October 30, 2017



Local/Regional Politics:

Fresno State ranked No. 3 nationally for ‘social mobility’

Fresno State News

Imagine an America in which only the wealthy and elite could afford an education. How many powerful minds would go unnoticed? What would America’s future be like?

Heated moment in Fresno Unified news conference

Fresno Bee

A Fresno Unified news conference got heated on Friday when union members showed up to press Superintendent Bob Nelson on the issues involved in labor talks. The conference was held to announce that the district and the Fresno Teachers Association failed again to reach an agreement in the latest negotiating sessions, meaning the sides will enter the “fact-finding” stage Nov. 6. If neither side accepts that recommendations of the three-person fact-finding panel, the union could proceed to strike for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Fresno prevails in another police shooting lawsuit

Fresno Bee

A federal civil rights lawsuit against a Fresno police officer who fatally shot a teenager during a traffic stop has been dismissed without the city having to pay a dime in damages.

Tulare Regional Medical Center’s board of directors voted to pull its license with the state


It is unclear just how long employees of Tulare’s public hospital will be out of work and when patients will be able to return to Tulare Regional Medical Center. The hospital’s board of directors decided to pull its license with the state, and suspend operations at midnight, Sunday. Board member Kevin Northcraft says the decision had to be made, after Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, the company that manages the hospital, told employees this week it would temporarily suspend operations and potentially let all employees go-due to a board decision earlier this month to declare bankruptcy, among other reasons.

Tulare hospital ER stopping care Saturday midnight

Fresno Bee

The emergency department at Tulare Regional Medical Center will close at midnight Saturday, a day earlier than health district officials have set for all patient care to stop at the hospital. 

Hospital, gym closure could have $50M impact on Tulare

Visalia Delta-Times

Tulare city manager says shuttering the hospital and the businesses linked to it will have a negative impact on the city. While losing the hospital, even temporarily, means patients will be shuttled out of town, losing the city’s biggest gym, owned by the hospital district, means tax dollars lost and a spike in unemployment. In fact, the loss of 524 full- and part-time employees means more than a $50 million hit to Tulare.

Drug use on Visalia, Tulare campuses is rising

Visalia Times-Delta

A month ago, a Redwood High School freshman came home in a daze. A friend of his had purchased chocolate marijuana edibles from another student and offered him one. 

Female Lawmakers Want Assemblyman Devon Mathis Investigated


The top members of the California Legislature’s Women’s Caucus say legislative leaders have failed to enforce the body’s zero-tolerance policies for sexual harassment.

Salas considers his post-veto options for valley fever funding

Bakersfield Californian

The haze of jet lag hasn’t completely lifted for Assemblyman Rudy Salas, fresh off a tour of India, but the reality of his biggest legislative quest is once again crystal clear. The haze of jet lag hasn’t completely lifted for Assemblyman Rudy Salas, fresh off a tour of India, but the reality of his biggest legislative quest is once again crystal clear.

Valley Air Quality- October

California ARB Display

San Joaquin Valley has more ozone exceedances in October than May this year. Fires may have made it a particularly bad year for air quality.

State Politics:

California Dem gubernatorial hopefuls put ideas, differences on display

San Francisco Chronicle

With the primary election seven months away, it’s already clear that single-payer health care and education reform are going to be the key dividing lines among the Democrats running to succeed Jerry Brown as governor of California.

See also:

When men with power go too far: After years of whispers, women speak out about harassment in California’s Capitol

Los Angeles Times

It started with a dinner invitation from a former assemblyman more than twice her age. He had offered his services as a mentor, but his hand reaching for her knee under the table revealed other intentions. Then came the late-night phone calls and unexpected appearances at events she had to attend for her job in the Capitol.

See also:

Myers: California’s Legislature has disclosure rules unlike those that apply to anyone else  Los Angeles Times

California’s opioid death rate is among the nation’s lowest. Experts aren’t sure why

Sacramento Bee

Declaring the opioid epidemic a public health emergency this week, President Donald Trump said that no part of society, “young or old, rich or poor, urban or rural” had been untouched by drug addiction. Ninety-one Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drugs now kill more people each year than car crashes. But in California, the opioid crisis, though still bleak, has been less severe.

