September 30, 2014


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Political Briefs

Top stories

Brown says he’s likely to sign plastic bag bill –  California Gov. Jerry Brown has indicated that he is likely to sign a bill imposing the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags as a way to address litter, primarily in waterways.  AP article

California’s criminal-penalty ballot measure draws big money – Almost $1 million has poured into campaign committees supporting and opposing Proposition 47 on the Nov. 4 ballot in the past week, with proponents of the measure to reduce penalties for certain crimes outraising critics by more than 4-to-1 over the past two months.  Capitol Alert

Gov. Brown

Dan Walters Daily:  Jerry Brown’s ‘canoe theory’ of politics – By paddling a little on the left and a little on the right, Gov. Jerry Brown steers down the political middle, Dan says.  Dan Walters Daily in Sacramento Bee

Valley politics

Governor signs series of Eggman bills – Gov. Jerry Brown last week signed a bill by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, that ensures terminally ill patients are informed by their physicians of their rights to hear end-of-life options.  Stockton Record article

Jim Reeves: Nunes’ government site posts image insulting to transgender community –  In a display of incredible insensitivity and insult, Devin Nunes, on his official Congressional website, used the above picture in “The Nunes Digest” to link to a report of the California legislature passing a bill allowing death certificates to reflect the expressed gender of the decedent.  Reeves in Visalia Times-Delta

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Neel Kashkari, the $700 billion man, makes a bid for governor in California – Kashkari, deeply down in the polls, is an abortion-rights and gay-marriage supporter who’s flexible on immigration (his parents emigrated from India) — and, as such, would make an unconventional GOP candidate on the national stage. But in California, he has found support from a discouraged Republican donor base, as well as the grass roots, to chart an anti-tea-party course. He has pushed themes of job growth, regulatory restraint and education reform in his campaign to claim the office held by Brown, a mainstay of Democratic politics for decades.  Washington Post article

U-T San Diego: Swearengin for state controller – We endorse Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin to be the next state controller. She is both a fiscal watchdog and an effective manager — just what the agency needs.  U-T San Diego editorial

Ron Nehring’s quest for debate with Newsom darkens – Ron Nehring, former head of the California GOP and candidate for lieutenant governor, is resorting to some unorthodox overtures after Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom rebuffed efforts to coordinate a debate.  Capitol Alert


Immigrants scramble to prove eligibility for Covered California – On Sept. 4 — five months after the end of open enrollment — Covered California sent out notices in English and Spanish to 98,000 families who bought plans on the exchange alerting them that their legal status could not be verified. As many as 50,000 households still remain unverified and must meet a Tuesday deadline at midnight to prove that they are citizens or legal U.S. residents, or risk losing coverage.  KQED report

Brown signs bill to help Fresno County continue indigent care –  Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Sunday in an effort to help Fresno County continue to provide health care services for the indigent and undocumented population. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea, comes several weeks after the county voted to eliminate a health safety net for undocumented immigrants.  KVPR reportThe Business Journal article

Other areas

Brown vetoes bills on prosecution misconduct, drones, Oks lower crack sentences – One of the hardest-fought crime bills of the legislative session, stiffening the laws against prosecutors who withhold evidence that might help the defense, has been vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown signed one significant bill Sunday, however, that prosecutors and police had opposed. SB1010 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, will equalize sentencing for crack and powder cocaine by reducing the terms for possession of crack with intent to sell from three to five years in prison to two to four years.  San Francisco Chronicle article

In testimony, Senate employee describes fear of Hidalgo, Beard – A California Senate employee testified Monday that he was afraid to report alleged wrongdoing by a former security officer because he feared retaliation from his mother, the upper house’s personnel director, and Sergeant-at-Arms Tony Beard, who he said treated the officer “like a son.”  Capitol Alert

Power of Feinstein, Boxer hinges on red-leaning Senate races – The outcome of a handful of too-close-to-call Senate races in November — including one where the Democratic Party isn’t even fielding a candidate — will determine whether Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are still shaping the national debate on terrorism and climate change next year.  San Francisco Chronicle article

