September 8, 2016


Political Stories – Top stories

 Political Paradox: Proposition 59 asks Californians to condemn a big-money system long used here — Six years after Citizens United—the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that says corporations and unions have a 1st Amendment right to unlimited campaign spending—presidential candidates across the spectrum have condemned the campaign finance system it shaped. “Corrupt,” says Bernie Sanders. “Pernicious,” says Hillary Clinton. “A broken system,” says Donald Trump. The issue is getting extra attention in California because of Proposition 59, which asks if voters want the state’s elected officials to take steps to try to reverse Citizens United and related cases.  CALmatters article

California to extend most ambitious U.S. climate change law — Gov. Jerry Brown is set to extend the nation’s most ambitious climate change law by another 10 years on Thursday as California charts a new goal to reduce carbon pollution. The Democratic governor chose an urban natural park on the edge of downtown Los Angeles as the setting to sign the legislation, SB32, into law. AP article

Gov. Brown

Which bills will Gov. Jerry Brown sign? — With the end-of-session rush over and the Legislature out of town, focus in Sacramento now shifts to Gov. Jerry Brown. The fourth-term Democrat has 789 bills to consider this month, according to his office. He will sign Senate Bill 32, landmark legislation requiring California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. But what of dogs in cars, taxes on tampons and all-gender bathrooms? Here’s a look at bills we’re watching and how Brown might approach them by his Sept. 30 deadline.  Sacramento Bee articleVideo: ‘Signing bills is like ‘mini-Ph.D.’ for Jerry Brown’ in Sacramento Bee

 Diaper, tampon sales tax exemption bills in jeopardy – Among the nearly 800 bills sitting on California Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk are a slew of measures that seek to create new tax breaks or exemptions. Some, like sales tax exemptions for diapers and tampons, passed the Legislature with broad bipartisan support. But it’s highly unlikely that Brown will sign those bills. Capital Public Radio report

Governor pressed to sign accountability bill at odds with state board – More than 300 nonprofit groups, individuals and business organizations urged Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday to sign legislation that would require the State Board of Education to rank schools’ and school districts’ academic performance using an overall rating, a model the state board and the state Department of Finance oppose. EdSource article

Jerry Brown presses case for expanding California power grid — Gov. Jerry Brown, who last month delayed his proposal to integrate California’s largest electricity grid with other states, on Wednesday acknowledged the political difficulty of such a plan but said a broader grid is necessary to support growing renewable energy production in the West. Sacramento Bee articleValley politics

Perea won’t share president choice at Fresno debate — Fresno mayoral candidate Henry R. Perea answered most of the questions posed Tuesdayduring a two-hour debate with opponent Lee Brand, but he refused to name the presidential candidate he would vote for in November. Fresno Bee article

 Prosecution, defense both confident in Silva case – One of Anthony Silva’s attorneys predicted following a court hearing Wednesday afternoon that the charges against Stockton’s mayor will be thrown out by Judge Leslie Nichols when the case returns to Amador County Superior Court on Oct. 18. Stockton Record article

Likely Livingston mayor has a controversial past — Livingston’s next mayor quite likely will be Jim Soria, a longtime resident and former police officer who faced controversy in 2006 after lying to sheriff’s deputies. Merced Sun-Star article

Fant claims DA ‘vendetta,’ asks state to take over case — Saying that the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office may have a “vendetta” against him, Stockton City Council candidate Sam Fant formally asked for local prosecutors to be removed from his criminal case on Wednesday. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Kamala Harris, Loretta Sanchez agree to one Senate debate — Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez, the Democrats running to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, have agreed to hold one general election debate. Sacramento Bee articleLA Times article

Kamala Who? Some voters say U.S. Senate race isn’t even on their radar – As California voters move closer to the general election, a new poll finds 25 percent of those surveyed remain undecided on the state’s U.S. Senate race, a contest that’s failed to break through the tidal wave of coverage for the presidential campaign. KQED report

Senate candidate Sanchez again campaigns in Fresno area – In the June primary election, U.S. Senate hopeful Loretta Sanchez won the most votes in each of the four central San Joaquin Valley counties – Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare. It may be why the Orange County Democrat keeps coming back. Fresno Bee article

Sacramento Bee: In support of children’s health care, yes on Proposition 52 — Proposition 52 is a rare initiative for which there should be little debate or dissent. The measure would extend an existing fee on hospitals to provide health care to poor people, guarantee that the federal government will match the state’s share, and inhibit the Legislature from diverting the money to other programs. Sacramento Bee editorial

