August 14, 2018






Eric Trump on Fresno radio: ‘People are happy. This country is thriving again’

Fresno Bee

On KMJ radio on Monday, Eric Trump defended his father against what he says is unfair criticism, calling him “the epitome of the American dream.”

See also:

       At Carrier, the Factory Trump Saved, Morale Is Through the Floor New York Times


Tracking the House Races to Watch in the 2018 Midterm Elections

New York Times

House Race Ratings by the Cook Political Report—includes some Valley and California races


Turlock has four-way contest for mayor. Races set for some of county’s other cities

Modesto Bee

Turlock will have a four-way race for mayor in the Nov. 6 election, but the candidates for one of two council seats have not been finalized.


Former Merced-area executive pleads guilty to health care fraud

Modesto Bee

The former executive of several Merced-area health clinics pleaded guilty on Monday to health care fraud and receiving kickbacks in connection with a years-long, multimillion-dollar scheme, the California Department of Justice announced.


Editorial: Lieutenant governor candidate came to Modesto. Not to talk, but to listen.

Modesto Bee

Eleni Kounalakis dropped by our editorial board this week, and she did something fairly unusual for a politician. She listened.




Feinstein opponent de León attacks on Supreme Court stance

The Sacramento Bee

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is approaching the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh all wrong, according to her opponent in the state’s Democrat-on-Democrat Senate race.


EDITORIAL: Will California Democrats be hypocrites on campaign donations?

Sacramento Bee

A coalition of good government groups is sounding the alarm about a bill they say will open the floodgates to special interest money in California legislative races. The Senate Election Committee should kill the bill on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.


EDITORIAL: California must act as if hackers are trying to compromise our elections

San Francisco Chronicle

The outcome of several California congressional races this November could decide the composition of the U.S. House of Representatives — and the political direction of the country. So Alex Padilla, California’s Democratic Secretary of State, is wise to take the threat of election cybersecurity seriously.




The Kavanaugh Document Fight

Wall Street Journal

Grassley is following the precedents set by Democrats on Kagan.

See also:

      Kavanaugh Feared Looking ‘Silly’ on Flip-Flop on Presidential Records Roll  Call


Fourth Judge Upholds Mueller Appointment

Wall Street Journal

Trump-appointed jurist says special counsel’s appointment falls within Constitution.


Trumped-up justice: New report shows corporate crime going unpunished under Trump

As enforcement against corporate criminals plummets, “law and order” is an excuse for targeting immigrants


Nancy Pelosi Is Damaging Democrats’ Takeover Chances  

National Review

NBC News reports that Pelosi might struggle to win 218 votes for speaker even if Democrats take the House in November.


Priors rule: When do Malfeasance Revelations Help or Hurt Incumbent Parties?


Effective policy-making requires that voters avoid electing malfeasant politicians. However, as our simple learning model emphasizing voters’ prior beliefs and updating highlights, informing voters of incumbent malfeasance may not entail sanctioning. Specifically, electoral punishment of incumbents revealed to be 


What Americans want from government reform


At a time of bitter national debate over the size and function of the federal government, Paul Light discusses recent trends in four main ideologies around U.S. government reform: dismantling, streamlining, rebuilding, and expanding.  


Trump did not solve the North Korea problem in Singapore—in fact, the threat has only grown


President Donald Trump took a gamble meeting face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June. 




Advocates Say Paper Ballots Are Safest


They’re also the cheapest and fastest way to address vulnerable systems before the midterms.


Election officials say money, training needed to improve security

Las Vegas Journal

Regional U.S. election officials attending a hacker conference Friday in Las Vegas said they need more money and training to enhance cybersecurity of their election infrastructure.


Google watches your movements, like it or not

Stockton Record

Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to, investigation reveals.

See also:

     Google tracks and records your movements even if you turn off Location History San Diego Union-Tribune


Two-Party System: America’s Triumph of Democracy

National Review

Bashing the American two-party system never goes out of style, but at present it seems trendier than usual. A populist age begets fresh animosity for partisan traditions.


