December 14, 2018




North SJ Valley:


Bathrooms, services, shelters: Turlock considers how it can help its homeless

Modesto Bee

The Turlock City Council has declared a shelter crisis, which means the city can compete for some of the $7.2 million in one-time state money to deal with homelessness in the area. Council members voted 3-0 at a special meeting Wednesday in support of the shelter crisis resolution


Central SJ Valley:


Police chief adds details on Arambula arrest in wake of assemblyman’s explanation

Fresno Bee

Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said Thursday that Joaquin Arambula’s daughter suffered an injury in an area that was not her buttocks, casting doubt on public statements made by the assemblyman in an emotional series of news media interviews on Wednesday.

See Also:

     EDITORIAL: Arambula spanked his daughter and got arrested. Now he has to regain public trust Fresno Bee

     Arambula says he was only trying to discipline his daughter after recent child abuse arrest Fresno Bee

     Chief Dyer says injuries Arambula caused were beyond spanking abc30


Fresno greenlights medical cannabis dispensaries

Fresno Bee

The City Council on Thursday approved cannabis business regulations that may eventually allow for up to two medicinal dispensaries in each council district and establish “hubs” along Highway 99 and Highway 180 for commercial activities such as cultivation, manufacturing and distribution.


South SJ Valley:

Tulare gets new mayor in split vote

Visalia Times Delta

Jose Sigala became Tulare’s 39th mayor this week in a split vote. Sigala, who represents the city’s District 1 seat, received votes from newly-installed council members Dennis Mederos and Terry Sayre.


TJ Cox to be sworn in Jan. 3, talks about priorities in Congress

Bakersfield Californian

TJ Cox, Congressman-elect for the 21st Congressional District, who defeated the incumbent Republican, David Valadao, in a close race that was decided only a couple of weeks ago, laid out some of his priorities in a 15-minute conversation with The Californian's Robert Price.



PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government

Four in ten Californians approve of Governor-Elect Newsom’s plans and priorities; half say they want him to take a different policy direction from Governor Brown.

See also:

       Poll: Despite surging economy, Californians anxious about future and want

Change  CALmatters.


Ax falls on Assembly Republican staff after California election losses

Fresno Bee

Several California Republicans lost their races, and several Assembly staff members now find themselves without a job. GOP legislative leadership says the decisions were difficult.


California’s Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye leaves the GOP, registers as no-party-preference voter

San Francisco Chronicle

Just days after publicly criticizing President Trump’s remarks as being harmful to the “rule of law,” California’s Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told a news organization that she has left the Republican Party, registering instead as a no-party-preference voter.

See also:

     Chief justice of the California Supreme Court leaves the Republican Party, citing Kavanaugh CALmatters



PG&E highlights bullet-riddled equipment and downed tree branches near Camp fire in letter to state regulators

Los Angeles Times

Just days after a lawsuit blamed a utility giant’s faulty equipment for California’s deadliest wildfire on record, the company has submitted a letter to regulators saying it found bullet-riddled equipment and felled branches on power lines elsewhere within the fire’s massive footprint.


The 2020 Census: Potential Impacts on California


The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to count the total number of people in the United States every ten years. This is the decennial Census. The U.S. Census Bureau (“the Bureau”), a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, will conduct the next Census in 2020.


Jerry Brown Has the Power to Save 740 Lives. He Should Use It.

New York Times

Among a governor’s many powers, none is more significant than signing a death warrant. It’s a terrible responsibility, hard even to imagine until you’re asked to carry it out, as we were. But we became convinced that it wasn’t something a civilized society should ask of its leaders. That’s why we halted executions in our states, and we call on Gov. Jerry Brown of California to do the same.

Schnur: A third party can emerge in California. Here’s a path CALmatters

When I ran for Secretary of State four years ago as California’s first no-party-preference candidate for statewide office, there were a few fleeting moments when I thought that  I might be making history. For the most part, though, I understood the best possible outcome for my candidacy was to make it easier for the second no-party-preference candidate for statewide office in California history.




Trump routinely says things that aren’t true. Few Americans believe him.

Washington Post

For months, President Trump has claimed that U.S. Steel has announced plans to build more than six new plants. Throughout the midterm election, he repeatedly said that​​ Democrats had signed onto an “open borders” bill. And he has long charged that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in the 2016 election.

