August 15, 2018






Ag secretary addresses water, labor and tariffs in farm visit with Denham

Modesto Bee

Water. Tariffs. Immigrant labor. Farmers raised concerns over those points Tuesday when U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, asked what they’re worried about these days.

See also:

      Editorial: Trump’s tariffs are hurting our farmers Modesto Bee

      Immigration roadblocks, Chinese and Mexican tariffs hurting Valley Ag companies abc30


No evidence to back Denham’s claim China ‘tampered’ with U.S. elections ‘quite a bit’

PolitiFact California

California Congressman Jeff Denham recently called China’s tariffs "a big deal" for Central Valley farmers, especially the 50 percent tariff on almonds grown throughout his Stanislaus County district.


‘We pay for it, we should have access to it,’ but police close Nunes office during rally

Fresno Bee

Clovis police were called and the building housing Congressman Devin Nunes’ office was locked during a rally for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security on Tuesday.


New Poll by Democratic Consultant Indicates Janz Could Beat Nunes

GV Wire

A poll by a San Francisco consulting firm suggests that Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz is gaining ground in his challenge of eight-term Republican Devin Nunes of Tulare.


Fresno State named one of the 100 best schools in the country

Fresno Bee

MONEY Magazine has named Fresno State as one of the 100 best universities in the country based on factors that point to “affordability, educational quality and alumni success.”


UC Merced to Celebrate Phase 1 of Massive Expansion Project

UC Merced

Opening celebration and building lighting for the UC Merced 2020 Project


Prop 47: Fresno police chief called out for his criticism

The Fresno Bee

Proposition 47 did not “decriminalize” drug possession or any of the crimes impacted by the law. All the crimes identified in Proposition 47 are enforceable as misdemeanors.


Kern County Board of Supervisors select new County Counsel

Bakersfield Californian

The Kern County Board of Supervisors has selected Margo Raison as the next County Counsel. Raison will take over for Mark Nations, who is retiring in December.


We have work to do, but our people are a start

Bakersfield Californian

Turns out that, by some measures, the folks we like to dismiss as big city elites have better opinions of Bakersfield and Kern County than we do of ourselves. The most striking example: More nonlocals (44%) than locals (34%) said they would recommend Bakersfield as a place to live.




California Democratic Party and open-government groups fight proposal to lift contribution limits for legislative leaders

Los Angeles Times

Faced with opposition from the California Democratic Party and open-government advocates, divided state lawmakers advanced a bill Tuesday that would increase the amount of campaign money that can be accepted by Democratic and Republican legislative leaders.


Can hackers tamper with your vote? Researchers show it’s possible in nearly 30 states

Sacramento Bee

Top computer researchers gave a startling presentation recently about how to intercept and switch votes on emailed ballots, but officials in the 30 or so states said the ease with which votes could be changed wouldn’t alter their plans to continue offering electronic voting in some fashion.

See also:

     California election officials are defending against cyberattacks — without any help from D.C. Los Angeles Times

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


Gavin Newsom has big, liberal plans for California. So how would he pay for them?

Sacramento Bee

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is promising an ambitious agenda for California in his campaign for governor: Universal preschool and childcare. Health care for all. More money for higher education and job training. More spending on roads, public transit and bridges. Millions of new housing units.


Fix California by Breaking It Up

National Review

This matter deserves a vote, but the state’s supreme court isn’t allowing one.




‘Shut down the Senate!’ Supreme Court confirmation roils Feinstein race.

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.

See also:

     Kevin de Leon wants Dianne Feinstein to shut down the Senate to stop Judge Kavanaugh's nomination. Ummm, she can't… Los Angeles Times

     Kavanaugh Could Unlock Funding for Religious Education, School Voucher Advocates Say  The New York Times

GOP to weaponize Pelosi in key House races

San Francisco Chronicle

Two GOP groups are planning to use Nancy Pelosi in attack ads warning that that if Democrats take GOP-held House seats in California, it will mean higher taxes for all Americans.

See also:

      Are this year’s midterms the last stand for Nancy Pelosi? Modesto Bee

      An Election Without a Wave? WSJ


With little fanfare, Trump and McConnell reshape the nation’s circuit courts

Washington Post

As the Senate moves toward confirming Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are leading a lower-key yet deeply consequential charge to remake the entire federal judiciary.