See also:

The new state role models

Orange County Register

With Congress on what appears to be a permanent hold, the search for a workable political model now shifts increasingly to states and localities. Today America’s divergent geographies resemble separate planets, with policy agendas from immigrationand climate change that vary wildly from place to place. The greatest divide lies between the deep blue states, notably California, and progressive America’s network of large urban centers and the generally less dense, more suburban-dominated red states. Their policy prescriptions may vary, but, if allowed to continue, the differing jurisdictions could end up serving as what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called “laboratories of democracy.”

Supreme Court weighs challenge to California’s abortion disclosure law: Does it violate free speech?

Los Angeles Times

The Supreme Court is weighing whether to hear an anti-abortion group’s challenge on free speech grounds to a California law that requires “crisis pregnancy centers” — which advocate alternatives to the procedure — to also advise clients that the state offers free or low-cost contraception and assistance in ending their pregnancy.

California’s Cap-and-Trade Plan Is Working

Wall Street Journal

The entirely theoretical argument presented by Richard Sexton and Steve Sexton (“The Fatal Flaw in California’s Cap-and-Trade Program,” Cross Country, Oct. 21) falls short in just one place: the real world. The facts show that under California’s law to limit climate pollution, our economy is thriving, jobs are being added at a faster rate than the national average and emissions are decreasing ahead of schedule.

Federal Politics:

Kevin de León vows to back Medicare for all, signaling key issue in 2018 Senate campaign

LA Times

State Senate leader Kevin de León’s opening salvo in the U.S. Senate race against Sen. Dianne Feinstein takes on one of the main frustrations progressives have voiced with her, a refusal to support single-payer health care.

See also:

This California Billionaire (Steyer) Is Spending More Than $10 Million Calling For Trump’s Impeachment


Hedge fund manager turned environmental billionaire Tom Steyer is spending $10 million on a national ad campaign calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

Obamacare open enrollment: Covered California director says Trump caused storm

Business Insider

Peter Lee, Covered California’s executive director, told Business Insider in an interview that the Trump administration has thrown a wrench into insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act that were on their way to stabilizing themselves in 2017. Lee even agreed with Trump’s assessment that Obamacare is “gone” — but perhaps for a different reason than Trump intended.

See also:

Trump calls for new action, not new money, to tackle opioid crisis

PBS NewsHour

President Trump on Thursday declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency and announced several initiatives to reduce the nation’s overdose problem. But critics said these actions don’t go far enough and that more funding is needed. William Brangham reports, then Judy Woodruff gets reaction from Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, whose state is among the hardest hit by the crisis.

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White House says tax cuts could add $1.2T to U.S. economy

PBS NewsHour

President Donald Trump’s top economist is doubling down on claims that corporate tax cuts would spark rapid economic growth and boost incomes. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, released a 41-page report on Friday detailing the possible benefits from the administration’s goal of slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The report estimates the reduced rates for businesses could increase the size of the U.S. economy by $700 billion to $1.2 trillion over a decade, while causing average household income to eventually surge by $4,000 annually.

See also:

Southern California’s House Republicans face pressure from GOP hard-liners

Press Enterprise

Conservative activist Tim Donnelly wants to rid Congress of President Donald Trump’s opponents.

Fiscal Conservatism: RIP

The Economist

To be shocked by the Republicans’ latest enthusiasm for deficit spending, you would have to have taken seriously their former disdain—nay, horror!—for it. Back when Barack Obama was in charge, Mitch McConnell said the deficit was America’s “most serious long-term problem”. 

Manafort indicted in probe of Russian meddling into 2016 presidential election; Manafort is former Trump campaign chair

Fresno Bee

President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was indicted Monday on charges that he funneled millions of dollars through overseas shell companies and used the money to buy luxury cars, real estate, antiques and expensive suits. The charges against Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates represent a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over Trump’s first year in office. Separately, one of the early foreign policy advisers to Trump’s presidential campaign, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about a contact with a Russian professor with ties to Kremlin officials, prosecutors said Monday.

See also:

Trump’s Approval Rating Drops to Lowest Level Yet in New NBC News/WSJ Poll

NBC News

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has declined to the lowest point of his presidency, and nearly half of voters want their vote in the 2018 midterms to be a message for more Democrats in Congress to check Trump and congressional Republicans, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Poll reveals 71 percent think politics under Trump reached “dangerous low point.”