Russia Doesn’t Need to Change Votes — Just Sows Confusion

PEW Trusts

Two states left nearly 200,000 people off voter rolls earlier this year, leading to confusion and anger when those people tried to cast a ballot in the primaries.


Across the Divide

Wall Street Journal

Several months ago, we asked readers if America was hopelessly divided. We received hundreds of detailed responses from people across the country about their experiences living in a polarized nation.






Secretary of Ag Perdue slated to visit McFarland Tuesday

Bakersfield Californian

The nation's top farming official is scheduled to swing through Kern County Tuesday as part of a two-day visit to the Golden State.


Crop report sets record straight for SJ County production

Stockton Record

The local agricultural commission released its 2017 crop report last week, a manifesto that quantifies the annual productivity of the farms that remain the backbone of San Joaquin County’s economy.


McDonald's plans to modernize 550 California outlets with ordering kiosks and table service

Los Angeles Times

McDonald’s Corp. and its franchisees plan to spend $390 million to update 550 McDonald’s restaurants in California through 2019. McDonald’s is modernizing its dining rooms, installing new digital menu boards and providing self-order kiosks inside its restaurants.


California cities oppose plan to allow pot delivery in areas where sales are banned

Los Angeles Times

California cities on Monday objected to a state proposal that would allow marijuana delivery to homes in areas where storefront pot sales have been banned locally.


Can cities block pot deliveries?


City officials and cops are protesting a proposed rule that would permit deliveries of marijuana to any city in the state, including those that have sought to ban commercial cannabis sales.


Report: Total Marijuana Demand Tops Ice Cream In U.S.


The marijuana industry is growing so fast that if the government legalized it nationally it would outsell ice cream. A new report from Marijuana Business Dailyestimates that the total demand for marijuana, including the black market, is $45-$50 billion.


EDITORIAL: Trump’s tariffs are hurting our farmers

Modesto Bee

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China is already costing agriculture in the Central Valley and across California. His relief plan for farmers appears to favor crops grown in red states, not the fruits, nuts, vegetables and wine grown in California






Tulare County officials charge East Area Rapist suspect in 1975 Visalia slaying

Fresno Bee

Authorities in Tulare County filed a new murder charge Monday against East Area Rapist suspect Joseph James DeAngelo, accusing him of a 1975 murder that has long haunted authorities and residents of Visalia, where DeAngelo allegedly started his decades-long crime spree.

See also:

     Sweet vindication for retired detective who first linked Visalia Ransacker to East Area Rapist Fresno Bee

     Tulare County DA charges accused Golden State Killer with 1975 Visalia murder ABC30

     DA: Visalia Ransacker is Golden State Killer, East Area Rapist Visalia Times-Delta

     Golden State Killer suspect is charged with 13th murder, this time in Tulare County Los Angeles Times

     New murder charge for Golden State Killer suspect tied to Visalia Ransacker San Francisco Chronicle


EDITORIAL: California bail laws must change: They're costly, punitive, not that effective

San Diego Union-Tribune

State leaders’ recent embrace of criminal justice reform is welcome and desperately needed. The Legislature appears ready to take up Senate Bill 10, which would force major changes in the state’s bail system.


Public Safety:


California's top court rules for police in a pursuit accident case

Los Angeles Times

A police department with a policy requiring 100% of officers to certify they read and understood the agency’s policy on vehicle pursuits is not liable for an accident even if all the officers failed to sign, the court decided unanimously.


Another Use for Drones: Investigating Car Wrecks

PEW Charitable Trust

When police investigators tried to figure out what caused a multi-vehicle crash that killed an elderly woman in Morton, Illinois, last month, they looked to the sky for help.


Ninth Circuit Returns to Form, Upholds Bizarre California Gun Regulation

National Review

In a ruling earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit court of appeals returned to their old ways and upheld one of the most bizarre and nonsensical gun regulations in the nation.




Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove opens to visitors, as Ferguson Fire threat wanes

Fresno Bee

The hazy-gray layer of smoke that blanketed the emerald canopy of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias nearly vanished Monday, just in time to greet fleets of buses packed with tourists, waiting to be inspired by the towering trees.

See also:

     Firefighters close to full control of Ferguson Fire  ABC30

     Firefighters close in on total containment of Ferguson Fire Sierra Star

      Yosemite Valley Re-Opens — And Welcomes Back The L.A.-Style Traffic

      Yosemite park reopens, but fire’s toll on tourism still felt AP News


Fire near North Fork 60% contained after Madera Sheriff issues pre-evacuation order

Fresno Bee

The Madera County Sheriff’s Office issued a pre-evacuation order near North Fork due to a wildfire that broke out in the area Monday afternoon.

See also:

     Pre-evacuation ordered issued for Putney Place area in North Fork ABC30

     North Fork Fire prompts pre-evacuation Madera Tribune


20 fires burning in California, peak of fire season still to come


Twenty different fires continued to burn around the state and with the peak of fire season still to come, the outlook in California could worsen.

See also:

     California wildfires: How many fires are burning and where are they? Sacramento Bee

     In California’s new wildfire reality, facing the need for periodic fires to clear fuel San Francisco Chronicle


Trump officials steer clear of climate change issue in tour of Redding fire zone

Sacramento Bee

Two top officials of the Trump administration, winding up a tour of fire-ravaged Redding, insisted Monday that removing dead trees and thinning forests, not addressing climate change, are the keys to dealing with California wildfires.

See also:

      Don't blame wildfires on climate change – it's environmentalists' fault, says Zinke The Guardian

      Critics pan Zinke’s solutions to California’s wildfire crisis


Sixth firefighter killed in California’s battle against wildfires this year

San Francisco Chronicle

A firefighter died in the line of duty while battling California’s biggest wildfire, state officials announced Monday, the same day that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke toured another fire site and said the secret to the state’s horrific fire problem is better forest management.

See also:

     Firefighter from Utah dies battling Mendocino Complex, the largest wildfire in California San Diego Union-Tribune

      Firefighter dies in Mendocino Complex Fire The Sacramento Bee


Caught in a Disaster? Your Rescuer Might Be an Amateur

Pew Trusts

Wearing goggles and a bright green vest, Brenda Burke approached the 3-foot-tall flame in a crouched position, holding a fire extinguisher at the ready.






Can consumer loans ever be so expensive they break the law? The California Supreme Court says yes

Los Angeles Times

California’s high court has ruled that interest rates on consumer loans can be so high that they become “unconscionable” and, therefore, illegal — a decision that could call into question the validity of millions of loans and upend the state’s subprime lending market.

See also:

       Supreme Court: Yes, interest rates can be too high  CALmatters


Poverty in California is getting better—except where it isn’t


California still has the nation’s highest poverty rate when you take into account the state’s high cost of living.  But the number of people living in poverty here has dropped since the beginning of the decade.


‘We Are at the Limit’: Trump’s Tariffs Turn Small Businesses Upside Down 

Wall Street Journal

They lack the wiggle room to absorb cost increases or shift production, and many are re-evaluating plans and strategies


At Carrier, the Factory Trump Saved, Morale Is Through the Floor: 20 months after Trump reached a deal to keep blue-collar jobs from leaving the country, absenteeism plagues the Indiana plant.

New York Times

By the time the sun comes up, Nicole Hargrove knows if it’ll be a struggle to meet her quota at the Carrier furnace factory in Indianapolis. 




New projections show future of work in California. See growth prospects for every job

Sacramento Bee

California will add two million jobs in the next decade, with the fastest job growth coming in sectors that require college degrees, according to new projections from the California Employment Development Department.


