August 7, 2017





Fresno seeks assistant city manager
Join the leadership team that is working to transform the San Joaquin Valley’s largest city


Names of both county supervisor candidates in 2018 might sound familiar

Modesto Bee

When Stanislaus County Supervisor Dick Monteith retires next year, voters will have at least two would-be successors to choose from, both with high name recognition.



Democrats need to advocate for common man, Jerry Brown says

Sacramento Bee
Gov. Jerry Brown, assessing the deepening rifts within his Democratic Party as it confronts the Trump administration, said in an interview airing Sunday that it should avoid litmus tests over divisive issues like abortion and instead take up the causes of the “common man.”

See also:

·       Democrats need more cleverness, strength and vision, Gov. Jerry Brown says  Los Angeles Times

Gov. Brown wants to prevent ‘abuse of federal power’ on immigration, but expresses concerns about ‘sanctuary state’ bill

Los Angeles Times
But he also shared reservations about high-profile legislation moving through the California Legislature that would increase limitations on how local law enforcement agencies can work with federal immigration authorities.

Sect. of State Padilla still resists Trump voter records request

San Francisco Chronicle
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla blasted President Trump’s plan to reduce legal immigration over the next decade as “an unconscionable position to take and one that has no respect, frankly, for the history of our nation as a whole.”


California Politics Podcast August 4: The 2018 Governor’s Race Cash Craze

California Politics Podcast

John Myers and Melanie Mason take a look at the fundraising by the major gubernatorial politics in this week’s California Politics Podcast.  

See also:

·       Can Gavin Newsom be stopped in California governor’s race?  San Jose Mercury News.

California speaker recall effort reflects Democratic tension


Democrats control every lever of power in California state government, and free from worrying about major losses to Republicans, they’re training fire instead on each other. The latest example is a recall effort against Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a strong progressive now targeted by party activists upset that he derailed a bill seeking government-funded health care for all.


Political Road Map: No one spends more on lobbying in Sacramento than local governments

Los Angeles Times

The stereotype of lobbying is that it’s the exclusive domain of corporations and organized labor, groups spending huge sums of money to quietly but firmly flex their political muscles in Sacramento.  But the data don’t bear that out. It’s California’s local governments — cities, counties and scores of other agencies — that spend the most of any sector to influence the outcome of events at the state Capitol.

Money from the construction industry rolled in for Kevin de Léon after California’s road repair plan passed

LA Times
The money was donated to a political committee De Léon set up for a 2018 campaign for California lieutenant governor. De León has said he hasn’t made a decision about whether he’ll run.


California Democratic Party raises more money than Republicans

The Sacramento Bee

If there was ever any doubt about which party controls the Capitol, last week’s campaign finance disclosure presented the latest evidence.  The California Democratic Party outraised the state GOP nearly 3-to-1 during the first six months of 2017, amassing almost $9.6 million compared to the roughly $3.5 million collected by the California Republican Party.


Mathews: Why CA’s non-citizens should vote

Fox and Hounds Daily

President Trump claims that California allowed millions of non-citizens to cast ballots in the 2016 elections. This allegation, while totally bogus, has put California and its political leaders on the defensive. They are forced to respond as Trump and his allies use the lie to justify a new federal commission devoted to making it harder for all Americans to vote.



Fitzgerald: When politics Trumps policing

Stockton Record

The Department of Justice issued a news release Thursday announcing that cities asking for help fighting violent crime must tell the DOJ whether local law enforcement is helping federal immigration authorities deport undocumented immigrants.


Mathews: Trump’s claim about voter fraud is bogus. Californians should open voting to noncitizens instead.

The Desert Sun

President Trump claims California allowed millions of non-citizens to vote in the 2016 elections. This allegation, while totally bogus, has put California on the defensive as Trump and his allies use the lie to justify a new federal commission devoted to making it harder for all Americans to vote….


