February 1, 2019




 Wonderful Public Service Graduate Fellowship

The Maddy Institute

Applications for two $56,000 Fellowships

Due Friday, February 22nd, 2019.

North SJ Valley:

Merced is bad at tobacco policies, report says. Really bad.

Merced Sun Star

Every Merced County city flunked an annual test for curbing tobacco use, according to a recent report by the American Lung Association.

Central SJ Valley:

Nunes named to Dairy Council of California

Hanford Sentinel

Heidi Nunes, plant manager at Leprino Foods in Lemoore, was one of four new board members appointed to the Council by Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

3 local issues that got Fresno talking on Twitter


Hoodline analyzed data from Fresno’s Twitter users to find out what the top events and issues were important last week.

South SJ Valley:

Lemoore initiates litigation against Council member

Hanford Sentinel

After an emergency special meeting held Tuesday, the city of Lemoore has initiated litigation against Councilmember Holly Blair in the form of a complaint and request for temporary restraining order.

Redwood High School, Visalia police investigating threat at school

Visalia Times Delta

Redwood administrators found a threat scrawled on a girls restroom stall in the academic building. The threat, found early Thursday, mentioned some kind of incident was planned for Feb. 4. 

Jury awards $10 million to girl in connection with alleged molestation by former Lamont Elementary School District employee

Bakersfield Californian

Attorney Daniel Rodriguez, whose office represented the alleged victim, said the jury awarded that amount Wednesday against Jonathan Avalos, who worked for the district for eight years until he resigned in 2014. Additionally, before the trial against Avalos began, the district and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County agreed to pay a combined $1.5 million to be held for the girl until she turns 18.

Bakersfield gets F grade in tobacco control report

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County is failing when it comes to tobacco control efforts, according to a new report. The American Lung Association in California put out its State of Tobacco Control report this week, grading cities and counties on their policies and efforts regarding tobacco control and prevention.


Election officials said DMV wasn’t ready to launch Motor Voter. California went ahead anyway

Fresno Bee

As California prepared to launch its new Motor Voter program last year, top elections officials say they asked Secretary of State Alex Padilla to hold off on the roll-out.

See also:

●     Fact Check: Did Motor Voter tilt midterm elections against California Republicans? Fresno Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom makes aggressive, early moves on his gun control agenda for California

Los Angeles Times

Gun rights advocates are sounding almost nostalgic for his predecessor, fellow Democrat Jerry Brown, a gun owner who signed several far-reaching gun control measures,including a ban on the sale of long guns to those under age 21, but vetoed others.

Gavin Newsom raised $50 million running for governor. He still has $15 million left over.

Sacramento Bee

Gavin Newsom raised more than $50 million for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign and has $15 million left over for his next statewide run.

California pension funds losing tens of millions of dollars on PG&E

Sacramento Bee

Nobody is happy about PG&E’s bankruptcy filing, but California’s two biggest public pension systems are positioned to absorb losses on the utility’s stock without major repercussions. That’s because the pension funds’ multi-million dollar investments in PG&E are tiny fractions of the portfolios that CalPERS and CalSTRS control.

Census Prep Vital to States’ Power — Why Some Could Miss Out


Avoiding an undercount requires a lot of outreach to the people deemed hardest to count. Among them: those who may be suspicious of or hostile to the government, racial and ethnic minorities, people with limited English, undocumented immigrants, people who are low-income or homeless, young people who move often, small children and LGBTQ individuals.

Census Citizenship Fight Will Sway States’ Political Clout, Federal Money

As preparation for the 2020 census intensifies, states and cities are fighting over how — or whether — to accurately count the roughly 11 million immigrants living in the United States without authorization, a battle that will have a huge impact on federal aid and states’ political power for years to come.

California’s primary could pose an existential threat to Iowa’s caucuses. Or it could make them more important.

Des Moines Register

Since the 1970s, Iowans have cast the first votes in the presidential nominating races. But this year, as first-in-the-nation Iowans are making their presidential preferences known, so will voters in California.

Jerry Brown reminisces on political past, warns of bleak future at Rancho Mirage Writers Festival

Desert Sun

In one of his first public appearances since leaving office, former California Gov. Jerry Brown spoke bluntly about the state of American politics and painted a gloomy picture of the threats posed by climate change and potential nuclear annihilation.


