August 28, 2018






Fresno State ranked among the top 25 universities in the nation

Fresno Bee

Washington Monthly has ranked Fresno State as one of the top 25 universities in the country for the third year in a row.

See also:

     Fresno State ranked among nation's top 25 universities for third straight year ABC30

     Fresno State makes top 25 universities list for third straight year          The Business Journal

     Fresno State Among Top 30 Universities Third Straight Year GVWire


Devin Nunes’s Curious Trip to London

The Atlantic

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee flew to London to gather intel on Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who compiled the dossier alleging Trump-campaign ties with Russia. But MI5, MI6, and GCHQ didn’t seem interested.


TRMC hearing will determine if judge violated Constitution, if property will be returned

Visalia Times-Delta

The question of whether a Tulare County judge violated the First Amendment remains unanswered. It's been over a week since the media and the public were barred from attending a hearing regarding Tulare Regional Medical Center.


Central Valley officials join push to end California oil production

Three Central Valley elected officials have added their names to a petition urging Gov. Jerry Brown to end oil and gas production in California — a move that, if successful, would heavily impact Kern's economy and county property tax revenues.


Rudy Salas’ legislation to address opioid crisis heads to governor

Bakersfield Californian

The California State Assembly unanimously approved a bill Monday authored by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield that would increase access to substance abuse disorder treatment in underserved communities.


State censures, bans Kern County court commissioner for ethics violations

San Francisco Chronicle

A Kern County court commissioner who shared some far-right political views on social media has been publicly censured and permanently banned from holding judicial office by the state Commission on Judicial Performance.


Building a vast new city on L.A.'s northern edges: A solution for region's housing crunch?

Los Angeles Times

Up near the top of the Grapevine, where Los Angeles and Kern counties meet, sits the largest contiguous expanse of privately owned land in California.


Trustee On Hot Seat: Campaign Violation Allegations Revealed


A state investigation has found probable cause against community college trustee Eric Payne on 21 counts of alleged political wrongdoing. Payne won election to the State Center Community College District Board of Trustees in 2012 and was reelected in 2016.


EDITORIAL: This time, a state water bond has real money intended to benefit the Valley

Fresno Bee

Proposition 3 on the November ballot would directly benefit the central San Joaquin Valley by fixing the Friant-Kern Canal, improving Sierra watersheds and getting clean water to Valley communities.




Cox and Newsom weigh in on the killing of Mollie Tibbetts

The Sacramento Bee

Authorities announced this month that a Mexican national in the country illegally is responsible for the stabbing death of the young Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, unleashing a wave of criticism by Republicans who say the U.S. must to toughen border security.


New Bill Would Give California Voters A Second Chance To Match Ballot’s Signature To One On File

Capital Public Radio

The measure would require that county election officials notify a voter if their signature on the mail-in ballot does not match the one on file. Voters would have two days before the election results are certified to return a valid signature.


Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes bill regulating payments to family members by political campaigns

Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday vetoed a bill that would have prevented politicians from paying family members an amount greater than fair market value for goods and services.


California lawmakers shelve controversial bill that would have raised campaign contribution limits

Los Angeles Times

A controversial proposal to allow state legislative leaders to accept bigger campaign checks for their favored candidates was sidelined by lawmakers for the year on Monday after it failed to garner sufficient support in the state Senate.


Assembly probe upholds harassment vs. Dababneh

San Francisco Chronicle

A state Assembly investigation has substantiated a Sacramento lobbyist’s allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment by a former lawmaker.


Oil vs. PG&E, a final week of bills and money


Oil companies have become leading skeptics of a late-hour deal to help Pacific Gas & Electric Co. avert bankruptcy.


‘You ain’t getting my vote.’ GOP candidate faces backlash for posing at Muslim center

Sacramento Bee

Andrew Grant, the Republican nominee for California’s 7th Congressional District, visited the Muslim Community of Folsom on Sunday. Shortly after he posted a photo with two community center leaders, the backlash came.