White House fence-jumper made it far deeper into building than previously known – The man who jumped the White House fence this month and sprinted through the front door made it much farther into the building than previously known, overpowering one Secret Service officer and running through much of the main floor, according to three people familiar with the incident.  Washington Post articleLA Times article

News Briefs

Top Stories

Stockton council to meet about bankruptcy – Stockton’s bankruptcy fate is expected to be decided Wednesday morning in Sacramento and the city has scheduled afternoon closed-session City Council special meetings for Tuesday and Wednesday at City Hall.  Stockton Record article

California drought and climate warming:  Studies find no clear link – Global warming contributed to extreme heat waves in many parts of the world last year, but cannot be definitively linked to the California drought, according to a report released Monday.  LA Times articleKQED report

Jobs and the Economy

LA cops, firefighters abusing injury leave? Mayor issues warning – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a warning to city police officers and firefighters who might be abusing a leave program that pays them 100% of their salaries, tax-free, while out with claimed injuries.  LA Times article

Small businesses in SoCal increasingly optimistic, survey finds – Businesses in Southern California are increasingly optimistic, with most expecting better revenue this year and even higher sales in 2015, according to a new report. The vast majority expect to maintain or boost their investments in leases, contracts and other long-term commitments, according to the survey. Nearly all expect to do the same with their marketing and sales budgets.  LA Times article

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes franchise bill – Siding with corporate chain stores that warned of degraded service, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday vetoed a bill giving franchise owners more power in business transactions.  Capitol AlertLA Times article

Pending home sales dip in August as investors pull back – The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes in August dipped slightly, though it remains near its highest level in a year. The National Assn. of Realtors reported Monday that its pending home sales index, which counts sales that are in contract but not yet closed, fell 1% in August. Analysts had predicted it would stay flat.  LA Times article

Skateland closed after 59 years – Bakersfield lost a local institution Sunday when Skateland roller rink closed after nearly six decades in business. Owners Natalie Dunn Fries, 57, and Leslie Dunn-Meyers, 50, are in the process of selling the family-owned skating rink to a buyer who plans to convert it to a warehouse.  Bakersfield Californian article

ATM fees keep climbing, survey says – The penalty for using an ATM that is not affiliated with your bank went up 5 percent over the past year. The average fee for using an out-of-network ATM climbed to a new high of $4.35 per transaction, according to a survey released Monday by  AP article

Thunder for sale; team will stay in Stockton at least through 2019-20 season – The Stockton Thunder is for sale, and owner Brad Rowbotham is looking for a buyer who plans to keep the professional hockey franchise in Stockton. Rowbotham confirmed on Monday he planned to sell the ECHL team he has owned since February, 2010. He said he is not in a hurry to find a suitable new owner and knows what he is looking for.  Stockton Record article

AEG seeks more time to build NFL stadium in downtown LA – With the clock running out on a proposal to build a pro football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, developer Anschutz Entertainment Group has appealed to the city for extra time.  LA Times article

TEC Equipment plans truck service, sales center in Lathrop – TEC Equipment Inc., a Portland, Ore.-based truck sales and service company announced it is building its newest full-service location in Lathrop, planning a 25-acre facility that will employ about 50 people.  Stockton Record article

Buckley Broadcasting says sale of Bakersfield stations ‘rumors’ – The president of Buckley Broadcasting, owner of four Bakersfield radio stations, said Monday there was “nothing definitive” pending with the sale of any of its stations. Joe Bilotta, president of the Hartford, Conn.-based company, said any talk of selling Bakersfield’s KNZR-AM and FM, KKBB-FM and KLLY-FM were “rumors.” Bakersfield Californian article

Gov. Brown signs law banning write-offs for pro sports fines – Professional sports team owners will no longer be able to write-off league penalties from their taxes under a new law signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.  LA Times article