The Slatest

Americans are really pessimistic about the state of politics in the country, and they don’t foresee things getting better anytime soon. A new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll reveals 71 percent of Americans believe problems in U.S. politics “have reached a dangerous low point,” and a majority of those see it as the new normal and not just a temporary glitch in an otherwise fine system. Although the anger isn’t solely directed at the White House—eight in 10 say Congress is dysfunctional—around 60 percent of Americans say Trump’s presidency is making the political system “more dysfunctional.” 


Las Vegas shooting victims are struggling to afford medical bills

Fresno Bee

Las Vegas shooting victims are struggling to pay off thousands of dollars in medical bills — so they’re turning to crowdfunding for help. The shooting on Oct. 1 left 59 people dead, including the shooter Stephen Paddock, and more than 500 people injured. 

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How Russian Propaganda Spreads On Social Media

NPR – All Tech Considered

Facebook, Google and Twitter head to Washington this week for their first public congressional hearings on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign via their social networks. In the runup, NPR is exploring the growing social media landscape, the spread of false information and the tech companies that build the platforms in our series: Tech Titans, Bots and the Information Complex.

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California to Create High School Diploma Seal for Civics

Education Week

Coming soon to California: A new way of recognizing high school students who have mastered civics and government content, via a special seal on those students’ diplomas.

Polling Spotlight: The deep split in the GOP

Brookings Institution

On the day that retiring Republican senator Jeff Flake denounced the sitting Republican president, the Pew Research Center released a lengthy survey that highlighted the deep split in Republican ranks between the two groups who most identify with their party—“Core” conservatives who continue to espouse Ronald Reagan’s playbook and “Country First” who embrace a more nationalist and populist approach.

The Primal Scream of Identity Politics

The Weekly Standard

Regulatory humility


Over the past few years, a number of my colleagues at AEI who study technology policy have, at one point or another, written about regulatory humility. It’s most often in the context of expressing concern about regulators’ lack thereof, but sometimes to praise the rare public servant who speaks in favor of regulatory humility. But while we speak often of the virtues of regulatory humility, we less often think about what it means. In that light, and prompted in part by a recent essay by the always-insightful Russ Roberts, here are some reflections on the meaning of regulatory humility.

The 2020 Census is at risk. Here are the major consequences

PBS NewsHour

Data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau every 10 years is used to draw voting districts and determine how much funding to give to states, counties and cities, but underfunded and without a director, the agency is now on the verge of collapsing. Hari Sreenivasan is joined by former Census director Kenneth Prewitt to discuss what a crippled census in 2020 could mean for our democracy.


When Trump talks big tax cuts, California’s workers should check their wallets

Fresno Bee

The Republican tax plan would be a windfall for the wealthy people and corporations, and would offer little for the middle class. It would be especially bad for many California taxpayers.

Thumbs up, thumbs down: Fulton Street goes wild. Abandoned huskies adopted. Baby seat recall.

Fresno Bee

Fresno’s signature city centerpiece, Fulton Street, made history this week; Fresno State Bulldogs basketball raise money for wildfire victims. Flammable baby seats recalled.

Denham didn’t do his voters any favors with votes on framework

Modesto Bee

Last week he voted to kill some important deductions, hurt Medicare and ignored all those Dreamers 

MID voters face a tough choice, but Wenger has edge

Modesto Bee

Mad that your electric bill was higher in August than it’s ever been? Outraged that farmers pay so little for water? Incredulous that Modesto Irrigation District employees get such princely wages? These issues are cause for anger. But are you angry enough to jeopardize MID’s leadership in fighting the state’s unprecedented water grab that has the potential to destroy thousands of valley jobs and cripple our economy? 


Lessons ripe for picking at student-run farmers market in San Joaquin County

Stockton Record

Supersized Family Farms Are Gobbling Up American Agriculture


Lon Frahm may represent the future of farming. Inside a two-story office building overshadowed by 80-foot steel grain bins, he points to a map showing the patchwork of square and circular fields that make up his operation. It covers nearly 10% of the county’s cropland, and when he climbs into his Cessna Skylane to check crops from the air, he can fly 30 miles before reaching the end of his land. At 30,600 acres, his farm is among the country’s vastest, and it yields enough corn and wheat each year to fill 4,500 semitrailer trucks.

