POLICY & POLITICS
Former president Barack Obama endorsed Josh Harder in his bid to unseat Rep. Jeff Denham on Wednesday, shortly after news broke that President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign will donate money to Denham’s campaign.
● Former President Barack Obama endorses 81 candidates in U.S. midterms, says he's 'eager' to get involved Visalia Times-Delta
The last time I saw my congressman, Devin Nunes, in the flesh, it was the spring of 2014 and California was parched.
Vida en el Valle
State Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, heard everything on hot issues from immigration reform to the drought, the local economy and a need for streetlights -- he even performed the customary kissing of a baby -- during his one-day tour of the rural Central Valley.
I’ve become alarmed by the increase in fraudulent practices involving solar panel installations that target our most vulnerable residents in Fresno County. These residents are promised substantial savings on their energy bills. Instead, they find themselves on the hook for thousands of dollars, left with inferior work and, in some cases, have property liens to pay.
Bob Smith has made it official: As expected, he will seek a third term as Ward 4 representative to the Bakersfield City Council. The city clerk has certified his candidacy, he announced Wednesday.
California Gov. Jerry Brown says his state is in "uncharted territory" with the current slew of intense wildfires and he warns that climate change has made the situation "part of our ordinary experience."
● ‘No one expected a fire tornado.’ Jerry Brown says wildfires are going to get expensive. Sacramento Bee
● California fires rage, and Gov. Jerry Brown offers grim view of fiery future Los Angeles Times
The state has a neat little Internet search engine that, among other things, allows one to plug in some keywords and instantaneously find every legislative bill containing those words.
In the battle to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown this November, Democrat Gavin Newsom is trouncing his Republican opponent, John Cox, in campaign fundraising, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state late Wednesday.
● Gavin Newsom cashes in on primary victory, far outraising John Cox in California governor's race Los Angeles Times
● Newsom cashes in on primary victory, far outraising Cox in California governor's race San Diego Union-Tribune
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County’s election software was unable to process a formatting change in state voter data, contributing to 118,500 names being omitted from eligible-voter rosters on election day in June, according to an executive summary of an independent review released Wednesday.
Much is at stake for California in the 2020 Census. The state’s political representation depends on an accurate count, as does the distribution of billions in federal funds for critical public investments and services. Many California communities are vulnerable: about 75 percent of residents are considered hard to count.
The Trump administration Thursday pushed ahead with plans to unravel the federal government’s most effective action to fight climate change — aggressive fuel economy standards aimed at getting the nation’s cars and trucks to average more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025.
● Trump Administration Aims to Freeze Fuel Standards, End Tougher California Rules Wall Street Journal
● Trump Unveils His Plan to Weaken Car Pollution Rules New York Times
President Donald Trump signaled Wednesday that he might side with some Republican lawmakers and delay a government shutdown showdown until after November’s midterm elections.
The New Yorker
Most of the media coverage of the “ugly public feud,” as the New York Times called it, between President Trump and the Koch brothers has taken the Kochs at their word that they may have to give up on the Republican Party of Trump and start backing Democrats, so disgusted are they with the President’s protectionist trade policies. But history suggests that the Kochs’ threat is about as believable as that of a parent threatening to “just plain leave” if a balky toddler doesn’t behave.
The GOP’s Hall of Mirrors Wall Street Journal
Make Every Democrat’s Day Wall Street Journal
Because of summer vacation schedules, we had fallen a month behind in updating The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president.
Trump is leading a ‘hate movement’ against the media Washington Post
The problem with fear in politics PBS NewsHour
President Donald Trump's lawyers and special counsel Robert Mueller appear to be nearing the final stages of negotiations over whether the president will sit for questioning as the two sides continue jockeying over the scope of a possible interview.
● Why Trump isn’t fighting the bots Sacramento Bee
● Collusion is not a crime? Not so fast. Washington Post
“We created a very democratic world, but it’s not natural. And nature will always be pressing against it to take it back.” In a new episode of the Intersections podcast, Robert Kagan and Thomas Wright examine how President Trump has exploited longstanding vulnerabilities in the system of international alliances and institutions that America worked to build in the aftermath of two world wars.
As the Senate takes up Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, one issue that shouldn’t get lost in the debate is the extent to which his confirmation will accelerate the Court’s use of the First Amendment’s right to free speech to strike down various regulatory disclosure requirements. From a regulatory policymaking perspective—this legal tactic is highly problematic, and it should give pause to those who think regulation should happen through the least costly means possible.
Wall Street Journal
A fake account or page ‘just piggybacks onto real sentiment,’ and ‘can push others to increasingly polarized positions,’ a digital researcher says
Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in china that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, the intercept can reveal.
