November 20, 2017



Local/Regional Politics:

Fresno Unified strike: Fresno State would pull teachers but stay neutral

Fresno Bee

Fresno State will pull hundreds of aspiring teachers from Fresno Unified classrooms and host a “teach-in” in the case of a potential strike, but the university says those actions don’t mean it’s taking sides. “I want to make it clear that Fresno State has no position on the labor discussions within FUSD. It would be inappropriate for the university to express a view on this matter,” Fresno State president Joseph Castro said Friday.

Hundreds of children helped through coat drive

Hanford Sentinel

Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) joined with community partners Thursday for the annual Kings County Coat Drive to provide winter coats to hundreds of children. Salas partnered with the Professional Latin American Association and Kings County Community Action Organization (KCAO) to facilitate a donation from Southern California Gas to purchase 400 coats to distribute to children and teenagers who needed them.

Fresno unemployment rate inches up in post-harvest October

The Business Journal

It was a mixed bag for unemployment rates across the Central Valley as harvest activity died down in October, according to new data from the state Employment Development Department. Fresno County’s October unemployment rate was 7.8 percent, up from 7.5 percent in September and below 9 percent a year ago. Month over month, farm employment dropped by 9,700 jobs, marking the seasonal downturn as the almond and grape harvest ended. Nonfarm employment increased by 3,300 jobs, with the biggest gain in government with an additional 1,700 positions.

Worth Noting: Kern Co. Unemployment rate drops in October and more

The unemployment rate in Kern County went down last month.

Climate change threatens giant sequoias, scientists say


Scientists say a fixture inside California’s Sierra Nevada Forests for more than two million years, might be in jeopardy.

Editor: How Mathis’ representative tried to intimidate a TD reporter

Visalia Times-Delta

Around mid-day Tuesday, Times-Delta reporter Sheyanne Romero got a text with a question. Romero, as many of you know, has been working with Local News Editor Eric Woomer to investigate allegations against Assemblyman Devon Mathis,who has been accused of sexual assault as well as harassment, sexism, child abuse and excessive drinking at public functions. Through all the controversy, Mathis has been secluded from both constituents and the media and has spoken to us only through Jennifer Jacobs, a political strategist who owns a consulting firm called Sunshine Strategies.

Sacramento police contradict Mathis spokeswoman: Investigation ‘extensive’

Visalia Times-Delta

Sacramento police officials are disputing a statement on behalf of embattled Assemblyman Devon Mathis that suggested the agencies investigators had better things to do than pursue allegations he sexually assaulted a woman. Jennifer Jacobs, owner of an outside public relations agency that works for Mathis, was quoted by the Fresno Bee Wednesday as saying a Mathis attorney had obtained that information from Sacramento police.

Accused of violating voters’ rights, Lodi to consider district elections

Stockton Record

Threatened with a voting rights lawsuit, the City Council voted in closed session this week to begin a process that could change the way council members are elected in the future.

MALDEF lawsuit challenging Kern County’s political lines goes to trial in December

A lawsuit that could throw the political makeup of the Kern County Board of Supervisors into turmoil goes to trial early next month.

Victim advocate: Domestic violence is a community issue

Visalia Times Delta

Domestic violence on the rise in Tulare County.

Randy Groom to serve as Visalia’s city manager

Visalia Times Delta

Visalia city council members have selected Randy Groom to serve as city manager, officials announced on Friday.

State Politics:

California’s state budget could soon be flush with $7.5 billion in unexpected cash, analysts say

LA Times

Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers could have a net budget windfall of some $7.5 billion by the summer of 2019 under a new analysis that attributes most of the cash to capital gains income earned by California’s most wealthy taxpayers.

Villaraigosa: Restore local economic zones

Fresno Bee

It is a frequently repeated fact: If California were a nation, our gross domestic product would rank us as the sixth largest economy in the world. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? But recent numbers confirm that not every area of the state is doing quite that well. Compare two regions, the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley.

