September 9, 2016


Top stories

Brown signs major climate bill: ‘This is big, and I hope it sends a message across the country’ — Gov. Jerry Brown, holding California out as a beacon for the nation on efforts to reduce climate change, signed into law on Wednesday a sweeping expansion of California’s greenhouse gas emission standards, requiring the state to reduce emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Sacramento Bee article; LA Times article; Capitol Alert: This is what the climate bill Jerry Brown signed means

 Thunk! This 224-page California voter guide is heftiest one ever, thanks to 17 ballo measures – In a season replete with clothing catalogs and campaign flyers, the biggest item stuffed in mailboxes this fall may be the Nov. 8 statewide voter guide, coming in at a record-setting 224 pages. LA Times article

 Senators collect $346,000 after lifting end-of-session fundraising ban — Without an end-of-session fundraising ban for the first time in three years, state senators collected at least $345,900 from lobbyist employers and their political action committees during lawmakers’ last month at the Capitol, according to state campaign finance filings. Sacramento Bee article

Gov. Brown

 Jerry Brown makes rare legislative endorsement – taps Bill Dodd in Yolo Senate race — Assemblyman Bill Dodd, a Napa Democrat, received a rare endorsement Thursday from Gov. Jerry Brown in his intraparty race for an open state Senate seat. Sacramento Bee article


Valley politics

Voter registration packet could be confusing voters — Kern County Elections Chief Karen Rhea is warning voters to be cautious in dealing with a new voter registration mailer from a Washington, D.C., firm. The nonprofit is called the Voter Participation Center, Rhea said.Bakersfield Californian article

Former Manteca Unified trustee back in court Monday — Former Manteca Unified school board member Ashley Drain has hired a new attorney and is expected to be back in court on Monday morning. Drain, who is facing felony election-fraud charges, made a brief court appearance on Thursday morning at the San Joaquin County Superior Court. Her recently hired attorney, who she said is based in Oakland, was not present. Stockton Record article

Statewide politics/Ballot Measures

Loretta Sanchez accuses Kamala Harris of protecting ‘political cronies’ over California ratepayers — Signaling an escalation in the U.S. Senate campaign, Rep. Loretta Sanchez on Thursday accused her opponent, state Attorney General Kamala Harris, of refusing to prosecute “well-documented, illegal” activity at the state regulatory agency amid a probe into the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Sacramento Bee article 

Bakersfield Californian: Put California students first: Vote no on Prop 58 –Californians should vote no on Prop. 58. Bakersfield Californian editorial

 Julius Metts: Marijuana is no joke; vote no on Prop 64 — Another gold rush is emerging in California. Some investors with billions of dollars, hoping to make more profit, have contributed millions of dollars to pass Proposition 64 with little regard for public health, injuries or fatalities. Metts op-ed in Bakersfield Californian


 U.S. agents: Closing private detention centers for migrants would pose problems — Federal immigration agents have raised concerns about the U.S. government possibly ending its use of private detention centers used to detain undocumented migrants, a potential policy shift that some say could damage the United States’ capacity to enforce its immigration laws. Reuters article

 Other areas

 Robin Abcarian: One of the few attorneys to force a gun maker out of business reflects on his case and the American firearms culture — For Californians, this has been a pretty good summer for gun control. In July, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of bills that put some common-sense restrictions on guns: background checks for ammunition purchases, outlawing the possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, closing the “bullet button loophole” that allowed an end-run around California’s ban on assault rifles. Abcarian in LA Times

Presidential Politics

 Trump University’s troubles might explain Donald’s donation to Kamala Harris – When Donald Trump made illegal immigration his political calling card, dubious Republicans wasted no time pointing out his financial support for one of the most prominent defenders of Sanctuary Cities: California Attorney General Kamala HarrisSan Jose Mercury News article

 News Stories

Top Stories

California education leaders approve new method of grading schools – State education leaders Thursday unanimously approved a new system that uses multiple ways to judge school performance, replacing the Academic Performance Index score used in previous years.Sacramento Bee article; Sacramento Bee editorial; LA Times article; EdSource article

 La Nina no longer seen as likely this winter – La Niña may not happen after all.

