August 16, 2017




California Lt. Gov. Newsom campaigns in Fresno

The Fresno Bee

In a cramped building in downtown Fresno that had many sweating and squirming uncomfortably in their chairs from the hot and stuffy conditions inside, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom remained cool and calm Tuesday.

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Oakdale white supremacist at center of deadly clash in Charlottesville

Fresno Bee

A Stanislaus State University student from Oakdale is a central figure in Saturday’s white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville that turned violent.  Nathan Damigo, 31, was arrested and released soon after being detained for misdemeanor failure to obey police, he said in a 13-minute rant posted on social media following the bloody clashes with counter protesters, which sparked widespread outrage. He has vowed to sue the city and established an online account to raise legal funds.


Billionaire helping to get funds for Valley clean water

Fresno Bee

Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire and environmentalist, promised his support Tuesday for a proposed safe and affordable drinking water fund to help communities with contaminated water in the San Joaquin Valley.


HUD Audit Accuses Fresno Of Misspending $8 Million


The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a new audit claiming the City of Fresno may have misused millions of dollars in community development block grant money.



State makes its case against immigration conditions attached to U.S. grants 

San Francisco Chronicle

By requiring San Francisco and other California communities to allow federal immigration agents into their jails and give them 48 hours’ notice of certain immigrants’ release from custody, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defying Congress, the Constitution and the standards of good law enforcement, California’s top attorney says.


Efforts to delay recall election against O.C. state senator dealt a setback

Orange County Register

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. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and several activists filed a lawsuit last month saying Democratic legislators violated the California constitution when they changed the state’s recall election law to draw out the process for removing lawmakers from office.


California’s ethics agency considers a plan backed by state Democrats that was quietly pushed in private talks

Los Angeles Times

The state’s campaign watchdog agency is poised on Thursday to open the spigot for large political contributions that would help an embattled Democratic state senator fend off a recall campaign, a change that opponents say is tainted by secret talks between a commissioner and a Democratic attorney.


California’s GOP candidates for governor must win over the tea party. Here’s how they’re trying

Los Angeles Times

Wading into a roomful of California tea party members over the weekend, the two most prominent Republicans running for California governor professed their reverence for President Trump.


Faulconer lays out vision for ‘New California Republicans’

San Diego Union-Tribune

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has said he won’t be running for governor next year, but on Tuesday night he outlined his view of the path forward for the Republican Party in California.


Pants On Fire for claim California legalized child prostitution

PolitiFact California
Republican Assembly member Travis Allen drew sharp condemnation for saying California legalized child prostitution. “Pants on Fire” rating.



Contradicting Trump, Rep. Kevin McCarthy says Charlottesville violence was ‘a direct consequence’ of white supremacists 

Los Angeles Times

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield was among Republicans nationwide who again tried to distance themselves from President Trump, who on Tuesday blamed “both sides” for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend when neo-Nazis and white supremacists gathered.


California right-winger behind Charlottesville violence 

San Jose Mercury News

It turns out last weekend’s violent white-power protest in Virginia was spurred in part by an ex-con and one-time Silicon Valley resident who’s about to bring his bare-knuckled brand of activism back to the Bay Area. Nathan Damigo is not a techie. But the former Marine infantryman and convicted armed robber who founded the Oakdale-based white-nationalist group Identity Evropa grew up and went to school in San Jose before following a path into alt-right power politics.



Northern California officials brace for political rallies

Sacramento Bee
Northern California authorities are bracing for politically charged protests in the coming weeks amid growing concerns of violence after the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia.




Ethics commissioner’s blunder could turn watchdog into a partisan Democratic tool

Fresno Bee

There’s nothing wrong with lobbyists serving on the FPPC, so long as they embrace their role as watchdogs and cease being advocates. Evidently, old habits die hard.


White, privileged and a victim? This is Trump’s America

Fresno Bee

From diversity at Google to depictions of black families in Procter & Gamble ads, society’s winners act like its victims, too.


Cap & Trade shows difference in California politics

Visalia Times-Delta

No other state has a cap-and-trade system anything like California’s for limiting and, in the long run, vastly reducing production of greenhouse gases behind climate change.


Doctors, nurses unions fight patient protection legislation

Sacramento Bee
In the vast majority of instances, Californians can trust their health to their doctors and nurses. Not so the organizations that represent doctors and nurses, or the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, which appears to need a backbone transplant.