The Biggest Losers of Trump’s Presidency: His Voters

The American Conservative

This political paradox stems from the seeming inevitability of this president leaving his constituency high and dry through political incompetence, behavioral incontinence, an inability to maintain a focus on anything, and an incapacity to think or act coherently. His presidency so far has been characterized by political failure, and it’s going to get worse before the end of his term, by which point the voters will have expelled him from the White House.


Latest threat to Trump’s wall? House Republicans ditching Washington

Fresno Bee

GOP leaders scrapped the idea of a House vote on a border wall after members left town following the farm bill vote. There could be more absent Republican seats as the holidays approach, which puts Trump’s proposed wall in even greater jeopardy.

See Also:

     Trump's border wall, long an incendiary issue, hasn't come up in talks with U.S., new Mexican leader says Los Angeles Times

     Trump increasingly isolated as aides leave, friends flip and investigations advance Los Angeles Times:

     Trump urged to consider a young White House insider as he struggles to find a new chief of staff Los Angeles Times

     Trump denies he 'directed' Cohen to break the law as prosecutors contend  abc30

     Cohen gets 3 years in prison, blames Trump for his 'path of darkness' abc30

Trump: Cohen Was ‘Low-Level’ Employee Who ‘Did More Public Relations Than He Did Law’ National Review  Cohen Describes Trump’s Involvement in Hush-Money Payments Wall Street Journal

     Trump Inauguration Spending Under Criminal Investigation by Federal Prosecutors Wall Street Journal

     Trump invokes ‘advice-of-counsel’ defense in campaign probe Stockton Record

     Senate rebukes Trump, Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi, Yemen war Sacramento Bee

     Senate Flexes Congress’ War Powers Authority, For First Time Ever Roll Call

     Senate Passes Resolution to Withdraw U.S. Support for War in Yemen Wall Street Journal

     Senate Votes to Withdraw Support for Saudi War in Yemen in Rebuke to Trump National Review

     An unusual public warning from 44 former senators falls a little flat in Congress Los Angeles Times


Trump says he wants a government-run media outlet. He’s ignored the one he has — so far

Los Angeles Times

The government-owned news service beams around the world, reaching an estimated 275 million people on radio, internet and television, with a brand honed during the mid-20th century Cold War era that President Trump idealizes as a time of unquestioned American greatness.


Congress Headed Down Road to Shutdown Nowhere, Top Senate GOP Appropriator Says

Roll Call

The Alabama Republican told reporters there are a lot of “thoughts” about how to keep the nine departments and assorted agencies that don’t yet have full-year spending bills open beyond Dec. 21, but said none of those have crystallized into a plan.

See also:

     Democrats Can Win by Giving Trump His Wall  Bloomberg


Nancy Pelosi agrees to proposed term limits if elected speaker


Rep. Nancy Pelosi has agreed to abide by proposed term limits if elected speaker, a move expected to clear her path to the speaker's gavel.

See Also:

     Pelosi’s triumph: A reminder why she’s set to be speaker Merced Sun-Star

     EDITORIAL: Pelosi makes clear why she’s a boss Sacramento Bee


Misconduct claim involving Kamala Harris aide came to agency months before she left office

Sacramento Bee

A misconduct claim naming one of Kamala Harris’ top deputies arrived at the California Department of Justice three months before Harris left the attorney general’s office in early 2017.

See also:

     Taking on Trump: Democrats lining up early for 2020 San Francisco Chronicle

     John Kasich Winning the 2020 Presidential Primary Is a Pipe Dream   National Review


Congress approves policy to make lawmakers personally liable for sexual harassment claims

Los Angeles Times

Members of Congress will have to pay out of their own pockets to settle sexual and other harassment claims made against them under a compromise approved Thursday by the Senate and House.

Congress passes farm bill, stripped of conservative priorities

Los Angeles Times

Congress on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a five-year farm bill after removing conservative priorities that had stalled negotiations, including stricter work requirements for people receiving food benefits and a provision allowing more tree-cutting in federal forests as President Trump proposed in the wake of California’s wildfires.


House Republican Leader Invites Democratic Freshmen to Meet With Him

Roll Call

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has a message for the newly elected Democrats who swept dozens of his colleagues out of office and his party into the minority: I’ll work with you. 