Willie Brown: Why a grand jury could be good news for Trump

San Francisco Chronicle

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s convening of a grand jury to investigate possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia could actually turn out to be good news for the president. Good because it signals that there’s an end in sight to the question of who did what in 2016.


California Democrats Reap Trump Dividend

Fox and Hounds Daily

Donald Trump is hardly California’s best friend.   His policies are out of step with most folks in the Golden State and his stances on immigration, health care and climate change have spurred confrontations between California and the Trump Administration.  One gaggle of Californians, however, has benefited from the Trump phenomenon—Democratic politicians.


Rep. McCarthy visits Eyewitness News, answers viewer questions

Bakersfield Now

He spoke on immigration, health care, tax reform and his approach to interacting with constituents.


California lobbyists soldier on despite that swamp-draining talk

Marin Independent Journal

President Donald Trump came to Washington, D.C., decrying lobbyists and vowing to “drain the swamp” – but six months into his administration, California’s top lobbyists say the only major changes they’ve had to make are in their language.



Walters: Los Angeles is stoked for the Olympics, but it may be a risky business 


The business, civic and political elites of Los Angeles are understandably stoked that their city was chosen last week to host the 2028 Olympic Games.


Oregon Automatic Voter Registration Methodology and Data


In January 2016, Oregon became the first state in the country to implement Automatic Voter Registration (AVR).


Can Geometry Help Fix Our Political System? Mathematicians Invite Public To Fight Gerrymandering


A group of Boston-based mathematicians calling themselves the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group are using their math superpowers to fight back against gerrymandering.


Civil society, creativity, and civic education


The goals of civic education are manifold in the US. Some people believe an end goal for civic education is practical application. This includes students learning the principles of federalism and voting in local, state, and national elections. Others believe an end goal for civics is a responsible citizenship. For example, From Classroom to Citizen: American Attitudes on Civic Education identified that 94% of study participants believe “civic education makes a major contribution to developing responsible citizens” and 90% believe it is “instilling a sense of national pride.”



A single speeding ticket shouldn’t be a ticket to bankruptcy

Fresno Bee

Senate Bill 185, by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, is a welcome reform to California’s overly punitive system for traffic violations.


Thumbs up, thumbs down

Fresno Bee

Have fun by raising money for charity with brunch at Erna’s or “Hamilton” in Los Angeles, and East Fresno Rotary fills backpacks for hundreds of students.


Hard lines in court and at the border won’t fix our broken immigration system

Los Angeles Times

From the earliest days of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump expressed a visceral disregard for immigrants, no matter their legal status. Mexicans were “rapists,” Muslims should be banned, and legal immigration should be reduced, he argued, with guidance to come from a new (and as yet unformed)…


Trump should quit talking about Mueller’s probe (and so should Democrats)

Merced Sun-Star

Impaneling a grand jury signals nothing; Trump family and the Democrats should let this process play out before weighing in


He found his way from Malaysia to Modesto; Henry Yong will help students find success

Modesto Bee

New YCCD chancellor will look for technology, scholarships and the momentum of MJC and Columbia College to propel the district forward


What to worry about: North Korea or transgender people in the military?

Sacramento Bee

Plus: Erwin Chemerinsky on Trump’s LGBT actions, an editorial on faculty salaries, Anthem’s pullout from the California market, and those persistent nurses.


Editorial: Kamala Harris and Rand Paul try to take bail reform national, as California still dithers

San Jose Mercury News

Sen. Kamala Harris, a liberal Democrat, and Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian Republican, have joined forces to take the fight for bail reform to the national level. They have authored a sensible proposal to encourage — not require — states to consider alternatives to cash bail for seeing that people who’ve been arrested show up for court dates.




Assemblymen reach across aisle for agriculture

Lodi News-Sentinel

On paper, Assemblymen Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Elk Grove representing California’s 9th District and Heath Flora, a Republican from Ripon representing the 12th District should be political adversaries. Despite their opposing party affiliations, the two found common ground in both their history as public safety employees and their commitment to advocating for California’s agriculture industry.