Federal climate scientists on Thursday dialed back their forecast for the influential weather pattern that is sometimes associated with dry years in parts of the Americas, including California — where another winter of scant rain could wreak havoc on the drought-plagued state.San Francisco Chronicle article

Jobs and the Economy

Study: Latino population growth slips behind Asian Americans – The growth of the U.S. Latino population — once the nation’s fastest growing — slowed considerably over the past seven years and slipped behind that of Asian Americans amid declining Hispanic immigration and birth rates, a study released Thursday found. AP article

 Manchester Center owners to unveil makeover plans — Manchester Center in central Fresno is getting ready for a makeover. Mall owner Omninet Capital in Beverly Hills will unveil its plan during a 1 p.m. groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 19 to transform the shopping center, at Blackstone and Shields avenues into a multi-use property. Fresno Bee article

How can a wine made in Georgia be labeled ‘Napa Valley’? — A California-led proposal to tighten wine-labeling rules governing viticultural area designations has rallied the state’s lawmakers but split the wine-making industry and spurred a debate that federal regulators have now extended. McClatchy Newspapers article

In secretive marijuana industry, whispers of abuse and trafficking – In the Emerald Triangle, trees are ever present. They peek over small towns and dip into valleys, sheathing this cluster of remote Northern California counties in silence. For decades, the ancient forests here have provided cover for the nation’s largest marijuana-growing industry, shielding pot farmers from convention, outsiders and law enforcement. Center for Investigative Reporting article

New Grand Save Center receivership upheld, but site’s future debated — San Joaquin General Hospital’s top official has confirmed he is “exploring” the establishment of a primary-care medical facility at the site of long-neglected southeast Stockton’s troubled and now-padlocked New Grand Save Market. Stockton Record article

California Conservation Corps center to be built in south Stockton — If your home is saved in the next big Delta flood fight, you just might be able to thank the folks who will be moving in at 7000 S. Newcastle Road. The California Conservation Corps — known for its slogan, “Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions … and more!” — will begin work soon on a new and larger residential facility to house its young recruits in south Stockton. Stockton Record article

Airbnb tries to fight racism with rule changes — Accused of doing too little to thwart discrimination on its short-term home rental platform, Airbnb announced policy changes Thursday that are intended to educate and punish hosts who don’t follow its rules and protect guests. LA Times article; New York Times article

Bay Bridge rainy-day fund runs low, leaving toll-payers on hook — Three years after it opened, the eastern span of the Bay Bridge has been beset with so many problems that a multimillion-dollar rainy-day fund set aside for unanticipated expenses has been nearly devoured, leaving toll-payers responsible for any additional costs. San Francisco Chronicle article

Bill would require state courts to decide traffic amnesty claims within 90 days — A bill that would have allowed potentially millions of low-income Californians with traffic debt to regain or keep a valid driver’s license has been scaled back significantly to focus instead on expediting the state’s temporary traffic amnesty program. KQED report


 Michelle Basso Reynolds and Steven Maviglio: Is Sacramento compromising the integrity of its farm-to-fork movement? – The past presidents of the Sacramento Natural Foods Cooperative’s board of directors write, “Like Slow Food, Sacramento’s “farm to fork” effort was designed to promote a greater awareness and respect of heirloom food, and where and how it is produced in the Valley. It’s been a smashing success. Just look at our region’s vibrant farmers markets, high-quality eating venues and a new wave of talented small producers of organic products. That is why city officials should be wary about diluting this brand when most consumers are as confused about nutrition as they are overweight. Reynolds/Maviglio op-ed in Sacramento Bee

California to get more than $5 million from USDA for agricultural innovation – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will steer more than $5 million to California agriculture and conservation projects as part of a $26.6-million national campaign to bring innovation to the sector. LA Times article

 Levi’s Stadium debuts rooftop farm atop Niners’ home — Levi’s Stadium took farm-to-fork to new heights. The $1.2 billion Santa Clara home of the 49ers unveiled a rooftop farm Thursday that will help supply fresh produce and herbs to the facility’s club level food service.Sacramento Bee article

 Local grape grower slapped with $10,000 fine — A state regulatory agency has fined a Kern County grape grower $10,000 after an illegal pesticide was detected on his harvested crop. Bakersfield Californian article

Criminal Justice/Prisons 

Criminals who attack law officers face ‘wrath’ of District Attorney’s office, Smittcamp says — District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp sent a message Thursday at the first court appearance of a parolee accused of the attempted murder of two correctional officers: Anyone thinking of shooting at law enforcement “will have the wrath of the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office coming down on them.” Fresno Bee article

Suspect killed, Merced deputy shot in Delhi – A gunfight ended Thursday night in Delhi with one man dead and a Merced County sheriff’s deputy hospitalized, Sheriff Vern Warnke reported. Merced Sun-Star article

Californians split over extent of police abuse, poll finds – 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

Lodi police officers in shooting identified; teen’s condition improves – Authorities on Thursday released the names of two officers whom Lodi police said were attacked by a man with a baseball bat Tuesday night, including one officer who shot the assailant to stop the attack. Stockton Record article

Sacramento County must pay $5.3 million in fees to plaintiffs’ attorneys in sheriff’s workplace lawsuit – A Sacramento Superior Court judge has tentatively awarded $5.3 million in attorneys fees to the four female deputies who sued the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department for workplace retaliation. Sacramento Bee article

