August 8, 2017







Merced County one of highest percentages of hungry kids in the state, report shows 

Merced Sun-Star

Merced County has one of the largest percentages of hungry children in California, according to a recent report from Feeding America, a national hunger-relief organization.


Porterville votes down Sequoias resolution

Visalia Times Delta

But Council members voted 3-2 for an amended resolution.



California Legislative Information: New Laws

California Secretary of State

For full text of all the bills signed by Gov. Brown go here


Climate deal swing vote lawmakers among top oil money recipients

89.3 KPCC/AP

California Assembly members who were considered swing votes on legislation to reduce carbon emissions by charging polluters were among the top recipients of donations from oil companies, an analysis of campaign finance filings shows.


California Democratic Party crushes GOP in campaign fundraising

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.


CA Legislature’s top fundraiser in 2017 is Josh Newman

Sacramento Bee

There’s nothing like a recall threat to vault a legislator into the top fundraising ranks.


Coupal: More shady politics from Sacramento Democrats

Orange County Register

Last week, the ostensibly nonpartisan California Fair Political Practices Commission agreed to remove a long-standing campaign contribution limit so that Democrats could better fight an upcoming recall election against one of their own.


State Senate leader Kevin de León endorses labor leader to fill his seat in 2018

Los Angeles Times

Statement from Senate President Kevin de León.




Sec. of State Padilla: GOP’s all-out assault on voters’ rights

Fresno Bee
Our current president believes, without evidence, that millions of “illegal votes” cost him the popular vote. He has created a sham “Election Integrity Commission” headed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the nation’s foremost vote suppressor, to place barriers between American citizens and their right to vote.


Hacking the Vote: Why Voting Systems Aren’t as Secure as You Might Think 


While President Trump appears to be debating whether the voting system in the U.S. was compromised by the Russians, hackers at Defcon were hard at work trying to understand the vulnerabilities.


Ted Lieu explains what he thinks it will take for Democrats to win the House in 2018

Los Angeles Times

Lieu also has a new role as one of the regional vice chairs in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s campaign arm dedicated to winning control of the House in 2018. His turf is House races in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii.




Steve Ballmer’s Crazy Idea: Let’s Agree on the Facts


Steve Ballmer, the former chief executive of Microsoft, knows more than a little about numbers. He’s looked carefully at government spending and arrived at an unexpected conclusion.  The tech billionaire has launched a new product, USAFacts, an interactive website that compiles data to analyze how taxpayer money is actually spent.




A speeding ticket shouldn’t lead to bankruptcy

Fresno Bee
For too many Californians, getting a speeding ticket or some other traffic violation is more than an inconvenience. It’s a slow-moving disaster that’s likely to upend their lives and plunge them into debt.


Donald Trump should check his facts before attacking the 9th Circuit

Sacramento Bee

President Donald Trump’s call for dismantling the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is, like so many of his demands, based on a misunderstanding of reality.


Trump’s immigration reform is an insult to our ancestors and a peril to America’s future

San Jose Mercury News

President Trump’s newly-embraced plan to slash legal immigration is wrong on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin.


San Jose teacher housing can’t be guaranteed, so deny general plan change

San Jose Mercury News

It sounds so heartwarming. A wealthy landowner who got some property at a bargain during the recession wants to build some 14 affordable apartments for teachers on it in the neighborhood commercial stretch of Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen. All she needs from the San Jose City Council is a little change in the city’s general plan.


Oroville Dam repairs are just the start

San Francisco Chronicle

Workers have been laboring hard to get the spillway at Oroville Dam fixed in time for the winter rainy season.


Dirty recall campaign soils state’s political watchdog

Los Angeles Times

Politics can be a dirty business, and the campaign by Republicans to unseat Fullerton Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman is about as muddy as it gets.





California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage


Farmers say they’re having trouble hiring enough people to work during harvest season, causing some crops to rot before they can be picked. Already, the situation has triggered losses of more than $13 million in two California counties alone, according to NBC News.






Fresno authorities and former addicts discuss proposed ‘safe injection site’ bill

Supervised drug centers are what a proposed state bill would allow – giving people the opportunity to use illegal drugs in a safe space.