Pollen spreading is bees’ sweetness – Visalia Times-Delta

Visalia Times-Delta

Thinking of bees reminds us of honey, but the agricultural richness of California allows bees to produce a richer income for their keepers through pollination. Honey serves as a by-product.


Cannabis company plans to turn desert town into pot paradise

Fresno Bee

Now that one of the nation’s largest cannabis companies has bought the entire California desert town of Nipton, a question remains: Will the new owners rename the place Potsylvania?  The name Weed already belongs to an old mill town in Northern California.  American Green Inc. announced Thursday it is buying all 80 acres of Nipton, which includes its Old West-style hotel, a handful of houses, an RV park and a coffee shop. Its plans are to transform the old Gold Rush town into what it calls “an energy-independent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination.”


After legalizing weed, California’s black market could remain huge

The Bakersfield Californian

Legalizing marijuana, California voters were told last year, would create a “safe, legal and comprehensive system” allowing adults to consume the drug while keeping it out of the hands of children. Marijuana would be sold in highly regulated stores, the Proposition 64 campaign promised, and California would gain new tax revenue by bringing the cannabis marketplace “out into the open.”


JOSE GASPAR: California City moving fast on green rush

The Bakersfield Californian

I went back out to California City recently to catch up on what it is doing that no other city in Kern County dares to do. Chiefly, legalize the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and testing of medical marijuana for commercial purposes through a permitting process.





A proposed state law would let Fresno County open clinics for ‘safer’ illegal drug use

Fresno Bee

A bill currently making its way through the California Legislature would let eight counties, including Fresno, open “safer” places for people to take illegal drugs – without any legal repercussions – under the supervision of a health professional, who would also monitor the addict for signs of overdose.


Here’s how California officials are trying to prevent racial profiling by police

LA Times

Soon police departments across California will begin tracking race and other demographic data every time officers pull someone over or otherwise detain them. State officials want to use the information to help prevent racial profiling by police.


Marijuana DUIs Are Still Too Subjective Say Cops. Why No BreathTest?

Despite the increasingly legal use of cannabis in many states, cops still don’t have the equivalent of a reliable alcohol breathalyzer or blood test — a chemically based way of estimating what the drug is doing in the brain



Use of a firearm caused the Detwiler Fire

Fresno Bee

Someone who fired a gun is to blame for triggering the Detwiler Fire, which has destroyed dozens of homes and burned more than 80,000 acres in Mariposa County.


Fire at Gar Tootelian ag chemical plant near Reedley causes more than $2M in damage

Fresno Bee

The Gar Tootelian agricultural chemical plant east of Reedley caught fire Sunday, causing more than an estimated $2 million in damage and sending up a plume of smoke that was visible across a wide area.


Calgary Fire 75 percent contained; evacuation notice lifted

The Evacuation Advisory for residents of Wofford Heights for the Calgary Fire was lifted by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Sunday night at 8 p.m. According to the Kern County Fire Department, the fire is now 75 percent contained, but fire crews and equipment will remain in the area.


Let Forest Fires Burn? What the Black-Backed Woodpecker Knows

NY Times

A scientific debate is intensifying over whether too much money and too many lives are lost fighting forest fires.






Walters: Is California’s booming economy at last losing steam?

Fresno Bee

What’s not to like about California’s economy this summer?  The state’s $2.6 trillion economy would be the sixth largest in the world were it a nation… California’s unemployment rate, which topped 12 percent during last decade’s Great Recession, was at a record-low 4.7 percent in June, reflecting, officials said, a gain of 2.5 million jobs since 2010.


Minority-Owned Businesses Thrive in California….But

Fox and Hounds Daily

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, California is leading all states in minority-owned and women-owned employer firms—and by a good margin. When it comes to numbers, California is expected to run up big scores because it is the most populous state. But, the mix of minorities in the state who take on businesses means California not only outscores other states in overall numbers but California makes up almost one-quarter of all minority owned businesses in the entire country.


