April 8, 2019

08Apr

POLICY & POLITICS

North SJ Valley:

High-end hotel coming to downtown Modesto? City is looking into a proposal for one

Modesto Bee

The city could be taking a hard look at a proposal for a high-end, 200-room hotel next to Modesto Centre Plaza, which supporters believe will be a key driver to an improved downtown and in drawing more conventions and visitors here.

Amtrak added a train to Sacramento for commuters in Modesto area. What went wrong?

Fresno Bee

Amtrak will suspend one of its daily trips from the San Joaquin Valley to Sacramento, California, as of May 6, 2019. It launched a year earlier so riders from Fresno and points north could reach the capital at the start of the business day.

Central SJ Valley:

Social justice groups are changing Fresno and some key politicians aren’t taking it well

Fresno Bee

From policy battles and political campaigns, to disputes over discrimination and local parks, a handful of social justice groups are challenging and reshaping the city’s power structure.

EDITORIAL: To fix Fresno’s bad roads, the City Council must cool the rhetoric and be leaders

Fresno Bee

Here’s an assignment for the Fresno City Council: Board a bus with Mayor Lee Brand for a citywide tour. Mission: Inspect the condition of roads throughout the city and figure out how to fix them. Pack a brown-bag lunch, as this may take a while.

What Fresno County’s sheriff has to say after meeting with President Trump at the border

Fresno Bee

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims returned from the U.S.-Mexico border Friday after telling President Trump that more is needed to secure the border. She cited fentanyl deaths and crimes by MS-13 as reasons.

See also:

●     Fresno County Sheriff meets President Trump, discusses fentanyl crisis abc30

●     Trump in California pushes border security, inspects fencing abc30

●     Sheriff Mims One Of Two Valley Officials To Address Trump At Border VPR

●     With Trump at border, California launches fight to block billions in wall funding Sacramento Bee

Long council meeting ends in OK of contracts

Madera Tribune

In a 6-1 vote, near the end of a meeting that adjourned at 11 p.m., the Madera City Council approved the renewal and acceptance of previously negotiated contracts of seven senior city department heads.

South SJ Valley:

Nunes says he will soon send 8 criminal referrals to Barr

The Hill

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that he is preparing to send eight criminal referrals to Attorney General William Barr.

Why is Nunes suing to stifle my free speech?

Visalia Times Delta

Last month, Rep. Devin Nunes announced plans to sue Twitter, me and two parody Twitter accounts for several purported torts — fancy lawyer speak for “unlawful” actions as a matter of civil law.

See also:

·       OPINION: Free speech means I don’t have to be nice to Devin Nunes on Twitter. So why’s he suing me? USA Today

·        

State:

Here’s why Gavin Newsom is traveling to El Salvador

Fresno Bee

Newsom’s office has described the trip as a “fact-finding” mission to understand what causes people to migrate from Central America to the U.S.

See also:

●     Newsom goes to El Salvador: Diplomacy or grandstanding? Visalia Times Delta

●     Is Gavin Newsom campaigning in El Salvador? Trip prompts praise, speculation Sacramento Bee

●     A Slew Of Firsts In Gov. Newsom’s Weekend Trip To El Salvador Capital Public Radio

●     “The rhetoric is so toxic:” Newsom lands in El Salvador as Trump moves to end aid there CALmatters

Who are 2019’s California Influencers and what can you expect from them?

Fresno Bee

For the second year, The Sacramento Bee, The Fresno Bee, The Modesto Bee, The Tribune of San Luis Obispo and the Merced Sun-Star will put a sharp focus on the policy challenges that most affect our community and our future.

Walters: Big issue: Who’s an employee and who’s not?

CALmatters

By applying a three-part test of a worker’s duties, the court’s ruling would shift countless thousands of workers from contractor status to payroll-employee status. Unions and other critics have long complained that rampant “misclassification” has deprived workers of basic rights and benefits, including the ability to unionize.

OPINION: Joe Mathews: Change the California Rule before it results in disaster

San Francisco Chronicle

The California Rule is the misleading moniker we’ve given to our state’s most troublesome legal precedent: that public employees are entitled to whatever pension benefits were in place when they started work.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom endorses expansion of unpaid family leave in California

Los Angeles Times

A closely watched effort in the California Legislature to expand job protections for unpaid family leave received a public endorsement on Monday from First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom in an early embrace of a bill that could signal broader support from the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

22 ways to ease California health insurance bills are up for debate in the Capitol

Sacramento Bee

It seems almost certain that some of them will pass. But even though all the bills are heading in the same direction, there are competing visions of what a health care expansion should look like in 2019.

