September 26, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories

Dan Walters: Tax boosts that target the powerless — A November ballot measure, Proposition 55, would extend that dangerous dependency on the rich for another 12 years, and its strong lead in the polls is a testament to the cynical validity of Brown’s observation about voters’ willingness to approve taxes that they won’t be paying themselves. However, some go even further, seeking taxes on those who have absolutely no power to protest, even at the polls. California has seen a steady increase in local tax bites on non-residents of the taxing jurisdictions. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Death penalty is dying across America.  Will California save it? — With the death penalty dying across America, the nation is watching California as its voters weigh competing initiatives meant to either revive executions or abolish capital punishment. Several states in recent years ended their death penalties through court decisions or legislation, but California is a test of whether voters think executions are worth trying to save. McClatchy Newspapers article

Gov. Brown

Jerry Brown vetoes bill to fully reimburse first responders for San Bernardino attack — Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed legislation that would have required the state to fully reimburse first responders for the cost of responding to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, saying the state cannot afford to set such a precedent. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

George Skelton: The problems with rushing to legalize marijuana for stoner use in California — Californians seem hot to visit a legal pot shop and smoke a joint or munch a weeded brownie. But driving home could be risky. No one — not even highway patrolmen — knows precisely how stoned a motorist can be before he’s dangerously under the influence of cannabis. Skelton column in LA Times

Fresno Bee: ‘Yes’ vote on Prop 58 will ease school language barriers — When it comes to California’s public schools, the question should always be: What’s best for students? By that measuring stick, voters should support Proposition 58,  which would give students (and their parents) more choices in how they learn English and other languages. Fresno Bee editorial

Other areas

No vouchers for families on welfare to buy diapers after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes plan – Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed an effort Sunday to subsidize diapers needed by families receiving government assistance, calling the plan and several other efforts “an end run” around the annual budget process. LA Times article

California outlaws possession of synthetic drug ‘spice’ amid overdoses on LA’s Skid Row — Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed legislation that outlaws the possession of the synthetic drug “spice” after law enforcement officials and paramedics tended to dozens of overdoses on Skid Row in Los Angeles. LA Times article

Kevin Johnson says OK to disagree with him, but ‘don’t revert to violence’ — Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson spoke for the first time Sunday night about his run-in with a pie-wielding protester last week but wouldn’t say whether he would press charges against the man accused of being his assailant. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Cathleen Decker: For Clinton and Trump, first debate could be last chance to change voters’ minds – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump step onto the biggest shared stage of their presidential campaign Monday chasing the same goal: persuading voters to discard long-held and sharply negative views of them. LA Times article

5 California debate questions for Clinton and Trump — Here are five questions with roots in California or implications for us that could be asked. KQED report

News Stories

Top Stories

Millions in U.S. climb out of poverty, at long last – More than seven years after the recession ended, employers are finally being compelled to reach deeper into the pools of untapped labor, creating more jobs, especially among retailers, restaurants and hotels, and paying higher wages to attract workers and meet new minimum wage requirementsNew York Times article

Brown vetoes bill intended to put more emphasis on test scores – Sending a strong message endorsing the school accountability system adopted by the State Board of Education, Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have placed more emphasis on standardized test scores in measuring school and district performance. EdSource article

Jobs and the Economy

Modesto to get update on general fund budget – The City Council’s Effective Government Committee will get an update from staff Monday on the latest 10-year forecast of Modesto’s general fund budget, which primarily pays for public safety services. Modesto Bee article

Tireless Stockton 209 Cares volunteers the only lifeline for many homeless – By midday Sunday it’s hot for late September, but a light breeze makes it tolerable. The line of 4×4 pickups and SUVs loaded down with food, cold water and personal hygiene items pulls over to the side of a seemingly quiet stretch of roadway on the outskirts of downtown Stockton; no traffic, no one in sight. But within minutes and from all directions, people start arriving to greet the convoy — mostly on foot, some on old bicycles, a few in vehicles. They’re old, middle-aged and even some millennials, including less than a half-dozen children who get the most attention. Stockton Record article

