August 15, 2017



Rising numbers of abused children suffer severe injuries in the Valley 

Fresno Bee

The cases are not related, but all involve alleged violence against a child, and Valley child abuse experts say they are seeing more cases of children with severe injuries from physical abuse. Why more children are being physically harmed is difficult to answer, but poverty, drug abuse, domestic violence and mental health are risk factors for child abuse, the experts say.


State utility commission judge hears from Bakersfield residents about PG&E rates

Bakersfield resident Carol Bender didn’t pull any punches when she laid out her concerns about how power rates are calculated during a “listening session” held by the Public Utilities Commission Monday afternoon in the Bakersfield City Council chambers.


Vindictive or due diligence? City seeks legal fees from people who challenged 24th Street widening

The City of Bakersfield, which won the lawsuit challenging the 24th Street widening project in Superior Court, will ask a judge Friday to let it sue 10 Bakersfield residents to collect about $20,315 in legal costs.



Political Road Map: Knowing who is (and isn’t) legally registered to vote in California

Los Angeles Times

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from President Trump’s unproven allegations about the security of elections is that he’s managed to blur the difference between voting records and the act of voting.  Or put another way, it’s a distraction from resolving the challenges in keeping voter registration data accurate and up to date.

Walters – Fake news: California voting rolls are riddled with ineligible voters


Travis Allen, a Republican assemblyman from Orange County and self-anointed candidate for governor, dropped this Twitter bomb the other day: “11 counties in California have more total registered voters than citizens over the age of 18. How is this possible?”  As a matter of fact, it isn’t possible. Allen’s tweet just parrots a subtle falsehood that California’s voter rolls are packed with countless names of people who either don’t exist or are ineligible to vote.


Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox working two campaigns

The Business Journal

While John Cox has been traveling California campaigning to become the Republican candidate for governor, the Rancho Santa Fe venture capitalist and self-described small business owner has been running a second campaign.

During a recent stop in Fresno, Cox explained that special interest groups and lobbyists have corrupted the political system in Sacramento, and his goal is to fix it.


California Republicans face backlash for backing climate change program

LA Times

There’s just one thing would have done differently: He wishes he had attended the ceremony on San Francisco’s Treasure Island where Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation… Whether he did the right thing is a question that has engulfed California’s struggling Republican Party.

California Tea Party: It’s Time for an Alternative to the GOP


California Tea Partiers met in Fresno on Friday and Saturday in hopes of activating their supporters on behalf of President Trump’s agenda. “The Real Resistance Conference” brought together diehard anti-establishment conservatives and disillusioned Republicans to talk strategy.


California Assembly Leaders Face Rebellions From Party Grassroots 

Capital Public Radio

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) is the target of a recall effort after shelving a single-payer health care bill for the year. Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) is fending off calls to resign his leadership post – including a looming vote Friday night of the state GOP board of directors – after he negotiated a cap-and-trade deal with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.


Should Assembly GOP leader Mayes resign?


The California Assembly’s Republican leader has been under fire from conservatives since he and seven other party members voted with Democrats last month to extend a major environmental program. Should Assemblyman Chad Mayes resign as Republican leader? That’s our Question of the Week for readers.


Court temporarily blocks change in California recall rules

Merced Sun-Star

A California law that aims to delay a recall election targeting a Democratic senator will remain on hold while judges determine whether it’s legal, a state appellate ruled Monday.

See also:

·       A recall election for state Sen. Josh Newman could happen this fall after court freezes new rules  Los Angeles Times


Meet The New Boss. Same As The Old Boss.

Fox and Hounds Daily

Until 1910, the dominant political force in California was the Southern Pacific Railroad. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, SP “manipulated much of California’s political life, buying city supervisors, mayors, judges, the state legislature and even members of the California delegation to the U.S. Congress.” Eventually California enacted a railroad commission and other reforms to reign in SP’s power.


Joel Fox: Panel: Two-party system in trouble

Fox and Hounds Daily

In a Zocalo Public Square session in Los Angeles that was supposed to examine the strength and weaknesses of the Republican Party it was the two party system that got an examination. And the diagnosis was not hopeful.



