January 29, 2018




Local/Regional Politics:


State scores Temperance Flat dam project at a big fat zero. Boosters are pushing back

Fresno Bee

An application for $1 billion of state bond money to build Temperance Flat dam east of Fresno scored a dismal zero from the California Water Commission on the cost-benefit ratio, potentially jeopardizing its construction. Supporters of the dam expressed shock and dismay and are blaming the commission staff for the low score. They’re got company

See also:

·       Farmers need recharge not Temperance Flat dam Fresno Bee


County seeks water funding

Madera Tribune

As part of an effort to improve special districts’ aging water infrastructures, Madera County continues to seek funding opportunities through California State Water Resources Control Board  Proposition 1 funding.


Just what are those big white structures cropping up in east Modesto?

The Modesto Bee

At first glance, they look a bit like the monoliths from “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Rising high in the air above canals in east Modesto are white fabric-covered structures that grab the eyes of passers-by, outlined against the blue sky. What they are is a little less exotic than how they look, a Modesto Irrigation District spokeswoman informs us.


Battle over secret Nunes memo could come to a head this week

Fresno Bee

That the exact contents of the almost-infamous Nunes memo – a four-page classified document apparently claiming the FBI engaged in “shocking” surveillance abuses – have remained secret even as the document has captured headlines for weeks and is available to all House members to view is remarkable in today’s Washington.

See also:

·       The Nunes classified Intel memo: What you need to know TheHill

·       GOP debates releasing controversial Nunes memo  TheHill

·       Release the Nunes Memo: Let’s See What’s in It National Review

·       Sen. Graham: Nunes FISA memo should not be released nowTheHill

·       Devin Nunes a hypocrite on vote to reauthorize FISA law The Bakersfield Californian


Local residents hope for fast resolution for young immigrants

Bakersfield Californian

The federal government may now be temporarily open after a recent three-day shutdown, but young illegal immigrants are still concerned about their future. President Donald Trump announced in September that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which allows immigrants brought into America as minors the chance to live, work and get an education here — would be ended but gave Congress until March 5 to take action before legal status would be revoked.

See also:

·       Robert Price: He can be selectively silent, but McCarthy at the fore of immigration debate in Washington  Bakersfield Californian

·       Inflicting immigration reform failures on California businessesOCRegister


Central Valley candidate back for third try at unseating Rep. Jeff Denham

Los Angeles Times

After saying last June he wouldn’t make a third run against Rep. Jeff Denham, Central Valley beekeeper Michael Eggman will enter the race for the 10th Congressional District race on Monday.


Longtime Republican political consultant Mark Abernathy dies after short illness

Bakersfield Californian

Mark Abernathy, a prominent Kern County Republican political consultant, died Saturday after a brief illness, according to posts on Facebook. Since 1984, Abernathy has been the CEO of Western Pacific Research, a political and business consulting company, which has helped lead people including Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, Bakersfield City Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan and Rep. Kevin McCarthy to victory


Asm. Mathis kicks off campaign, faces protesters in Visalia

Visalia Times-Delta

Incumbent Assemblyman Devon Mathis kicked-off his campaign Friday morning at Visalia Veterans Memorial Building. Outside the building stood a small group of protesters. They chanted “no means no” as Mathis spoke inside the building.Carole Faulkner and her sister, Cheryl Martinez decided to speak up and brought two friends with them.


Trump Country California women unite for Women’s March Kern County

The Fresno Bee

Last year, we did not have a Women’s March in Kern County. Instead, people loaded into buses and vans to attend the Women’s March in Los Angeles. I took part in the Bay Area Women’s March with friends after picking up my daughter in Fresno.


Downtown Fresno & Fulton Street & urban revitalization

The Fresno Bee

Sure didn’t feel that way at the time, but reopening a street through what used to be a pedestrian mall turned out to be the easy part. Changing long-standing market forces and perceptions of downtown Fresno will take a good while longer. Three months after the Fulton Mall became Fulton Street, and tens of thousands of the enthusiastic and curious turned out to witness the festivities, the urban core of California’s fifth-largest city remains virtually the same.


‘Eastchester’ feeling its economic oats, with entrepreneurs leading the way

The Bakersfield Californian

It once was thought of as the neglected side of Bakersfield’s downtown revival. But these days, the area east of Chester Avenue appears to be rumbling with economic activity and entrepreneurship. Places like Narducci’s Burgers & Italian Ice, The Kitchen, Killer Poke, Cafe Smitten, 17th Place apartments, Fashionista, Qwik Cafe, the relaunch of the Silver Fox and others are bringing new energy and visibility to this section of downtown.