Confusion coming with California’s legal marijuana

PBS NewsHour

Ready or not, California kicks off recreational marijuana sales on Jan. 1. And, mostly, it’s not. Los Angeles and San Francisco are among many cities still struggling to fashion local rules for pot shops and growers. Without the regulations, there could be limited options in many places for consumers eager to ring in the new year with a legal pot purchase.

See also:

Pot ban: Can the city and county truly enforce prohibition on marijuana shops?

Bakersfield Californian

There is now a ban on marijuana shops in nearly every community in Kern County. But it’s going to take a lot more than words on an official-looking piece of paper to remove the scores of dispensaries selling cannabis across Kern.

Wildfires devastate California pot farmers, who must rebuild without banks or insurance

Los Angeles Times

She knew just where she had buried the gold and silver coins — down a ravine from her home by a big Douglas fir. After Cheryl Dumont lost her entire marijuana crop, her income for the year, she was anxious to see whether that savings had survived the Redwood fire.

How commercial marijuana grows will increase power demands across California


California is still more than two months away from issuing retail licenses for the commercial sale of marijuana. Last November, voters passed Proposition 64, legalizing the retail sale of non-medical marijuana. Aside from officials finalizing the rules and regulations statewide, power companies are also getting ready for changes in energy demands, which are expected to go up.

High taxes could drive up marijuana prices and bolster the black market in California, analysis says

Washington Post

The credit rating agency estimates state and local taxes on marijuana, which will become legal in California on Jan. 1., could be as high as 45 percent in some cases. It would trail only Washington state, which levies a 50 percent tax on marijuana.

California confronts opioid addiction, an ‘epidemic of despair’


Michael Steelman perches at the edge of the Sacramento River, skipping rocks across the clear water. His dad’s Harley Davidson, borrowed for the excursion, is parked nearby.


For stories on Las Vegas mass shooting and ”gun control,” See: “Top Stories – Other,” above


See the California cities with the highest, lowest homicide rates

Sacramento Bee

The number of homicides in California rose for the second consecutive year in 2016, and some cities were hit much harder than others, according to new FBI data. Cities with high poverty rates tend to have high homicide rates. Cities with low poverty rates tend to have few murders – if any at all.

Law enforcement cautions motorists Prop 64 doesn’t change fact that smoking pot and driving is illegal, dangerous


In just two months, California’s recreational marijuana law takes effect, raising the specter of a possible increase in fatal or injury crashes in which drivers are under the influence of the drug.


‘Rebuild!’ echoes across fire-scarred Santa Rosa, but toxic hazards and red tape could slow efforts

LA Times

For Bridges and thousands of others who lost their homes in the wine country firestorms, it remains unclear when they begin rebuilding. Officials are still trying to determine the health hazard in the devastated neighborhoods, and there is some debate about how the government will perform the cleanup needed before new construction can begin.

California fires near contained, but long rebuilding ahead

The Mercury News

After burning almost three weeks, the wildfires that devastated the North Bay and killed at least 42 people are nearly contained — but rebuilding may take years, officials warned Saturday.



California’s economy strengthened in September, adding 52,200 jobs

Los Angeles Times

The California economy picked up steam in September, adding 52,200 net new jobs and leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 5.1%, according to data released Friday from the state’s Employment Development Department. The report marks a rebound from a month earlier, when employers trimmed payrolls by 7,700.

See also:

Trump leaning toward banker Jerome Powell to run Fed 


Two sources told CNN on Saturday that Trump will likely name Jerome Powell to lead the central bank. Powell, a Republican, has been a governor on the Fed’s board since 2012, and he was assigned to lead the bank’s Wall Street oversight committee back in April.

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Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker In-Between

Bloomberg Business

The U.S. retirement age is rising, as the government pushes it higher and workers stay in careers longer. But lifespans aren’t necessarily extending to offer equal time on the beach.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Can’t Pass a Basic Test of Financial Literacy


Quick: If you take out a $1000 loan that has a 20% rate, how much will you owe a year in interest? Answer: $200. But if you got that wrong, you’re not alone. 


Truck drivers protest for fair wages and improved regulations

Fresno Bee

Hundreds of Valley truckers carry signs to make their points known outside Fresno City Hall, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 joining truckers across the nation in protest.