House GOP Tax Package Still In Limbo as Clock Winds Down

Roll Call

The House is leaving in limbo an $80 billion package of tax breaks as it leaves for the weekend on Thursday, though in theory there’s still time to take up the measure next week before lawmakers leave town for the holidays.


The Supreme Court May Begin to Tame the Administrative State

Wall Street Journal

Sometimes little things mean a lot when it comes to the Constitution. The Supreme Court agreed this week to hear Kisor v. Wilkie, an obscure dispute between a former Marine and the Department of Veterans Affairs. It could be a step toward significantly limiting the powers of the federal administrative state.




'They don't care': Facebook factchecking in disarray as journalists push to cut ties

The Guardian

Journalists working as factcheckers for Facebook have pushed to end a controversial media partnership with the social network, saying the company has ignored their concerns and failed to use their expertise to combat misinformation.

See also:

     Facebook says a new bug allowed apps to access private photos of up to 6.8 million users  Washington Post


A financial wake-up call for women of any age

San Francisco Chronicle

Women scrimp, get educated and work hard. But when it comes to securing our financial futures, we have some major catching up to do.





Fresno greenlights medical cannabis dispensaries

Fresno Bee

The city of Fresno is open for cannabis business — as long as it’s medicinal.  The City Council on Thursday approved cannabis business regulations that may eventually allow for up to two medicinal dispensaries in each council district.

See Also:

     Medicinal marijuana is now legal in Fresno abc30


FDA eliminates 3 CA counties as possible E. coli source


The FDA has revised its warning about romaine lettuce linked to an E. coli outbreak, eliminating three California counties from the list of possible origins of the contamination.

See Also:

     Some romaine lettuce is safe to eat after E. coli outbreak, but caution urged abc30

     Tainted Romaine Lettuce Traced To At Least 1 California Farm Capital Public Radio

     Romaine lettuce outbreak is traced to at least one California farm Los Angeles Times


Del Monte recalls canned corn in 25 states, including California


Del Monte Foods announced Wednesday a limited recall of their Canned Fiesta Corn Seasoned with Red & Green Peppers in 25 states due to under-processing.


This festive season, tamales are big business for Mexican restaurants


Employees at Sal's Mexican restaurant in Selma are working day in and day out on their homemade chicken and pork tamales. The Selma location will make the tamales for their three restaurants. A dozen chicken or pork tamales cost $26.99. Sales have gone up over the years.



Local BLM office releases scoping summary on fracking study, plus news on local home market and the outlook for almonds


A four-year-old effort to assess the effects of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in Kern County and elsewhere in California has drawn 8,400 public comments, most of them from the Central Coast. The responses, 2.5 percent of which have been classified as unique and​​ substantive, are summarized in a scoping report released Thursday by the Bakersfield field office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.


Backpack-wearing bumblebees could buzz fields, tell farmers how crops are doing

Sacramento Bee

Scientists have been using tracking devices on large animals for decades to monitor the health of a herd, or study an animal’s range and habits.


California Agriculture: West Hills and Agriculture Technology

Agriculture is more important than ever and more technologically advanced. West Hills Community College District, including West Hills College Coalinga, North District Firebaugh and West Hills College Lemoore, is rising to meet the need for fresh blood in ag.


Bee Where Program Will Help Keep Bees Safe in The Spring

California Ag Today

There's a mandate set in place by the state of California to help the bee industry safe from pesticide spraying. Ethan Rasmussen with Rasmussen Farms and a beekeeper in the Gustine area of Merced County discussed it with California Ag Today recently. The Bee Where program mandates beekeepers to register their hives under AB2468. It was set up to help pollinating bees during the pollination season. It especially helps the almond crop during bloom.


Is the UFW a Union?

California Ag Today

Saqui Law Group handles wage an hour, labor relations, employment litigation, and other disciplines for the agricultural industry. He said UFW is far from being a union. “They are not an organized union; they’re a social reform movement, plain and simple,” Saqui said.

No End in Sight for Stopping Huanglongbing Disease

California Ag Today

The California citrus industry—made up of 3,500 growers in Ventura, Riverside, and the San Joaquin Valley, and encompassing 70-75 packing houses—is an agricultural facet that continues to make California a fresh citrus powerhouse. Joel Nelsen, President and CEO of the California Citrus Mutual, spoke to California Ag Today recently on the industry-wide issue of Huanglongbing Disease—a deadly disease that has threatened the industry in every part of the state.


