August 9, 2017






Laura’s Law supporters charge that county leaders were misled by consultants

Modesto Bee

People who support Laura’s Law charged Tuesday that a county-sponsored consultant’s report is flawed and biased against efforts to adopt the law in Stanislaus County.


‘We fought this as best we could.’ County supervisors to settle decade-long sludge lawsuit

Kern County has decided to end its decade-long legal battle to defend a voter-approved ban on the land application of treated sewage sludge, settling with the City of Los Angeles.



Ethics commissioner had private meetings with Democrats over recall election rules

Sacramento Bee

A former labor lobbyist who serves on California’s political watchdog agency met privately, talked on the phone and exchanged text messages with a lawyer working for Senate Democrats while advocating for the agency to flip a longstanding legal interpretation of campaign finance law in favor of Sen. Josh Newman.


Conservative legal group, warning of fraud, wants information on California voters

Los Angeles Times
California’s top elections officer and 11 county registrars have been asked to hand over detailed voter registration records or face a federal lawsuit, a request that centers on new accusations that the records are inaccurate.


More voters than eligible adults? Group makes dubious claim about California

Sacramento Bee

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has twice rebuffed demands for voter data from a commission created by PresidentDonald Trump to investigate unproven claims of voter fraud last fall. Now a conservative Washington, D.C.-based legal group has threatened to sue the state over what it contends are California counties’ failure to properly maintain lists of inactive voters.


California Democratic Party calls Kimberly Ellis’ request for arbitration in election dispute a ‘Hail Mary pass’

Los Angeles Times

Kimberly Ellis, who has spent nearly three months contesting the results of the race for California Democratic Party chairperson, on Tuesday called on the party to enter binding arbitration to end the dispute.



Democrats launch new group aimed at Republican strongholds

San Francisco Chronicle

Dissatisfied with Democratic fortunes in the era of President Donald Trump, a group of prominent Democrats is forming an organization outside the formal party structure with the goal of winning again in Republican-dominated middle America.



A new take on political science: Training researchers to run for office

Los Angeles Times

Across the country, scientists — card-carrying members of an elite that prizes expertise — are exiting their ivory towers to enter the political fray. There’s the cancer researcher from Mississippi, the integrated circuit designer from New York, the physician from Utah and the stem cell biologist from Southern California, among dozens of others.


Opinion: Teaching civic engagement to kids can change their lives–and their communities

The Mercury News

A new county-wide point-in-time survey reveals a 13-percent increase in homelessness across Santa Clara County since 2015. Seven percent of survey respondents reported that their first episode of homelessness occurred when they were under the age of 18, and there are more than 2,500 homeless unaccompanied children and transition-age youth.




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.


Allow California students the sleep they need

The Mercury News

California should adopt Glendale Sen. Anthony Portantino’s SB 328, which requires middle and high schools  to start their regular class schedules no earlier than 8:30 a.m. The average start time for California schools is 8:07 a.m., nearly a half hour earlier  than the recommendation of both the American Academy of Pediatricians and the Centers for Disease Control.


White, privileged and a victim? This is Trump’s America

Sacramento Bee

From diversity at Google to depictions of black families in Procter & Gamble ads, society’s winners act like its victims, too.


In leaking a federal climate change report, scientists send a message to Trump: Global warming is real

Los Angeles Times

A draft federal report on climate change that went public Monday contains little in the way of new science, and although its language is unequivocal, it merely confirms what has been obvious to so many scientists for so long: Human activity is increasing global temperatures, leading to potentially…


Trump tries diplomacy in countering North Korea’s nuclear provocation

Los Angeles Times

North Korea’s nuclear program, which reached an ominous milestone last month with the testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching Los Angeles, has prompted some of the Trump administration’s worst foreign-policy moments.


Does state funding for Medi-Cal discriminate against the Latinos it serves?

Los Angeles Times

Only about half of the non-emergency care doctors in California are willing to treat patients who are on Medi-Cal — the state’s version of Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor and disabled — because the state pays them too little for their services. Yet the federal government, which sets and enforces Medicaid’s standards for access to care, has consistently given the state’s program permission to continue as-is.




Federal grant will encourage Californians to shop at farmers markets

Fresno Bee
A $3.9 million federal grant awarded to the California Department of Food and Agriculture will help the state expand a program that encourages low-income people to shop at farmers markets, state officials announced this week.


2 ag companies get fines for pesticide drifts

Bakersfield Now

County agriculture officials have issued fines to two companies for pesticide drifts that made farmworkers ill in May.


