January 28, 2019



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.

San Joaquin Valley’s air ranks among worst in U.S. This plan promises to improve it by 2024

Fresno Bee

The California Air Resources Board this week approved a plan to reduce air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley and hopefully meet federal air regulations that aren’t being met. The plan is key because Valley cities consistently rank among the worst ozone and soot-filled areas of the nation.

See also:

·       What keeps families in one of the most polluted places in California?  CALmatters

Madrid: Rebirth of state’s GOP can start in the Valley, but only by ditching race-based politics

Fresno Bee

The Republican Party was routed in the November elections. Three critical dynamics accounted for the historic size of the loss and reveal a road map for what will either be Republican resurrection or destruction in the Central Valley.

North SJ Valley:

Chowchilla city manager departs; police chief takes over position

Madera Tribune

In a brief statement Tuesday night the Chowchilla City Council confirmed the departure of their city manager, Brian Haddix. Haddix was one of those interviewed for the job of Madera city manager, to succeed interim city manager Steve Frazier.

Turlock officials to interview candidates to fill council seat

Modesto Bee

The Turlock City Council will interview candidates Monday who hope to fill the council District 4 vacancy, which opened up after Councilwoman Amy Bublak was elected mayor in November.

Residents shaken, unsure. For some, Budgetel room ‘still a home,’ and leaving hurts.

Modesto Bee

Budgetel Inn & Suites resident Maya Franklin said Sunday morning that it hurt her heart to have to break the news the previous day to her 7-year-old grandson that he’s homeless.

Central SJ Valley:

Nunes, Costa, Cox react to Trump’s announcement of temporary shutdown lift

Fresno Bee

Shortly after President Donald Trump announced a temporary end to the partial government shutdown Friday after reaching an agreement with Republican and Democratic leaders, the central San Joaquin Valley’s congressional delegation offered its varied takes on the deal and the country’s path forward.

Hurtado and Caballero, the new faces of politics in California, are sworn in

Fresno Bee

California State Senators Anna Caballero and Melissa Hurtado were sworn in during a joint community ceremony for constituents, family and friends at the Carpenters Local Union 701 building in Fresno.

Chevron gifts $450,000 to Fresno State programs

Fresno State

Chevron announced a $450,000 donation to Fresno State on Jan. 24 in support of a number of key initiatives in several areas across campus to advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

South SJ Valley:

Actions produce results

Hanford Record

Every year, Hanford City Council members and department heads get together and discuss the goals and objectives they wish to achieve in the upcoming year in an effort to clearly steer the city into the future.

To preserve or not to preserve, that is the question

Bakersfield Californian

The county’s Hart Park Master Plan, presented earlier this week by County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop at a meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission, includes the removal of two historic structures from the park: the 80-year-old adobe house near the east end of the park and the 86-year-old Kern River wheelhouse further west, which has been in a state of collapse for the better part of a decade.

●     Kern County rolls out master plan for Hart Park improvements Bakersfield Californian


Teachers’ strike and PG&E crisis test Newsom right out of the gate

Los Angeles Times

Just hours after the warring parties in the Los Angeles teachers’ strike hailed Gov. Gavin Newsom for helping end the weeklong labor impasse, activist Erin Brockovich stood on the south steps of the state Capitol and demanded that the governor and state lawmakers hold Pacific Gas & Electric Co. accountable for sparking deadly wildfires.

California needs an ombudsman to weigh the release of government documents, lawmaker says

Los Angeles Times

For more than a half-century, California officials have been required to provide public access to their records unless there’s a good reason to do otherwise. But it’s the process that allows some records to be kept secret that one state legislator says is long overdue for a change.

California’s First Female State Senator Refused to Be Ignored

The Central Valley Democrat was elected in 1976 and was known for ringing a bell whenever the presiding officer referred to the “gentlemen” of the Senate. Congressman John Garamendi served with Vuich in the Legislature and remained friends with her for years.

See also:

·       Rose Ann Vuich; First Woman in the State Senate  Los Angeles Times

My turn: Here’s how Newsom can be rural California’s governor


If Newsom really wants to change the direction of the state’s long-neglected northern region, he’ll need to do more. He included $2 million in his 2019-20 budget to review options for a new California State University campus in San Joaquin County, likely in Stockton, 135 miles from Paradise, the epicenter of the Camp Fire. The governor’s proposal should be expanded to include study of another potential campus: a Cal Poly for Northern California.


Midway through first term, Trump is not meeting the public’s modest expectations for his job performance, poll finds

Washington Post

In his first two years in office, President Trump has largely underperformed the even modest expectations that Americans had for him as he took office in January 2017, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Government Shutdown 2019: President Trump signs bill to temporarily reopen government, border wall fight unresolved


Submitting to mounting pressure amid growing disruption, President Donald Trump signed a bill Friday to reopen the government for three weeks, backing down from his demand that Congress give him money for his border wall before federal agencies get back to work.

