September 22, 2014


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Political Briefs

Top stories

In speech to state GOP, Kashkari blasts ‘coddled prince’ Brown – Arguing that he has led California’s embattled Republican Party toward a “transformational” moment, gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari on Sunday insisted the state GOP is poised to become the party of working families that can defeat Democrat Jerry Brown — whom he derided as the “coddled prince of Sacramento.”  San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times articleCapitol AlertAP article

Dan Walters: Props 45 and 46 latest skirmishes in war over big money in health care – Propositions 45 and 46 may turn out to be busts because even before the full-bore campaigns have begun, as voters appear to have soured on both. Proposition 45 would expand the insurance commissioner’s authority over health insurance rates, while Proposition 46 would lift the 39-year-old cap – signed by Gov. Jerry Brown during his first year in the office – on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown heading to New York for climate summit, signs HOV lane bill – Gov. Jerry Brown will take his climate-change message to the United Nations this week, speaking at a climate summit that is drawing heads of state from around the world. Brown used the occasion to announce Sunday that he has signed a package of environment-related bills, including legislation requiring clean-air vehicles to be granted toll-free or reduced-rate access to high-occupancy toll lanes in California.  Capitol AlertSan Francisco Chronicle article

Brown signs bill to urge more drivers into eco-friendly vehicles – Seeking to put more California drivers in electric cars, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Sunday providing financial incentives and other perks to entice consumers to buy the environmentally friendly vehicles.  LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Valley politics

AD5: Young Libertarian butts up against veteran – Assembly candidate Patrick Hogan is a college student with hardly any campaign money and not much more of a political operation who finds himself facing an established incumbent with more than $280,000 in the bank. In past elections, such hopefuls almost always were political roadkill, and the same fate quite likely awaits the 21-year-old Coarsegold resident, who is running against O’Neals Republican Frank Bigelow in the 5th Assembly District. Fresno Bee article

AD31: Perea looks strong for re-election challenge from write-in candidate – Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea has around $900,000 in his campaign account and is seeking a third Assembly term riding a wave of high-profile legislative successes, including co-authoring a revamped water bond that will go before voters in November. Fresno Bee article

10-word sentence on video is focus of debate in Stockton council race – Challenger Christina Fugazi recently released the video, titled “An Independent Voice,” on social media. The video is more than eight minutes long, but it’s a single 10-word sentence that has drawn the ire of her Nov. 4 opponent, Councilwoman Dyane Burgos Medina. Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, is also unhappy.  Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

California GOP endorses water bond, rainy-day fund – California Republicans have given their blessing to a pair of measures on the Nov. 4 ballot heavily favored by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats. Before closing out their biannual convention, the activists voted to support Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, and Proposition 2, the rainy day fund, signing off on recommendations issued earlier by a party committee led by wealthy mega-donor Charles Munger, Jr.  Capitol Alert

Sacramento Bee: Newsom is best choice for lieutenant governor – Although the lite governor has little power, whoever holds it is first in line to replace a governor who becomes incapacitated. Gavin Newsom’s views are more closely aligned with most Californians. For that reason, we endorse Newsom.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Ron Nehring:  Some national Republicans make life difficult for California GOP – The former chair of the California Republican Party and current candidate for lieutenant governor writes, “This highlights the serious challenge that racial gerrymandering creates for Republicans in California with its diverse electorate: The GOP brand is heavily influenced by elected officials elsewhere who have little incentive to earn the support of the tiny Latino, Asian or African American communities in their districts.”Nehring op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Other areas

AM Alert: Democrats’ legislative supermajority hinges on several key races – California Republicans face an uphill battle to win any statewide constitutional office this November, but the party’s other major political goal – to roll back Democrats’ two-thirds supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature – is well within reach.  Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown signs bill for bike lane fee – Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that would allow local voters to consider a yearly fee on vehicle registrations to build bike lanes, bike lockers and other bicycle facilities.  Capitol Alert

Ruben Navarrette Jr.: Deny Hispanics respect at your political peril – What a great way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Instead of being about marketing products to Hispanics, this should be when we pitch Hispanics on the value of independence and standing up for themselves. In politics, you’ve got to know your worth, or you’ll always be undersold.  Navarrette column in Fresno Bee

Dianne Feinstein on domestic abuse in NFL: ‘There is no place for this.  Period’ – Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) went on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday and urged the National Football League to make sure there are substantial repercussions in cases of domestic abuse. The main point of her appearance? “There is no place for this. Period.”  Washington Post article

News Briefs

Top Stories

Mandatory flu shots ordered for Fresno County hospital workers – Hospital workers in Fresno County will roll up their sleeves for flu shots or have to wear face masks this fall to comply with a new public health order. The county is the first in the central San Joaquin Valley to require an annual influenza vaccination for health-care workers in acute-care hospitals.  Fresno Bee article

Teens, 20-somethings aim to lead Stockton to brighter future – A new generation of young people, some ineligible to vote, some hardly aware of how government works, some armed only with enthusiasm, stand at the door of change, ready and eager to make Stockton a better city.  Stockton Record article

Jobs and the Economy

Yosemite area sees busy tourist season despite fires – Despite the numerous fires that have burned thousands of acres in and outside Yosemite National Park this summer, tourism and most businesses in the area saw a relatively “normal” season.  Merced Sun-Star article

