September 28, 2016



Political Stories

Top stories

Bilingual education measure has broad support from California voters — An initiative to remove long-standing restrictions to bilingual education in California appears poised to pass in November. A new Field/IGS Poll of likely voters found 69 percent support Proposition 58, which would reverse a mandate to teach English learners in English-only classes, and make it easier for schools to start bilingual programs, while just 14 percent are opposed. The broad support crosses party and racial lines. Sacramento Bee article

Dan Walters: Would Proposition 55 increase California’s losses to other states? — Bakersfield attorney Steve Nichols, who came to California as an infant in 1953 – one of the millions who migrated in the post-World War II period – has given up on the state. Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Gov. Brown

 Kathay Feng and Trent Lange: Brown should sign campaign bills, strengthen democracy – Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, and Lange, president and executive director of California Clean Money Campaign, write, “Gov. Brown should hear voters’ call for bold solutions, continue California’s leadership for democracy reform, and sign these bills into law so everyone’s voice and vote can count in our state.” Feng/Lange op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

 Fresno mayoral candidates face off on a presidential debate night — Fresno’s two candidates for mayor laid out their views on public safety, housing and a new police chief during an hour-and-a-half debate Monday evening in southwest Fresno. Fresno Bee article

 Merced mayor candidates talk priorities — Merced’s economic development, mayoral priorities and the pet projects of candidates were common talking points this week during a forum for the city’s mayoral hopefuls. Merced Sun-Star article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

 Critics doubt California has enough lawyers for death penalty speed-up – With cases taking two decades or more to wind their way through the appeals process, both supporters and critics of California’s death penalty agree the system is broken. But opponents of Proposition 66, the November initiative aimed at speeding up executions, argue that proposed changes to shorten the timeline for appointing lawyers and filing petitions are convoluted and unfeasible. Sacramento Bee article

 After backing Gavin Newsom, California nurses group gets behind pot legalization – The California Nurses Association, which last year offered an unusually early endorsement for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2018 gubernatorial bid, on Tuesday announced support for Newsom’s high-stakes fall initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. Sacramento Bee article

 Sacramento Bee: Prop 57 would fix a mistake, help rehabilitate felons – Unlike many initiatives, Proposition 57 will line no one’s pockets. It is not a broad overhaul of the criminal sentencing, nor is is it a get-out-of-prison-free card for felons. Sacramento Bee editorial

 California lawmakers and environmentalists battle plastic bag industry over ban – The average American uses 555 single-use plastic bags over the course of a single year, according to Dan Jacobson, legislative director for Environment California. To illustrate the enormity of this waste and garner support for Prop. 67, the state’s plastic bag ban, Jacobson asked an aide to don 555 bags and stand with him on the steps of Santa Cruz County Superior Court Monday in 92-degree heat. East Bay Times article

‘Veto Gunmaggedon’ group fails to qualify ballot measures to repeal new gun control laws – Three days before the deadline, the head of a referendum drive aimed at overturning six new gun control laws announced Tuesday it will fall far short of collecting enough signatures to qualify the measures for the ballot. LA Times article

Rep. Loretta Sanchez missed more roll call votes this month than any other House member running for a new office —  Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez, locked in an uphill battle in California’s U.S. Senate race, has missed almost two-thirds of House roll call votes in September, according to a report by CQ Roll Call.  LA Times article; McClatchy Newspapers article


Valley leaders discuss how to help immigrants integrate and succeed — Two years into her term as a Fresno city councilwoman, Esmeralda Soria still finds herself asking: “Did we provide those notices in Spanish and Hmong?” “The city of Fresno still has a lot of work to do in terms of integrating the immigrant community and making it a government that is more accessible and that truly represents all people, regardless of immigration status,” she said. Fresno Bee article