See Also:

●     Trump signs measure to temporarily reopen government Visalia Times-Delta

●     Trump announces deal to temporarily reopen government, end longest shutdown in US history Hanford Record

●     Shutdown’s over? Airport screener from Modesto awaiting word on back pay Modesto Bee

●     Sen. Kamala Harris: The powerful seek to divide America Stockton Record

●     Trump sets odds of reaching deal on wall at less than 50-50 Sacramento Bee

●     End of shutdown still leaves contract workers hanging Sacramento Bee

●     Conservatives say Trump caved, but confident he’ll get wall Sacramento Bee

●     Smaller government? Some Trump supporters cheer the shutdown Sacramento Bee

●     7 Takeaways From The Longest Shutdown In U.S. History Capital Public Radio

●     Trump Says He Will Sign Short-Term Deal To Reopen Government After 35-Day Shutdown Capital Public Radio

●     Trump will secure border ‘with or without Congress,’ Mulvaney says San Francisco Chronicle

●     EDITORIAL: A long overdue end to a totally unnecessary shutdown Los Angeles Times

●     Shutdown ends but its damage will last Roll Call

●     Threats over shutdown, emergency declaration hang over coming talks Roll Call

●     Why Trump ended the shutdown – for now Brookings

●      7 Takeaways From The Longest Shutdown In U.S. History NP

●     EDITORIAL: Trump is fixating on another ‘wall’ that will almost certainly fail to live up to his promises Los Angeles Times

●     Trump Skeptical He Would Accept Any Congressional Border Deal Wall Street Journal

●     Beyond the Shutdown: The Trump-Pelosi Dynamic Defines Washington

●     Wall Street Journal

●     Trump’s Voter Standing Steady Despite Shutdown, WSJ/NBC News Poll Says

●     Wall Street Journal

Kamala Harris kicks off 2020 campaign at Oakland rally


First-term California Sen. Kamala Harris outlined her campaign and introduced herself to the nation at her kickoff rally in Oakland on Sunday.

See Also:

●     Sen. Kamala Harris says the powerful seek to divide America Sacramento Bee

●     Kamala Harris Fills Downtown Oakland To Launch 2020 Presidential Campaign Capital Public Radio

●     Kamala Harris emerges as a 2020 front-runner, but is that a good thing? Los Angeles Times

●     Harris campaign strategy is to keep her ahead of a growing group of rivals San Francisco Chronicle

●     California’s Harris plants Southern roots San Francisco Chronicle

●      ‘That’s Not Our America’: Kamala Harris Officially Launches Presidential Bid in Oakland KQED

●     Kamala Harris grabs for the brass ring CALmatters

●      From California to the White House SoundCloud

Women make big gains in state capitols, but men still rule

Sacramento Bee

Women made historic gains in state legislatures across the country in 2018, but men still hold the vast majority of the top leadership roles.

Trump lawyers ask Supreme Court to add citizenship question to 2020 census

Los Angeles Times

With time running short, Trump administration lawyers urged the Supreme Court on Friday to intervene in a dispute over the 2020 census and uphold their plans to ask everyone about their citizenship. The move sets the stage for a high-stakes legal fight over the population count, one which could cost California billions in federal funds.

Busting the Nominations Dam

Wall Street Journal

Halfway into President Trump’s four-year term, Democrats continue to do everything they can to block him from assembling a government. Senate Republicans are considering a rule change to break this dam of Democratic obstruction on nominees, and please do.

Americans support investigating Trump, but many are skeptical that inquiries will be fair, new poll finds

Washington Post

The American people have mixed feelings about investigating President Trump, with clear majorities wanting newly empowered Democrats to dig into his personal finances and foreign ties but most believing that Congress should not begin impeachment proceedings, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

See also:

·       Trump advisers lied over and over again, Mueller says. The question is, why? Washington Post.

·       What it would take: Can impeachment appear legitimate in a hyper-partisan universe? Washington Post

The Foolish Quest to Be the Next Barack Obama


Reassembling his coalition probably isn’t the path to the presidency this time.


‘We remember.’ 5 things to know about International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Fresno Bee

People around the world commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day yesterday. Here’s what you need to know about the event that honors victims, marks liberation of Auschwitz and rejects genocide denial.

See Also:

●     Survivors Mark Holocaust Remembrance Day On 74th Anniversary Of Auschwitz Liberation Capital Public Radio

Public’s 2019 Priorities: Economy, Health Care, Education and Security All Near Top of List

Pew Research Center

At the outset of Donald Trump’s third year in office, the public’s to-do list for the president and the 116th Congress spans domains with the economy, health care costs, education and preventing terrorism all cited as top priorities by majorities of Americans.

