August 21, 2017



Visalia May Add “In God We Trust” to Chambers

Valley Voice

Councilmember Steve Nelsen requested at the August 7 Visalia City Council meeting that an item be put on the next regular agenda to discuss posting, “In God We Trust” over Visalia’s city in seal in the chambers.

Modesto Councilman Madrigal ducks questions over campaign spending

The Modesto Bee

Modesto Councilman Tony Madrigal has been a prolific fundraiser, hauling in more than $98,000 since his 2013 campaign for City Council and his campaign for a second term this November. 

Who will represent Stanislaus County utility customers? Election for 3 districts coming

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County’s three largest water utilities might have produced as many as nine political campaigns this year, with three seats up for election in each of the Modesto, Turlock and Oakdale irrigation districts.

Vice president to make a swing through Bakersfield in September

Bakersfield Californian

Vice President Mike Pence will reportedly visit Bakersfield next month. It appears the trip will be a high-speed fundraising rush through the state benefitting vulnerable congressional Republicans including Rep. David Valadao of Hanford, Ed Royce of Fullerton, Mimi Walters of Irvine and Devin Nunes of Tulare.


Five issues to watch in the California Legislature’s final month

Sacramento Bee

State lawmakers return from summer break today to a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse and tens of thousands of people crowding into Capitol Mall for a free concert to urge passage of a trio of criminal justice bills.

California Politics Podcast: Lawmakers return to Sacramento with a full plate

LA Times

National events and internal party politics are likely to dominate the activities of lawmakers when they return to Sacramento on Monday.  On this week’s California Politics Podcast, we discuss how the state’s political leaders are reacting to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. We also catch up on the rancor inside the ranks of Assembly Republicans.

See also:

·       California lawmakers to tackle housing crisis, immigration  PBS NewsHour

California Assembly Speaker: Housing spending this year is more important than water and parks

LA Times

With Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers debating billions in new spending for a variety of projects on the 2018 ballot, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said low-income housing will be the highest priority.

Affordable housing up for debate in California Legislature

The Sacramento Bee

Democratic state lawmakers aiming to ease California’s housing shortage say they are focused on three bills they estimate would generate $20 billion for affordable housing development over the next five years and lead to 70,000 new low-income apartments.

California Republicans tell Assembly GOP leader Chad Mayes to step down

LA Times

The California Republican Party’s board voted Friday evening to urge Chad Mayes to step down from his position as leader of the party’s Assembly caucus, continuing the bitter fallout over last month’s vote to extend the state cap-and-trade program.

See also:

·       Mayes: The challenge ahead for California Republicans  Orange County Register

·       Eclipse – John Moorlach future on the California Republican Party  Medium

·       Essential Politics: A Republican could lose his job this week Los Angeles Times

California Democratic Party rejects final appeal from Kimberly Ellis

Los Angeles Times

The California Democratic Party on Sunday rejected a last-ditch appeal contesting the election of the party’s new leader, setting up a strong possibility of a court challenge.

See also:

·       Kimberly Ellis says ‘all options are on the table after California Democratic Party rules she lost race for chair  LA Times

Walters: Republicans and Democrats have made mockery of Josh Newman recall

Fresno Bee (blog)

The Josh Newman recall drive is one of those petty, self-serving political exercises that feed the public’s cynicism.

Walters: California writing a new chapter in centuries-old ‘states’ rights’ conflict

East Bay Times/CALmatters

Tension between the federal government and its states has permeated American history from the earliest moments of the nation’s founding. Drafting the U.S. Constitution was an exercise in balancing federal authority against “states’ rights.” The Constitution’s “supremacy clause” defined federal authority, for instance, while its 10th amendment guaranteed that states could exercise powers not reserved to the national government. The broad wording of both merely set the stage for centuries of political and judicial conflict over their meaning, punctuated by the nation’s bloodiest war.

What California could do for wounded veterans

The Sacramento Bee

Most Americans have heard about the toll of traumatic brain injury on the military. It is painful to read of the nonstop migraines, sleepless nights, failing memory, uncontrollable rages, persistent and intense anxiety, broken families, lost jobs and suicides during and after service that go with the condition. Since 2001, more than 360,000 military service members have been diagnosed with TBI.

California’s new motor voter law coming in April, state lawyer says

SF Gate

Californians who apply for driver’s licenses or state ID cards will be automatically registered to vote starting in April unless they opt out, a state lawyer said in court Thursday. 