Police dog bite case settled — The Bakersfield City Council voted 7-0 in closed session on Wednesday to authorize the city attorney to accept terms of a recent mediation — and settle a police dog bite case for $30,000. The police dog, a Belgian Malinios named Rex, was alleged to have bitten 15-year-old Bakersfield resident Austin Attebery in an unprovoked attack in May 2014. Bakersfield Californian article (scroll to item)

Murder rates rose in a quarter of nation’s 100 largest cities — Murder rates rose significantly in 25 of the nation’s 100 largest cities last year, according to an analysis by The New York Times of new data compiled from individual police departments. New York Times article

 Decision on charges in Oakland police sex scandal to be announced — Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley is expected Friday to announce decisions about charges in a sexual misconduct scandal rattling several Bay Area law enforcement agencies. San Francisco Chronicle article

Santa Clara police union urges officers to work at 49ers game, despite concern over Kaepernick’s comments – The union representing rank-and-file members of the Santa Clara Police Department recommended Thursday that officers continue to voluntarily work at San Francisco 49ers home games. LA Times article

LAPD and LA County sheriff unveil phone app for reporting terrorist activity — Los Angeles-area residents who witness potential terrorist activity can now report the details to law enforcement using their smartphones. On Thursday, the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department unveiled a new phone app called iWATCHLA that makes filing a report as simple as a few keystrokes. LA Times article

Man beaten by Vallejo police entitled to $50,000, court says — A man who was clubbed by Vallejo police while trying to walk away from them in 2003 is entitled to $50,000 in damages plus legal fees, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday in rejecting officers’ arguments that the damages should be slashed because the city later filed for bankruptcy. San Francisco Chronicle article


Los Banos school official arrested in corruption case refuses to resign – Trustee Tommy Jones refused to resign from the city’s school board on Thursday, despite a chorus of calls from residents who demanded he step down following his arrest last week in an alleged public corruption scandal. Los Banos Enterprise article

 Stockton Unified teachers vote to authorize strike – Stockton Unified teachers voted Thursday to authorize their union to call for a strike, as frustration over contract talks continue to divide the union and the Stockton Unified School District. The vote was 97.2 percent in favor, with more than 1,000 turning out to vote, said union President Erich Myers. That means more than half of the union’s 1,800 members voted in favor of the strike. Stockton Record article

‘College Promise’ programs promoting college enrollment expanding in California – Programs offering financial assistance backed up by support services to encourage college attendance and completion  — sometimes extending the offer when students are still in elementary school, or even earlier  — are proliferating at a rapid pace in California. EdSource article

The Chairman takes charge at first Kern Community College District board meeting – Kern Community College District trustees voted 5-1 Thursday to appoint Bill Thomas, a 15-term congressman and former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to fill a vacant seat on the dais. He will serve a full two-year term — but indicated he has no intention of defending his seat in 2018. Within a half hour of taking his seat alongside the other trustees, Thomas began taking Chancellor Sandra Serrano to task for alleged miscommunication and strife between her administration and the academic senate. Bakersfield Californian article

Ellen Junn: Turlock CSU campus advancing region by degrees – The president of CSU Stanislaus writes, “No other state in our country can boast of a system of public higher education that approaches what we have in California. Stanislaus State is grateful to be an integral part of that system, fulfilling our mission to provide accessible undergraduate and graduate level instruction within the state’s three-tiered system of public higher education.” Junn op-ed in Modesto Bee
Dollars and sense: Paying for college – Many dreams of college have had a rude awakening after crunching the numbers. But before throwing your hands up at the listed cost, remember that is the sticker price. What families pay is often much lower. Modesto Bee article

 California parents don’t know they have a voice in school spending decisions – Parents in California have a right to help decide how their schools spend money, but many in the state may not know that. Researchers from the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and Stanford University’s Policy Analysis for California Education found that more than half of voters they polled had never heard or read about the Local Control Funding Formula. LA Times article

UC doctor training program gets funding to expand – A program to train doctors in the central San Joaquin Valley has funding from the state to expand the program. The UC Davis-UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education, called SJV PRIME, has received $1.855 million in state funding to increase the program from eight students a year to 12. Fresno Bee article

Newell Bringhurt: A milestone year for College of the Sequoias – The retired professor of history and political science at College of the Sequoias writes, “The beginning of the fall 2016 semester marks a major milestone for College of the Sequoias – the 90th anniversary of its founding. Originally known as Visalia Junior College, the school opened its doors to 63 freshmen in September 1926.” Bringhurst op-ed in Visalia Times-Delta

 Tommy Russell: Kern High School District: Comics, fools, or both – The retired police officer and retired teacher writes, “The Kern High School District in general and Trustee Mike Williams in particular provide me with comic relief both predictable and childish. The KHSD has broken laws, suspended an honest chief of police and reinstated the chief of police, and then board president Williams announces publicly that the board may fire the entire police department.” Russell op-ed in Bakersfield Californian