To lure Amazon and more, California needs a statewide enterprise zone

Orange County Register

Everyone wants a piece of Amazon. A city in Georgia has even offered to rename itself “Amazon” if only the web sales giant would locate its second headquarters there. Jerry Brown is making a pitch, too. The governor, according to the Mercury News, “is offering tax breaks and other incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars should Amazon choose the Golden State as the site of its second home.” We welcome our Democratic governor’s effort. But he’s only part of the way there. Tax cuts and regulatory relief should not be limited to only Amazon.

Rigged. Forced into debt. Worked past exhaustion. Left with nothing.

USA Today

A yearlong investigation by the USA TODAY Network found that port trucking companies in southern California have spent the past decade forcing drivers to finance their own trucks by taking on debt they could not afford. Companies then used that debt as leverage to extract forced labor and trap drivers in jobs that left them destitute.



Heated moment in Fresno Unified news conference

Fresno Bee

A Fresno Unified news conference got heated on Friday when union members showed up to press Superintendent Bob Nelson on the issues involved in labor talks.

Drug use on Visalia, Tulare campuses is rising

Visalia Times-Delta

A month ago, a Redwood High School freshman came home in a daze. A friend of his had purchased chocolate marijuana edibles from another student and offered him one.

Fitz’s Stockton: Success for Sherlock in ‘elementary’ school

Stockton Record

Online schooling: Who is harmed and who is helped?


Online courses have the potential to improve instruction at every level of education. Adaptive online courses can allow students to learn at their own pace, with material adjusting to fit the needs of both advanced and remedial learners. Online courses can also open up more curricular offerings in schools that lack specialists, such as those in rural areas.

Can schools make math more interesting? Cal State Fullerton professor dives into the divide


Mark Ellis, Cal State Fullerton professor of secondary education, has been working on that way. The onetime middle school and high school math teacher believes every young student can successfully learn math. See his website.

How to snuff out the grotesque epidemic of sexual harassment? Start early

Los Angeles Times

Each semester, Horak spends a couple weeks teaching her seventh-graders a fact-based sex-education curriculum, Teen Talk, developed by the Northern California educational group Health Connected. The lessons conform with a new California law, the Healthy Youth Act, which requires schools to teach about adolescent relationship abuse and also focus on healthy attitudes, behaviors and relationships.

Elevate CA: Investment in California’s youngest is an investment in the future


Early education and health programs help children start school better prepared to learn

Higher Ed:

Next governor needs higher ed vision

Sacramento Bee

What will he or she do to keep the dream of college a reality for all students? And how will they make sure that our system of public colleges and universities advances our state?

In face of shortage, California colleges to shrink time to become a math teacher


To entice more students to become math teachers — and ease a chronic shortage in California classrooms —  four state universities  will offer preparation programs considerably shortening the time it takes to get a teaching credential.

Using social psychology to help first-generation and low-income students through college

Brookings Institution

Only 9% of students from low-income families earn a bachelor’s before 24. Can social psychology change that? 



Valley Air Quality – October

California ARB Display

San Joaquin Valley has more ozone exceedances in October than May this year. Fires have made it a particularly bad year for air quality. 

California’s Cap-and-Trade Plan Is Working

Wall Street Journal

The entirely theoretical argument presented by Richard Sexton and Steve Sexton (“The Fatal Flaw in California’s Cap-and-Trade Program,” Cross Country, Oct. 21) falls short in just one place: the real world. The facts show that under California’s law to limit climate pollution, our economy is thriving, jobs are being added at a faster rate than the national average and emissions are decreasing ahead of schedule.


Trump administration plans to approve huge Southern California solar farm

Desert Sun

The Trump administration plans to approve a massive solar power plant in the Southern California desert — and some environmentalists aren’t happy about it. 


Covered California addresses 2018 open enrollment confusion

San Jose Mercury News

“People are very confused,’’ the San Jose health insurance agent said. “They want to know if their plans are being canceled, or if their coverage will go away any minute and they’ll be stuck without any insurance.’’ In Oakland, insurance agent Jonathan Greer also is hearing from bewildered clients, including enrollees in Obamacare plans who stand to lose their Anthem Blue Cross policies next year.