Supposedly Symbolic, State Travel Bans Have Real Bite

Pew Charitable Trust | Stateline

Conference and convention planners say there is a powerful stigma associated with state travel bans, even if they only officially apply to state employees.




Trump’s weak statement failed the people of Charlottesville and the rest of us

Fresno Bee

This white racist riot is not a conservative vs. liberal question. It is a matter of what it means to be the children of fathers and grandfathers who stormed the beaches at Normandy.


More than murals, Wide Open Walls is a sign Sacramento has finally arrived

Sacramento Bee

Murals can help put Sacramento on the cultural map after years of trying to ditch its reputation as a boring government town.


Vaccination rates are up in California, but pockets of resistance still threaten everyone

Los Angeles Times

As the new school year begins, parents have reason to worry about what their kids may be exposed to in the classroom. Despite an overall increase in kindergarten vaccination rates to 95.6% since 2015, when the Legislature stopped allowing public school students to skip their shots simply because of their “personal beliefs,” a Los Angeles Times analysis found that at nearly 750 California schools, most of them charter or private schools, 90% or fewer of the kindergartners had their full course of vaccinations against diseases such as measles, polio, and whooping cough. The optimal rate for preventing a measles outbreak is 95%.


Charlottesville tragedy cries out for Republicans to distance themselves from Trump

San Jose Mercury News

The president’s belated acknowledgement that white supremacists were to blame in Charlottesville was welcome, but it can’t change his original reluctance.




‘Green rush’ stalled in tiny Nipton? 

Capitol Weekly

It appears that a company’s plans to turn a remote San Bernardino County town into a marijuana tourism mecca may go up in smoke.


Registration for Dec. organic farming summit now open

The Salinas Californian

General attendee registration is now open for the inaugural Organic Grower Summit (OGS), slated for Dec. 13-14 in Monterey. A joint production between California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and Organic Produce Network (OPN), OGS will bring together organic growers, producers and processors for two days of education, information and networking opportunities with organic production supply chain and service providers.


Warning to avocado lovers: a California shortfall may send prices soaring

Los Angeles Times

Avocados could soon be fetching a lot more green. A shortfall in production in California, the leading U.S. avocado grower, has kicked up wholesale prices in recent weeks — which means you may soon be paying more for fresh guacamole and avocado toast.





Commentary: Details a problem for needed bail system changes

Porterville Recorder

There are plenty of problems with the kind of one-party government California now has, with every statewide office in the hands of Democrats, who also hold two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature.



Yosemite wildfire burning in trees killed by beetles

KCRA Sacramento

Rangers at Yosemite National Park have alerted a small community about a wildfire that crews are struggling to contain as they fight it from the air and ground, officials said Monday.


Essential California: After the Erskine fire, a year living in a campground

Los Angeles Times

With California entering peak wildfire season, it is a blaze from more than a year ago that still torments many who live in the rugged, picturesque enclaves of the Southern Sierra Nevada.





Scramble of State Politics Leaves Business in the Middle

Fox and Hounds Daily

As state politics is scrambled from the left and the right, it is appropriate to wonder where the big business community comes down when donating to candidates in the next statewide election.


The 385 tax rules make American businesses more competitive—Treasury should keep them

Brookings Institution

Efforts to improve the competitiveness of U.S. companies often focus on how we tax U.S. companies on the income they earn in foreign markets. For example, calls for a lower corporate rate and a territorial tax system, in which income earned by U.S. companies in foreign markets is excluded from U.S. tax, are often motivated by a desire to boost exports or the worldwide share of income earned by American companies.


Corporate tax reform done right can boost middle class wages

The high corporate tax rate in the U.S. drives investment out of the country and reduces wages for average workers.



Fresno’s ERI looks to hire a dozen people in 60 days

The Business Journal
Fresno-based ERI, the nation’s leading recycler of electronic waste, is on a hiring spree — looking to bring at least a dozen new team members on board within the next 60 days.