Instead of Oversight, This Congress Believes in Under-Sight

Roll Call

In “Dr. Stangelove,” Stanley Kubrick’s scabrously funny 1964 sendup of nuclear war, a fanatical anti-Communist general starts pummeling the Russian ambassador for taking photographs in the inner sanctum of the Pentagon. The hapless president breaks up the scuffle by saying in an outraged tone, “Gentlemen. You can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”


By overturning ballot initiatives, more lawmakers are rejecting the will of their voters

Washington Post

Democrats and Republicans, from D.C. to S.D. and Maine, disregard theoutcome of popular referendums.




The Security App That Actually Makes Browsing Easier


Dashlane’s new tools keep you safe online—and free you from the relentless hassle of typing your passwords

See also:

      Bots vs. Trolls: How AI Could Clean Up Social Media WSJ


The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won

New York Times

Facebook and Google made billions mining personal data, and fought off anyone who threatened to stop them. Then came a challenge in their own backyard.


Twitter Suspends Alex Jones for Seven Days Over Tweet

New York Times

Twitter on Tuesday suspended the account of the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for a week after he tweeted a link to a video calling for supporters to get their “battle rifles” ready against media and others, in a violation of the company’s rules against inciting violence.


Are rich people more likely to lie, cheat, steal? Science explains the world of Manafort and Gates.

Washington Post

What is about money that makes people do bad things?






Sunday, August 19, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report“Public Employee Retiree Health Care: A Promise Made to be Broken?” – Guests: Nick Schroeder, an expert on State employee retiree benefits with the LAO and Jon Ortiz with The Sacramento Bee. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


Sunday, August 19, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report - Valley Views Edition: “California's Public Employee Pensions Challenge” –Guests: Nick Schroeder, an expert on State employee retiree benefits with the LAO, Jon Ortiz with The Sacramento Bee, and Judy Lin (CALmatters Reporter). Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


Sunday, August 19, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy: “Public Employee Retiree Healthcare”  Guest: Margarita Fernandez, PIO State Auditor's Office. Host: Ana Melendez.

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Florida tomato, berry farmers set off NAFTA tiff with California growers

The Fresno Bee

Florida and Mexico are having a food fight over tomatoes and other fresh produce. Will farmers in California and Washington get caught in the crossfire?

See also:

       U.S. Farm Export Prices Decline Most Since October 2011 Bloomberg

       Farmers’ Anxiety Grows as Details on Federal Aid Remain Unclear WSJ


Some local Save Marts now allowing for online grocery orders, curbside pick up


Some Valley Save Mart grocery stores are making it easier for customers to get their shopping done.


Ag trade roundtable, labor workshop, fall farmers market

Bakersfield Californian

A roundtable discussion is scheduled later this week for local farmers to take up the timely topic of international trade in agriculture.


The Arid West Moves East, With Big Implications For Agriculture


The American West appears to be moving east. New research shows the line on the map that divides the North American continent into arid Western regions and humid Eastern regions is shifting, with profound implications for American agriculture.


The Super Bowl of beekeeping

New York Times

Everyone in the valley knows when it’s bee season.


Navarrett:  Fox News Elites Don’t Know the First Thing About Farm Work

The Daily Beast

It’s taken the better part of my life, but I’ve come to acknowledge the soil in my veins. Despite living in a half dozen major cities over the years, I’m a country boy—born and raised in the farmland of Central California.


Planting for the Future

Alta Online

The pioneers of the organic farming movement are aging out. What will happen to their lovingly tended farms?


California could reshape pot rules as legal market struggles

AP News

The nation’s largest legal marijuana market is struggling

See also:

     EDITORIAL: Marijuana is not really legal in California if residents don't have a reasonable way to buy it Los Angeles Times






Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer’s claims about Prop 47 are factually baseless, critic says

Fresno Bee

More than ever we need our public safety leaders to stop trying to protect the status quo and begin to modify their policies and procedures to better reflect the overwhelming demands of the voting public for systemic change.


California looks to tighten law that allows suspects to get mental health treatment and have their charges dismissed

Los Angeles Times

California Gov. Jerry Brown wants to tighten a law he signed weeks ago that critics say could have freed rapists and murderers who completed two years of mental health treatment.


