August 10, 2017






Tom Berryhill running for supervisor

Ceres Courier

Scheduled to be termed out of the California State Senate next year, Tom Berryhill announced his campaign for the Stanislaus County supervisor seat occupied by District Supervisor Dick Monteith.


Former Mayor Silva: ‘I’m in survival mode’

Stockton Record
Former Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva is immersed in separate court cases in Amador and San Joaquin counties, and he says he is going broke in the process.




Walters: California dodges Obamacare bullet, but GOP may fire another on …

Fresno Bee (blog)

California dodged a big financial bullet when congressional Republicans deadlocked on overhauling or repealing the Affordable Care Act.


Skelton: Gov. Brown is right about the ‘sanctuary state’ bill: Protect law-abiders and help boot the bad guys 

Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown again is trying to save Democratic legislators from their leftist selves. This time he’s stopping them from protecting criminals. 


Ethics commissioner had secret meetings with Democrats over recall election rules

Sacramento Bee

A commissioner of California’s political watchdog agency met secretly with a lawyer working for Senate Democrats while advocating for changes to campaign finance law that would help retain the Democrat’s supermajority in the state Senate, The Bee has learned.  Commissioner Brian Hatch, a Democrat and former lobbyist for the firefighters union, met privately, talked on the phone and exchanged text messages with the lawyer as the Fair Political Practices Commission considered flipping a longstanding legal interpretation of campaign finance law to favor Sen. Josh Newman in the fight to retain his seat.


Here are the contributions Merced’s Gray reported too late, FPPC says

Modesto Bee

Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, faces a potential fine of $8,500 for four counts campaign violations from his race in the 2014 election, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission


Fox: Surfing to the Governor’s Chair on an Initiative 

Fox & Hounds

To use an analogy that surfer (and assemblyman) Travis Allen might appreciate, can the ballot measure he champions to repeal the gas tax be the surfboard he needs to carve over the choppy waves of a governor’s race and get him safely to shore. 


These 578 voters want California to form an independent country

Sacramento Bee

Since forming in 2015, the California National Party has been organizing dissatisfied voters and activists into a new political entity with the ultimate goal of an independent California.


Fact check: Do 11 California counties have more voters than eligible adults?

The San Diego Union-Tribune

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is rebutting allegations by a Washington, D.C., group that 11 California counties, including San Diego County, have more registered voters than adults eligible to vote.  Padilla is calling the claim “baseless” even as the organization, Judicial Watch, threatens to sue the state if it does not adjust its voter records.


Democratic Fight in California Is a Warning for the National Party

New York Times

For Democrats across the nation, California has offered a bright if lonely light this year. The party controls every statewide office and commands supermajorities in the Legislature. Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have become national voices, steering the party as it pushes back against President Trump on issues as varied as the environment and immigration.


Hanson: Is California finally reaching the breaking point?

The Mercury News

A few things keep California going. Its natural bounty, beauty and weather draw in people eager to play California roulette. The state is naturally rich in minerals, oil and natural gas, timber and farmland. The world pays dearly for whatever techies based in California’s universities can dream up. That said, the status quo is failing.



Area 45 Podcast: The Divided States Of America

Hoover Institution
So many of the presumptions going into the November election–Donald Trump swamped by a tidal wave of vengeful women, minorities, and progressives – didn’t pan out. Why? Morris Fiorina, a Hoover Institution senior fellow and Stanford University political scientist, sees a divide: not between red and blue states but between the cultural elites (journalists and academics) and nonelites (the voting public).




Trump talks as crazy as North Korea’s dictator

Fresno Bee

President Donald Trump’s reckless threat to rain “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea set back his own administration’s diplomatic efforts to control Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons and missile program.


Brooke Ashjian has a right to his opinions. But this time they smack of ignorance

Fresno Bee

Fresno Unified is right to reaffirm its commitment to teaching sex education and promoting tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness following controversial remarks by its board president.


We need fortitude, not more hot air, in dealing with North Korea

Merced Sun Star

President Donald Trump’s reckless threat to rain “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea set back his own administration’s diplomatic efforts to control Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons and missile program.


CSU dumping remedial classes won’t fix the problem of unprepared students

LA Daily News

The California State University system has decided to end its current remedial classes, but what will that mean for students and the value of a college degree?




Tulare County Fair announces livestock switch-up

Visalia Delta-Times

The livestock pavilion at the Tulare County Fair is a staple for many fairgoers. This year, it will undergo some changes.