EDITORIAL: Readers ask questions about The Bee’s news gathering. Editor Joe Kieta offers answers

Fresno Bee

Making sure the newsroom is transparent, executive editor of The Fresno Bee in California, Joe Kieta, offers answers to questions from readers about how the newspaper gets story ideas and reports the news.


Sunday, February 3, at 5 p.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “Fed Courts with Judge O’Neill” – Guests: Lawrence O’Neil, Chief U.S. District Judge; McGregor Scott, U.S. Attorney General for the Eastern District;  Daniel Jamison, Dowling Aaron; and Richard Watters with Miles, Sears & Eanni. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, February 3, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report – Valley Views EditionValley Views Edition“More Issues, Fewer Federal Judges: What Will it Mean for the Valley?”   Guests: Lawrence O’Neil, Chief U.S. District Judge; McGregor Scott, U.S. Attorney General for the Eastern District; Daniel Jamison, Dowling Aaron, Richard Watters with Miles, Sears & Eanni; and California’s Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, February 3, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy“Immigration: Dreaming in a Sanctuary State” – Guests: Joe Hayes, Investigator PPIC and Liam Dillon with LA Times. Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans.


We spend hours collecting articles to provide you with a thorough and balanced review of public policy issues that directly impact the Valley. 

If you value our work, please consider making a

 tax-deductible contribution TODAY

Thank you!



Could California produce soon cost you more? Farms face labor shortages, immigration woes

USA Today

The future, in fact, has many farmers nervous. The company Fuentes works for provides labor to Ocean Mist Farms, which has begun turning to automation because farm workers are both in short supply and increasingly costly.

Stockton filmmaker’s documentary tells the story of farmworker’s resilience


Aria Zapata can talk intimately about the difficulties undocumented farmworkers face in the U.S. The 24-year-old recalls growing up and seeing the sacrifices and pains her parents endured having to leave Mexico to pursue a more prosperous future for their family.

This Diet Is Better For the Planet. But Is It Better For You, Too?

Capital Public Radio

Less than a half-ounce of red meat per day: That’s how much a new report says we should eat to meet nutritional needs and help save the planet. Americans on average now eat four to six times as much.

As Fresno’s cannabis industry evolves, will people of color be locked out?

Sacramento Bee

After Fresno, California, voters approved Measure A, a cannabis business license tax, and the city council passed regulations, leaders will look at social equity for groups negatively affected by the war on drugs.



Victims’ families want answers on double homicide that occurred in April


The parents of Jessica Soria and Jose Jesus Mendoza continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones, gunned down early one April morning last year.

In visit to O.H. Close, governor calls importance of prison training program ‘basic’

Stockton Record

For Newsom, the importance — in addition to drastically lowering prison recidivism and saving taxpayer money — is basic.

Is Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Juvenile Justice Reform Substantial Or Symbolic? Experts Say It’s a Wait-And-See.

Capital Public Radio

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to make big changes to California’s juvenile justice system, but some advocates are skeptical.

Public Safety:

Junior Explorers graduate PAL program

Hanford Record

The sixth-grade graduates of the Hanford Police Activities League’s Junior Explorer program have made good on their commitment to protect and learn.


Improve SB 10, don’t eliminate it

Sacramento Bee

The money bail industry, which will be put out of business by the new law, has succeeded in qualifying an initiative to repeal the recently enacted statute. Repeal would be a terrible step backwards. We must fix the problems in SB 10, not return to the unfair approach that allows wealth to determine who is free and who is behind bars.

NRA seeks to topple 2 strict California gun laws

San Francisco Chronicle

More than two years after California voters made it illegal to possess high-capacity gun magazines commonly used in mass shootings, the National Rifle Association has tied the measure up in court. Now the gun lobby has set its sights on a nearly 2-decade-old law that banned the sale of those devices in the state.

See Also:

●     Finally, the Supreme Court is taking up gun rights again Los Angeles Times

Walters: Two ballot measures will test crime attitudes

Sacramento Bee

When crime rates were rising in the 1970s and 1980s, it became the state’s No. 1 political issue. Republicans used it to win elections and Democrats responded with a slew of anti-crime bills, many of them signed by Jerry Brown during his first governorship, that created new crimes and increased penalties for old offenses.


PG&E Just Escaped Blame For One Huge Disaster—But It’s Still The Utility California Loves To Hate

Capital Public Radio

Investigators have not yet determined exactly who or what is to blame for the massive Camp Fire that razed California’s wine country and killed 86 people in November in Butte County. But PG&E is a prime suspect. 