County, city support widening of part of SR 99 in Madera

Madera Tribune

The Madera County Board of Supervisors and the Madera City Council have approved letters in support of the Madera County Transportation Commission Trade Corridor Enhancement Program Grant Application.


Fresno’s Health Grade? Failing – But Health Leaders Aim To Change That

Valley Public Radio

A national ranking system has for years given Fresno County’s health a failing grade. At the county’s inaugural “state of the health” breakfast on Friday, health leaders vowed to change that. In 2017, the philanthropic organization Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranked Fresno County 52nd out of 58 counties. The rankings are based on a range of factors, from social and environmental determinants of health, to outcomes like low birthweight, obesity and premature death.


When it comes to valley fever, awareness is still foreign among newcomers

Bakersfield Californian

Before walking into the parent resource center at McKinley Elementary School, Classy Gray didn’t know much about valley fever, the insidious respiratory disease that annually infects thousands throughout the southwestern United States. A Los Angeles native, the extent of Gray’s knowledge of the disease, along with many other parents, was that valley fever was something akin to a common cold.


Chief Dyer disputes ACLU charges police withholding public records

Fresno Bee

Citing officer safety, Chief Jerry Dyer says he’s taking a stand against a civil rights organization that has accused the Fresno Police Department of withholding public records pertaining to officer training. In Fresno County Superior Court, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California contends city and police officials have violated the California Public Records Act, which typically requires public agencies to make records available within 10 days of a request.


No cannabis festival in Tulare

Visalia Times-Delta

A last minute change to a marijuana and music festival caused Tulare city officials to pull the organizer’s permit. The organizer said nothing changed and city officials are using the excuse to push the event out. Heather Phillips, Tulare’s city attorney, said a time constraint to present last-minute proposed changes to city council for the cannabis festival contributed to the cancellation of the event this weekend.

See also:

·       Burn Out festival organizers consider suing City of Tulare ABC30


Modesto: Swelling pension costs could leave city strapped

The Modesto Bee

Modesto expects in a decadethe pension costs for its workers and retirees will hit a high of $54.6 million. That’s about double the current cost and unless the city can mitigate that increase, it will have less money to maintain its parks, hire police officers and for other basics.


State Politics:


California Politics Podcast: The job of being governor takes center stage

Los Angeles Times

Within a span of less than eight hours last week, Californians saw the current governor deliver an early closing statement on his time in office and a fiery exchange between the leading candidates to replace him in 2019.


Myers: Gov. Jerry Brown looks back, pushes forward in his final State of the State speech

Los Angeles Times

In his 16th and final State of the State address, Gov. Jerry Brown largely pivoted away from familiar warnings about California’s future to instead offer a valedictory message on what’s been accomplished since his unprecedented return to Sacramento in 2011. “Very few places in the world can match that record,” he said on Thursday to an audience of state lawmakers and guests gathered in the Assembly chamber of the state Capitol.

See also:

·       Walters: Jerry Brown’s two big public-works projects are foundering Fresno Bee

·       Walters: Jerry Brown’s legacy still a work in progress OCRegister


California’s Own Shutdown


Everyone can see the federal shutdown is reducing some public services but California legislators are turning a blind eye to their state’s own shutdown. Public schools in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and other urban centers are providing just a fraction of full services, resulting in understaffed classrooms, underpaid teachers, and fewer arts, science, math, and other classroom offerings. One result is that the poor and minority students that make up a large share of those urban districts underperform poor and minority students in other states that spend much less per student.


California will put 5 million electric cars on the road by 2030, Gov. Jerry Brown says

Los Angeles Times

California Gov. Jerry Brown wants to put 5 million electric cars on the state’s roads by 2030. Brown announced the new goal in his State of the State speech this week, and formalized the target in an executive order issued Friday. “This executive order aims to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California,” Brown said in a statement.


Skelton: A Brown — father or son — has been California governor for 40% of the last six decades

Los Angeles Times

The best way to characterize Gov. Jerry Brown’s final State of the State address last week is that it marked the end of an era — a very, very long era.

It signaled the approaching end of the Brown family era in California politics.


