hummus, have caught the attention of restaurants, retailers and distributors.  Fresno Bee article

Houston Astros just the start of change for Fresno pro baseball? – A triple play of change almost certainly is coming to pro baseball in Fresno. A new affiliate for the Fresno Grizzlies? Done. The San Francisco Giants are gone as of last Thursday, replaced by the Houston Astros. New ownership for the Grizzlies? A revised lease at city-owned Chukchansi Park for those new owners? Well, the last two parts of that triple play are still in motion. That’s because things are complex. Big money is at stake. Reputations are on the line. Fresno Bee article

Mayor says Modesto fire station will stay open for now – Mayor Garrad Marsh said Saturday during his town hall meeting that he expects Modesto will keep all 11 of its fire stations open in its current budget year but could not make any guarantees beyond that.  Modesto Bee article

Gary Soiseth: Debating Turlock’s Measure B – Why I need a guarantee on road tax initiative – The candidate for mayor of Turlock writes, “I’m for good roads, but I’m also for good government. I can’t agree to a tax proposal without questioning its possible negative impacts. Along with the proponents of Measure B, I want the best for Turlock.” Soiseth op-ed in Modesto Bee

Weed fire aftermath: Mill a key to town’s recovery – Besides destroying or damaging scores of homes and other structures, a fast-moving wildfire struck a blow at the economic vitals of this struggling Northern California timber town, knocking its last wood products mill offline for an undetermined amount of time.  KQED report


David Mas Masumoto: The art of the drought – The art of the drought inspires us to believe in the human capacity to innovate and overcome. We will adjust and adapt and find the will to cope with less water. I believe art can make us neighbors. And I’m open to hear your ideas and plans about the art of the drought.  Masumoto column in Fresno Bee

Roger Dickinson: Historic groundwater law will secure California’s water future – The state assemblyman writes, “With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Jerry Brown has placed California on par with all other Western states, ensuring a long-term, stable and reliable supply of groundwater for our homes, farms and factories.” Dickinson op-ed in Modesto Bee

Jack Hamm: Compliance is a moving target – The president of the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau writes, “We have moved too far away from the basic tenets of heat illness prevention: water, rest, and shade. The regulations have become overly prescriptive and burdensome, making compliance impossible. Furthermore, the fact that the standards are amorphous, leaving growers vulnerable to subjective enforcement, is not conducive to effective heat illness prevention practices.” Hamm op-ed in Stockton Record

James McAndrews Jr.: Competition for Turlock farm jobs once led to ‘boneheaded’ move against Japanese immigrants – The docent and member of the board of directors of The Great Valley Museum writes, “In the summer of 1921, the United States and Japan were preparing for a summit to discuss matters pertaining to the size of their navies and their military bases in the Pacific. Things were looking promising for the treaty summit until an incident in Turlock perpetrated by a group described by The Berkeley Times as “boneheads” almost led to an international incident.” McAndrews op-ed in Modesto Bee

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Kern seeks to consolidate domestic violence services – Many people had never heard of New Jersey’s pre-trial diversion program for domestic violence offenders until former Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice was directed to it in May after an incident with his then-fiancee. But the program was familiar to Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green, who has been quietly working behind the scenes to initiate a similar one here.  Bakersfield Californian article

Lisa Green: Domestic violence goes deeper than pro sports – Kern County’s district attorney writes, “In 2013 alone, the Kern County District Attorney’s Office filed 613 cases involving domestic-violence-related offenses. Lost in the discussion of Mr. and Mrs. Rice are proposed solutions to the problem of domestic violence.” Green op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Red-light camera contractor spent thousands on meals for Sacramento County and CHP officials – Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers accepted free meals worth thousands of dollars from the private company that operates the county’s red-light intersection cameras, then recommended the county choose that company over several competitors for a new red-light contract worth up to $11.8 million, a Sacramento Bee review has found.  Sacramento Bee article

Deadlines keep passing for AG’s reports – Attorney General Kamala Harris is responsible by law for a number of periodic reports on criminal justice issues in California, and is late on at least nine of them covering 2013. Harris is also late on three reports for 2012 and one from 2011.  U-T San Diego article

Four of five escaped Madera County inmates captured – Four of five inmates who broke out of the Madera County jail Friday evening were captured late Saturday, including one Madera man who had been charged with shooting at a deputy during a high-speed chase in 2013.  Fresno Bee articleAP article

Eight Valley corrections officers honored at awards ceremony – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation honored eight local officers and 101 others for bravery or heroism Thursday at a ceremony in Elk Grove.  Fresno Bee article


Debate rages over how to evaluate teachers – Should student test scores affect teacher evaluations? That issue continues to be a stumbling block between Stockton Teachers Association and Stockton Unified negotiators as they pursue a new contract. And it is playing out on a national scale as well, part of larger accountability movement framing reform as a civil rights issue unfairly affecting disadvantaged and minority students. Stockton Record article