This is the group of California voters everyone will be watching in 2018

Los Angeles Times

Politics is full of references likening one group or another to a “sleeping giant,” a powerful voting bloc that could change the outcome in any given election. In California, it’s almost always used to describe Latino voters. While now the state’s single largest ethnicity, Latinos often are underrepresented on election day with lackluster turnout that continues to be one of the state’s most perplexing political dynamics.

See also:

Here’s why these Republicans think they can be elected governor in deep-blue California

LA Times

Assemblyman Travis Allen and businessman John Cox, two politicians unfamiliar to most Californians, share an audacious goal that no Republican has achieved in more than a decade: to be elected governor of the Golden State.

California Democrats vote to make it harder for incumbents to obtain party endorsement

Los Angeles Times

The proposal, written by members of the party’s liberal wing, was approved on a voice vote on the final day of the state party’s executive board meeting in Millbrae. Incumbents will now need 60% of party delegates’ votes to win an endorsement, the same amount challengers need. Until now, incumbents needed a simple majority.

De León moves to strip Mendoza of leadership post

Sacramento Bee

California Senate leader Kevin de León wants to strip Sen. Tony Mendoza of his leadership positions as an outside firm investigates misconduct allegations.

See also:

They reported sex harassment in state jobs and found ‘retaliation is alive and well’

Sacramento Bee

When Carmyn Fields was negotiating a settlement last year in her sexual harassment case against the California Highway Patrol, the state’s lawyers had a serious sticking point.

New Concerns Emerge About Senate Fellows Director’s Judgment, Conduct

A California Senate staffer told an associate last year that the director of the Senate Fellows Program knew about state Sen. Tony Mendoza’s reputation for inappropriate behavior with women, yet still placed a female student Fellow in his Capitol office. This is a continuing problem in the CA legislature.

State workers: Want a nepotism audit at your department? Send evidence

Sacramento Bee

The report that detailed a dense web of personal relationships at a California tax agency was the first deep look at nepotism in the state workforce by an auditing arm of the State Personnel Board.

How California’s Legislature exempts itself from tough laws

San Francisco Chronicle

The state Legislature’s exemption of its own employees from a 1999 law intended to protect the jobs of whistle-blowers has garnered attention in recent weeks, as women complaining of pervasive sexual harassment in the state Capitol publicly call for such protections for legislative employees. But the whistle-blower act isn’t the only area of the law in which the Legislature has demonstrated a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality.

California Democrats could soon make it harder for incumbents to win their endorsement

LA Times

California Democratic leaders will consider making it harder for incumbents to win the state party’s endorsement, a move that could throw a kink in the intraparty race between Sen. Dianne Feinstein and state Senate Leader Kevin de León.

Claims abound on California’s ‘highest-in-the-nation’ costs. Not all are factual.

PolitiFact California

It’s a common refrain: California has some of the ‘highest-in-the-nation’ costs, from gas and water to electricity and taxes. Some of these assertions are supported by the facts, while others are as exaggerated as Yosemite’s granite domes are striking. GOP candidate for governor John Cox seized on these expenses in a recent Capital Public Radio interview. “We’ve got the highest water bills, the highest electricity bills, the highest gasoline – and gas tax. Of course, we’ve got the highest income and sales taxes in the country.”

Federal Politics:

House tax plan would mean higher borrowing costs for hospitals, schools, affordable housing

LA Times

Hospitals, university buildings and affordable housing projects could become markedly more expensive to develop if the tax plan approved Thursday by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives becomes law.

See also:

For more information on federal tax reform, See: “Public Finance,” below.

Devin Nunes’ opponent puts congressman on a child leash in billboard ad

Los Angeles Times

There’s a new billboard outside a bar named Jimbo’s in Clovis, Calif. It depicts Russian President Vladimir Putin holding leashes attached to children’s bodies with the faces of local GOP Rep. Devin Nunes and President Trump. The Nunes child is holding an ice cream cone. “You have been a good boy Devin,” the billboard says. One of Nunes’ Democratic opponents, Fresno County Deputy Dist. Atty. Andrew Janz, paid for the billboard, and it directs passersby to Janz’s campaign website.