See Also:

●     Fire Report Could Complicate PG&E Bankruptcy Decision Capital Public Radio

●     EDITORIAL: PG&E isn’t to blame for the Tubbs Fire, but Sacramento can’t let the company off the hook San Francisco Chronicle

California utility equipment sparked more than 2,000 fires in over three years

Los Angeles Times

Critics say a lack of safety oversight by the California Public Utilities Commission is one reason why the state is experiencing a wildfire crisis.

Inside Tubbs Fire probe: Burn patterns, a hitchhiker’s alibi

San Francisco Chronicle

It was 9:20 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2017, and the Tubbs Fire had already spent 12 hours becoming the most destructive blaze in California history.



Economy likely to pick up, though pain may linger for some

Sacramento Bee

The U.S. economy will likely resume its steady growth now that the government has reopened, though economists say some scars — for the nation and for federal workers — will take time to heal.

It now costs more to mail that letter as stamp prices make biggest jump in decades

Fresno Bee

The US Postal Service has raised the price on stamps, effective Jan. 27, 2019 the cost went up five cents, from 50 to to 55 for a first class mail letter, or Forever stamp, the largest rate increase since 1991.

See Also:

●     USPS hikes stamp price 5 cents abc30


Robots coming for your job? Study says potential is greater in Fresno and the Valley

Fresno Bee

National study suggests Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley have a greater share of job tasks that could potentially be taken over by automation than much of the rest of California, over the next decade or so.

Proposals to keep older people in the labor force


Older people need to work longer in order to ensure a secure retirement Social Security, the backbone of the retirement system, will not replace as much preretirement income in the future as it does today. Employer-sponsored retirement plans also involve considerably more uncertainty, given the shift from defined benefit plans to 401(k) plans. With these institutional saving arrangements on the decline, people could decide to save more on their own.

See also:

●     Companies navigate dementia conversations with older workers Fresno Bee

America’s Hidden Workforce Returns

Wall Street Journal

Like many adults with disabilities, Nathan Mort has often struggled to find and hold a job. A conservation group once declined his attempt to volunteer. The 37-year-old West Michigan native, who has a high-functioning form of autism, ended up living with his parents and dependent on government payments.

Local newspapers have already been gutted. There’s nothing left to cut.

Washington Post

Wednesday was a bloodbath for journalists. BuzzFeed said it would lay off 15 percent of its employees, and Verizon Media announced it would cut 7 percent from its newsrooms at HuffPost, AOL and Yahoo. Worst of all, a wave of layoffs tore through Gannett newsrooms across the country that day, hitting staffs that had already been thinned by years of nearly annual cuts.

Backlogs, deadlines and a massive bureaucratic reboot await federal workers after shutdown’s end

Washington Post

An avalanche of emails, backlogged permits, lapsed contracts and stalled payments to low-income Americans will face the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who return to work Monday. For 35 days, they waited out the shutdown of nine Cabinet agencies and dozens of smaller ones.

Independent contractors face a wealth of tax consequences

Los Angeles Times

Tax pros often suggest their self-employed clients put aside half of what they earn to cover taxes and other obligations. Independent contractors have to pay both the employer and employee portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes, or roughly 15.3% instead of the 7.65% regular workers pay.

Union Benefits Go Far Beyond the Workplace

The Nation

According to a study by University of Minnesota researchers on the effects of union membership on Uncle Sam’s balance sheets, unionized workers overall contribute more in tax revenue, rely less on welfare, and secure more sustainable jobs.



Slatic can be a huge asset for Fresno Unified, or a big liability. Up to him

Fresno Bee

Likewise, it’s possible to respect Fresno Unified Trustee Terry Slatic’s commitment to school safety, as well as holding district officials accountable, and still think his actions at Bullard High on the afternoon of Jan. 11 were out of line.

Arresting parents when kids miss too much school? It works in Merced, report says

Merced Sun-Star

Bringing parents of chronically absent students in front of a judge helps curb truancy, says MCOE and the Merced County District Attorney’s Office.

Modesto teachers asked to rethink decisions to suspend black, Latino students

Modesto Bee

At a community forum last week at Downey High School, an expert in social psychology explained how unspoken or implicit biases may influence even a cultured school teacher to escalate disciplinary action against students of color.

There’s a shortage of high school referees. Some feel parents are to blame.

Modesto Bee

According to the National Association of Sports Officials, 75 percent of officials quit due to fan interaction. Officials are quitting, creating a shortage in the Stanislaus District.

L.A. charter school teachers reach deal to end strike, the first of its kind in California

Los Angeles Times

A South Los Angeles charter school network reached a tentative deal Sunday to end an eight-day strike, the first job action of its kind in California, union officials said.