New study finds that minimum wage hikes are great news for robot workers


My conclusion back then: “Pushing for an unprecedented boost in the minimum wage given both the weak economy and automation risk seems like foolhardy public policy.” That, especially given the low-risk alternative of raising and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit.  Now comes the new NBER working paper, “People Versus Machines: The Impact of Minimum Wages on Automatable Jobs”


Where the robots are

Brookings Institution

Where are the robots, exactly? One answer—if you read the steady flow of doomy articles online — is that automation is everywhere, not just all over the media but (you would have to conclude) thoroughly infiltrating the economy. In that sense, the trend seems omnipresent even as it spawns a kind of free-floating dread amongst the chattering class.





UC Davis Reports $5 Million From State of California Will Transform K-12 History Education

Sierra Sun Times

The University of California, Davis, will receive more than $1 million from the California Historical Society as part of the society’s $5 million, state-funded contract to establish online teaching and learning resources for K-12 history-social science curriculum slated to be available in 2019.


Going back to school early has a cost: enduring the heat

Orange County Register

Fifth-grader Gisele Gonzalez, 9, brings a jacket to her Anaheim school even when the mercury reaches 90 – her remedy for an overpowering, centralized air-conditioning system that leaves her shivering.


State superintendent candidates agree teacher shortage must be top priority


At an education conference Thursday, the two announced candidates for state superintendent of public instruction called for more strategies to counter a teacher shortage they said is gripping the state. The comments by Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond indicate the issue will factor heavily in their campaigns to replace retiring State Superintendent Tom Torlakson next year.


Analyzing ‘the homework gap’ among high school students

Brookings Institute

Researchers have struggled for decades to identify a causal, or even correlational, relationship between time spent in school and improved learning outcomes for students. Some studies have focused on the length of a school yearwhile others have focused on hours in a day and others on hours in the week.


Santa Ana students — kindergartners to 12th-graders — mark first day of school with pledge to graduate high school

Orange County Register

From kindergartens to 12th-graders, all 50,000 students in the Santa Ana Unified School District started their first day of classes Monday, Aug. 14, with a pledge – “to graduate from high school in the year ___.”


Surprise, Trump’s Education Ideas Are Polarizing


U.S. opinion on these ideas seems to be shifting, according to a new poll from EducationNext, an opinion and policy journal associated with free-market education reform ideas. They’ve been asking similar questions for the past decade.

See also:

·       Charter schools take a hit in nationwide poll EdSource

Higher Ed:


Meet UC Berkeley’s groundbreaking new chancellor

San Jose Mercury News

Carol Christ is the first woman and oldest person to lead America’s best public university.





Trump administration takes key step to rolling back auto fuel standards 


The Trump administration has begun the process of rolling back tough fuel standards for America’s car and light truck fleet. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department have opened the public comment period on the rewriting of standards for greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025.


Study: Fines for illegal pollution plummet under Trump


The Environmental Integrity Project looked at that civil penalties paid by polluters during the first six months under Trump. The group published an analysis Thursday that found penalties were less than half their levels under each of the past three presidents.  The analysis found that Trump’s Justice Department settled 26 civil cases against companies over environmental violations, totaling $12 million in penalties. That’s a 60 percent drop on average from comparable time periods under presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush or Bill Clinton, even before adjustments for inflation.

California Hopes ‘Healthy Soil’ Will Fight Climate Change 


California lawmakers are enlisting farmers’ help in pulling carbon dioxide out of the air and storing it in their soil. California’s $7.5 million Healthy Soils initiative will pay farmers up to $50,000 if they adopt “carbon farming” practices, including applying compost on rangeland to increase carbon retention capacity. State officials say it could remove the equivalent of millions of tons of carbon dioxide a year.




More Borrowers Are Defaulting on Their ‘Green’ PACE Loans

Fox Business

Loan defaults in a popular program meant to finance energy-saving home upgrades have increased substantially, despite lenders’ claims that few borrowers have missed payments.