Democrats see opportunity in a strongly Republican California congressional district

LA Times

Regina Bateson was at home trying to get her young children to fall asleep before they realized Donald Trump would be their next president. Jessica Morse was volunteering in an empty office in Colorado surrounded by the wreckage of Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign. Roza Calderon felt like she was living through a nightmare as she watched the results roll in with a friend.

California lawmakers upset that wildfire money is left out of White House’s disaster aid request

Los Angeles Times

Every day, Mike Thompson hears a new story about how last month’s fires in Northern California have affected people’s lives. Insurance is being denied. Tourism is down. Some companies have laid off workers. “Block after block of homes are wiped out and cars are melted down to their skeletal remains,” the Napa Valley congressman said of his travels in Santa Rosa over the weekend.

See also:

Steyer’s Impeachment Campaign More Like a Recall

Fox and Hounds Daily

Tom Steyer’s “Need to Impeach” campaign targeting President Trump is more like a recall effort familiar to Californians than an impeachment effort. The constitution clearly states “high crimes and misdemeanors” generate impeachment. Recall from office is mostly triggered over policy issues. Steyer’s campaign is also about policy. That was made clear with his new ad issued by his “Need to Impeach” campaign attacking the Republican tax plan tied to a message on impeachment.

Trump could appoint conservatives to California’s federal courts more easily after Senate shift

East Bay Times

President Donald Trump could have an easier time appointing conservative judges to California’s federal courts under a policy shift in the U.S. Senate this week that is drawing withering criticism from Sen. Dianne Feinstein.


Build-it-yourself ‘ghost guns’ bypass California’s tough laws

San Francisco Chronicle

The Tehama County gunman built his own semiautomatic rifles, leading gun control advocates to call for a crackdown on kits that help create “ghost guns.”

Skelton: Colin Kaepernick as ‘citizen of the year’? Not quite — good citizens vote

LA Times

Colin Kaepernick is a decent quarterback whom no NFL team will hire. He’s a gutsy guy who stood up against racial injustice by kneeling. But “citizen of the year”? Hardly.

We’re not making up these election results. Really.

Modesto Bee

What are the chances? A Modesto man running in two separate small-district elections on the Nov. 7 ballot ended up tied with another candidate, unbelievably, in both.

Federal Agency Drafts New Rules For Transparency In Political Social Media Ads

The Federal Election Commission is moving to improve disclosure of the money behind Internet and digital ads, as the shadow of Russian-funded social media ads in last year’s presidential race hangs over the agency. “We can’t, obviously, take over the role of the Justice Department or of Congress,” Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub told other commissioners Thursday, “but I do think that we could do this little piece.”

Both Democrats and Republicans mad at ‘lords of Silicon Valley’

San Francisco Chronicle

It was telling that former White House adviser Steve Bannon dismissed the allegations of sexual harassment against GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama because they came from the “Bezos-Amazon Washington Post.


Thumbs up, thumbs down: She’s got kicks. Sex trafficker gets 36 to life.

Fresno Bee

Thumbs up to Madera High kicker Brisa Meza for proving big things come in small packages. The 5-foot-2-inch sophomore set a school record with 10 extra points and set a Central Section record for most extra points by a female kicker in last week’s playoff game against Mount Whitney. Go, Brisa!

Secretary saved so many lives in Tehama

Merced Sun-Star

She heard the shots, knew they were close and ordered a lockdown, getting the kids to safety before the shooter arrived

What we learned from the last (hooray) odd-year election

Modesto Bee

Those who work for the votes usually get them, whether or not they get any endorsements

How badly messed up are Sacramento’s parking meters?

Sacramento Bee

No one wants to get a parking ticket, especially when it’s not your fault. City Hall needs to get to the bottom of a troubling spike in bogus tickets for expired meters.

Cell phone users need court to protect privacy rights

San Jose Mercury News

Users shouldn’t give up their basic Fourth Amendment privacy rights when they use a smartphone to make calls, write texts and emails or access their private personal information

Our view: Sexual harassment and self-examination: Conversation must turn toward change

Stockton Record

The sexual harassment revelations and allegations are coming at a staggering pace. From Roy Moore — there is nothing right about a man in his mid-30s chasing teenagers. To Al Franken — kissing without consent and groping.