California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage


Farmers say they’re having trouble hiring enough people to work during harvest season, causing some crops to rot before they can be picked. Already, the situation has triggered losses of more than $13 million in two California counties alone, according to NBC News.


‘Broken’ immigration system leaves Californian farmers short of labour


In America’s most abundant agricultural region, where immigrant pickers have long sustained the economy, many farmers are less concerned with the illegal immigration decried by Donald Trump than with finding enough people to harvest their crops.


Farmers Market Program Providing Discounts For Low-Income Residents To Expand
The number of farmers markets in California that offer discounts to low-income residents could soon double.  The state just go a nearly $4 million grant from the federal government to expand its Nutrition Incentive Program.






Deputies busy busting large marijuana operations before harvest brings violence

Modesto Bee
Merced County residents no longer face misdemeanor criminal charges for small amounts of marijuana, but sheriff’s deputies continue chopping down thousands of marijuana plants each year hoping no blood will be shed at large operations run by criminal organizations.


Gov. Brown is right about the ‘sanctuary state’ bill: Protect law-abiders and help boot the bad guys

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown again is trying to save Democratic legislators from their leftist selves. This time he’s stopping them from protecting criminals.


Does it cost $75K per year to lock up an inmate in California?


“Let’s look at the fact that there is an issue around how much we are paying — and again, this gets back to the economic cost — it costs us about $33,000 a year to lock somebody up. In California it costs about $75,000 a year,” Harris said on July 18, 2017.


To fix ‘unfair’ bail system, will California copy Kentucky? 


It’s rare that a California lawmaker seeking a policy model would turn to Kentucky. But with the Legislature on summer recess, that’s precisely what Sen. Bob Hertzberg is doing.  


Proposition 57 is freeing violent felons from prison. Don’t make it worse

Sacramento Bee

Credit card fraud is not a serious or violent felony. Most ludicrous is the claim that third-strikers have the lowest rate of recidivism. People serving three-strikes sentences are doing so because they chose to commit new felonies after being twice convicted of serious or violent felonies. Despite the claim of its supporters, Proposition 57 is releasing violent felons. Three-strikers should not be added to this early release parade






NFIB Index: Small Business Optimism is Up


NFIB’s strengthening Small Business Optimism Index comes on the heels of troubling data for California released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Their recent state-by-state report shows GDP growth in California flatlining at .1% compared to 3.9% in Texas. Small businesses in California cannot rely on national optimism alone to survive in this difficult state.


Internet firms face a global techlash

The Economist

HOW much bigger can they get? The five biggest technology firms—Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—have published financial results in recent weeks that put their combined quarterly revenues at $143bn. Yet this rude financial health conceals a more troubling long-term trend: governments, long willing to let internet firms act as they wish, are increasingly trying to tie them down.




COS still taking applications for police academy

Hanford Sentinel

There is still time to sign-up to attend the Tulare/Kings Police Academy course at the College of the Sequoias, Hanford Educational Center next spring.


Trump’s immigration crackdown has U.S. companies wary of hiring foreign tech workers 

San Jose Mercury

U.S. companies are thinking twice about hiring foreign tech workers amid uncertainty about immigration policies from the Trump administration, according to data released Wednesday by job searching site Hired. Queenie Wong in the San Jose Mercury


Career Readiness and Living-Wage Work

The James Irvine Foundation

For many of California’s working adults, the path to a good job — a job with room for growth, stability, and a family-sustaining wage — seems out of reach. Meanwhile, employers are having a hard time filling open positions that require specific skills.


No One is Disposable: Growing California’s working population critical to future economy


Mark Pisano is a professor of public administration at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. For 31 years, he served as executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the nation’s largest regional planning agency. He is the author of The Puzzle of the American Economy, which describes how demographic transformations will place a drag on economic growth and increase stress on public budgets. This is part two of four columns on what these changes mean for California’s future.


The US produces 40% more factory output today vs. 20 years ago with 5M fewer workers. Technology job theft?


We hear all the time from Trump and others that the US has lost millions of manufacturing jobs because they’ve been outsourced overseas and “stolen” by countries like China. That’s partly true, but mostly false.






In explosive meeting, Fresno Unified trustees apologize for Ashjian’s LGBT remarks

Fresno Bee
At a heated school board meeting, Fresno Unified trustees fought for the chance to apologize Wednesday in the wake of board president Brooke Ashjian’s comments about LGBT people.