See also:

       Despite criminal charges, Duncan Hunter still leads in reelection fight, poll finds Los Angeles Times

     Poll: Rep. Duncan Hunter leads by 8 points in reelection bid following federal indictment San Diego Union-Tribune




Trump picks 9th Circuit Court nominee for Arizona seat

Los Angeles Times

President Trump will nominate Arizona Magistrate Judge Bridget Shelton Bade for an open position on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the White House said Monday.


Trump: Google suppressing conservative voices, hiding ‘good’ news and information


President Trump on Tuesday morning accused Google of "suppressing voices of conservatives" and rigging its search engine to amplify liberal media outlets.

See also:

      A short investigation into Trump’s tweets on ‘RIGGED’ Google results about himself Washington Post

      Trump’s economic adviser: ‘We’re taking a look’ at whether Google searches should be regulated Washington Post

     Trump claims Google 'rigged' searches against him but company denies it abc news


What to Watch in Tuesday’s Primaries

Roll Call

Voters in three states — Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma — head to the polls Tuesday in some of this year’s latest nominating contests, including a critical Senate race and about half a dozen open-seat primaries.


Q&A from Kavanaugh's 2006 confirmation hearings


Some of the questions and answers from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's 2006 confirmation hearings.

See also:

      Kavanaugh's support for surveilling Americans raises concern AP




When John McCain came to Fresno, he was running for president against Barack Obama

Fresno Bee

John McCain came to Fresno when he was Republican candidate running against Barack Obama to become America’s president in 2008.

See also:

     Under pressure, Trump tersely recognizes McCain, lowers flag Sacramento Bee

     California Politicians Remember Sen. John McCain Capital Public Radio

     Trump, after two days and a veterans' backlash, expresses respect for McCain and lowers flags until his burial Los Angeles Times

     John McCain was the quintessential honorable American. His death puts Trump's behavior into sharper focus Los Angeles Times

     Final message from Senator John McCain  ABC30

     Trump talks about McCain after ignoring questions all day, returns flag to half-staff ABC30

     Read Senator John McCain’s Farewell Statement The New York Times

     EDITORIAL: Loss of McCain shows how much we’re missing Modesto Bee

     EDITORIAL: The message from John McCain that his colleagues should heed now Los Angeles Times

     EDITORIAL: Sen. John McCain was the maverick America needed San Diego Union-Tribune


The ‘Crisis of Democracy’ Is Overhyped


it’s remarkable how often we hear that a “crisis of democracy” is the defining political story of our times.

American democracy’s built-in bias in favor of rural Republicans - Voting reform


Its elections no longer convert the popular will into control of government.


California Today: Investing in Newspapers to Save Them

New York Times

There are two independent bookshops off the charming town square in Healdsburg, Calif., and local hardware stores have thrived as the community has pushed back against the encroachment of big box retailers.




California farmers praise NAFTA deal, hit Trump farm aid

The Fresno Bee

California farmers are poised to receive hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help offset the impact of rising tariffs.

See also:

     Trump’s farm aid ‘will fall far short,’ but NAFTA news buoys California farmers Fresno Bee

     USDA to buy $1.2B in goods from farmers hurt by trade war ABC30

     Trump administration details aid for farmers hurt by tariffs Marketplace

     U.S. to Pay Farmers $4.7 Billion to Offset Trade-Conflict Losses WSJ


The farmworker union's president is stepping down. Its new president is an immigrant woman.

Desert Sun

Arturo Rodríguez became president of the United Farm Workers after his father-in-law, farmworker leader César Chávez, died unexpectedly in 1993. Twenty-five years later, he is stepping down and board member Teresa Romero is becoming the union's third president and the first immigrant woman to lead a national union in the United States


What’s it take to shut down a Fresno County restaurant? The reasons may turn your stomach

Fresno Bee

Health inspections in Fresno County, California, restaurants found violations like rodent and roach infestation, water problems, and bacteria that makes you sick. About 80 of 11,300 inspections led to a shutdown.