Meet the men plotting strategy for California’s U.S. Senate candidates — California hasn’t had an open Senate seat in two-and-a-half decades, and for the first time in state history, voters will choose between two Democrats for a statewide office. The dynamic means new territory for the two scions of California’s political consulting world involved in the race. What does such a campaign look like? How do they appeal to Republicans and moderates? How will Democrats pick sides? And how do the candidates stick out when they both have a “D” after their name on the ballot?  LA Times article

Other areas

Baseball, Adele, national parks: How California House members spent summer vacation – How did you spend summer vacation? Some members of Congress caught a baseball game, traveled the country campaigning and sat down for meeting after meeting with folks back home. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stopped by singer Adele’s concert in California. LA Times article

 David Carr: Kap’s heart is right, but it takes community involvement to make a difference – The former Fresno State and NFL quarterback writes, “I have a couple of different feelings on Colin Kaepernick and his decision to not stand for the national anthem in protest of racial injustices, as I think most people do no matter what your background, your race or ethnicity. Obviously, Colin has the right to protest.” Carr column in Fresno Bee

Two California congresswomen are behind the new Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights — It’s not often a measure championed by the dean of the state’s majority Democratic congressional delegation gets praise from the Republican House speaker. Maybe it helps that an up-and-coming freshman Republican’s name was attached to the legislation and that it deals with an issue gaining a lot of attention over the past few years. LA Times article

Presidential Politics

 Clinton pressed on emails and Trump defends praising Putin as they compete for military support – Donald Trump sought to allay voter concerns about his temperament Wednesday as Hillary Clinton tried to assure Americans that her mistakes in handling national security email should not undercut their trust in her capacity to lead the nation. LA Times articleMcClatchy Newspapers articleNew York Times article

 Victor Davis Hanson: Trump up, Hillary down, Obama out — In sum, a passive Clinton hopes that scandals now beyond her control will not evaporate her once-sizable lead before Nov. 8, a date that suddenly seems to Clinton to be too far away. A lame-duck Obama runs out the clock, too, neither defending his old policies nor offering new ones. All the while, a madcap Trump makes nonstop news, hoping that his self-generated publicity is more helpful than harmful. Hanson column in Fresno Bee

Is it time for something different? — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump both have high negatives. It would seem like a great time for the Libertarian Party and its presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, to make some headway, right? Maybe, according to Hanford resident Kenneth Olsen. Hanford Sentinel article

Why a conservative California mega-donor gave more than $100,000 to Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign — B. Wayne Hughes Jr., the Malibu-based conservative mega-donor and registered Republican, has never given to a third-party candidate in his life as far as he can recall. But two weeks ago, the businessman and philanthropist ponied up $117,000 to Gary Johnson’s Libertarian bid for the presidency — the legal limit one can give directly to a campaign. LA Times article

News Stories

Top Stories

Yosemite adding 400 acres of meadow, forest — Visitors to Yosemite National Park in California have more room to roam after officials on Wednesday announced a 400-acre expansion of the park — its largest in nearly 70 years. The addition features wetlands and a grassy meadow surrounded by tall pine trees on rolling hills that are home to endangered wildlife. AP articleLA Times article

Kern Community College District poised to appoint longtime congressman Bill Thomas to board – Bill Thomas, the longtime congressman whose political career began after winning a state assembly seat in the mid-1970s while working as an instructor at Bakersfield College, will return to his alma mater Thursday. Except this time around, he’ll be in charge of the district. Bakersfield Californian article

Jobs and the Economy

San Joaquin Valley officials take their annual wish list to Congress — 
San Joaquin Valley officials picture a world in which: Highway 99 grows wider in Merced, Madera and Tulare counties. Stronger roads support the region’s heavy dairy tankers. New reservoirs get built. And, not least, some bipartisan cooperation blossoms on Capitol Hill. Farfetched? Maybe. But this week, elected representatives and staffers from eight Valley counties are making their collective case to an often-fitful Congress. McClatchy Newspapers article

Modesto may see new shelter, outreach for homeless – Modesto could see two new efforts in the coming months to assist the homeless: a low-barrier shelter and a one-stop center that would help them access such services as treatment for mental illness, finding work or getting into permanent housing. Modesto Bee article