“Starting a Business in California” brochure

California Secretary of State
Interested in starting a business in California?


New research confirms: No crisis for today’s retirees

The Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) is very poor at measuring the incomes that Americans derive from private retirement plans, including IRAs, 401(k)s and lump sum distributions from traditional pensions. As a result, retirees look poorer and more dependent on Social Security than they really are, and IRAs and 401(k)s look like they’re failing at providing Americans with retirement income. Once you correct for the CPS’s poor measurement of private retirement incomes, retirees are a lot better off than you’d think.



Faraday Future taps Hanford for electric car plant, 1,300 potential jobs

The Business Journal
Over the past nine years, Tesla Motors has gone from an unknown startup with lofty goals to the king of an electronic car market that is changing the auto industry.  Stefan Krause is looking to make his Southern California startup car company, Faraday Future, the second big player in the space, and he plans to do that by building his line of electric, intelligent luxury cars at a factory in the Kings County town of Hanford.

See also:

·       Electric car company Faraday Future finds a factory — In Hanford  USA Today

·       Tesla competitor Faraday Future previews 1 million square foot Hanford facility  ABC30

The US produces 40% more factory output today vs. 20 years ago with 5M fewer workers. Technology job theft?

We hear all the time from Trump and others that the US has lost millions of manufacturing jobs because they’ve been outsourced overseas and “stolen” by countries like China. That’s partly true, but mostly false.


Tech workers are fleeing state government. Would raises tempt them to stay?

Sacramento Bee

Information technology workers are leaving their state government positions faster than ever while their pay falls behind their private industry counterparts, their union argues in a new report.


The Closing of the jobs gap: A decade of recession and recovery

Brookings Institution

The Hamilton Project developed a measure of labor market health—the “jobs gap”—that reflects changes in both the level and the demographic composition of the U.S. population.  Beginning in May of 2010, The Hamilton Project has calculated the number of jobs needed to return to the national employment rate prior to the Great Recession, accounting for population growth and aging.


Paid Parental Leave — Conservatives, Take Note: Working Mothers Benefit

National Review

Some of the biggest critics of President Trump’s plan for paid parental leave have been conservatives.





Walters: California’s war over public schools moves to a new front

The Bakersfield Californian

The multifront political and legal war over the direction of California’s immense public school system has a new front. The state Board of Education — and inferentially, Gov. Jerry Brown and the education establishment — want to take a minimalist approach to complying with the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act.


Sex education resisted in central San Joaquin Valley

Fresno Bee

Last year, a 13-year-old boy in Mendota raised his hand in class and asked Kayla Wilson what age he had to be to buy condoms.  Wilson, who teaches sex education for the Fresno County Office of Education, told him there is no age restriction. She was stunned to find out a local store had refused to sell the boy condoms.


Back to School Bash has hundreds of parents lining up at Sierra Vista Mall

From the doors of the Sierra Vista Mall and back around the Kohl’s store, a huge crowd lined up to get inside Saturday morning as if Black Friday came in August.


Back-To-School Vaccines A Must For California Kids

Capital Public Radio News

California parents are scrambling to check off one important item on the back-to-school list: immunizations.


After-School Programs — Big in California — Fight to Survive as Trump Eyes Cuts


Federal funded summer and after-school programs—serving more than 100,000 California students, predominantly middle and high schoolers—will be fighting for survival next month as Congress and President Trump start negotiations over the federal budget.


New effort to reform early education gives some a sense of deja vu

89.3 KPCC

Several members of the local education workers union argued for collective bargaining rights for child care workers. A representative from the research policy center Zero to Three spoke up “on behalf of the near 1.5 million infants and toddlers in California,” while someone from First 5 LA mentioned the need for more transitional kindergarten opportunities for four-year-olds.


