September 6, 2015


Political Stories

Top stories

Dan Walters: California shows class bias in green subsidies — Obviously, those who can afford Teslas are a very small portion of the state’s residents. Obviously, too, the $10,000 rebates may not be major factors in their decisions to buy. But it illustrates a dirty little secret of the wide array of tax credits, rebates and other “incentives” that federal and state governments have offered in the name of reducing emissions of carbon and other pollutants: They mostly go to the affluent. Walters column in Sacramento Bee 

State lawmakers challenge Air Resources Board’s power over climate change rules — Top members of Gov. Jerry Brown’s staff hosted more than a dozen Assembly members recently to take their temperatures on hotly contested environmental legislation. Instead, the meeting became a gripe session about the California Air Resources Board, the powerful government regulator that would implement proposed rules for slashing the use of gasoline on state roads. LA Times article 

California’s climate fight comes down to late negotiations — Securing legislation requiring that standard in the world’s eighth-largest economy would be a timely win for Brown before international leaders meet in Paris in November for the United Nations climate change conference. Brown is likely to attend the conference, but he has not said so officially. But first, the Democratic governor has to break through a logjam in his own party in the final week of the legislative session. AP article



U.S. judge dismisses challenge of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law – Challengers of Arizona’s landmark immigration law failed to show that police would enforce the statute differently for Latinos than they would for people of other ethnicities, a judge said in a ruling that dismissed the last of seven challenges to the law. LA Times article


Other areas 

Can California really cut gasoline use by 50 percent? – For 50 years, California has led the nation in passing environmental standards to protect its beaches, restore wildlife and reduce smog. But as the final days of this year’s legislative session in Sacramento loom, a controversial bill that would require the state to reduce petroleum use by motor vehicles at least 50 percent by 2030 is causing people in the Capitol and around the state to ask: “Is that even possible?” San Jose Mercury News article

Rob Lapsley and Dorothy Rothrock: Flaws in climate legislation need to be fixed – Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, and Rothrock, president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, write, “The authors of the legislation agree there are shortfalls and are considering amendments. But our coalition of statewide business community leaders believes flaws in the bills go far beyond what the authors acknowledge.” Lapsley/Rothrock op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Lois Henry: Drama over gay marriage a rerun for Kern viewers – Watching the drama play out over the rogue county clerk in Kentucky and her religious objections to gay marriage should be awfully familiar to anyone who’s been around Kern County for the last few years. Our situation didn’t go nearly as far as what happened with Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed on Thursday for defying a court order to issue the licenses. Henry column in Bakersfield Californian 

Clashing courts: Law restricts federal judges’ ability to intervene in state criminal cases –  In the wake of bombings in the 1990s at the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City federal building, Congress passed a wide-ranging “effective death penalty” law. One provision was especially contentious: It restricted the ability of federal courts to intervene in state criminal cases. Nearly 20 years later, Supreme Court interpretations of the law have robbed federal judges of much of their power to overturn convictions obtained in state court, where the vast majority of criminal defendants are tried.  LA Times article 

Dan Morain: A nice, quiet little business – Californians will buy millions of cars from dealers this year and incur many costs. One is the electronic vehicle registration fee. As expenses go, it’s minor, $29, hardly enough to get under consumers’ skin. But the fee has been the recurrent focus of legislation. Why? Campaign money helps explain it, though everyone involved swears they would never engage in pay-to-play politics. Morain in Sacramento Bee 

Food industry enlisted academics in G.M.O. lobbying war, emails show – Corporations have poured money into universities to fund research for decades, but now, the debate over bioengineered foods has escalated into a billion-dollar food industry war. Companies like Monsanto are squaring off against major organic firms like Stonyfield Farm, the yogurt company, and both sides have aggressively recruited academic researchers, emails obtained through open records laws show. New York Times article

Eggman named recycling legislator of year — Assemblywoman Susan Eggman is being honored by Californians Against Waste as the recycling legislator of the year. Californians Against Waste bills itself as the largest organization in California dedicated to promoting recycling. Stockton Record article

Student loan debt emerges as presidential campaign issue The problem of rising student loan debt cuts across age groups, and politicians hoping to appeal to young voters as well as parents have started touting potential solutions. LA Times article


News Stories

Top Stories

Less water might be plenty for California, experts say, and conservation is only the start — Some experts see an approach following the lead of the energy sector in California. In the last quarter century or so, a “soft path” to energy reliability — one built on conservation, innovation and mutual incentives for buyers and sellers alike — has replaced the brute strategy of building all the generation plants needed to power all of the state all of the time. LA Times article

Despite drought, summer’s been good for some mountain communities — Four years of drought has left communities and farms on the floor of the San Joaquin Valley thirsty for water. But for some mountain towns on the Valley’s east side that depend heavily on tourism, this long, dry summer still has been a good one entering this Labor Day weekend. Fresno Bee article


Jobs and the Economy 

Sacramento County bond debt highest in state – Pension and airport financing combined have given Sacramento County the highest bond debt out of California’s 58 counties, The Sacramento Bee found in an analysis of data collected from the counties by the state controller’s office. At the end of June 2014, Sacramento County owed $1.84 billion in bond payments, not including interest, more than half of which came from pension obligation bonds. Sacramento Bee article

