December 19, 2017



Local/Regional Politics:

Don’t force us to pay for Delta tunnels, Valley farmers say

Sacramento Bee

Already short of funding, Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels project is being challenged in court by a bloc of San Joaquin Valley farmers insisting they shouldn’t be forced to help foot the $17.1 billion price tag.


Firms Fined for Pesticide Incident That Sickened 92 in Bakersfield


The Kern County agricultural commissioner has imposed nearly $50,000 in fines against five companies after investigating a pesticide incident that sickened 92 farm workers harvesting garlic on the outskirts of Bakersfield last summer.


Publisher of small community newspapers to fold after decades of coverage

It seems “end of an era” stories are becoming more common. This one is happening in five Kern County communities, simultaneously.


Fresno City Council member Brandau retweet of anti-immigrant account angers Fresno’s left

The Fresno Bee

Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau raised a few eyebrows on social media over the weekend when he retweeted a nationalist, anti-immigrant post from Sweden. But the councilman said that doesn’t reflect his own opinion.


Mental health computers are recovering from attack. ‘… not going to pay a ransom’

Modesto Bee

Work continued Monday to restore computers that were disabled last week by a cyberattack on Stanislaus County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services department.


Fresno County Department of Social Services set for transition to new Clovis campus

Clovis Roundup

Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved lease agreements for two large Clovis facilities that will soon serve as the new home for the county’s Department of Social Services (DSS).


Video of possible UFO sighting came from jet of ex-Lemoore naval pilot

Fresno Bee

A former Navy fighter pilot once stationed in Lemoore is in the national spotlight for his claims of a possible UFO encountering back in 2004.


State Politics:


Will the GOP tax bill stall California’s economic growth?

Los Angeles Times

Republicans have said that by slashing business taxes, they will supercharge the American economy, benefiting both C-suite executives and the average American. Economists generally expect a short-term boost to growth, though they doubt the cuts will be a game changer for either the larger economy or the typical worker.


Republican tax plan is a ‘monstrosity,’ Jerry Brown says. But do Californians agree?

Sacramento Bee

With California’s governor lambasting the Republican tax overhaul as an ugly “monstrosity,” a new statewide poll found the widespread perception that the bill will hurt the state. The survey, released late Monday by UC Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies, shows 52 percent of Californians believe the federal legislation will adversely affect the state, while just 17 percent say it will have a positive impact.


As Congress prepares to repeal health law mandate, California to explore ‘all options’

San Francisco Chronicle

Repealing the mandate is projected to lead to 1.7 million fewer Californians with health insurance over the next decade, with experts predicting that some young, healthy people may choose to drop coverage if it is not required.


New California Law Bans Smoking, Ingesting Marijuana While Driving Or Riding In Car

Capital Public Radio

The new law also regulates how and where consumers can store marijuana while in a car, similar to the state’s open alcohol container rules.


Lawmakers’ sex harassment training like ‘4th grade lecture’


When Assembly lawmakers met in November to discuss ways of improving their policies for preventing and responding to sexual harassment, Democratic Assemblyman Ken Cooley had an idea: Ban cellphones from the two-hour harassment training lawmakers must attend.


Federal Politics:


Trump files SCOTUS brief in Janus v AFSCME

Sacramento Bee

Public employee unions bargaining for better wages are effectively “lobbying” government officials and should be barred from passing their fees onto workers who disagree with the political stances that labor leaders advocate, the Trump administration argues in a new Supreme Court brief.


Congress proposes $81-billion disaster aid package, including funds for California wildfires

Los Angeles Times

Congress is set to consider an $81-billion disaster aid package that includes wildfire recovery money for California and other Western states as well as hurricane relief with a price tag reflecting a year of record-setting natural calamities.

See also:

·       House unveils massive $81 billion disaster aid package POLITICO

·       Lose your house in a fire? New tax bill goes after your write-offKPCC


Does California give more than it gets from Washington D.C.?

PolitiFact California

Does California send more money to Washington D.C. than it gets back in return?That question has been asked repeatedly as tensions have mounted between California Democrats and President Donald Trump. Despite their clashes with Trump on immigration, Democrats argue the president and Congress should not withhold federal funds from the state because California is a ‘donor state.’ It pays more in taxes to D.C. than it receives in federal spending, they argue, and thus should see all of that money come back.