New Farm Bill Provides Funds For Research In California ‘Ag,’ But No Big Boons

Capital Public Radio

The state will get more federal funding for agriculture research under the Farm Bill passed by Congress this week. But the legislation mainly preserves the status quo.


Young Farmers Can't Farm Without Land


Access to affordable land is a chief barrier across the country for young farmers, especially those who are new to agriculture and lack the resources and institutional knowledge of those who grew up on family farms they may inherit.






Slew of bomb threats reported across the nation at businesses and media organizations

Merced Sun-Star

Police around the country are responding to bomb threats that have been made to businesses, media outlets, banks, and libraries according to Twitter and social media reports, though many are hoaxes cops say.

See Also:

     At least 10 Fresno locations targeted in nationwide bomb threats, officials say Fresno Bee

     Merced County school targeted by nationwide bomb threat hoax, officials say Merced Sun-Star

     Kaweah Delta Medical Center one of many to receive 'hoax' bomb threat Visalia Times Delta

     Six bomb threats received in Bakersfield amid nationwide hoax, all unsubstantiated BPD says Bakersfield Californian

     Stockton, Lodi among cities across the nation to get emailed bomb threats Stockton Record

     Sacramento and Placer counties receive multiple false bomb threats in nationwide scare Sacramento Bee


Should Jerry Brown clear out California’s death row? These former governors think so

Fresno Bee

California has 740 inmates on death row. Now, six former governors are calling on outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown to issue clemency or a moratorium on executions.

See Also:

     PG&E highlights bullet-riddled equipment and downed tree branches near Camp fire in letter to state regulators Los Angeles Times


Judge orders probe into California whistleblower’s claims

Merced Sun-Star

A federal judge is ordering an independent investigation into whether top California corrections officials deliberately misled court officials into believing that mentally ill inmates generally receive proper care.


‘Double jeopardy’ could factor into Trump pardons

Merced Sun-Star

A Supreme Court case about a relatively arcane aspect of constitutional law could have enormous implications for whether those pardoned by President Trump can be brought to justice.


State Corrections in the Wake of California’s Criminal Justice Reforms: Much Progress, More Work to Do

California Budget & Public Policy 

In recent years, California has enacted various criminal justice reforms that have reduced the number of people incarcerated by the state and placed a greater emphasis on crime prevention and pathways to rehabilitation. Yet, even with this progress, state prisons remain overcrowded, spending on state corrections remains high, and racial and ethnic disparities persist.


Public Safety:


Gun deaths in US reach highest level in nearly 40 years, CDC data reveal

Hanford Sentinel

Nearly 40,000 people in the United States died by guns last year, marking the highest number of gun deaths in decades, according to a new analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Are the Suburbs Getting More Progressive on Guns? Moms Demand Action Bets Yes

Roll Call

Amid a debate within the Democratic Party about whether progressive ideas can sway voters in suburbia, candidates affiliated with an advocacy group that campaigns against gun violence sought — and won — elected office even in historically conservative suburban districts.

See also:

     Fact Check: Statements about Guns PolitiFact


These are the 25 worst passwords of 2018. Are you the 1 in 10 who’s used one?

Fresno Bee

The 25 worst passwords of 2018 list is out, including new bad passwords like “donald” and “princess,” and old favorites like “123456.” The company estimates 1 in 10 people have used at least one of the 25.




PG&E wants rate hike to fund wildfire safety

Fresno Bee

PG&E asked California regulators for a $1.1 billion rate hike Thursday, saying more than half the money would be spent on improving wildfire safety.

See Also:

     PG&E highlights bullet-riddled equipment and downed tree branches near Camp fire in letter to state regulators Los Angeles Times

     PG&E rate proposal would raise typical bill more than $10 a month San Francisco Chronicle

     California Girds for Higher Power Prices From PG&E After Fires  Wall Street Journal


Dianne Feinstein: California needs to address its water and wildfire challenges now

Los Angeles Times

As new leaders prepare to take office and shift to the business of governing, I hope we’ll focus on two vital issues for California: wildfires and water. We are in the midst of the most destructive wildfire season in recorded California history. Nearly 2 million acres have burned, destroying more than 15,000 homes and killing more than 90 people.