Ranadive’s software company, Tibco, sold for $4.3 billion – Capping nearly two years of disappointing financial results and a decline in its stock price, Tibco Software Inc. agreed to be sold Monday to a private equity firm for $4.3 billion. The deal will give Ranadive a personal payout of $316.4 million for his share of the company he founded 17 years ago, according to regulatory filings.  Sacramento Bee article

San Francisco’s Airbnb law advances through Supes’ committee – San Francisco’s proposed legislation to legalize and rein in vacation rentals in private homes passed out of the Supervisor’s Land Use Committee on Monday. It next heads to the full Board of Supervisors on Oct. 7.  San Francisco Chronicle article


DWR:  Progress on delta tunnels – California’s top water official told a key gathering of south state water representatives that “hard-earned progress” is being made on the Brown administration’s controversial plan to build twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  Capitol Weekly article

Fresno’s first water forum draws crowd in search of consensus – Fresno City Hall’s first in a series of water forums wasted no time coming to a consensus — we need water. After that, it was a free-for-all.  Fresno Bee article

Long, difficult summer at Millerton Lake – The drought summer of 2014 is in the rear view mirror at Millerton Lake, but it will long be remembered — east San Joaquin Valley farmers were left without water from this lake for the first time in many decades.  Fresno Bee article

Drought-conscious residents turn the water tables on public agencies – As officials crack down on homeowners who waste water, more drought-conscious Californians are using social media to broadcast video of what appear to be government agencies breaking their own water-use rules: sprinklers running at city parks in the middle of the day, public workers hosing grass until it becomes a muddy mess. They are also filing an increasing number of complaints about wasteful water use by their neighbors and on city property.  LA Times article

New California law aims to rid farmers markets of cheaters – Bringing to fruition a decade-long campaign by farmers market stakeholders, on Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1871, which for the first time provides what supporters say is adequate funding to ensure that growers at certified farmers markets produce what they sell.  LA Times article

Hearing begins for Fresno farmworkers at Gerawan Farming – An administrative law judge began hearing testimony Monday in a case that could decide whether more than 3,000 farmworkers employed by Gerawan Farming will be represented by the United Farm Workers union or not.  Fresno Bee article

Dan Walters: Jerry Brown hands United Farm Workers a setback – Jerry Brown devoted much of his first governorship to seeking other offices, so his record of accomplishment was scant. He’s often touted a 1975 deal to give farmworkers, excluded from the National Labor Relations Act, union rights in California, supposedly settling years of strife between the United Farm Workers Union and growers. However, it merely ignited decades of new strife, which continues with Brown’s recent veto of a new farm labor bill.  Walters column in Sacramento Bee

Brown signs bill to fight sexual harassment of California farmworkers – Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that aims to combat the sexual harassment of California farmworkers — an issue brought to national attention by a joint reporting effort in 2013 by KQED’s The California Report, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Univision and UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program.  KQED report

Early now blankets Sierra Nevada, delighting drought-weary California –  An unusual early snowstorm blanketed the Sierra Nevada over the weekend, but the welcome sight isn’t expected to last long as a warming trend spreads across California.  LA Times article

State expands psyllid quarantine across Tulare County – The state Department of Agriculture has expanded a citrus quarantine to encompass all of Tulare County to fight the spread of the pernicious Asian citrus psyllid following the discovery of two of the tiny insects in neighborhoods in the city of Tulare.  Fresno Bee articleVisalia Times-Delta articleVisalia Times-Delta editorial

Steve Nelsen: Keep up the good work saving money – Visalia’s mayor writes, “In April, the Visalia City Council adopted Stage 4 water restrictions in response to the most significant drought in generations, faced not only by our city, but by the entire state. And, you have made a difference! Since the Stage 4 water restrictions took effect April 17, Visalians have conserved an average of 12 percent from April through August, compared with last year. This is a savings of 683,636,200 gallons or 2,098 acre-feet of water.”  Nelsen op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Public funeral for former Bakersfield police chief Matlock set for Thursday – A public funeral will be held Thursday for former Bakersfield police chief Eric Matlock, who died of cancer last Thursday at age 65.  Bakersfield Californian article