See also:

Oakhurst man fatally shot over a marijuana grow on Road 423

Sierra Star

The sheriff’s office is searching for three Hispanic adult males that are believed to have been involved in the man’s death. The crime is being treated as a murder investigation, Ward said, and the three suspects have not been located.


It’s California versus Sessions on police seizures of cash and property

Cap Radio

There’s a new battle between California and the federal government. This time, it’s over a new U.S. Justice Department policy on police seizures of cash and property – and it could affect a new California law that took effect this year.



Calgary Fire 100 percent contained

Bakersfield Californian

The Calgary Fire in Wofford Heights that started on August 5 is now 100 percent contained, the Kern County Fire Department said Tuesday in a news release.





CEO of Clovis Chamber of Commerce retires

The Business Journal
The Clovis Chamber of Commerce is operating under the leadership of an acting CEO after Mark Blackney abruptly announced his immediate retirement from the position last week.



Get your resume: Caltrans has 1,100 job openings

Sacramento Bee

Attention job seekers: It’s a good time to send a resume to California’s transportation department. Caltrans has more than 1,100 job openings this summer in wide a range of white collar and blue collar careers. It’s making the rounds at dozens of career fairs at universities and military bases to spread the word.


Google Fires Engineer Who Wrote Memo Questioning Women in Tech

Google Fires Engineer Who Wrote Memo Questioning Women in Tech







FUSD speaks out after Ashjian’s controversial LGBT comments

Fresno Bee

In a news release Monday, Fresno Unified affirmed its commitment to “tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness” after school board president Brooke Ashjian made controversial comments regarding LGBT-inclusive sex education.


Fresno Unified hosts immunization clinics as kids head back to school

Students in the Valley’s largest school district return to the classroom next week, but before they set foot on campus they need to be properly vaccinated.


Merced County schools struggling to fill teaching positions


Merced County schools are having a hard time finding qualified teachers. Some students will return to substitutes rather than regular teachers at school.

Kern High School District trustees choose new boundaries for five high schools

Bakersfield Californian

Kern High School District Trustees voted Monday to change the boundaries of five northwest Bakersfield high schools, sending Centennial High School students to North High School and Frontier High School students to Centennial, among other changes.


The later the better? Sleep-in bill would change school start times for some California students

East Bay Times

Here’s a bedtime story for you: Asking middle school and high school students to attend class earlier than 8:30 a.m. is setting them up to fail.


California teen pregnancy prevention programs at risk after Trump Administration budget cuts

San Jose Mercury News

Luanne Rohrbach was stunned when she got the letter from Washington: The federal money for her teen pregnancy prevention program was being shut off. Luanne Rohrbach was stunned when she got the letter from Washington: The federal money for her teen pregnancy prevention program was being shut off.


Growing number of California school 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.


Fade to black: How teachers are using the solar eclipse to shed light …


It’s official: the world is not flat, and on Aug. 21 California science teachers will prove it.


More kids are logging on to learn at cyber schools

On average, cyber charter school students are 72 days behind on reading and a whole year behind in math.


Higher Ed:


New law requires CSU, UC to tell students cost of off-campus housing

San Francisco Chronicle
California’s public universities have failed to give students and their families accurate information on the cost of off-campus housing, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a bill Monday to ensure that the universities post online the true cost of attending a campus.



Government climate change report finds drastic impact across entire US

Fresno Bee
The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.


Stress and air pollution – double jeopardy for low-income pregnant women?

Sacramento Bee

Low-income families are more likely to live in more polluted areas and also undergo more everyday stress, compared to their wealthier counterparts. For pregnant low-income women, that combination can prove harmful to the health of their fetuses, a new study has found.


New California law gives air quality officials the power to quickly shut down polluters –

Los Angeles Times
The new law will give pollution control officers the power to issue immediate orders to stop polluting operations when violations pose an “imminent and substantial” danger. The orders are temporary, pending a hearing before an administrative board.


Climate deal swing vote lawmakers among top oil money recipients

89.3 KPCC/AP

California Assembly members who were considered swing votes on legislation to reduce carbon emissions by charging polluters were among the top recipients of donations from oil companies, an analysis of campaign finance filings shows.


Environmentalists are urging the USDA to reject this genetically engineered eucalyptus tree

Washington Post

A genetically engineered, freeze-tolerant eucalyptus tree is moving closer to receiving approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, amid concerns about the tree’s possible negative effects on the environment.