Some Camp Fire Evacuees Lost Everything — Even Their Teeth. Here’s How Communities Are Stepping Up.

Capital Public Radio

Thousands of people who escaped the Paradise fire last month didn’t just lose their homes. They lost vehicles, jobs, and sentimental items that can’t be replaced. And some are still struggling just to replace basic medical supplies — like dentures.

See Also:

     California fire survivors share lessons in loss, recovery Merced Sun-Star

     Many victims of California’s worst wildfire were elderly and died in or near their homes, new data show Los Angeles Times

     A blueprint for Paradise’s rebuilding San Francisco Chronicle


Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott Retires

Capital Public Radio

Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott announced he plans to retire this week after three decades of service. He joins Insight for an exit interview to reflect on one of the most devastating fire seasons in California.


Regulators to set rules for power shutoffs to prevent fires

San Francisco Chronicle

California regulators agreed Thursday to create rules for when utilities turn off electricity to prevent wildfires but cautioned that intentional blackouts are not a panacea to eliminate the ever-worsening conflagrations ravaging the state.






California must find new pathways toward a working economy

San Francisco Chronicle

Conventional indicators of economic well-being — the unemployment rate, the rate of economic growth and (despite some recent setbacks) the stock market — suggest that Americans are doing quite well. But the American people know that, for the average person, things are not getting better.


Go local on housing, forget the surplus: Advice for the new governor from economists


When Gov. elect Gavin Newsom is sworn in on Jan. 7, he will inherit record economic prosperity. California has a projected $15 billion budget surplus and a 4.1 percent unemployment rate. But we also are in the second longest economic expansion in state history, so no one is expecting the party to last.


Economists Scale Back Their Projections for Fed Rate Increases

Wall Street Journal

Private economists tempered their expectations for the path of interest rates next year in a new Wall Street Journal survey, and many foresee the Federal Reserve cutting rates starting in 2020.


Economists See U.S.-China Trade War as Biggest Threat in 2019

Wall Street Journal

Most economists in a recent survey view a trade war between the U.S. and China as the biggest threat to the U.S. economy in 2019, a sign that forecasters view political uncertainty and the potential for new punitive tariff barriers as greater risks than macroeconomic or financial disruptions.



Are Apple’s Moves a Threat to Silicon Valley?

New York Times

When Apple announced that it plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Tex., as well as establish 1,000-worker operations in San Diego, Culver City and Seattle, I was neither the first nor the last person to notice the stark contrast between its site selection approach and Amazon’s.


Intentional Accidents: California Supreme Court Announces that General Commercial Liability Policies Apply to Negligent Hiring, Training, and Supervising Claims for Failing to Prevent Intentional Torts

National Law Review

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit observed that under California law, there was an unresolved question as to whether a commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurance policy covers an employer-insured for negligently failing to prevent an employee’s intentional misconduct.






Fresno Unified will consider a ban on Roundup, citing cancer risks to staff and students

Fresno Bee

The district board of trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to “investigate the use of alternative weed control products and methods,” that do not contain the chemical glyphosate, commonly found in Roundup.


Chavez Elementary receives top state award for reading program

Bakersfield Californian

Chavez Elementary School is one of 51 recipients of the state’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award. The award recognizes outstanding public school programs for innovation, sustainability and best practices that facilitate student outcomes.


Negotiations on new Lincoln Unified contract continues

Stockton Record

Negotiations on a new contract between the Lincoln Unified School District and Lincoln Unified Teachers Association continue as teachers are encouraged by the progress being made.


What California can learn from universal preschool in other states


As momentum builds in California to expand early childhood education programs, the state has the opportunity to look outside its borders and learn from other states and cities that have moved in the direction of offering universal preschool.


Higher Ed:


Application Window Open Wonderful Public Service Graduate Fellowship

The Maddy Institute

Applications for two $56,000 Fellowships Due Friday, February 22nd, 2019. Through the generosity of The Wonderful Company, San Joaquin Valley students will have the opportunity to become the next generation of Valley leaders through The Wonderful Public Service Graduate Fellowship. The Maddy Institute will award two $56,000 Fellowships to Valley students who are accepted into a nationally ranked, qualified graduate program in the fall of 2019.