California: Ground Zero In The Battle For Congress


“Gentlemen, we fight on the Marne,” supposedly said a French general in 1914 before the historic Battle of the Marne.  Well, gentleman (and ladies), in 2018 for control of the U.S. House of Representatives we fight in California.  California will determine whether Democrats seize control of the House and stop the Trump agenda in its tracks.


House expected to vote on historic reshaping of U.S. tax code Today

PBS NewsHour

Their long-sought political goal within grasp, Republicans in Congress are set to catapult sweeping $1.5 trillion tax legislation through the House, rolling over a dozen GOP defectors from high-tax states.


Senate to vote on final tax bill Tonight: McConnell


The U.S. Senate will vote on final tax legislation on Tuesday evening, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said, potentially allowing President Donald Trump to sign the bill into law as early as Wednesday. “Congress is standing at the doorstep of a historic opportunity,” McConnell said on the floor of the Senate as he announced the vote’s timing.

See also:

·       A quick look at some of the biggest tax changes for CaliforniansLA Times

·       Republican tax bill will hurt California, poll finds The Sacramento Bee

·       The Major Tax Changes in the Republican Bill Bloomberg

·       Final GOP Tax Plan Is a Big Gift to the Wealthy, but Would Harm Most Households and Our Economy California Budget & Policy Center

·       Tax Bill Would Scrap a Billion From Western States Pew Trust

·       Will the GOP tax bill stall California’s economic growth? LA Times

·       Cost of GOP tax plan could exceed $2 trillion TheHill

·       Tax Bill’s Cost Could Hit $2.2 Trillion Over Next Decade Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

·       Grad Students’ Tuition Waivers Will Remain Untaxed, After

·       Why Wells Fargo could be one of tax reform’s big winners CNN Money

·       Tax reform team must do away with stealth rate hikes TheHill

·       The G.O.P. Tax Bill Is Unworkable The New Yorker

·       What Trump’s tax plan means for people at every income levelBusiness Insider

·       Final GOP Tax Plan Is a Big Gift to the Wealthy, but Would Harm Most Households and Our Economy California Budget & Policy Center

·       Middle Class to Get 23% of Tax Cuts for Individuals Under GOP Bill WSJ

·       CHARTS: See How Much Of GOP Tax Cuts Will Go To The Middle Class NPR

·       Will Americans learn to like the GOP tax bill? PBS NewsHour

·       Why Corker flipped on the tax bill POLITICO

·       Tax Cuts Benefit the Ultra Rich, but Not the Merely Rich The New York Times

·       Orrin Hatch ‘fesses up to special break in GOP tax bill that set off alarms NBC News

·       U.S. Businesses Find Welcome Surprises in Tax Bill WSJ

·       Final GOP Tax Plan Is a Big Gift to the Wealthy, but Would Harm Most Households and Our Economy California Budget & Policy Center


Without the Insurance Mandate, Health Care’s Future May Be in Doubt

New York Times

For years, the Obama administration said the health care system as constructed by the Affordable Care Act could not survive without a mandate that most Americans have health insurance. With surgical precision, the sweeping tax bill that Republicans plan to pass this week will do away with that mandate.




Pew study: Lawmakers’ Facebook news feeds reflect political polarizationPOLITICO

A new Pew study highlights the extent to which political polarization in the U.S. has impacted the dissemination of news from government representatives to their constituents on social media over the past several years.


How to combat fake news and disinformation


Journalism is in a state of considerable flux. New digital platforms have unleashed innovative journalistic practices that enable novel forms of communication and greater global reach than at any point in human history. But on the other hand, disinformation and hoaxes that are popularly referred to as “fake news” are accelerating and affecting the way individuals interpret daily developments. Driven by foreign actors, citizen journalism, and the proliferation of talk radio and cable news, many information systems have become more polarized and contentious, and there has been a precipitous decline in public trust in traditional journalism.

See also:

·       Poll: Americans say ‘fake news’ is second most annoying phraseTheHill


Twitter starts enforcing new policies on violence, abuse, and hateful conduct

The Verge

Twitter says it will now begin enforcing the new rules it announced last month to combat abuse and hateful conduct, including threats of violence and physical harm. The new rules expand policies to abusive or threatening content in usernames and profiles, and to accounts affiliated with hate groups both on and off platform.