Woodlake reaps the benefits of pot, police and park improvements underway

Visalia Times-Delta

In November, 225 Woodlake residents voted in favor of Measure R — a 1 percent sales tax. Measure S — a cannabis sales tax — passed with more than half of voters in favor. City officials estimated Measure S could bring upward of $700,000 a year to the city.






How police use DNA ‘familial searches’ to probe murders

Modesto Bee

Investigators are using DNA analysis and basic genealogy to find relatives of potential suspects, in the hope that these “familial searches” will crack cold cases.


Meth manufacturing on the decline but continues to be a problem in the Valley, authorities say


They say the decline in manufacturing is thanks in part to certain laws attacking the ingredients found in methamphetamine -- making it illegal to possess them in large quantities.


Bill's passage could reduce or erase thousands of old pot-related convictions

Bakersfield Californian

More than 200,000 marijuana criminal convictions statewide are eligible to be erased or reduced under a bill passed by the Legislature last week.

See also:

     Bill to tally untested rape kits across California on way to Gov. Brown San Francisco Chronicle


Bail reform bill stretches the 72-hour notice law


Two years ago, nearly two-thirds of California voters supported a ballot measure to crack down on legislative trickery.


Public Safety:


Why these men were dragging a casket around the Capitol

Sacramento Bee

Protesters march at the California state Capitol on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018 in support of Assembly Bill 931, which aims to decrease police shootings. Rory Kaufman and Kevin Carter pull a casket representing unarmed deaths by law enforcement.


California lawmakers approve new restrictions on who can possess firearms

Los Angeles Times

California lawmakers on Monday approved a trio of bills that would reduce the number of people with access to firearms, including lifetime bans on owning guns for people convicted of domestic violence and individuals placed on involuntary psychiatric holds twice in a year by the courts.

See also:

      Gun control bills to watch in California The Sacramento Bee

      California lawmakers approve tougher restrictions on firearms possession, report says Fox News


Judge blocks plans to post blueprints for printing 3D weapons on the internet


A U.S. judge in Seattle has blocked the Trump administration from allowing a Texas company to post online plans for making untraceable 3D guns.

See also:

     Judge: No untraceable 3D guns plans online Stockton Record


FBI warns of sophisticated attack on ATMs


The website Krebs on Security reports that on Friday, the FBI sent banks around the country an alert. It said cyber criminals were preparing to a launch a global fraud scheme known as an “ATM cashout.” Small- and medium-sized banks appear most vulnerable to these kind of ATM attacks.




California wildfires will grow 77% as climate warms

Sacramento Bee

You think this has been a bad summer for wildfires in California? Just wait a few decades.


California lawmakers are finally starting to see the light through the soot

Los Angeles Times

Skies have been sooty over the state Capitol for weeks, soiled by Northern California wildfires. It’s a daily reminder for legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown about what their top priority should be.


Will wildfires bankrupt PG&E?


Lawmakers late Monday inched toward legislation they hope will help keep the state’s largest electric utility from going bankrupt, without imposing huge costs on residential ratepayers.






Trump announces new trade deal with Mexico; looking to 'terminate' NAFTA


After months of negotiations, President Donald Trump on Monday announced the United States and Mexico have agreed on revisions to key parts of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) -- a trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

See also:

     California farmers praise NAFTA deal, hit Trump farm aid The Fresno Bee

     US, Mexico strike trade deal that could pave the way for an overhaul of NAFTA Visalia Times-Delta

      New U.S.-Mexico trade agreement is hardly a done deal CBS News

     U.S. and Mexico strike preliminary accord on NAFTA, but will Canada agree? Los Angeles Times

     Stocks rise as U.S. and Mexico announce preliminary trade deal Los Angeles Times

     Hopes for new NAFTA send stocks higher The Business Journal

     Half a Nafta WSJ

      Trump Falsely Calls Preliminary Pact Between U.S. and Mexico ‘Maybe the Largest Trade Deal Ever’ The New York Times

     EDITORIAL: Trump and trade: Why new deal replacing NAFTA is such a relief San Diego Union-Tribune

      The US and Mexico make NAFTA progress, but where’s Canada? Brookings

      Trump wants to update NAFTA? Great. Kill it? No thanks Los Angeles Times

     Trump Hails U.S.-Mexico Trade Pact, Says ‘We’ll See’ With Canada WSJ

      U.S., Mexico Agree to Weaken Rights to Dispute Trade Practices WSJ

     What the U.S.-Mexico Trade Pact Says WSJ


U.S.-China Trade Talks End With No Sign of Progress


Trade talks between the U.S. and China failed to produce any visible sign of progress, reducing the prospects of a deal soon, people closely tracking the talks said.