Brik McDill: Surprising shortsightedness in noncritical capital projects — Our city and county leaders have a long history of not living within our means. And yes, we are hit by revenue shortfalls now that oil price temblors are being felt. And we are facing clearly foreseeable critical problems mounting by the day that could have been mitigated except that critical-need general fund dollars were flying in noncritical directions. And we wonder why our ship is sinking beneath our feet? McDill column in Bakersfield Californian

Judge’s preliminary ruling: Stockton can take New Grand Save Market — The ousted owner of the New Grand Save Market building has suffered a major setback in his bid to sell the property to a developer who wants to bring a Family Dollar store to the long-troubled site at Ninth Street and Airport Way. Stockton Record article

Sacramento County’s final budget ramps up social services funding – Social services took center stage in the final $3.9 billion budget adopted Wednesday by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. Since the board approved the recommended 2016-2017 budget in June, county staff increased department budgets by $18.5 million, with the lion’s share going to the Department of Health and Human Services. Sacramento Bee article

Kings County: Taking the business pulse – Kings County home builders have taken out permits for 259 new single-family homes so through Sept. 1. That compares to 199 permits for the same period last year, according to Construction Monitor. That is around a 30 percent increase year-over-year. Value of the single-family home permits are also up – to $59 million from $43 million. Hanford Sentinel article

In stinging decision to Uber drivers, appeals court says they must go to arbitration – Uber drivers who have banded together to take the ride-hailing company to court now may have to shift strategies and settle for smaller payouts than they had sought. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Wednesday that drivers who signed up with Uber in 2013 and 2014 must go to arbitration, not the courts, to resolve disputes with the company. LA Times articleSan Francisco Chronicle article

LA City Council increases developers’ fees for parks – For the first time in more than 30 years, Los Angeles is overhauling how it calculates and collects park fees from developers. LA Times article

Rose festival to end this year unless new group takes it on — If you haven’t gone to the Wasco’s Festival of Roses in a while, you might want to make plans to do so this weekend, as the beloved (though recently under-attended) tribute to the town’s best-known export might be coming to an end after this year. Bakersfield Californian article

SOS Club is sold; will become Andre Agassi-sponsored charter school — The Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club, a Modesto institution and a sports and recreational pioneer in its heyday, has been sold and eventually will become a charter school sponsored by tennis champion Andre Agassi. Modesto Bee article


California’s water conservation dips in July – are eased rules to blame? — Urban water conservation across California dipped slightly during the second month that less stringent conservation requirements have been in place, state regulators said Wednesday. LA Times article

Sweltering July sees savings fall – Water savings slipped again in July after the hottest such month in a decade and the elimination of mandatory water conservation targets earlier this summer. Across San Joaquin County, savings fell anywhere from 2 percent to 21 percent this July compared to July 2015, when concern about the drought had reached its peak. Stockton Record article

Merced continues saving water after state drops mandates — The state of California lifted water restrictions in June, but that didn’t stop Merced residents from continuing to conserve and use one-third less water compared to 2013 numbers, areport released Wednesday showed. Mercedians continued to use 37.1 percent less water in July, state numbers show. That’s more than the state required the city to save in March under conservation mandates. Merced Sun-Star article

Criminal Justice/Prisons

Parolee charged with attempted murder of two Fresno County correctional officers – A Fresno man was charged Wednesday with the attempted murder of two Fresno County correctional officers who were shot Saturday in the downtown Fresno main jail lobby. It was a crime that prompted some inmates at the jail to show concern for the wounded officers, who sent notes of support that quote the Bible, hand-drawn get- well cards and even cash contributions from their inmate accounts. Fresno Bee articleVideo: ‘A jail is a community, too. Inmates send get-well cards to wounded inmates’ in Fresno Bee

A blue beacon of support – The “Back the Blue” campaign is a unified showing of support where community members switch out their white porch lights with a blue bulb. As the campaign picks up steam, more city streets are glowing blue –– thanks to a business owner and city employee. Visalia Times-Delta article

Cheers greet police officers’ generosity – While Christmas is still more than 100 days away, to students and teachers at McKinley Elementary School, it came early. Eleven members of the Stockton Police Officers Association arrived at the south Stockton school on Wednesday with two large truck beds full of boxes. Inside were much-needed classroom supplies: crayons, books, paper and more. Stockton Record article