Newsom’s gun control efforts win him big endorsement

Los Angeles Times

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor on Friday citing his championing of gun control efforts. Newsom was the force behind 2016’s Proposition 63, which outlaws the possession of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, requires background checks for people buying bullets, makes it a crime not to report lost or stolen guns and provides a process for taking guns from people convicted of a felony.


Sort fact from fiction on Newsom and Villaraigosa’s rise to wealth

Sac Bee

A Bee investigation reveals that sexual harassment in government persists far beyond the Capitol dome. Here’s a list of 10 big payouts for claims against state agencies, prisons and public universities. And one UC employee explains why she received a $1.7 million settlement.

See also:

·       Villaraigosa’s Herbalife job and Newsom’s silver bars The Sacramento Bee


Don’t like politicians who smoked weed? These are your guys

Sac Bee

Bill Clinton didn’t inhale. Barack Obama most definitely did. But what about the lesser-known candidates for California governor? Asked late Thursday about their past weed use by moderator Jorge Ramos of Univision, the hands of Democrats Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang and Delaine Eastin all went up, with Villaraigosa keeping his aloft for effect.


California’s election field could shift dramatically before filing deadline

San Francisco Chronicle

The fundraising for California’s June 5 primary is well along, the political debates have begun and the first nasty hit pieces are already showing up on the Internet. But voters might want to be wary before making any nonrefundable election bets.


California’s June ballot measures get numbers: Propositions 68, 69, 70 and 71

Los Angeles Times

California’s secretary of state assigned numbers Friday to the four propositions on the June primary ballot, proposals crafted by state lawmakers last year. The list includes issues such as borrowing for drought, parks projects and restrictions on raiding new fuel tax revenues. Under a 2011 law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, proposals submitted by the public appear only on November statewide ballots — and as many as a dozen are now making their way through the process of collecting voter signatures.


Blowing the whistle on sexual harassers may get easier for Capitol workers this week

Sacramento Bee

Before sexual harassment allegations rattled the Capitol, legislation by Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, to extend whistleblower protections to workers in the statehouse died in the Senate four years in a row.

See also:

·       California paid $25 million in 3 years for harassment cases  The Bakersfield Californian

·       From hidden cameras to crotch-watching: California pays out millions for sexual harassment Sacramento Bee

·       UC worker felt ‘mobilizing anger.’ Then she won $1.7 million in a sexual harassment case Sac Bee


Is a Real ID California driver’s license hard to get? No. But is the hassle worth it?

Los Angeles Times

You don’t need a federally compliant driver’s license, called Real ID, to drive. So why bother getting one? Maybe I shouldn’t have. Even after getting one of the new licenses the first day they were offered, I’m sure it would have been prudent to wait.


CBRT Issues Statement on New Legislation to Impose a Seven Percent Surcharge on California Employers

California Business Roundtable

Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, issued the following statement in response to a proposed constitutional amendment by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) to create a new $15 to $17 billion annual tax on California employers with more than $1 million in annual income:

See also:


Bill to evade President Trump’s tax overhaul gets watered down

Los Angeles Times

A bid to help Californians dodge the effects of President Trump’s tax plan has gotten a little less generous. State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) has changed his bill allowing those who donate to a new state-run nonprofit to receive relief on both their state and federal taxes. In the new version of the bill, those who give to the nonprofit will reduce their state income taxes by 85% of the donation plus receive a federal charitable deduction.

See also:

·       Two states, and maybe California, plan to join New York in suing to block GOP’s tax overhaul Los Angeles Times

·       Treasury Skeptical About States Allowing Charitable Giving to Work Around New Cap The Wall Street Journal



Federal Politics:



State of the Union Will Be Used to Prod on Immigration, Infrastructure

Roll Call

In his first official State of the Union address, President Donald Trump will tell the country how the “roaring” economy is “lifting up” folks of all backgrounds and ask Congress to pass sweeping immigration and infrastructure legislation, says a senior administration official.

See also:

·       PolitiFact previews Donald Trump’s State of the Union addressPolitiFact


Trump’s ‘Dreamer’ Proposal Can’t Thread Legislative Needle

Roll Call

Near universal dismissal of President Donald Trump’s framework for legislation that would grant a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million “Dreamers” underscores the difficult task for lawmakers racing to strike a deal that has eluded Congress for close to two decades.

See also:

·       Worried about Trump-stoked exodus of immigrants, Canada discourages illegal crossings Los Angeles Times


Feinstein has nearly $10 million on hand for reelection bid, according to her campaign

Los Angeles Times


Walters: Supreme Court case threatens union political power

The Bakersfield Californian

Attorney General Xavier Becerra is imploring the U.S. Supreme Court to validate laws in California and other states requiring public employees who are not union members to nevertheless pay “agency fees” to unions.