Like in middle school, charter schools’ kindergarten vaccination rates trail district-run schools

89.3 KPCC

Seventh graders in California charter schools were significantly less likely than their peers in district-run public schools to have received all of the vaccinations state law requires last year, KPCC reported last week.


Growing number of California schools districts offer students free college entrance exam


An increasing number of school districts and charter school organizations in California are offering either the SAT or ACT, the other college readiness test, for free to all high school juniors. Newly published research concluded that one benefit — a statistically significant increase in 4-year college enrollment — shows the effort is a smart investment.


Trump Administration Advances School Vouchers Despite Scant Evidence

Scientific American

Studies show that school vouchers lead to lower math and reading scores. So why has the Trump administration embraced them?


Retaining minority teachers in schools where most of their colleagues are white

Brookings Institution

Many studies find that minority students experience greater test score gains across a variety of contexts if they are taught by a minority instructor (primary schoolcommunity colleges, even law school). Moreover, students of all races were found to have more favorable perceptions of their teachers of color. It is also concerning that minority teachers are more likely than their white colleagues to change schools over a given period, and teacher turnover has been linked to lower student test scores.

Higher Ed:


Don’t blame CSU faculty for system’s shortcomings

Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board fell short.  Their editorial (“Linda Katehi’s salary is not real faculty pay outrage,” Aug. 3) baited readers as it appeared to give voice to the collective outrage over former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi’s $318,200 salary to teach a single course.  But the editorial instead rages at the 28,000 hardworking faculty of the California State University – a completely different system with a different budget and needs.


Trump proposes more student loan forgiveness, activists yawn


Try to imagine the reaction if President Trump proposed a giant new student loan forgiveness program for low and moderate income borrowers. There would probably be glowing editorials in The New York Times, endorsements from groups advocating student loan relief for struggling borrowers, and maybe even bipartisan legislation in Congress.


Understanding Cal Grant financial aid for college students: a quick guide


Cal Grants are the foundation of state-funded financial aid for California students who attend college in the state. Aimed at low-to-moderate-income families, they are thought to be among the most generous in the nation and can cover big chunks of the cost of attending a community college, a California State University or University of California campus, an eligible private campus or a vocational program.


Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60.

The New York Times
Where do Valley universities rank?





Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger launches partnership to share ideas for environmental legislation

Los Angeles Times
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is launching a new partnership with a nationwide network of green-minded state lawmakers to share ideas for environmental legislation.


Ballot Measure Offers Little Control on Cap-and-Trade Spending

Fox and Hounds Daily

California voters enshrine climate change in the state’s constitution—thanks to a phony ballot initiative being promoted by weak Republican Party leaders as a brake on cap-and-trade spending.


After Two Spills, Shell Oil to Replace Miles of Problem Pipeline 


Shell Oil Co. is replacing more than 12 miles of a pipeline that carries crude petroleum from Central Valley oil fields to Bay Area refineries after an investigation into two ruptures in eastern Alameda County in 2015 and 2016.


Trump’s eco-attack threatening California

San Francisco Chronicle
California may want nothing to do with President Trump, but when it comes to the environment, this state is under his thumb. From water to whales, California is feeling the long reach of White House policy.


U.S. formally tells U.N. it will withdraw from Paris climate deal

The State Department on Friday gave the United Nations notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement.  It’s the first official step the United States has made to pull out of the pact since President Donald Trump announced plans to back out of it June 1.



San Onofre still has tons of nuclear waste that no one wants. Where should it go?

Fresno Bee

High voltage that once energized the homes of more than a million Californians is down to zero.  But the San Onofre nuclear power plant will loom for a long time as a landmark, its 1,800 tons of lethal radioactive waste stored on the edge of the Pacific and within sight of the busy I-5.


Where Are All of These Electric Cars Going to Charge?