See also:

·       New Twitter policies targeting abuse, hate groups lead to crackdown San Francisco Chronicle


Jennifer Rubin, Charles Cooke, and the Future of Conservatism

The Atlantic

On Monday morning the conservative media world woke up to a savagely personal attack in National Review on the Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin. The outburst might seem a textbook case of the narcissism of petty differences within the conservative world. Both the author of the denunciation, Charles C. W. Cooke, and its target, Rubin, are right-leaning skeptics of Donald Trump. What on earth could they be arguing about? And does it matter?


Fitz’s Stockton: The savior of seedy walls

Stockton Record

Raul Camacho is still bringing urban eye candy to seedy Stockton buildings. And doing it for free.Camacho and three collaborators spray-painted the city’s newest mural, the south wall of the Family Meat Market building, 1255 Buena Vista Ave.“I live near here,” Camacho said. “I walk by here all the time. I finally asked the owner if we could paint this wall.”A bartender by night, Camacho by day scours the city for blank walls, or walls defaced with graffiti tags, and offers to create a free artwork to brighten them.


Topics in More Detail…





California House Republicans must defend Californians by killing the tax bill

Fresno Bee

When the U.S. House votes Tuesday on the final tax cut bill, Californians will see clearly who their 14 Republican representatives put first – their party or their state.


GOP tax bill: A short-term buzz that promises a killer hangover

Los Angeles Times

Once again, congressional Republicans stand on the verge of passing a rushed, ill-thought-out and deeply unpopular piece of legislation that would affect a huge swath of the American public — this time, a big tax cut for corporations and high-income individuals that the House and Senate could approve as soon as Wednesday.



The Congress kickback

San Francisco Chronicle

Democrats desperate to disturb the gathering momentum for Republicans’ tax cuts adopted the “Corker kickback” as their battle cry.


Sexual harassment: California, don’t let #MeToo be politically hijacked

Sacramento Bee

California’s Legislature is at last systematically addressing sexual harassment in its own workplace. The effort comes not a moment too soon.Here as nationally, partisans and cynics are realizing the potential for the #MeToo wave to be hijacked for political ends. There’s a risk that dubious claims and farfetched smears will be lumped in with demonstrably illegal abuses of power. That turn of events threatens to trivialize a real problem and real violations.


Alex Kozinski’s retirement doesn’t end the discussion about sexual harassment in the judiciary

Los Angeles Times

Judge Alex Kozinski was stating the obvious Monday when he said that he couldn’t contest more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct and “be an effective judge.”


Californians like top-two primary system on ballots

Orange County Register

Some people may think Californians don’t know what they’re doing when they vote on ballot initiatives, but a new poll suggests that voters were anything but confused when they approved the top-two primary.


Trump’s immigrant bashing escalates to deporting refugees here legally

The Mercury News

There’s a new trend in the Bay Area’s Afghan community: sending children to classes in the language of Afghani Pashtuns.


California’s bullet train: No CEO, no funds, no future

San Diego Union-Tribune

Nine years after California voters narrowly gave their blessing to a $9.95 billion bond to launch a $43 billion statewide bullet-train project, a reckoning is needed. The narrative pushed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and by Gov. Jerry Brown is of the project making steady advances.


Trump’s national security plan: Iran threat is the sleeper issue for 2018

Modesto Bee

For years, Iran has been accurately labeled as the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. Now, quietly with little notice beyond the region, the militant regime in Iran has established a major land force in Syria effectively threatening the existence of Israel.




Don’t force us to pay for Delta tunnels, Valley farmers say

Sacramento Bee

Already short of funding, Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels project is being challenged in court by a bloc of San Joaquin Valley farmers insisting they shouldn’t be forced to help foot the $17.1 billion price tag.


Firms Fined for Pesticide Incident That Sickened 92 in Bakersfield


The Kern County agricultural commissioner has imposed nearly $50,000 in fines against five companies after investigating a pesticide incident that sickened 92 farm workers harvesting garlic on the outskirts of Bakersfield last summer.


You could be eating fresh local strawberries at Christmas if this researcher has her way

Washington Post

Kimberly Lewers’s dream strawberry tastes like “a crystalline sugar cube,” with a hint of creaminess, a touch of tartness and a sudden burst of juiciness. And she wants to make it available in the Mid- Atlantic not just in June but in November, even December.