Other areas

 Incarcerated youth won’t be isolated as easily in California – Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday approved new limits on isolating young offenders in juvenile facilities. Isolation techniques like solitary confinement have increasingly drawn criticism for exacting a dire psychological toll, with detractors often calling prolonged separation from others a form of torture. Senate Bill 1143 curbs how often and for how long juveniles can be locked away in “room confinement” with little or no contact with others. Sacramento Bee article

 Local jails can continue to bar in-person visits – Despite expressing sympathy for advocates’ underlying goal, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday vetoed a bill prohibiting the exclusive use of video visitation at local detention facilities. Sacramento Bee article

 Dying Californians will get to seek experimental drugs – One year after vetoing a similar measure, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday that will allow pharmaceutical companies to offer experimental drugs to terminally ill Californians. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article

 California bans government travel to states believed to discriminate against LGBT people – California no longer will be able to fund or require public employees to travel to states believed to discriminate against LGBT people under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed Tuesday. LA Times article;Sacramento Bee article

Kate Steinle killing: Bill to curb police gun thefts signed by Governor Brown — Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation, inspired by two high-profile Bay Area killings, that requires police officers — like other gun owners — to lock up their weapons when they park their squad cars and personal vehicles. The new law, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Hill, comes more than a year after Kate Steinle was shot in the back on a San Francisco pier by a drifter with a federal agent’s stolen gun, and an Oakland street artist was killed with another agent’s stolen gun while painting an anti-violence mural under a freeway overpass. San Jose Mercury News article

‘Doctor shopping’ targeted in new law signed by Gov. Brown to curb epidemic of opioid overdose deaths – Faced with a spike in opioid overdose deaths, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation requiring all prescribers to check a state database to see whether their patients have also received drugs from other physicians. LA Times article

 Gov. Brown signs bus safety bills after series of accidents – Two years after a charter bus crash killed 10 people, including five Los Angeles-area high school students, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation that will improve safety regulations for such large vehicles. LA Times article

 More ‘granny flats’ are coming after governor signs two bills to ease housing shortage – It will be easier for California homeowners to build additional small units on their properties whether in their garages or as freestanding second structures under legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown. LA Times article 

California outlaws ransomware, but some say catching overseas criminals will be the challenge — Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation making the use of ransomware a crime in California, following increasing cyberattacks on hospitals, schools and law enforcement agencies across the state and nationwide. LA Times article 

Pie-wielding activist Thompson doesn’t enter plea at arraignment — The former Occupy protester accused of striking Mayor Kevin Johnson with a pie during a charity dinner last week did not enter a plea for a felony charge of assaulting a public official and a misdemeanor charge of battery on school property during his arraignment hearing Tuesday morning. Sacramento Bee article

Sacramento Mayor-elect Steinberg endorses school parcel tax — Sacramento Mayor-Elect Darrell Steinberg joined school officials and educators Tuesday to urge voters to approve a parcel tax for Sacramento schools, saying that music and the arts have not recovered since 1978 when voters forced an overhaul in state education funding by limiting property taxes. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics

Gender played a bigger role in presidential debate than you think — Did he call her “secretary” as a sign of respect or condescension? What about the interruptions? And the matter of her looks or lack of stamina? And then there was Miss Piggy. Questions about gender ran throughout Monday night’s general-election presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the first ever between man and a woman. McClatchy Newspapers article

News Stories

Top Stories

A closer look at Stanislaus County’s $90 million jail expansion – County leaders were struck by the size of a $90 million jail expansion at the Public Safety Center on Hackett Road but stressed the facility will do more than warehouse inmates under the state’s public safety realignment. Modesto Bee article

California’s housing shortage will hamper the economy, reports say –  The dearth of housing in California will put a drag on the state’s economic growth, according to two new studies.  California will continue to pile on jobs in 2017, but its advantage over the rest of the country will shrink in the future, say a report from UC Riverside and another from UCLA. LA Times article