Oakland moves to fire 4 cops, suspend 7 in sex scandal – Oakland officials said Wednesday they are seeking to fire four police officers and suspend seven others in connection with a sexual abuse scandal involving the teenage daughter of a police dispatcher. San Francisco Chronicle articleLA Times articleSan Jose Mercury News articleKQED report

Poll finds Californians split over extent of police abuse – A new survey commissioned by a consortium of public radio stations including KPCC has found Californians, like much of the nation, are divided by race when it comes to their views of police profiling and excessive use of force. KPCC report

Boy, 14, shoots two men near downtown Fresno — A 14-year-old boy shot two men on their front porch Wednesday morning near downtown Fresno. The men, who are 21- and 24-year-old brothers, were rushed to Community Regional Medical Center, where they were listed in extremely critical condition. Fresno Bee article

18-year-old critical after being shot by Lodi police — An 18-year-old man is in critical condition Wednesday after being shot by a Lodi police officer Tuesday evening as the man attacked the officer with a baseball bat, according to an official report. Stockton Record articleSacramento Bee article


Fresno State seeks $3 million in Measure C funds for transportation institute – Fresno State is asking for $3 million in Measure C funds to create a transportation institute for education and research that could change the way people in Fresno County get from one place to another. Fresno Bee article

Cheryl Scott: Yes vote on Measure J a vote for economy – The vice president of Kern Economic Corporation and member of the Bakersfield College Foundation board of directors writes, “Measure J (“J for Jobs,” as some say) is a $503.8 million bond measure that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. If Measure J passes, Kern County will win big. The bond would not only fund major expansion and modernization for Bakersfield College, but its Delano campus will be improved, and the project list includes $25 million for an Arvin Learning Center, too.” Scott op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Randal Beeman: Measure J can solve Bakersfield College’s infrastructure woes – The Bakersfield College professor emeritus of history writes, “Bakersfield College, under the guidance of perpetual motion machine Sonya Christian, is poised to become one of the most effective, innovative community colleges in the world. Please help Dr. Christian and the outstanding staff and students of Bakersfield College reach a new level of excellence by surrounding them with a functional, safe, and uplifting environment by voting yes on Measure J in November.” Beeman op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

Kindergarten readiness gap between low-income and higher-income students shrinking – Persistent gaps in kindergarten readiness between children from low-income families and their higher-income peers — which have continued as ongoing achievement gaps in later years — appear to be narrowing, new research shows. And in a related finding, another report has concluded that lower-income parents are investing more time and effort in their younger children.  EdSource article

Bakersfield College’s Aera Success Center opens – After years of construction and planning, Bakersfield College officials opened the doors to the $1.6 million Aera STEM Success Center Tuesday morning. The center was envisioned by BC President Sonya Christian and Aera Public Affairs Project Manager Susan Hersberger as a place for students to have better access to STEM education on campus, said Susan Musser, a BC spokeswoman. Bakersfield Californian article

Downfall of ITT Technical Institutes was a long time in the making – The collapse of one of the nation’s largest for-profit educational chains may have seemed sudden, but the unraveling stretches further back, to a time when ITT was a Wall Street darling. New York Times article

Gentrification threatens Oakland’s few truly diverse schools — When Manzanita SEED, a Spanish-English dual immersion school, opened in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood in 2005, it was serving almost exclusively low-income Latino, Asian and African-American families from nearby neighborhoods. Then, in 2011, the school won an award for closing the achievement gap. KQED report

Peet’s pledges $250,000 for roastery in planned UC Davis Coffee Center — Emeryville-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea on Wednesday announced a $250,000 pledge to the University of California, Davis, to fund the Peet’s Coffee Pilot Roastery in a new Coffee Center on the college campus. Sacramento Bee article

Nan Austin: College-going 101: Here’s what you need to know – Getting into the elite universities takes top grades and boundless determination. But anybody willing to work can go to college. By bypassing the famous faces and going with the friendly smiles of more accessible places, many find a better fit than the hypercompetitive world behind those ivy-laden walls. And for those who woke up late to the thought that their teen heyday would end, community colleges stand ready to reboot academic life. Austin in Modesto Bee


Jeff Jardine: Once thick in the Valley, antelope now plays in mountains far away — It felt like I’d run into some old friends this week. True, they just stared at me while I looked at them through a camera lens and an iPhone. No words exchanged. But then, those pronghorn antelope aren’t the gabbiest of creatures. Why, then, did it feel so good to see them again? Jardine column in Modesto Bee