An Obamacare insurer flees another state, blaming Trump and the GOP for sabotage

Los Angeles Times

The effort by congressional Republicans and the Trump White House to sabotage the Affordable Care Act reached another milestone Friday when the big insurer Anthem announced it will be pulling out of Virginia’s ACA marketplace next year.


Skelton: Forget about single-payer healthcare. This California congressman has the real solution: Medicare for all

Los Angeles Times

Dreaming of a state-run single-payer healthcare system? Wake up and enter the real world. Want universal healthcare for all Americans? Medicare for all is the solution.


Sanders plans to introduce single payer bill next month?

The Hill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to introduce his “Medicare for All” single-payer healthcare bill after Congress returns in September.


Covered California may let insurers recoup 2018 losses in future years 


The board that oversees Covered California will consider a plan Thursday to entice health insurance companies to keep selling individual policies on the state exchange even if they lose money next year.


Check your kids’ vaccine record as school year starts

San Jose Mercury News

August — ouch — is National Immunization Awareness Month and the start of school for many, timely reminders why local and state public health​ officials are urging parents to make sure their children are up to speed with their vaccines, preventing diseases like measles and whooping cough that can easily spread in childcare and school settings.


133% leap in children admitted to ER for marijuana, study finds


Marijuana intoxication can occur when a child accidentally ingests a marijuana product or inhales marijuana smoke. Symptoms can vary based on the child’s age and size but often include sleepiness, difficulty breathing, seizures or even coma. Effects usually last six to 24 hours.


Stem cell agency eyes survival options

Capitol Weekly

California’s $3 billion stem cell research agency, which is facing its financial demise in a few short years, has formed a team of its directors to tackle transition planning and examine possible alternatives, including ones that would extend its life.



California sues Trump administration over immigration policies

Fresno Bee
California filed a lawsuit Monday against the Trump administration over its threats to withhold public safety funds from so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Monday.

See also:

·       California attorney general to sue Trump administration over `sanctuary city’ threat  San Jose Mercury News

Undocumented ‘dreamers’ wonder if Trump will continue Obama-era program

Sacramento Bee

Today marks the five-year anniversary of an Obama-era program that allows young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. before age 16 to apply to live and work without the fear of deportation.


What migrant farmworkers need at day’s end: A decent, safe, affordable place to sleep

Sacramento Bee

Arguments that migrant farmworker children are being deprived of an education because of California Office of Migrant Services eligibility rules related to migrant housing make no sense and miss the point about the need for safe and affordable housing for all farm workers.


Healthcare workers rally to halt Oakland nurse’s deportation

San Jose Mercury News

Health care workers and other community members are rallying at noon Monday in front of Highland Hospital to demand that U.S. immigration officials halt the imminent deportation of registered nurse Maria Sanchez and her husband on Tuesday.



Land Use:


Building Communities for an Aging Population
“I think a lot of communities aren’t ready.  A lot of communities plan for the 35-year-old, and they think about youth, and families is where they plan, but they haven’t planned for those people who hit 50, 65, and now even, it’s not uncommon to be 90, over 100.”



‘Granny Pods’ Help Keep Portland Affordable


Portland has among the fastest rising rents in the country, and it’s embraced the ADU as a low cost way to create more housing in desirable neighborhoods.


Marin Lawmaker Wants California Corporations to Pay for Affordable Housing


As state lawmakers turn their attention to addressing California’s affordable housing crisis, one Democrat is proposing to raise taxes on the state’s largest companies to fund new construction. Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-Marin) is working on legislation to raise the state’s corporate tax rate one percentage point — from 8.84 percent to 9.84 percent — on companies with 500 or more employees.  The new revenue, which Levine estimates at roughly $500 million annually, would be spent on building affordable housing.


California’s ‘Paralysis’ on Housing Decisions

San Jose Mercury News

Brisbane, Calif. became the most recent example of a local government making it harder to for the state to address its growing housing crisis. The Mercury News staffer Katy Murphy reports on the situation in Brisbane, where a developer wants to build thousands of homes on a 684-acre swath of wasteland.