Air Canada, FAA hindered investigation of SFO near-miss

San Jose Mercury News

Evidence lost in bureaucratic cover-up. Outrageous response worse than United’s following the dragging of a passenger off a plane.


How the poor get locked up and the rich go free

Los Angeles Times

Arguments were filed last week in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Maranda Lynn ODonnell, a young mother who was held in a Houston jail for three days last year because she couldn’t pay $2,500 in bail. Her alleged crime? Driving with an invalid license. ODonnell’s plight is similar…




Northern California farmer settles in environmental case involving a $2.8 million plowing fine

Fresno Bee
Northern California farmer John Duarte spent years fighting the federal government after being fined for plowing over protected wetlands on his property. He attracted a nationwide army of conservative supporters who saw it as government overreach and hoped the Trump administration would order federal officials to back off.

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Could Robots Replace Farmworkers In Valley Fields? Silicon Valley Hopes So

Valley Public Radio
Let’s face it farmers are usually slow to change their practices for a couple reasons. Change usually comes with a high price tag – a new tractor can cost a half million dollars. And farmers want to minimize risk by only investing in things that have been successfully tested and in the end don’t reduce profits. But robots are slowly changing that perspective.


As Wine Grape Harvest Begins, Calif. Growers Face Ongoing Farmworker Shortage

Capital Public Radio News

The vineyards’ geographic location adds another wrinkle to the ongoing problem of being able to find labor. Being farther away from the pool of agricultural workers clustered in the Central Valley makes it even harder to attract them.


Almond advocates seek farm bill funding boost

Capital Press

Almond Alliance of California president Kelly Covello complains there hasn’t been an increase in recent Farm Bills for such initiatives as the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program.


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.


How Driscoll’s Reinvented the Strawberry

The New Yorker

Driscoll’s, the berry juggernaut based in Watsonville, helped shape the supermarket strawberry with a relentless focus on breeding.





CA prison doctor alleges mistreatment of transgender inmates

Fresno Bee
A California prison psychologist has filed a lawsuit against the state alleging she was threatened and demoted after she reported mistreatment of gay and transgender inmates at a correctional facility in Vacaville.


Merced CHP K-9 busts driver with 66 pounds of cocaine

The Modesto Bee

A Stockton woman is in jail in Los Banos after a CHP K-9 sniffed out more than 60 pounds of drugs she hid in her car, authorities said.


County approves a new panel to study criminal justice reform: What’s the impact of downgrading felonies and releasing inmates early?

Los Angeles Times

Creation of the 27-member panel was approved by the county Board of Supervisors in a 3-0 vote. It will examine the “challenges and opportunities” related to recent state criminal justice reforms.


Fearing violence, California lawmakers ask National Park Service to rescind permit for San Francisco ‘alt-right’ rally

Los Angeles Times

Citing concern over violent clashes at a Charlottesville rally of white nationalists last weekend, a group of California lawmakers called Tuesday for the National Park Service to rescind a permit issued for a pro-Trump rally scheduled for Aug. 26 in San Francisco.


It’s Time to Deal with Recidivism

Fox and Hounds Daily

California needs a comprehensive approach to lowering incarceration rates – a plan that will not only lower incarceration levels, but preserve the historically low crime rates we currently enjoy. Sacramento’s current approach to this problem is mass early-release for felons – potentially at the expensive of public safety. A more ambitious and effective strategy – that simultaneously reduces incarceration and crime rates – would be to invest in comprehensive programs that reduce recidivism. This will require government spending on meaningful work programs for those released from state prison.



South Fork Fire In Yosemite Now at 1,700 Acres

Sierra News Online

Crews struggled to contain a fire inside Yosemite National Park that swelled to 1,700 acres

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Free ride no more: County starts requiring McFarland to pay for fire protection

For the first time in roughly 28 years, the City of McFarland will pay for the fire protection that the Kern County Fire Department has been providing its citizens.






Local travel sector continues to show strength

Despite the downturn in the oil sector that has battered Kern County’s economy, the local travel industry continues to show strength. In Bakersfield, hotels have seen an uptick in visitors compared with the previous year. According to STR Inc., the number of hotel rooms sold in Bakersfield was up 1.4 percent for the 12-month period between May 1, 2016, and April 30, 2017. In addition, Bakersfield hotel revenue was up 4.2 percent during that same 12-month period. Increased hotel revenue means more tax revenue flowing to local governments.