White nationalism on rise in California as Bay Area girds for rallies next weekend

San Jose Mercury News

As the Central Valley’s flatlands give way to the rolling hills of California horse country, this quiet city that calls itself “the Cowboy Capital of the World” and features weekly rodeos seems but a blip on Highway 120, halfway between San Francisco and Yosemite National Park.


California Dems in Congress: What to do about Trump?

San Francisco Chronicle

The craziness of the past two weeks — erratic even by the standards of the Donald Trump presidency — has intensified concerns about Trump’s fitness for office and what it would take to remove him from the White House. Trump’s saber rattling with North Korea’s equally insecure, impulsive leader and unhinged combativeness when challenged about his unwillingness to unequivocally condemn white supremacists has left a growing legion of critics to worry about his capacity to lead in a crisis.

A new threat to public-sector unions is headed to the Supreme Court

The Economist

Somewhere among the thousands of petitions the justices will wade through when they return to work in September is a case that could transform the labour movement in America: Janus v American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The Supreme Court refuses to hear about 99.4% of appeals at this time of year—a rejection rate even stingier than its usual 89.9%. But Janus is very likely to attract the four votes it needs to make it onto the court’s docket for the upcoming term that begins October 2nd.


Jesse Jackson: Electoral college must be abolished 

Los Angeles Times

Speaking at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Jackson blamed the electoral college system, giving disproportionate influence to less populated states, for the 2000 and 2016 loss of Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and Hillary Clinton despite their winning the popular vote.


Arnold Schwarzenegger says bipartisanship shouldn’t be a dirty word. It should be the job.

Modesto Bee

It’s hard to imagine the greatest country in the world without compromise. In fact, it’s impossible. Our foundational document, the Constitution, was an incredibly delicate balance between large states and small states, rural and urban citizens, industrialized and agricultural interests. The reason we have two houses of Congress is actually called “The Great Compromise.”

Arthur Brooks: A conservative’s plea: Let’s work together

TED Talk

Conservatives and liberals both believe that they alone are motivated by love while their opponents are motivated by hate. How can we solve problems with so much polarization? In this talk, social scientist Arthur Brooks shares ideas for what we can each do as individuals to break the gridlock. “We might just be able to take the ghastly holy war of ideology that we’re suffering under and turn it into a competition of ideas,” he says.

Skelton: The 1st Amendment guarantees a right to ‘peaceably’ assemble. It doesn’t entitle Nazis to bear arms at rallies 

Los Angeles Times

How do we protect ourselves from neo-Nazis armed with clubs, knives and shields?

The Real American Heritage

The Sacramento Bee

Before they die, before they disappear into the opaque mist of history, the last Americans to fight Nazi Germany have to face one more blast of something they thought they’d eliminated in the bloodiest war of all time.


Essential California: Tough talk, limited action in Trump border crackdown

Los Angeles Times

Mixed record for Trump on the border: Since President Trump took office, his border crackdown remains elusive, at least by some measures. Construction of the wall has yet to begin, the number of Border Patrol officers has actually dropped by 220, and immigration agents are on track to deport 10,000 fewer people this year than in President Obama’s last year in office, the latest figures show. At the same time, illegal border crossings are down 22% compared with last summer. Arrests of people in the country illegally have surged 43% since January.

Hacker conference proves how weak US voting machines really are


In January, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced: “Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure, in fact and in law.”

Find out if your legislator is holding a Town Hall near you!

New website lets you see if your local legislators are holding a town hall.


You can buy legal marijuana in four months. But is California ready to sell it?

Fresno Bee

Voters approved Proposition 64, the legalization initiative, in November 2016, and set an ambitious deadline of January 2018 for retail sales to begin. Backers left the details to be worked out by others.

Thumbs up, thumbs down: Sign of sympathy could save lives

Fresno Bee

Bee readers help Sweet Pea find a home. Fresno State national judo champion competes in world meet.  

How many nurses does it take to change a patient’s blood?

Los Angeles Times

One in seven Americans suffers from chronic kidney disease, usually as a toxic byproduct of diabetes or high blood pressure. Almost half a million people across the country, including more than 60,000 in California, have conditions so severe that they require dialysis three times a week or a new…

Not enough to condemn racists; president deserves some blame

Modesto Bee

Jeff Denham is right that there is “no place in our society” for such hate and bigotry; but he must call out the leader who provides cover for white supremacists

Never has a solar eclipse been so timely. At last, something to inspire awe.