California’s new car sales resurgence led by Japanese makes – California’s new car marketplace has surged back to pre-recession form, with domestic and foreign automakers enjoying a string of robust sales months in the state. But statistics show that in many respects the Golden State remains the Land of the Rising Sun. Sacramento Bee article

LA plans to undo 2012 pension cuts in new union pay deal – A proposed four-year salary agreement with the Coalition of L.A. City Unions calls for the council to abandon that 2012 pension plan. Those nearly 2,200 workers would revert back to the older, more lucrative retirement benefits that have been in place for decades — and are increasingly viewed as financially unsustainable. LA Times article 

Minority winemakers look to change industry’s stereotypes — Bertony Faustin didn’t set out to be Oregon’s first black winemaker. He just wanted to make good wine. But the disbelief that often comes when customers realize a black man owns the winery has worn on him. AP article



Groundwater contamination:  Facility operator wins time, but appeal remains — A unique sprinkler system northeast of Bakersfield has run night and day for more than half a century without attracting much notice, despite supporting a healthy-looking green patch that easily stands out from the golden foothills around it. Bakersfield Californian article 

Clovis misses state water mandate in August — Clovis reduced its water use 32.5 percent in August compared to 2013 but didn’t meet its state-mandated cut, city officials said Friday. Fresno Bee article

When big El Nino hits, weather turns spectacular – All you can do is get ready and brace yourself. Record warm temperatures for the month of August in San Francisco, along with a formidable El Niño, have set the stage for spectacular weather events this winter. San Francisco Chronicle article

Latest images of the California drought – Recent photos from throughout the state illustrate just how dry – and grim – the situation is getting in certain areas; grass has turned brown, family wells have run dry, there’s an increase in unusual animal activity and lakes are dry and racked.  San Francisco Chronicle article

‘Standing on their shoulders’ — From Stockton, San Francisco and Sacramento alike, about 300 travelers and Central Valley natives poured into Robert F. Kennedy High School Saturday for an event dubbed “Bold Step: A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike.” The Delano chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society hosted the event to commemorate Filipino American history in the farm workers’ movement. Bakersfield Californian article 

Amid drought, thousands of Californians cancel their flood insurance – State and local officials have preached for months that California’s historic drought could be “the new normal,” the precursor to more frequent yearslong episodes of hotter temperatures, less rainfall and lower Sierra snowpack. Californians across the state have responded en masse to the call for lifestyle changes, curtailing water use, particularly when it comes to watering their lawns. And some have responded in a manner more concerning to government officials: They canceled their flood insurance. Sacramento Bee article

Jane Braxton Little: Conflict flows from water bottling plant at Mount Shasta – The freelance writer writes, “Mount Shasta rises out of the northern Sacramento Valley, a snow-capped icon of serenity that attracts pilgrims seeking to heal body and soul in its fabled springs. Today it is a place of conflict over its most vaunted asset: water.” Little op-ed in Sacramento Bee 

Keeping it cool: Harvesting after sunset preserves grape freshness — As the sun sets over the Coast Range and Mt. Diablo casts its long shadow out toward San Joaquin County, cows head toward the barn and the last of the long-distance commuters are pulling into their driveways. But for the grape harvest crew at Kautz Farms a long, dusty work shift is just beginning. Stockton Record article


Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Fresno Bee: Let’s tone down the rhetoric and work to keep everyone safe – Our goal should be to reduce police-action shootings and to keep police officers safe. We can do both. But neither will happen until both sides can agree on the facts of the problem, ratchet down the rhetoric and start working in the same direction on solutions. Fresno Bee editorial

Fresno police officer shoots armed carjacking suspect – A Fresno police officer shot a suspected carjacker early Saturday morning after a short chase west of Highway 99. Lt. Joe Gomez said the 17-year-old suspect was listed in critical but stable condition at a Fresno hospital. The officer was not injured. Fresno Bee article 

Numerous bizarre twists in murder case against Modesto defense attorney – Almost every criminal case that moves through the judicial system has some bizarre details. But in the case of the People v. Frank Carson and eight co-defendants, there is strangeness at nearly every turn, from the way authorities allege the crime was carried out to the arrest of law enforcement officers to claims the criminal defense attorney ran for office only to stall the investigation. Modesto Bee article

Lewis Griswold: Visalia cop breaks up burglary ring – Visalia police detective Jared Hughes received a letter of commendation from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for his role in solving the burglary of a post office, one of several break-ins connected to a burglary crew active in two states. Griswold in Fresno Bee 

Fresno police officer subdues McDonald’s worker after fight — Fresno police said an officer managed to subdue an out-of-control McDonald’s worker late Friday night after a fight broke out between two men in the kitchen. Fresno Bee article 

Advocates say beating death at jail not surprising – With three Santa Clara County jail guards locked up on suspicion of murder in the death of inmate Michael James Tyree, the focus has turned to a basic question: Was the brutal incident the act of a rogue band of deputies — or the symptom of broader systemic failures that have brewed below the surface for years? San Jose Mercury News article