Interns and outcomes: Just how effective are internships as a bridge to stable employment?

International Labour Organization

New and emerging forms of ‘non-standard’ employment are coming to dominate young people’s early labour market experiences.






Thousands head back to school in Fresno and across the Valley


Summer vacation is coming to an end for more students from the North Valley to the South Valley, as they head back to school.

See also:

     Modesto schools celebrate start of new year Modesto Bee


Few schools test water for lead, even though it's free

San Francisco Chronicle

As students head back to class across California this month, many will sip water from school fountains or faucets that could contain high levels of lead.


Pool explosion, faculty complaints, financial missteps are issues in wide-open YCCD election

Modesto Bee

The Yosemite Community College District board, which has had its hair tousled a bit in recent months, will have a new look after the November election. Three of the four incumbents who are up for re-election are not running, extending the filing period for candidates until Wednesday.


How Schools Work' Review: The Worm in the Apple

Wall Street Journal

A former education secretary doesn’t pull his punches when it comes to teachers’ unions; still, the Obama administration didn’t take them on. Naomi Schaefer Riley reviews “How Schools Work” by Arne Duncan.


10 questions parents should ask before school starts


When educators talk about classroom instruction, it can be tough to know what to make of the answers. Instead of asking about instruction, try posing questions that demand straightforward answers. 


Higher Ed:


CSUB, KHSD team up on new teacher residency program

Bakersfield Californian

Cal State Bakersfield and the Kern High School District are together launching a program designed to prepare a select group of 20 teacher-residents for careers in local education.


Pool explosion, faculty complaints, financial missteps are issues in wide-open YCCD election

Modesto Bee

The Yosemite Community College District board, which has had its hair tousled a bit in recent months, will have a new look after the November election. 


Demand for Cal Grants Among Nontraditional Students Far Exceeds Supply

California Budget & Policy Center

As they return to college campuses across California this month, many low- and middle-income students will rely on Cal Grants, the state’s primary financial aid program, to help cover tuition, fees, and basic living expenses. 


What happens after student loan borrowers default and why


This report recommends simpler and fairer default resolution policies that levy a consistent fee, protect taxpayers, and allow for faster resolution after the first default.


Education Department’s ‘Gainful Employment’ Repeal Carries High Price Tag

Roll Call 

The Trump administration’s proposal to repeal Obama-era requirements for recipients of federal student aid comes with a price tag of about $5.3 billion over a decade, a figure that is already giving critics ammunition as the Senate prepares to turn to Education Department appropriations this week.




Vocational Training Is Back as Firms Pair With High Schools to Groom Workers

Wall Street Journal

CVS, Tesla and others help educators create skills-based programs—and future job candidates






Are mosquitoes getting worse in Fresno? Yes, and in a way that could be dangerous

Fresno Bee

The nonprofit news organization Climate Central is warning that the number of mosquito “disease danger days” — when people are at greater risk of getting bitten and sick — is increasing across much of the U.S. 


Could record-breaking seawater temps mean typhoons off the California coast?

Modesto Bee

As the seawater temperatures continue to increase in the Southern California Bight and reach 80 degrees on a more consistent basis, it does raise the probability of a tropical cyclone reaching the coastline south of Point Conception.


EDITORIAL: This started out as the best air-quality summer in the Valley. Then wildfires ignited

Fresno Bee

The central San Joaquin Valley has been blanketed in wildfire smoke for weeks. That smoke has come from not just the Ferguson fire near Yosemite National Park, but blazes as far north as Mendocino and Shasta counties.




California Today: A Move to Mandate 100% Carbon-Free Electricity

The New York Times

California has been a leader in trying to counter the forces contributing to climate change, from its stringent standards for auto emissions to its mandate that 50 percent of the state’s electricity come from carbon-free sources by 2030.