San Diego Mayor Pushes NAFTA, and “New California Republicans” 


On the eve of talks between the United States, Mexico, and Canada to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is encouraging policymakers to look at the “success story” the pact has created in his city.


How US states rely on the NAFTA supply chain

Brookings Institution

As talks to renegotiate NAFTA kick off today, see how US states rely on the agreements.


NAFTA under Trump—the myths and the possibilities

Brookings Institution

From Ross Perot’s 1992 claim that the North American Free Trade Agreement would generate a “great sucking sound” as jobs moved from the U.S. to Mexico to President Donald Trump’s claim that the agreement is a job killer, it has been good politics to blame trade with Mexico (and more recently with China) on job losses, particularly in the manufacturing sector.


A tale of two regions: In California’s economy, North trumps South — for now


When two New York baseball teams, the Dodgers and the Giants, moved west six decades ago, their ancient cross-town rivalry merged into the equally intense – and equally long – competition between Los Angeles and San Francisco for economic, cultural and, of course, political dominance of California.



USC Expands in a ‘Neglected’ Neighborhood, Promising Jobs and More

New York Times

When the University of Southern California’s campus extension opens in South Los Angeles on Thursday, it will not just welcome 2,700 new college students. It will also be an ambitious test of a public-private partnership hoping to remake a historically underserved neighborhood.






Clovis Unified kicks off school year with “Be the Difference” theme

Fresno Bee

Clovis Unified’s new school superintendent wants all employees to “Be the Difference” in the lives of children this year.  That means continuing to improve student academics, but also paying attention to the social and emotional needs of the district’s 42,000 students as well, said Eimear O’Farrell who delivered her first back-to-school message as superintendent Tuesday at the Save Mart Center, where the district’s annual general session back-to-school rally was held.


Tensions linger between Yosemite Unified officials, staff, and the public

Sierra Star

Close to 150 people attended the Yosemite Unified School District’s Board of Trustees meeting Monday this week, with several voicing criticisms of the board and the district’s new superintendent.


Bill pushing back start times at middle and high schools being debated


Middle and high school students in California could soon be seeing later start times at their local schools if a bill passes the state legislature and is signed by Governor Jerry Brown.


Little evidence that Local Control and Accountability Plan has lead to improvements


Many schools in California are back in session and we thought it was a good idea to look at questions surrounding education, including school funding money. The formula the state uses is called the Local Control and Accountability Plan or the LCAP. Lawmakers have pumped tens of billions of dollars into struggling schools, but there’s no evidence of improvement in 15 districts.


VIDEO: Retooling California schools to spark upward mobility


The aspects of life that help younger generations do better than current ones are complex as they are multiple. Education — and efforts to realign what and how we teach our children — is one of those big and sometimes controversial factors that decide our children’s chances to succeed.


Drinking lead—why California may force all schools to test their water


When a therapy dog refused to drink at a San Diego grade school, it was the first clue that something was wrong with the water. Tests revealed why the pup turned up its nose—the presence of polyvinyl chloride, the polymer in PVC pipes that degrade over time. But further analysis found something else that had gone undetected by the dog, the teachers and students of the San Diego Cooperative Charter School, and the school district: elevated levels of lead.


Don’t slam the desk on the way out. If fewer teachers quit, the shortage would end 


If schools could convince half of those teachers who leave to stay, the teacher shortage that puts thousands of under-qualified emergency replacements in classrooms each year “could be virtually eliminated,” according to a report from the Learning Policy Institute.

Higher Ed:


Community colleges tapping alumni to close funding gap

89.3 KPCC

Community colleges in the state are also using the star power of notable graduates to connect students to their two-year alma maters. The state’s community college office runs a banner that says writer Amy Tan attended San Jose City College, actress Annette Benning attended San Diego Mesa College and California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye attended Sacramento City College.






Mathis seeks farmers’ input on cap-and-trade

Visalia Delta-Times

On July 27, the California Air Resources Board adopted revisions to the state’s cap-and-trade program passed by lawmakers a week earlier. While many large businesses are in support of AB 398, family-owned farmers remain skeptical about the state’s efforts to lower greenhouse gases. Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) was one of several Republicans who voted for the bill.


Northern California farmer settles in environmental case involving a $2.8 million plowing fine

Fresno Bee
Northern California farmer John Duarte spent years fighting the federal government after being fined for plowing over protected wetlands on his property. He attracted a nationwide army of conservative supporters who saw it as government overreach and hoped the Trump administration would order federal officials to back off.