Predators shouldn’t hold power in either party

San Francisco Chronicle

From Silicon Valley and Hollywood to Sacramento and Washington, relentless revelations of sexual assault and harassment by powerful men have shown that no industry or region has a monopoly on the problem.

Consumers lose an ally with Richard Cordray’s exit

San Francisco Chronicle

Consumers are about to lose the top cop protecting their wallets. Richard Cordray, the tough advocate of financial rules adopted after the mortgage meltdown, is quitting his federal post.

UC Regents were right to discipline President

San Francisco Chronicle

The University of California regents took disciplinary action against President Janet Napolitano last week, and it was right to do so.

Along with voting rights, restore jury duty to ex-inmates

Los Angeles Times

One of the broken promises of the criminal justice system is that a person who completes felony time in prison or jail will leave with a clean slate and a chance to start over. It doesn’t work that way.

It’s been a year since California banned single-use plastic bags. The world didn’t end

Los Angeles Times

It’s been a year since Californian banned most stores from handing out flimsy, single-use plastic bags to customers. It was the first, and remains the only, U.S. state to do so. But guess what? In the end, this momentous change was not a big deal.


‘Going to be missed’: Fresh fruit seller closes after property changes hands

Fresno Bee

The Orange Store fruit seller in Fresno, a Fig Garden neighborhood fixture since 1994, has closed.

From pot edibles to farming techniques, California sets marijuana rules

Los Angeles Times

California released long-awaited rules Thursday that will govern the state’s emerging legal marijuana industry, while potentially opening the way for larger-scale cultivation that some fear could strangle small-farm growers. The thicket of emergency regulations will allow the state to begin issuing temporary licenses for growers, distributors and sellers on Jan. 1, when recreational sales become legal.

California has message for the state’s new legal pot industry: Pay your taxes

Los Angeles Times

California’s shift to legal sales of marijuana for recreational use hits a milestone Monday when the state begins issuing tax permits to marijuana distributors. State regulators estimate the California market could eventually generate $1 billion in taxes and fees annually. 

San Jose moves to shut down two churches selling marijuana

San Jose Mercury News

San Jose is about to crack down on two churches that apparently are selling marijuana despite not having permits to do so, Councilwoman Devora “Dev” Davis said Monday.



In These States, Past Marijuana Crimes Can Go Away

Pew Charitable Trusts | Stateline

Some states have made it possible for people to hide past convictions for possession, cultivation and manufacture of marijuana.

Charles Manson, whose cult slayings horrified world, dies in Kern hospital

Charles Manson, the hippie cult leader who became the hypnotic-eyed face of evil across America after orchestrating the gruesome murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969, died Sunday after nearly a half-century in prison. He was 83.

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The mystery behind California’s most destructive wildfires: Who is to blame?

Los Angeles Times

More than two dozen investigators have spent weeks scouring wine country trying to solve the mystery at the heart of the most destructive wildfires in California history: What caused the infernos that killed 43 people and destroyed more than 8,000 buildings? The answers will have wide-ranging ramifications for the region, which faces staggering losses and a challenging rebuilding effort. Losses from insured properties alone are expected to far exceed $1 billion, and the total bill for the fires will be still higher. Just fighting the fires cost $189 million, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

See also



Walters: California gives hefty tax breaks to business


There’s much political complaining in California these days over congressional plans to overhaul the nation’s tax system in a way that would cost many Californians, particularly those in high tax brackets, more money.

NAFTA has been a smashing success, let’s hope the protectionist-in-chief doesn’t make America poorer by scrapping it


Below are a few excerpts from some recent reports on NAFTA and Trump’s threat to pull out of what the protectionist-in-chief calls the “worst trade deal ever made.” From the Wall Street Journal’s editorial yesterday (“A NAFTA Recession?“), emphasis mine:

How a Vibrant Rural California Helps Entire Economy


The California Economic Summit has been focusing some of its attention on the economic prospects of rural California.  California has a significant rural landmass—encompassing about 55 percent of our landmass– with a rural population spread throughout many counties. The population is only about 9 percent of the state’s population—so often the needs of those who live in rural California are drowned out by the more populous areas.