The Power Of The California Delegation

Capital Public Radio

LA Times political reporter Sarah Wire shares her latest story on the California members of the House and Senate leading the Democratic and Republican parties in Washington D.C.

Trump, Pelosi remain far apart on the border wall issue

Merced Sun-Star

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared that there’ll be no “wall money” in any compromise border security deal as she and President Donald Trump signaled that congressional negotiators may never satisfy his demands for his cherished Southwest border proposal.

‘Woken Up’ By Trump Presidency; Southeast Asian Immigrants Flock To Citizenship Classes

Last summer, The Department of Homeland Security put restrictions on visas from Laos, sending ripples of fear and paranoia through the community. Visa sanctions were initiated after the Laos government refused to take back people the U.S. deported. The U.S. has stopped issuing certain visas to some Laos government officials and their families.

How social media will force 2020 Dems to sideline traditional campaigning

Sacramento Bee

As the 2020 Democratic presidential primary gets underway, the current and potential White House contenders are trying to connect with supporters online, convinced it’s an essential way to gain an advantage in what could be the biggest Democratic field ever.

See also:

●     Hometown protest greets Schultz as he eyes 2020 bid Merced Sun-Star

●     Howard Schultz and his possible presidential bid get unwelcome Seattle homecoming Los Angeles Times

●     Howard Schultz is coming to San Francisco San Francisco Chronicle

California Sens. Feinstein and Harris oppose Trump’s 9th Circuit nominees

Los Angeles Times

California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris are vowing to fight President Trump’s picks to fill three vacancies on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California, saying the White House dismissed their objections.

See also:

●     Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham face off over Trump’s 9th Circuit picks Sacramento Bee

     California Sens. Feinstein and Harris oppose Trump’s 9th Circuit nominees Los Angeles Times

     Kamala Harris, Call-Out Star New York Times

Trump muddies his deadline for trade concessions by China

Los Angeles Times

President Trump telegraphed flexibility about his deadline for resolving the trade war with China, saying Thursday that the disputes could be settled only by another face-to-face meeting between himself and President Xi Jinping and that he might be willing to “just postpone for a little while.”

New Democrats launch task forces to help craft the House majority’s policy agenda

Roll Call

The New Democrat Coalition is ready to help the House majority craft its policy agenda for the 116th Congress, launching eight issue-focused task forces to develop proposals on party priorities such as health care, infrastructure and climate change.

Freedom Caucus plots with GOP leaders to cause Dem misery


The conservative hard-liners are teaming up with House Republican leadership in a bid to climb out of the minority in 2020.

Kamala Harris, front-runner? Slow down

San Francisco Chronicle

Sen. Kamala Harris has been running for president for less than two weeks, and Fox News is already crowning her the “Democratic front-runner.” Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s tap the brakes, people.

Cory Booker announces 2020 presidential bid

Roll Call

Booker’s announcement was expected: He’s traveled the country over the past two years, campaigning for Democrats in more than two dozen states, including early-voting Iowa and New Hampshire and perennial battlegrounds Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

See Also:

●     Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey joins the 2020 presidential race Washington Post

●     Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey Launches Presidential Campaign Wall Street Journal

NRA shows signs of decline, even in Trump’s America

Roll Call

Even though the NRA’s favored candidates, including Donald Trump, won big in the 2016 elections, the group didn’t have any landmark successes in the 115th Congress and still will be pushing some of its key legislative priorities in the 116th Congress, including a bill from Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn that would allow people with concealed carry permits from one state to use them in other states.

Net Neutrality Rollback Faces Legal Challenges Testing Trump Agenda

Wall street Journal

Internet companies, consumer advocates and several states want to invalidate the Federal Communications Commission overturn of net neutrality

In remarkable exchange, Trump offers startling view of role of free press

Washington Post

Ever since Donald Trump set the tone for his presidency by beratingthe press for accurately reporting on his paltry inaugural crowd size and attacking the media as the “enemy of the American people,” journalists and commentators have tried to persuade Trump to take two things seriously in his role as president.

EDITORIAL: Maybe, just maybe, it’s Trump and not his advisors who needs to go ‘back to school’

Los Angeles Times

Donald Trump is notorious for throwing Twitter tantrums in which he criticizes his own appointees; remember his juvenile attacks on former Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions? Trump did it again Wednesday when he accused his top intelligence officials of being naive about Iran and suggested that they go “back to school.”


