August 22, 2017






Protesters gather outside Rep. Nune’s office in Clovis

Fresno Bee
Members of a national gay Asian immigrant group gathered Sunday in Old Town Clovis for a loud but peaceful protest at Rep. Devin Nunes’ office.


Black Lives Matter banners greet Fresno California drivers

The Fresno Bee

Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno has placed two Black Lives Matter banners in front of the church for drivers along Alluvial Avenue in Fresno on Aug. 16, 2017, citing the need to respect people of color.


Ramirez recall effort takes next step

Hanford Sentinel

A group of Hanford residents are one step closer to getting a recall election for Hanford City Councilman Francisco Ramirez.




White supremacist ‘cancer’ in California to be investigated, Senate leader says

Sacramento Bee

The California Senate will hold a series of public hearings next month to explore the rise of white supremacy in California and to ensure that the state is prepared to deal with race-driven rallies in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Va.

See also:

·       California leaders call for hearings on white supremacy  San Francisco Chronicle

Democrats are again trying to change rules for the recall election of an embattled California state senator

Los Angeles Times

Democrats in the California Legislature pushed again Monday to revamp the rules covering recall elections, their second attempt to potentially delay an effort aimed at removing an Orange County state senator.

See also:

·       CA Democrats push new election rules to help Josh Newman  Sacramento Bee

·       A Scary Halloween Recall?  Fox&Hounds

California’s Assembly Republican leader survives vote to oust him – for now

Sacramento Bee

A vote to oust California Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes failed Monday despite conservative anger over his role in extending the state’s signature climate change policy. The Assembly Republican Caucus then set up an election next week in which other members plan to compete for his leadership post. The up-or-down vote to oust Mayes failed by three votes in the 25-member caucus.

See also:  

·       Chad Mayes responds to failed vote to oust him as Assembly GOP leader Sacramento Bee

·       Assembly GOP leader fends off challenge over climate vote  89.3 KPCC

·       California Republican leader survives party infighting over climate change — for now  San Jose Mercury News


Republican moves to eliminate California’s top-two election system

Sacramento Bee

Frustrated that Democrats dominate elective office in California, a Republican eying a 2018 run against Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants to repeal the state’s top-two primary system that he says shuts out Republicans and disproportionately propels left-wing Democrats into office.


Judicial Watch Warns California to Clean Voter Registration Lists or Face Federal Lawsuit

Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch announced it sent a notice-of-violation letter to the state of California and 11 of its counties threatening to sue in federal court if it does not clean its voter registration lists as mandated by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Both the NVRA and the federal Help America Vote Act require states to take reasonable steps to maintain accurate voting rolls. The August 1 letter was sent on behalf of several Judicial Watch California supporters and the Election Integrity Project California, Inc.


Home Stretch: Small businesses brace for End of Session Legislative Battles

As the California legislature reconvenes this week for the remainder of the 2017 half of the 2017-18 two-year session, small business owners remain concerned that Sacramento will pass additional taxes, fees and regulations which impact their business and employees. This year alone, small businesses and working families have been hit with billions in new taxes, and we’re only halfway through this legislative session.


Gavin Newsom Racking Up Cannabis $$$ in California Governors Race


One candidate continues to separate himself, as current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has received over $320,000 in campaign donations from people associated with the cannabis industry.




Zinke slated this week to advise Trump on fate of 21 national monuments Sacramento Bee

The Trump administration this week is expected to release plans for potentially shrinking or revoking the status of 21 national monuments, setting the stage for a years-long legal battle that could pit the White House against Indian tribes, environmentalists and some western states.  Five of those monuments are in California — more than any other state — and two of the most contentious are in southern Utah: The new Bears Ears National Monumentand the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, established in 1996



From global warming to redistricting: Is Arnold back?

Capitol Weekly

It was ‘way back in 1984 when Arnold Schwarzenegger first uttered the movie catchwords “I’ll be back” in The Terminator. Today, Arnold is back. Sort of.

Circular Firing Squads — Fire, Aim, Ready


They have long been advocates of a strong military build-up, but today, Republicans in Washington and Sacramento appear to be embracing circular firing squads. Instead of guns, this firing squad is using finger pointing and tweets aimed at erstwhile allies… National Democrats have their own intra-party squabbles. The Berniecrats are rejecting anything that smells of moderation and abortion rights has reemerged as a litmus test issue.


Special Districts Provide Flood Protection & Prevention, Allowing Us to Live, Work and Play Safely

Video:  Reclamation districts across the state provide flood protection and flood prevention, allowing us to live, work and play safely in our communities.