Sacramento Bee

Monday’s solar eclipse will not be a man-made event, like the 1969 moon landing. It will be a moment to remember that we, too, are part of the cosmos, and infinitesimally small.

A housing crisis that’s too easily forgotten

Sacramento Bee

Imagine the possibilities of a little more money: decent and affordable housing for people who tend the orchards and harvest crops, and an education for their children.  


California tightens rules on popular pesticide for farmers

Bakersfield Californian

California is tightening the strictest rules in the nation on a pesticide that is popular with farmers over new health concerns, officials said Friday. Farmers use chlorpyrifos (klor-PHIR-e-fos) to kill pests that attack a wide variety of crops like grapes, almonds and cotton grown in California, the nation’s agricultural leader, as well as across the country.

See also:

·       California’s farm communities mobilize to ban pesticide  San Jose Mercury News

Growing concern: Organic farms need a new generation to keep them alive

San Francisco Chronicle

Advocates of Bay Area agriculture and organics have been waiting to learn the fate of Star Route Farms since owner Warren Weber put his 100-acre Bolinas farm up for sale in 2013.



Feds bust groups using ‘dark web’ sites AlphaBay

The Fresno Bee

A federal grand jury in Fresno indicted six people suspected of selling illegal drugs on the “dark web,” in which sales of drugs and contraband over the internet are meant to be untraceable by law enforcement.

Police working to ease fears in Selma


A fear of deportation. That was the topic Friday night in Selma as residents and law enforcement officials held a meeting designed to build trust. The biggest fear for members of the undocumented community is being stopped by police and deported. All parties involved agree the only way to overcome this challenge is with trust. 

Correction: California Women’s Prisons story

The Bakersfield Californian

In a story Aug. 17 about suicides at California women’s prisons, The Associated Press reported erroneously the number of women’s prisons in the state. It has two, not four. A corrected version of the story is here.

Skelton: 1st Amendment guarantees a right to ‘peaceably’ assemble. It doesn’t entitle Nazis to bear arms at rallies

Los Angeles Times

How do we protect ourselves from neo-Nazis armed with clubs, knives and shields? Well, we can start by stripping them of their clubs, knives and shields. Plus helmets, pepper spray and any guns.

Jerry Brown commutes prison sentences for six murderers, three others

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday commuted the sentences of nine California prisoners who were convicted over the past three decades primarily of murder or attempted murder.


Yosemite’s Wawona community to remain evacuated for days due to fire

The Fresno Bee

Mandatory evacuation orders will likely continue for several days for the Wawona community as the South Fork Fire in Yosemite National Park continues burning.  On Sunday morning it had grown to 3,191 acres, according to South Central Sierra Incident Management team.

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.



Help small businesses understand the rules of the game

Fresno Bee

There are always unknowns in business. When I joined a local family’s company in 2008, I couldn’t be certain that the ambitions to transform the seven-unit deli into a thriving franchise would succeed. We put in the hours and made the best decisions possible based on available information and resources – and it worked.

This is why the owner of an Atwater flight school says he may be forced to close

Modesto Bee

The future of an embattled Atwater flight school is uncertain, its owner said Friday, after a Merced County judge refused to order a former business partner convicted of fraud to give up his shares in the company.


July Jobs Report

Center for Jobs and the Economy

California’s unemployment rate edged upward to 4.8 percent in July, even as more than 80,000 jobs were added to employer payrolls.  The jobless rate reported Friday by the state’s Employment Development Department moved up from the record-tying low of 4.7 percent seen in both May and June this year.

Who is out of the labor force?

Brookings Institution

Our nation’s labor force participation rate, or the fraction of adults who are either employed or are searching for work, has fallen steadily since 1999. This is a trend that many economists find troubling, as the labor force participation rate is an indicator of household living standards and economic vitality. In 2016, over one-third (37.2 percent) of adults in the United States—including nearly one-fifth (18.7 percent) of prime working age adults (between 25 and 54 years old)—were not in the workforce. The large number of adults who are not in the labor force is a puzzle that cannot be fully accounted for by factors like baby boomers aging out of the workforce, women engaged in caregiving, or recent college graduates delaying the responsibilities of adulthood.

Getting men back to work 


Currently, seven million able-bodied American men are outside of the labor force. What can we do about it?