The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims points out that while the 44,000 public charging stations currently online may feel like enough now, that’s about to change in a big way. Tesla alone expects to make over 400,000 EVs by the end of next year. That would nearly double the size of the U.S. electric fleet, even before you add in the occasional Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt.


California looks to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045
California has developed a plan that would transform the state to be reliant on 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2045.



California bill could allow ‘safer’ places to do drugs

Fresno Bee

A bill currently making its way through the California Legislature would let eight counties, including Fresno, open “safer” places for people to take illegal drugs – without any legal repercussions – under the supervision of a health professional, who would also monitor the addict for signs of overdose.

Fight over right to sue nursing homes heats up


Consumer groups are making a last ditch effort to stop the Trump administration from stripping nursing home residents and their families of the right to take facilities to court over alleged abuse, neglect or sexual assault.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) announced plans to do away with an Obama-era rule that prohibited nursing homes that accept Medicare or Medicaid funds from including language in their resident contracts requiring that disputes be settled by a third party rather than a court.


Valley caregivers welcome assisted living bill

The Business Journal

Drafted by Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), AB1437 has already cleared the California State Assembly floor and is expected to be decided in the state Senate after the end of summer recess on Aug. 18. Its principal co-author in the upper house is Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). Patterson said that he believes the bipartisan bill will pass with no problems.


Employer-based health coverage likely to stay awhile

PBS NewsHour
Get your insurance through your employer? The ongoing political turmoil around “Obamacare” all but guarantees you’ll still be able to do that.


Fact-Based Health Care Reform

The American Interest

Politicians on both sides of the aisle continue to erroneously focus on increasing the ranks of the insured as the primary goal for health policy. To be sure, this helps politicians appearto be doing something good for voters, while in reality this is misguided, and at times counterproductive to the goals of correct health policy.


Why Obamacare Premiums Have Gone Up So Much

The Weekly Standard

The failed Republican effort to kill Obamacare had a saving grace. It’s small but significant. We now know the chief cause of skyrocketing health-insurance premiums since Obamacare was activated in 2013. And it’s not the “essential benefits” everyone is forced to buy, though they’ve often been blamed.



California considers suing Trump administration over immigration

Modesto Bee
California is poised to sue the Trump administration over the president’s latest attempt to punish jurisdictions tagged by the Justice Department as “sanctuary cities” that harbor undocumented immigrants, according to two sources close to the case.


SB 54 helps immigrants trust police

Sacramento Bee

In Fresno County, a mom driving to church had to go into hiding after police called immigration agents during a traffic stop.


Jerry Brown wants changes to sanctuary state bill

Sacramento Bee
Gov. Jerry Brown expressed his reservations over California’s so-called “sanctuary state” legislation in a nationally televised interview Sunday.


California’s governor once opposed sanctuary status. Have time—and Trump—changed his mind?


If Gov. Jerry Brown ends up signing a pending bill to make California a “sanctuary state” for undocumented immigrants, it will be an about-face for the governor, who publicly opposed the idea of sanctuary cities several years ago.

Immigration Consultants

California Secretary of State
In anticipation of an increased demand for immigration consulting services, the California Secretary of State’s Office assembled this site as a resource for those seeking immigration consulting services and as a reminder of the roles and responsibilities for immigration consultants operating in California.


Hitting the wall: On immigration, campaign promises clash with policy realities

Brookings Institution
64% of Trump voters thought immigration was the most important issue facing the US:


Where immigrant growth matters most

Brookings Institution

This analysis of recently released census estimates shows that there is a clear distinction between domestic migration and international migration patterns across America, and points out where immigrants are making the biggest contributions so far this decade.


U.S. immigration levels continue to fuel most community demographic gains

Brookings Institution
In endorsing a newly proposed bill, President Trump claims that legal immigration levels should be cut in half and that greater priority should be placed on those with high skills. Both of these claims fly in the face of census statistics that show that current immigration levels are increasingly vital to the growth of much of America, and that recent arrivals are more highly skilled than ever before. Current immigration is especially important for areas that are losing domestic migrants to other parts of the country including nearly half of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.