Trump’s Trade Pullout Roils Rural America


For much of industrial America, the TPP was a suspect deal, the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which some argue led to a massive offshoring of U.S. jobs to Mexico. But for the already struggling agricultural sector, the sprawling 12-nation TPP, covering 40 percent of the world’s economy, was a lifeline. It was a chance to erase punishing tariffs that restricted the United States—the onetime “breadbasket of the world”—from selling its meats, grains and dairy products to massive importers of foodstuffs such as Japan and Vietnam.


The Danger From Low-Skilled Immigrants: Not Having Them

NY Times

Let’s just say it plainly: The United States needs more low-skilled immigrants.



California man shot and killed after confronting pot growers 


A central California property owner was shot and killed when he confronted three men illegally growing marijuana on his rural land, police said Tuesday. Timothy Fadgen, 47, was killed during the confrontation Monday night and died at the scene, Madera County Sheriff’s Lt. Zack Zamudio said.


More Freedom Behind Bars

Capital Public Radio News

Now, the California Department of Corrections, or CDCR, is trying out a new rule that says life-without-parole inmates like Hall can move down one more level, if they have a record of good behavior and pass a review. And for inmates sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, they can move down to Level I, if the facility has a secured perimeter.


California voters were sold bill of goods on parole measure

Sacramento Bee
Last November Californians voted for Proposition 57 with the promise that “nonviolent” inmates who “turn their lives around” in prison could earn early parole if they demonstrate they no longer pose a danger to the public.


California Governor Signs Bill Offering Treatment Instead of Prosecution for Some Military and Veterans Arrested for DUI

Sierra Sun Times

On Monday Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed Senate Bill 725, authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D – Santa Barbara), clarifying that current and former members of the military who suffer from service-related mental health issues may be diverted to a treatment court in lieu of incarceration when charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Prior to this bill, the law allowed for diversion for misdemeanor violations, but was unclear and perhaps contradictory on whether this included DUI violations.


California court to halt license suspensions of poor drivers

A Northern California superior court has agreed to stop suspending the licenses of people who can’t afford to pay their traffic tickets, offering them a chance to set up a payment plan or pay by other means, a coalition of civil rights groups announced Tuesday.





California’s nonprofit sector is key to addressing economic insecurity


Thousands of nonprofit organizations are working in California’s poor neighborhoods and schools. If California is going to address the growing gap between rich and poor, communities will need to be more effective in helping young people. The nonprofit Unusual Suspects Theatre Company works with at-risk youth in Los Angeles County. Melissa Denton is the executive director of the Company and Tameka Carter is on the Company’s board and an alumna of the program.



Caltrans holding hiring events as it plans for heftier workload


If you are looking for a job you may want to consider sending a resume to California’s Transportation Department


Early Childhood Council of Kern seeks to fill vacancies

The Bakersfield Californian

The Early Childhood Council of Kern — a 30-member volunteer board that provides a forum for identifying local priorities for childcare and developing the means of meeting those needs — is taking applications to fill nine vacancies on it, according to a news release.


No constitutional protection to free speech in private workplace


Google has fired the engineer who circulated an internal memo criticizing the company’s diversity initiatives. The former employee, James Damore, argued that biological differences between men and women are responsible for tech’s gender gap.  Google said he violated company policy about promoting gender stereotypes. 





How big of a difference is $31 billion making on education?


Four years of LCFF and $31 billion later, a recent investigation shows the achievement gap between California’s neediest and the most privileged children has not decreased.


Proposed State-Run STEM School Raises Questions, Suspicions

Capital and Main

A hastily revised bill introduced in Sacramento last month is attempting to address the state’s STEM crisis by adding a single new privatized state STEM school to California’s already contentious K-12 landscape. The plan to create an 800-student “State School for Instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)” that would serve grades six through 12, and be located somewhere within Los Angeles County, has met heated resistance from public school advocates.


Stay in school! Southern California homeownership rises with educational success


Education buys housing. A new study from online real estate tracker Trulia shows a direct link between a person’s educational achievement and their ability to own their own home, both in Southern California and nationally.


Bullard High will have a brand new look just in time for the first day of school


After three years of construction a major renovation project at Bullard High School is almost complete.


Teachers need resources for success, says Biden at Saint Mary’s education summit

East Bay Times

Ask any person about who most inspired their work ethic, self-esteem or devotion to excellence. The answer, if not mention of an actual or surrogate parent, is likely a classroom teacher —realistically, both good and bad ones — or a coach.