Communities need local philanthropy

San Francisco Chronicle

While it’s noble and exciting to tackle major issues, we also can’t lose sight of how important local philanthropy is for the livelihood of our own communities.

The fascinating backstory of the periodic table, which is about to turn 150 years old

Los Angeles Times

Scientists around the world will be celebrating the 150th birthday of the periodic table this week. Here’s how the table came together.

How migration of millennials and seniors has shifted since the Great Recession


Millennials, a highly educated and diverse generation now squarely in their late 20s and 30s, are forming the backbone of various regions’ emerging labor forces and consumer bases. Baby boomers, now all aged 55 and above, can reinvigorate communities that retain or attract their more affluent members.


Central Valley growers welcome rain to irrigate crops


Tulare County growers like Earl Merritt say keep it coming – the rain, that is. Merritt grows a wide range of crops, including pistachios, grapes, wheat – and he even has cattle. So far, he’s pleased with the winter precipitation, and the positive impact it has for irrigating those crops.

California Citrus Mutual getting new leadership

The Business Journal

California Citrus Mutual will start February with a new president and CEO.

Supervisors to decide on fate of first group of dispensaries Tuesday

Bakersfield Californian

Medical marijuana dispensaries will begin making their cases on why they should be allowed to remain open during a Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting scheduled for Tuesday.



Citywide gang sweep leads to 76 felony arrests in 10 days


A 10-day sweep meant Fresno police officers flooded the streets citywide to tackle gang violence head-on. The operation, which added up to 50 officers per night, was prompted by the shooting of a 12-year-old girl in southeast Fresno that occurred two weeks ago.

Border protection agents make largest fentanyl bust in US history


Customs and Border Protection announced Thursday that they made the largest fentanyl bust in U.S. history over the weekend.

Despite an emphasis on inmate rehab, California recidivism rate is ‘stubbornly high’

Los Angeles Times

California set ambitious new goals in 2012 to help state inmates transition into society and infused the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation with more funding to fulfill the mandate. But a state audit released Thursday found corrections officials have failed to connect many prisoners with services, monitor rehabilitation programs and keep people away from incarceration.

See also:

·       Audit: California inmate behavior programs didn’t cut crime  AP

Hate crimes in L.A. highest in 10 years, with LGBTQ and African Americans most targeted

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles recorded its highest level of reports of hate crimes in a decade, with a nearly 13% increase in 2018 over the year before.

Counting Prison Inmates Differently Could Shift Political Power to Cities


More states plan to count state prisoners as residents of their home communities, rather than residents of the places where they are incarcerated — a change that would shift political power away from conservative rural areas to more liberal cities during legislative redistricting.

20 charged in Chinese birth tourism crackdown


Dongyuan Li’s business was called “You Win USA,” and authorities say she coached pregnant Chinese women on how to get into the United States to deliver babies who would automatically enjoy all the benefits of American citizenship.

See Also:

     Travel agents charged with bringing pregnant Chinese women to give birth on U.S. soil Los Angeles Times

Public Safety:

Fresno police urged to reposition body cameras, part of latest city review

Fresno Bee

Fresno police should consider repositioning body cameras so videos of high-risk incidents are not occasionally blocked, Independent Reviewer John A. Gliatta stated in his fourth-quarter report on the department released Thursday.

See also:

●      ‘You are allowed to film the police’: Vallejo police tackle, detain man who filmed them, internal affairs investigation launched San Jose Mercury

Author of California police transparency law says it was meant to open up past records

Los Angeles Times

Weighing in on a statewide legal battle over law enforcement records, the author of California’s landmark police transparency law formally notified the state Senate on Thursday that her bill was intended to open up records from the past as well as those going forward.

Firm’s Plans Is News to Prison Officials

Los Angeles Times

Backed by an influential state senator, a company has promised to build California’s first major commercial penal institution–but state prison authorities who would supply the inmates said the ambitious venture was news to them.

Can a new law reduce police shootings? California lawmakers will soon put that question to the test


Jamilia Land walked out of a meeting in the state Capitol feeling optimistic that 2019 may be the year California changes the law to try to reduce the number of people killed by police. It’s personal for her. Land is a family friend of Stephon Clark, the unarmed man Sacramento police shot dead last year in his grandmother’s backyard. Officers thought he was holding a gun, but it turned out to be a cell phone.