How California Has Taken Its Climate Leadership Abroad

Foreign Affairs

On July 17, California’s State Assembly and Senate voted to expand and extend through 2030 the state’s pioneering cap-and-trade program to curb greenhouse-gas emissions…. But can the wealthiest and most populous U.S. state conduct its own foreign policy within the U.S. constitutional system?



A deadly virus returns to Stanislaus County. Why it’s back and how you can avoid it.

Modesto Bee

A mosquito sample in Stanislaus County tested positive for the St. Louis encephalitis virus, which is capable of causeing a potentially deadly illness.

Merced County one of highest percentages of hungry kids in the state, report shows

Merced Sun Star

Merced County has one of the largest percentages of hungry children in California, according to a recent report from Feeding America, a national hunger-relief organization.


Cost Of Covered California In 2018 Will Depend On Insurance Plan 


The price of a Covered California health plan in San Diego is going up an average of 11.5 percent next year. That’s just below the statewide average increase of 12.5 percent.


U.S. appeals court says Medi-Cal cut to hospitals was illegal 

Los Angeles times

A U.S. appeals court decided Monday that the federal government wrongly approved California’s request to temporarily cut Medi-Cal reimbursement by 10% during the recession for hospital outpatient care.


In a rebuke to the GOP, a federal judge orders the government to pay Molina Health $52 million in Obamacare funds

Los Angeles Times

The main thread of the Republican effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act may have been snipped apart on the Senatefloor late last month, but vestiges of its campaign of vandalism still remain. On Friday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., kicked away one of its legs in a $52-million ruling in favor of Molina Healthcare.


‘May you die in pain’: California GOP congressman gets an earful at town hall

Los Angeles Times

“May you die in pain.”  That was the nastiest moment of Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa’s early morning town hall in the Northern California town of Chico on Monday. Unlike many California Republican members of Congress, LaMalfa hasn’t shied away from holding town halls, though it’s rarely a pleasant experience for him. He held one in Nevada City in March and another in April in Oroville. No other California Republicans are scheduled to hold town halls during their August recess.


Survival of ObamaCare is nothing to celebrate

Fox News
Democratic politicians are giddily celebrating that the Affordable Care Act – more commonly known as ObamaCare – will remain in place for now, even though it continues to wreak havoc on U.S. health care. As they toast each other’s success at blocking reforms, let’s consider what they are celebrating.


Medicare-for-All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care

The Nation

A common view is that since every other advanced country has a single-payer system, and the advantages of these schemes are pretty clear, the only real obstacles are a lack of imagination, or feckless Democrats and their donors. But the reality is more complicated.


A Bipartisan Health Care Fix? Governors Have Some Ideas

Pew Trusts
The seven Democrats and six Republican governors who crafted the proposals want federal money to stabilize the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces, and greater power to manage them. They argue it should be easier for states to customize Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance for the poor, and they want new tools to curb fast-rising drug prices. And they insist that states should continue to regulate the health policies sold within their borders.


Reining in pharmaceutical costs

USC & Brookings Institution

This analysis is part of USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative on Health Policy, which is a partnership between the Center for Health Policy at Brookings and the University of Southern California Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics. The Initiative aims to inform the national health care debate with rigorous, evidence-based analysis leading to practical recommendations using the collaborative strengths of USC and Brookings.


Can Big Tobacco stop FDA again?

Sacramento Bee

Tobacco industry scientists have worked hard to enrich nicotine content and to manipulate its chemistry to enhance potency. The Food and Drug Administration’s proposal to reduce nicotine content of traditional tobacco products to nonaddictive levels would have a major positive health impact and would be its single most effective measure in lessening cigarette use among Americans.


Democrats’ quandary on supporting anti-abortion party members

San Francisco Chronicle

Democrats have a growing problem when it comes to abortion, one that risks alienating some of the largest progressive organizations at a time when the party needs their grassroots energy to revive itself.

Senate bill will harm dialysis patients

Fresno Bee
SB 349 would greatly reduce access to life-saving dialysis care by reducing available appointment slots and threatening the viability of many dialysis clinics, especially in rural and poorer communities. It also adds a 45-minute chair “time out” between patients. Taken together, these two provisions limit dialysis caregivers’ ability to customize dialysis treatment based on their unique patient population.