California Republican members of Congress are delivering a warning to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a letter set to go out Tuesday evening: Tariffs are “threatening the economic livelihood of our businesses and communities” — and the department needs to do more to help.
● Trump’s trade war hits California’s House elections San Francisco Chronicle
A record number of people turned out to see a record number of vendors at the newly named California Food Expo (formerly Fresno Food Expo).
Fresno County Farm Bureau
Americans' food choices often boil down to availability of time and resources, and that extends to "convenience foods" such as restaurant meals and ready-to-eat foods. For example, a federal study says households with children purchase more fast food and less food from full-service restaurants. As household income rises, people tend to eat out more, and households where all adults are employed purchased much more food from full-service restaurants.
The FDA should concentrate on food and drug safety, rather than policing language in the service of incumbent corporations.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Economic Research Service (ERS) provides information on a range of farm labor issues,
Currently, commercial cannabis activity is not allowed within Porterville city limits. But on Wednesday night, councilmembers will start a conversation about holding a city election, where voters could decide to change that.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE / FIRE / PUBLIC SAFETY
Attorneys for the parents of Dylan Noble, an unarmed teen shot to death by Fresno police during a traffic stop in 2016, have reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit filed against the city.
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police and community partnerships and neighborhood togetherness. Many cities across the country take part in National Night Out on the first Tuesday in August.
Since 1999, children have committed at least 145 school shootings, The Washington Post has found. Among the 105 cases in which the weapon’s source was identified, 80 percent were taken from the child’s home or those of friends and relatives. Yet The Post discovered just four adults have been convicted for failing to lock up the guns used in those attacks.
Los Angeles Times
A federal judge had good reason to temporarily bar a gun-rights activist this week from distributing software to produce working plastic firearms from 3-D printers, but it was the wrong result. While gun-control advocates are legitimately concerned about the threat posed by this technology, defenders of the 1st Amendment should be wary of where the court battle may go.
New York Times
This week, we look at the links between sustained heat and destructive wildfires. Also: A beautiful river has an invisible danger, and people are coping with record temperatures across the globe.
New York Times
They marched through a once-landscaped road reduced to ash. The temperatures had reached such intensity that there was no dirt left on the ground, just fused bedrock strewn with petrified trees. The heavy air was red and tinged with dirt, casting the scorched residential neighborhood in a sepia tone.
Wawona is now on the list of communities under mandatory evacuation orders as the Ferguson Fire burns near Yosemite National Park. “Fire activity” and its direction toward the community is the cause of the evacuation, Mariposa sheriff’s spokeswoman Kristie Mitchell said.
● Yosemite pushes back park opening, two dead in collision near fire Visalia Times-Delta
● As fires get faster and hotter, evacuation orders can't keep up — with deadly results Los Angeles Times
● 10,000 firefighters struggle to contain Northern California blazes SFChronicle.com
PG&E spent $1.7 million on lobbying over three months this year as the utility pressured California officials to reduce its legal liability for wildfire property damages.
Heavily wooded areas near Kern County's southern border would be substantially thinned out under plans by the U.S. Forest Service.
Wall Street Street
Spate of hurricanes, wildfires exposes insurance shortcomings; standard coverage excludes flood damage
ECONOMY / JOBS
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) awarded Madera County $1 million towards housing and well rehabilitation. Funds awarded will be used for rehabilitating homes and wells, general administration costs and activity delivery costs for the program.
Internet inequality produces economic inequality, which is why Central California residents should be worried about the lack of access for communities of color.
The price of a can of Coca-Cola? Likely going up. A package of Pampers? That too. Plane tickets? They also may be more expensive. These items and more may cost more in the coming months as people start feeling the effects of higher fuel prices and raw-material costs as well as a range of tariffs.
Wall Street Journal
U.S. Treasury yields have stalled out just below 3% even as the U.S. economy posted its best quarter of economic growth in years.
● Treasury Plans to Boost Borrowing as Trillion-Dollar Deficits Loom Wall Street Journal
In a lawsuit filed in Fresno County Superior Court, Maddie Wade alleges when she told her manager at the store at Herndon and Milburn about plans to transition from a man to a woman, he expressed concern. Wade claims his treatment toward her changed, and her hours were cut.
Like most other American high school students, Garret Morgan had it drummed into him constantly: Go to college. Get a bachelor's degree.
Public-sector unions will be watching to see how many members — and how much money — they’ll lose in the wake of a June U.S. Supreme Court decision that took away their power to charge non-members fees.
Work requirements in safety-net programs are nothing new. Contrary to what some critics contend, the evidence, more often than not, suggests that work requirements increase employment and earnings among those who receive government assistance and are capable of work.
It may seem simple, but the role employment plays in explaining poverty in America is frequently misunderstood, especially when it comes to understanding why people might be poor for many years.