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

The Economist

Can unions charge non-dues paying members of a bargaining unit for negotiating on their behalf?

See also:

·       Why Compulsory Union Dues Violate The First Amendment  Forbes

The misplaced arguments against Black Lives Matter

The Economist

You can agree or disagree with BLM’s platform, but nothing in it promotes hatred of any race or group


Craiglist gay sex ads are at core of cyberbullying case against financial planner Edward Jones & Co.

Fresno Bee

By many measures, Dalas Gundersen was a successful and enviable figure in this Northern California farming town. Over 15 years, he grew his financial planning business with Edward D. Jones & Co. to customer accounts worth $150 million. He twice served as president of the Willows Rotary Club. His son was an Eagle Scout.





California’s housing crisis was decades in the making. It needs more than quick fixes

Fresno Bee

Not wanting to waste a crisis, legislators returning Monday will consider 15 housing related bills in the coming weeks. Big fixes remain elusive.


For wisdom on North Korea, Trump should pay a visit to the White House library

Visalia Times-Delta/ Washington Post

Donald Trump doesn’t spare much time for reading. “I never have,” he explains. “I’m always busy doing a lot.” But what he is now busy doing is managing a global crisis with nuclear dimensions and historical precedents.


Trump’s path forward keeps U.S. stuck in Afghanistan quagmire

Sacramento Bee

The president approves the Pentagon’s request for 4,000 more troops. But he doesn’t outline a clear strategy to finally end the U.S. mission in a war-torn country where we have expended immense amounts of blood and treasure already.


Enough is enough. It’s time for Republicans to show some spine and stand up to Trump

Los Angeles Times

These are not normal times. The man in the White House is reckless and unmanageable, a danger to the Constitution, a threat to our democratic institutions.

If L.A. can’t even approve one small homeless housing project, how will it build thousands of units?

Los Angeles Times

It is disappointing that Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar wants a long-delayed housing development in Boyle Heights for poor and homeless people to be delayed even further while an extensive environmental report is prepared. This looks less like an attempt to ensure that the site is safe…


Trump’s ‘new’ Afghanistan policy is more of the same

Los Angeles Times

Candidate Donald Trump once called U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan a “total disaster.” Now president, Trump told the nation on Monday that, after studying the issue, he had reconsidered his original instinct to pull U.S. forces out of that country.


Editorial: SF’s chance to show how to counter protest peacefully

San Francisco Chronicle

The Bay Area is on edge about two upcoming far-right rallies. On Saturday, the Patriot Prayer group of Portland, Ore., has a pending permit for a rally at Crissy Field. The group has often rallied with militias and white nationalist groups around the country.




A California Bill Takes Steps to End Discrimination Against Farmers

Civil Eats

While there’s no simple fix for racial discrimination—and the current political atmosphere is only making the situation worse—minority farmers in California may soon get more support, thanks to legislation Nguyen and a group of other advocates have proposed.  The Farmer Equity Act of 2017, introduced by California Democratic Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and backed by bipartisan support, would amend the California Food and Agriculture Code to include a more diverse set of farmers in the “development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement” of food and agriculture laws at the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture.





Merced County Administration Building evacuated for possible bomb threat

Merced Sun-Star
The Merced County Administration Building in Merced has been evacuated for a possible bomb threat, police said.


ACLU campaign highlights the positions of California district attorneys on crime and punishment ballot measures

Los Angeles Times

Nearly 60% of California voters approved a ballot measure that reduced some drug and theft crimes to misdemeanors. But only two district attorneys out of all 58 counties across the state supported the measure.


Thousands pack Capitol Mall for Common performance

Sacramento Bee

Thousands of people standing shoulder to shoulder packed a stretch of Capitol Mall on Monday evening to hear Common, the Oscar-winning rapper and activist, perform and advocate for criminal justice reform.


CA attorney general sides with Judge Persky recall campaign, county officials on legality of petition drive

San Jose Mercury News

The state Attorney General’s Office indicated Monday that it will join the legal battle over whether Santa Clara County officials or the secretary of state should oversee the effort to recall Judge Aaron Persky, siding with recall organizers.


Report: ACA Has Delayed Ambulance Response Times


Ambulance response times have been delayed by about 19 percent, or two minutes, following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.



South Fork Fire Now Just 1/4 Mile From Wawona

Sierra News Online
Wawona residents evacuated from their homes on Saturday can only watch and wait for a change in the erratic weather that has increased activity on the west flank of the South Fork Fire.  The fire is now estimated at 3,473 acres with 10 percent containment.