Dan Walters Daily: California unemployment still among the highest – Even as California adds jobs, its unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, Dan says.  Dan Walters Daily in Sacramento Bee

A group’s opposition to possible gas tax increase gets no traction – With gasoline prices dropping in California, a business coalition may have a tough time winning public support for a campaign to delay the next phase of a state program to combat climate change.  LA Times article

CalPERS earnings no longer last among big funds – Three years ago CalPERS investment earnings hit bottom in a Wilshire consultants report that ranks the performance of big pension funds — dead last among its peers over the previous five years. Last week a new Wilshire report showed CalPERS investment earnings steadily climbing up the ranks, finishing in the top quarter of big pension funds during the last three years. Calpensions article

Visalia council passes on proposal to keep snorkel mail box – The Tulare City Council passed on authorizing the purchase of a downtown parking lot valued at $150,000 immediately north of the post office, a move that would have extended access to the popular snorkel mail collection box.  Visalia Times-Delta article

Charities are winners at community brunch in Modesto – Part of the Community Brunch fundraiser on Sunday was a friendly competition between four charities to get the largest share of a donation from the Costa Family Foundation – but all came out on top.  Modesto Bee article


Drought may be driving increase in West Nile – Public health experts say the state’s historic drought is partly to blame for the recent rise in West Nile virus infections. Cases this year have more than doubled to 311, compared to the same time last year.  KQED report

Ask TBC: How much water is Bakersfield conserving? – The short answer to the question is some areas are conserving more than others. Before we get to the numbers, some explanations are in order.  Bakersfield Californian article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Madera County jail inmates escaped through window, tunneling – One Madera County jail inmate escaped by tunneling out of his housing unit to a common room, where he broke out a large window and escaped apparently unnoticed by jailers, a Madera County supervisor said Sunday. Four more inmates apparently followed through that same window.  Fresno Bee article

Last Madera County jail escapee caught in Fairmead – Roel Soliz, the last of five men who escaped Friday night from the Madera County Department of Corrections, was captured Sunday afternoon by sheriff’s deputies.  Fresno Bee article

Merced County to get $1.5 million boost in jail funding – Valley counties will receive more money in coming years for jail and probation programs as a result of recent changes to the state prison realignment funding formula. Merced County expects about $1.5 million more in the next fiscal year, according to Sarah Jimenez, administrative division director for the Merced County Probation Department.  Merced Sun-Star article

Feds censure local police, yet give lethal weapons – A Pentagon program that distributes military surplus gear to local law enforcement allows even departments that theJustice Department has censured for civil rights violations to apply for and get lethal weaponry.  AP article

LA County sheriff’s deputies test 4 types of body cameras – Conway and other deputies have begun testing four types of body cameras as part of a pilot program that may eventually lead to the department-wide recording of everything from routine traffic stops to deputy-involved shootings. Until now, the Sheriff’s Department has not used in-car cameras or body cameras.  LA Times article


Officials optimistic about spring assessments – Last spring more than 3 million students in California, the largest number ever to take an online test in the state, took field tests of new assessments aligned to the Common Core state standards without major technical breakdowns or system crashes, according to state officials.  EdSource article

Empire kids collecting shoes to help the world, good deeds to help each other – Empire Elementary School students are helping kids with a lot less than they have, collecting gently used shoes as a step toward making a better world. The effort is tied to an anti-bullying campaign with a sunshine message: Be kind.  Modesto Bee article


George Skelton: Brown administration’s angling to ban lead fishing weights – Californians who enjoy fishing, heads up: Gov. Jerry Brown has his eye on your tackle box. He’s especially interested in your lead sinkers, starting with the tiny split shot.  Skelton column in LA Times

Favorable weather aids containment of King fire as smoke cancels Ironman Lake Tahoe – Firefighters battling the massive King fire showed signs of progress Sunday night, while smoke forced the cancellation of a popular Lake Tahoe sporting event and worsened air quality over a large swath of foothills.  Sacramento Bee articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

Other Areas

Michael Fitzgerald: The 10-year birthday for a preservationist victory – The Bob Hope Theatre celebrated its 10th anniversary Sunday with champagne, music and “To Catch a Thief,” a Cary Grant/Grace Kelly film. Give it up for the Bob.  Fitzgerald in Stockton Record

Livingston festival touts record-breaking casserole, cable network presence – Scores of people gathered here to see the preparation of what’s believed to be a record-breaking 1,200-pound sweet potato casserole, which also drew a film crew from a major cable network.  Merced Sun-Star article

Urban mural create indelible connection for boy with autism – It was love at first sight when then-2-year-old Kingston Lara saw a spray-painted mural on a wall by Leos Market at H and Third streets a few years back.  Modesto Bee article

Q&A: Modesto man helps start support group for LGBT youth – What started as a way to help his son has become a way to help sons and daughters across Modesto. Modesto resident Ed Plata and his wife, Elizabeth, started The Place seven years ago. The support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender youth and their allies was created as a safe place for them to share their stories and be themselves.  Modesto Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Gavin Newsom is the better choice for lieutenant governor.

Merced Sun-Star – Recording their work helps the police.

Modesto Bee – Recording their work helps the police.

Sacramento Bee – Although the lite governor has little power, whoever holds it is first in line to replace a governor who becomes incapacitated. Gavin Newsom’s views are more closely aligned with most Californians. For that reason, we endorse Newsom; Third District Court of Appeals justices deserve retention.