Former Duncan High student to get extra schooling that costs at least $250,000 – For the first time in Krista Uribe’s 22 years, her mother Alice de Alba-Uribe has finally begun conversations with her about jobs and life after high school. Until now, de Alba-Uribe hardly had a chance to consider her special needs daughter’s options. Instead, de Alba-Uribe and her daughter, who was left impaired after severe seizures as a toddler, were locked for years in a costly legal battle with Fresno Unified school officials to get basic public education services for Uribe.  Fresno Bee article

Kern High School District superintendent: Midwestern roots, Bakersfield branches – Bryon Schaefer learned to love school and appreciate the importance of a bonded community when, at the age of 16, tragedy thrust him into challenging circumstances.  Bakersfield Californian article

Judge refuses to halt October trial over City College of San Francisco accreditation – A judge on Friday refused to halt the Oct. 27 trial that will determine if a commission properly evaluated City College of San Francisco before voting to revoke its accreditation.  San Francisco Chronicle article

McClatchy High want students back to teach, bolster minority faculty – At C.K. McClatchy High School, an ad hoccolectiva is exploring ways to encourage minority students to return to teach – a grow-your-own approach to adding greater diversity to the faculty.  Sacramento Bee article


Thousands of firefighters battle fatigue to keep King fire at bay – They typically work 24 hours straight – some have pulled 36-hour shifts – then take a one-day break sleeping in a tent, in an air-conditioned tractor-trailer that sleeps about a dozen, or, if they are lucky, an actual motel room. It’s the grind they signed up for when they took the job. But in this drought year, fire officials are especially worried about the toll the 2014 fire season is taking on the men and women tasked with keeping California from becoming an inferno.  Sacramento Bee article

Cell science seekers look deep into pond water at Stanislaus State – One hundred trillion cells of 11-year-old Katelyn Anderson leaned over the murky, scum-laden pond, squeezing a strawlike pipette to draw up the yuckiest water she could find. That’s where the good stuff is, she knew, in the yuck.  Modesto Bee article

Health/Human Services

Valley counties making progress on Medi-Cal backlog – County officials in the central San Joaquin Valley say they are chipping away at a backlog of unprocessed Medi-Cal applications that prompted individuals and advocacy organizations to sue the state last week. Tulare County workers are putting in overtime to clear 2,100 applications that are months old.  Fresno Bee article

West Nile: Mother fears she may never walk normally – Sarah Fields of Modesto is another example of how the West Nile virus preyed on the young and healthy this summer in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.  Modesto Bee article

Land Use/Housing

Growing senior population spurs Valley growth of luxury developments – A growing population of seniors who want to downsize, but not downgrade their lifestyle as they age, is helping to fuel an uptick in luxury senior and assisted-living developments.  Fresno Bee article

Community groups discuss Fresno’s blighted homes – Community groups and Fresno State students and staff gathered Saturday in the Kirk Elementary cafeteria in southwest Fresno to discuss exactly what a blighted home is — and how to fix what they call a serious problem in the city.  Fresno Bee article

Landscape architects and designers advocate for more rooftop gardens in Sacramento – A loosely knit group of local architects, designers and planners has been busy touting one of Sacramento’s least talked about assets – its rooftops. The Rooftop Alliance advocates for the development of urban rooftop gardens be they of the vegetable or flower variety, or just a communal public space.  Sacramento Bee article


Fresno air service similar to Sacramento’s – One concern of San Francisco Giants executives as they weighed Fresno’s future as their Triple-A affiliate was the level of airline service to and from Fresno Yosemite International Airport, and the ease with which the Fresno Grizzlies could fly on road trips to other Pacific Coast League markets. Fresno airports director Kevin Meikle said airlines flying out of Fresno offer nonstop flights to three PCL markets — Tacoma (at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport), Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. There are also nonstop flights to Denver, a short hop from the PCL franchise in Colorado Springs.  Fresno Bee article

Other Areas

Riverbank weighs moratorium on new tattoo shops – City leaders will consider a moratorium on new tattoo shops because they can breed gangs, crime and infectious disease, according to a City Hall report.  Modesto Bee article

Delays compound San Francisco’s ambulance crisis – A Chronicle analysis of a year’s worth of data shows, however, that delays are not spread around the city equally: Neighborhoods on the city’s southern rim were the most likely to suffer. The analysis comes as city leaders are pledging to tackle San Francisco’s ambulance crisis – created by a shortage of both working vehicles and medical personnel – and one supervisor is calling for changing law to ensure minimum staffing and equipment levels.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Is the NFL bigger than politics?

Modesto Bee – Turlock is a city headed in the right direction. The best way to keep it on track is to return Bill DeHart Jr. and Forrest White to the City Council; We like both candidates, but only one can win. If the losing candidate walks away from public service after Nov. 4, it will be Turlock’s loss. Vote for Mike Brem, but keep Gary Soiseth in mind.

Sacramento Bee – Measure L is a balanced plan to grant more power to Sacramento’s mayors; In appreciation for California’s perfect comestibles: tomatoes.