Armenian genocide: How Valley prosecutor missed his chance to be ‘immortal symbol of justice’

Fresno Bee

Twice each year, my thoughts turn to the Armenian Genocide. On April 24, the anniversary date of the 1915 massacres orchestrated by the Turkish government. And on Jan. 27, when 45 years ago Gourgen Yanikian assassinated two Turkish diplomats in Santa Barbara to avenge the genocide.


Why aren’t Californians up in arms about tech company surveillance?

Los Angeles Times

Every day in Silicon Valley, many of the brightest, most ambitious people in the United States do their utmost to collect as much data on individuals as they can. What Google, Apple and Facebook already know about their typical users is staggering.


Wireless carriers must deliver emergency alerts more precisely

San Francisco Chronicle

On Jan. 13, a false alert of an incoming missile was transmitted to more than a million mobile phones in Hawaii. That erroneous warning understandably made national news. But over the past few months, the recent wave of deadly wildfires and mudslides here in the Golden State had already made wireless emergency alerts a pressing issue.


The era of “truth decay”: 12 things we still don’t know about our weird time

Nieman Journalism Lab

Last week, the global policy nonprofit RAND Corporation released a 300-page report — it’s a book — entitled “Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life.” The report defines “truth decay” as a set of four related trends (of which fake news is only a little part) and offers lots of ideas for future research. It’s focused on the United States, though “there is evidence that this phenomenon is also occurring elsewhere, especially in Western Europe.”


Google is testing Bulletin, an app that would let anyone publish a news story.


Google is testing a new tool for people to report and publish local news stories, called Bulletin. A website first spotted online Thursday describes Bulletin as “an app for contributing hyperlocal stories about your community, for your community, right from your phone.” It’s designed to make it “effortless” to tell “the stories that aren’t being told” via your smartphone. It’s not just for techie early adopters: “If you are comfortable taking photos or sending messages, you can create a Bulletin story!”, the site says.





Sunday, February 4, at 5 p.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy ReportGov’s Twin Tunnels Project:  Planning Snafus?​ – Guest: State Auditor Elaine Howle. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


Sunday, February 4, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) –Maddy Report: Is There a ‘Water Fix’ for the Valley?” – Guests: State Auditor Elaine Howle and Ellen Hanak, Director – Water Policy Center – PPIC. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler. 


Sunday, February 4, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – Informe Maddy:Gov’s Twin Tunnels Project:  Planning Snafus?  Guest: Margarita Fernandez, PIO State Auditor’s Office. Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans.


Support the Maddy Daily HERE. Thank you!


Topics in More Detail…




Navel gazing yields king-size results

Sacramento Bee

What’s up with the giant oranges? Backyard growers and longtime farmers both experienced the same phenomenon this winter: king-size navel oranges. Normally, navel oranges measure about 3 inches across. This month, these oversized oranges easily topped 4 inches, looking more like tangerine-hued grapefruit than familiar navels.


High taxes spark sticker shock for marijuana customers in California

The Mercury News

A picture recently posted to Instagram shows a receipt for a shopping trip to Cookies LA, a licensed marijuana store in Maywood. The receipt shows that the shopper bought an ounce of high-end cannabis, the maximum allowed under state law and enough to roll perhaps 40 joints.


California bill seeks to legalize banking for cannabis businesses

San Francisco Chronicle

California’s fast-rising cannabis industry, which has been forced by federal law to conduct almost all its business in cash, got a boost Thursday when legislation was introduced to allow banks to open accounts for people involved in the field.


U.S. farmers have much to lose if NAFTA deal collapses


A collapse of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to scrap, could create the most profound disruption for U.S. farmers who produce grains, meats and dairy products sold to Canada and Mexico.






California may up its rehab efforts to keep ex-inmates from returning to prison


Gov. Jerry Brown wants to add millions in new spending on programs to help former inmates stay out of jail—a proposal generating bipartisan praise because of concern they are returning to prison in large numbers. But some say it still isn’t enough. The proposed $50 million would expand job training for prisoners and assist them in finding jobs once they are released, such as training them to become firefighters.