Former Merced-area executive pleads guilty to health care fraud

Fresno Bee

The former executive of several Merced-area health clinics pleaded guilty on Monday to health care fraud and receiving kickbacks in connection with a years-long, multimillion-dollar scheme, the California Department of Justice announced.


FDA approves marketing for pregnancy prevention app


The Food and Drug Administration has approved the marketing of the first smartphone app to prevent pregnancy.


Breathing ‘a chore.’ California wildfires threaten the health of young and old

Sacramento Bee

Children, older people and those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD are particularly at risk of smoke-related health problems. But otherwise-healthy people also may experience short-term breathing problems, eye irritation and coughing. 


Legislature approves valley fever measure, goes to governor's desk for signature

Bakersfield Californian

Jointly authored by Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Kern County, and Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Hanford, AB 1787 ensures consistency in the reporting of valley fever cases in order to have the accuracy needed to appropriately respond and provide resources where most needed.

See also:

      For Valley Fever Survivors, A Growing Need: Wigs KVRG


Bayer Shares Plunge After Monsanto Weed Killer Ruling

Wall Street Journal

Jury in California found products presented a substantial danger to consumers

See also:

      California judge finds Monsanto weedkiller causes cancer Financial Times


The Fiscal Implausibility of Medicare for All

National Review

Proponents and opponents alike should understand the staggering amount of money Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all proposal, and what would be needed to finance it. 


The Large Hidden Costs of Medicare’s Prescription Drug Program

The New York Times

Premiums have risen very little in the years since Medicare Part D was introduced. But the same cannot be said of the burden on taxpayers.


Short-term health plans: A junk solution to a real problem

The Conversation

After failing to overturn most of the Affordable Care Act in a very public fight, President Donald Trump has been steadily working behind the scenes to further destabilize former President Barack Obama’s signature achievement. 


EDITORIAL: Mental health diversion law: A good idea that needs some work

Los Angeles Times

Earlier this summer, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law allowing judges, at their discretion, to order community mental health treatment in lieu of prosecution for people accused of crimes.


Human Services:


NW Visalia Urgent Care opens to patients

Visalia Times Delta

A year after construction work began, Kaweah Delta's new Urgent Care center is open for business.


How California hopes to halt the revolving door to the ER


The state budget that kicked in last month devotes more than $100 billion to Medi-Cal, California’s health system for the poor. 


Promoting the HPV vaccine doesn’t lead to more teen sex, study shows


Teens are no more sexually promiscuous in states that have passed legislation promoting the HPV vaccine than those living in states that have not, according to a newly published study.


The Terminally Ill Need More Than the 'Right to Try'

Wall Street Journal

Two hundred cancer drugs are in Phase III trials. Congress can put them into patients’ hands today.




A growing number of California detainees are Indians crossing through Mexico to seek asylum

Los Angeles Times

On a recent visit to the federal prison in Victorville, U.S. Rep. Mark Takano was caught by surprise. Of the hundreds of immigrants detained there, he learned, possibly 40% had traveled from India seeking asylum.


Can an Anti-ICE Message Catch On in Trump Country?

Wall Street Journal

For Republican Pete Stauber, today’s GOP primary in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District amounts to a formality to get on the November ballot. The party has rallied around the former police officer, who is running as a staunch ally of President Trump, in what the GOP sees as a rare opportunity to flip a Democratic seat in the House.

See also:

      The Missing Part of the Immigration Debate Wall Street Journal




Land Use:


Longtime Fresno business forced to move due to High Speed Rail new building


The move of a longtime Fresno business, spurred by the High-Speed Rail, is being called a major success by Fresno leaders.


There will be waterslides in Manteca again. Construction on Great Wolf Lodge to begin

Modesto Bee

Manteca is getting new waterslides, and then some, as Great Wolf Lodge announced plans to begin work on a new, massive water-park resort in the city.


Five new towers could be built along one booming SF block

San Francisco Chronicle

Mission Street in the heart of San Francisco’s Transbay district has already filled up with new high-rises. The development wave is now spreading south. Five towers are approved or proposed on the 500 block of Howard Street.