We've now seen the haze and smoke from the Ferguson Fire for weeks here in the valley--and coaches are keeping an eye on the air quality, which some say hasn't been unhealthy enough to cancel practice.
● All fall sports programs feel the impact of heat, air quality Bakersfield Californian
A game plan for all students of Stockton Unified to be both college and career ready by the time they graduate has been given the green light.
Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan has thought a lot about how schools work. From tutoring kids on Chicago’s South Side to serving as secretary of education under the Obama administration, he’s spent nearly three decades working in education. He talked with Marketplace’s Amy Scott about his new book, “How Schools Work” and how his views were shaped early by the after-school program his mother ran. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.
Wall Street Journal
Districts are buying the coverage, also called “active-assailant” insurance, for legal costs and other expenses in the event of a shooting
State Center Community College District (SCCCD) Board of Trustees has approved Cheryl Sullivan as the vice chancellor, finance and administration. Sullivan will begin her new role on Wednesday. She currently serves as Fresno City College’s vice president of administrative services and has begun transitioning into her new role.
For three years Maria Gonzales, a counselor with West Hills College Lemoore’s Disabled Students Program and Services department, and her team have hosted an academy designed to help bridge the gap for students with disabilities as they transition to college.
Bakersfield College students are likely to notice a few changes when they return for the fall semester on Aug. 27.
Los Angeles Times
University of California President Janet Napolitano took the helm of the nation’s top public research university five years ago as a tough and seasoned politician and former Cabinet member in the Obama administration.
The U.S. Education Department is going back to the drawing board on some basic rules of higher education, including one concept that has been in place for 125 years.
July 2018 is now officially the second warmest July that Bakersfield has seen since scientists and weather trackers began keeping records in the late-1800s.
Los Angeles Times
When the next governor is sworn in January, he will have the opportunity to shape policy by filling the many state boards and commissions with his appointees — except, apparently, to the powerful agency charged with overseeing California’s ambitious climate change program.
Distributed energy resources (DERs) are small technologies — including rooftop solar, energy storage, microgrids, load control, energy efficiency, and communication and control technologies — that produce, store, manage, and reduce the use of energy.
Communities across California are forming Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) at a rapid rate since 2010, with over half of them starting within the last two years. County and city governments administer CCAs as local alternatives to investor-owned utilities (IOUs).
Iliana Prudente has greeted thousands of patients and visitors in her two years as a patient liaison at the emergency department at Community Regional Medical Center — some bleeding from gunshot wounds — but nothing seemed amiss about the young man who came to visit his wife a few weeks ago. Until he dropped his keys.
Legal scholars and those on both sides of the reproductive debate suggest there are other ways that a more conservative Supreme Court would restrict abortion laws in the country — even in California.
Whether it's tightness in the chest or a headache, breathing has become more difficult for a growing number of people. No matter what your vantage point there was no escaping that thick smoky haze which has settled over the valley.
To prevent those overdose deaths, Public Health has launched a naloxone distribution program in the county. The idea is to get the overdose-reversal drug into the hands of a family member, friends or anyone who can help someone who is at risk of overdose.
The November election will be the fourth involving the Tulare hospital in 27 months. The two special, off-date elections have cost the district taxpayers more than $100,000.
The Trump administration finalized rules today that expand access to so-called "skinny” short-term health insurance plans. Those are low-cost, low-coverage insurance plans meant for people who have a temporary gap in health insurance.
● Trump administration moves to further expand skimpy health plans Los Angeles Times
● Short-Term ObamaCare Relief Wall Street Journal
● Insurers Seek Smaller Rate Increases on ACA Plans Wall Street Journal
Whether there should be a mandatory work component in public policies designed to assist low-income households is in part a question of technical economics. But the issue is more about political and moral philosophy than economics.
One hardly expects, in the course of normal politics, to see Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) thanking the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. And yet here we are. "Thank you, Koch brothers," his Monday night tweet began, "for accidentally making the case for Medicare for All!"
● Even Doubling Taxes Wouldn't Pay for 'Medicare for All' Wall Street Journal
● 'Medicare for all' is the dream. 'Medicaid for more' could be the reality The Washington Post
The streets surrounding the Veterans Affairs Medical Center are overrun with parked cars belonging to VA employees. At least 650 employees pack their cars into the nearby neighborhood so patients and veterans can have priority parking. A parking district has been approved, and neighbors who have been waiting for relief are weeks away from getting it.
Visalia Delta Times
Tulare hospital district residents are likely to have the final say on the developing partnership between TRMC's Board of Directors and Adventist Health.
Journalist Philip Moeller is here to provide the answers you need on aging and retirement. His weekly column, “Ask Phil,” aims to help older Americans and their families by answering their health care and financial questions.
There’s perhaps no more controversial or mischaracterized piece of recent legislation in California than the sanctuary state law.