Public Safety:


Construction begins on new downtown Fresno jail facilty

The Fresno Bee

County leaders and members of the Fresno County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office broke ground on the West Annex Jail Project this week. The extension to downtown Fresno’s county jail is expected to open in June 2020. Parking around the site will be limited during construction. The three-story facility, being built at the corner of Merced and L streets in downtown Fresno, will accommodate 300 beds, according to a joint news release from the sheriff’s office and the county.


ACLU charges police with withholding public records. Police chief says it’s not true

Fresno Bee

Citing officer safety, Chief Jerry Dyer says he’s taking a stand against a civil rights organization that has accused the Fresno Police Department of withholding public records pertaining to officer training.


Has the rate of California’s prison spending nearly tripled since 1970?

PolitiFact California

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown reeled off statistics on California’s prison spending during his final State of the State Address after a total of 16 years as governor. Brown, who has followed a federal court order to reduce the state’s prison overcrowding, warned legislators at the state Capitol not to simply pass more crime laws but instead consider a holistic approach to criminal justice.




Chief ousted in cheating flap vents about Cal Fire’s ‘secret police’

Sac Bee

A high-ranking state firefighter with 24 years of experience was compelled to resign last month because his department believed he helped a fire captain cheat on a test that the captain failed.






Clovis Chamber acknowledges local business leaders

Clovis Roundup

The Clovis Chamber of Commerce paid homage to business leaders for their dedication to the the community during Thursday night’s 2018 Membership and Salute to Business Dinner at Classic Catering in Old Town Clovis. Among those honored throughout the evening were Carole Lester, Executive Director of Business Organization of Old Town Clovis (B.O.O.T.), Hedrick’s Chevrolet and former CUSD Superintendent, Dr. Janet Young.


How to end poverty in California

San Francisco Chronicle

California has the highest rate of poverty in the nation — 20.6 percent. That statistic is true, tragic and shameful. But what is not true is arguments laying blame for our state’s high poverty rate on progressive politicians.


The 1% grabbed 82% of all wealth created in 2017

CNN Money

More than $8 of every $10 of wealth created last year went to the richest 1%. That’s according to a new report from Oxfam International, which estimates that the bottom 50% of the world’s population saw no increase in wealth. Oxfam says the trend shows that the global economy is skewed in favor of the rich, rewarding wealth instead of work.


Tax overhaul will have a limited effect on U.S. economy, Moody’s says


The U.S. tax bill signed into law in December will have a limited effect on the U.S. economy, as companies are unlikely to spend their tax savings on growth initiatives while the tax cut for the wealthy will not trickle down. That’s according to Moody’s Investors Service in a FAQ on the credit impact of the tax bill published Thursday, which warns of a number of negative consequences for federal debt, local governments, utilities and homeowners.


GDP Grew 2.6% at Year End, Extending Strong Stretch

The Wall Street Journal

Eight years into what has been an unexpectedly slow expansion, the U.S. economy appears to have picked up steam.




California Employment Report

California Business Roundtable

Unemployment Rate Improves to 4.3%; Total Employment Gains 38,600


State of the federal workforce? Low


The past year has been a tough one for the federal workforce. There was a hiring freeze at many agencies. For three days earlier this month, there was a government shutdown, leaving many workers to wonder when their next paycheck would arrive.






Governor Jerry Brown Has It All Wrong About California’s Education Funding

Daily Caller

The recent press conference on California Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed 2018-19 budget revealed that the governor wants to increase funding to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), his signature education finance program.


More candidates for state superintendent raise odds of runoff in November


Instead of just two candidates for state superintendent of public instruction, there will be at least five, including a young education consultant with some management experience similar to Marshall Tuck’s, a college instructor who can match Assemblyman Tony Thurmond’s past nonprofit experience counseling low-income students, and an oil industry geologist turned publisher of digital science materials who wants the state to abandon the Common Core standards.


California Child Abuse Case Revives Home-School Regulation Debate


Just over a week after California officials found 13 malnourished siblings allegedly held captive and apparently not missed by schools because they were being home-schooled, home-schooling advocates say they are bracing for calls for stricter oversight of the practice.


Education activist launches new school accountability campaign


As executive director of the Kids Coalition, school choice advocate Ben Austin is developing a campaign to help parents and students improve underperforming schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.


DeVos: ‘Common Core Is Dead’; A Large Online Charter School Is Shut Down


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called herself a lifelong “outsider” in a keynote address this week to the American Enterprise Institute, a leading conservative think tank. She told the audience that national education reform efforts, including No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and the Common Core, “have not worked as hoped.”