See also:

·       Wawona residents nervous as wildfire burns near community  ABC30

·       Evacuations Remain as Fire in Yosemite National Park Grows  KQED





Californians: Here’s why your housing costs are so high


Half the state’s households struggle to afford the roof over their heads. Homeownership—once a staple of the California dream—is at its lowest rate since World War II. Nearly 70 percent of poor Californians see the majority of their paychecks go immediately to escalating rents.


Pickup or Prius? Where you live in California says a lot about the car you buy

Sacramento Bee

A Bakersfield resident in the market for a new car last year more likely than not headed home in a light-duty pickup truck. Someone living in the San Francisco Bay Area tended to prefer Honda and Toyota sedans.



July employment data

Center for Jobs and the Economy

Highlights for policy makers:

·       Unemployment Rate Rises to 4.8%; Total Employment Drops 24,900

·       Labor Force Participation Rate Remains at Lowest Level Since 1976

·       State Employment Growth Rankings—California Drops to 5th Place

·       Nonfarm Jobs Up 82,600

·       6 Industries below 2007 Pre-Recession Job Levels

·       Job Gains by Wage Level

·       Two-Tier Economy Persists—Central Valley Unemployment More than Twice as High as Bay Area

·       Bay Area Provided 44% of Net Employment Growth Since Recession

·       8 California MSAs in the 10 Worst Unemployment Rates Nationally






Drinking lead: Why California may force all schools to test their water

The Mercury News

When a therapy dog refused to drink at a San Diego grade school, it was the first clue that something was wrong with the water.


Community Voices: Our children are watching; how do we respond?

Bakersfield Californian

As the leader of the Arvin School District, I try very hard to avoid giving my opinion on things political. But because I am the leader of this district, I am compelled by common human decency to speak out against the despicable and immoral acts and ideology of hatred, oppression and violence being perpetrated by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and neo-confederates recently in our great nation.


‘Sanctuary schools’ across America defy Trump’s immigration crackdown | US news

The Guardian

Superintendents and school board members from districts as diverse as Miami, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York City, Des Moines and Portland, Oregon have created or revised “sanctuary school” resolutions, vowing to shield students’ personal data from immigration authorities and block federal agents’ access to school property unless they present a warrant. California – where about 250,000 undocumented children are enrolled in public schools and 750,000 have at least one undocumented parent – is at the forefront of the movement.


California is improving how schools report on college and career readiness for all students


California’s future success depends on tapping into the potential of all students, no matter their background, ethnicity or gender, so they graduate ready for post-secondary school, professional opportunities and life. This work is especially urgent for historically underserved students, including Latino students, who make up more than half of California’s public school population, as well as the 1.4 million English Learner students in California.


Spanish-speaking teachers getting special training to meet California’s demand for more bilingual teachers


Native Spanish speakers who have been teaching in English-only classrooms are the focus of specialized training in many districts across California to meet the increased demand for bilingual teachers.


Brain matter matters: Should we intervene well before preschool?

Brookings Institution

The question is not whether we should invest in young children, but when and how.

Higher Ed:


‘Stand against hate at Stan State.’ Protesters shout down university president

Modesto Bee

Some students loudly interrupted CSU Stanislaus President Ellen Junn’s “Fall Welcome Address” on Monday, chanting, “Stand against hate at Stan State!” and holding up posters urging that white nationalist leader Nathan Damigo be expelled.


Cal Poly program focuses on reducing food waste

Visalia Times-Delta

Soon, select students at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo will get the chance to improve the planet. The university’s Food Science and Nutrition Department was recently awarded a nearly $250,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Needs and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program to focus on agricultural and food waste challenges.


California Today: Berkeley’s New Chancellor and a ‘Free Speech Year’

New York Times

A swirl of problems awaited U.C. Berkeley’s new chancellor, Carol Christ, as she assumed the top job at California’s flagship public university this summer.


Vocational Ed:


Thousands of former Corinthian Colleges students win debt relief

San Jose Mercury News

Approximately 13,000 Californians who attended now-defunct Corinthian Colleges will see some $51 million in debt relief as part of a settlement finalized Monday between the private equity firm Aequitas Capital Management and the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra.






A controversial California effort to fight climate change just got some good news

The Washington Post

The study, conducted by a trio of Stanford University researchers, concerns a California “carbon offset” program, which allows companies to pay to preserve carbon-storing forests instead of reducing their own emissions. According to the researchers’ findings, that program is protecting imperiled forests and preventing the carbon they store from being released into the atmosphere.