Video: Higher Education as a Driver of Economic Mobility


Higher education plays a key role in helping Californians move up the income ladder—but equity gaps are a big challenge. Among young adults born in California, 60% of Asian Americans and 40% of whites have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 21% of African Americans and 18% of Latinos. At a Sacramento briefing yesterday, PPIC researcher Sarah Bohn outlined these and other key findings of a new report.






More oil fracking on Central California public lands? Thousands voice concerns on air, water

Merced Sun-Star

The prospect of fracking on BLM public lands open for oil and gas development in Central California is the subject of an environmental scoping report released Thursday. It generated thousands of comments.

See Also:

     Local BLM office releases scoping summary on fracking study, plus news on local home market and the outlook for almonds Bakersfield Californian


Trump administration poised to strip protections from up to two-thirds of California streams and millions of acres nationwide

Los Angeles Times

The Trump administration is poised to roll back Clean Water Act protections on millions of acres of waterways and wetlands, including up to two-thirds of California’s inland streams, following through on a promise to agriculture interests and real estate developers to rewrite an Obama-era rule limiting pollution.


Priorities for climate change action after COP 24


In this episode, Todd Stern, senior fellow and former special envoy for climate change in the Obama administration, and David Victor, co-chair of the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, discuss the key issues at stake at the COP 24 negotiations in Poland, the absence of U.S. federal leadership on climate, and the state of U.S.-China cooperation on climate and energy priorities.

See also:

     "Dearth of American leadership" at global climate conference  Axios


After a Natural Disaster, Is It Better to Rebuild or Retreat?

New York Times

It’s a question that will become only more urgent as climate change continues to fuel extreme weather. And it is especially resonant here in New Orleans, which has suffered untold extreme weather events in its 300-year history. The most damaging, of course, was​​ 13 years ago, when the winds and rains of Hurricane Katrina breached the city’s flawed hurricane defenses.




Pilot program could lower home energy costs in these low-income Valley communities

Merced Sun-Star

The California Public Utilities Commission voted to approve 11 pilot projects, $56 million to replace commonplace and expensive propane and wood burning devices.

See Also:

     Public Utilities Commission Delivers $56 Million Boost To Disadvantaged Communities VPR






Court: Trump can’t let companies deny birth control coverage

Sacramento Bee

A U.S. appeals court has blocked rules by the Trump administration allowing more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control.


Poll Tells Gavin Newsom: Make Universal Health Care Highest Priority

Capital Public Radio

Of the many promises Gavin Newsom made during his successful campaign for California governor, a new poll finds his push for universal health care has more support than calls for tuition-free community college and universal preschool.

See also:

     Poll: Californians Want Universal Health Coverage, Free Community College KQED

     Internal documents describe how Newsom could accomplish universal health care  Politico


ERISA Class-Action Litigation over Fees in Health and Welfare Plans

National Law Review

Sponsors and fiduciaries of health and welfare plans should be aware of a recently filed class-action lawsuit against alleged fiduciaries of a health plan. It challenges health-plan fiduciary oversight and reasonableness of fees and is similar to actions against fiduciaries of defined-contribution retirement plans.


Rocket Shop Cafe closes due to 'severe vermin infestation'


The Rocket Shop Cafe on 2000 S. Union Ave. has closed due to "severe vermin infestation," according to the Kern County Public Health Department. The report said the cafe failed to voluntarily close after a serious vermin invasion was noticed. The cafe was also cited for "multi-generational cockroaches" found on food contact surfaces like the bar area and refrigerator, the report said.


Human Services:


Bathrooms, services, shelters: Turlock considers how it can help its homeless

Modesto Bee

The Turlock City Council has declared a shelter crisis, which means the city can compete for some of the $7.2 million in one-time state money to deal with homelessness in the area.​​ Council members voted 3-0 at a special meeting Wednesday in support of the shelter crisis resolution.


In California, Doctors Accused Of Sexual Misconduct Often Get Second Chances

California Healthline

The doctor instructed his patient to stand in front of him. He cupped her crotch and inserted his fingers into her vagina through her clothes, moving his hand repeatedly to her rectal area. Then he squeezed her breasts, according to a formal accusation filed by the Medical Board of California.


Disability Insurance: A Crisis Ends, but Problems Persist


Just three years ago in 2015, the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program was in a financial nose-dive.  Current revenues covered only about 80 percent of outlays.   Scheduled benefits could be paid only by drawing down reserves that the Social Security Administration (SSA) had accumulated earlier when revenues exceeded outlays.  But calamity loomed. 