San Francisco Chronicle
President Trump abused his authority by ordering the denial of federal funds to San Francisco and other sanctuary cities for refusing to cooperate with immigration officers, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
Wall Street Journal
Administration weighs cap of 25,000 for 2019, a drop of 44% from this year’s limit, already low by historical standards
Los Angeles Times
Here's the cold, hard, disheartening reality about the Trump administration’s policies toward those arriving at the nation’s borders seeking asylum: Many more people with legitimate claims are likely being sent home to perilous conditions despite federal and international laws recognizing the right of the persecuted to seek sanctuary in other countries.
Despite rising trans-Atlantic tensions, Spencer Boyer calls on the United States and Europe to learn from each other as they both struggle to confront the identity challenges and political forces that have resulted from increased immigration, changing demographics, and economic inequality.
Visalia Times Delta
For the second time this week, Yosemite National Park officials have pushed back the opening date of some of the park's most heavily visited areas.
San Diego Union-Tribune
California’s Proposition 1, the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, would authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for housing-related programs and housing loans for veterans.
● Prop 1 is not the way to address affordable housing problem San Diego Union-Tribune
Los Angeles Times
Opponents of expanding rent control in California raised nearly $10 million through the first half of this year, the beginning of what’s expected to be one of the costliest fights on the state’s November ballot.
The voters of California City have saved the city from financial ruin by approving a tax increase.
The 2018-2019 assessment roll for Kings County has been completed and the assessable value of property in the county has risen nearly $350 million in the last year.
Fox And Hounds
Why is a savvy politician like Jerry Brown proposing a new tax increase with only one month to go in the legislative session of an election year? Such a strategy goes against conventional wisdom because legislators up for election don’t want to defend a new tax increase. Yet, Brown argues that the 911 emergency system desperately needs an upgrade and he proposes a tax increase to achieve it.
Dick Startz and Kate Walsh outline a proposal designed to increase the supply of teachers who want to work in America’s high-poverty schools and reward the ones who are already there.
Los Angeles Times
The Trump administration is considering using the Treasury Department’s regulatory authority to cut capital gains taxes unilaterally, a move that would almost exclusively benefit the wealthiest 10% of U.S. households even as the annual federal budget deficit — not just the accumulated debt — surges well past $1 trillion.
Tax Cut By Fiat Weekly Standard
Prop. 6 would not end the gas tax. No state initiative can do that by itself, since the current total tax of about 77 cents per gallon includes 18.4 cents in federal taxes, something state officials can’t touch. Instead, the current proposal would merely eliminate an increase of just over 12 cents per gallon imposed last year after a narrow legislative vote.
Slowly but surely, construction on California’s high-speed rail system is chugging along.
HSRA, fulfill your promise Madera Tribune
Los Angeles Times
The zippy electric scooters that have popped up on street corners and sidewalks across Southern California should be banned in Los Angeles until the city begins issuing permits to the companies providing them, a city councilman said Tuesday.
San Diego Union-Tribune
Wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles are slow, and getting slower. The average wait time at California DMV offices — the time a person spends waiting at the DMV after getting a number in a first line — is up from 48 minutes in 2017 to 69 minutes in 2018, a whopping 46 percent increase.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is considering eliminating the standard security screening process at 150 small and medium size airports around the country, according to internal documents obtained by CNN.
Prop. 218 states that government agencies may not charge more for a service than the actual cost of delivering that service with a reasonable amount added for maintenance, replacements, upgrades and enhancements. In the case of Madera’s outrageously high water rates I set out to determine, if in fact, the spirit of Prop. 218 had been violated.
An eyesore and hazard along the Tuolumne River in Modesto soon will be gone. Work started this week on the removal of the remnants of Dennett Dam, a roughly $1.6 million project that is a partnership between the city and the Tuolumne River Trust.
Many farmers are caught in a battle over the State Water Resources Control Board’s final Bay Delta Plan, released in early July, which proposes that dams release 40 percent of the natural flows in rivers to benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta from February through June.
Until the remains of the father she never knew finally came home, 74 years after he was killed in World War II, Ann Wanger didn’t realize how deeply she missed him.
Visalia Delta Times
For the second year in a row, Danny Mendes, owner of Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., took home several wins at the American Association of Meat Processors' American Cured Meat Championships, held in Kansas City.
Cold Stone Creamery, Madera’s newest ice cream shop, is the culmination of some eight years of work on the part of the owner and his family. The opening of the ice cream shop has been eight years in the making.
If you live life on the go it can be difficult to eat healthy, but a new Downtown business is trying to change that.
Now's as good of a time as ever to rid of unnecessary clothing because six local teens are hosting the second annual Teens for Jeans event, benefiting the Mission at Kern County.