Health/Human Services 

Here’s why the teen pregnancy rate has dropped in America — Teen pregnancy is way down. And a study suggests that the reason is increased, and increasingly effective, use of contraceptives. KQED report

Land Use/Housing

Tribe seeks endorsement of land transfer — Tule River Tribe Vice Chairman Kenneth McDarment managed to get an unsuccessful fight over lost water rights before an influential audience Wednesday as he sought the Senate Indian Affairs Committee’s endorsement of a federal land transfer. USA Today article

Coastal Commission rejects Newport Banning Ranch development — After a marathon day of testimony, California coastal commissioners voted to deny a controversial proposal to develop one of the largest open private parcels of land on the Southern California coast. LA Times article


Mini-Bay Bridge will stretch over downtown San Francisco — Like a Las Vegas-style replica, a mini-version of the towering eastern span of the Bay Bridge will soon light up downtown San Francisco as part of the bus ramp for the new $2.7 billion Transbay Transit Center. San Francisco Chronicle article

 Other areas

Tom Larwood, valley fever researcher, longtime local physician, dies at 90 – He was probably best known for his pioneering efforts to develop a vaccine or a cure for the disease known as valley fever. But to family and friends, longtime Bakersfield physician Tom Larwood was something of a Renaissance man who was interested in and fascinated by almost everything. Especially science and people. Larwood died Tuesday, his wife, Pauline, by his side, at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, an institution where he spent many years caring for patients. Bakersfield Californian article

Why a Fresno baseball team turns into tacos twice a year – The Fresno Grizzlies had a particularly challenging task at the end of the 2014 season. After many years as the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, the Grizzlies lost that status in an affiliation reshuffle. Instead, they became part of the Houston Astros organization. Without a nearby major league club to draw fans from, the team needed to emphasize their Fresno identity. That’s where Grizzlies’ marketing director Sam Hansen came in — with tacos. KQED report

9/11 memorial will open Sunday, Bakersfield council learns – Opening Sunday, the 15th anniversary of 9/11, a weathered eight-ton World Trade Center girder will point skyward in the southwest as a sober reminder of the nation’s worst terrorist attack, the Bakersfield City Council learned on Wednesday. Bakersfield Californian article

Sacramento delays city manager search, gives Steinberg say in hiring decision – A national search for a new city manager has been postponed until Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg takes office, leaving a popular City Hall insider to fill the job on an interim basis. Assistant City Manager Howard Chan has accepted a seven-month offer to replace departing City Manager John Shirey. Sacramento Bee article

Lemoore changes proposed fireworks rule — Bowing to public objections, the Lemoore City Council moved forward this week with an ordinance addressing illegal fireworks by getting rid of one crucial provision: Allowing property owners to be punished if their tenants set off illegal fireworks. Hanford Sentinel article

Livingston reveals potential new logos – The city of Livingston has released a few options for a new city seal that would put sweet potatoes front and center, but will look for more input from local students before making a final decision, officials confirmed Wednesday. Merced Sun-Star article

Scandal plagues City of Commerce, but generous public services help blunt public scrutiny — Neighbors like Bell, Vernon and South Gate have been rocked by highly publicized corruption scandals. And Commerce is now also having its own struggles. LA Times article

Fresno State alum Sam Iacobellis, ‘Father of the B1-B Bomber,’ dies at 87 – Sam Iacobellis, who rose from Fresno State engineering student to become an aviation industry leader known as the “Father of the B1-B bomber,” has died. He was 87. He died Saturday at a San Luis Obispo hospital from complications of a stroke. Fresno Bee article

California’s top tech officer: Don’t click on phishing links — To: California state workers Subject: Watch what you click The state’s top technology officer is reminding California public employees to protect their workplaces from hackers as she seeks to shore up cyber security weaknesses that were revealed in a harsh audit a year agoSacramento Bee article

Valley Editorial Roundup

Fresno Bee – Proposition 59 is only advisory. But overwhelming approval could pressure California’s members of Congress to seek a constitutional amendment to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that has flooded campaigns with corporate and union cash.

Sacramento Bee – In support of children’s health care, yes on Proposition 52Starting next week, millions of people will spring for an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, each loaded with an encrypted operating system. For the FBI, it will mean big headaches.

Stockton Record – Stockton needs to be cleaned up. Unkempt trash dumping has, sadly, become the norm throughout the city.