GOP Assemblyman Wants To Close Special DMV Office Used By California Lawmakers

Capital Public Radio

Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley says if legislators had to wait in line like the rest of the public, they’d be more likely to fix the DMV’s problems.

To block California soda taxes, companies paid for ‘Black Panther’ tickets, fancy dinners

Los Angeles Times

Soft drink companies and their lobbyists spent $11.8 million at the state and local levels in the last two years in California to block proposals such as taxing sugary beverages and slapping health warnings on their drinks, a California Healthline analysis found.

California’s powerful political players would like campaign investigations kept quiet

Los Angeles Times

Changing the rules would require the full commission amending or doing away with its current regulations. Those rules allow a copy of most complaints to be handed out five days after everyone involved is notified.

The California politicians who dominate Twitter

San Francisco Chronicle

Good Twitter game doesn’t necessarily make for a good politician, but popularity on the platform can be a helpful indicator of who’s driving Beltway conversation. On that front, California is well represented.

Managerial miscues plague the state

CALmatters

Viewed through the prism of short-term elective politics, management of existing services and projects is seen as humdrum, lacking political sex appeal. But that neglect ill-serves the public and wastes immense amounts of their money.

Federal:

Kirstjen Nielsen resigns as secretary of Department of Homeland Security, Trump says

Fresno Bee

Kirstjen Nielsen, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, resigned from Trump’s Cabinet, the president said. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan will be acting secretary, Trump tweeted.

See also:

●     Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen resigns abc30

●     Trump: Kirstjen Nielsen is out as DHS secretary Visalia Times Delta

●     Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security chief, resigns after rocky tenure Los Angeles Times

Homeland Security Sec. Nielsen resigns amid border turmoil San Francisco Chronicle

Read: Kirstjen Nielsen’s full resignation letter from Homeland Security Secretary post 

Kevin McAleenan is taking over DHS. Will he be ‘tough’ enough for Trump? Washington Post

OPINION: Kirstjen Nielsen Enforced Cruelty at the Border. Her Replacement Could Be Worse. New York Times

Chief of staff says Dems will ‘never’ see Trump tax returns

Fresno Bee

The White House chief of staff says Democrats will “never” see President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

See also:

●     Democrats will ‘never’ see Trump tax returns, his chief of staff insists Los Angeles Times

●     Mulvaney says Democrats will ‘never’ see Trump’s tax returns Washington Post

Justice Clarence Thomas: ‘I’m not retiring’

abc30

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas seems to put to rest speculation that he could be contemplating retirement soon, while a Republican is in the White House.

Third judge halts Trump plan for Census citizenship question

abc30

A third federal judge struck down the Trump administration’s plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

See also:

·       2020 Census citizenship question awaits Supreme Court review  Politifact

Nancy Pelosi to be awarded JFK Profile in Courage Award

Sacramento Bee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been named the recipient of the 2019 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Another Mueller report: What shaped lead investigator into Trump?

San Francisco Chronicle

As House Democrats demand that Attorney General William Barr release Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, one journalist is revealing insights into something almost as hidden from public view: Mueller himself.

EDITORIAL: Trump’s possible Federal Reserve appointees look all wrong for the job

San Francisco Chronicle

The U.S. economy is doing great. Will President Trump ruin things by appointing unqualified candidates like Stephen Moore and Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve?

See also:

·       OPINION: Trump’s next possible Fed nominee can’t understand basic policy issues Washington Post

EDITORIAL: The case for dropping out of Electoral College

San Francisco Chronicle

The institution has come under renewed scrutiny for good reason. Many of its supposed virtues are imaginary.

Elections 2020:

Booker raises $5 million, below other White House hopefuls

Fresno Bee

Cory Booker’s early fundraising numbers are well behind those posted by other major Democratic candidates in the race to challenge President Donald Trump.

Warren: Democrats’ message must be more than ‘not-Trump’

Bakersfield Californian

Democrats running for president will have to do more than campaign on an anti-Trump message if they want to take back the White House in 2020, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Saturday.

Stop thinking of Bernie Sanders as a gadfly. He’s the front-runner

Los Angeles Times

In case you missed it, Bernie Sanders is now, for all practical purposes, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Eric Swalwell looks like he’s running for president. But why?

San Francisco Chronicle

There’s one question that dogs Rep. Eric Swalwell’s widely expected, perhaps soon-to-be announced run for president: What is he thinking?

2020 Dems grapple with immigration message

San Francisco Chronicle

Democrats credit their 2018 midterm success to focusing on pocketbook issues and avoiding engaging with President Trump on immigration. They may not have that luxury in 2020.