See also:

·       Watch as Fresno Unified trustees clash over controversial LGBT remarks   Fresno Bee


As California Bilingual Education Grows, Teacher Training Is Key


More often than not, many educators say, bilingual education teachers’ grasp of academic language in their second language trails that of their academic language in English. Experts in bilingual education say improving those skills will be essential as school districts open new programs after California voters lifted restrictions on dual-language programs last year.


How California can get better teachers

Sacramento Bee

Californians have built companies that have changed the world and made us the world’s sixth-largest economy. But not everyone is sharing in the state’s success. 

Reducing inequality requires getting smarter about bringing the best people we can into the teaching profession. California is facing a shortage of 100,000 teachers over the next decade, while enrollment in training programs has dropped 70 percent. 


CA Assembly Considers Bill to Delay Start of Public Schools to 8:30

Breitbart News

The California State Assembly is now considering legislation that would postpone the start of public middle and high schools until 8:30 a.m. each day, after a large majority of the California State Senate passed the bill earlier this year.


CA Parents Urged to Ensure Students Have Mandatory Vaccines


As students in the Golden State are returning to school, the California Department of Public Health is reminding parents to make sure their children have received their vaccines.


Higher Ed:


End affirmative action, end campus diversity

Sacramento Bee
The number of African American freshmen enrolled at UCLA fell by nearly half – from 264 in 1995 to 144 in 1998…


Community college transfer degrees speed graduation at CSU

Sacramento Bee

Early alumni of California’s community college transfer program are showing promising results for the 7-year-old law’s efforts to ease the path to a bachelor’s degree.


National Database Could Help Students Pick College—and Income

Routine data collected by the federal government could help students choose a college and a major—and help them calculate how much they stand to make once they graduate. Although the information exists, a searchable national database that could help students and their families make more informed decisions about college does not.






New California law gives air quality officials the power to quickly shut down polluters

LA Times

Currently, California air regulators seeking orders to curtail operations that violate rules and threaten public health must go through an administrative hearing board. The process can take months, while the pollution continues unabated. The new law will give pollution control officers the power to issue immediate orders to stop polluting operations when violations pose an “imminent and substantial” danger.


Lopez: Jerry Brown talks a green game. So why isn’t California tougher on these polluters? 

Los Angeles Times

Do regulators in California have your back when utilities or industries run amok, or when there’s a threat to public health in your neighborhood? 


Sea lions wash ashore in California amid return of toxic blooms

San Francisco Chronicle

Scores of convulsing sea lions are washing up on Central California beaches after eating fish poisoned by a plume of toxic algae that could spread north toward the Bay Area and cause widespread problems, marine biologists said.


California’s Smart Approach to Climate Change


California’s decision last month to extend its cap and trade program truly was, as Governor Jerry Brown said, a “milestone” in the fight against climate change, and all the more welcome for coming in the wake of the Trump administration’s misguided decisionto withdraw from the Paris accord. The policy maintains and even fortifies its central virtue: It puts an ever-rising price on carbon-dioxide emissions, giving emitters an ever-growing incentive to cut back.


Fourth National Climate Assessment: At odds with Trump Administration

Brookings Podcast

Samantha Gross, fellow in the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, discusses the findings from the Fourth National Climate Assessment and the why the document is at odds with the views of the Trump administration.



Washington, DC, watchdog group says it will file lawsuits against Bakersfield and Kern County over PACE

The Bakersfield Californian

The Checks and Balances Project will file lawsuits today against both the County of Kern and the City of Bakersfield claiming both agencies broke state law when they eliminated the Property Assessed Clean Energy financing program last month.


California Energy Price Data for July 2017

Center for Jobs and the Economy

The monthly updates from the July 2017 fuel price data (US Energy Information Agency and and electricity and natural gas price data (US Energy Information Agency).  Data and analysis related to the California economy.


The high cost of unreliable power


Wind and solar power subsidies put dependable energy at a disadvantage




Backers of dialysis measure file ballot measure proposals

Sacramento Bee

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West filed a pair of proposed November 2018 ballot measures Wednesday that would set staffing ratios at dialysis clinics and contain other provisions similar to pending union-backed legislation that faces an uncertain outcome in the Legislature.