Marek Warszawski: Who shot Day Day? Friends, mentors shocked over killing of popular, pint-sized Fresno athlete Deondre Howard — During the final hours of his young life, Deondre Howard had to confront his greatest, and perhaps only, fear. The fear of becoming a gunshot victim. Warszawski in Fresno Bee



Kids returning to school, many without Common Core results – No more sleeping in. With new backpacks, pens and pencils and clothes, millions of children are back in school or heading there after summer vacation. Many are excited, some are anxious — and still waiting for the results of the new tests they took last spring aligned to the Common Core academic standards. AP article 

West Hills candidates talk position — With West Hills College Lemoore President Don Warkentin’s retirement looming, the college is entering its final phases in picking a replacement. Hanford Sentinel article

Delaine Eastin: Re-enrolling dropouts should top education agenda – The former state superintendent of public instruction writes, “What can policymakers do to put dropout recovery at the top of the education agenda? Ensure that the Department of Education collects and manages accurate data. Assess alternative schools with measures relevant to the circumstances of the students who re-enroll. Encourage multiple agency collaborations to overcome the effects of poverty and the environments that overwhelm students.” Eastin op-ed in Sacramento Bee

Shawn Hubler: Lessons that stand test of time — For U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra, it was statistics and Spanish at Stanford. For Gov. Jerry Brown, it was modern British literature at Cal. For Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the gift that kept giving was a speech class at Sacramento City College. Poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera cites a seminal assignment in a third-grade class. Hubler in Sacramento Bee



Rough fire reaches Kings Canyon National Park — The Rough fire has reached Kings Canyon National Park, about 11/2 miles away from Cedar Grove, federal incident managers announced Saturday morning. Fresno Bee article

Feds scramble to avoid another mass salmon die-off in Sacramento River — The lack of snowmelt, warmer temperatures and persistent demand for limited freshwater supplies have left many of the state’s reservoirs – and, by extension, its streams and rivers – hotter than normal. The changing river conditions have threatened the existence of 18 native species of fish, the winter-run Chinook among them. Sacramento Bee article


Health/Human Services

Davis High adds technology to help prevent football concussions — A small monitor, just bigger than an iPhone, attaches to Davis Senior High School athletic trainer Megan Pereira’s hip. When it buzzes during a football practice or game, it means someone may be pulled to the sidelines for their own safety. Sacramento Bee article

Donald W. Blount: Hard hits take toll — The trailer for the movie “Concussion” was released. In the movie, to be released Christmas Day, Will Smith portrays Bennet Omalu, now chief medical examiner for San Joaquin County, in his fight against the NFL. Blount column in Stockton Record

For California, last year’s West Nile season was worst ever – West Nile virus hit California harder than ever last year, with a record 561 cases of neuroinvasive disease — the most serious types of the illness — reported from the mosquito-borne virus, according to federal health data released Thursday. KQED report 

Moving company will help you leave an abusive partner for free – Central Coast-based Meathead Movers, a company founded in 1997 by student athletes, this week said it has partnered with domestic violence-prevention nonprofit Good Shepherd to help move people out of such situations.  LA Weekly article


Other areas

Expensive or not, Maxwell racks up lots of ‘referrals’ – Downtown’s Terry Maxwell was recently branded Bakersfield’s most expensive city councilman. By one measure, you could argue he definitely keeps City Hall busy. Maxwell, targeted for his alleged costliness by former Congressman Bill Thomas, has made more than four times as many tracked referrals to staff than any of his council colleagues since being sworn in 32 months ago. Bakersfield Californian article

Building community around The Table – The Table Community Foundation, founded by Tyronne Gross Jr., is intended to be a place of culture and charisma, of arts and athletics, and, mostly, of structure and permanence. Stockton Record article

Mike Klocke: Willie Douglas made a difference – You can tell a lot about a person by his or her self-description. This is how the Rev. Willie Douglas referred to himself: “Servant/Representative of The Higher Authority (God).” Klocke in Stockton Record

Lorraine Person, long-time educator and elder abuse advocate, dies — Lorraine Person learned the value of hard work growing up on a farm in Madera. Her family was poor; she made her own dresses out of leftover flour sacks. She took an avid interest in education, first by pushing herself through college by age 19 and then through tireless efforts to teach others as a teacher and elder rights advocate in the central San Joaquin Valley for more than 70 years. Fresno Bee article 

Jeff Jardine: Two sons, two accidents, two grieving Valley mothers looking to honor them — Their mothers want to honor them and help others honor their children as well. They’ve decided to collect toys to take to needy and ailing children, making the collections and deliveries in their sons’ names. Jardine column in Modesto Bee


Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Our goal should be to reduce police-action shootings and to keep police officers safe. We can do both. But neither will happen until both sides can agree on the facts of the problem, ratchet down the rhetoric and start working in the same direction on solutions.

Sacramento Bee – Our goal should be to reduce police-action shootings to keep police officers safe. We can do both. But neither will happen until both sides can agree on the facts of the problem, ratchet down the rhetoric and start working in the same direction on solutions.