In this corner: Justice & Medical marijuana


In yet another worrying sign for California marijuana advocates, a newly uncovered letter reveals that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked Congressional leaders for the freedom to prosecute medical marijuana activities.

California study: Pets don’t improve kids’ health

San Jose Mercury News

Contrary to popular belief, having a dog or cat in the home does not improve the mental or physical health of children, according to a new RAND Corporation study.


He Broke the Law to Build a Better Nursing Home

Next Avenue

Caring for the plants and animals restored residents’ spirits and autonomy; many started dressing themselves, leaving their rooms and eating again. The number of prescriptions fell to half of that of a control nursing home, particularly for drugs that treat agitation. Medication costs plummeted, and so did the death rate. He named the approach the Eden Alternative — based on the idea that a nursing home should be less like a hospital and more like a garden — and it was replicated in hundreds of institutions in Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia as well as in all 50 U.S. states (the animal restriction in New York was voted down).


Should I Help My Patients Die?

I practice both critical and palliative care medicine at a public hospital in Oakland. In June 2016, California became the fourth in the nation to allow medical aid in dying for patients suffering from terminal illness.



On ‘sanctuary state’ legislation, Brown’s caution is wise

San Diego Union Tribune

For too many California Democrats, opposing anything and everything President Donald Trump does is job No. 1. But Gov. Jerry Brown, California’s top Democrat, is showing appropriate caution when it comes to challenging the Trump administration on immigration enforcement, which laws, regulations and court decisions clearly establish as a federal responsibility.


Sanctuary and Consistency


Gov. Jerry Brown says he wants changes to the sanctuary state law working its way through the legislature. While conjecture is that he wants to make sure that criminal immigrants don’t get protection under the law, there may also be a sense of gaining consistency in the state’s viewpoint of the on-going rhetorical battle with the federal government over immigration status.


Wells Fargo accused of denying loans to immigrants in DACA program 

San Francisco Chronicle

A federal judge in San Francisco has refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing Wells Fargo bank of denying loans to immigrants who came to the U.S. as youngsters and have been allowed to remain here.


The Asian-American dream is falling apart

Sacramento Bee

Many thousands of Asian-American parents make this commitment, which assumes that in return they will be cared for in their golden years. But for Asian-American millennials, especially in California, that desire to do our part is becoming elusive.


How Cambodian refugees found a new life — and crisis-proof wealth — in Southern California’s jewelry market 

Los Angeles Times

On a spring day in 1975, as Khmer Rouge forces launched a coup that would unleash four years of genocide in Cambodia, Jerry Young grabbed a fistful of jewels from his store and fled for his life.


The Danger From Low-Skilled Immigrants: Not Having Them

New York Times

Let’s just say it plainly: The United States needs more low-skilled immigrants.


Trump spurs wave of state immigration laws

The Hill

State legislatures across the country have enacted a wave of immigration-related measures in the seven months since President Trump took office.



Land Use:


Stanislaus County poised to sell a park in Modesto. Guess who might be buying?

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County supervisors could take action Tuesday to sell a park in one of Modesto’s poorest neighborhoods, aft E.&J. Gallo Winery expressed an interest in the property.


San Francisco wants to buy a McDonald’s – and shut it down

Sacramento Bee

San Francisco has offered to buy a McDonald’s franchise, but the city’s not going into the Happy Meal business. City leaders hope to purchase and shut down the restaurant at Haight and Stanyan streets in the Haight Ashbury district because of ongoing crime problems, reports The San Francisco Chronicle. The eatery across from Golden Gate Park could be replaced by affordable housing.


Community Voices: Reforming CEQA puts us on the path to affordability

Bakersfield Californian

As I travel through the Central Valley, the constant theme I hear is how unaffordable it is to live and work in California. This concern is growing and I anticipate more families will continue to raise this as an issue as more policies are passed by Sacramento that make every day living even…




6th Annual San Joaquin Valley Affordable Housing, Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Summit tickets here (Today is last day at reduced rate)


California lawmakers push small Bay Area city to approve big housing project

Los Angeles Times

Tonight, the small Bay Area city of Brisbane will consider if it will support any housing on a 640-acre parcel of land bordering San Francisco. A collection of state lawmakers are urging city leaders to say yes to housing development.