California’s Auto Crackdown Reinforced by Road Emissions Uptick


California’s advocates for fuel economy standards and zero-emission vehicle mandates should toughen their rules, according to a non-profit that said road emissions have undercut the state’s efforts to reduce pollution.


New study: West Coast ships kill more than 80 endangered whales annually 

San Jose Mercury News

Far more whales die in collisions with ships off the West Coast than ever wash up on beaches, a new study has found. Every year, an estimated 18 blue whales, 22 humpback whales and 43 fin whales — all endangered species — perish off California, Oregon and Washington after being hit by ships.



California is the state that most depends on the sun for energy. It survived the eclipse without losing any.

Washington Post

When the moon partially obscured the sun here on Monday, dozens of engineers watched from a large, gray control room outside Sacramento. Electric grid operators at the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which delivers 80 percent of the electricity in a state that has more solar energy capacity than every other state in the country combined, watched intently as solar generation began collapsing here at 9 a.m. Pacific Standard Time as the shadow of the moon swept from west to east across the United States.

See also:

·       Crowds flood Griffith Observatory for a glimpse of solar eclipse. So was there a ‘surge of energy’?  Los Angeles Times

·       California power grid survives solar eclipse unscathed  SFGate



Tulare County man infected with West Nile

The Fresno Bee

An older man is the first person to be infected with the West Nile virus in Tulare County this mosquito season, health officials said Monday.


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:

·       Will transparency in drug pricing force down costs?  KPCC

·       Let’s Talk About Cost  PhRMA

Anthem’s exit leaves thousands without health insurance choice in California

LA Daily

For about 60,000 Covered California customers, choosing a health plan next year will be easier, and possibly more painful, than ever: There will be only one insurer left in their communities after Anthem Blue Cross of California pulls out of much of the state’s individual market. That means they could lose doctors they trust, or pay higher premiums.


Trial probes whether Kaiser had right to fire nurse

The Fresno Bee

Ani Sanikian was a respected nurse at Kaiser Permanente Fresno and an outspoken advocate for patient care.  In 2014, she was elected by Kaiser nurses to an in-house committee that monitored nursing workload and presented concerns about patient safety to management. But when management ignored the nurses’ complaints, Sanikian had to regularly challenge Lily Tang, the director of nursing practices at Kaiser.


Lawmakers and activists say nursing-home residents must have right to sue

Los Angeles Times

Healthcare, tax reform and the debt ceiling probably will be among the highest-profile issues when Congress returns from a monthlong recess Sept. 5. But Democratic lawmakers and consumer advocates already have served notice that they’re also going to keep a spotlight on protecting people’s right to sue nursing homes for neglect or abuse of elderly patients.


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.


There’s an unforeseen benefit to 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.




California bill to extend protections for immigrant witnesses heads to Gov. Jerry Brown

Los Angeles Times

California law enforcement officers will be prohibited from detaining crime victims or witnesses on immigration violations under a state bill headed to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.


California Legislature approves bill extending protections for immigrant witnesses –Los Angeles Times

The legislation, filed by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), would keep officers from holding a crime victim or witness solely for an immigration violation unless they acquire a judicial warrant. It was approved by the state Assembly on Monday with a 64-15 vote.


‘Sanctuary schools’ across America defy Trump’s immigration crackdown | US news

The Guardian

Superintendents and school board members from districts as diverse as Miami, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York City, Des Moines and Portland, Oregon have created or revised “sanctuary school” resolutions, vowing to shield students’ personal data from immigration authorities and block federal agents’ access to school property unless they present a warrant. California – where about 250,000 undocumented childrenare enrolled in public schools and 750,000 have at least one undocumented parent – is at the forefront of the movement.



Land Use:


Timelapse: Google tool chronicles 30 years of explosive growth in Bakersfield

It’s almost impossible to wrap your mind around how much Bakersfield has grown over the past three decades.



What you need to know about California’s housing crisis


Half the state’s households struggle to afford the roof over their heads. Homeownership—once a staple of the California dream—is at its lowest rate since World War II. Nearly 70 percent of poor Californians see the majority of their paychecks go immediately to escalating rents.  This month, state lawmakers are debating a long-delayed housing package.

California housing crisis has roots in slow pace of building

The Sacramento Bee

California is home to 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 22 percent of its homeless people. Cities that have seen dramatic rent increases, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, attribute their spikes in homelessness directly to a state housing shortage that has led to an unprecedented affordability crisis…There is a 1.5 million unit-shortfall between the number of low-income families who live here and the number of rentals they can afford, according to state officials.