Public Safety:


Office of Violence Prevention holding public meeting on Aug. 22

Stockton Record

The Office of Violence Prevention will begin holding quarterly public meetings to present crime-related statistics and reduction efforts. The very first Data and Donuts event will be held Aug. 22 at Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium.


Here's how California became the most secretive state on police misconduct

Los Angeles Times

In the 1970s, Los Angeles police officers were furious that past complaints against them increasingly were making their way into court cases..

See also:

     EDITORIAL: How many more people must die before California Legislature passes bills on police reform? Sacramento Bee

     EDITORIAL: San Diego lawmakers control fate of police reforms in California San Diego Union-Tribune

     EDITORIAL: California can’t afford to pass up police reform San Francisco Chronicle




‘It’s really nice to have everyone back.’ Smoky but scenic Yosemite Valley reopens

Fresno Bee

For the past three weeks, historic Yosemite National Park was filled with two things: layers of smoke and uncertainty.  But on Tuesday morning Yosemite Valley — though still slightly smoky — was once open to the public.

See also:

     Excitement mounts as Yosemite Valley reopens to the public Tuesday Fresno Bee

     Yosemite National Park area still smoky from Ferguson Fire Fresno Bee

     Yosemite Valley re-opens to visitors ABC30

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

     Ferguson fire reaches 86% containment on one-month anniversary Sierra Star

      Yosemite reopens to visitors with smoky air, limited lodging Bakersfield Californian

      California wildfires: Firefighter’s death the 6th of 2018; Yosemite reopens San Francisco Chronicle


Supervisor Magsig:  What Fresno County Is Doing to Prevent Deadly Wildfires

GV Wire

It has become an annual tradition of tragedy — wildfires ravaging large swaths of the California landscape, each year shattering records of destruction seemingly set only months prior.


GOP lawmaker proposes California utility companies pay into a new state fund to defray wildfire costs

Los Angeles Times

With negotiations intensifying over how California’s electric utilities should help pay to fight wildfires, a prominent Republican lawmaker says the companies should contribute to a new multibillion-dollar fund that would help mitigate those expenses.

See also:

       TV’s new fire commercials brought to you by PG&E   San Francisco Chronicle

       EDITORIAL: PG&E shouldn’t claim wildfires will bankrupt utility San Francisco Chronicle


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

When a wall of flames raced up the hillside at Avalanche Creek on a recent afternoon, firefighters in Yosemite National Park had to act quickly.

See also;

      The next five years will be ‘anomalously warm,’ scientists predict Washington Post

     Native Tribes Are Taking Fire Control Into Their Own Hands  WIRED

Zinke blames 'environmental terrorist groups' for scale of California wildfires

The Hill

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is blaming "environmental terrorist" groups for the deadly forest fires ripping through California.


Fresno firefighters responding to increased volume of calls


In just the past few days more than 50 people have been forced out of their homes by fires. Fresno firefighters are being pushed to the limit- they've taken down 32 fires since Saturday.






Trump trade war with China spurs 'off the charts' rush at Port of LA


The escalating trade war is leading American retailers to speed up shipments of consumer goods from China into the Port of L.A., the nation's busiest container port.


Geographic Variation in Poverty across California


Each year, when we update the data on poverty in California, we remark on how widely poverty rates vary across counties.




White House off-base comparing African-American job growth under Obama, Trump


During a testy White House daily briefing that included discussion of former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman and her new tell-all book, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered a series of favorable statistics about the economy under President Donald Trump.

See also:

      White House Falsely Claims Trump Has Created More Jobs for Black Americans Than Obama Did  The New York Times

      White House Falsely Says Trump Beat Obama on Black Employment Bloomberg

Wage Stagnation Is Everyone’s Problem


Low working- and middle-class incomes aren’t likely to rise without new subsidies.

See also:

      Implementing state minimum wage increases AEI






Teachers show off their classroom decor during back-to-school week

Fresno Bee

Elementary and early learning teachers had some of the most creative themed classrooms, with castles and ships, plus an entire reading area dedicated to Mickey Mouse.


Thousands of Clovis Unified employees celebrate the start of the new school year


To get ready for the 2018 to 2019 school year Clovis Unified School District held a massive rally for its employees at the Savemart Center.