Jobs and the Economy

Stockton council OK $100,000 to resume homeless encampment cleanups – Experts on homelessness describe a “shocking” negative impact on health and hygiene, including “outbreaks of preventable communicable infections,” ever since the city ceased its periodic cleanups of encampments in June. Based on those concerning descriptions, Stockton soon will resume the periodic sanitation efforts. Stockton Record article

Darius Assemi selling Mural District properties in downtown Fresno – Fresno-area builder Darius Assemi of Granville Homes is selling his collection of Mural District properties in downtown Fresno. That’s nine properties for a total of 291 apartments, including The Lede, which will celebrate the grand opening of phase two Wednesday, and two smaller developments currently under construction on L Street.  Assemi said he was ready for new development opportunities.  Fresno Bee article; The Business Journal article

Modesto getting 9 more firefighters – The Modesto City Council accepted a $2.2 million grant Tuesday that will let the Fire Department hire nine firefighters for two years and put back into service an engine company that was eliminated in a 2011 budget reduction. Modesto Bee article

Jail, sheriff’s office get the bulk of leftover Fresno County money – Fresno County supervisors are considering how to spend extra money, and it appears buildings are the main priority for now. The county had about $11.5 million to set aside for projects based on carryover from last year’s budget.Fresno Bee article

 Michael Fitzgerald: A novel idea for downtown – Let’s look beyond the well-publicized openings expected downtown before year’s end, such as Cast Iron Trading Co., and peer into 2017 and plans for a “writing center.” A writing center is a place where students learn to write with no teachers red-penciling their errors. A fun, safe place for creative and expository writing. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

 SoCal company to acquire Visalia-based Valley Business Bank — The number of Valley-based community banks will likely diminish by one next year as Valley Commerce Bancorp, headquartered in Visalia, plans to merge with CVB Financial Corp. of Ontario. Fresno Bee article

 Fresno cash home sales up in June – Real estate data firm CoreLogic has put out new data finding that the cash sales share of Fresno home transactions was up 1.5 percent in June compared to last year. The Business Journal article

 Tribe, Elk Grove reach agreement on $400 million Highway 99 casino — A south Sacramento County tribe has reached a tentative agreement with the City of Elk Grove to build the region’s next major casino resort on Highway 99 next to a planned outlet mall. Sacramento Bee article

 7-plus local restaurants head for Manchester Center’s fancy food court – From chorizo burgers to sake, all kinds of local food and restaurants are coming to Manchester Center next year.  Fresno Bee article

 Sacramento Bee: Bite the bullet for Measure B sales tax – Increasing a tax should never be done lightly, especially one that will last for 30 years. And Measure B – the Sacramento County half-cent sales tax for transportation on the Nov. 8 ballot – isn’t perfect; sales taxes hit hardest on the poor and don’t directly tie to transportation. But the measure is the product of rare agreement among the county’s elected officials and recognition that neither a gridlocked Congress nor Legislature has seriously tackled transportation funding. Sacramento Bee editorial

 Wells Fargo faces ‘top-to-bottom’ Labor Department review for possible workplace violations — The Labor Department has launched a “top-to-bottom review” of how Wells Fargo & Co. treated employees as it pushed the aggressive sales quotas that led to the bank’s fake-accounts scandal. LA Times article

 Elon Musk’s Mars plan has giant rocket flying 100 people at a time – SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk on Tuesday unveiled his plans for colonizing Mars, which could eventually involve a fleet of up to 1,000 spaceships to transport as many as 1 million people to the Red Planet. LA Times article

 Exclusive study group helped Cal Fire officers advance — A clique of five up-and-coming California firefighters shared a goal when they gathered in a study group three years ago: They wanted to reach the highest ranks of Cal Fire and had to pass a tough exam before ascending the career ladder.Sacramento Bee article

 LA wants to delay when employers may ask about criminal histories – A Los Angeles City Council committee voted Tuesday to prohibit most employers in the city from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer has been made. LA Times article