PPD to conduct DUI checkpoint, saturation patrols this weekend

Porterville Recorder

The Porterville Police Department will hold a DUI/Driver’s License checkpoint on Friday, February 1, starting at 8:30 p.m. at an undisclosed location within the city of Porterville. In addition, the Porterville Police Department will conduct DUI saturation patrols on Super Bowl Sunday.

How California got tough on guns


The battle continues. New Gov. Gavin Newsom denounced “a gun lobby willing to sacrifice the lives of our children to line their pockets.” A National Rifle Association spokesman predicts the Trump-altered Supreme Court means “winter may very well be coming for gun laws in California.”

See also:

·       Justices to review New York gun rights case Scotusblog


FEMA extends disaster assistance deadline to Feb. 15 for California wildfire victims

Fresno Bee

Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended its disaster assistance application deadline to Feb. 15 for California wildfire victims, according to its website.

See also:

●     Butte County Sheriff’s Office releases names of two more Camp Fire victims Fresno Bee

Relief for California wildfire victims tied up in federal talks about the border wall

Sacramento Bee

Funding for disaster relief in states like California, North Carolina and Puerto Rico, which have been pummeled by recent wildfires and hurricanes, is tied up in the negotiations over spending on border security and building President Trump’s wall.

California’s peak fire season is shifting toward December, study shows

San Francisco Chronicle

Wind-whipped wildfires like those that have ravaged California in recent years may crop up later and later into the year, says a team of scientists that has found that climate change is causing wind and dry weather to converge on December.



PG&E gets approval for $1.5 billion loan in bankruptcy

San Francisco Chronicle

PG&E Corp. won a judge’s approval Thursday for a $1.5 billion bank loan to fund the utility’s operations for the first four weeks of bankruptcy proceedings, despite questions from a federal trustee on whether the company needs the money.

See also:

●     Bankrupt PG&E plans $130M in bonuses for employees San Francisco Chronicle

●     Judge: ‘Not really true’ that safety is PG&E’s top priority San Francisco Chronicle

●     PG&E Gets OK to Pay Employees, But Not Executive Bonuses or Perks  KQED

The myth of the shrinking middle class

Los Angeles Times

It has become an accepted notion in many circles: The middle class is shrinking, while the rich are reaping the bulk of the spoils in a growing economy.

Amazon sales and profit beat estimates, driven by retail and web services

Los Angeles Times

Amazon.com Inc.’s sales and earnings last quarter — which included the busy holiday season — beat analysts’ estimates, showing that the world’s biggest web retailer can maintain rapid growth while improving profitability and fending off online competition from rivals such as Walmart Inc.

Stocks rise, clinching S&P 500 index’s best month since 2015

Los Angeles Times

Wall Street got its mojo back in January after finishing 2018 with its worst December since 1931. Stocks finished higher Thursday, closing out the Standard & Poor’s 500 index’s best month since October 2015.

See aslo:

·       Dow Industrials Edge Lower on Sluggish Earnings Wall Street Journal

·       Thank the Fed for a Retro January Surge Wall Street Journal

An easy fix could give the marijuana industry access to banking


As a result, some business owners operating legally under state laws have been fingered as potential money launderers, and many have been kicked out of the banking system altogether. Federal regulators need to remedy the situation.


House OKs 2.6% raise for civilian federal workers


The House approved a 2.6% pay raise for federal employees as a sign of respect for enduring the government shutdown.

Jury sides with man who said Raley’s fired him over family leave. Raley’s is fighting back

Sacramento Bee

A former Raley’s pharmacy manager awarded nearly $1.5 million by a Sacramento jury in a retaliation case over family leave has a message for caregivers.

Strong Workforce Apprenticeship Program in L.A. County Drawing Rave Reviews


The SWAG Program has a funding stream that has been missing. There are 39,000 small manufacturers in California who have 20 or less employees and employers don’t have the resources or the time to invest in an apprenticeship program. But investments by the California Community Colleges and its Strong Workforce Program, as well as other state and federal funding are allowing programs like SWAG to be conceived and, importantly, be sustained.