Joe Biden steps on his ‘I get it’ message

San Francisco Chronicle

After offering three explanations in a week in response to at least three women who said he invaded their personal space, and promising to “be more mindful,” Biden made light of the situation Friday during a speech to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

See also:

●     It may be time to kiss Joe Biden goodbye San Francisco Chronicle

After 2016 loss, Democrats know they need white male voters

PBS

The Democrats’ 2020 presidential primary may feature a historically diverse field of women and minorities, but in some ways it is testing how the party appeals to white men such as Heitman.

Can the Electoral College system be changed?

PBS

As the 2020 presidential campaigns get underway, the debate over the Electoral College system is starting again. In 2016, when Hillary Clinton lost the election despite winning the popular vote, there were new calls to abolish the electoral college.

See also:

·       OPINION: The electoral college is a failure. The Founding Fathers would probably agree.  Washington Post

Other:

US Postal Service announces new ‘Forever’ stamp honoring the late George H.W. Bush

abc30

The United States Postal Service is issuing a new commemorative stamp honoring the late President George H. W. Bush, who died at 94 on November 30, 2018.

6 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Rupert Murdoch and His Family

New York Times

A six-month investigation by The New York Times covering three continents and including more than 150 interviews has described how Mr. Murdoch and his feuding sons turned their media outlets into right-wing political influence machines that have destabilized democracy in North America, Europe and Australia.

Five myths about whistleblowers

Washington Post

When a whistleblower revealed the Trump administration’s decision to overturn 25 security clearance denials, it was the latest in a long and storied history of insiders exposing significant abuses of public trust.

Why Losing Our Newspapers Is Breaking Our Politics

Scientific American

Longstanding newspapers, big and small, have closed in unprecedented numbers; Americans are turning away from local news sources and towards online and nationally televised programs to learn about politics; and even local television news is focusing on national partisanship and politics, as Sinclair Broadcasting acquires more affiliates. 

AGRICULTURE/FOOD

The Wine Institute is leaving San Francisco for Sacramento

San Francisco Chronicle

The institute is a public policy and regulatory advocacy association representing about 1,000 wineries and affiliated businesses. It also supports international market development, scientific research and education programs.

A year into Trump’s trade turmoil, an iconic California industry struggles to resist

CALmatters

Now, California’s lieutenant governor is among the busier officeholders in Sacramento—hustling to meet with members of Congress, federal agencies and trade organizations and deploying whatever influence she can to protect California’s place in the world market.

Hunt’s Tomato Paste recalled for mold concerns

abc30

You’ll want to check your pantry, due to a recall of tomato paste. Six-ounce cans of “Hunt’s Tomato Paste, No Salt Added” are being pulled off the shelf because of mold concerns.

Experts in food safety like what they found at this plant in Salida

Modesto Bee

Blue Diamond Growers won the Plant of the Year award from the Safe Food Alliance for its almond-processing operation in Salida. The statewide group presented the honor Wednesday, April 3, during its annual Food Safety Conference in Monterey.

Downtown Visalia Market shuttered

Visalia Times Delta

If you were a fan of picking up some fresh berries for dessert or greens for your dinner salad after work at Thursday’s Downtown Visalia Farmers Market, you are out of luck. The long-running market has been shut down.

Hanford Council talks food truck ordinance, other business at meeting

Hanford Sentinel

After making the issue one of its priorities for the year during its goals and objectives meeting, the Hanford City Council met Tuesday and started the first of what will probably be several discussions on the city’s food truck ordinance.

California cities sue state over home deliveries of pot

Los Angeles Times

In the first significant challenge to California’s open cannabis market, 24 cities that restrict pot sales sued Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration Thursday, arguing that by allowing home deliveries in their city limits, the state is violating 2016’s Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana.

See also:

·       Marijuana home deliveries challenged by California cities in new lawsuit Sacramento Bee

EDITORIAL: SB 67 needed in cannabis license crush

Visalia Times Delta

Voters in November 2016 approved a statewide measure that launched California across a new frontier when it comes to cannabis.

EDITORIAL: C’mon Congress, it’s time to lighten up on pot

Los Angeles Times

If you weren’t already convinced that the blanket federal prohibition on marijuana is illogical, counterproductive and confusing, consider this: Despite the ban, all but three states have legalized some form of cannabis.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE / FIRE / PUBLIC SAFETY

Crime:

Maggots, mice fall into Corcoran State Prison dining hall

abc30

Maggots and mice have fallen onto inmates’ dining tables at a California state prison where holes in the roof also allow rain and bird droppings to seep through and streak the walls, according to an inmate lawsuit that charges the state isn’t moving fast enough to repair deteriorating prisons.