See also:

·       While dialysis clinic battle brews at state Capitol, healthcare workers look to the ballot  Los Angeles Times

So few docs take Medi-Cal that it violates civil rights

Sacramento Bee
Fully one-third of our population, including seniors, people with disabilities and children, depend on Medi-Cal, the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income Californians. While there is wide coverage, Medi-Cal recipients have worse access to healthcare than Medicaid recipients in almost every other state, judged by the percentage of physicians who accept Medicaid patients.


State funds Bay Area groups to serve food to Medi-Cal’s poor, just like medicine

San Jose Mercury News

Federico Guzman moved from Mexico to San Francisco in 1992, fleeing anti-gay sentiment and searching for AIDS treatment. He couldn’t find a job and sometimes went hungry until friends introduced him to Project Open Hand, a nonprofit organization that began serving free, nutritious meals to HIV patients in 1985.


Hiltzik: The ‘clawback’: Another hidden scam driving up your prescription prices 

Los Angeles Times

In July, a Marin County woman named Megan Schultz went to her local CVS drugstore to fill a prescription for a generic drug. She forked over $164.68, the co-pay designated by her health plan. 


Obamacare was thriving in California. Then Trump happened.

The Golden State is home to more Obamacare enrollees than any other, 
5 million people who get coverage through the law — and of those, 1.5 million through the marketplace.  At least 20 percent of Americans covered through the marketplaces and Medicaid expansion live in California, even though the state is only home to 12 percent of the country’s population.


Why a Pennsylvania insurer’s collapse could whack Californians in the wallet

Orange County Register

Among all the reasons for rising health insurance premiums, this one might be the most obscure: A long-term care insurer in Pennsylvania just went belly-up.


Demand for Health Insurance Marketplace Plans Was Highly Elastic in 2014-2015

National Bureau of Economic Research

Our estimate implies that a one percent premium increase reduces plan-specific enrollment by 1.7 percent.




Reuniting families has driven U.S. immigration. What would ending that mean for Californians?

Fresno Bee

To Edwin Valdez, turning 21 this month meant a lot more than just meeting the legal drinking age. It meant he could finally sponsor his undocumented immigrant Mexican parents for legal residency. The Sierra College student and North Highlands resident, a U.S.-born citizen, said he prayed as he drove to school on his birthday, asking God to “make it happen” when he petitioned for his parents’ green cards.


In California, ‘sanctuary state’ and other immigration bills face surprising opposition

San Jose Mercury News

Soon after President Donald Trump’s election, California lawmakers began rolling out legislation to fight the president’s promised crackdown on illegal immigration. They released bills to blacklist companies involved in Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall project, protect undocumented children in schools, and bar the use of local and state police resources for federal immigration enforcement.


Sen. Dianne Feinstein: Trump’s Immigration Policy Would’ve Turned Away My Family—And His


The Republican immigration bill unveiled last week—the RAISE Act—betrays our country’s values. It’s a thinly veiled attempt to make it nearly impossible for all but the wealthiest, most privileged people to immigrate to the U.S., barring families from reuniting and discounting employers’ input on the workers they need to be successful.




Land Use:


Sewer, water work in place for project

Manteca Bulletin

River Islands now has all of the infrastructure in place to support the construction of the first 498 single family homes of the sprawling development. 
Last month the Lathrop City Council formally accepted the completion of an interim sewer lift station and its control system as well interconnect improvements for the South San Joaquin Irrigation District to finalize a 2013 agreement with the City of Lathrop requiring the development to make a series of public improvements that will support future development in the area that will eventually include almost 12,000 new homes. 

Parks to get surveillance cameras

Hanford Sentinel

 Two of Hanford’s parks will soon have 24-hour surveillance on them to ward off increasing crime-related activity and vandalism at city-owned parks.


With this bill, casino will be a jackpot for Elk Grove, Wilton Rancheria tribe

Sacramento Bee

On July 19, Gov. Jerry Brown took an important step in the tribe’s path to self-sufficiency when he signed a tribal gaming compact with Wilton Rancheria for its plans to build a resort and casino on the site of the city’s abandoned “ghost mall.” Like other recent compacts, this one includes a range of provisions, from oversight, labor and licensing, to environmental protection, public safety and community investment. As the Assemblyman representing the region that includes Elk Grove, I am privileged to have introduced Assembly Bill 1606, which will take the next step: ratification of the compact by the Legislature.