Jerry Brown approves community college bachelor’s degrees – In what could portend a monumental shift in public higher education in California, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Sunday that will allow up to 15 community colleges to launch bachelor’s degrees programs in vocational fields.  Capitol AlertEdSource article;Bakersfield Californian article

Jerry Brown approves loan program for undocumented students – Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation creating a new loan program for undocumented students in California’s public universities.  Capitol Alert

Enrollment takes tiny step up at UC Merced – UC Merced’s fall enrollment has increased again but by just 1 percent from this time last year, a tiny increase compared with several years of fast-paced growth for the young campus, according to new numbers from the school.  Merced Sun-Star article

State Middle Class Scholarship offers students a boost – As many as 100,000 California students from families with incomes up to $150,000 a year could receive a new state-funded scholarship to attend a UC or California State University campus this year.  San Francisco Chronicle article

UC to add ‘gender-neutral’ restrooms – Responding to concerns raised by gay and transgender students and employees, University of California President Janet Napolitano directed the system’s 10 campuses on Monday to create more gender-neutral restrooms and to allow students to update their records with a preferred name that does not necessarily match their legal name.  AP articleLA Times article

Stockton Unified truancy force puts love in tough love – The district, Stockton’s largest with 38,000 students, is intensifying efforts to prevent truancy this year, especially in light of a new state study showing that black elementary students missed nearly four times more school than children in any other group last year.  Stockton Record article

CSU Bakersfield suspends search for new athletic director until spring – Cal State Bakersfield will suspend its search for a new athletic director until the spring, the university announced in a news release Monday evening. Two finalists — Bill Lansden from Alabama-Birmingham and David Harris from Iowa State — visited in the last few weeks, meeting with community members and interviewing for the job. Support from the community was not overwhelming for either candidate, the release says. Bakersfield Californian article

Modesto City Schools board hears pros, cons of Waldorf-based charter – Controversy surfaced at a Modesto City Schools public hearing on authorizing a Waldorf-based charter school, a system used for years in private schools that infuses the arts and nature in all subjects, parents said.  Modesto Bee article

USD students helped shape foster care bill – A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown to help foster youth in college started as a class project for University of San Diego graduate students studying nonprofit leadership.  U-T San Diego article

Authorities assure Lemoore High threats false – About two-thirds of students that attend Lemoore High School opted to stay home Monday following rumored shooting retaliation threats that stemmed from a stabbing that occurred Sunday, just south of Hanford.  Hanford Sentinel article

Wyatt Ross: Adjust teacher tenure – don’t get rid of it – The tenured teacher and coach at West High School writes, “Are there some bad teachers? Absolutely, as in any profession or sector. What to do about it? Extend the probation period for tenure. If a teacher is tenured after a lengthy probationary period and goes bad, hold the administrator that hired them highly accountable. Let teachers objectively evaluate students without irrational parent accusations. Modify tenure. Do not eliminate it.”  Ross op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


California adds $70 million to firefighting efforts – Firefighters may have finally gotten the upper hand on the massive King fire, but its legacy continues as the state wrestles with how to pay millions in firefighting costs incurred in what is being called one of the worst fire years in recent history.  Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Migrating birds in for a tough winter in Central Valley – If the millions of birds that migrate to the Central Valley each winter look forward to the equivalent of a cozy bed and a warm meal, this year they could find themselves sleeping under a bridge. That’s a crude analogy, but experts agree that those waterfowl — winging their way to drought-stricken California as we speak — will find their favorite wetlands shrunken and depleted and will be forced to crowd into smaller pools where they may suffer from high levels of hunger and disease.  Stockton Record article

Low flows a danger to salmon coming and going – While waterfowl are winging toward Central Valley skies, salmon will simultaneously be splashing up Central Valley streams. And like the birds, they’ll have a drought to deal with when they get there.  Stockton Record article

