January 31, 2018




Local/Regional Politics:


Better air, more jobs seen with $70M climate grant given to Fresno

Fresno Bee

A new Fresno City College satellite campus in southwest Fresno is the flagship project in a package of plans that won a $70 million grant from the California Strategic Growth Council on Tuesday. The council awarded three grants amounting to $140 million from the Transformative Climate Communities program for disadvantaged communities. The money comes from cap-and-trade funds paid by companies into California’s greenhouse gas-reduction program for air pollution credits to offset their own emissions.


Legislature approves first state audit of bullet train project since 2012

Los Angeles Times

After years of mounting delays and cost increases, the first formal state audit of the California bullet train project was authorized Tuesday by the legislature’s joint audit committee.

See also:

·       California lawmakers seek bullet train audit as cost rise to $65 billion Mercury News

·       Visionary High-speed rail effort deserves first-class audit  The Fresno Bee


Assemblyman Vince Fong promises to continue working to build strong state-federal relationship


Assemblyman Vince Fong released a statement on Tuesday regarding the State of the Union Address.


Secret Nunes Memo Hints at a New Republican Target: Rod Rosenstein

The New York Times

A secret, highly contentious Republican memo reveals that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein approved an application to extend surveillance of a former Trump campaign associate shortly after taking office last spring, according to three people familiar with it. The renewal shows that the Justice Department under President Trump saw reason to believe that the associate, Carter Page, was acting as a Russian agent.

See also:

·       ‘#ReleaseTheMemo’ is nothing but a hyperpartisan attempt to discredit Mueller Washington Post

·       The House (Nunes) Memo, the FBI and FISA WSJ

·       FBI chief told White House not to release Nunes memo: reportThe Hill

·       Trump caught on camera saying he’s ‘100 percent’ going to release GOP memo The Sacramento Bee


Nunesmemo.com redirects to Nunes challenger’s campaign page


A website titled after a controversial House Intelligence Committee memo written by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) now redirects to the homepage for his Democratic challenger’s campaign. It was not immediately clear who created the redirect to Democrat Andrew Janz’s campaign website. The redirect was first noticed Tuesdayafternoon. The nunesmemo.com domain name was purchased privately on Jan. 20.


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

Bakersfield Californian

When President Trump uttered those now-infamous words about Haiti and the whole of Africa at a White House meeting of legislators a couple of weeks ago, the reaction was swift. Swift and furious in some cases, swift and skeptical in others. Some members of Congress, Republicans included, declared the president’s language and attitude toward immigrants from certain nations — Norway not among them — as unacceptable; others denied having heard it or defended the sentiment behind it.


Why California Republicans are paying Kevin McCarthy’s wife

Sacramento Bee

Judy McCarthy, wife of the state’s highest-ranking Republican, has spent more than three years working full time for the California Republican Party, financial records show. McCarthy, who is married to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, has earned nearly $160,000 since mid-2014 working on the state party’s donor programs.


Congressman David Valadao: each topic mentioned by the President affects the Central Valley


Congressman David Valadao attended the President’s first State of the Union Address and released a statement saying that everything mentioned by the president tonight had “major ramifications on the Central Valley.”


ACLU sues Bakersfield police over arrest of black passenger in car stopped for dangling air freshener

Los Angeles Times

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Bakersfield Police Department, claiming its officers unlawfully jailed a black man after they stopped the car he was riding in because the vehicle had an air freshener dangling from its rear view mirror. The March 17 arrest of Robert Mitchell occurred when police officers demanded the identity of every person in the vehicle and Mitchell initially balked at the request.


Fitzgerald: Stumbling toward a solution for Swenson

Stockton Record

I squeezed into Sierra Middle School’s gym Monday night for the packed and unruly meeting over what to do — correction, what city officials better not do — with Swenson Golf Course.


Merced County was on the move (in the right direction) in 2017

Merced Sun-Star

As we take on a new year of opportunities and challenges, I’d like to take a moment to identify some of what we’ve accomplished in Merced County in 2017. There has been progress in economic development, transportation and employment. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we built momentum in 2017 to carry us into 2018.


2 new flu deaths in Tulare County; illness has claimed 4 there this season

Fresno Bee

Tulare County said two more women have died from flu-related infections, bringing to four the number of women in the county who have died this year from a severe flu that is widespread nationwide. Fresno and Kings counties have each had one flu-related death. Statewide, at least 97 people in California have died of flu complications thus far this season. Flu deaths of people age 65 and older are not reported.


Legislators approve audit of Tulare hospital finances

Visalia Times-Delta

A senator’s request to complete a financial audit of Tulare Local Health Care District’s 2005 General Obligation Bond was approved by legislatures on Wednesday.


Clovis City council remembers Harry Armstrong

Clovis Roundup

As a council member from the 1970s up until 2016, Harry Armstrong made a lasting impact on the city of Clovis as its longstanding policymaker. The influence he had and his legacy will continue to live on in the current council members who he had a tremendous effect on. At a special city council meeting held Jan. 23, the council began with a moment of silence before each member on the dais recounted their fondest memories of the late and great Armstrong.


Clovis Unified awarded ‘Best of the Best’ for health benefits

Clovis Roundup

Clovis Unified School District was recently recognized by Gallagher Benefit Services, which provides the district’s health benefit plan, for its excellence in mitigating rising health care costs and human resources. Out of 4,000 employers of its size nationwide, the district was one of 28 analyzed by a Gallagher intensive survey to receive the high “Best of the Best” recognition, and one of only two employers on the West Coast to win the honor.