Fewer Fresno buyers can afford a home

Fresno Bee

Fresnans have to make a little bit more money these days to buy the area’s median-priced home of $250,000.  A buyer has to have an annual income of at least $50,000 a year, according to the second-quarter affordability report released Wednesday by the California Association of Realtors. That’s up by about $1,000 from the beginning of the year.


Efforts To Streamline Housing Developments Draw Scrutiny At California Capitol

Capital Public Radio News

California lawmakers are weighing several ideas to encourage – or force – cities and counties to speed up the approval process for housing projects.


Will Sacramento finally restore California’s housing market?


Our Sacramento lawmakers are promising to finally do something about the state’s runaway housing crisis after they return from their August break. Will this finally be the year they take meaningful action? Not until they show that they understand the essence of the problem.

Housing Choice Voucher California Fact Sheet

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
The Housing Choice Voucher Program is the nation’s largest rental assistance program. More than 5 million people in 2.2 million low-income households use vouchers.




Board of Supervisors to review 2017-2018 budget

Hanford Sentinel

The Kings County Board of Supervisors is close to reviewing its proposed budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which includes over $8 million more than the last fiscal year’s final budget and new jobs in the county.


$1.4 billion in school construction is coming down the pike, but will the work go to locals?

Voters passed $1.4 billion in Kern County school bonds last November to patch up leaking roofs, construct new state-of-the-art buildings and bring older ones into the 21st century – a massive undertaking that will take years of work.


Local Leaders Use Sales Tax Increases to Pay for Essential Projects

Over a year, one pot hole can turn into 20, and what was once a backburner project is not a costly public works road repair. With rising costs from pensions and other liabilities, many municipalities are having a hard time paying for these types of small, essential projects, that often get shelved for more pressing issues.


More CalPERS retirees are getting $100,000 pensions, report says 

Los Angeles Daily News

The number of retired public employees in the CalPERS system with annual pensions of $100,000 or more grew 63 percent since 2012, according to a report released Wednesday. 

See also:

·       California public pay and pension database  Transparent California

California already may be paying for Trump’s hypothetical tax cuts

Tax reform may not be much more than a glimmer in the eye of Republicans in Washington D.C., but their promise of lower rates and closed loopholes appears to be already jostling state and local finances.




Want to know how high-speed rail is progressing? A new interactive site will show you

Kern County residents can use the new website from the High-Speed Rail Authority to see HSR plans in the county and learn more about opportunities for small businesses to get involved, among other things.


U.S. airlines are bumping passengers at historically low rates 

Los Angeles Times

In the April-through-June quarter, the 12 biggest carriers reported denying passengers a seat at a rate of 0.44 fliers per 10,000 passengers, the lowest three-month rate since the U.S. Department of Transportation began tracking the data in 1995. 


As Cashless Toll Roads Proliferate, So Do Rental Car Fees

Pew Charitable Trust | Stateline

Rental car drivers will likely have to navigate more electronic tolls as states convert traditional cash tolls to electronic ones and build new cashless roads.




Panel Weighed Oroville Spillway Failure in 2014 — and Called It Unlikely


The study — called a potential failure mode analysis, or PFMA — was performed in 2014 as part of what’s called a Part 12D safety review, a title that refers to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulation that requires independent safety inspections for most large dams every five years.


Oroville Dam’s Green Spot: Innocent Pool Or Big Problem?

Capital Public Radio News

The failure of the Oroville spillway in February led people to notice a large green spot on Lake Oroville’s dam. The spot has been there for years, but the questions remain as to whether it’s a sign the dam is leaking.


Small water districts get a break on chrome 6

Sacramento Bee

Water suppliers in California’s disadvantaged communities were struggling to comply with a prohibitively expensive regulation that only wealthy and larger water districts could afford. We thank the State Water Resources Control Board for deciding last week not to appeal a judge’s ruling invalidating the rule.


Under pressure from regulators, San Diego cracks down on water pollution from construction sites

San Diego Union Tribune

Developers in the city of San Diego are facing tougher government enforcement at construction sites that have the potential to pollute rivers and streams — including fines and even stop-work orders.




The show will go on: Bakersfield Community Concert Association returns for new season

When the Bakersfield Community Concert Association (BCCA) finished its final concert of the season last April, some 600 people in the audience got the bad news: This wasn’t just the final concert of the season, it was the final concert. Period.  But a general feeling of “Say it ain’t so!” apparently galvanized many of the board members and volunteers to save the venerable organization, which has operated for 55 years as BCCA and almost 45 years before that as Kern Musical Association.