When renegotiating NAFTA, Trump should re-evaluate his premises on international trade

Brookings Institution

The vast majority of losses in US manufacturing jobs were due to higher productivity, not NAFTA.



Equality group calls for LGBTQ pledge from FUSD superintendent finalist

Fresno Bee

Equality California said Friday it has sent a letter to Fresno Unified School District trustees urging them to get a pledge from interim Superintendent Bob Nelson, the finalist in the district’s search for a new district leader, that he will protect LGBTQ students.

The trustees could choose the new superintendent at a scheduled board meeting Wednesday evening.

Students of for-profit schools find additional support

Valley News

As students struggle with the aftermath of for-profit educational institutions that have closed or violated the law, the California Department of Consumer Affairs has established the Office of Student Assistance and Relief, as mandated by Senate Bill 1192, to help students navigate their uncertain academic and financial future.

Dyslexia, once the reading disability that shall not be named, comes into its own in California


Jamie Bennetts created a spreadsheet of every child’s reading scores in the small Knightsen Elementary School District a few summers ago, identified the laggers and greeted them in the fall with state-adopted reading interventions. She was new to her job as a reading interventionist, a position she sought after the unnerving experience of teaching 7th-graders, many of whom she’d taught as 1st- or 2nd-graders, and discovering that the 6- and 7-year-olds she’d known as poor readers were still reading poorly at 12 and 13.

‘A pathological optimist,’ counseling award winner urges students to pursue college aid


At many urban schools in California, counselors would be delighted if 67 percent of recent graduates were headed to four-year colleges and 31 percent to community colleges. But for Lynda McGee, college counselor at the Downtown Magnets High School in Los Angeles, that rate was a bit of a drop from the year before, partly because of increased selectivity at UC and CSU. She pledges to boost the numbers next year, working to help enroll the 250 seniors — most from low-income and immigrant families — at colleges that match their skills and provide enough financial aid.

California’s History Curriculum–Objectionable, Not Objective

Hoover Institution

By law, textbooks and other teaching materials in California’s public schools are supposed to be up-to-date. Yet history textbooks that are currently in the schools are twelve-years old.  Why is this?  A somewhat simplified answer is that the California legislature has avoided passing a statute that would authorize a new set of curriculum-content standards for history and social science.

Oldest Kids In Class Do Better, Even Through College : The Two-Way


Children who start school at an older age do better than their younger classmates and have better odds of attending college and graduating from an elite institution. That’s according to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Affairs.

Start high school later for better academic outcomes

Brookings Institution

Many proposals for improving student performance involve very costly interventions. And while quite a few of these costly interventions surely pass benefit-cost tests, they can be extremely challenging, politically or financially, to implement.

Meaningful education in times of uncertainty

Brookings Institution

We are living at a time of enormous uncertainty. Technology is advancing at an ever-increasing rate, transforming the nature of work and employment. Widening inequality threatens to further disrupt our systems and to leave a large part of the world behind. And as a result, our political systems are increasingly facing an isolationist backlash.

Higher Ed:

New Turlock apartment complex has pool, outdoor TV, gym. But there’s a catch

Modesto Bee

There are amenities aplenty at a new apartment complex in Turlock. But there’s a catch – it’s for students only.

UC Merced welcomes thousands on campus move-in day


Roughly 2,200 students moved into the residence halls on the UC Merced campus this weekend. Chancellor Dorthy Leland and mascot Rufus Bobcat took part in the day’s events.

Fresno State partners with United Way to deliver hundreds of backpacks to Madera students


In Madera, 500 students were treated to a bold surprise thanks to Fresno State and United Way.

If higher education were a public good…


Higher education is not a public good. Public good is an economic term with a narrow definition. To qualify as a public good, a good must be both nonexcludable and nonrivalrous. A nonexcludable good is one which the provider cannot charge consumers for, such as public sidewalks. A nonrivalrous good can be enjoyed by many consumers at once, with an additional consumer’s entry not affecting the degree to which other consumers can enjoy the good (think software or music downloads) 

Vocational Ed:

Some basics on President Trump and apprenticeships


The Trump administration has declared this “workforce development week.” The president is promising to make a big push on apprenticeships. During Monday’s cabinet meeting, he said, “Apprenticeships are going to be a big, big factor in our country.”



California scientists call for the a huge investment in climate research

Business Insider

The sunny state’s been defying the Trump administration’s, er, lax approach to climate action by leading the way on their own since before the inauguration.  Now, a cohort of scientists in the state are proposing plans for a climate research institute. It would focus on projects combating the effects of climate change in the U.S.