 Move into new stadium? Renovate the old one? Angels could just play out their lease in Anaheim — After more than three years of debating whether to negotiate a new lease in Anaheim or move to a new ballpark elsewhere, the Angels might do neither. LA Times article


 To dairy farmers, new climate legislation is ‘like a kick in the teeth’ – Governor Jerry Brown has made fighting climate change a major priority for California. One of the most recent laws he signed was Senate Bill 32, which requires the state to dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Called “critical” and “far-reaching,” it’s been heralded by some as one of the most ambitious climate regulations in the world–but not everyone thinks the law will be good for California. KVPR report

 Try humming ‘When the Levee Breaks’ while reading about California flood control – Flood control efforts in California’s Central Valley get a boost in sprawling water legislation that reaches the House floor Tuesday. No, it’s not the drought-inspired, California-only bill that has inspired so much wrangling in recent years. That remains stuck. Instead, following the Senate’s lead, the House is taking up its latest version of the Water Resources Development Act. The amended bill authorizes 31 Army Corps of Engineers projects and 29 feasibility studies, among other measures. McClatchy Newspapers article 

Stanislaus reports 12 percent drop in farm income – Gross income to Stanislaus County farmers dropped 12 percent in 2015, mainly because of reduced prices for milk and nuts, officials reported Tuesday. The $3.88 billion total, while well short of the record $4.44 billion in 2014, was nonetheless the second-highest ever reported. Modesto Bee article

Interview: What’s next for the farmworker movement? – Even before the death of United Farm Workers co-founder Cesar Chavez in 1993, California’s farm labor movement had lost its momentum. That’s according to Pulitzer Prize wining author Miriam Pawel, who will participate in a panel discussion about the past and future of ag labor in Fresno on Wednesday. KVPR report

State plan for rivers doesn’t hold water, Modesto Irrigation District says – Local water leaders on Tuesday formally scorned a state proposal to drastically change river levels, saying it would cripple farms and the economy and threaten people’s drinking water in Modesto, San Francisco and beyond.Modesto Bee article

 Rob Santos and Paul Campbell: Twin tunnels, Delta and Tuolumne are all connected – Santos, a Turlock veterinarian and Turlock Irrigation District board member, and Campbell, a veteran, Modesto businessman and member of the Modesto Irrigation District board, write, “The governor says that no one will get more water and no one will get less water with the tunnels project. So why would water users in Southern California come up with hundreds of millions of dollars to construct these twin tunnels when there is no new water for them? Their answer is that they need reliability and consistency.” Santos/Campbell op-ed in Modesto Bee

 Notable farm products beyond the top 10 in Stanislaus — The 2015 crop report for Stanislaus County lists these products beyond the top 10.Modesto Bee article

 Well drilling stays hot — A sharp uptick in the number of new wells drilled during Kings County’s historic five-year drought shows no sign of letting up. According to the Kings County Community Development Agency, the number of new well permits issued has held steady the past two years after rising dramatically since 2012, the year the drought began. Hanford Sentinel article

 California raisin crop expected to be smaller this year – California raisin growers are expected to harvest about 270,000 tons of raisins this year, according to a preliminary estimate from the Raisin Administrative Committee in Fresno. The preliminary estimate – about 20 percent lower than last year’s 336,000 tons – was prepared in anticipation of the International Dried Grape Conference being held in China this week. Fresno Bee article

 Del Ray farmer Nikki Masumoto to speak on White House panel — Del Rey farmer Nikiko Masumoto will appear on a White House panel next week speaking about the future of food. The panel is part of the South By South Lawn festival that brings together experts from across the country to explore ideas involving food, technology and the environment. Fresno Bee article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

 Back to square one in finding home for Fresno child molester — Owners of 292 homes in Fresno County say they won’t rent to Jeffrey Snyder, a sexually violent predator who has won his release from Coalinga State Hospital. After residents protested the placement of Snyder in a two-story home in a northwest Fresno neighborhood, a judge suggested during a hearing Tuesday that officials should look for a place in a rural, less populated area not close to a school or a park. Fresno Bee article