In defense of immigrants: Here’s why America needs them now more than ever

Brookings Institution
At the very heart of the American idea is the notion that, unlike in other places, we can start from nothing and through hard work have everything. But what if that’s just a myth? What if the truth is something very different? What if we are…stuck?



Revitalization of downtown Fresno starts with people like her

The Fresno Bee

Imagine yourself living in the upper floor of a high-rise loft. Instead of stucco walls, yours are brick and mortar. Instead of a stucco ceiling, yours is cement with exposed pipe. Instead of a backyard, your windows offer sweeping city views including a stadium.  This can’t possibly be Fresno, right?


Lois Henry: Taxpayers spent $25 million for affordable housing that’s become a ‘hellhole’
From a taxpayer’s perspective, the downhill slide of several affordable housing projects in southeast Bakersfield really ticks me off.


Advocacy groups challenging this California state housing rule say it uproots farmworkers’ children from schools

LA Times

A regulation from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, known as the “50-mile rule,” requires farmworkers to clear out of state-run migrant camps at the end of a growing season and move more than 50 miles away. On Wednesday, farmworker advocates and nonprofits, including the Center for Farmworker Families and the Food Empowerment Project, asked the state agency to reconsider their petitionto exempt families with school-ag.


Trump administration weighs slashing mortgage deduction

A tax break popular with homeowners and the real estate industry could take a hit as Republicans look for ways to pay for their tax reform plan.


California Today: Are We Undercounting the Homeless?

New York Times

Is California’s homeless crisis much worse than the official data show? A study released last week makes the case that the federal government undercounts homelessness in California’s largest cities by more than 25 percent.



Getting rid of California lawmakers’ cars actually did save some money

Sacramento Bee

Despite the Legislature’s protest that switching to a mileage-based reimbursement system would raise expenses, the 2011 elimination of a perk providing cars to lawmakers has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of travel records.


SEIU CA says state spends $2.5 billion on outsourced IT

Sacramento Bee

Information technology workers are leaving their state government positions faster than ever while their pay falls behind their private industry counterparts, their union argues in a new report.

Better cell phone service could come at a cost for California cities

Sacramento Bee
Senate Bill 649 would make it easier and cheaper for the companies to place small transmitters in cities and counties. More cells, they argue, will improve service and add critical redundancy to phone systems in areas affected by wildfires or other natural disasters.


UC leads on pension loans, are 401(k) plans next?


The University of California began internal borrowing to pay pension costs six years ago, apparently becoming the model for a state $6 billion loan this year to pay down CalPERS state worker pension debt.  Now UC may inspire others to follow another retirement plan option: offering new hires a choice between a pension and a 401(k)-style plan.


What happened after CalPERS cut pensions of former job training agency employees

The Mercury News

For nearly three decades, Sandy Meza helped young people, unemployed workers and former jail inmates find work. Now, after CalPERS slashed pensions for Meza and hundreds of other former employees of a defunct San Gabriel Valley job training agency by nearly two-thirds, the 62-year-old Chino resident is looking for a job of her own.


This tiny Sierra Valley town voted to pull out of CalPERS. Now city retirees are seeing their pensions slashed

Los Angeles Times
After suffering a stroke in 2012, he retired as a 21-year employee of the city of Loyalton, Calif., where he oversaw the town’s water and sewer systems. Cussins, 56, believed his city pension and the Social Security payments he and his wife received would bring in enough to provide a decent retirement in the tiny, old timber mill town in the Sierra Valley.


Watchdog agency’s new CEO warns of impact of dwindling school revenue

Michael Fine is the new CEO of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, perhaps the most important education agency Californians may never have heard of — unless their school district has been in financial peril. Better known by its acronym, FCMAT monitors the financial health of school districts, investigates and, together with county offices of education, manages districts when they’re in trouble. It also trains local administrators to keep them from getting into trouble in the first place.