Bill targets ag theft, proposes directing fines to rural crimes enforcement

Bakersfield Californian

A bill pending in the state Legislature would divert fines from the theft of tractors and other agricultural equipment to fund law enforcement activities in Kern and other rural areas where such crimes have long been a problem for farmers.

Head of California Air National Guard removed amid allegations of cover-up and retaliation

Los Angeles Times

The head of the California Air National Guard and one of its five wing commanders have been removed from their positions amid complaints of reprisals against whistleblowers and allegations of a cover-up of misconduct that reached into the highest ranks of the organization, officials announced Friday.

As more people go without a lawyer, courts offer self-help services. Advice from the judge? No way

Los Angeles Times

The recent scene in Los Angeles Superior Court reflects a trend in courtrooms across California: People increasingly are representing themselves, and it falls to judges and other officials to demystify legal processes and decorum.

Public Safety:

Large-capacity gun magazines are illegal in California again

Sacramento Bee

A federal judge who last week struck down a California law banning high-capacity firearm magazines has agreed to halt temporarily the implementation of his decision while the state prepares to challenge his ruling at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.

Can Feinstein get NRA allies and gun control advocates to agree? Violence against women law is at stake

Fresno Bee

California Democrat Dianne Feinstein is working with Iowa Republican Joni Ernst to craft a Senate compromise on the Violence Against Women Act amid a push to include language restricting guns for domestic abusers and stalkers.

Valley clergy support proposed bill to restrict law officers’ deadly use of force

Fresno Bee

AB 392 is critically needed here in our Central Valley: According to a legislative bill analysis, “of the 15 police departments with the highest per capita rates of police killings in the nation” (in 2017), two of them are in the Central Valley; Stockton and Bakersfield.

See also:

●     Capitol Chat: Police Use of Force Bills Capital Public Radio

●     EDITORIAL: Deadly force reform bill faces crucial test. Your voice can make a difference Sacramento Bee

●     Use-Of-Force Bill Backed By California Law Enforcement Will Include Reforms Prompted By Stephon Clark Shooting Capital Public Radio

Neighborhood takes back their streets with block party after gang shooting

abc30

Just two months after a gang shooting sent shockwaves through a northwest Fresno neighborhood the community is working to take their streets back. The West Shaw Estates community is not only celebrating the return of warm weather, but they’re also reflecting on their progress.

Fresno PD cracks down on distracted drivers

abc30

You may notice increased patrols during the month of April of officers looking for drivers on their cellphone. That’s because it’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Officials say texting and talking on cellphones has led to more accidents in recent years.

Democrats Rethink the Death Penalty, and Its Politics

New York Times

By signing an executive order, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California recently ended the threat of execution as long as he is in office for the 737 inmates on the state’s death row, the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

Fire:

Everything You Need to Know About California’s Increasingly Catastrophic Wildfire Situation

KQED
If it seems that wildfires are burning nearly all the time these days, that there’s no longer a definable fire season in California, you’re right. Fourteen of the 20 most destructive fires in state history have occurred since 2007, and California has 78 more annual “fire days” now than it had 50 years ago.

Firefighting aircraft are ‘increasingly ineffective’ amid worsening wildfires

Los Angeles Times

In the aftermath of the Camp fire, which killed 85 people and caused up to $13 billion in damage, some are calling Cal Fire’s use of air tankers “costly and increasingly ineffective.”

ECONOMY / JOBS

Economy:

Spending Battle Clouds Outlook for U.S. Growth

Wall Street Journal

One of the big unknowns for U.S. economic growth heading into the presidential election year needs to be sorted out by lawmakers in the coming months: the path for government spending.

Trump Says Fed Should Cut Rates and Lift Economy

New York Times

President Trump on Friday called on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates and take additional steps to stimulate economic growth, his latest attempt to put the traditionally independent central bank under his thumb.

How regulators, Republicans and big banks fought for a big increase in lucrative but risky corporate loans

Washington Post

Actions by federal regulators and Republicans in Congress over the past two years have paved the way for banks and other financial companies to issue more than $1 trillion in risky corporate loans, sparking fears that Washington and Wall Street are repeating the mistakes made before the financial crisis.

Jobs:

CalChamber Releases 2019 Job Killer List

CalChamber Advocacy

The California Chamber of Commerce yesterday released its annual Job Killer list, which includes 24 bills that would harm California’s economic growth and job creation should they become law.

Walters: Big issue: Who’s an employee and who’s not?

