August 2, 2018






Support from two U.S. Presidents figures in Denham, Harder race

Modesto Bee

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.

See also:

       Obama wades into California midterm—with a few surprises CALmatters

     Former President Barack Obama endorses 81 candidates in U.S. midterms, says he's 'eager' to get involved Visalia Times-Delta


‘Deep State’ isn’t Nunes’ first conspiracy theory. Guess who he blames for the drought

Sacramento Bee

The last time I saw my congressman, Devin Nunes, in the flesh, it was the spring of 2014 and California was parched.


Senator Kevin De León endures heat in Central Valley community visit, includes ‘forgotten’ Mendota

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.


Asm Arambula: Increasing reports of solar panel fraud

Hanford Sentinel

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.


Ward 4 Councilman Smith will seek reelection

Bakersfield Californian

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's Gov. Brown: Wildfires Are Evidence Of Changing Climate 'In Real Time


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."

See also:

     ‘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

      Gov. Jerry Brown warns California's climate change efforts hinge on changing wildfire liability law Los Angeles Times


Walters: Gov. Jerry Brown talks CEQA reform, but hasn't done it


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.


Gavin Newsom winning the money race over John Cox

Sacramento Bee

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.

See also:

     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


Software incompatibilities cited in review of missing L.A. County voter names

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.


2020 Census Maps: California’s Hard-to-Count Communities


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.




Trump's EPA formally launches attack on California's fuel-economy rules

Los Angeles 

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.

See also:

      Trump Administration Aims to Freeze Fuel Standards, End Tougher California Rules Wall Street Journal

      Trump administration will freeze fuel-efficiency requirements, likely spurring a massive legal battle with California, other states Washington Post

     California to sue Trump administration over car emission rollback TheHill

     Trump Unveils His Plan to Weaken Car Pollution Rules New York Times


Trump Says He Might Delay Shutdown Showdown Until After Elections

Roll Call

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.


Donald Trump vs. Charles Koch Is a Custody Battle Over Congress

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.

See also:

       The GOP’s Hall of Mirrors Wall Street Journal

       Make Every Democrat’s Day Wall Street Journal

       Latino Voters Angry at Trump But Not Mobilized, Democratic Report Finds Roll Call


Analysis | President Trump has made 4,229 false or misleading claims in 558 days

Washington Post

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.

See also:

       ‘We are Q’: A deranged conspiracy cult leaps from the Internet to the crowd at Trump’s ‘MAGA’ tour Washington Post

       What Is QAnon? The Conspiracy Theory Tiptoeing Into Trump World NPR  How QAnon, the conspiracy theory spawned by a Trump quip, got so big and scary Washington Post

       Trump is leading a ‘hate movement’ against the media Washington Post

       Donald Trump’s Attacks on the Press Are an Attack on Democracy  The Nation

       The problem with fear in politics PBS NewsHour


Trump, Mueller near final stages of talks for interview in probe

Sacramento Bee

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.

See also:

     Trump calls on Sessions to stop Mueller's Russia probe, raising specter of attempted obstruction Los Angeles Times

     Why Trump isn’t fighting the bots Sacramento Bee

     Collusion is not a crime? Not so fast. Washington Post

Trump and the crumbling of the US-led world order


“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.


Key SCOTUS question: Will Kavanaugh further deregulation using the First Amendment?


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.



Fake Facebook Accounts Latched On to Real U.S. Protest Groups

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 Plans To Launch Censored Search Engine In China, Leaked Documents Reveal

The Intercept

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 Republicans complain Trump’s farm aid plan unfair

Sacramento Bee

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.

See also:

      California GOP lawmakers lobby Trump to help farmers hurt by tariffs Politico

      Trump’s trade war hits California’s House elections San Francisco Chronicle

Record turnout for Food Expo

Madera Tribune

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).


Study examines purchases of convenience foods

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’s Attack on Milk Substitutes Is Corporate Welfare in Action

National Review

The FDA should concentrate on food and drug safety, rather than policing language in the service of incumbent corporations.


Farm Labor

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Economic Research Service (ERS) provides information on a range of farm labor issues,


Porterville to talk pot business possibilities


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.