More GOP lawmakers bucking their party on climate change


While President Donald Trump continues to dismantle Obama-era climate policies, an unlikely surge of Republican lawmakers has begun taking steps to distance themselves from the GOP’s hard line on climate change.

Support for climate change bill is haunting a California Republican leader

The Mercury News

A Republican lawmaker who helped propel a bipartisan climate bill to victory last month could lose his leadership post on Monday, as lawmakers return to the Capitol after a month-long summer recess.

California Senate leader eyes cap-and-trade funding for cleaner tractors, trucks and cars

Los Angeles Times

Now that lawmakers have extended the cap-and-trade program, it’s time for them to divvy up the money generated by the sale of pollution permits.

California: An incubator or bubble?

Ventura County Star

California’s cap-and-trade system is a classic incubator-or-bubble question. Can our system for controlling greenhouse gases be adopted around the world? Or is California pursuing a foolish one-state war on climate change that will land us in a bubble of economy-destroying regulations? 

Sixty-five years later, 1952 earthquake memories still vivid

Tom and Betty Holson were still newlyweds in the summer of 1952 when the earth moved beneath them — literally.

See also:

·       A seismic conversation with the Earthquake Lady


California Prepares For An Eclipse Of Its Solar Power


Spectators around the country are gearing up, eclipse glasses at the ready, for the solar eclipse on Monday. But another group — perhaps more anxious than eager — is preparing as well: the people who run California’s electric grid.

More Borrowers Are Defaulting on Their ‘Green’ PACE Loans


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


‘A lot to be proud of’ Valley fever survivors gather for annual walk, cheer recent advances in funding, legislation, research

Bakersfield Californian

Valley fever, or coccidioidomycosis (cocci), is caused when microscopic fungal spores that are endemic to the southwestern United States get swept up into the air and inhaled. Sometimes, it can result in flu-like symptoms, and others don’t get sick at all. But in some cases, it can lead to extreme fatigue, night sweats, chills, skin lesions and respiratory issues. Other times, the fungus can spread to the bloodstream or brain and lead to a host of health issues, and in the rarest cases, lead to death.

First West Nile case for 2017 reported in Fresno County

The Fresno Bee

A Fresno County man is the first person this year to be infected with the West Nile virus that is spread by mosquitoes, health officials said Friday. 

As West Nile cases arise, local efforts to fight the virus are stifled

Modesto Bee

As Stanislaus County confirmed the first two cases of West Nile disease this year, mosquito abatement districts said regulators have shut down their aerial spraying used to control mosquitoes that spread the debilitating illness. 

As they live longer, number of dialysis patients in California surges

Sacramento Bee

The number of Californians who are getting care at dialysis centers has jumped in recent years – but not because kidney disease is more prevalent.

An unforeseen benefit of California’s physician-assisted death law

Los Angeles Times

Some doctors in California felt uncomfortable last year when a new law began allowing terminally ill patients to request lethal medicines, saying their careers had been dedicated to saving lives, not ending them.

LOIS HENRY: Child protective services took Stacy Duke to keep her safe, then let her slip away

Bakersfield Californian

Here’s what we know about Stacy Duke. She was a 15-year-old girl passing herself off as a 22-year-old woman named Angelica Cortez working in an internet cafe who ended up murdered in a garage in south Bakersfield on a beautiful spring day this past April. 

With new allies and approaches, California lawmakers try again to confront high prescription drug prices

LA Times

Less rowdy than the sputtered push for single-payer healthcare and less fraught than the battle over Obamacare’s future, the concern over the cost of prescription drug prices has been overshadowed for the past year by the marquee healthcare battles gripping Sacramento and Washington. That’s not likely to be the case much longer. The effort to rein in pharmaceutical costs is poised for a major showdown as state lawmakers enter their final month of the legislative year.

See also:

·       Let’s Talk About Cost  PhRMA

Federal Cuts to Food Assistance Would Harm Older Californians, Many of Whom Already Struggle to Afford Enough Food

California Budget & Policy Center

Federal policy changes being pursued by the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress threaten to inflict serious harm on older adults, and the rapid aging of California’s population means that a growing number of state residents are at risk. One of the most significant threats comes from recent proposals to slash food assistance provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), called CalFresh in California. Last month, the House Budget Committee approved a budget resolution that would cut SNAP by more than 20% ($150 billion) over 10 years.[1] This massive reduction in funds follows the lead of the President, who earlier this year proposed cutting SNAP by more than one-quarter (over $193 billion) over 10 years. These proposals would undoubtedly increase hunger and hardship throughout California, as CalFresh benefits currently are based on a minimal diet and provide only around $1.50 per person per meal.