US judge: Suit over Trump travel ban waivers will go ahead

Merced Sun-Star

A U.S. judge in San Francisco says a lawsuit accusing the Trump administration of denying nearly all visa applicants under President Donald Trump's travel ban will move forward.


7-year-old immigrant girl dies after Border Patrol arrest

Sacramento Bee

A 7-year-old girl who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with her father last week died after being taken into the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol, federal immigration authorities confirmed Thursday.  The Washington Post reports the girl died of dehydration and shock more than eight hours after she was arrested.

See Also:

     7-year-old migrant girl taken into Border Patrol custody dies of dehydration and shock Los Angeles Times

     Trump administration not to blame for ‘tragic’ death of 7-year-old girl in Border Patrol custody, White House says Washington Post


Customs And Border Protection Paid A Firm $13.6 Million To Hire Recruits. It Hired 2


A scathing report by the Office of the Inspector General revealed that a consulting company hired by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to fill thousands of new jobs to satisfy President Trump's mandate to secure the southern border is "nowhere near" completing its hiring goals and "risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars."


How Trump Let His Goal of Building a Border Wall Slip Away


President Donald Trump has rebuffed numerous opportunities to secure billions for a border wall, and with Democrats set to take control of the House that goal could be out of reach for good.

See also:

     EDITORIAL: Border security budget is already bloated  San Francisco Chronicle




Land Use:


South Valley veterans resource, The Reedley Armory, might shut down


For veterans the Reedley Armory is home. The state gave them the license to maintain and operate the Armory. Three years ago it was changed into a lease which is now up in January of 2019. Recently they found out, it won't be renewed and the state also plans to sell the building.


Business is growing, but low vacancy rates remain an issue in Madera County


From new business to new housing. Business is booming in Madera County so much so that economic leaders say they're in need of more space. More businesses are coming to Madera County to open their doors, leading to the county's low industrial vacancy rate.




Two weeks til Christmas and more than a dozen Merced tenants get eviction notices

Merced Sun-Star

Several tenants at a Merced mobile home park say they unnecessarily got eviction notices about two weeks before Christmas. Tenants said a representative ofStorz Management Company put up at least 18 eviction notices on Monday at the Sierra Portal park designed for people 55 years old or older.


Starting in 2020, all new homes in California must come with solar panels. Builders are getting ready

Los Angeles Times

When Irvine-based City Ventures started sticking solar panels on all of its homes six year ago, the builder emerged as a front-runner in the race toward energy-efficient home building. Soon it will be joined on the track by every developer in California.


Inside California’s Legislative Movement Toward More Affordable Housing

Pacific Standard

An amendment to the California state constitution passed by public referendum in 1950, Article 34 states that: "No low rent housing project shall hereafter be developed, constructed, or acquired in any manner by any state public body until, a majority of the qualified electors of the city, town or county ... approve such project by voting in favor thereof at an election to be held for that purpose, or at any general or special election.”


Las Vegas Housing Weakness Signals the Slowdown Is Spreading

Wall Street Journal

After home values rose sharply this year, the market has shifted in recent weeks. Prices fell slightly in November while the inventory of unsold homes in the Las Vegas region has roughly doubled compared with a year earlier, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors. Existing home sales slowed nearly 12% in November compared with a year earlier.




A new FCC ruling could block the proposed text tax in California


A new FCC ruling may block a proposal to tax text messages in California. The way it classifies texts could kill the tax.

See Also:

     California wants to tax your text messages abc30

     California Mulls Texting Fee To Help Poor People Get Phones Capital Public Radio


Dollars and Democracy: Understanding How the State Budget Process Relates to the Policy Bill Process

California Budget and Policy Center

In California, the policy bill process is a key pathway for shaping state policy, and operates in tandem with the state budget process to move legislative proposals from concept to reality.




A comeback story? California DMV wait times dropping

Fresno Bee

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is looking to produce a comeback story. Overrun by angry complaints from customers and politicians, the agency launched an ambitious plan to reduce hours-long wait times experienced over the summer. It appears to be delivering.


Alert – Changes To Fresno Bus Routes 9, 32, And 34 Start Monday, January 7, 2019.