See Also:

●     Effects of L.A. teachers’ strike ripple across California and beyond Los Angeles Times

●     EDITORIAL: The thorny issue lurking behind the teachers’ strike: charter schools Los Angeles Times

●     Teachers succeed by framing strikes as for common good  Sacramento Bee

BCSD students build literacy skills through new game-like program


To help make learning more appealing to the kids, many of the lessons are designed like games. Students take their lessons in the form of an ant, hence the name Smarty Ants. The students get virtual rewards for passing a lesson, such as outfits they can use to customize the look of their ant.

San Francisco gives kindergartners free money for college. Could it work statewide?

CALmattersOnly about one in five students have contributed money beyond what the city supplies. That still outpaces the percentage of U.S. familiescontributing to 529 plans, tax-deferred accounts

that provide another option for college savings—as Cisneros is quick to point out.

Gov. Newsom proposes to chip away at mountain of pension liability and ease school districts’ burden


In his freshman budget, Gov. Gavin Newsom heartened beleaguered school districts and community colleges by offering pension-cost relief.

U.S. Dept of Ed’s proposed sexual harassment rules: Looking beyond the rhetoric


In November of last year, the U.S. Department of Education released its long-awaited proposed regulations on sexual harassment. More than a year earlier, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos had withdrawn the Obama administration’s controversial Title IX guidelines and promised to develop a fairer, more effective alternative.

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.

BC sees record growth in students taking online classes

Bakersfield Californian

Online courses are becoming a preferred method of education for more and more students at Bakersfield College. The number of students taking online courses at the college has significantly risen over the past couple years. The number of course section offerings has tripled since Fall 2015.

Cal State pledges to freeze tuition in response to governor’s budget plan


Chancellor Timothy P. White’s announcement means that tuition will be frozen for a second year in a row at $5,742 annually for full-time undergraduates who are California residents. Those undergraduates taking six or fewer credits still would pay $3,330.

Colleges have been under pressure to admit needier kids. It’s backfiring.

Washington Post

Pressure colleges to stop chasing the same small subset of privileged, highly test-prepped applicants and start admitting needier kids. But new research suggests that the particular form this pressure has taken — including popular rankings based on Pell enrollment — has been at least partly backfiring.

Colleges Mine Data on Their Applicants

Wall Street Journal

Some colleges, in an effort to sort through a growing number of applications, are quietly tracking prospective students’ online interaction with the schools and considering it in deciding whom to admit.



San Joaquin Valley’s air ranks among worst in U.S. This plan promises to improve it by 2024

Fresno Bee

The California Air Resources Board this week approved a plan to reduce air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley and hopefully meet federal air regulations that aren’t being met. The plan is key because Valley cities consistently rank among the worst ozone and soot-filled areas of the nation.

Yosemite National Park set to reopen this week after 35-day shutdown

Fresno Bee

After more than a month in a partial U.S. government shutdown, workers were starting to trickle back into nearby national parks over the weekend, as officials expected the seasonal visits to resume and workers to get paid again.

See Also:

●     Parts of Yosemite to open Monday as park moves toward full operations abc30

Berkeley isn’t just attacking plastic waste, it’s rejecting our entire throwaway culture

Los Angeles Times

Any American school kid can recite the common wisdom for tackling our massive plastic trash problem: reduce, reuse, recycle. But it’s not that simple.

Sierra snow pack is four times the size it was at this time last year


A barrage of storms at the start of January dumped impressive amounts of snow over the Sierra Nevada mountain range, pushing the statewide snow pack to 115 percent of average as of Tuesday, according to data from the California Department of Water Resources.

Scenes from California’s Dust Bowl

Los Angeles Times

Diana Marcum, who covers the Central Valley, spent time in six communities struggling under conditions that have left 80% of the state experiencing extreme to exceptional drought. Marcum won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for this series.

What keeps families in one of the most polluted places in California?


Imperial County does not meet federal air quality standards, and state officials are working on plans to begin to decrease pollution.  Only two other places in California have the same distinction: the San Joaquin Valley and the South Coast Air Basin, which includes most of Los Angeles County.

The New Language of Climate Change


Educating the public and policymakers about climate change at a time when elected leaders are doubling down on denying that it is happening at all or that humans are responsible for it demands a new lexicon, conference attendees told me—one that can effectively narrate the overwhelming scientific evidence but not get sucked into the controversy fueled most prominently by President Donald Trump.


PG&E just escaped blame for one huge disaster—but it’s still the utility California loves to hate


Investigators have not yet determined exactly who or what is to blame for the massive Camp Fire that razed Porter’s community and killed 86 people in November in Butte County. But PG&E—whose workers spotted smoke near a shorted-out utility tower above Poe Dam on the windy morning the fire started—is a prime suspect. 