Q&A Mental illness and homelessness are connected. But not how you might think 

Los Angeles Times

Even as Los Angeles starts a $1.2-billion homeless housing construction program, residents from Temple City to Venice are fighting to keep homeless projects out of their neighborhoods.




Stanislaus County poised to sell airport district park in Modesto at Gallo’s request

Modesto Bee
The county has said the proceeds from selling the park would be spent on airport neighborhood improvements. But a report for Tuesday’s board meeting is short on specifics on how the money would be spent.


California pension fund divests from coal as industry rebounds

Sacramento Bee

Coal stocks are on the rebound, but California’s main public pension fund won’t see investment gains from that industry.


Los Angeles’ 2028 Olympic bid will get state financial support, Assembly leader says

Los Angeles Times
The city of Los Angeles’ bid to host the 2028 Olympics will receive financial support from the state, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said in a letter to city officials Monday.


Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multibillion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space.  And he’s built those companies with the help of billions in government subsidies.


It’s California Vs. Sessions On Police Seizures Of Cash, Property 

Capital Public Radio

There’s a new battle between California and the federal government. This time, it’s over a new U.S. Justice Department policy on police seizures of cash and property – and it could affect a new California law that took effect this year.




City planning 10-mile trail

Porterville Recorder
Instead of being used to fund a North Grand Avenue/State Route 65 interchange project, the City of Porterville will use its Measure R regional funds toward a bike and pedestrian project that City Manager John Lollis said may span about 10 miles.


Electric car maker to open plant in Hanford

Visalia Times-Delta

Los Angeles-based Faraday Future will open an electric car manufacturing plant in Hanford early next year, bring hundreds of jobs to the Valley.


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.


Self-Driving Cars Will Compel Changes on California Roads and Highways


We are moving rapidly down the road toward the age of self-driving cars. But as the cars change, the roads will have to change with them, and it will likely mean some adjustments, such as different signage and narrower lanes.




From toilet water to drinking water

Capitol Weekly

This legislation might be hard to swallow: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would clear the way for California communities to put highly treated wastewater directly into the drinking water supply.


Congress Takes an Important Step to Prevent Future Droughts

Fox and Hounds Daily

Thanks to a stormy winter, California’s long drought is over says state government. But California’s man-made drought will continue as long as Sacramento misallocates our water supply. Maybe it’s time to appeal to a higher but distant authority.


Storm water bill would evade taxpayer protections

San Francisco Chronicle

If Senate Bill 231 (Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys) becomes law, property owners would be saddled with thousands of dollars in additional, annual property taxes. What’s worse is that this bill would allow these tax increases to be implemented without a vote of the people.




Survey says ‘post-Christian’ attitudes are common in Modesto-Sacramento area

Modesto Bee

The zone from Stanislaus County to the Sacramento Valley is helping to lead a drift away from Christianity, a survey firm reports.


FAA won’t sanction Lodi Parachute Center for fatal 2016 jump

Fresno Bee
The Federal Aviation Administration will not take action against the Parachute Center for the August 2016 deaths of two young men near Lodi, though it found “discrepancies in the records of the instructor who died during the jump,” the agency announced Monday.


Mountain lion, hikers have tense meeting on Sierra park trail | The …

Fresno Bee

The National Parks Service confirmed the sighting of a mountain lion by two hikers last week in Sequoia National Park.

The animal was spotted by two hikers from San Luis Obispo County, who were on the first day of an 11-day backpacking trip on the High Sierra Trail, east of Crescent Meadow to Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Forest.


Essential California: The 2028 Olympics give L.A. a chance to imagine its future

Los Angeles Times

“L.A. is a conglomerate of small towns striving toward immensity and never making it, thank God,” famed author Ray Bradbury wrote.The 2028 Olympics give Los Angeles a chance to imagine this future where its immensity is a given. As The Times’ Thomas Curwen notes, Los Angeles is no longer powered by the innocence that Bradbury described. By many measures, it has become the world-class city that it could only once dream of. Los Angeles Times


Reminiscence: Arnold Announces for Governor


In yesterday’s Politico California Playbook, Carla Marinucci remembered the day 14 years ago that Arnold Schwarzenegger caught the world by surprise in announcing for governor in the 2003 recall. Carla linked to the article she wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle at the time about what happened that night on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show.”