Gas leak could cost Arvin, Kern $10 million from more than 400 legal claims – Arvin residents filed 416 legal complaints against Kern County and the City of Arvin earlier this month seeking more than $10 million in damages in the wake of a March pipeline gas leak.  Bakersfield Californian article

Spending soars higher on relocation of Bay Bridge’s birds – Cute as they may appear, the double-crested cormorants and other birds that call the old Bay Bridge home are fast becoming a $30 million-plus headache.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Health/Human Services

Sacramento Bee: Report on Latinos shows Obamacare is working – In California, which was among the 25 states where Medicaid eligibility was expanded, Latino uninsured rates were cut in half, to 17 percent. What has made the difference? The expansion of Medicaid and the rollout of subsidized private coverage through insurance exchanges such as Covered California. In other words, Obamacare.  Sacramento Bee editorial

Gov. Jerry Brown signs bills on foster youth – Under a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, social workers will be able to report their concerns if they believe that practices by county welfare agencies are endangering children.  LA Times article

Land Use/Housing

Stanislaus County answers Modesto mayor’s offer for Wood Colony pledge – Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh said about a week ago that Modesto would stay out of Wood Colony – the close-knit, more-than-century-old farming community west of Highway 99 – if Stanislaus County would do the same. County CEO Stan Risen has taken up the mayor’s challenge. Risen has sent a letter to interim City Manager Jim Holgersson asking to discuss the mayor’s proposal not to approve development in the colony.  Modesto Bee article

Renters group protests ‘eviction’ of Merced member – Renters rights group Tenants Together held a press conference outside of the Tioga Apartments on Monday to protest what it called the “eviction” of a disabled, longtime tenant who has been given no specific reasons for being forced out.  Merced Sun-Star article


Hope for late-night transit dawns; BART to roll out test project – Facing an increasing demand for late-night transit service, regional transportation officials are taking a hard look at how to change that — and testing at least one plan to help people get around in the late-night and early morning hours.  San Francisco Chronicle article

Driverless car rides? Garcetti hopes LA will be the first – Los Angeles would be the first city offering people rides in self-driving cars, if Mayor Eric Garcetti fulfills one of his dreams. At a downtown conference Monday on city innovations sponsored by The Atlantic magazine, Garcetti told attendees the city is working with UCLA to make the Westwood area a test site for a ride-sharing service like Lyft or Uber, but with automated cars.  LA Times article

Karen Sallee: Progress and memories, and never the twain shall meet – The Bakersfield resident writes, “The Thomas Roads Improvement Program (TRIP) will soon demolish my childhood home to make way for the Centennial Corridor. Gone will be a big chunk of the neighborhood where my earliest memories were made. I am heartbroken.”   Sallee op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Other Areas

Merced County unveils new emergency dispatch center – A new emergency dispatch center in Merced County, a project nearly a decade in the making, was formally unveiled Monday before a crowd of more than 75 people at Castle Airport in Atwater.  Merced Sun-Star article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Proposition 47 is too much after other criminal justice changes.

Merced Sun-Star – We need someone who isn’t blinded by disdain for any policy with Democratic support. That’s why we’re endorsing Republican Art Moore for the 4th Congressional District, which includes all of Tuolumne and Mariposa counties and parts of seven others.

Modesto Bee – We need someone who isn’t blinded by disdain for any policy with Democratic support. That’s why we’re endorsing Republican Art Moore for the 4th Congressional District, which includes all of Tuolumne and Mariposa counties and parts of seven others.

Sacramento Bee – Report on Latino shows Obamacare is working; Republic FC aim for one more big win for Sacramento.

Stockton Record – Cheers and jeers on horse racing tragedies casting a pall at San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, a new director for Emergency Food Bank and Family Services of Stockton/San Joaquin County and other issues.

Visalia Times-Delta – Thumbs Up to the California Department of Food and Agriculture for their efforts to wipe out a dangerous citrus pest now discovered in Tulare.