Out-of-town homeless not stranded in Merced – When you talk about the homeless, there’s a “myth” that often comes up in conversation. Rumor has it that other cities in the state give vagrants and transients one-way tickets to places like Merced in an effort to rid their cities of the homeless. That’s a pretty bold thing to do. Merced Sun-Star article

In a first, CalPERS may cut small town’s pension – A CalPERS crackdown on employers that have not been paying into the pension fund could cut the pensions of all four retirees of a small Sierra County city, Loyalton, which stopped making its payments more than three years ago. Calpensions article

Bay Area wages soaring – but still can’t keep up with housing prices — The Bay Area’s wages are getting higher, far outpacing most of the country, but more residents are finding their paychecks can’t keep up with the region’s skyrocketing cost of living. San Jose Mercury News article

Under pressure from union, LA County makes it easier for probation workers with discipline problems to get promotions — More than 50 employees working inside Los Angeles County’s juvenile lockups received promotions despite a history of disciplinary problems or criminal arrests under a deal county leaders quietly cut earlier this year. LA Times article

New report shows rents falling in San Jose and San Francisco — Falling rents? What a concept — especially in the Bay Area, ground zero for out-of-sight rent increases over the past few years. Yet a new study indicates the trend could be changing. Abodo, an apartment search website, says monthly rents dropped markedly from August to September in San Jose and San Francisco. Those cities were on Abodo’s Top 10 list for the “Biggest Fall” in rents for one-bedroom apartments during that period. San Jose Mercury News article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

DEA agent’s murder in Mexico unhealed wound for ex-Fresno partner — It’s an old wound that still aches. Rafael Caro Quintero, a founding member of the Sinaloa Cartel and the man responsible for the kidnapping, torture and murder of a DEA agent with strong ties to Fresno, is a free man somewhere in Mexico. Fresno Bee article

Tulare County sheriff’s sergeant dies in off-duty crash near Hanford — Tulare County sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Yandell died late Saturday in an off-duty crash in Kings County. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Yandell’s death and via Facebook, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux offered his sympathiesFresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta article

Runners take to Modesto streets to remember fallen officers – Hundreds of runners made their way along Modesto streets Sunday morning in the fifth annual Peace Officer Memorial Run, which raises money for a nonprofit and awareness about those who lost their lives in the line of duty. Modesto Bee article

Funds raised for the community in honor of fallen Merced police officer – Michelle Gray recalls that her husband, Stephan Gray, loved to play golf at the Rancho Del Rey Golf Club in Atwater. But when their son was a toddler, she said, he decided to put down his golf clubs and spend time with his family until he and his son could play together. That day never came. On Saturday, however, the Grays’ now teenage son, Isaiah, was among those who went to the golf club for the 11th annual Stephan Gray Memorial Golf Tournament. Merced Sun-Star article

Fresno street race crowd attacks CHP vehicle — A crowd at a south Fresno street race attacked a California Highway Patrol vehicle after the officer attempted to stop a racer Sunday afternoon. The officer wasn’t hurt, but damage to the Ford SUV was estimated to be $12,000, the CHP said. Fresno Bee article


As kindergarten ratchets up education, parents feel the stress — A study comparing teacher attitudes in 1998 and 2010 turned up some startling answers. For instance, in 1998, 31 percent of teachers said they believed that most children should learn to read in kindergarten, but by 2010, 80 percent held that belief. Some parents have come to view the first year of school not as a transition but as a make-or-break gauntlet that will shape their child’s academic career. Washington Post article


Smog repairs help to clean the air, Valley Clean Air Now officials say — On Saturday morning, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and Valley Clean Air Now, or Valley CAN, worked together to have a Tune In and Tune Up event. Workers from Valley CAN gave each car that came through a free vehicle emissions test. Jose Marin, outreach specialist for Valley CAN, said emission test events are important to the Valley because of the high pollution rates in the air that affect community health, especially for people with respiratory problems. Merced Sun-Star article

California eyes unusual power source: Its gridlocked roads — All those cars on California’s famously gridlocked highways could be doing more than just using energy – they could be producing it. The California Energy Commission is investing $2 million to study whether piezoelectric crystals can be used to produce electricity from the mechanical energy created by vehicles driving on roads. AP article