As California Embraces Legal Marijuana, Many Cities and Counties Say ‘No’


Marijuana is still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Plus, almost every city in Orange County — including the one from which Justin runs his company — prohibits marijuana businesses, including delivery. While California prepares to open the doors to the recreational cannabis industry in 2018, only one of Orange County’s 34 cities, Santa Ana, plans to allow for retail cannabis shops. And no marijuana-related businesses are allowed on unincorporated county land.


Recreational cannabis is about to go on sale in California. But it could be hard to find

San Diego Union-Tribune

These are anxious days in the mellow world of marijuana. California is dealing with chaos and comic opera as it prepares to become the latest and largest state to sell recreational cannabis, a cash crop potentially worth billions.


Lawmakers, pot growers say California’s marijuana cultivation rules favor big corporate farms

Los Angeles Times

California’s new rules allowing marijuana cultivation favor large corporate farms despite a promise in Proposition 64 that small growers would be protected, according to a group of state lawmakers and marijuana industry leaders who called Monday for the policy to be changed.


California legal pot comes with a chance to adjust criminal records

In two weeks, recreational marijuana will be legal here in California and because of Prop 64 some residents will have an opportunity to erase, or reduce pot related charges on their criminal records.






Video: The Impact of Realignment on Recidivism – Public Policy Institute of California

Public Policy institute of California

A new PPIC report looking at the first two years of realignment finds that it has had a modest effect on recidivism, which has varied across counties and groups of offenders. The report is based on data from 12 counties that are representative of the state. It examines recidivism through two measures—rearrest and reconviction rates—for offenders affected by the change. Mia Bird, report coauthor presented the results at a Sacramento briefing last week.


Convicted of a marijuana crime in California? It might go away, thanks to legal pot.

The Washington Post

Yirtuamlak Hailu Derege came to California a decade ago with dreams of making it big in the entertainment business. But shortly after arriving, he was arrested and convicted of selling marijuana, a felony that has made it difficult for him to find any job at all. But now, with California on the verge of legal recreational marijuana sales starting Jan. 1, Derege and hundreds of thousands of others could have their drug convictions wiped away, thanks to a lesser-known provision in the new state marijuana law.


Public Safety:


Cities With Uber Have Lower Rates of Ambulance Usage


Many potential emergency room patients are too sick to drive themselves to a hospital. But an ambulance can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars without insurance. This where a popular ride-hailing app can step in, while also freeing up the ambulances for those who need them most.


Pitman High School teacher accused of sex with student resigns

Modesto Bee

A Pitman High School teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student has resigned and has lost his teaching credential.


Supervisors may approve 4-way stop near Sundale School after student’s death

Visalia Times-Delta

Supervisors will consider the installation of a four-way stop by Sundale Elementary School, seeking to increase safety in the area of Road 140 and Avenue 240.




‘Monster’ Thomas fire in Southern California now 50 percent contained

ABC News

The monster Thomas fire north of Los Angeles is coming under control.


Firefighters battling inferno ‘have never seen anything like this

Los Angeles Times

In his 24 years as a firefighter in Ventura County, Antonio Negrete has never seen a wildfire grow as quickly and with such intensity as the Thomas fire. He said he’s also never seen so many resources or personnel dedicated to fighting such a massive blaze.


Yes, Something Can Be Done About Wildfires

New York Times

This is a year when huge wildfires, characterized by exceptionally strong winds, continue to ravage Ventura County and other parts of Southern California, after an October in which blazes in Santa Rosa destroyed thousands of homes.






For half of Americans, the stock market’s record highs don’t help at all

Washington Post

One figure from a recent working paper by New York University economist Edward Wolff illustrates that point: Fewer than 14% of American households directly own stock in any company. Even when you consider indirect ownership via 401(k) retirement accounts and similar vehicles, about half of U.S. households don’t own any stock at all.

Why Californians are buying more ammunition this holiday season


California’s Proposition 63, which restricts ammunition sales, passed with 62.7 percent of the vote in 2016. It has created a boom in sales ahead of its Jan. 1, 2018 implementation.




Irvine’s New Initiatives to Expand Opportunity for California Workers

James Irvine Foundation

Every Californian should have the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families. That is the promise of California. But that promise is out of reach for millions in our state. Too often working Californians face barriers to advancing their skills and careers, or to having their voices heard on the critical decisions that affect their jobs, lives, and communities. These barriers can include poverty, discrimination, and policies and practices that systematically exclude them from accessing opportunity.