How Medicare Tourism Could Help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Federal Budget

US News
The federal budget faces a problem: the rising cost of Medicare benefits. At $10,000 per beneficiary per year, Medicare is one of the largest costs facing the U.S. taxpayer. And it’s growing as baby boomers retire and health costs increase. At the same time, the U.S. island of Puerto Rico faces a problem. Its government is effectively bankrupt, and the economy is contracting. Tourism receipts are below potential levels. Perhaps worst, over one-third of the island’s doctors have emigrated to the mainland in the past decade, increasingly leaving Puerto Ricans without care.

We’ve Already Got Socialized Medicine

Scientific American Blog Network

Unfortunately, the biggest recipients of government help are the pharmaceutical companies, not patients

Fact-Based Health Care Reform

The American Interest

Just as the ACA’s supporters passed it despite the widely anticipated failures of the law, advocates of a single payer system today ignore the well-documented half century of failures of nationalized health care.


Dozens protest for Congressman Devin Nunes to reject RAISE Act –

Dozens protested outside Congressman Devin Nunes’ office, Sunday, fighting for LGBTQ and immigration rights. It all comes just one week after the violence in Charlottesville.

Police working to ease fears in Selma


A fear of deportation. That was the topic Friday night in Selma as residents and law enforcement officials held a meeting designed to build trust. The biggest fear for members of the undocumented community is being stopped by police and deported. All parties involved agree the only way to overcome this challenge is with trust.

Applications for California immigrant driver’s licenses declining as numbers near 1M

89.3 KPCC

There will soon be a million California drivers who obtained their driver licenses under a state law that allowed unauthorized immigrants to apply for permission to drive legally.

An ‘America First’ anti-immigration rally in California was dwarfed by a crowd of counter-protesters

Business Insider

Anti-immigration demonstrators faced off against a much bigger crowd of counter-protesters in the Southern California town of Laguna Beach on Sunday, as police kept the opposing sides apart.

Trump’s immigration vision isn’t the Reagan way


It is sad that some Republicans seem to have given up on Reagan’s idea of a growing pie with bigger slices for all.


Land Use:

Judge dismisses motion seeking legal fees from 24th Street opponents; city to refile

A Kern County judge on Friday dismissed a motion filed by the City of Bakersfield seeking to sue 10 residents who filed court declarations against the widening of 24th Street, but ruled it can be refiled if each person is individually notified.  City attorneys said afterward they will refile the motion.


Vandalism in Fresno is a crime. Being homeless shouldn’t be

The Fresno Bee

Being homeless should not be a crime. Not in Fresno. Not anywhere. It’s reprehensible to target a group of people already struggling and existing on the margins of society simply because they don’t sleep with a roof over their heads.

Nearly $20 billion could help build 70,000 California affordable homes – but is it enough?

Sacramento Bee

Democratic state lawmakers aiming to ease California’s housing shortage say they are focused on three bills they estimate would generate $20 billion for affordable housing development over the next five years and lead to 70,000 new low-income apartments.

See also:

·       How California’s housing crisis happened  Sacramento Bee

·       California legislators chip away at housing crisis; big solution elusive  The Sacramento Bee

·       Housing a top priority for California lawmakers after recess  AP

·       California politicians say housing is their top priority for the rest of the year  89.3 KPCC

Realtors predict California housing market headed for a slow down


As California moves into the second half the year, home sales are projected to cool down, according to the latest report from the California Association of Realtors.  The forecast comes after a year already plagued with low housing inventory and rising home prices.


Is the money worth the risk? Supervisors to begin deciding whether to ban or regulate the pot biz

Marijuana farms and retail shops could bring thousands of jobs and at least $30 million in new revenue to Kern County government.

Outsourcing proposed to trim Lodi budget    

Lodi News

With the City of Lodi already struggling to balance budgets, local leaders are exploring ways to make sure the city stays solvent with soaring pension costs expected to eat up bigger chunks of the general budget in the coming years.

Trump’s out, but CalPERS steps up on climate 


CalPERS is a leader in forming a first-ever global alliance of large investors that would use its combined shareholder clout to engage companies with the most carbon emissions, believed by scientists to contribute to climate change.