U.S. Moves Toward New Tariffs on China Despite Fresh Round of Trade Talks


The Trump administration is moving closer this week to levying tariffs on nearly half of Chinese imports despite broad opposition from U.S.


U.S. Consumer Confidence Rises to Highest in Almost 18 Years


Consumer confidence unexpectedly rose in August to the highest level since October 2000, according to a reportTuesday from the New York-based Conference Board, on improved assessments of the economy and the outlook.

See also:

       Despite strong economy, many Americans struggling to get by AP

       Californians were asked about the American Dream. Here’s why they said it’s dying Modesto Bee


Oakhurst, Coarsegold businesses on path to recovery as Wawona Road reopens

Sierra Star

The reopening Friday morning of the Highway 41 route into Yosemite Valley could not have come at a better time for a number of Coarsegold and Oakhurst small business owners.

See Also:

     Business owners discuss reopening of the Highway 41 pathway into Yosemite Valley Sierra Star

     Yosemite Returns To Normal Operations After Ferguson Fire Capital Public Radio




Another Amazon fulfillment center coming to the Valley, this time in Kern County


Another giant Amazon fulfillment center is coming to the Valley, bringing more than a thousand new jobs.

See also:

     Amazon plans 2 million-square-foot fulfillment center next to Meadows Field Bakersfield Californian


Lazy Dog restaurant looking to hire


The new Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar is looking to hire 200 people for its new Fresno location.


The potential electoral impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act


On Dec. 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” or TCJA. The TCJA is the major legislative achievement of the Republican majority during the 115th Congress.






Taking the SAT is hard enough. Then students learned the test's answers may have been leaked online

Los Angeles Times

In recent years, a series of scandals has called into question the credibility of the College Board and the integrity of its exam.


How did major newspapers cover the 2018 teacher strikes?


This report analyzes every article on the 2018 teacher strikes published by five national newspapers.


Higher Ed:


Fresno State ranked among the top 25 universities in the nation

Fresno Bee

Washington Monthly has ranked Fresno State as one of the top 25 universities in the country for the third year in a row.

See also:

     Fresno State ranked among nation's top 25 universities for third straight year ABC30

     Fresno State makes top 25 universities list for third straight year          The Business Journal

     Fresno State Among Top 30 Universities Third Straight Year GVWire


Firestorm rekindles as outspoken Fresno State professor is back on schedule


As Fresno state students go back to school, the return of an outspoken professor is rekindling a firestorm.

See also:

     Jarrar Remains Off Campus As Her Fresno State Classes Start GVWire


CSUB debuts new Chevron STEM Zone to teach kids science through sports

Bakersfield Californian

Athletic events at Cal State Bakersfield just got a lot more educational.

California Bill Would Allow Medical Pot On School Campuses

Capital Public Radio

Some California parents would be allowed to give their children medical marijuana on school campuses under a bill that's cleared the state Assembly.

See also:

     Legislature OKs bill allowing schools to permit medical pot use San Francisco Chronicle


Top U.S. student loan official quits, saying White House is hostile to protecting borrowers

Associated Press

The top government official overseeing the $1.5-trillion U.S. student loan market resigned in protest Monday, citing what he says is the White House's open hostility toward protecting the nation’s millions of student loan borrowers.