CALmatters

By applying a three-part test of a worker’s duties, the court’s ruling would shift countless thousands of workers from contractor status to payroll-employee status. Unions and other critics have long complained that rampant “misclassification” has deprived workers of basic rights and benefits, including the ability to unionize.

OPINION: Joe Mathews: Change the California Rule before it results in disaster

San Francisco Chronicle

The California Rule is the misleading moniker we’ve given to our state’s most troublesome legal precedent: that public employees are entitled to whatever pension benefits were in place when they started work.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom endorses expansion of unpaid family leave in California

Los Angeles Times

A closely watched effort in the California Legislature to expand job protections for unpaid family leave received a public endorsement on Monday from First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom in an early embrace of a bill that could signal broader support from the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom.


Is the continued rise of older Americans in the workforce necessary for future growth?

Brookings

Although much of the 3.1 percentage point decline in U.S. labor force participation from 2007 to 2018 can be connected to an increased aging population (the share of the U.S. population over the age of 65 has increased from 15.6 to 19.9 percent in the last 12 years), the explanation for this trend extends far beyond a population aging out of the workforce.

Trump administration nearly doubles H-2B guest visa program, which brings many Mexican workers

Washington Post

The H-2B visa allows foreign workers to come to the United States legally and work for several months at companies such as landscapers, amusement parks or hotels. About 80 percent of these visas went to people from Mexico and Central America last year, government data shows.

EDUCATION

K-12:

Fresno Unified says the situation for its African American students is a state of emergency

Fresno Bee

A Fresno Unified task force says the environment for the district’s African American students is in a state of emergency. Fresno State associate professor Jenelle Pitt says she understands the point first-hand.

FUSD trustees Islas and Thomas want colleague Slatic to apologize for altercation at Bullard

Fresno Bee

Fresno (CA) Unified trustees Veva Islas and Keshia Thomas want colleague Terry Slatic to apologize for a Jan. 11 altercation with a student at Bullard High. They’re also concerned with an April 4 statement by Slatic.

Hundreds of photos displayed for student art project to highlight community

abc30

Sunnyside High School students are trying to send a strong message that everyone at neighboring elementary and middle schools is family. That is the theme for this year’s Guerilla Art Project.

The teacher diversity gap is literally inherited

Brookings

Over the past year, teacher strikes have brought to national attention the plight of teachers across the country. Teacher shortages and a lack of teacher diversity are major issues facing schools right now. Recent evidence shows that teacher shortages exist and are expected to worsen.

New Oversight Law Won’t Prevent Charter School Financial Difficulties

Capital & Main

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed into law Senate Bill 126, written to hold the state’s charter schools to the same transparency as other public schools. (Charter schools are funded by tax dollars but privately administered.)

Teach For America — except for California

Politico

Backed by powerful teachers unions, Democrats are pushing to ban Teach For America from California amid a wave of teacher’s strikes and a heated debate over charter schools in the nation’s most populous state.

Higher Ed:

Fresno City College’s newest program is taking their game to the beach

abc30

Fresno City College’s beach volleyball program is participating in their inaugural season with 11 players, all of who played on the indoor volleyball team.

UC Merced professor featured in CNBC documentary on how Ivy League stays so rich

Merced Sun-Star

A UC Merced professor was featured in a short documentary segment about college endowments and how Ivy League schools stay rich.

Fresno State Selects New Provost From University’s Ranks

The Business Journal

Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, a veteran academic administrator with extensive ties to the Central Valley, is Fresno State’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs.

City staff recommend rejecting dorms project at Coffee and Stockdale

Bakersfield Californian

A controversial plan to build twin, five-story student dorms at Coffee Road and Stockdale Highway has failed to win over Bakersfield city planners.

Education Department Has Stalled on Debt Relief for Defrauded Students

New York Times

The Education Department failed to approve a single application for federal student loan relief in the second half of last year, according to new department data that signals that students who claim they were cheated by their colleges cannot count on help from Washington anytime soon.

ENVIRONMENT/ ENERGY

Environment:

Gathering storm: What California must learn from the Midwest floods

Sacramento Bee

In the wake of the Midwest destruction, a group of scientists published the lessons learned to help protect families and livelihoods. Here are the conclusions.

Protect the state’s environmental legacy from Trump’s onslaughts

Los Angeles Times

The state has laws that safeguard threatened wildlife and regulate water quality. But they are muscles and sinews that function only because they are attached to the bones of strong federal environmental laws adopted by forward-looking Congresses and presidents since the 1970s. Now those federal bones are beginning to dissolve.