Students Drive New Policies As K-12 Sexual Assault Investigations Rise


Oakland Unified School District in California recently revamped its sexual harassment and assault policy. I attended the school board vote with Andrea Zamora, 17, a rising high school senior who helped develop the new policy with a local nonprofit, Alliance for Girls.


Circle up: Teaching social-emotional skills year round 


For many school principals who are casting about for ways to improve students’ sense of physical and emotional safety — and in doing so, students’ interest in being at school and learning — the idea of calling on summer school and after-school experts hasn’t occurred to them


Higher Ed:


Fresno City College students will be able to take free FAX bus rides once fall semester begins


It is hoped the service will improve the air quality and alleviate the parking lot traffic jams. But parking at City College was an issue even when Fresno Mayor Lee Brand was a student there 45 years ago.


California Today: Outcry Over Admissions at University of California

New York Times

It was a sucker punch, The Los Angeles Times said. After the University of California, Irvine, withdrew admissions offers for nearly 500 students, the outrage spread far beyond the campus community. But the practice is not unusual among California’s public universities.


Former UC Berkeley chancellor to earn $434,000 in paid time off

San Jose Mercury News

Nicholas Dirks, the former UC Berkeley chancellor who stepped down earlier this year amid a string of controversies, will receive more than $400,000 during a year off before he returns to teaching next fall.


California community college launch new campaign focused on career ed

California Community Colleges today launched a new campaign aimed at prospective students, both high school students and adults who want to gain new skills, as well as parents, counselors, employers, and other stakeholders to promote the benefits of California Community Colleges Career Education as an affordable, accessible pathway to a rewarding career.





Kern County will settle decade-long sludge lawsuit, abandon Measure E
Members of the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in closed session Tuesday to sign a settlement worked out with Los Angeles that will end the long, bitter and expensive fight that started nearly 11 years ago.


California Senator Dianne Feinstein to President Donald Trump: Don’t Dismiss Climate Change Report

Sierra Sun Times

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Tuesday issued the following statement in response to a draft report on climate change produced by 13 federal agencies.

See also:

·       Federal report sees human-caused changes to California’s climate  San Francisco Chronicle

·       Climate Change is the Issue of My Generation  The Nation

·       Science report: Who gets hotter, wetter with climate change  The Washington Post

Climate deal swing vote lawmakers among top oil money recipients

89.3 KPCC

California Assembly members who were considered swing votes on legislation to reduce carbon emissions by charging polluters were among the top recipients of donations from oil companies, an analysis of campaign finance filings shows.


Cap-and-trade extension included fire fee repeal

Capital Press

The bill to extend California’s cap-and-trade program through 2030, which was signed recently by Gov. Jerry Brown, included the repeal of a controversial fee charged to rural landowners for fire protection.


L.A. to make sure air filters are being installed in homes near freeways

Los Angeles Times

Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered Los Angeles building inspectors to begin tracking whether required air filtration systems are being installed in new homes near freeways, officials said Tuesday.


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?


California should phase out gas-powered cars

San Francisco Chronicle

California is a global environmental leader, but it’s falling behind in one key respect: phasing out gasoline cars. Germany, India, Norway and the Netherlands are moving to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by or before 2030, and France and the United Kingdom by 2040. Here’s why California should join that list.



Utilities Could Install EV Charging At Beaches, Schools Under CA Bills

Capital Public Radio News

California’s largest power companies could build charging stations for electric cars at state parks, beaches and schools, under legislation moving through the state Senate. It’s the latest proposal to rely on electricity users to meet California’s zero-emission vehicle goals.


Gov. Brown’s email problem could hurt his legacy

Visalia Times-Delta

As Gov. Jerry Brown travels the nation and world posing grandly as the Anti-Trump and the ultimate champion of the battle against climate change, he’s plainly very conscious of the legacy he will leave behind when he’s termed out for good after next year.


Could ‘solar roads’ help generate power?

BBC News

Something to consider for the Valley’s sunny roads?



Community Voices: McCarthy’s words about ‘imploding’ ACA are literally unbelievable
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, seeing an opportunity to score political points with his party’s hard-right base, recently resorted to scare tactics after the announcement that Anthem is pulling out of the Covered California exchange in Kern County. After reading McCarthy’s grave predictions that the Affordable Care Act “is collapsing,” the 5,000 county residents covered through Anthem could be forgiven for panicking.


How to Compromise on Health Care


Universal insurance coverage should be everybody’s goal. Neither liberals nor conservatives can reach it alone.


