September 5, 2016


Political Stories

Top stories 

George Skelton: The Legislature helped poor people and farmworkers but skipped the middle class — The California Legislature capped its two-year session by passing a load of liberal bills to help poor people, including farmworkers. That’s good, but what about middle-class folks? They were snubbed again. Ignoring the declining middle class has become the norm, both in Sacramento and Washington. Skelton column in LA Times 

November ballot’s myriad issues could help decide Fresno mayor’s race — In what is expected to be a close Fresno mayor’s race, however, one or more of the 17 ballot initiatives that will be at or near the bottom of every voter’s ballot could be the difference maker in the election. Fresno Bee article

Valley politics 

Troubled property now target of mud slinging — The two candidates vying to represent south Stockton on the City Council are accusing each other of “political grandstanding,” a dispute sparked by their disagreement over the future use of the site once home to the shuttered New Grand Save Market. The District 6 candidates — Jesús Andrade and Sam Fant — agree that the city’s court-approved July closure of a store dubbed by Stockton officials as a “cesspool” of illicit activity was the proper move. But they disagree over what should happen next. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures 

Robin Abcarian: A Hollywood drug prevention counselor bemoans the coming legalization of cannabis — Mora spends time talking to kids about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. He works with neighborhood groups to promote substance abuse prevention, and is a member of Rethinking Access to Marijuana, a coalition of Los Angeles County nonprofits. He takes no position on legalization, but he’s not happy about it. Abcarian column in LA Times

Other areas 

California wants to make it easier to prosecute old rape cases. But how much would a new law really help? – No one knows how many additional prosecutions a longer deadline or the abolition of any time limit might bring. California’s bill was not based on any study or systematic research, and allegations of decades-old crimes are often hard to prove — and difficult for a defendant to contest. LA Times article 

Kaepernick tells Denair crowd Miami hotel room incident ‘changed my way of thinking’ — Colin Kaepernick sat in front of more than 900 people Friday morning and said the incident in Miami last month was “a bad circumstance” and has “changed my way of thinking.” “It’s been put out that I did something wrong,” he said at the 21st annual Turlock Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. “Even though it’s a bad circumstance, a bad situation, I feel like ultimately I’ve been blessed because it’s changed my way of thinking. It’s made me stronger. It’s made me look at things differently.” Modesto Bee article

Obama defends Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest – President Obama on Monday acknowledged that for some people it is a “tough thing” to see Colin Kaepernick kneel instead of stand for the American flag and national anthem, but defended the NFL quarterback, saying he was “exercising his constitutional right to make a statement.” LA Times article 

Political lessons Clinton, Trump, Sanchez can learn from Kaepernick – It’s already Labor Day, but many tough political questions remain before election day. So for answers we turn to newly christened political activist/San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Ami Bera, Scott Jones ramp up campaigns for Congress, answer criticism — As the November election draws near, U.S. Rep. Ami Bera and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones are ramping up their campaigns for the 7th congressional district. Sacramento Bee article

Presidential Politics 

Gloria La Riva comes to Merced to learn community’s needs — On Saturday afternoon in McNamara Park, Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidateGloria La Riva walked through Merced asking residents what they think the community needs to prosper, what farmworkers need for a better life and to show the city there is another voting option. Merced Sun-Star article

News Stories

Top Stories

Officers shot in Fresno County Jail lobby still in critical condition — Concern began to ripple through many close-knit Valley communities as two Fresno County correctional officers remained in critical condition Sunday, a day after being shot by an ex-convict inside the downtown Fresno jail lobbyFresno Bee article; ‘Community holding strong for officer wounded in jailhouse shooting’ in Fresno Bee

Kind-hearted duo helps keep homeless kids in school — Little Sebastian is one of the 1,865 students that two women with the Bakersfield City School District have been going to extraordinary lengths to keep in school under a federal law called the McKinney Vento program. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy 

Foster Farms sees new kind of comfort food – Foster Farms has a new take on “comfort food,” the homey but possibly unhealthy fare that your Mom might serve up. The Livingston-based poultry company has launched a campaign that urges people to try lighter alternatives to recipes laden with fat and starch. Modesto Bee article 

Beat LA: San Francisco schemes strategy for winning Lucas museum – The race is on between San Francisco and L.A. to land George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art, with some big names working in the shadows to try to bring it to Treasure Island. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Officials call for action on cargo delivery crisis at ports – Politicians gathered at the Port of Long Beach on Sunday to call for the flow of cargo to Southern California to resume, days after the bankruptcy of one of the world’s largest shipping lines disrupted the global supply chain. LA Times article 

Outlook improves for Dungeness crab season — So far, there’s good news and bad news: Ocean temperatures are 3 degrees higher than usual, resulting in algal blooms in certain hot spots. But the situation is nothing like last year’s spikes of 8 to 10 degrees above the norm, which led to a massive algal bloom that infected crabs with the neurotoxin domoic acid that forced the closure. San Francisco Chronicle article 

Santa Ana struggles with increasing homeless population around Civic Center — Officials said that the homeless population in the area swelled beyond 400 earlier this year.  They are worried that the Civic Center complex is unsafe for the area’s more than 15,000 government workers, many whom have complained of feces, urine and trash on the sidewalks, including syringes. Ramie Vera, a legal assistant who works for the state’s workers’ compensation department at the Civic Center, said he is still shaken from one confrontation.  LA Times article 