Clean, green public spaces make us happier, study finds

NBC News

In areas of Philadelphia below the poverty line, residents reported a 70 percent drop in depression after public spaces were cleaned and greened.




Trump trade dispute with Canada boosts housing costs and prices


Houses are made out of wood, and the cost of lumber has soared this summer. Mike Prandini of the Fresno and Madera County Building Industry Association says tariffs on Canadian lumber are behind much of the increase.


County has new plan to end homelessness but no funding yet

Bakersfield Californian

Faced with mounting public concern and an uptick in homelessness, the Kern County Board of Supervisors held a community meeting Monday to discuss how to address the issue.




Rubin: America’s debt has exploded. Why does no one care?

Washington Post

The public must be made to realize that its economic well-being depends on getting our national debt under control.


Commentary: Betty Yee is fortunate; Pots law are lax


Guest commentator Kevin Sabet writes in CALmatters new commentary forum: Controller Betty Yee and her husband, whose car was rear-ended on July 13 by a motorist who allegedly was high on cannabis, “were unfortunate victims of California’s lax attitude toward pot.”


It's Hard to Manage Your Credit When You've Never Heard of 'Interest'

PEW Trust

When Kentucky state Treasurer Allison Ball and a colleague talked with high school seniors last year about credit cards and other pieces of the personal finance puzzle, something wasn’t right.


Does America face a 'boom' in retiree bankruptcies?


On August 5, The New York Times published an article claiming that bankruptcies among retirees have skyrocketed due to “vanishing pensions, soaring medical expenses, inadequate savings." However, this is mostly hot air.




(Video) California Lawmakers Push for More Answers from High-Speed Rail Leadership

Fox 40

Congressman Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Railroads, called a hearing in Sacramento Thursday to grill the leadership on the high-speed rail project.


(Editorial) High-speed rail in California has become a slow-motion train wreck

Las Vegas Review-Journal 

High-speed rail in California has turned into a slow-motion train wreck. At least it provides a case study in how inaccurate — or untruthful — government experts are when it comes to predicting the cost of new programs.




Stratford residents likely to be out of water for rest of week


It will take at least a full day's work, just to get the pump up from the main broken well in Stratford. Sand got into it last week, causing major problems.


Few schools test water for lead, even though it's free

San Francisco Chronicle

As students head back to class across California this month, many will sip water from school fountains or faucets that could contain high levels of lead.


Why Does California Let Billions Of Gallons Of Fresh Water Flow Straight Into The Ocean?


If you’ve been paying attention, you know that California is in the midst of a severe multi-year drought. Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown, standing on a dry Sierra meadow that’s normally buried under many feet of snow this time of year, made an historic announcement requiring mandatory 25% reductions in water use statewide.


Restore Hetch Hetchy vows to take Sierra Canyon restoration case to California Supreme Court

Northern California Record

A Berkeley environmental group that wants the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in northwestern Yosemite drained to restore the Sierra Canyon has vowed to take the case to the California Supreme Court after losing an appeal in July.


Voters favor new water bond. What are they missing?


One of the most surprising findings in the July PPIC survey is the strong support for an $8.9 billion state water bond among California likely voters (58%). Support for the bond―Proposition 3 on the November ballot―comes close on the heels of California voters passing a $4.1 billion state water and parks bond in June. What’s going on?




Culture, family celebrated at Modesto fest as artist starts new mural slated to grow

Modesto Bee

Culture, community and art were celebrated Saturday at Mellis Park in Modesto as people turned out for the Family International Festival.


What’s going on in the Modesto region? A lot, here’s a look

Modesto Bee



Our New California Restaurant Critic

New York Times

I’m the food editor of The Times and I took to Twitter on Friday morning to report some very good news for fans of California’s vibrant and exciting restaurant scene: Tejal Rao has been appointed our first-ever California restaurant critic