Valley Oak principal resigns, VUSD begins search for new leader

Visalia Times-Delta

Just days before the school year begins, Visalia Unified School District administrators began the process of searching for a new leader at Valley Oak Middle School.


Visalia Unified School District, police department address school threats

Visalia Times-Delta

Visalia students are headed back to school on Thursday. But before they walk onto campus, their teachers and youth service officers have a message for them.


Orientation day event at Parkview Middle School

Hanford Sentinel

Parkview Middle School became a one-stop shop on Monday for students to get school supplies, take their back-to-school pictures, receive their class schedule and even get a haircut. For the second year in a row, Parkview and the office of Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) worked together to hold a student orientation event.


School districts using new visitor systems that check for sex offenders

Bakersfield Californian

Don't be surprised this week if you encounter new security measures as kids return to school. Several local school districts have beefed up security heading into the new year.


As schools wait for state bond money, districts fume

San Francisco Chronicle

It’s been two years since voters passed a $9 billion bond to renovate and modernize the state’s public schools and community colleges, yet classrooms across California are still waiting for the vast majority of that money.


Higher Ed:


New student-athlete success coordinator at COS

Visalia Times-Delta

Billy Wright has been named the Student-Athlete Success Coordinator at College of the Sequoias and will begin this fall.


Making dreams a reality: COS begins classes

Hanford Sentinel

As students navigated to the next classroom, the provost and other educational leaders were in the halls of the educational building of the College of the Sequoias campus to guide them.


New Topic on Campus: Civil Discourse 101


Skits, questionnaires and dinner parties help teach students, faculty to have constructive, if still heated, conversations






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.

See also:

     First West Nile Virus case reported in Merced County. Experts urge precautions Modesto Bee


Garbage firms are refusing your recycling. The China trade war will make it worse

San Francisco Chronicle

Across the Bay Area, recycling companies are in a crunch to find places overseas where they can sell plastic yogurt cups and junk mail flyers.

See also:

     EDITORIAL: A trade war with China is harming the recycling market San Francisco Chronicle


The Arid West Moves East, With Big Implications For Agriculture


The American West appears to be moving east. New research shows the line on the map that divides the North American continent into arid Western regions and humid Eastern regions is shifting, with profound implications for American agriculture.


To Pay For 1,2,3-TCP Cleanup, A Viable Strategy: Sue

Valley Public Radio

In our 2017 series Contaminated, we told the stories of communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley struggling to access safe drinking water.


3.5-magnitude earthquake felt in western Fresno County, U.S. Geological Survey reports

Fresno Bee

A 3.5-magnitude earthquake was recorded Tuesday in Monterey County town of Parkfield and appears to have been felt as far east as Coalinga and Avenal.




On fuel economy plan, Trump administration ignored its own EPA scientists

Los Angeles

EPA officials raised multiple red flags in June about the administration’s contention that freezing fuel economy targets would result in fewer traffic deaths.

See also:

      EPA Doubted Fuel-Economy Freeze Would Save Lives as Claimed Bloomberg






Adventists looks to staff TRMC. Will former employees get first dibs?

Visalia Times-Delta

As the grand reopening of TRMC inches closer to becoming a reality, interim administrators are looking to staff the shuttered hospital that once employed upward of 500 people.


Health Department reports rise in STD diagnoses following awareness campaign

Bakersfield Californian

The county has some of the worst STD rates in the state. In total 9,979 new cases of STDs were diagnosed throughout the county in 2017, which equates to 1 new STD diagnosed every 53 minutes.


Is Medicare's latest change a step too far?

San Diego Union-Tribune

Though its name sounds like a trendy workout craze, Medicare’s new “step therapy” policy has nothing to do with getting people in their 60s to move their feet.


For Addicted Women, the Year After Childbirth Is the Deadliest

PEW Trusts

Katie Raftery was in a Massachusetts prison for drug-related crimes when she found out she was pregnant with her second child. A longtime heroin user, she was released to a residential drug treatment program where she stayed for seven months, until her baby was born.


Human Services:


United Health Centers opens Lemoore clinic

The Business Journal

The new clinic is the second UHC center in Lemoore and the third one in Kings County.




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.