Diversity in California’s Clean Energy Workforce: Access to Jobs for Disadvantaged Workers in Renewable Energy Construction

Center for Labor Research and Education

This report analyzes the degree to which California’s underrepresented and disadvantaged workers have been able to gain access to career-track jobs in the construction of renewable energy power plants. The growth of renewable energy has been and continues to be a key element of California’s climate efforts: policy-makers are now considering SB 100, which sets a goal of procuring 60 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030 and 100 percent from zero-carbon sources by 2045.


How Care for Elders, Not Children, Denies Women a Paycheck

New York Times

Why did women’s rush into the workforce stop? Policymakers have been vexed by the question for years. Social scientists have discussed the sudden stop for over a decade, in conferences and academic papers.






Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District awards grants to local schools, including two Clovis elementaries

Clovis Roundup

The Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District Board of Directors awarded $14,500 in grants to local schools as part of its annual Clean Stormwater grants, a program funding projects that increase public awareness of the importance of keeping stormwater clean.


California school district targets underlying issues to combat chronic absenteeism


Pittsburg Unified in the East Bay Area is using a number of interventions to reduce chronic absenteeism: rewarding students for high attendance rates, early identification of those who are slipping, and intensive services for struggling families.


New Law Opens Doors To Subsidized Childcare For Low-Income Parents

Capital Public Radio

Parents hoping to take English language and high school equivalency classes have long faced a barrier to education: the high cost of childcare.


California Schools To Target Parents For School Lunch Debt, Not Kids

Capital Public Radio

Michele Stillwell-Parvensky knows firsthand about school lunch shaming. When she was a kid in third grade she was denied meals for several days because the cafeteria records showed her mom hadn’t paid the lunch fee. “I was probably hungry those days,” Stillwell-Parvensky said. “But what I remember the most vividly was being very embarrassed, thinking that I had done something wrong but not knowing what it was.”


Free Tampons, Pads To Become Available In California Schools

Capital Public Radio

The law, authored by Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, requires public schools serving students in grades 6 through 12 — where 40 percent of students fall below the poverty line — to provide free pads and tampons in half of bathrooms. About 4,000 schools will have to comply.


Overturning the teacher turnover fables

Orange County Register

The “nationwide teacher shortage” claim is a myth that has been perpetuated on and off for about a hundred years now. Of late, its inaccurate cousin the “teachers are leaving the profession in droves” fable has been giving it some serious competition however.


Higher Ed:


State Bar tries to broaden attorney ranks that are 85% white

The Mercury News

Growing up in East San Jose, Marcelo Lopez dreamed of the day he would no longer need to worry about where to live or how to get enough to eat. Thoughts about a career were far from his mind.






EPA says herbicide in Roundup weed killer doesn’t cause cancer, contradicting California regulators

Los Angeles Times

The federal Environmental Protection Agency on Monday said glyphosate, the primary ingredient in the weed killer Roundup and one of the most widely used herbicides in agriculture, likely does not cause cancer.


Nearly 100 million pounds of toxic chemicals used in oil wells near homes, schools, study says

Los Angeles Daily News

About 98 million pounds of cancer-causing chemicals and highly corrosive acids were used in thousands of Los Angeles County oil wells over the past four years, potentially exposing nearby residents to public health risks, according to a study released last week by an anti-oil drilling coalition.


CARB Approves $398 Million in Incentives for Green Trucks, Buses

california is getting serious about eliminating diesel trucks. The state approved a major spending package for clean transportation Thursday, providing $208 million in incentives for truck and bus fleets to go green. Another $190 million will go toward cleaning up freight operations.




California sues Trump, again. This time to defend an Obama gas rule.

Sacramento Bee

California filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Tuesday, blasting federal regulators for suspending an Obama-era rule directing oil and gas producers to curb methane flaring on federal lands.


Bullish or Bearish for Oil Next Year? Here’s What Big Banks Say


Among the most bullish is Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which boosted its outlook for Brent crude by almost 7 percent to $62 a barrel, citing stronger-than-expected commitment from OPEC and partners. That compares with an average price of about $54 a barrel this year. Another bull, JPMorgan Chase & Co., says “solid fundamentals and tightening balances,” as well as OPEC’s willingness to balance markets, are reasons for its positive outlook.