Higher Ed:


Students, Gov. Brown urge UC to not hike tuition

Visalia Times-Delta

With the threat of increased tuition costs at campuses looming, students, administrators and California Gov. Jerry Brown urged the University of California governing board to push harder for state funding before approving a second consecutive tuition hike. Their pleas did not fall on deaf ears. On Wednesday, the UC Board of Regents was scheduled to vote on the proposed increase of $342, or 2.7 percent, in annual tuition and fees for the 2018-19 academic year.


UC President Janet Napolitano considers overhauling her office amid political criticism

Los Angeles Times

University of California President Janet Napolitano is considering a potentially sweeping overhaul of her office in the wake of sharp political criticism over its size, cost and budget practices.

See also:

·       Nurses clash with UC leaders over contract proposals Sacramento Bee




Jerry Brown’s Big Idea For Upskilling Workers


This past week, California newspapers trumpeted Governor Jerry Brown’s announcement of a large-scale online community college initiative aimed at achieving these goals




The last chance for California to say no to polystyrene plastic trash this year

Los Angeles Times

Plastic trash is a big problem for the world’s oceans and lakes, and for the creatures that depend on them for life. Happily, the public is starting to wake up to the fact that decades of wanton use of disposable plastic, from Bic lighters to Solo cups, is doing environmental damage that is quickly approaching climate-change levels of concern. Unlike carbon emissions, however, plastic litter is easy to see with the naked eye, making it very difficult to deny its existence.


Trump administration ends EPA clean air policy opposed by fossil fuel companies

CBS News

The Trump administration announced Thursday it is doing away with a decades-old air emissions policy opposed by fossil fuel companies, a move that environmental groups say will result in more pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) said it was withdrawing the “once-in always-in” policy under the Clean Air Act, which dictated how major sources of hazardous air pollutants are regulated.


Can states deliver on climate promises?


One of the great challenges in climate policy remains translation of lofty pledges and proclamations into actual policy that is subsequently launched, proves sustainable over time, and ultimately delivers on its expected performance goals. The two decades following the Kyoto Protocol feature some major achievements in carbon pricing and other mitigation policies. But they are also littered with numerous failures and reversals in the United States and beyond.


This Physics Breakthrough Could Help Save the World


If humans want to avoid boiling the oceans, we’ll have to find ways to use energy more efficiently. This, in turn, requires solving a problem that people don’t typically connect to climate change: the turbulence created when we pump air, water, oil, gas and other substances through countless miles of ducts and pipes.




Fresno’s Health Grade? Failing – But Health Leaders Aim To Change That

Valley Public Radio

A national ranking system has for years given Fresno County’s health a failing grade. At the county’s inaugural “state of the health” breakfast on Friday, health leaders vowed to change that.


When it comes to valley fever, awareness is still foreign among newcomers

Bakersfield Californian

Before walking into the parent resource center at McKinley Elementary School, Classy Gray didn’t know much about valley fever, the insidious respiratory disease that annually infects thousands throughout the southwestern United States. A Los Angeles native, the extent of Gray’s knowledge of the disease, along with many other parents, was that valley fever was something akin to a common cold.


Influenza death toll rises in Stanislaus County. One victim was in his 30s.

Modesto Bee

A flu season that’s considered a danger to the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions claimed the lives of two people in Stanislaus County who were not in vulnerable age groups.

See also:

·       California flu deaths jump from 74 to 97  The Mercury News

·       California, nation’s flu deaths could reach numbers unseen in nearly a decade, health officials say  OCRegister


Opinion: California can’t afford single-payer health care fantasy

The Mercury News

A civil war is brewing within California’s Democratic party. Progressives — led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the frontrunner for governor, and the politically powerful California Nurses Association — plan to fight for a single-payer healthcare system this year. Their more moderate rivals — among them Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon — are pushing back.


Is Smoking Pot While Pregnant Safe For The Baby?


Two-year old Maverick Hawkins sits on a red plastic car in his grandmother’s living room in the picturesque town of Nevada City, Calif., in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. His playpal Delilah Smith, a fellow 2-year old, snacks on hummus and cashews and delights over the sounds of her Princess Peppa stuffie.


Woman Seeks Help for Post-Partum Depression. A Nurse Calls the Cops.


With her first daughter, everything was fine. But four months after having her second, Jessica Porten started feeling really irritable. Little things would annoy her, like the baby’s glider chair.