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Tulare Regional Medical Center’s board of directors voted to pull its license with the state


It is unclear just how long employees of Tulare’s public hospital will be out of work and when patients will be able to return to Tulare Regional Medical Center. The hospital’s board of directors decided to pull its license with the state, and suspend operations at midnight, Sunday.

It’s getting clearer — the diet-cancer connection points to sugar and carbs

Los Angeles Times

In August of 2016, the New England Journal of Medicine published a striking report on cancer and body fat: Thirteen separate cancers can now be linked to being overweight or obese, among them a number of the most common and deadly cancers of all — colon, thyroid, ovarian, uterine, pancreatic and (in postmenopausal women) breast cancer.


Is Sanctuary City Crackdown Keeping Fed Grants For Police Locked Up?


Cities and towns around the country rely on federal policing grants for a variety of expenses, including training, equipment, and personnel. So far there have been no payments.

HR Chiefs, Tech Companies Ramp Up Opposition to Trump’s Immigration Policies

The Recorder

More than 100 human resources chiefs and dozens of the world’s largest businesses on Thursday ramped up support for undocumented workers, signaling their opposition to the Trump administration’s move to scuttle an immigration program that allows hundreds of thousands workers to be employed.


Land Use:

City Council adopts big zoning changes for southwest Fresno

Fresno Bee

For generations, southwest Fresno has been an area neglected by commercial development, seemingly left behind as the city and much of its retail shops migrated northward from downtown. To reverse that trend and encourage new commercial and residential development in the area over the next 25 years, the Fresno City Council adopted a sweeping set of land-use and zoning rules last week.The Southwest Fresno Specific Plan, championed by Councilman Oliver Baines, was approved on a 7-0 vote after more than two years of wrangling by a steering committee of community residents, educational and business leaders and developers appointed by Baines.

California Today: Google’s Idea for a New Silicon Valley


Google and the city of San Jose have a vision for a new Silicon Valley: compact, walkable and accessible by public transportation, a stark departure from the suburban sprawl that has brought the cradle of American technological innovation to the brink of a gridlocked meltdown


Think rent is high in California? Here’s why it probably will get higher

The Sacramento Bee

If you’re a renter in California concerned about the high cost of living here, or looking to purchase your first home, your prospects aren’t looking up.

Mathews: Fear of Heights

Bakersfield Californian

Want to spook your neighbors this Halloween? Don’t bother with ghouls or ghosts. Instead, just decorate your door with a picture of an eight-story apartment building. Californians are famously fearless. We devote ourselves to extreme outdoor sports, buy homes near earthquake faults, and launch startups against all odds. But in the face of tall buildings, especially multi-family high-rises, we turn into a bunch of scaredy-cats.


For stories on “tax reform” See: “Top Stories – Federal Politics,” above

City of Arvin has few options as it confronts $1.8 million deficit

Bakersfield Californian

The City of Arvin, facing a budget deficit of an unanticipated scale and lacking the resources to patch the hole, is experiencing a fiscal emergency. The farming burg south of Bakersfield could see a general fund deficit of $1.8 million or higher, city officials said. No reserve funds are currently available to help the city get out of its financial hole, so the city is looking at cuts and other means to lower the deficit.

See also:

Modesto cites 11 instances of overspending

Modesto Bee

Modesto officials have found 11 instances in which the city has spent more for goods and services than what the contracts had authorized. Acting Finance Director DeAnna Christensen revealed this at Tuesday’s council meeting as the council approved correcting one of these problems and as the city works to fix lax oversight in the Finance Department and its purchasing division regarding how the city administers contracts. 

CalPERS faces another decision on employer rates


Another CalPERS employer pension rate increase might seem unlikely. Several of the four rate increases adopted during the last five years are still being phased in. But a serious funding shortfall from a huge investment loss a decade ago lingers on.

CalSTRS exec bonuses swell on stock market

The Sacramento Bee

A banner year at the stock market boosted the fortunes of the state’s $215 billion teacher pension fund, and it’ll net a couple of nice bonuses for the system’s top executives.

Changes to CBO’s Long-Term Social Security Projections Since 2016

Congressional Budget Office

Projections of Social Security’s long-term financial outlook depend critically on estimates of key demographic and economic variables. Each year, CBO updates its projections of the Social Security system’s finances to incorporate newly available data and information from the research community.