 Casey Carlson: Vergara case misses the point on improving education – The special education teacher in Santa Cruz writes, “The California Supreme Court turned down the Vergara case because it didn’t prove its assertion: that teacher rights supposedly stand between students and their constitutional guarantee to equal access to education. While we teachers absolutely agree that public education can and should be improved, the Vergara suit pointed in exactly the wrong direction: stripping us of essential rights.” Carlson op-ed in Sacramento Bee

 UK university plans two Placer campuses, not one — An English university announced last year it will build a major satellite campus in Placer County. Now it says it will build two campuses, not one. Sacramento Bee article


California’s warmest summer: This is it – Federal climate trackers confirmed Thursday that this summer (defined as June through August) was California’s warmest in 122 years of records. The statewide average temperature for the three months was 75.5°F, or 3.3°F above average. Jan Null, a noted meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services, called out Fresno and Redding as hotspots, with summer temperatures 2.5 and 2.1 degrees above the norm, respectively. KQED report

 Federal appeals court upholds $200-million penalty for energy crisis —  A federal appeals court upheld a $200-million penalty against large energy companies that didn’t settle allegations about their role in California’s energy crisis. LA Times article

Health/Human Services

 Despite dire OB-GYN shortage, lawmakers won’t expand role of nurse-midwives – Certified nurse-midwives, who help ease the load, have been arguing that they could do more. But they are restrained by the fact that California is one of just six states requiring them to work only under a physician’s supervision. A bill that would have expanded their reach by permitting nurse-midwives to work independently almost cleared the Legislature, but failed in the waning hours of the legislative session, after fierce last-minute opposition from the doctors’ lobby. CALmatters article

 After spending big bucks for upgrades, Stanislaus County public health lab could close – Stanislaus County’s public health laboratory could be on the chopping block. The county Health Services Agency is exploring options including a regional approach for providing public health laboratory services. That could involve closing the local lab and sending contagious disease samples to another county for testing. Modesto Bee article

 Half of Americans take prescription drugs that could lead to addiction – Almost half of all Americans take prescription painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants or sedatives, according to results of a federal survey released Thursday. The prevalent use of these drugs could help explain why millions of Americans end up misusing or abusing them. NPR report

 Fighting painkiller abuse: New ways to treat chronic pain – Hospitals, academic researchers and public officials are finding new ways to wean millions of Americans off opiates, amid rising numbers of overdoses. Sacramento Bee article

Rising homelessness and lack of psychiatric care beds cited in surge of mental competency cases – A lack of psychiatric care beds and rising homelessness are fueling a dramatic increase in mental competency cases in Los Angeles County, a new study has found. LA Times article

 First local West Nile case of 2016 confirmed — Kings County health officials say they have confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus this year. Hanford Sentinel article

Land Use/Housing

 Merced says ‘yes’ to veggies, ‘stay back’ to cigarettes — After prodding from community garden enthusiasts, Merced City Council decided this week to allow the shared urban farms and pledged to reduce permit fees. The council voted 6-0 to officially approve a new zoning code that adds community gardens and restricts tobacco sellers. Merced Sun-Star article

Other areas

 Beloved Fresno teacher, co-owner of Petunia’s Place bookstore, dies – Chances are that if you ever met Deborah Manning, you wouldn’t forget her. In her classroom at Dailey Elementary she sparked excitement, joy and creativity. And as a co-owner of the popular bookstore Petunia’s Place in northwest Fresno, she sparked a love of literacy into many people. Ms. Manning died Tuesday after a nearly yearlong fight with cancer. She was 66. Fresno Bee article

 Michael Fitzgerald: Any hope of preserving Stockton’s historic WWII-era hangar? — Often when Stockton destroys its historic fabric in the name of progress it suffers decades of wrecking ball remorse. Which brings us to the Stockton Field hangar. The hangar, a lonely leftover from World War II, is a roughly 21,000-square-foot wooden giant in the quiet southwest corner of Stockton Metropolitan Airport. Fitzgerald column in Stockton Record

 Valley Editorial Roundup

Bakersfield Californian Californians should vote no on Prop. 58.

Fresno Bee – The Fresno Bee recommends a “yes”-vote on Proposition 52. It would stabilize funding for children’s health care. Hospitals, the Democratic and Republican parties, and most organized labor groups support the initiative; California schools are getting a new report card. It’s a work in progress, but some critics are already complaining it’s too complex. Californians should give it a chance.

 Sacramento Bee – Fix Sacramento’s local election map with Measure L; California schools are getting a new report card. It’s a work in progress, but some critics are already complaining it’s too complex. Californians should give it a chance.

Stockton Record – Praying for answers: Family of Kristin Smart remains steadfast amid heartache.