California’s next frontier in fighting climate change: your kitchen stove

Los Angeles Times

Induction cooktops have another advantage: They don’t burn natural gas, a fossil fuel that contributes to climate change. California is looking for ways to phase out fossil gas, not just from power plants but also from stoves, water heaters and furnaces.

Study Finds Racial Gap Between Who Causes Air Pollution And Who Breathes It

NPR

Scientists and policymakers have long known that black and Hispanic Americans tend to live in neighborhoods with more pollution of all kinds, than white Americans. And because pollution exposure can cause a range of health problems, this inequity could be a driver of unequal health outcomes across the U.S.

White House will promote carbon capture technology in climate change fight

Sacramento Bee

The White House will begin promoting carbon capture and storage technology. It is part of a strategy by Trump administration to promote innovation over regulation as a means of fighting climate change.

Energy:

PG&E Bankruptcy Stalls North Fork Biomass Project

Sierra News

PG&E’s bankruptcy has stalled construction of a new biomass plant, a key component in a plan to boost the local economy.

PG&E’s new CEO once ran a utility for one day. He got $44M

San Francisco Chronicle

Bill Johnson, the retiring CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, had a brief tenure at North Carolina’s Duke Energy Corp. that still earned him a large severance package.

PG&E replacing board members who were around for San Bruno blast

San Francisco Chronicle

PG&E Corp.’s decision to overhaul its board of directors stems most directly from two years of catastrophic wildfires, but the changes are ushering in a milestone related to an older incident: the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion.

COMMUNITY VOICES: Mr. President, thank you for your comments about windmills

Bakersfield Californian

Thank you, Mr. President, for the timely attention. My recent book about windmills, or what we call wind turbines, has been languishing in a New York warehouse not far from Trump Tower — until now, that is. Today, windmills are the talk of the country all because of you.

OPINION: Nuclear Power Can Save the World

New York Times

Beyond decarbonizing today’s electric grid, we must use clean electricity to replace fossil fuels in transportation, industry and heating. We must provide for the fast-growing energy needs of poorer countries and extend the grid to a billion people who now lack electricity.

HEALTH/HUMAN SERVICES

Health:

State surgeon general’s prescription for a healthy Sacramento: Alleviating childhood trauma

Sacramento Bee

California’s new surgeon general made Sacramento the first stop on her statewide listening tour. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris got to talk with residents grappling how childhood trauma affects their communities.

Medical Anthropologist Explores ‘Vaccine Hesitancy’

NPR

More than 100 people have been infected with measles this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Over 50 of those cases have occurred in southwest Washington state and northwest Oregon in an outbreak that led Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency on Jan. 25.

Greener Childhood Associated With Happier Adulthood

NPR

The experience of natural spaces, brimming with greenish light, the smells of soil and the quiet fluttering of leaves in the breeze can calm our frenetic modern lives. It’s as though our very cells can exhale when surrounded by nature, relaxing our bodies and minds.

Human Services:

Adventist Health Hanford receives funding to help combat opioid epidemic

Hanford Sentinel

To help combat opioid usage in Kings County and surrounding areas, Adventist Health Hanford applied for and received a $175,000 grant from the California Bridge Program to provide access to around-the-clock treatment for substance use disorders.

SVMC to extend flu/ RSV restrictions through April

Porterville Recorder

Due to the consistent rate of Influenza (flu) and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) is extending the visitation restrictions that were put into action in December 2018.

Cutting the the Affordable Care Act is not based in law or the public’s interest

Sacramento Bee

Rejecting the advice of his attorney general and his secretary of Health and Human Services, President Trump decided to file a brief urging the federal court of appeals to declare unconstitutional the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

See also:

·       OPINION: Trump’s Dubious Prescription-Price Plan Wall Street Journal

Surprise Medical Billing: Some States Ahead of Feds

PEW
After a five-day stay, including four days in a pediatric intensive care unit, or ICU, during which Ryan was treated for a pilonidal cyst and apparently unrelated infections in his hip and near his heart, he was pronounced well enough to return home.

See also:

·       Addressing Surprise Medical Bills Without Raising the Cost of Health Care Rand

IMMIGRATION

US says reuniting separated families laborious process

Bakersfield Californian

The Trump administration wants up to two years to find potentially thousands of children who were separated from their families at the border before a judge halted the practice last year, a task that it says is more laborious than previous efforts because the children are no longer in government custody.

Fact Check: Has Donald Trump convinced his critics there’s an emergency at the border?

Sacramento Bee

While there are Democrats who have echoed the Trump administration’s alarm about the surge in Central American asylum seekers trying to enter the country across the southern border, they have been careful not to use the term “emergency,” given the legal implications.