Family of slain teen Dylan Noble reaches settlement with city of Fresno

Fresno Bee

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.


Public Safety:


Celebrate National Night Out next week

Hanford Sentinel

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.


Should parents be prosecuted for failing to lock up guns their children use to commit school shootings?

Washington Post

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.


EDITORIAL: The legal fight over 3-D-printed guns isn't about firearms. It's about free speech

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.




What’s Different About California’s Fires This Year?

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.


Weary California Firefighters Mourn a Fallen Colleague, ‘Our Brother’

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 under mandatory evacuation as Ferguson Fire roars toward fourth week

Fresno Bee

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.

See also:

     Fire officials issue mandatory evacuation order for Wawona community inside Yosemite National Park ABC30

     Fire crews making slow progress towards stopping Ferguson Fire ABC30

     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


PG&E spends more than $1 million to lobby California officials on wildfire laws

Fresno Bee

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.


Forest Service proposes to thin out woods near Frazier Park

Bakersfield Californian

Heavily wooded areas near Kern County's southern border would be substantially thinned out under plans by the U.S. Forest Service.


What Does Your Homeowners Policy Cover in Disasters? Often, Not Enough

Wall Street Street

Spate of hurricanes, wildfires exposes insurance shortcomings; standard coverage excludes flood damage






Madera County awarded $1 million for housing, well rehabs

Madera Tribune

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.


Why so few Latinos in Silicon Valley? Because our Valley lacks connections

Modesto Bee

Internet inequality produces economic inequality, which is why Central California residents should be worried about the lack of access for communities of color.


Inflation, gas prices, tariffs squeeze consumers

Sacramento Bee

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.


Chart of the day: Trade deficits are associated with higher, not lower, levels of US employment


Charts shows graphically the close relationship over time between annual US civilian employment and US trade deficits (inverted) from 1972 to 2017.

See also:

        What Will Convince Trump on Trade? Wall Street Journal


Why Treasury Yields Are Stuck Below 3%

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.

See also:

      Treasury Plans to Boost Borrowing as Trillion-Dollar Deficits Loom Wall Street Journal



Former Fresno Starbucks employee sues for gender discrimination


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.


High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University


Like most other American high school students, Garret Morgan had it drummed into him constantly: Go to college. Get a bachelor's degree.


Lawmakers in Blue States Try to Protect Organized Labor

PEW Trust

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.


How effective are work requirements?


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.


Misunderstanding persistent poverty and employment


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. 






School athletic practices continue despite smoky skies


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.

See also:

     All fall sports programs feel the impact of heat, air quality Bakersfield Californian

Stockton Unified approves game plan for student success 

Stockton Record

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.


"Money is never enough,” the former federal education secretary says


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.


More Schools Are Buying ‘Active-Shooter’ Insurance Policies 

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


Higher Ed:


College district has a new vice chancellor

Madera Tribune

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.


West Hills program promotes success for disabled students

Hanford Sentinel

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.


Worth Noting: Bakersfield College made some changes over the summer

Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield College students are likely to notice a few changes when they return for the fall semester on Aug. 27.


UC campuses want more autonomy from Napolitano's office, study says

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.


DeVos Seeks To Rewrite The Rules On Higher Ed


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 in Bakersfield was second warmest on record

Bakersfield Californian

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.


EDITORIAL: California’s climate change regulator chooses self-preservation over transparency

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.




The Growth of Distributed Energy: Implications for California's Grid

Next 10

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.


The Growth in Community Choice Aggregation: Impacts to California's Grid

Next 10

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).

See also:

      Community Choice Is Driving California's Precocious Energy Revolution Forbes

      Electric Vehicles and the California Grid Next 10





She’s not a doctor or a nurse, but you want her to be on duty when you come to the ER

Fresno Bee

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.


Overturning Roe v. Wade wouldn’t be the biggest obstacle for abortion access in California

Fresno Bee

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.


Doctors seeing a spike in number of kids with respiratory problems


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.


SJ Public Health giving out free Narcan kits to fight opioid overdose

Stockton Record

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.


Tulare hospital elections have cost taxpayers more than $100K in two years

Visalia Times-Delta

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.