Here’s how to tell the difference between the flu and the common cold

The Fresno Bee

With 37 children nationwide dying from the flu this season as of Friday — including a seventh-grader in Palm Beach County who died Tuesday after his family thought he had a common cold — medical experts are advising parents to pay close attention to their child’s symptoms and to learn the difference between the flu and the common cold.




Are 55 percent of immigrants in California on welfare?


Former Trump Hispanic advisory council president Steve Cortes used a questionable statistic to portray Californian immigrants as a drain on government funds. “We have right now, and this is not my talking point, per The L.A. Times, in the state of California, 55 percent of all immigrants are on public assistance,” Cortes said on CNN’s Erin Burnett Outfront. “Let’s start doing it right,” Cortes continued. “Merit based. Control the border, allow the DACA people to stay. There is a reasonable compromise here.”


What limiting legal immigration would do to our economy


The high-profile political battles over immigration have focused extensively on a border wall and the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  program, designed to protect unauthorized immigrants who entered the country as children from deportation. But flying under much of the public radar is the contentious debate over legal immigration. And there’s a lot at stake.




The Orange County Register

For generations, California has offered its people an opportunity to own a home, start a business, and move up, whether someone came from Brooklyn, east Texas, Morelos or Taipei. That deal is still desired by most, but in a state that increasingly sees such activities as socially regressive and environmentally disastrous.


California tech executives back bill to increase homebuilding near transit

Los Angeles Times

More than 120 top executives of California tech companies and venture capital firms are supporting high-profile state legislation aimed at dramatically increasing housing production. The executives, including Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Logan Green of Lyft, Jeremy Stoppelman of Yelp, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Reid Hoffman, who co-founded LinkedIn, said that the state’s housing crisis makes it hard to recruit and retain employees and is pushing tech firms to relocate out of the state.


L.A. homeless crisis grows despite political promises, many speeches and millions of dollars. How do we fix this?

Los Angeles Times

They’re part of the Los Angeles streetscape, as familiar as the swaying palm trees and idling traffic, living under freeways, alongside riverbeds and on canyon hillsides. The mentally ill, the drug addicts, the economically disadvantaged, many with their life belongings in a backpack or shopping cart.




Here’s what this year’s tax changes mean for 4 California households

89.3 KPCC

It’s that time of year. Though April 15 may seem far in the future, a W2 arriving in the mail signals it’s time to start thinking about taxes.


With pension costs skyrocketing, Modesto investigates ways to keep services running

The Modesto Bee

Modesto expects in a decade the pension costs for its workers and retirees will hit a high of $54.6 million. That’s about double the current cost and unless the city can mitigate that increase, it will have less money to maintain its parks, hire police officers and for other basics.


Why $1.4 million payouts top annual pension list


A half-dozen Los Angeles police and firefighters received pension payouts of $1 million or more in 2016 — two reaching $1.4 million, according to Transparent California, a watchdog database listing individual state and local government employee salaries and pensions.


Business Threading the Needle on Tax Issues

Fox and Hounds Daily

In his State of the State speech, Gov. Jerry Brown raised the battle flag against an initiative effort to repeal the gas tax he championed. Big business likely will join Brown’s side in that fight—while opposing all taxes directed squarely at business on the same ballot.

New Tax Withholding Tables Are a Down Payment on Big Middle Class Tax Cuts


The new IRS payroll withholding tables are out, and they are predictably being downplayed by the same mainstream media that didn’t want to talk about tax relief for the middle class in the Congressional debate over the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In fact, the new withholding tables are an immediate pay hike for the middle class, and portend even bigger refunds to come.




Valley ACE trains could be making a new stop in Stanislaus County

Modesto Bee

People can share thoughts on the idea of ACE trains carrying riders from places like Modesto and Merced to Bay Area jobs and entertainment.


California will put 5 million electric cars on the road by 2030, Gov. Jerry Brown says

Los Angeles Times

California Gov. Jerry Brown wants to put 5 million electric cars on the state’s roads by 2030. Brown announced the new goal in his State of the State speech this week, and formalized the target in an executive order issued Friday. “This executive order aims to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California,” Brown said in a statement.

See also:

·       Gov. Brown wants 5 million electric cars on California’s roads by 2030 89.3 KPCC

·       Automakers and Policymakers May Be on a Path to Electric Vehicles; Consumers Aren’t ITS UC Davis


Stuck in traffic? Trucks are major cause of bottlenecks on California freeways, report finds

Los Angeles Times

A report released Thursday found that Los Angeles County is home to two of the country’s top 15 truck bottlenecks.