Early Childhood Council of Kern seeks to fill vacancies

The Early Childhood Council of Kern — a 30-member volunteer board that provides a forum for identifying local priorities for childcare and developing the means of meeting those needs — is taking applications to fill nine vacancies on it, according to a news release.




California sheriffs and Gov. Jerry Brown in talks over possible changes to ‘sanctuary state’ legislation

Los Angeles Times

Members of the California State Sheriffs Assn. say they have been in discussions with Gov. Jerry Brown in hopes of amending a state Senate bill that seeks to keep local and state law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal immigration laws.

See also:

·       In California, ‘sanctuary state’ and other immigration bills face surprising opposition  The Mercury News

·       Sanctuary and Consistency  Fox&Hounds

Essential California: Deaths, suicide attempts at a California immigration detention center

Los Angeles Times

Since 2015, five immigrant detainees have died in the Adelanto Detention Facility in San Bernardino County. Located in the high desert 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the facility can house nearly 2,000 men and women. Officials say more than 73,000 detainees have passed through since it opened in 2011. Among those held there are asylum seekers, people caught in immigration sweeps and those identified by authorities as potentially deportable after landing in jail. Los Angeles Times


‘We don’t feel OK here’: Detainee deaths, suicide attempts and hunger strikes plague California immigration facility 

Los Angeles Times

The July 11 incident was the fifth report of an attempted suicide at the immigration detention center since December, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department 911 call logs obtained by The Times through a public records request.


Trump deportations lag behind Obama levels


From Feb. 1 to June 30, ICE officials removed 84,473 people — a rate of roughly 16,900 people per month. If deportations continue at the same clip until the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, federal immigration officials will have removed fewer people than they did during even the slowest years of Barack Obama’s presidency.


California Readies for Clash With Trump Over Immigration — and It Has a Special Tool

L.A. Weekly

Like two fighters circling the ring, the Trump administration and the state of California are poised to clash over local law enforcement agencies’ failure to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.


Los Angeles wants city contractors to disclose ties to Trump’s border wall

The Washington Post

Members of the Democrat-dominated Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to draft a law that would require companies doing business with the city to disclose whether they are involved with “any proposed border wall between Mexico and the United States of America,” the Los Angeles Times reported.


The Danger From Low-Skilled Immigrants: Not Having Them

NY Times

Let’s just say it plainly: The United States needs more low-skilled immigrants.


Fabian Nunez: How Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Drove My Generation into Politics

Zócalo Public Square

It’s often said that California is just like America, only sooner. We confront the same issues as the rest of the nation, just earlier. Perhaps no issue exemplifies that sentiment better than immigration.



Merced Gateway estimated to generate $30 million yearly in sales tax

Merced Sun Star

Dozens of retail stores, a housing project and hundreds of full-time jobs are headed to Merced after city leaders approved a massive project on the eastern edge of town, according to city leaders.




Fresno County assessor-recorder in escrow for new $2.4M downtown home

The Business Journal
Paul Dictos, Fresno County’s assessor-recorder, has seen whole families come to his office to pick up a birth certificate to celebrate a new edition.  But given the shape of the current Hall of Records, and its 50-year-old elevator system, he said too many times mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and all the kids have had to trudge up a flight of stairs to his office.

Fresno County, CA recorder’s office easier to access

Fresno Bee

For 300 people or more a day, a visit to the Fresno County Recorder’s office to pick up a birth or death certificate or record a deed to property means a ride aboard a groaning elevator or gingerly climbing a narrow, claustrophobic staircase.


Merced to ask you if you want to raise your taxes for PD HQ

Merced Sun-Star

The city of Merced moved forward Monday, agreeing to buy a property for a new police station, and soon leaders could ask if you are willing to pay more in taxes to help foot the construction bill.


Merced Gateway estimate $30 million a year in sales tax

Merced Sun-Star
Dozens of retail stores, a housing project and hundreds of full-time jobs are headed to Merced after city leaders approved a massive project on the eastern edge of town, according to city leaders.


California, Once Compared to Greece, Is Now Trading Better Than AAA Bloomberg

As the Golden State benefits from record-breaking stock prices, Silicon Valley’s boom and a resurgent real estate market, demand for tax-exempt debt in the state with the highest top income tax rate in the U.S. is “insatiable,” said Nicholos Venditti, a portfolio manager for Thornburg Investment Management.


Delayed California computer project approaches $1 billion

Sacramento Bee

It may be time to recalculate the cost of the most expensive technology project in California state government.