The 3 Richest Americans Hold More Wealth Than Bottom 50% Of The Country, Study Finds


Wealth concentration is at peak levels. That was the gist of a recent reportpublished by the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning think tank based in Washington, D.C. Using data from Forbes’ annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans, the institute reached a number of conclusions regarding wealth disparities in the United States. Most dramatically, it found that the country’s three richest individuals—Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos—collectively hold more wealth than the bottom 50% of the domestic population, “a total of 160 million people or 63 million American households.” Roughly a fifth of Americans “have zero or negative net worth,” the authors wrote.

See also:


California’s jobless rate fell below 5% in October as employers added 31700 jobs

Los Angeles Times

California posted strong job gains in October, as the Golden State’s economic engine pushed the unemployment rate down to 4.9% from 5.1% a month earlier. In all, the state added 31,700 net new jobs last month, according to data released Friday by the Employment Development Department. The report marked the first time since March that employers added jobs in consecutive months, boosting confidence in an economy that has slowed somewhat from last year.

See also:

Sexual harassment in CA: Victims lose careers

The Sacramento Bee

Nancy Kathleen Finnigan, a former legislative director, wasn’t given a choice about her future at the Capitol in early 2013. After pointing out alleged inappropriate behavior by the Assembly member she worked for, Finnigan was fired, she said.



How digital immigrant teachers can engage digital natives

Fresno Bee

A digital immigrant is defined as a person who was not raised with technology at their fingertips but has attempted to embrace it. I would call myself a reformed digital immigrant. Although I was not raised with a smartphone in hand, I have embraced the changing technology to become a better teacher.

Ballot proposal seeks to exempt people without kids in public schools from paying education-related taxes

Los Angeles Times

A man using a Huntington Beach postal box has submitted a statewide ballot proposal calling for California residents without children in public schools to be exempt from paying school-related taxes. In his Aug. 30 proposal, Lee Olson, chairman of the Committee to End Slavery, asserts that California schools are leaving pupils unprepared for college, forcing parents to seek other options.

Songs about computer coding? It’s what happens when an arts school adds STEM focus


When Zane D’Amico enrolled at Renaissance Arts Academy in 2011, he expected the Los Angeles charter school to help him enhance his skills as a cellist. What he didn’t expect was that two years later the school would adopt a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum and he would be using engineering and math skills to build massive stages for the school’s dance, orchestra and singing performances. And he certainly didn’t anticipate joining classmates on stage to sing about the joys of computer coding.

Encouraging students to make mistakes to improve math outcomes


Nearly two decades ago, international math and science tests revealed mathematics instruction in the United States as an inch deep and a mile wide. Since then, we have grappled with how to get depth over breadth in classrooms. This is confirmed every time I work with teachers or parents, most of whom remember the procedural, answer-based mathematics that they were taught, and the results of that approach. I often hear phrases like: I was really good at math, and then I just didn’t get it anymore; I was never good at math; I was dumb.

Why do American parents push their kids so hard when it comes to sports, but not so much when it comes to academics?


There’s a dichotomy/inconsistency among many of today’s American parents.

Higher Ed:

Starving students given helping hand with Food Pantry at CSUB

Bakersfield Californian

Marisela Rodriguez, a Cal State Bakersfield student navigating her freshman year of college, sometimes goes home to an empty kitchen. Between paying for books, tuition and living expenses, she doesn’t always have a lot of money for food — especially around the holidays. And her parents, both of whom are field hands who pick grapes, may help feed the world from the Central Valley, but they sometimes struggle to take care of themselves. Both have been laid off from work for the winter season.



California Leaves Another Big Footprint at U.N. Climate Talks — But Does It Matter?