U.S. economy added 304,000 jobs in January, shaking off the 35-day government shutdown

Washington Post

The strong January numbers come despite the 35-day closure that halted the wages of roughly 800,000 federal workers and benched more than a million contractors who prepare meals and clean and guard public buildings. Analysts had expected to see only 170,000 new positions.

White-Collar Robots Are Coming for Jobs

Wall Street Journal

Amelia works at the online and phone-in help desks at the Swedish bank SEB. Blond and blue-eyed, she has a confident bearing softened by a slightly self-conscious smile. Amelia also works in London for the Borough of Enfield and in Zurich for UBS.



Central Unified teachers take one step closer to a strike

Fresno Bee

Central Unified teachers demonstrated outside of the district office Thursday in support of smaller class sizes, more socio-emotional support for students and higher pay.

See how the 2018 teacher salaries compare across California

Fresno Bee

See how 2018 teacher salaries compare by county in California.

A little knowledge of religion is a dangerous thing, so teaching it could be good

Fresno Bee

Americans have woefully inadequate knowledge of religion. So President Trump’s call for Bible instruction could be useful. Other faiths would need to be presented as well.

Cease and desist letter given to FUSD regarding student scuffle with trustee


It’s a confrontation that’s been watched and talked about by parents, teachers and students. The on-campus clash between Trustee Terry Slatic and a Bullard High School freshman has dominated media headlines.

Threats investigated at Redwood High

Visalia Times Delta

The Visalia Police Department is investigating a threat posted Thursday at Redwood High School, but police say the school was safe to stay in session.

Video: Academic Progress for English Learners


More than 40 percent of students in California’s public K–12 system speak a language other than English at home. Almost half of these students are considered English Learners (ELs), in need of language and academic support to succeed in school. In middle and high school, ELs face the dual challenge of attaining fluency in English and working toward a high school diploma.

Chronic absenteeism in California schools up slightly, new data show


It is the most obvious and important contributor to student success and yet something many California school districts are not doing well: getting students to show up for school.

Higher Ed:

Deadline FAST APPROACHING:  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.

College presidency candidates to speak at public forums

Madera Tribune

Public forums will be held at Madera Community College Center on Tuesday, with the top two candidates vying to be president of the campus.

Missing pay hurts workers, diminishes UC

Modesto Bee

When UCPath was proposed in 2011, administrators claimed it would cost $306 million and be finished by 2014. But the project has been so egregiously mismanaged that it necessitated a review by the California State Auditor, who concluded that it will cost an estimated $942 million over the course of its implementation.

Bakersfield College gets renewed accreditation for seven years

Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield College’s accreditation status has been renewed for another seven years. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges conducted a review of the campus and has determined that it exceeds performance standards.

CSUB alumni help students transition into job market with new program

Bakersfield Californian

Around 80 CSUB alumni participated last fall in the Alumni Association’s Runner Alumni Mentor Program. The program pairs alumni in various careers with juniors, seniors and graduate students at CSUB to mentor them and give them guidance as they head into the job market.

Journalism is back on students’ career radar, teacher says

Bakersfield Californian

Universities across the country are reporting near-record enrollment in journalism programs.

What to do with homeless college students? Let them sleep in the parking lot, new bill says

Sacramento Bee

Homeless community college students in California would be able to sleep in campus parking lots if the Legislature approves Assembly Bill 302. It aims to give them a safe place to rest.

A new solution to the student housing crisis: retiree roommates? CALmatters

Finding housing was one of the first challenges Alyssa Mathiowetz faced as a new graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley. She landed a room in a shared house near campus, but it came with a steep price tag: $1,500 a month.



Outfitters, guides seek changes to Sequoia-Kings commercial use program

Fresno Bee

Guides who lead backpacking and mountaineering tours in Sequoia-Kings Canyon offer ideas for improvements to the commercial use program.

District seeks members for Environmental Justice Advisory Group

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

The District is currently taking applications to fill open seats on its Environmental Justice Advisory Group (EJAG) – Kings County At-large representative and an Ethnic, Small-Business Owner.

Here’s How PG&E’s Bankruptcy Might Hurt California’s Ambitious Climate Goals

Capital Public Radio

PG&E is key to helping California meet its ambitious goal of zero carbon electricity by mid-century. Now there’s concern that the utility’s bankruptcy may set that back.