"Skinny" short-term health insurance plans expand under Trump


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.

See also:

     Trump administration moves to further expand skimpy health plans  Los Angeles Times

      Under New Rules, Cheaper 'Short-Term' Health Care Plans Now Last Up To 3 Years NPR

      Short-Term ObamaCare Relief Wall Street Journal

     Analysis: Without Trump and GOP, ObamaCare premiums would fall TheHill

      Short-term health plans allowed by Trump come with a major caveat  PBS NewsHour

      Editorial Short-Term ObamaCare Relief  Wall Street Journal

     Insurers Seek Smaller Rate Increases on ACA Plans Wall Street Journal


Making welfare recipients work is a question of values


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.


Medicare for All comes with a price tag — and hard choices

Washington Post

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!"

See also:

     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


Human Services:


VA workers use these streets as a parking lot. Now neighbors are getting relief

Fresno Bee

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.


Tulare hospital elections have cost taxpayers more than $100K in two years

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.


Why families need to pay close attention to these revised nursing home ratings


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. 




Separating fact from fiction on California’s Sanctuary State law

PolitiFact California

There’s perhaps no more controversial or mischaracterized piece of recent legislation in California than the sanctuary state law.


Trump’s order to penalize SF, other sanctuary cities ruled unconstitutional

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.

See also:

      Appeals court rules Trump can't withhold funds from California 'sanctuary' cities Los angeles Times

      Court strikes down Trump push to cut ‘sanctuary city’ funds AP

      Appeals Court Says Trump Bid to Withhold Federal Aid from Sanctuary Cities Is Unconstitutional Wall Street Journal

Trump Considers Slashing Number of Refugees Allowed to Resettle in U.S. 

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


EDITORIAL: Trump is winning his crusade against asylum seekers

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.


It’s time for the United States and Europe to face the politics of cultural displacement


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.




Land Use:


Yosemite pushes back park opening, two dead in collision near fire

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.  




Why voting yes on Prop 1 housing bond is right thing to do

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.

See also:

     Prop 1 is not the way to address affordable housing problem San Diego Union-Tribune


Big money already entering California rent control campaign

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.




California City parcel tax passes

Bakersfield Californian

The voters of California City have saved the city from financial ruin by approving a tax increase.


Kings County assessable property value rises to $10.7 billion

Hanford Sentinel

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.


A New Tax That will Get a Hang-Up from Legislators

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.


Tax credits can help high-poverty schools attract more teachers


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.


EDITORIAL: The Trump administration's latest tax scheme is its worst yet

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.

See also:

       Tax Cut By Fiat Weekly Standard




Looking at the gas tax measure in depth

Madera Tribune

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.


Checking in on the status and future of California’s controversial bullet train project


Slowly but surely, construction on California’s high-speed rail system is chugging along.

See also:

       HSRA, fulfill your promise Madera Tribune

       Assemblyman: state lacks funds to complete high speed rail line KBAC


L.A. Councilman Paul Koretz seeks a temporary ban on electric scooters

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.


EDITORIAL: DMV wait times are getting much slower. It's not your imagination.

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.


TSA Security Screening to Decrease?

National Review

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.




Past city admin, 2015 council ‘cook books’ to justify water rates, possibly violating Prop. 218

Madera Tribune

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.


Deadly Dennett Dam, intended to create a serene Lake Modesto, will finally be removed

Modesto Bee

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.


What every Stanislaus County area resident needs to know about state water plan

Modesto Bee

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.

See also:

       Kristin Olsen on state water plan: ‘I’ve never seen such a sinister, arrogant, attitude ...’ Modesto Bee




Nearly 75 years after his death in World War II, Fresno man finally returns home

Fresno Bee

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.

See also:

     A hero's homecoming 74 years later ABC30

Tulare Meat Locker earns top prize at national competition

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.


New shop owner invests in Madera

Madera Tribune

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.


New eatery opens in Downtown Fresno that focuses on family and healthy eating


If you live life on the go it can be difficult to eat healthy, but a new Downtown business is trying to change that.


Donate jeans this weekend to help individuals at Mission at Kern County

Bakersfield Californian

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.