Hidden Debt, Hidden Deficits: 2017 Edition

Hoover Institution

Despite the introduction of new accounting standards, the vast majority of state and local governments continue to understate their pension costs and liabilities by relying on investment return assumptions of 7-8 percent per year.

Cutting taxes and making future Americans pay for it: How Trump’s tax cuts could hurt many households

Brookings Institution

Using Tax Policy Center estimates, the authors show that the proposals would reduce taxes for most households, with the largest percentage increases in after-tax income going to households with the highest pre-tax incomes.


Meetings in Salida and Sacramento will explore ACE commuter train expansion

The Modesto Bee

Two meetings this month will explore plans to extend the Altamont Corridor Express to Modesto and later Merced.  The Salida Municipal Advisory Council will hear Tuesday evening about the planning for the project, which got $400 million in state funding in the spring. And ACE is one of several passenger rail systems to be discussed at an Aug. 30 hearing in Sacramento.

Applications for California immigrant driver’s licenses declining as numbers near 1M

89.3 KPCC

There will soon be a million California drivers who obtained their driver licenses under a state law that allowed unauthorized immigrants to apply for permission to drive legally.

Stockton’s ‘radical shift in thinking’ creates greater bicycle safety

Stockton Record

The city’s latest plan to improve bicycle access isn’t just for hardcore athletes, health-conscious commuters or families who like to ride on summer evenings in their tree-lined middle-income neighborhoods.

The case for bicycles’ inevitable triumph over cars

CNN Money

Bikes, long an underdog on streets, will rule the roads eventually.  That’s the conclusion of Horace Dediu, a prominent analyst of disruptive technologies, who has spent the past three and a half years researching the future of transportation.

Transportation and the Challenge of Future-Proofing Our Cities

Signs of the immense influence that digital technologies will have on transportation are growing more visible daily. Software-enabled mobility solutions such as Uber, Lyft and Waze are already dramatically changing the way we get around. These impacts, however, are still relatively small compared to what’s coming with next generation technologies such as high-speed hyperloop, drones and, most important, driverless vehicles.


Oroville Dam: New video shows crews rebuilding wrecked spillway

Mercury News

A video released Friday by the state Department of Water Resources shows construction crews at Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest, continuing to rebuild the severely damaged main spillway and emergency spillway.  Hundreds of construction workers are racing on a $500 million project to rebuild enough of the main spillway by Nov. 1 so that it can be ready for heavy rains this winter. The job is scheduled to be finished in 2018.

New dams for California? A dozen projects seek $2.7 billion

SJ 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.  The money comes from Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion water bond overwhelmingly passed by voters in November 2014 during the depths of the state’s historic 2011-2016 drought.

Proposal would commit California to acting on shrinking lake

Sacramento Bee

Five months after California outlined a $383 million plan to slow the shrinking of the state’s largest lake, agencies will try to make sure officials honor the commitment, according to a report.    

Sacramento County sues state over Delta tunnels

The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento County led a cascade of area governments suing the state in an effort to block the Delta tunnels, saying the $17 billion project would harm county farmers, endangered fish and low-income communities at the south end of the county. 

U.S. House moves to streamline water projects

High Country News

This July, California Republicans cheered when the Gaining Responsibility on Water (GROW) Actpassed the U.S. House. Rep. David Valadao, a Central Valley Republican and the bill’s sponsor, said the legislation was necessary to “modernize” the state’s water policies following prolonged drought.


Young Stephens builds a boat

Stockton Record

The best craftsmanship ever to come out of Stockton came from Stephens Bros. boatyard (1902-1987): sumptuous handmade yachts of mahogany, teak, white oak and custom-cast brass.

Bay Area wine, spirits and beer events: Aug. 20 and beyond

San Jose Mercury News

Baseball’s California League mirrors our state’s challenges

San Francisco Chronicle

Take me out to the ballgame? Sure, as long as you’re taking me to San Jose. Or maybe Lake Elsinore. Those cities don’t have major-league teams — that’s the point. In California, Major League Baseball is miserable. Big-league games run too long and cost hundreds of dollars to attend. The stadiums in Oakland and Anaheim are dumps, as are this year’s teams in San Francisco and San Diego. In Los Angeles, the championship-contending Dodgers greedily cling to a cable contract that prevents most Angelenos from watching their strong season on TV.