TurboTax Change Costs California Charitable Funds

Capital Public Radio News

Turbo Tax switched from asking users if they wished to contribute. This year, users had to click “California Contributions” from a menu of options.


Local Government Hiring Slows So Far in 2017
Local government employment has increased only 0.4 percent since January. That’s roughly half the growth over the same period last year and about the same as 2015.




Fresno City College students will be able to take free FAX bus rides once fall semester begins


It is hoped the service will improve the air quality and alleviate the parking lot traffic jams. But parking at City College was an issue even when Fresno Mayor Lee Brand was a student there 45 years ago.


Why did Stanislaus voters finally embrace transportation tax?

Modesto Bee

Final spending reports are in from last year’s political campaigns, so it’s time to see whether Measure L – the transportation tax rejected by voters in two previous attempts – owed its long-sought success to big spending.


Bike sharing startups battle over hot Silicon Valley market

The Mercury News

Adding a two-wheeled spin to Silicon Valley’s ongoing ride-sharing wars, competition is heating up between rival startups racing to cash in on the area’s newest transportation trend — stationless bike sharing.

See also:

·       Ford GoBike’s had a rough roll-out in San Francisco, Oakland  The Mercury News.

California court to halt license suspensions of poor drivers

San Francisco Chronicle

A Northern California superior court has agreed to stop suspending the licenses of people who can’t afford to pay their traffic tickets, offering them a chance to set up a payment plan or pay by other means, a coalition of civil rights groups announced Tuesday.


Public Works Funding Falls as Infrastructure Deteriorates

New York Times

Government spending on transportation and other public works is in decline as federal funding stagnates and state and local governments tighten their belts.




Friant-Kern Canal Slows By 60 Percent, Subsidence To Blame

Valley Public Radio

A section of the the Friant-Kern Canal in Tulare County is sinking so much that it’s lost about 60 percent of its flow.


Community Voices: We need those Delta tunnels for reliable water delivery

The Bakersfield Californian

This has been a wonderful water year. The snowpack was deep, it melted at just the right time, and the Kern River is likely to run through town all year. Yes, this year we were blessed. But every year is not like this year; in fact very few are. Since 2007, California has experienced eight dry years and two wet years.


No Snow Left? Aerial Surveys Show Eight Percent Still Remains In San Joaquin Watershed

Valley Public Radio

We’re seeing snowmelt 50 percent greater than it was last year and about 320 percent above what the observations were for 2014.” says Jeffrey Payne with the Friant Water Authority.


Congress Takes an Important Step to Prevent Future Droughts


Thanks to a stormy winter, California’s long drought is over, says state government. But California’s man-made drought will continue as long as Sacramento misallocates our water supply. Maybe it’s time to appeal to a higher but distant authority.


Prep Work For Oroville Spillway Nearly Complete –

Capital Public Radio News

The California Department of Water Resources says most of the prep work for new construction on the Oroville main spillway has been completed.




Walters: San Diego’s perpetual cultural wars again shift into Capitol arena

Fresno Bee (blog)

Geographically, San Diego County is a microcosm of California – a coastline as its western edge, giving way to tree-covered mountains and a searing desert to the east. By happenstance, the county is also a self-contained reflection of California’s cultural and political dynamics.


Earthquakes, meet North Korean nukes: California’s growing portfolio of disaster preparedness

Los Angeles Times

For the director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, it’s one more matter to monitor and make ready for. Mark Ghilarducci is an old hand at disasters and emergency prep; he’s seen just about everything his native state can throw at its residents, and this one — well, join the list.


LOIS HENRY: City’s feral cat fixing program going gangbusters

The Bakersfield Animal Care Center got a $60,000 PetSmart Charities grant earlier this year to fix 833 feral or community cats and it’s already more than halfway done after only four months.


Olmos announces he will retire as Visalia’s city manager

Visalia Times Delta
Dozens of retail stores, a housing project and hundreds of full-time jobs are headed to Merced after city leaders approved a massive project on the eastern edge of town, according to city leaders.


Fitzgerald: On a carrier, fighting ISIS

An Iranian drone buzzed and nearly collided with an US fighter jet above the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier Tuesday in the Persian Gulf. Another day at the office for Tanisha Stewart.


The Old Fresno Water Tower At Risk Of Closing

Valley Public Radio
On the first Thursday night of every month, the Old Fresno Water Tower is typically full of people checking out local art that lines the walls and shelves of the historic building. But while dozens of Art Hop patrons visit the gift shop, gallery and visitors center in one of Fresno’s most recognizable buildings, the future of the downtown landmark is uncertain.