PG&E Bankruptcy Could Deal Blow to Its Solar-Power Suppliers’ Finances

New York Times

Pacific Gas and Electric promises that its customers’ lights will stay on if it follows through on plans to file for bankruptcy this month. But companies that supply the California utility’s electricity may have more to worry about.

Solar and wind are booming, while coal keeps shrinking

CNN Business

Renewable energy, led by solar and wind, is projected to be the fastest-growing source of US electricity generation for at least the next two years, according to a reportpublished Friday by the US Energy Department.

Next year, the US will export more energy than it imports. That hasn’t happened since 1953

CNN Business

Thanks to the shale oil and natural gas boom, the United States will export more energy than it imports in 2020 for the first time since 1953, according to a forecastpublished Thursday by the Energy Department’s statistics division. That’s two years earlier than what was previously expected.



After the overdose: A family’s journey into grief and guilt

Fresno Bee

70,237 Americans died from overdose in 2017, most of them killed by opioids. As the crisis barrels into its third decade, opioids alone have claimed more than 400,000 lives. Each left behind a family like this one.

Trump donates $100,000 from presidential salary to alcoholism research


Alcoholism is a personal issue for the president. His older brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 after struggling with alcoholism.

Human Services:

Kaweah Delta, Cleveland Clinic affiliation ‘new dawn in care’

Visalia Times-Delta

For the last two years, Kaweah Delta Medical Center has garnered nationwide attention as one of Healthgrade America’s best 50 hospitals in the country for cardiac surgery and one of the country’s best 100 hospitals for overall heart care.

Thousands in SJ slipping through health care safety net

Stockton Record

Thousands of San Joaquin County residents who slip through the health care safety net — the resources and providers that organize and deliver a significant level of health care and other related services to uninsured, Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California) and other vulnerable populations.

City, police launch revamped websites

Stockton Record

The city of Stockton launched a new homepage last week, and it plans to revamp its entire website sometime in the future.

Newsom’s move: Not yet health care for all, but health care for more


Newsom has taken two tacts. He’s asking the Trump administration to let the state create its own single-payer system offering coverage to all Californians—a move almost everyone regards as a very long shot. And he’s also pushing specific ideas to expand health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of still-uninsured Californians—a move that seems much more do-able.

‘It feels like we are still hostages’: Federal contractors who lost health insurance during shutdown remain in limbo

Washington Post

Relied upon for decades to depress growth in the government’s hiring of civil servants, federal contractors have become an auxiliary force that often does much of the same work as rank-and-file government staff, but with secondhand job security.

Burnout Among Doctors Is A Public Health Crisis, Report Says


Increasing burnout among physicians is a dire public health crisis, new research out of Harvard says.


Trump ordered 15,000 new border and immigration officers — but got thousands of vacancies instead

Los Angeles Times

Two years after President Trump signed orders to hire 15,000 new border agents and immigration officers, the administration has spent tens of millions of dollars in the effort — but has thousands more vacancies than when it began.

In the heart of California, a sheriff makes a case for a middle ground on immigration

Los Angeles Times

Two days earlier, in Tulare County, a twice-deported man named Gustavo Garcia committed a spate of crimes, according to police, shooting a farm worker, robbing a mini-mart at gunpoint and firing at several people before he was thrown from his vehicle and killed while driving the wrong way on a highway.

Trump’s golf course employed undocumented workers — and then fired them amid showdown over border wall

Washington Post

But on Jan. 18, about a dozen employees at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y., were summoned, one by one, to talk with a human resources executive from Trump headquarters.

See also:

●     Fact-checking Donald Trump’s false and misleading claims about immigration, the border wall  PolitiFact

●     Falling Illegal Immigration Numbers Confirm No Border Crisis  Forbes


Land Use:

Could Measure P still pass? Proponents say yes, and are asking Fresno mayor to act

Fresno Bee

Fresno park advocates want the mayor to reverse their loss at the ballot box by instituting a sales tax that failed to gain a two-thirds majority in the November election.

Parts of Yosemite to open Monday as park moves toward full operations


Yosemite National Park Services announced on social media that the park was moving closer to “normal operations.”

●     Yosemite National Park set to reopen this week after 35-day shutdown Fresno Bee

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.

See Also:

●     Riverway Sports Park nears completion 21 years Visalia Times-Delta

County focusing on pedestrian safety with millions of dollars in projects

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County will be implementing millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements over the next several years in an attempt to improve pedestrian safety. The county recently received more than $12 million in state grants to implement four projects that are meant to make Kern’s roadways easier for pedestrians and bicyclists to traverse.