As a result of the Fresno Area Express Route Restructuring Plan completed several months ago, changes are being made to the following routes: Routes 9, 32, and 34.


Littering, dumping prove SJ County roads need some TLC

Stockton Record

Officials are so frustrated, in fact, that the county is in the process of implementing a new program — Adopt-A-Road — that invites citizens, community groups, religious institutions and service organizations to select a stretch of road and transform it into a neatnik’s paradise.


Driverless shuttle buses are about to hit the road in Sacramento. Here’s where

Sacramento Bee

Sacramento State will test a first fully driverless shuttle bus service, along with other California State University campuses. Starting in February, students, faculty and staff can ride autonomous buses.


Here’s what Californians want Gavin Newsom to deliver. Probably not high-speed rail

Sacramento Bee

Sixty percent of California adults said universal health coverage, one of Newsom’s biggest campaign promises, should be a very high or high priority, while 53 percent said the same of eliminating tuition for community college.


California High-Speed Rail Program Highlights Major Accomplishments of 2018

California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) experienced changes, challenges and made significant progress on the nation’s first high-speed rail program in 2018. Starting with the appointment and new direction provided by Chief Executive Officer Brian P. Kelly in early 2018, the Authority demonstrated it’s committed to advancing the high-speed rail program by reaching several important milestones in the areas of construction in the Central Valley, as well as environmental reviews and local and regional partnerships in Northern and Southern California.


EDITORIAL: Speed kills. So do carbon emissions. So why does California give free rein to leadfoots?

Los Angeles Times

Here’s another reminder that, despite the many pledges and programs to make it easier for people to bike, walk and otherwise get around without driving, California still treats the car as king.


New Webinar: Let’s Get Moving: The Power of Physical Activity (January 9, 2019 at 2pm Eastern, 11am Pacific)

America Walks

In November 2018, new HHS Physical Activity Guidelines were released. They confirmed what we at America Walks already know- that when people move more, they are healthy, active, and engaged. Explore the guidelines and how communities are promoting physical activity with this webinar. This webinar is intended for those just starting out on the walking path as well as those interested in learning more about the topic.


Creating Safer Streets for All

America Walks

Registration form to join the movement


Stronger Together: Partnering with the Disability Rights Movement

America Walks

Registration form to join the movement




California shifts water from farms, cities to fish. But a Jerry Brown compromise plan isn’t dead

Merced Sun-Star

Despite an epic last-minute compromise brokered by Gov. Jerry Brown, state water regulators voted Wednesday to reallocate billions of gallons of San Joaquin River water from farms and cities to revive struggling fish populations.

See Also:

     Water districts were so close to deal. Now, lawsuits will contest ‘water grab’ Modesto Bee

     EDITORIAL: Water board’s wrongheaded vote shows why state of California can’t be trusted  Modesto Bee

     California Water Board Backs Plan To Increase River Flows Capital Public Radio

     State water board demands more water for fish  Los Angeles Times

     EPA Blasts State’s Water Grab California Ag Today


Up to an inch of rain in days ahead for Modesto, weather service says

Modesto Bee

Modesto could get up to an inch of rain between Sunday and Monday, the National Weather Service predicted Thursday in a report on two systems moving through the region.




Our culture can be weird, but holiday traditions keep us together and lend identity

Fresno Bee

Our stories and rituals make us who we are. If you want to get to know someone, listen to their stories. If you want to understand people, observe their rituals and the games they play.


Did Ryan Reynolds just give a shout-out to this Fresno church?

Fresno Bee

Actor Ryan Reynolds gives Fresno’s Unitarian Church a nod in a tongue-in-cheek video about his new company Aviation Gin.

See Also:

     Ryan Reynolds promotes new gin with some help from Fresno abc30


Get in on all the holiday fun this weekend


Among the many things coming up, is the Colors of Christmas, a free event at Bakersfield Christian High School happening tonight. There's a live Nativity scene, music and camel rides. Those who prefer their holiday events inside can check out "A Coney Island Christmas" at Bakersfield Community Theater this weekend. It tells the story of a Jewish girl cast as Jesus in her school's Christmas pageant.


California Coastal Commission unveils phone app

Merced Sun-Star

The California Coastal Commission has unveiled a smartphone app that shows users a map of more than 1,500 public access points along the California coast.