SF federal appeals court revives suit over photographing border officers

San Francisco Chronicle

The public has a right to photograph law enforcement officers working in public places, a federal appeals court in San Francisco said Tuesday in reinstating a lawsuit by environmental and civil rights advocates whose photos at U.S. ports of entry in Southern California were confiscated and destroyed by the Border Patrol.




Land Use:


A zone for Stockton’s dreams? Or sprawl?

Stockton Record

Envision Stockton 2040, the city’s draft growth plan, boasts many cool ideas — and one dangerous whale that may put the whole shebang at risk of painful death in court.


National Park Deferred Maintenance Needs

PEW Trust

The National Park Service (NPS) is entering its second century, and many of the 400-plus sites it manages are showing their age.




Data show housing affordability tighten in Central Valley

The Business Journal

It’s getting a little harder to afford a home in the Central Valley, according to new data from the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

See also:

       Housing affordability hits decade low in Tulare County The Sun Gazette


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.


EDITORIAL: There’s a right and a wrong way to fix the housing crisis. Guess which one Sacramento is doing

Sacramento Bee

With the first of two public workshops on Sacramento’s worsening affordable housing crisis scheduled for Tuesday, the pressure is on for the city to do something — heck, anything — to fix it.




Coalition aims to reform property tax to pay for schools, but opponents call it ‘job killer’

Fresno Bee

Californians will likely vote on whether to disallow the state’s largest commercial real estate owners from forgoing a portion of their property taxes – something advocates call “a loophole” opened 40 years ago and costing the state $11 billion in missed annual revenue.

See also:

     Get ready for a big fight over California's property taxes in 2020 Los Angeles Times

     Coalition says it has the signatures for a measure to roll back Proposition 13 protections for businesses San Diego Union-Tribune

      Big change in California’s Proposition 13 could be headed to ballot San Francisco Chronicle

      Prop. 13 could be partly undone in 2020—here's what you should know CALmatters


CalPERS rejects holiday pay request from Cal Fire 2881

The Sacramento

Two longtime labor leaders lost a bid on Tuesday to sweeten their pensions by getting credit for the holidays they say they didn’t take in the years they held the top positions at the union representing state firefighters.


School chief candidates Tuck, Thurmond on Teacher Pensions


Guest commentary.


The GOP's tax cut hasn't delivered a pay bump yet. Defenders say: Just wait for it

The Washington Post

Be patient. That's the message from economists defending the Republican tax cut package against charges it has already failed on one of its core ambitions to boost wages.

See also:

       Analysis: The president’s objective economic advisory team dumps deeply misleading numbers on the public  The Washington Post




House Subcommittee Hearing Focuses on California’s Transformative High-Speed Rail Project

Mass Transit Magazine

On Aug. 9, the House Subcommittee on Railroads, held a Hearing on “The California High-Speed Rail Project” in Sacramento. Subcommittee Chair Congressman Jeff Denham called this hearing to reinforce the significance of “America’s Largest Infrastructure Project”.

See also:

       Editorial: High-speed rail should bite the reality bullet OC Register

What US Cities Have the Best Rapid Transportation?


Do you prefer visiting US cities with good rapid transportation so you don't have to rent a car or walk miles to get from place to place? If so, these cities offer some of the best options for trainsand tram transportation for sightseeing and commuting.




Stratford works to get running water for residents

Hanford Sentinel

Officials noticed sand in the community’s primary well on Friday and soon realized there was a mechanical problem, said Patty Silva, office manager at Stratford Public Utilities District.


Notice About Toxic Chemical has Residents Worried About Manteca’s Drinking Water


Some residents in the City of Manteca are concerned about their drinking water after receiving a notice that said the city failed a test earlier this year.




Salads, style and self-defense: the 3 freshest new businesses to open in Visalia


Looking to get to know the freshest new businesses in Visalia? From a jiu-jitsu studio to a health food joint, read on for a list of the newest hot spots to open for business recently.


Hearst Castle’s famed Neptune Pool — mostly empty for 5 years — will be refilled

Sacramento Bee

After five years left mostly dry and empty, Hearst Castle’s Neptune Pool is ready to reclaim its blue glory.


Know thy-self-publishing at Writers of Kern workshop

Bakersfield Californiain

Once upon a time, self-publishing was the underdog story of the publishing world.