WHERE WE LIVE: In Westpark, the new freeway’s path determines homeowners’ fate

Bakersfield Californian

Westpark moved into the path of the crosstown freeway because city and county planners failed to claim “dibs” on land that would have provided a more direct, westward expansion of the route.

Is downtown redevelopment dead?

Bakersfield Californian

Through redevelopment and public sector projects, impactful investments have been made. Groups and nonprofits should continue efforts to push for quality-of-life improvements, but the focus has shifted solely to the private sector.

Current developments are setting the course for Bakersfield’s future

Bakersfield Californian

As we look back, 2018 was a very significant year for the commercial real estate industry in Kern County and Greater Bakersfield that will set the stage for how our community will evolve and where growth will occur over the next 10 to 20 years.

Council meeting focuses on future of golf courses

Stockton Record

The Stockton City Council on Tuesday will receive a status update on the request for proposals at Swenson Park Golf Course, as well as an update on the civic engagement process to determine the future of Van Buskirk Municipal Golf Course.

Library Systems Embracing Their New Roles As Social Service Hubs


Before 2009, the San Francisco Public Library’s bathrooms often became spaces of contention, with security staff escorting patrons out of the library, sometimes arresting them if they were found bathing, sleeping or injecting. But that year, the library hired the first library social worker in the United States, Leah Esguerra, marking a shift in attitudes that have since spread to library systems across the country.

Commentary: A Quicker Way to Rebuild California


With over 500 large and small companies and their trade workers, who make up the Associated Builders and Contractors of Northern California, we want to offer the governor our partnership in realizing his campaign pledge to rebuild California in areas devastated by wildfires, as well as to build more affordable housing throughout the state.


There’s an upscale housing boom in Clovis, but it’s not of the tract home variety

Fresno Bee

With the economy improving and the demand for apartments growing, the city of Clovis is undergoing a boom in new apartment construction.

See Also:

●     New Sunnyhills Apartments offer high-end apartment living in Clovis Fresno Bee

New building coming to Fresno allows you to work and live in same place


Business center 770 East Shaw Avenue in Northeast Fresno is in the process of evolving. They are working on converting the complex into a place where people can work from home or live at work.

State Treasurer meets with local leaders about Central Valley housing crisis


From the Bay Area to Southern California finding an affordable place to live is a problem for many. While the cost of housing in the Central Valley is lower than other regions many still can’t afford to pay their rent or mortgage.

Residents shaken, unsure. For some, Budgetel room ‘still a home,’ and leaving hurts.

Modesto Bee

The Budgetel Inn & Suites on McHenry Avenue abruptly closed Saturday. Roughly 100 guests, many long-term, were told to leave the Modesto, CA., motel. The site has a long history of problems and police calls.

Officials inch closer toward relocating Beard Brook homeless camp

Modesto Bee

The relocation of the homeless camp in Beard Brook Park to nearby Tuolumne River Regional Park could start during the first week of February provided the weather cooperates and a deal is reached with a nonprofit to operate the camp.

Can Newsom build housing’s “missing middle”?


Newsom has called for over $500 million in new state money to finance homes for moderate-income Californians. What exactly does “moderate income” mean?  In some incredibly expensive parts of the state—think San Francisco—it means subsidizing apartments for families with six-figure incomes.

My turn: We must shelter the people the ‘free market’ leaves behind


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 60 percent of California renters pay more than a third of their income to their landlords. For homeowners, some 40 percent of them pay more than 30 percent of their income on their mortgages. Call them “cost burdened,” too.


Free tax preparation available again in area

Madera Tribune

Bob Musick, local coordinator for AARP Tax Aide, announced that free income tax return preparation and electronic filing, for California state and federal returns, will be available again this year for Madera-area residents, offered by the AARP Tax-Aide program.

See also:

●     Students learn to prepare tax returns  Hanford Record

Expecting a Big Tax Refund? Don’t Be So Sure

Wall Street Journal

The first tax-filing season under the 2017 tax law opens Monday, and there’s a crucial unknown for most Americans: Just how big will their refunds be?

See also

●     Tax The Ultrarich To Solve Poverty? Easier Said Than Done NPR

Jerry Brown Gets $120,000 In Retirement

Capital Public Radio

Former Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed to rein in public employee pension costs, has started drawing on his $120,000-a-year pension after decades of public service.

Changes at top as CalPERS faces biggest test yet


As Henry Jones became the new CalPERS president last week, he received a reminder of the risky road ahead. Pension investments lost money last year, and the projected funds needed to pay future pension costs fell.

CalSavers works on paper, but saddles workers with debt


California is one of five states that has implemented automatic, state-run individual retirement accounts, known as “auto-IRAs,” in recent years. California’s workers—many of whom aren’t adequately preparing for retirement—should absolutely be saving more, and on paper, auto-IRAs move in that direction. But that doesn’t mean all of those workers are coming out ahead.