A new 124-mile oil pipeline is planned on the Central Coast. Here’s what you need to know

Fresno Bee

Plains All American Pipeline wants to rebuild a 124-mile oil pipeline across the Central Coast of California, bringing back offshore drilling that stopped after the Refugio State Beach spill near Santa Barbara.

A Solar-Powered Dream Home, With the Electric Vehicle to Match

Wall Street Journal

Dan Neil lays out plans for his perfect home, complete with solar panels and a ‘honking’ battery to store solar energy for fueling an EV—at zero cents per mile.



Bakersfield gets F grade in tobacco control report

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County is failing when it comes to tobacco control efforts, according to a new report. The American Lung Association in California put out its State of Tobacco Control report this week, grading cities and counties on their policies and efforts regarding tobacco control and prevention.

See also:

●     American Lung Association graded tobacco policies across CA. How did your city score? Sacramento Bee

Typhus Epidemic Worsens in Los Angeles


A veteran Los Angeles City Hall official is one of the latest victims of an epidemic of the infectious disease typhus that continues to worsen across LA County. For months, LA County public health officials have said typhus is mainly hitting the homeless population. But Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood, a veteran prosecutor, tells NBC4 she was diagnosed with typhus in November, after experiencing high fevers and excruciating headaches.

Human Services:

Meet Fresno’s new surgeon – the da Vinci robot


A new “surgeon” at a Fresno hospital has four arms and telescopic vision, making a big impact on how procedures are performed.

LA-based RadNet buys Kern Radiology

Bakersfield Californian

In a continuing trend of local health-care consolidation, Kern Radiology Medical Group Inc. has been purchased by a Los Angeles outpatient medical imaging company touted as the largest company of its kind in the country.

Modesto has big, costly health care problem

Modesto Bee

The city of Modesto has a big health insurance problem. One of the city’s carriers — which provides coverage for 713 of the approximately 1,200 employees — informed Modesto a couple of weeks ago that unless the city agrees to an 87 percent increase in premiums, it would cancel coverage March 1, according a city spokesman.

California Could Insure Many More People — But It Will Come At A Price

Capital Public Radio

State lawmakers are expected to receive a first look Friday at the costs tied to an ambitious plan to provide health insurance for more California residents.

Covered California sees largest decline of new signups

San Francisco Chronicle

The number of Californians signing up for health insurance for 2019 through Covered California held steady at 1.5 million.

Procedure Price Lookup: A step toward transparency in the health care system


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently launched a new initiative to curb the costs of health care services and empower patients to make more informed decisions about their medical care.

You can’t have it all — even with Medicare-for-all

Washington Post

SEN. KAMALA D. HARRIS (D-Calif.), a freshly minted presidential candidate, sketched an appealing picture of Medicare-for-all at a CNN town hall on Monday. Yes, she said, the plan would require doing away with insurance companies. But, she argued, who would miss them? “Who of us has not had that situation where you’ve got to wait for approval and the doctor says, ‘Well, I don’t know if your insurance company is going to cover this’? Let’s eliminate all of that, let’s move on.”

Trump Administration Moves to Curb Drug Rebates in Medicare, Medicaid

Wall Street Journal

The Trump administration on Thursday proposed curbing billions of dollars in annual rebates that drugmakers give middlemen in Medicare, a move it said would drive down the prices consumers pay for prescription drugs.

See also:

·       Prescription discounts channeled to patients in Trump plan Merced Sun-Star


Protesters march through downtown Fresno for Navy vet facing possible deportation

Fresno Bee

About 25 protesters marched across downtown Fresno Thursday in support of Joaquin Antonio Sotelo Tarin, a U.S. Navy veteran who must report to ICE on Feb. 12 and could face deportation.

Pentagon sending about 2,000 additional US troops to southern border


About 2,000 additional active duty U.S. troops are expected to deploy to the southern border, joining about 2,350 already deployed across Texas, Arizona and California.

ICE confirms force-feeding of detainees on hunger strike


11 detainees at an ICE detention facility have been refusing food, some for more than 30 days, and six of the detainees are being force-fed per orders by a federal judge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed Thursday.

See also:

●     ICE Confirms Force-Feeding Of At Least Six Detainees On Hunger Strike Capital Public Radio

Gov. Gavin Newsom touts proposed $25 million in California aid to asylum seekers

Los Angeles Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom and local officials in San Diego on Thursday touted a proposed $25 million in state funding to address a growing humanitarian crisis involving migrant families seeking asylum in the U.S. and blamed the Trump administration for manufacturing a problem at the border.