 Girl held in social media threat to shoot up Fresno schools — Fresno police arrested a girl Monday evening who is suspected of posting social media threats to shoot up local schools, including Fresno High School. Fresno Bee article

 Authorities bust local heroin operation — Kings County officials released details Tuesday regarding a nearly yearlong investigation and multiple arrests tied to a large scale heroin operation in the Hanford area. Hanford Sentinel article

 Sacramento City Council hears proposed restrictions on police use of deadly force – Sacramento City Councilman Larry Carr on Tuesday night proposed a new policy that could impose greater restrictions on police use of deadly force – a move recently promised by city leaders in response to Sacramento officers’ fatal shooting of a mentally-ill man in North Sacramento in July and other police shootings across the nation. Sacramento Bee article

 Hundreds gather at wrenching vigil for slain 3-year-old — Some nights in Stockton are darker and more desperate than others. This one was full of unthinkable sorrow and sadness, but it was illuminated by the light of candles that flickered like a signal to the heavens as dusk fell on a city still weeping over the loss of a precious child. Stockton Record article


 Stockton teachers flood boardroom vowing to strike – Hundreds of Stockton Unified teachers stood outside the district main office Tuesday evening, blowing airhorns, ringing cowbells and making their voice be heard, as one. Stockton Record article

 Chowchilla school must drop ‘Redskins’ name, but town won’t let it go easily – Chowchilla is one of four high schools in California that has a Redskins mascot. But by January 2017, there won’t be any. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Racial Mascots Act banning the name Redskins from high school football teams by the end of this year. The law doesn’t sit well with Thomas and many other people from the small Central Valley town of Chowchilla, about 40 miles north of Fresno. KQED report

 Danny Morrison: The ‘J’ in Measure J stands for Jumpstart – Enough is enough. Pass Measure J. It’s time for Bakersfield College to jumpstart into the 21st century. My Mom managed to graduate and jumpstart a career in education. Without the necessary upgrades, BC will continue to have its enrollment rate adversely affected and its learning environment as well. BC needs our assistance. Morrison column in Bakersfield Californian

Joseph Doty: Measure J is a half-billion dollar tax rip-off – The registered green builder, general contractor and general manager of a local solar company writes, “This is the largest single tax increase in Kern County history — $1.2 billion in taxpayer money that would be repaid over 30 years with your property taxes. To repay these taxes, taxpayers will be on the hook for more than $2.3 billion over 30 years.” Doty op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

White House recognizes Merced educator as Champion of Change — The White House will recognize a Merced educator this week as a Champion of Change for a summer program she leads that helps middle school girls develop their leadership potential. Annie Delgado, a women’s studies teacher at Golden Valley High School, runs the Lift While You Lead Empowerment Program. Merced Sun-Star article

 Nan Austin: Patterson Googles up a promising future — Educators from around the region headed to Creekside Middle School in Patterson on Monday for a Google Leadership Symposium. Teachers in Patterson Unified, like most districts around here, use Google for Education. What sets Creekside apart, and why Google chose it for the summit, is how the kids use it. Austin in Modesto Bee

Gov. Brown signs law to plan expansion of computer science education — Gov. Jerry Brown Jr. on Tuesday signed into law a bill that begins a three-year planning process to expand computer science education for all grades in California’s public schools, beginning in kindergarten. EdSource article

 LAO recommends ending college grant program for CA National Guard and Reserve — The Legislative Analyst’s Office is advising the state legislature to not renew a college grant program for California National Guard and State Military Reserve soldiers when it expires in 2019. KPCC report


 Cedar Fire county response cost: $814,033 – Tulare County Fire Chief Charlie Norman said he feared for the Posey station during the Cedar Fire, which burned nearly 30,000 acres last month. Visalia Times-Delta article