See also:

     Nation's top official overseeing student loan market resigns, citing White House hostility toward mission ABC30

     Nation’s top student loan official resigns Stockton Record

     Top U.S. student loan official quits, saying White House is hostile to protecting borrowers  Los Angeles Times


As Students Head to Campus, Colleges Fear International Student Decline

PEW Trust

Colleges are experiencing a slowdown in international enrollment.


Colleges gamed graduation rate data to boost their US News rankings


Last week, we pointed out how funding colleges based on their graduation rates is attractive in theory, but threatens to create unhealthy incentives for college administrators.






EPA grant helps educate Tulare County youth on protected lands

Visalia Times-Delta

A new $80,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant will help The Sequoia Riverlands Trust educate Tulare County students about its six protected nature sites, which includes one of the last remaining Valley Oak woodlands in the world.


Climate change will be deadlier, more destructive and costlier for California than previously believed, state warns

Los Angeles Times

Heat waves will grow more severe and persistent, shortening the lives of thousands of Californians. Wildfires will burn more of the state’s forests. The ocean will rise higher and faster, exposing California to billions in damage along the coast.

See also:

     Climate change report: California to see 77% more land burned San Francisco Chronicle


Urgent need to fix California's 'bottle bill'

Capitol Weekly

It is impossible not to notice that in California the ethic to recycle is strong. We take pride in being the best in the nation and we have trained our public well to do the right thing when it comes to recyclable materials.


More than 1,000 dead fish at Malibu Lagoon may be tied to record-warm ocean temperatures

Los Angeles Times

Authorities made the grim discovery last week: More than 1,000 dead fish floating at Malibu Lagoon. California State Parks scientists are running tests to determine the cause, but officials suspect higher-than-normal water temperatures played a role.


Air Pollution Exposure Harms Cognitive Performance, Study Finds


Researchers investigating the effects of air pollution conducted math and verbal tests over the course of multiple years on more than 25,000 people in 162 Chinese counties. They matched those results with pollution conditions at the time of each test, and found sobering results.




Last-minute amendments prompt fresh debate over bill that would expand state power grid

San Diego Union-Tribune

The bill that would revise how California regulates the state power grid was amended late last week, prompting a fresh round of debate over the fate of the legislation.


Why U.S. Electricity Demand Will Increase


Since The Great Recession that started in 2007, one of the biggest energy stories has been the flattening of U.S. electricity demand.






Rising carbon dioxides levels could cause global nutritional deficiencies: Study


Rising levels of carbon dioxide, which deplete the nutrients of different foods, could leave hundreds of millions around the world at risk for nutritional deficiencies.


In another attack on Western society, Russian trolls sow doubt about vaccines

Los Angeles Times

Efforts by Russian trolls online to influence the 2016 presidential election and the 2016 “Brexit” vote prompting Britain to leave the European Union have been widely reported. But another effort by the Russians to infect social media with toxic misinformation and propaganda may have an even more far-reaching effect.


Marijuana use is rising among pregnant patients. Not so fast, doctors warn

Los Angeles Times

Marijuana may be losing its image as a dangerous drug, but mounting research suggests women should steer clear of it if they are pregnant or breastfeeding, according to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Human Services:


Much-needed nursing facility planned near Clovis Community Hospital

Fresno Bee

The area around Clovis Community Medical Center is going to see construction once again, as Community Medical Centers plans a $65 million skilled nursing facility just south of the hospital.


Another fight over single-payer is brewing in California

The Sacramento Bee

A group of influential, deep-pocketed business and health care organizations that have long helped shape the legislative agenda in California have joined forces to oppose any future effort to craft a universal, single-payer health care system for the nation’s largest state.


City receives three bids to manage Swenson

Stockton Record

Earlier this year, the city of Stockton announced it would seek Requests for Proposals from firms interested in taking over the management responsibilities of the 66-year-old park.




Judge condemns ICE arrest inside courtroom, says judges should control courtroom, ‘not ICE’

Fresno Bee

Last week’s arrest was considered to be the first in California to take place inside an actual courtroom. ICE in mid-July began to make arrests at the Fresno County Superior Court, but those arrests were made in the hallways.