See also:

·       5 misconceptions about the U.S.-Mexico border Los Angeles Times

·       On The Border, Volunteer Doctors Struggle To Provide Stopgap Care To Immigrants KHN

·       As Trump struggles to curb unauthorized immigration, his rhetoric gets tougher, but quick solutions are elusive Washington Post

·       Trump’s right. Border arrests are surging. Here’s why. Politico

·       AP fact check: Trump’s bad-guy talk belies migrants’ reality PBS

LAND USE/HOUSING

Land Use:

Lemoore objects to Tachi property pursuit

Hanford Sentinel

While originally a consent calendar item, Lemoore City Council discussed at length an objection letter in regards to a tribal land acquisition application from the Santa Rosa Rancheria.

High-end hotel coming to downtown Modesto? City is looking into a proposal for one

Modesto Bee

The city could be taking a hard look at a proposal for a high-end, 200-room hotel next to Modesto Centre Plaza, which supporters believe will be a key driver to an improved downtown and in drawing more conventions and visitors here.

Housing:

Are In-Law Units The Secret Solution To The State’s Housing Shortage?

Capital Public Radio

For all the big-picture housing legislation that has actually become law over the past few years, the solution that’s proved most immediately effective at providing new housing has been rather small in size: Accessory Dwelling Units, colloquially known as in-law units or granny flats.

Bipartisan Bill Would Give Millions To Local Governments To Fight Homelessness

Capital Public Radio

More than 550,000 people are homeless in the United States today, and 25 percent of them are in California. Sen. Dianne Feinstein says it’s a national crisis.

Selling your home? These features fetch top dollar

San Francisco Chronicle

It’s always been true that kitchens sell homes, but these days the homes with features like steam ovens, professional appliances, pot fillers, waterfall countertops and prep sinks go for more than you’d think.

EDITORIAL: Unrealistic housing goals aren’t helping the Valley’s poor

Modesto Bee

After 50 years, California’s overarching housing law needs a major overhaul. The Housing Element Act requires every city and county in California to zone for all types of residential growth.

PUBLIC FINANCES

Skelton: Sacramento wants to tax soda, tires, guns, water, pain pills, lawyers, car batteries…

Los Angeles Times

By April 10, Californians must pay their local property taxes. Five days later is the deadline for filing state and federal income tax returns. Also, the state and the feds want any initial pre-tax payment that’s required on current earnings.

Beyond The Tampon Tax: How Far Will California Go To End “Menstrual Inequity”?

Capital Public Radio

In California and around the globe, feminists are demanding “period equity” and ensuring that tampons and pads are provided as freely as toilet paper in public schools, universities, and government. How far will California go?

California coffers to swell when billion-dollar firms premiere on Wall Street

San Francisco Chronicle

California’s boom-and-bust budget could soon get a big boost as companies worth billions of dollars rush onto the public markets, bringing huge tax gains for their home state.

Expanding California’s earned income tax credit is a smart investment in working families

CALmatters

An analysis of research on the federal earned income tax credit by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that its expansion in the 1990s contributed as much as any other factor to the increase in work by single mothers seen during that decade.

Cities struggle to cut retirement health care costs

Calpensions

For the 231 cities responding to the commission survey in 2007, the total retiree health care debt was $8.8 billion. A League of California Cities survey in 2016, with 312 cities responding, reported a total retiree health care debt of $10.8 billion.

OPINION: Joe Mathews: Change the California Rule before it results in disaster

San Francisco Chronicle

The California Rule is the misleading moniker we’ve given to our state’s most troublesome legal precedent: that public employees are entitled to whatever pension benefits were in place when they started work.

Fiscal therapy: 12 framing facts and what they mean

Brookings

But dig beneath the surface and trouble looms. America faces two distinct but related challenges that policymakers must address in the coming years if they hope to provide a brighter future for the nation and its people.

The IRS Tried to Take on the Ultrawealthy. It Didn’t Go Well.

ProPublica

Ten years ago, the tax agency formed a special team to unravel the complex tax-lowering strategies of the nation’s wealthiest people. But with big money — and Congress — arrayed against the team, it never had a chance.

TRANSPORTATION

Clovis to start 3 roadway projects. Here are the changes you’ll see and the areas to avoid

Fresno Bee

Commuters take note: There are some major changes coming to Clovis roadways this summer. Starting in May, the city will begin work on three improvement projects.

High-speed rail building burns. Fresno fire chief says it’ll be difficult determining cause

Fresno Bee

A building set to be torn down to make way for California high-speed rail caught fire on April 5 in Fresno. Fire chief says old Alert-O-Lite building near Golden State Boulevard and Church Avenue is now a danger.