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Born free: Baby condor offers hope of a self-sustaining species 

San Jose Mercury

One little bird is raising big hopes for the re-wilding of a special species. A fuzzy gray condor chick — the first-ever “second generation” wild-born condor in a long and hard recovery plan for the endangered birds — has been discovered in a redwood tree in Big Sur.



Taft latest city to consider ditching PACE

Bakersfield Now

The PACE home improvement loan program has come under fire in many California cities.


California Choice Energy Authority – Experts in Community Choice Aggregation

Authorized in California under AB 117 (2002), Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs enable local governments to purchase and generate electricity for residents, businesses and municipal facilities within a community.



Stanislaus County leaders want to know the costs before sending mentally ill adults to court

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County leaders said they are moving forward with a three-year Laura’s Law pilot project, but it could take until next spring to develop a plan for the mental health program.


National Institutes of Health grants $4.8 million to valley fever vaccine research

A federal agency granted $4.8 million to continue developing a vaccine that has shown promising results in preventing valley fever

Three Ways Trump Is Helping the Affordable Care Act Explode 


From the day he was inaugurated through today, President Trump has had it in for the Affordable Care Act. After months of trying to repeal and replace Obamacare, Congress has moved on to other issues. But there are still things the administration can do — and is doing — to undermine the health insurance markets.


CBO: Severe Harm If Trump Halts Health Cost-Sharing Payments

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Stopping cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as President Trump has repeatedly threatened, would drive up federal marketplace subsidy costs, raise premiums, cause more insurers to withdraw from the marketplaces, and increase the number of uninsured next year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found.

See also

ACA: Total Marketplace Enrollment and Financial Assistance

Kaiser Family Foundation
57% of marketplace enrollees get ACA cost-sharing reduction subsidies. What’s the share in each state?


Policy Basics: Top Ten Facts about Social Security

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Social Security provides a foundation of income on which workers can build to plan for their retirement. It also provides valuable social insurance protection to workers who become disabled and to families whose breadwinner dies.



DACA supporters visit Congressman Nunes’ office on 5th anniversary of program

ABC 30

Half a dozen people chanted outside, catching the attention of passerby, while the others stepped inside Congressman Devin Nunes’ Visalia office. They were there to talk to his staff about DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Assembly members targeted in ads for reluctance to OK state sanctuary bill

San Francisco Chronicle

Five state Assembly Democrats who are undecided on a bill to create a statewide sanctuary policy are seeing their faces on full-page newspaper ads that call them out for their reluctance to take a stand on the Trump administration’s “cruel and out-of-control deportation machine.”


Advocates Rally, Opponents Threaten Lawsuit After Five Years of DACA 


Supporters of undocumented immigrants in San Francisco and Los Angeles rallied Tuesday on the fifth anniversary of the Obama-era program offering protection from deportation and work permits for some 750,000 people who were brought to the United States as children.


Immigration Arrests Increase in Northern California


Immigration officials arrested more people in their Northern California jurisdiction in June than in any other month this year, according to data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Verify: Are half of California farmworkers undocumented?


Lawmakers are searching for solutions amid an agricultural labor shortage crippling California farmsA bill titled the Agricultural Worker Program Act, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, among others, would seek to curtail deportations of undocumented farm workers by granting them a path to citizenship.




Land Use:


City Council panel rejects plan for homes next to a freeway interchange

Los Angeles Times

A key committee of the Los Angeles City Council rejected a plan Tuesday for putting 15 homes near a freeway interchange, in part over the potential health risks from car and truck pollution.



CA housing bill changes to speed building

Fresno 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.  The move suggests the Legislature, due to return from summer recess Monday for a final four-week crush of business in the 2017 session, is moving toward agreement on a package of bills aimed at easing the Golden State’s housing crisis.


How a proposed law could affect Fresno’s homeless people 

Fresno Bee

The spread of homeless people camping out on public and private property across Fresno – and a growing number of complaints from residents and businesses – is spawning a proposal to outlaw chronic camping.


Most Renters Want to Leave Los Angeles

L.A. Weekly

A new report finds that more than three out of four renters in Greater Los Angeles want to move away. The analysis by Apartment List states that half of those people (49%) blame the metro’s high housing costs for their wanderlust.  In San Francisco the figure was 63%.



Walters: California’s big pension fund sees better return, but not out of the woods


The California Public Employees Retirement System has been hammered by poor investment earnings in recent years, but got some good news last month. CalPERS reported an 11.2 percent gain on its investment portfolio in the fiscal year that ended June 30, following a couple of years of near-zero earnings that sharply boosted its pension debt, known as “unfunded liability.”