Health/Human Services 

Outreach to at-risk communities crucial to diabetes prevention – At the senior center in Kerman, Calif., Rosendo Iniguez demonstrates how to cook a more healthful version of empanadas. Although such traditional Latino dishes are typically high in calories, fat and carbs, Iniguez is showing how diabetics can create healthier versions by making simple substitutions. California Health Report article 

Kathleen Johnson: HCCA/TRMC: Our tower will be completed – The VP of marketing for HCCA/Tulare Regional Medical Center writes, “Now, with the bond no longer an option, HCCA and Tulare Regional Medical Center recently took action to refine operations and implement cost-saving measures so that it is able to secure alternative financing to complete the hospital tower. Such actions may not be popular, but these actions make the best business-sense for the organization as we continue to streamline operations, improve efficiencies and ensure continued healthcare delivery to our community.” Johnson op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Cancer survivor wants to raise awareness for more men to get checked – John Peters Jr.’s first reaction to the words, “You have cancer,” was to crash his father’s truck. Sitting in his father’s truck, having just made a run to Sacramento for Tokay Press, the company for which they both worked, Peters drove the truck into a metal railing in front of the parking spot where he’d stopped in Lodi to take the call. Stockton Record article

Obese people suffer as doctors don’t see past the fat — The American health care system is ill prepared — in its attitudes, equipment and common practices — to treat the rising population of fat patients. New York Times article

Merced nurse retires after 60 years of service in the community — Mary Ellen DuPertuis knew Merced when the population was just 18,000, not the more than 80,000 today. She knew Merced when there were close to no specialty doctors and when there was only one high school and junior high. DuPertuis knew the medical field when supplies weren’t disposable, having to reuse and wash everything. She knew the nursing field when it was an honor to wear the white caps and when white stockings were required. Merced Sun-Star article


Bullet train route across Big Tujunga Wash meets growing opposition — The Big Tujunga Wash, among Southern California’s most powerful and least developed rivers, is at ground zero of a growing political battle over the route the California bullet train would take as it enters the Los Angeles basin. LA Times article 

How will disabled people, bicyclists, arena workers get to Golden 1 Center? — Golden 1 Center arena patrons are not all alike. Some will be able to walk for many blocks. Others are disabled and need to be dropped off close by. Some will come on two wheels, and will need a safe place to park their bikes. Some will arrive on light rail, others on Uber. Then there are the 1,000 or more arena workers who need to find their way into downtown almost nightly. For many, it won’t be easy, at least early on. Here are some insider transportation tips for arena users of various stripes. Sacramento Bee article

Construction bids for North McHenry project to open in late October — The construction contract for the estimated $23 million project to widen and improve a 1-mile stretch of North McHenry Avenue, including replacing the bridge over the Stanislaus River, will go to bid in late October, San Joaquin County announced Friday. Modesto Bee article

Other areas

Commissioner ousted for criticizing councilman — A Hanford city commissioner was ousted this week after she made derogatory remarks about a city councilman on social media. The City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to remove Shaka Sudds from the Parking and Traffic Commission. Mayor Justin Mendes said he recommended her removal based on a video Sudds posted to Facebook. Hanford Sentinel article

Jose Gaspar: Delano-born father of Chicano theater awarded national medal — How does one go from being born into a farmworker family in Delano in 1940 to being named a 2015 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities recipient? If you’re Luis Valdez, you do it by ignoring conventional wisdom and following your heart. Your passion. Your beliefs. Gaspar column in Bakersfield Californian

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – When it comes to California’s public schools, the question should always be: What’s best for students? By that measuring stick, voters should support Proposition 58,  which would give students (and their parents) more choices in how they learn English and other languages. 

Merced Sun-Star – We’re going to need new rules for scoring Monday night’s big game. No, not the weekly concussion fest on ESPN; the all-important, highly anticipated, game-changing first presidential debate of 2016.

Modesto Bee – We’re going to need new rules for scoring Monday night’s big game. No, not the weekly concussion fest on ESPN; the all-important, highly anticipated, game-changing first presidential debate of 2016.

Sacramento Bee – We support the re-election of Reps. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, and Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento. The same is true of Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento. Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, represents his constituents. On the flip side, we wish Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, represented a district where a challenger might have a chance.