Commentary: How a Strong Workforce Benefits Everyone, Fuels Local Economies


A strong workforce is an issue that pulls together the right, left and everyone in between. It is both a moral and economic imperative. While students, employers and educators may have different perspectives, there is growing unity about what needs to be done to lift Californians into higher-wage jobs and, by doing so, enable economic prosperity for citizens.


State Politics:


In end game, Brown reverts to the conventional

Capitol Weekly

Jerry Brown professes to not be interested in legacies.  Yet his 16th and final state-of-the-state speech last week was all about a legacy – his own. The governor talked about how dire the state’s fiscal situation was before he became governor. Then he talked about how good things are now that he’s been in charge for the last seven years.


Walters: Jerry Brown’s two massive public works projects are foundering

The Mercury News

During his second governorship, Jerry Brown has frequently touted big public-works projects as the mark of a great society — a marked change from his first stint four decades ago, when “small is beautiful” and “lower your expectations” were his oft-voiced themes.


Democrats debate — but don’t disagree — on abortion rights 

San Francisco Chronicle

On Tuesday night, something odd happened at a debate of gubernatorial candidates in San Francisco: They didn’t disagree on anything.

See also:

·       Democratic candidates for California governor in perfect harmony at debate over abortion rights  Los Angeles Times


Governor candidate Chiang urges creating a public bank for pot businesses


State Treasurer John Chiang laid out a plan Tuesday to create a public bank for marijuana merchants in open defiance of what he called an “out of step” Trump administration fixing to take the hose to California’s sizzling new herbal trade.Chiang said he and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra have initiated “a methodical and disciplined” cost-benefit analysis to determine whether a public bank would work in California amid the threat of a federal crackdown.

See also:

·       California’s treasurer and attorney general move on plan to create public bank for pot businesses The Sacramento Bee

·       State treasurer, attorney general team up to explore creating California pot bank  Los Angeles Times


California AG blows the whistle on the paint industry’s deceptive ballot measure

Los Angeles Times

Shortly after getting thrown for a loss by a California appeals court, three paint companies launched an attempted end run around a judgment that could cost them hundreds of millions of dollars: They filed an initiative for the November ballot that would nullify the judgment and invalidate the legal theory on which it was based.


Caught in the middle: California businesses face conflicting immigration laws


Growing tension between California and the federal government over immigration has business owners in the crosshairs, worried about the potential effect on their enterprises and unsure which laws they should follow. Those in immigrant-dependent industries, such as hospitality and agriculture, say conflicting messages from the state, with its new laws to protect undocumented residents, and the federal government, which is cracking down on people in the U.S. illegally, puts them in an especially tough spot.


California Senate Passes Tax Workaround Bill

Wall Street Journal

California’s attempt at circumventing a key piece of President Donald Trump’s tax plan cleared its first major hurdle Tuesday, when the state Senate approved legislation allowing residents to pay taxes through a federally deductible, state-run charity.

See also:

·       California Senate passes bill to work around tax overhaul San Francisco Chronicle

·       California’s plot to avoid the new tax cap wins key vote The Mercury News


California would require rules on social media ‘bots’ under new legislation

Los Angeles Times

In the wake of intensifying criticism over the growing number of automated “bot” accounts on social media, a California assemblyman wants the state to require these accounts be easily identified and ultimately linked to a human user. The bill introduced on Monday by Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) would require a disclaimer to be displayed for automated accounts on sites such as Facebook or Twitter.


California’s new lethal injection plan already faces hurdles: Drugs barred from import or execution use

Los Angeles Times

California moved a step closer to resuming lethal injections this week but still faces significant hurdles before inmates can be executed.


State Assembly Rejects Bill to Increase Pesticide Fines


Legislation that would expand the enforcement power of California’s pesticide regulator and increase penalties for farming companies that violate the state’s agricultural chemical laws failed in the state Assembly late Monday.


Video: Legislative Leaders Address Sexual Misconduct

Public Policy Institute of California

When Anthony Rendon was asked to name the biggest issues for the governor and state legislature to address this year, he prefaced his answer with a look back. “Last year was a banner year,” the California assembly speaker said, citing infrastructure, housing, and climate change efforts. Then he added a caveat:“Some of that was obscured—and rightly so—by the sexual harassment crises that developed in the fall. This year we have to start with that.”


Federal Politics:


Full text of President Trump’s State of the Union address


Read the full text of President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address as provided by the White House

See also:

·       The State of the Union transcript, annotated Los Angeles Times

·       The State of the Union in Eight Charts Roll Call

·       Trump to call for ‘new American moment’ in national addressSacramento Bee

·       Trump cites achievements, calls for unity in 1st State of the Union Brookings

·       Trump State of the Union Is a Success National Review

·       Trump’s Strong Speech National Review

·       Trump Basks in the Economy’s Many Bright Spots, and Even a Dim One Bloomberg

·       Less than half of State of the Union watchers have very positive view of Trump address CNN

·       Viewers approve of Trump’s first State of the Union address – CBS News poll CBS News

·       Local leaders react to State of the Union address Bakersfield Californian

·       State of the Union: Who did Trump anger most? The Fresno Bee

·       State of the Union analysis: Trump’s speech was remarkable for what he didn’t say Visalia Times-Delta

·       Trump’s Numbers FactCheck.org

·       CNN’s Reality Check Team vets Trump’s State of the Union CNN Politics

·       AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s State of the Union stretches on taxes, energy ABC30

·       Fact check: What Trump got wrong in his State of the Union address Los Angeles Times

·       Reality Check: Trump’s State of the Union Vision Blurred By Congress Roll Call

·       Where’s the money behind President Trump’s infrastructure plan? Marketplace