NASA and NOAA are still talking about climate change. That’s notable.

Washington Post

A sprawling report published last week, as thousands of researchers gathered for a scientific conference in New Orleans, stretched more than 150 pages but its title carried a clear message: “Explaining Extreme Events in 2016 from a Climate Perspective.”


Diversity in California’s Clean Energy Workforce: Access to Jobs for Disadvantaged Workers in Renewable Energy Construction

Center for Labor Research and Education

Over the past decade California has emerged as a national and international leader in vigorously addressing climate change. Throughout this time one of the state’s key challenges has been to ensure that the “green jobs” being created in the clean energy boom not only have good pay and benefits but also are equitably distributed across the labor force.






As Congress prepares to repeal health law mandate, California to explore ‘all options’

San Francisco Chronicle

Congressional Republicans appear to be moving full speed ahead in repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, prompting debate among California health care experts on how the state could continue encouraging residents to buy health insurance – including imposing a state-level requirement to purchase coverage.


GOP tax bill also manages to needlessly screw up the healthcare system

Los Angeles Times

Republicans are rushing to pass their cruel joke of a tax bill — legislation they claim will assist working families but in reality is an early Christmas present for corporations and the super-wealthy. Voting begins Tuesday.


Health Savings Accounts Unscathed By Republican Tax Bill


The ongoing uncertainty about congressional changes to the health law — and their impact on insurance and the online marketplaces — continues to raise questions among consumers. Here are answers to recent queries.


Universal health care doable for less cost


When the Legislature reconvenes and the campaigns for governor heat up next year, Californians will be hearing a lot – and a lot of hot air – about universal health care.


Too Many Older Patients Get Cancer Screenings

New York Times

Elena Altemus is 89 and has dementia. She often forgets her children’s names, and sometimes can’t recall whether she lives in Maryland or Italy.


U.S. announces new policy for pathogens that could cause a pandemic

The Washington Post

The government lifted a three-year moratorium Tuesday on funding for research into ways that certain viruses can be made more virulent and transmissable, announcing a new plan for assessing applications to study these and other dangerous pathogens.


Dementia and cognitive impairment more prevalent in rural than urban seniors


Americans who live in urban areas tend to be healthier than individuals living in rural settings. While this healthcare disparity has been examined for more than a decade, researchers present the first nationally representative study to find that dementia and cognitive impairment have consistently been more prevalent among rural dwelling seniors than urban dwelling seniors.


Human Services:


Mental health computers are recovering from attack. ‘… not going to pay a ransom’

Modesto Bee

Work continued Monday to restore computers that were disabled last week by a cyberattack on Stanislaus County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services department.




More H-1B hopefuls denied under Trump, data show

San Francisco Chronicle

Foreigners who were once considered solid candidates for an H-1B visa — those with multiple degrees, high salaries offered by major tech companies and, in at least one case, an actual rocket scientist — are receiving extra scrutiny and delays on their applications.


Dear Santa, bring immigrants!

Orange County Register

Dear Santa, there is no toy that I want. But there is something I need for Christmas — not for myself but for my state.




Land Use:


GOP lures some mountain bike groups in its push to roll back protections for public land

Los Angeles Times

When their vision of creating a scenic cycling trail through a protected alpine backcountry hit a snag, San Diego area mountain bikers turned to an unlikely ally: congressional Republicans aiming to dilute conservation laws.




The least expensive single-family homes sold in SF in 2017

On The Block

You needed at least a half a million dollars to buy a single-family home in San Francisco in 2017—assuming you were buying market-rate housing. And even those sales were few and far between, given that the median price for a single-family home in San Francisco this year was about twice that amount.


Tax loopholes make housing less affordable


The housing industry is hell bent on preserving the deductibility of mortgage interest and state property taxes. Under the guise of helping low-income families, housing industry lobbyists are pedaling the argument that these tax loopholes are necessary for these families to purchase a home and have a piece of the American dream




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


A quick look at some of the biggest tax changes for Californians

Los Angeles Times

Congressional Republicans are framing their tax cut bill as a Christmas gift that will give Americans an average tax cut of $2,059. For Californians, especially in the wealthier areas along the coast, the situation isn’t as clear cut.