KQED Science

Governor Jerry Brown blazed a trail through this year’s round of U.N. climate talks, just concluded in Bonn, Germany. Along the way he spoke at the Vatican, met with key players in the European Union and signed up some more subnational leaders to his Under 2 Coalition for climate action.

Want to be a vegetarian? California climate change mandates will transform economy, attorney says


If you want to do something about climate change, consider becoming a vegetarian. That’s not the opinion of an environmentalist or of an animal rights activist. It’s advice from a lawyer who represents land developers and conservation companies.

Keystone pipeline leaks over 200,000 gallons of oil


More than 200,000 gallons of oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline this week. The controversial pipeline operated by TransCanada started leaking Thursday outside the town of Amherst, South Dakota. It is the largest Keystone oil spill in state history, 12 times bigger than a leak last year that took two months to clean up. And this leak came just days before Nebraska lawmakers announce their decision on a sister Keystone Pipeline project.

See also:

Study Says Climate Risks Are Greater Because Of U.S. Inaction


Even though the Trump administration is cool to the cause of keeping climate change in check, other major contributors of carbon are trying to reduce the level of their heat-trapping emissions. But will that be enough to meet the goals of the Paris agreement? Carbon Tracker  just released its study that says that regardless of the wider efforts to cut CO2 output, temperatures are still on a track to exceed the limit of  3.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Celsius. In the current environment, such temperatures will rise well above those objectives — to 6.1 degrees Fahrenheit and 3.4 degrees Celsius by 2100.


Arvin looks to impose more regulations on oil, gas operators

Bakersfield Californian

The Arvin City Council could approve new regulations and restrictions on oil and gas production in town at its Tuesday meeting.  An ordinance up for action at the council meeting would impose more regulations on operations that are close to residential areas and “sensitive use” areas such as schools or hospitals.

Claims abound on California’s ‘highest-in-the-nation’ costs. Not all are factual.

PolitiFact California

It’s a common refrain: California has some of the ‘highest-in-the-nation’ costs, from gas and water to electricity and taxes. Some of these assertions are supported by the facts, while others are as exaggerated as Yosemite’s granite domes are striking. GOP candidate for governor John Cox seized on these expenses in a recent Capital Public Radio interview. “We’ve got the highest water bills, the highest electricity bills, the highest gasoline – and gas tax. Of course, we’ve got the highest income and sales taxes in the country.”

See also:


Covered California sees 23 percent jump in health insurance signups

San Francisco Chronicle

Volunteers help seniors navigate Medicare maze and holiday season, but many older adults remain isolated


Delores Prudham moves so close to Alvin Wolf that it appears the two are snuggling and that’s a shock — but not because of their significant age difference. After all, she’s 88. He’s in his 60s. It’s a shock because the two are in Laguna Woods council chambers and while decorum in most places is long lost, it certainly is not in these parts, thank you. But it turns out Wolf is a volunteer for the Council on Aging of Southern California and the retiree is helping people age 65 and olderget the best bang for their buck.


Detention Push Ignites New Deportation Battles

Pew Charitable Trusts | Stateline

Expansion of detention centers to support a Trump administration push for more deportations is meeting resistance in some states and cities.


Land Use:

New East Hills Mall delayed to summer 2019

Bakersfield Californian

East Bakersfield residents will have to wait a little longer than expected to shop at their new mall. A revamped East Hills Mall under new management was supposed to open sometime in 2018 but is now expected to open in summer 2019 at the earliest after preparatory work on the project took longer than expected.

New ‘acting director’ at Interior office worries public lands advocates

Washington Post

Last fall, when President-elect Donald Trump was weighing who to nominate to be Interior secretary, an early candidate for the job, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), generated concern among some hunting and fishing advocates for her stance on who should control the more than 500 million acres under Interior Department management.


California’s Housing Policy Is Holding Back Its Climate Policy


The high cost of housing in California isn’t just hurting the state’s economy, fueling homelessness, and exacerbating economic inequality. It’s imperiling its reputation as a global leader in emissions reductions, too.