ICE: Visalia, Tulare residents sold fake green cards, visas

Visalia Times-Delta

Four Tulare County residents are facing serious prison time and hefty fines after they were busted selling fake identification documents, said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.


The 'English Only' nativist movement comes with a cost

Los Angeles Times

Removing all languages but English from the public sphere amounts to depriving the next generation of a resource that is rightfully theirs.




Land Use:


Whitney Has Turned Into an Overcrowded Catastrophe

Outside Online

At 3 a.m. on June 10, my brother-in-law Dan and I started walking uphill from the Whitney Portal trailhead. Our goal: the top of California’s 14,494-foot Mount Whitney, three hours north of Los Angeles, at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada. It’s the tallest peak in the lower 48, and the grueling 11-mile hike gains more than 6,000 vertical feet on its way to the summit. I’d scored a hard-to-get permit through the Forest Service’s online lottery in March, paid my $15, and spent the past few months training with long runs and high-elevation hikes. For years I’ve wanted to stand on that peak, and finally the pieces were coming together.




Building a vast new city on L.A.'s northern edges: A solution for region's housing crunch?

Los Angeles Times

Up near the top of the Grapevine, where Los Angeles and Kern counties meet, sits the largest contiguous expanse of privately owned land in California.


Is homelessness a crisis? Declaring it one could bring money to Stanislaus County

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County could ask the nine cities to declare that homelessness is a crisis, thereby positioning local agencies for millions of dollars in state funds.


Californians try to avoid homelessness by short-circuiting eviction


For the more than one-third of Californians living under or near the federal poverty level, eviction may be the first step toward homelessness.




The potential electoral impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act


On Dec. 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” or TCJA. The TCJA is the major legislative achievement of the Republican majority during the 115th Congress.




Gas tax repeal lures California Democrats in key House races

Modesto Bee

The controversial $52 billion tax and fee increase was the result of a signature effort by Gov. Jerry Brown, also a Democrat, to pay for the largest road funding plan in California in more than a quarter century. Most Democratic state lawmakers supported the effort.

See also:

     Four Democratic candidates are turning against their own party over California's gas tax Los Angeles Times


‘Autonomy’ Review: Fast-Tracking a Driverless Car


A period of remarkable progress seems to be giving way to a host of challenges that can’t be solved with engineering talent alone. Edward Niedermeyer reviews “Autonomy” by Lawrence D. Burns with Christopher Shulgan.


(Blog) America’s Car Culture is Literally Shortening Your Life: Study

StreetsBlog USA

Driving is driving us to the grave. Life expectancy at birth declined steeply in the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, a new British Journal of Medicine study reports — a finding that was attributed partly to the opioid crisis, but also to America’s ongoing traffic violence problem.




EDITORIAL: This time, a state water bond has real money intended to benefit the Valley

Fresno Bee

Proposition 3 on the November ballot would directly benefit the central San Joaquin Valley by fixing the Friant-Kern Canal, improving Sierra watersheds and getting clean water to Valley communities.


Connecting Water Systems for Safe Drinking Water


Most Californians have safe drinking water, but pockets of unsafe or inadequate water supply remain. Efforts to consolidate smaller systems into larger ones is helping to resolve the problem.


Pro-con: A new tax to provide clean water?


Nearly one million Californians are living with toxic tap water. Families in 300 communities are risking their health every time they cook, brush their teeth, or drink a glass of water.


Newsom: Halt desert water project


Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom joined U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein Monday in urging legislators to derail a major Mojave Desert water project pushed by Cadiz Inc.




Valley Focus: Crab Feed Fundraiser Raises Money and Hope


Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties can always use volunteers to help foster youth. However if you cannot give time, you can buy a ticket.


Lemoore PD recognize volunteer for creating lip sync video

Hanford Sentinel

The Lemoore Police Department has joined other public safety departments in the summer trend of Police Lip Sync Challenge videos.


Discover 8 Of California’s Best-kept Secrets

Visit California

These remote and surprising spots fly under the radar for even the most well-versed California travelers