California’s version of Les Misérables


In 2017, Hyatt scored a major win before the Board of Equalization, which rejected the FTB’s claims of fraud, and ruled that Hyatt owed no state tax for income in 1992, but did for a part-year residence in California in 1991. It reduced his potential tax bite from $55 million to $1.9 million plus interest.

Another California Tax Grab

Wall Street Journal

California Gov. Gavin Newsom let his 2-year-old son run on stage to display his soft side as he delivered his inaugural address Jan. 7. Then he showed his command-and-control side by making clear he wants more spending and new taxes.


Only 4% of electric scooter riders injured in accidents were wearing helmets, study finds


Electric scooters have exploded in popularity over the last two years, but new research about scooter accidents and injuries underscores how few riders are actually wearing helmets.

See also:

●      Among injured e-scooter riders, only 4% were wearing helmets CNN

●     E-Scooters Sent Hundreds Of People In Southern California To The ER, A Study Shows  BuzzFeed News

Study says Parkwood and La Vina could use upgrades

Madera Tribune

A mobility study by Madera County and 4Creeks Engineering has concluded that the communities of Parkwood and La Vina could use redesigned roadways for safety’s sake.

GET to debut ride-hailing service in April for underserved areas

Bakersfield Californian

Golden Empire Transit will soon add a ride-hailing service in a part of Bakersfield with a low ridership count. Just like private companies Lyft and Uber, customers will be able to use an app to request a ride. GET will provide a bus to pick them up anywhere within a designated zone.


Mathis announces bipartisan bill to solve state’s water crisis without raising taxes

Porterville Recorder

Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) Thursday announced the introduction of a bipartisan amendment to the California Constitution to dedicate two percent of the state’s general fund budget to rebuilding and enhancing the state’s water infrastructure.

Western states near deadline for Colorado River drought plan

Porterville Recorder

Western states are watching with interest as Arizona comes up against a deadline to approve a plan to ensure a key reservoir doesn’t become unusable for the farmers, cities, tribes and developers that depend on it.

Boil water advisory lifted for Summerlyn neighborhood

Bakersfield Californian

The boil water advisory for the Summerlyn neighborhood in northwest Bakersfield was lifted Sunday evening. In an email sent to the press, Yvonne Kingman of California Water Service said that water quality testing confirmed the water was not impacted.


In a crazy busy bar in Fresno? Here’s an app that helps you get your drink faster

Fresno Bee

Overflow is a mobile phone app developed locally that allows bar patrons to order and buy drinks more quickly during busy times. It’s being used at three Tower District bars now, Goldstein’s Mortuary & DelicatessenStrummer’s and Veni Vidi Vici. More Fresno bars will likely add it soon.

Bill Lyles leaves a legacy

Fresno State

To ensure engineering in the Valley, in 2008, Lyles (who serves as chief executive officer of Lyles Diversified, Inc.), his family members and their group of companies contributed generously to the college.

Food truck gives vegans a taste of southern cooking


On their way to Sacramento, Southern Fried Vegan reached out to Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company asking if they can stop by and serve up some soul food.

Circle Gallery prepares to open new exhibitions

Madera Tribune

Madera County Arts Council has invited the public to the opening reception for its newest exhibitions: “Abstracts & Patterns,” “Love Letters,” and Yosemite Western Artists’ ”Extend” will open Thursday, Jan. 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Madera County Arts Council’s Circle Gallery, 424 N. Gateway Drive.

Crystal Springs Regional Trail just got a dam sight better

San Francisco Chronicle

It took eight years to complete the work. The new bridge spans in a curve across the top of the dam, located midway at Crystal Springs Reservoir on the Peninsula near Interstate 280, west of San Mateo. The new trail on the bridge is wide, paved and marked with yellow stripes for cyclists, and edged by a mosaic of rock work and a guardrail.

From Wi-Fi to Bluetooth to 5G, All Your Wireless Is About to Change

Wall Street Journal

Wireless internet changed our lives, making it possible to do so much more in so many places—around the home or office, or even way out in the wilderness. Yet you likely never think about it, so long as it’s working. It’s like oxygen: You take it for granted until it’s gone—and panic sets in.

Test yourself with our new free game: PolitiTruth

Think you can tell the difference between True and False?

Do you really know what is fake news?

Support the Maddy 


Thank you!

Maddy Institute Updated List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials HERE.

The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno was established to honor the legacy of one of California’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.

This document is to be used for informational purposes only. Unless specifically noted, The Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno does not officially endorse or support views that may be expressed in the document. If you want to print a story, please do so now before the link expires.

To Subscribe or Unsubscribe: mjeans@csufresno.edu