Amtrak added a train to Sacramento for commuters in Modesto area. What went wrong?

Fresno Bee

Amtrak will suspend one of its daily trips from the San Joaquin Valley to Sacramento, California, as of May 6, 2019. It launched a year earlier so riders from Fresno and points north could reach the capital at the start of the business day.

North McHenry is getting a makeover and safer bridge. Here’s what you need to know.

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County and its partner to the north keep working on one of the region’s more important traffic projects north of Modesto.

See also:

·       Report Finds More Than 47,000 ‘Structurally Deficient’ Bridges In The U.S. NPR

24,000 rides later, Bird scooters appear here to stay

Bakersfield Californian

Nearly five months after the Santa Monica-based startup Bird dropped off 200 electric scooters on Bakersfield streets, the vehicles have been used more than 24,000 times, according to company data.

Making Infrastructure Relatable

PublicCEO

Americans are in a similar predicament with our failing infrastructure. According to the latest report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the country’s infrastructure gets a D+. That’s a marginally passing grade for our bridges, dams, highways and water systems.

EDITORIAL: To fix Fresno’s bad roads, the City Council must cool the rhetoric and be leaders

Fresno Bee

Here’s an assignment for the Fresno City Council: Board a bus with Mayor Lee Brand for a citywide tour. Mission: Inspect the condition of roads throughout the city and figure out how to fix them. Pack a brown-bag lunch, as this may take a while.

WATER

Rising Merced River flows causes part of a nearby park to close

abc30

Signage and caution tape is wrapped around the entrance as parts of Hagaman Park are closed again due to flooding from rising Merced River flows.

Heavy snows will delay campers in national parks

Visalia Times Delta

Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks‘ winter wonderland has turned into a hazard for visitors. Because of the heavy snow this season, the park’s snow levels are 153% of normal, according to a recent snow survey.

See also:

●     SNP expects late facility openings due to heavy snowpack and hazard trees Porterville Recorder

210 Connect looks at drought’s lingering impacts in the Central Valley

Visalia Times Delta

The drought may officially be over in Tulare County and across the state, but it remains a critical time for water in the Central Valley.

With the rain year coming to a close, Valley farmers will soon learn how much irrigation water they have to work with for the coming year.

Study aims at better evaporation estimates at reservoirs

Sacramento Bee

Researchers are working to better measure how much water is lost to evaporation at the nation’s two largest reservoirs as part of effort they say could lead to new water management strategies.

“Xtra”

Giant fun takes over Old Town Clovis for ‘Big Hat Days’

Fresno Bee

Thousands of people in hats of all sizes and colors took to the streets of Old Town Clovis on Saturday for Big Hat Days. The two-day event, sponsored by Clovis Chamber of Commerce and Table Mountain Casino, serves as the official kickoff to the Clovis Rodeo.

Valley Focus: Cats and Canines Available at Super Adoption

abc30

The largest animal adoption event in the valley will have a Star Wars theme this year. Valley Animal Center is hosting Super Adoption on May 4, 2019.

Mariposa Grove Opens Soon, Free Visitor Shuttle Resumes Service

Sierra News

The Mariposa Grove Road will reopen to automobiles on Friday, Apr. 12, officials in Yosemite National Park announced today. The free visitor shuttle to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias will also resume service for the busy summer season on the same day.

Beeper Egg Hunt ‘a dream come true’ for Valley’s blind and disabled youth

Visalia Times Delta

Dozens of visually-impaired and developmentally-disabled children from around the Valley gathered outside the AgVenture pavilion at the International Agri Center on Saturday to participate in the 26th annual Beeper Egg Hunt.

Visalia firework show’s future in limbo

Visalia Times Delta

On Monday, council members approved a $17,000 donation to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to host the event at Groppetti Community Stadium this year.

Superhero Run raises awareness, money to support foster children

Bakersfield Californian

Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America and other superheroes packed the Park at River Walk on Saturday. Hundreds of people — as well as a few dogs — came dressed as their favorite superheroes for the annual Superhero Run, put on by the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kern County.

Top 10 lakes to visit in California

San Francisco Chronicle

There’s no better cure for a long winter than a visit to any one of the cool lakes nestled in the foothills across California.

Die, robocalls, die: A how-to guide to stop spammers and exact revenge
Washington Post

Robocalls, those computer-generated shysters, are making some people stop answering the phone altogether. The rest of us trust unknown calls about as much as truck-stop sushi. By severalestimates, Americans got more than 5.2 billion automated calls in March — a record of about 16 for every man, woman and child.