See also:

·       Housing a top priority for California lawmakers after recess  The Business Journal/AP

·       Mathews: The Housing Bond Would Be Just a Drop in the Bucket  Fox&Hounds

·       Report: California needs to address housing crisis to meet long-term climate change goals  Orange County Register

·       Op-Ed: California Must Pass Housing Legislation To Give Our Generation A Chance  LAist

Fresno homeless population increases, no shelter available for most

Private charities hope to fill the void as a new survey shows Fresno’s homeless situation is getting worse.



Former Bakersfield union officer sentenced to prison for embezzling union funds

Bakersfield Californian

A former Bakersfield union officer was sentenced to prison Monday for embezzling $168,780 in union funds, according to a U.S. Attorney’ s office release.


Our Future is 3-D: How to better pay for public goods through economic growth

California Economy, California Economic Summit

Balancing public budgets has never been easy, and it will soon get much harder. As described in a previous commentary, the slowdown in overall population growth, linked with an increase in the number of people reaching retirement age, is slowing economic growth – lowering consumption, overall economic activity, personal income and tax revenue to governments.

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.


Corporate tax reform done right can boost middle class wages

More than a century has passed since the U.S. first adopted a system for taxing corporate income, yet basic answers to questions still confound policymakers. Is the U.S. a high tax or low tax country? Do workers bear the brunt of corporate income taxes? What is the optimal level of the tax rate to maximize revenues?


On the Dynamics of Community Development


This paper presents a dynamic political economy model of community development. In each period, a community invests in a local public good. The community can grow, with new housing supplied by competitive developers. To finance investment, the community can tax residents and issue debt. In each period, fiscal decisions are made by current residents. The community’s initial wealth (the value of its stock of public good less its debt) determines how it develops. High initial wealth leads to rapid development. Low initial wealth leads to gradual development that is fueled by community wealth accumulation. Wealth accumulation arises from the desire to attract more households to share the costs of the public good. The long run size of the community can be too large or too small and development may proceed too slowly. Nonetheless, some development occurs and, at all times, public good provision is efficient.


California Today: The Rise of the Super Commuter

New York Times

Commute times have shot up across the country, but California has seen some of the worst of it. Several California metropolitan areas, in particular the smaller cities that lie on the far outskirts of San Francisco and Los Angeles – like those in the Valley — have some of the nation’s highest share of “super commuters.”


California’s Auto Crackdown Reinforced by Road Emissions Uptick


California’s advocates for fuel economy standards and zero-emission vehicle mandates should toughen their rules, according to a non-profit that said road emissions have undercut the state’s efforts to reduce pollution.



Delta tunnels clobbered with CEQA lawsuits

Sacramento Bee

They have one of the most powerful legal weapons found in any courtroom – the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.  But environmental groups, local governments and others face an uphill climb in their fight against the controversial Delta tunnels project. History suggests that suing under the California environmental law likely won’t be enough to kill the tunnels.


Drinking lead: Why California may force all schools to test their water

The Mercury News

When a therapy dog refused to drink at a San Diego grade school, it was the first clue that something was wrong with the water.



Clovis Community College celebrates Molly Day starting Aug. 21

Fresno Bee
On Feb. 21, 2015, Molly Griffin, 23, was killed by a drunk driver. When she died, a movement was created to keep her memory alive. August 26 would have been Griffin’s birthday, but instead her friends mark the day by doing random acts of kindness and encouraging others to pass it on.


Photographer with ties to Clovis takes amazing eclipse photo

The Fresno Bee

But check out this photo from photographer Jasman Mander, who took his amazing time lapse shot from the mountains in Oregon and captured the eclipse’s movement over Detroit Lake with Mount Jefferson peaking from a distance.  “The Great American Eclipse as seen from Oregon,” Mander wrote in his Facebook post, which within the first six hours of him posting the photo already had been shared more than 131,000 times and received more than 55,000 likes.


State tells 500 Club its license for card room operation could be revoked

Fresno Bee

The Clovis 500 Club, closed last week by the state Department of Justice for failing to meet financial requirements in its card room, is now being threatened to have its license revoked. The 500 Club has been allowed to reopen its bar and restaurant at 6 a.m. Tuesday, but the card room’s problems are more complicated.

See also:

·       California Bill Aiming To Change Bar-Closing Time To 4 AM Faces Criticism In San Diego  KPBS