See also:

●      California governor pushes for fund to help asylum seekers SAn Diego Union Tribune

Border wall debate ignores biggest source of illegal immigration: visa overstays

Roll Call

President Donald Trump has argued that building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is the only way to stop illegal immigration. Without a wall, he said during a Jan. 10 visit to McAllen, Texas, there would be “death. A lot of death.” But the fact is that more illegal immigration stems from visa overstays than illegal border crossings.

See also:

·       EDITORIAL: In the border, mission creep accomplished San Francisco Chronicle


Land Use:

Applying for a building permit in Fresno? You could get a refund for missed deadlines

Fresno Bee

A proposal to bring accountability to the city of Fresno’s planning processes forced city leaders to take steps Thursday to improve its business climate — and handle permits in a more timely manner.

Business is booming along Shaw Avenue in Clovis


Tractors are working to get a plot of land leveled in Clovis. It doesn’t look like much now, but soon Clovis and Santa Ana near Shaw Avenue will be the new home of Costco.

Visalia’s Riverway Sports Park to get softball complex


Visalia has plenty of parks, but Riverway Sports Park is in a league of its own. For years, it has been a destination for youth and adult sports teams – soccer and baseball specifically. But soon, there will also be a large softball complex, part of the park’s fifth and final phase.

Work Begins On Yosemite Plaza At Highway 41 And Yosemite Springs Parkway

Sierra News

After years of ground preparation, a long-planned business venture is about to begin at the corner of Highway 41 and Yosemite Springs Parkway.

Building Permits Update: December 20


After starting out the year strong, housing construction softened notably in the second half of 2018. Permits between January 2018 and May 2018 were ahead of 2017 levels by almost 20 percent. In contrast, 11 percent fewer permits were issued between June 2018 and December 2018 than in the same months in 2017. Overall, 114,000 permits were issued in 2018, a bit lower than the 116,000 in 2017.


Visalia has most affordable unaffordable homes

Visalia Times Delta

Visalia ranked as California’s most affordable housing market in a new HomeArea.com survey looking at cities with populations greater than 60,000.

County getting $2.1 million to help homeless

Stockton Record

San Joaquin County supervisors voted this week to formally accept $2.1 million in “No Place Like Home” (or NPLH) state housing funds designated for use to address homelessness among the seriously mentally ill. Pursuit of competitive grants on an ongoing basis is still to come.

Newsom puts teeth in his housing promise

Modesto Bee

Gavin Newsom began his governorship this month by promising to confront what he described as California’s most important issue, an ever-increasing shortage of housing. “This is the issue,” Newsom said as he introduced his first state budget.

See also:

●     Housing still costs a fortune in California. Will Gavin Newsom’s plan fix that? Sacramento Bee

Fox: Changing Prop. 13 Could Worsen Housing Crisis

Fox & Hounds

For four decades, Proposition 13, the property tax reform that passed in 1978, has been blamed for many of the ills that have befallen California.


Study: Fresno’s fiscal surplus equals $2,500 to each taxpayer

The Business Journal

Fresno ranks 5th in America for taxpayer surpluses in a new study.

Gavin Newsom’s record offers hints about how he’ll handle unions and California pensions

Sacramento Bee

Unions backed Gov. Gavin Newsom, who pledged to uphold the California Rule. His record suggests he’s open to negotiation on pensions. CCPOA, CSLEA and CHP have open or expiring contracts.

California pension funds losing tens of millions of dollars on PG&E

Sacramento Bee

Nobody is happy about PG&E’s bankruptcy filing, but California’s two biggest public pension systems are positioned to absorb losses on the utility’s stock without major repercussions.


You can pay $25 to have someone book your DMV appointment, unless this bill becomes law

Fresno Bee

Selling DMV appointments in California would be outlawed under Assembly Bill 317 by Republican Tyler Diep. YoGov caught lawmakers attention and could face fines.

Talks to avoid a messy legal fight over California’s emissions rules appear stalled

Sacramento Bee

Talks between the Trump administration and California over rules requiring automakers to steadily decrease car emissions are no closer to reaching a deal than when they began months ago, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle.