According to the study by the American Transportation Research Institute, seven of the nation’s 65 worst truck bottlenecks are in California.


How does California rate overall for driving?

The Modesto Bee

First, the good news. A new study on the best and worst states to drive in says California has the most auto-repair shops per capita. Woohoo! We also have the most car washes per capita. And in a category good for driving but generally regarded as pretty bad otherwise, the Golden State has the fewest days of precipitation.




Temperance Flat dam gets a bad grade

The Fresno Bee

An application for $1 billion of state bond money to build Temperance Flat dam east of Fresno scored a dismal zero from the California Water Commission on the cost-benefit ratio, potentially jeopardizing its construction. Supporters of the dam expressed shock and dismay and are blaming the commission staff for the low score. They’re got company.


Cost of crisis at tallest US dam reaches $870M in California

Washington Post

The costs of dealing with last year’s near-disaster at the nation’s tallest dam have reached $870 million, California officials said Friday. The figure for emergency response and repairs following the crisis at Northern California’s Oroville Dam should stand, said Erin Mellon, spokeswoman for the state Department of Water Resources. The total was pegged at $660 million in October.

See also

·       Oroville: Cost of crisis at tallest U.S. dam reaches $870M in California  NBC News




Oral storytellers: Students participate in Kern County Oral Language Festival

Bakersfield Californian

Parents are used to telling and acting out stories for their children, but on Saturday, it was children that got to tell the stories. Kern County students showed off their storytelling capabilities at the county Oral Language Festival on Saturday at Stonecreek Junior High School. Hundreds of students from fourth through eighth grade were tasked with presenting an interpretation of a literary work in an effort to test their reading comprehension and interpretation skills. The students acted out scenes from their selected work.




Photographer’s work above Fresno takes breath away. Just like air district

Fresno Bee

Thumbs up to Fresno photographer Brian Diener, film major at Cal State Northridge, for his spectacular aerial photos of Fresno. The downtown shots are especially good. He flew around the city just after sunset last Saturday. Diener took the photos around 5:45 p.m., shot through the backseat window of a propeller plane with his Canon S4 (a professional-grade camera that cost about $1,500 a couple years ago).


Modesto has a chronic sickness; can we find a cure?

Modesto Bee

Just how sick is the city of Modesto? Let’s review the symptoms: First is the $16 million in unauthorized spending. It began when a city revealed a contract for street repairs had been overspent. Then the number grew to nine. Now, we’re told there are 45 similarly overspent contracts due to precious little oversight and, apparently, no accountability.


Bipartisanship is really Brown’s greatest legacy

Modesto Bee

There’s never been a governor quite like Jerry Brown, and there’s not likely to be another. He’s the only California governor ever to serve four terms, requiring 16 State of the State addresses. So we don’t blame him for dwelling on his accomplishments Thursday.


Don’t give Southern California control of Delta water

Mercury News

Seven years into Jerry Brown’s final tour as governor, his promise to create a reliable water delivery system that protects the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is in shambles. His twin-tunnel fixation was ill-conceived and, for Northern California at least, unacceptable, and he is not giving up.


A natural gas crisis has put California at an energy crossroads

Los Angeles Times

For a few days earlier this winter, it looked like Los Angeles County might run out of natural gas. Even though the country is swimming in natural gas reserves, half the gas pipelines serving the county were shut down (one has since reopened). Meanwhile, the Aliso Canyon storage facility near Porter Ranch has been operating at reduced capacity ever since the massive methane leak there two years ago. The county was one cold snap away from service interruptions.


National School Choice Week ends, but school choice continues in California


With the close of National School Choice Week, it is worth reflecting on the great strides made in school choice in California over the past year and some of the challenges. School choice, fundamentally, is about giving parents the ability to choose the best educational options for their children. Rather than restricting choices to traditional public schools, school choice is about opening options beyond traditional public schools, including charter schools, magnet schools and private schools.


California’s bullet train is running off track. A state audit could keep it from derailing

The San Diego Union-Tribune

After years of mismanagement, missteps and bad luck that delayed and inflated the cost of California’s bullet train, officials adopted a plan two years ago that they promised would get high-speed trains zipping between San Jose and the Central Valley by 2025. Construction has ramped up since then, with hundreds of workers at more than a dozen sites in the Fresno area building viaducts, underpasses and grade crossings.



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