SALT deduction causes state budget bloat

Orange County Register

California has one of the highest tax burdens of any state in the country. And every penny I send to Sacramento to fund state government is deductible on my federal income tax return. My friends who live in low-tax states like Nevada and Texas are subsidizing me, as well as my state government’s reckless spending.


Don’t tax California innovation


Steep excise taxes are typically implemented to discourage a particularly unhealthy or undesired activity or behavior. For example, when state lawmakers raised California’s tax on cigarettes from 87 cents to $2 a pack in April, the impact was swift and expected. Lighting up became much more expensive – and retailers statewide reported precipitous declines in their cigarette sales.


CalPERS stays the course on rates, investing risk


Though facing a huge funding shortfall, the CalPERS board yesterday adopted a new plan for its $346 billion investment portfolio that will not bring in more money from another employer rate increase or a shift to riskier but higher-yielding investments.


How Tesla’s hunger for tax breaks continues in California

Sacramento Bee

Tesla Motors Inc., as part of its bid to expand electric vehicle manufacturing facilities in California, on Tuesday is up for another sales-and-use tax exemption on nearly $1.2 billion of equipment and machinery.




Four way stop likely to be approved for Sundale School

Visalia Delta-Times

Supervisors will consider the installation of a four-way stop by Sundale Elementary School, seeking to increase safety in the area of Road 140 and Avenue 240.


Business leaders propose ‘mega-measure’ to fix Bay Area traffic

Mercury News

Imagine a Bay Area with highways that flow instead of grind to a halt. With trains that ring the bay, some running 24 hours a day. With ferries that stop at more than a handful of terminals and autonomous buses cruising in their own lanes, blasting past cars on the freeway.


New California Law Bans Smoking, Ingesting Marijuana While Driving Or Riding In Car

Capital Public Radio

The new law also regulates how and where consumers can store marijuana while in a car, similar to the state’s open alcohol container rules.


What went wrong on new Point Defiance Bypass route Monday?

The News Tribune

They were the first passengers to use a $181 million railroad project that paralleled Interstate 5. It should have been a celebration Monday for everyone on board Amtrak Cascades 501. Instead, it became a disastrous derailment that has killed three people and hurt nearly everyone on board the train, along with several auto passengers on the freeway below.




Don’t force us to pay for Delta tunnels, Valley farmers say

Sacramento Bee

A large group of San Joaquin Valley farmers is challenging the Delta tunnels project in court, saying they shouldn’t be forced to help foot the $17.1-billion price tag.


SSJID strengthens finances

Manteca Bulletin

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District — thanks to a 108-year history of forward thinking — is in arguably the strongest financial position of any government entity in San Joaquin County.

The 2016 audit being presented to the board when they meet today at 9 a.m. at the SSJID office, 11011 East Highway 120, verifies the financial soundness of the district.


Irrigation districts name new GM

Porterville Recorder

The boards of directors of the Lower Tule and Pixley Irrigation Districts announced Thursday that Eric Limas has been hired to be the districts’ next General Manager. Limas will assume duties on Jan. 1, taking over for Dan Vink who has held the position for the last 18 years.


Quick-hitting storm will deliver rain, snow to us

Sacramento Bee

After weeks of dry fall weather, the Sacramento region is finally expected to receive a little relief from the heavens beginning Tuesday night.


Deploying drones to follow the water

UC Berkeley

Drones will play a key role in assessing the impact of highly variable water resources around the state thanks to a new $2.2 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


Legal or not, cannabis takes a toll on Northern California watersheds


Like many people up here, Durkee believes one group is responsible for the loss of his childhood creek: Marijuana farmers, who are “damming up local creeks that are used as the primary water source for residences, effectively stealing that water for their own gain.”




Grizzly Fest lineup | Fresno May 18-19 2018

Fresno Bee

Grizzly Fest released the lineup for the 2018 festival Monday morning. There’s plenty to get excited about. Up top, there’s Snoop Dogg, which should appease fans who had been looking forward to seeing him at Save Mart Center opening for Linkin Park (the latter’s national tour was canceled after the death of lead singer Chester Bennington). The West Coast rap icon headlines the annual music festival, which is scheduled for May 18-19 at Fresno’s Woodward Park.


In the California Desert: Vast Darkness, Vibrant Music, an Oasis

New York Times

I got to Wonder Valley, a remote community at the eastern edge of California’s Mojave Desert, mostly by accident. I thought I was spending the weekend in Joshua Tree.