Pressure grows on Faulconer over stadium — The calls for Mayor Kevin Faulconer to reveal his stand on the Chargers’ stadium initiative — and the speculation about which way he’ll go — have been ramping up in recent days. San Diego Union-Tribune article


UC study: Tulare Lake Basin hardest hit by drought – The California drought has not hit all parts of the state or the Valley the same. It’s worse — much worse here, says a new UC Davis report. Almost all fallowed land due to drought this year is projected to be on the west side of the San Joaquin Basin, which relies heavily on water imports. Hanford Sentinel article 

California’s native salmon struggling in fifth year of drought — After five years of drought, the native Chinook salmon that the men were reeling in this past week were there only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that California’s overtapped rivers once did. Most of the fish were born at the agencies’ hatcheries and carried in trucks for release downstream. AP article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Jail reviews security after unarmed officers shot — A central California jail was examining security measures after an ex-convict shot and wounded two unarmed officers in the lobby, but officials said Sunday that they did not plan any immediate changes. After reviewing Saturday’s shooting that left correctional Officers Juanita Davila and Toamalama Scanlan in critical condition, authorities will decide whether to alter procedures in the public area of the Fresno County jail, sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said. AP article 

A year after settlement, hundreds of state prison isolation cells remain empty — CDCR spokeswoman Terry Thornton said more than 3,000 inmates were housed in the SHU at the time of the hunger strikes, but the department began to trim that population years before the settlement. By the time it happened, 1,478 SHU inmates had been evaluated, and 1,110 had been moved to the general population. In the past year, another 1,530 were reviewed, and another 1,226 made it back to the general population. KQED report


Jose Gaspar: All the questions I still have for Kern High School District – Public reaction to revelations that Kern High School District administrators spied on students and others by tapping a law enforcement database has run from outrage to condemnation to “What else is new in this district?” Reaction from KHSD administrators and its board of trustees, however, is an entirely different matter. And I still have a lot of questions. Gaspar column in Bakersfield Californian

Kern High School District police probes will cost at least $78,000 — The Kern High School District will spend at least $78,000 on just one of two consultants hired to overhaul and investigate its on-campus police department, according to documents obtained by The Californian. Bakersfield Californian article 

A closer look at test scores for English learners, magnet schools and charters – More than three million students across California traded in pencils for computers to take their standardized tests last school year.LA Times article 

Celebration of students to return to downtown Merced – After more than a year off, Cap & Town returns to Merced on Saturday – this time headed up by the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce. The celebration – which before was technically called “Cap ’n’ Town” – dates to 2009, when it welcomed first lady Michelle Obama to Merced and celebrated the graduation of the first four-year class at UC Merced. After that, the event was expanded to include graduates of all age levels, from all schools. Merced Sun-Star article

Health/Human Services 

Turlock homeless shelter will stay open longer — This city’s only cold-weather shelter for men will be open for an extra 3 1/2months over its next two seasons after receiving a state grant. The We Care Program has received a $332,184 Housing and Community Development Emergency Solutions grant that will allow it to operate longer. Modesto Bee article 

Transitional housing unit under fire —  In January, Nina Lamfers was desperate to find a home. She had finished treatment at New Directions, an alcohol and drug awareness program, and was leaving her sober living residence. If she found a home, she was told, Child Protective Services would reunite her with her daughter. On Jan. 30, Lamfers became a resident at the UROJAS Community Service facility at 322 N. California St. A decision she said she now regrets. Stockton Record article

Land Use/Housing 

Austin Quarry opponents protest at proposed Madera County site — About 100 protesters turned out Sunday afternoon near the site of the proposed Austin Quarry in Madera County. The protesters, organized by the Madera Oversight Commission, oppose plans to build a quarry on the southwest corner of highways 41 and 145. Fresno Bee article


City creates new entrance to Old Sacramento — The city just finished building a $13.5 million bridge into the old town from Capitol Mall next to Interstate 5. It’s not fancy or big (and could use an entrance arch over it), but at least it’s not hidden. It actually curves over the freeway rather than under. Sacramento Bee article 

Other areas 

Bee Investigator: Cops, firefighters partner up for new Fire Investigation Unit — Real-life criminal investigations are not conducted like an episode of “CSI.” Toxicology results on a homicide victim are not produced within minutes and fingerprint analysts aren’t breaking down doors to arrest a suspect after finding his print at the crime scene. Forensic examiners are generally not peace officers with guns and the power to arrest people; the roles are separate. The most common exception to this is in fire investigation, which in the public sector is usually done by firefighters who get peace-officer powers after several weeks of training.Modesto Bee article 

Greg Gomez resigns as mayor of Farmersville – After leading the council for two years, Gomez formally resigned as mayor on Friday. He will remain on the council, though. The resignation followed his arrest last month, which involved a domestic dispute with his wife. Visalia Times-Delta article 

Forty years later, the Bee Four’s legacy lives on — It’s been 40 years since four Fresno Bee newsmen went to jail to protect a confidential source, and they would do it again if given another chance. Fresno Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – With a $15 minimum wage, farmworker overtime, expanded parental leave and 5.5 percent unemployment, workers in California can, and should, celebrate.

Sacramento Bee – With a $15 minimum wage, farmworker overtime, expanded parental leave and 5.5 percent unemployment, workers in California can, and should, celebrate.