Bay Area residents seek the California dream — in Sacramento

San Jose Mercury News

They laugh at it now — the conversation that set in motion their move to a city that neither of them had ever seen. “What about Sacramento?”


California’s state budget could soon be flush with $7.5 billion in unexpected cash, analysts say

LA Times

Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers could have a net budget windfall of some $7.5 billion by the summer of 2019 under a new analysis that attributes most of the cash to capital gains income earned by California’s most wealthy taxpayers.

Walters: California also gives hefty tax breaks to business


There’s much political complaining in California these days over congressional plans to overhaul the nation’s tax system in a way that would cost many Californians, particularly those in high tax brackets, more money.

CalPERS shelves rate increase opposed by cities


CalPERS delayed action last week on the chief actuary’s proposal to shorten the period for paying off new pension debt from 30 years to 20 years, a cost-cutting reform that would end the current policy not recommended by professional groups.

Where the GOP tax bill goes from here


Molly Reynolds, fellow in Governance Studies, discusses the tax bill passed by the House on Thursday, procedural hurdles Republicans will face in the Senate, and what to expect from the tax debate when Congress resumes after their thanksgiving recess.

See also:


Amtrak broke ridership, financial records in FY2017 for Railroad Career Professionals

Rail News

Amtrak posted record ridership, revenue and earnings in fiscal-year 2017, which ended Sept. 30, railroad officials announced yesterday.

Tesla Unveils Its Electric ‘Semi’ Truck, and Adds a Roadster


A workhorse truck and a new supercar are in the works for Tesla, after founder and CEO Elon Musk introduced his company’s latest effort to widen the U.S. market for electric vehicles Thursday night. Musk called the Roadster “the fastest production car ever made, period.” Musk unveiled the Roadster toward the end of an event that was supposed to be all about Tesla’s new Semi trucks. Taking a page from Apple and other tech companies in using showmanship to wow crowds, Musk surprised the crowd by announcing there was one more thing to add — and the new car rolled out of the truck’s trailer.

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California dustbowl is not a new problem

Hanford Sentinel

If you live in California, you don’t often think of sandstorms, but they do happen. One of the worst occurred on Dec. 20, 1977, when a terrible dust and sandstorm struck the southern San Joaquin Valley and caused a great amount of damage. That year, the Eastern Pacific high was entrenched off the California coastline and kept the storm track far to the north. This prevented all but a few weather systems from penetrating into California

‘Atmospheric river’ delivers robust rainfall across Bay Area

San Jose Mercury News

An “atmospheric river” storm that hit the Bay Area on Thursday did not disappoint, delivering robust rainfall totals across the region, which allowed many cities to erase early-season deficits. The slow-moving storm fueled several daily records for rainfall on Nov. 16, according to the National Weather Service. Topping the list was Oakland, which recorded 1.87 inches of rain Thursday. Santa Rosa (1.53 inches), Concord (1.49), Napa (1.4), Hayward (1.33), Livermore (1.15) and Moffett Field (1.08) also set daily records.


Beyond Thankful: Cultivating a Life of Gratitude


A simple “thank you” isn’t always enough. Yolanda Avram Willis has spent much of the past two decades finding out as much as she could about the families who risked their lives to save her Jewish family during the Nazi occupation of Greece. She wanted to chronicle their good deeds and give thanks—and do so before it was too late.

The Bakersfield Homeless Center continues Thanksgiving tradition

Almost 600 people gathered to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal at the annual Bakersfield Homeless Center’s Thanksgiving Event.

Small Business Saturday encourages public to shop local

Big retail chains might get all of the attention on Black Friday, but next Saturday is dedicated to the little guys.

Your California holiday road trip survival guide

San Jose Mercury News

So, you’re driving to your holiday destination this year. It can’t be that bad, right? Don’t answer that. Instead, focus on the positive: Help is here. We’ve done the drive — zipping down Highway 101 and cruising along I-5 — so many times that it is practically second nature, and we have the tips to make it (almost) stress free. Whether you’re braving it all the way to San Diego or heading north to Davis, we’ve got you covered on every front, from car games and emergency-preparedness to roadside eats and rest stops.