FACT CHECK: Does The U.S. Have The Highest Corporate Tax Rate In The World?


Although virtually nothing is predictable in politics these days, here is one certainty: Americans — at least the ones watching the news — are about to hear a lot about corporate taxes.




Trying to Make America a Little Better

New York Times

In the last four years, 24 states have raised gas taxes to generate infrastructure revenue, led this year by California’s enactment of a 12-cents-a-gallon state tax increase — the first since 1989 — to finance a 10-year, $54 billion transportation plan. Far from futuristic, the plan would devote most of the money to repair 17,000 miles of existing roads and 500 bridges.


California eyes bigger rebates for electric cars

San Francisco Chronicle

California has far more electric cars and plug-in hybrids plying its roads than any other state — about 300,000 so far. But they’re still just a tiny fraction of auto sales. Now, legislation in Sacramento is designed to juice the market, just as a new generation of long-range electric cars hits showroom floors.


California buses are going electric, and that’s good for our environment: Guest commentary

LA Daily News

Amid shifting national priorities on environmental issues, one thing remains certain: addressing climate change and air quality in California will require bold leadership in every sector — especially transportation.




In California, Quest For Clean Drinking Water Often Delayed By Paperwork

Valley Public Radio

Drive through the pomegranate and pistachio orchards between highways 41 and 99 and you may stumble upon Valley Teen Ranch, a cluster of residential homes where juvenile offenders come to be rehabilitated.

See also:

·       California State Water Board Approves Removal of Drinking Water Standard for Hexavalent Chromium  Sierra Sun Times

·       Toxic waste from US pot farms alarms experts  Reuters

·       Grossi: California’s Biggest Drought Success Story Came With a High Cost  Water Deeply

Are markets an easy solution for California’s groundwater problems?

The Bakersfield Californian

It has become popular to lament how slowly California is embracing water markets. Proponents’ rhetoric can paint markets as an unambiguously better, or even as the only, solution to California’s water challenges. But faith in market efficiency needs to be tempered with a firm grasp of the greater physical and institutional context for water. Markets may be part of the solution, but only where implemented carefully.


California’s Largest Water Supplier Says Federal Water Bill Goes Too Far

Capital Public Radio News

Critics say the bill interferes with California water laws and would impede the federal Endangered Species Act. While the bill is specific to California, legal experts say it could have ramifications in other states.

See also:

·       Opinion: House-passed bill would eviscerate state water, environmental laws –  San Francisco Chronicle

·       House Bill Redirects River Flows From Fish to Farms  Water Deeply

Oroville Dam: Six months after disaster, a race to repair

The Mercury News

Today, what could have been ground zero for America’s worst dam disaster is now a hotbed of construction activity. Hundreds of construction workers are laboring 20 hours a day, six days a week with huge dump trucks, cranes, excavators, bulldozers, concrete pumps and other equipment to demolish and rebuild the 3,000-foot-long main spillway — a massive chute as wide as 15 lanes of freeway– by Nov. 1, before the next winter rain season begins anew.


$1 Billion Worth Of Claims For Oroville Dam Damages Filed With The State Of California
One week before the deadline to formally seek payment from the state of California for damages stemming from the Oroville Dam’s spillway failure this year, the state has received 93 claims worth a combined $1.1 billion.



CBS47 anchor Ken Malloy wins Edward R. Murrow Award

Fresno Bee

News anchor Ken Malloy has earned an Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of Prop 64.


Historic rail depot to be torn down


Stockton’s century-old Western Pacific Railroad depot to collapse, officials agreed Friday to demolish what’s left of the building while attempting to salvage some of its historic features.


Click and you shall receive: Online grocery shopping expanding in Bakersfield
Hate going to the grocery store? Or just don’t have time for it? Then you’re going to want to keep reading.