Trains Avoid Traffic With $985.1M Fresno Trench

Construction Equipment Guide

California High Speed Rail’s Fresno Trench & State Route 180 Passageway project will take trains under highways and streets to avoid car traffic.

California High-Speed Rail Update

Build HSR

Update on the construction going on throughout The Valley in February.

Paterson: Gavin Newsom is right to order a DMV overhaul


Newsom’s swift action on the DMV is a welcome change. In the next few weeks, we will get an early look at the findings of the ongoing Department of Finance’s DMV performance audit. This internal glimpse of current operations, and the many technological failures that are plaguing the DMV, will help us chart a course for change.


California snowpack at 100% of average as January ends, state officials say

Fresno Bee

The Department of Water Resources conducted California’s second manual snow survey of the year Thursday at Phillips Station, which offered some good news for the state.

See also:

●      January storms boost state snowpack to average Business Journal

●     January storms push Sierra Nevada snowpack to 100 percent abc30

●     Winter Storm And Flash Flood Watch Sierra News

●     Storms Bring California’s Sierra Snowpack To Normal Capital Public Radio

     Sierra snowpack doubles after January storms blanket California Los Angeles Times

     Big storm packing dangerous winds set to pound Bay Area and the Sierra San Francisco Chronicle

Delayed Renewal of Water Law Complicates Valley Water Politics

The partial government shutdown caused all sorts of headaches for Congress, and it may have tipped the scales when it comes to support for one law that deals with water diversions to the San Joaquin Valley from the San Francisco Bay Delta.

California snowpack at 100 percent of average as January ends, state officials say

Sacramento Bee

The Department of Water Resources conducted California’s second manual snow survey of the year Thursday at Phillips Station, which offered some good news for the state. DWR water resource engineer John King announced that snow water content doubled since the start of the month at the survey site near Echo Summit.

California lakes poised to open for 2019 visitors

San Francisco Chronicle

A series of seasonal openings means you’ll soon be able to visit, fish and cruise — or do whatever floats your boat, as they say — your preferred lake.


Top pizza choices in Fresno for takeout and dining in


A lot goes into choosing a pizza — even beyond the question of toppings. But whether you go for takeout or sit-down, thick crust or thin, sauced or bare, you want something delicious — particularly on National Pizza Day, Feb. 9.

Girl Scouts prepare for cookie sales this weekend


Girl Scouts are getting ready for this year’s sale which begins on Sunday. Your favorite cookies will first be distributed at their Mega Drop Event on Saturday. Cookies booths will pop up all over the Central Valley through March 10th and you can find a location with your smartphone.

Downtown Visalia community kicks off week long fundraiser to benefit businesses destroyed by fire


Walking down Main Street in Downtown Visalia, you can still smell the burnt remains of three businesses destroyed by fire.

What are you serving for the Super Bowl? Valley restaurants want to help with that

Modesto Bee

Super Bowl Sunday means football, friends and super food spreads. But if you don’t feel like making the feast yourself, plenty of area restaurants are offering packages to fill your bellies for the big game.

Cheer for the Rams, but in California high schools, even football powerhouses are losing kids


Figures from the California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for high school sports in California, and the National Federation of State High School Associationshave shown consistent decreases in the number of high-school students in California turning out for tackle football over the past decade

14 Stunning Fire Tower Vacation Rentals


More than 60 U.S. Forest Service fire towers are available to rent in the West. Spend your next vacation spying stars and storms, not to mention jaw-dropping views.

The fascinating backstory of the periodic table, which is about to turn 150 years old

Los Angeles Times

So on Feb. 17, 1869 (according to the Julian calendar used in Russia at that time), Mendeleev published a chart of the 60-odd elements known at the time, sorted by their weights and properties. He called it “An At­tempt at a System of Elements, Based on Their Atomic Weight and Chemical Af­finity.”

California Today: How the Rams Can Beat the Patriots

New York Times

In their third season since relocating from St. Louis, the Rams will try to deliver Los Angeles its first football championship since 1984. To do so, they must outlast the New England Patriots, who are appearing in their ninth Super Bowl in 18 seasons.

Free yoga returns to Centennial Plaza with White Wolf Wellness Foundation

Everyone can use a little more tranquility in their lives, and one local organization wants to break down some of the barriers that might keep people from trying yoga and enjoying its benefits.