Rural California Sheriff, Auditor Spar on Pot Money Spending

U.S. News
A California county auditor is accusing a sheriff of improperly spending some of the $1 million his department received in fees from legal pot growers to go after illegal operators.



Plans in the works to study parking needs downtown

How many parking spaces does downtown Bakersfield have? When are they full? Should people have to pay for street parking? Those are among the questions that a proposed study of downtown Bakersfield parking could answer. The Bakersfield City Council is poised to vote Wednesday on whether to accept $50,000 from the Kern Council of Governments to pay for the study.


Community Voices: Bakersfield should not be leading in pedestrian fatalities

Congratulations and thanks are due the news teams of The Bakersfield Californian and other local media for their coverage of our tragic – yet mostly avoidable – local pedestrian fatalities.


Bullet train faces difficult journey

Capitol Weekly

California’s bullet train may be in trouble again, as a recent court ruling and potential funding obstacles have plunged the transportation project into further uncertainty.


CHP offers senior citizen driving program

Hanford Sentinel

The Hanford area CHP is conducting “Age Well, Drive Smart” classes at their local office, with the next available class being Friday morning. There will also be a class in September at the Lemoore Senior Citizens Center

Should Congress Make It Legal To Mountain Bike In Wilderness Areas?

Capital Public Radio News

“I just love riding,” says Bowden. “So we’ll come out to Woodward Park. We’ll ride around the neighborhood if we don’t get out of the house too much, but what we really love is getting out up into the mountains where there are trails for cyclists.” That’s why he’s in favor of HR 1349, a bill introduced into Congress earlier this year by Republican Tom McClintock. It would amend the Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964.



LOIS HENRY: Yes, we have water in the river for now — but the fight for that water goes on

With a river running through the heart of Bakersfield even on the cusp of fall, it may be hard to remember but the fight to keep that water flowing continues.


Lawmaker misleads in claims about Oroville dam crisis

PolitiFact California

Republican state Assemblyman Travis Allen recently claimed the Oroville Dam emergency in Northern California “was entirely avoidable.”  He also blamed Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown for the crisis.  “The Oroville dam failure was entirely avoidable: California passed a $7.5 Billion water bond in 2014 but Jerry Brown didn’t spend $1 on new water storage or improvements to existing infrastructure like Oroville,” Allen said in a press release on Feb. 13, 2017.


New dams coming to California? A dozen projects seek $2.7 billion in state funding

San Jose Mercury News

During the drought, Californians often asked why the state wasn’t building more reservoirs. On Tuesday, the state finally began taking a major step toward that goal, unveiling a list of 12 huge new water projects — from massive new dams in the north to expanded groundwater banks in the south — that will compete for $2.7 billion in state bond funding for new water storage projects.


If we want a real river in L.A., we should start by cleaning up the water

Los Angeles Times

Nelson Chabarria says his love of chemistry began in a classroom at Los Angeles High, but he didn’t get to pursue a career right away. His Koreatown family needed help paying bills, so he went to work in the garment district and put the dream on hold for years.

Sacramento permanently limits lawn watering as ‘a way of life’ 

Sacramento Bee

The drought may be over, but Sacramento residents will still have to limit their watering.


Drinking lead—why California may force all schools to test their water


When a therapy dog refused to drink at a San Diego grade school, it was the first clue that something was wrong with the water. Tests revealed why the pup turned up its nose—the presence of polyvinyl chloride, the polymer in PVC pipes that degrade over time. But further analysis found something else that had gone undetected by the dog, the teachers and students of the San Diego Cooperative Charter School, and the school district: elevated levels of lead.


US: ‘Zero’ chance of Colorado River water shortage in 2018

The Washington Post

Heavy winter snows in the Rocky Mountains have rescued the thirsty Western U.S. for another year. U.S. water managers said Tuesday there will be no water cutbacks in 2018 for millions of residents and farmers served by the Lake Mead reservoir on the Colorado River that lies behind the Hoover Dam.



Clovis police officer gets national honor

Clovis Round Up
A Clovis police officer has been named National Law Officer of the Year. The recognition comes from The Forty & Eight, a charitable honor society made up of veterans.


Retail-starved Sacramento community will soon get ‘power center’ to call its own

Sacramento Bee

Sacramento south-area residents have long craved a commercial shopping center to call their own. The wait is over.