Can California’s housing problems be solved? Bill changed to speed building

Sacramento Bee

A California lawmaker has made a key change to expand the reach of a plan designed to speed up construction of affordable housing projects.


What if LA County paid residents to house the homeless? Leaders are exploring the idea 

Los Angeles Daily News

Some Los Angeles County homeowners may qualify for up to a $75,000 subsidy to build a second dwelling on their property to house homeless people, if a pilot program is approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.


Developers who won tax breaks gave to California treasurer


State Treasurer John Chiang is defending campaign contributions he has received from developers that won tax credits and bond financing from state committees he oversees, saying the tax breaks are based on a formula and not political favors.



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

PolitiFact California

That question has been asked repeatedly as tensions have mounted between California Democrats and President Donald Trump.


Celebrating ACE Extension

Manteca Bulletin
Even though the earliest timeline calls for it to happen by 2023, the Manteca Chamber of Commerce and Altamont Corridor Express are celebrating the securing of funds that will make the Manteca service — as well as to Ripon Modesto, and Ceres — possible.


Some California truck drivers may not be allowed to rest as often if this federal bill becomes law

Los Angeles Times
A provision in a House appropriations bill would allow federal regulations to exempt truck drivers who cross California boundaries from the state’s strict meal and rest requirements.

Taylor: Bike-share program resented as sign of gentrification 

San Francisco Chronicle

But this is the Bay Area, where gentrification is vehemently opposed. Because here the movement of middle-class people into low-income neighborhoods has displaced longtime residents, leaving many with nowhere to move to but the sidewalks and streets.



Supporters push to build $3 billion project at Temperance Flat Dam


Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley signed a document asking the California Water Commission for $1.3 billion to help build Temperance Flat Dam above Millerton Lake.


Arambula: Temperance Flat Dam investment will pay off for California

Modesto Bee
The winter of 2017 was a gift in many ways. Not only did it bring desperately needed water to California and end a statewide drought emergency, it highlighted the need to build more surface water storage projects like Temperance Flat on the San Joaquin River.


Sites Reservoir Supporters Want $1.6 Billion From Water Bond 

Capital Public Radio

This week is the application deadline for projects requesting funding from the $7.5 billion Proposition 1 water bond that California voters approved in 2014. Supporters of Sites Reservoir, which would be located an hour northwest of Sacramento, say they are asking for $1.6 billion from the bond. That’s more than half of the money in the bond that is set aside for water storage projects in California.


A nearly $17-billion water project is being planned for California. What will it cost the Southland?

Los Angeles Times

After years of planning for one of the biggest California water projects in decades, a key question remains unanswered: Who exactly will pay for it?  Decision time is approaching for the agencies that will have to pick up the nearly $17-billion tab for building two massive water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the heart of the state’s water works.


A Trip Down The Feather River Shows Impacts Of Oroville Spillway Failure 

Capital Public Radio

The heavy rains and significant releases of water from Lake Oroville after the spillway failure caused startling changes to the Feather River this spring. Brian Clemens knows that better than most. He’s been a fishing guide on this river for 10 years.




‘This is a huge victory.’ Oakdale white supremacist revels after deadly Virginia clash 

Modesto Bee

A Stanislaus State University student from Oakdale is a central figure in Saturday’s white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville that turned violent.


Charlottesville: Could it happen here?

What struck Paul Georgei was Bakersfield’s Republican Mayor Karen Goh standing next to legendary labor leader Dolores Huerta — and both women condemning in no uncertain terms the racism and hate espoused by white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville, Va., last week.

See also:

·       Californian Who Helped Lead Charlottesville Protests Used Berkeley as a Test Run  KQED

·       White nationalists planning rallies in SF, Berkeley  SFGATE

States listed with most hate groups. Where does California rank?

Sacramento Bee

California ranks No. 1 in the nation with 79 active hate groups, six of which operate in Sacramento area, according to a new report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and extremists in the U.S.