Gas tax hike looms in California on Nov. 1

Sacramento Bee

Jose Medina has Nov. 1 circled on his calendar, because “that’s the day the gas goes boom.”

California’s Amtrak system gets fleet of low-fuel, low-emissions Tier IV locomotives

The Fresno Bee

The cleanest and fastest diesel locomotives in the country began rolling on rails in Sacramento and through California last week, but unfortunately for railroaders, the new machines aren’t allowed to travel anywhere near their 125-mph top speed.

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Juicing up – choices for home charging grow with EV sales

San Jose Mercury News

As electric vehicle sales expand, new owners might dream of breezing past gas stations. But they still need to set up their own electric fueling station at home. That means evaluating your house, consulting an electrician and figuring out the right hardware to charge the new EV. The good news, experts say, is that owners of plug-in vehicles have a growing choice of products for home charging.

Borenstein: Two Air Canada SFO incidents expose safety loopholes

San Jose Mercury News

“Air Canada 781 go around … Air Canada 781 go around … Air Canada …” Six times in 36 seconds last Sunday, a San Francisco air traffic controller, concerned about another airplane on the runway, directed Air Canada flight 781 to abort its landing. The Air Canada pilot landed his plane anyway. Fortunately, the aircraft on the runway had moved out of the way. It was the second serious incident in less than four months in which Air Canada pilots failed to follow control-tower directions at San Francisco International Airport and averted disaster on the tarmac.

Is the Trump administration a friend or foe of America’s infrastructure?

Brookings Institute

As a candidate, Donald Trump deserved credit for identifying a policy that damages jobs, competitiveness, and economic growth: underinvestment in infrastructure.


More ink, less water: News coverage of the drought prompted Californians to conserve, study suggests

Los Angeles Times

What does it take to get Californians to save water during a massive drought? Apparently, a lot of ink and newsprint helps. Extensive news coverage of the state’s historic drought prompted residents to conserve water, new research out of Stanford University suggests. The more that major newspapers wrote about the drought, the more people in the Bay Area cut back on their personal water use, according to a report this week in the journal Science Advances.

Oroville Dam, months after near disaster, ready for another winter

San Francisco Chronicle

State building Stockton flood-response base

Stockton Record

State-funded construction crews are building a $21 million flood-fighting base on Stockton’s waterfront, part of a plan to respond quickly to major Delta disasters.The Department of Water Resources is expanding warehousing and building barge docks and conveyors on 23 acres on the south bank along West Weber Avenue just west of the Interstate 5 bridge.

A massive storm flooded Houston. Experts say California’s state capital could be next.

Washington Post

Sacramento is more vulnerable to catastrophic flooding than any other major city in the United States except New Orleans, according to federal officials, a threat created by the city’s sunken geography. 


Trump plan to hike entrance fee at Yosemite could price people out, critics say

Fresno Bee

They’re among the greatest vacation bargains on earth – the splendor of Yosemite, the Grand Canyon’s incomparable vistas, the stunning array of wildlife at Yellowstone. Admission fee: $30 per car. Now the Trump administration is proposing to increase entrance fees, by more than double, at 17 of America’s most popular national parks starting in 2018. Federal officials say the extra revenue would help pay for billions of dollars worth of long-overdue repairs to park roads, restrooms and the like. 

Elinor Teague on gardening | Deep irrigation for trees and grass

Fresno Bee

In fall, the root systems of deciduous trees as well as warm- and cool-season grasses go into a sort of hyperdrive – rapidly increasing their uptake of water and nutrients before the cold weather arrives.

The ALS association hosted its 16th Annual Walk to Defeat ALS


The ALS association hosted its 16th Annual Walk to Defeat ALS Sunday at Woodward Park. The one and a half mile walk raised money to support the mission priorities for ALS care services and research.

Making a difference at Mooney Grove

Visalia Times

Brooke Sisk has a new favorite tree at Mooney Grove Park: a Chinese pistachio she planted during Make a Difference Day on Saturday.

50 ways to be a better parent, as explained by Kern nonprofit

Bakersfield Californian

You can see them printed on the sides of buses, the windows of businesses, and bumper stickers slapped on the tail inds of cars around Bakersfield. “Parents take their children to the library regularly and read to them daily, beginning when they’re infants and continue until they’re reading on their own.