 California is cracking down to prevent illegal fishing off coast — California is embarking on a new effort to shield ocean waters from overfishing. Law-enforcement officials have embraced a statewide ticketing system aimed at poachers and unwitting anglers who illegally catch bass, yellowtail, lobsters and other types of marine life within these zones, which are commonly called MPAs. LA Times article

Health/Human Services

 Merced County may draw more doctors with loan-relief bill – Merced County and other regions in need of health practitioners could see the arrival of more doctors – thanks, in part, to a bill authored by Assemblyman Adam Gray. Merced Sun-Star article

State regulators talk about medical marijuana rules in Clovis — Leaders from the state agencies tasked with regulating the medical marijuana industry held a forum in Clovis Tuesday to gather feedback before drafting the new rules. Fresno Bee article

Stanislaus County man dies of West Nile virus — A 90-year-old man has died from the West Nile virus, Stanislaus County officials reported Tuesday.Modesto Bee article

Will people of color in California use the aid in dying law? — Death was a topic that wasn’t discussed in Adrienne Lawson Thompson’s home growing up. The Los Angeles native says it was such a taboo topic, that her own mother didn’t even reveal what illness she was stricken with before she died. Capital Public Radio report


 Consumers still wary of self-driving cars despite auto industry excitement –  If Ford, Volvo, GM and Uber are to be believed, self-driving cars will soon dominate our roads and car ownership will be a thing of the past. If regular consumers are to be believed, automakers need to hold their horses, because people aren’t ready for a self-driving future. Those are the findings from anew survey commissioned by Kelley Blue Book, which polled 2,264 U.S. residents weighted to census figures by age, gender, ethnicity and location. LA Times article

 FAA will investigate Santa Monica’s ‘starvation strategy’ to shut down its municipal airport — The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that it would investigate Santa Monica’s so-called starvation strategy that could close the city’s embattled airport within two years. LA Times article

Other areas

Fresno County names new auditor-controller — Fresno County supervisors on Tuesday appointed Oscar J. Garcia the new auditor-controller/treasurer-tax collector. He will replace Vicki Crow beginning Oct. 17. Crow, 56, will retire effective Oct. 14. Fresno Bee article 

Shelter residents clean Hanford streets – What do you get when you combine a program to left men out of homelessness with the need to remove bird waste, tree sap, gum and other stuff from Hanford sidewalks? A joint Main Street Hanford-Kings Gospel Mission project to systematically clean walkways in the downtown area, that’s what. Hanford Sentinel article

City committee gets run-down on Bakersfield marathon – Nearly 1,000 runners from 55 cities, nine states and Canada have pre-registered for what’s believed to be Bakersfield’s first foray into hosting a marathon, one that will take runners from the southwest to the northeast and even possibly qualify some for the Boston Marathon. Bakersfield Californian article

Lois Henry: He’s legal! Ex-Charger player gets his license – In keeping with the old idiom, the third time Kenny Graham took the test to renew his license, he passed. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian

 Museum logo: You wanted to clocktower, you’ve got the clocktower — Art is subjective, several members of the board that runs Kern Pioneer Village agreed Monday — which was another way of saying they were underwhelmed by the museum’s new logo, unveiled at their monthly meeting.Bakersfield Californian article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – New federal guidelines for autonomous vehicle makers make the roads safer and cut red tape; Donald Trump’s performance in Monday night’s debate confirmed our worst fears about what kind of president he might be if he were to win the Nov. 8 election.

Sacramento Bee – Measure B – the Sacramento County half-cent sales tax for transportation on the Nov. 8 ballot – isn’t perfect; sales taxes hit hardest on the poor and don’t directly tie to transportation. But the measure is the product of rare agreement among the county’s elected officials and recognition that neither a gridlocked Congress nor Legislature has seriously tackled transportation funding; Proposition 57 would fix a mistake and help rehabilitate felons.