July 10, 2017



More Democrats stepping forward to unseat Denham

The Turlock Journal

Democratic challengers have already lined up to oppose Congressman Jeff Denham in 2018 and several more have recently tossed their hats into the ring, ensuring a contentious path to the primary election as campaigns begin to heat up.


California Republicans sweat Trump effect


Republicans running for governor in the Democratic stronghold of California face a myriad of challenges. One of the them is how to handle the issue of Donald Trump.


Why Dianne Feinstein should run again

Sacramento Bee

The only thing more shocking to the body politic than the results of the presidential election has been the turmoil and constant specter of crisis and uncertainty that has followed.


Where’s Jimmy Gomez?

Sacramento Bee

More than a month after he won a special election to represent California 34th Congressional District, today is technically Rep.-elect Jimmy Gomez’s last day serving in the Assembly.


Fox: Faulconer Out of Gov. Race; Would Issa Come In?

Fox and Hounds Daily

Pure political “Chaos Theory” conjecture here, but could San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s decision not to pursue the governor’s job open the door for Congressman Darrell Issa to make a bid?


You may not have heard of these California jobs, but you’ll be voting on them

Los Angeles Times

While a bevy of political hopefuls have jumped into the 2018 races for governor and lieutenant governor, most of California’s other premiere statewide political posts aren’t exactly drawing a crowd.  Aside from governor, California has seven constitutional officers chosen by the statewide electorate — all of which will be on the 2018 ballot.


California Democrats plunge into ‘civil war’


Long-standing tensions between the Democratic Party’s moderate and liberal wings have ignited in California, where progressive activists are redirecting their anger over Donald Trump and congressional Republicans toward Democratic leaders at home.


California lawmakers want data on lobbyists’ race, sexual orientation

Sacramento Bee

The heads of six caucuses in the California Legislature are asking lobbying firms to provide them with demographic data – including race, ethnicity, gender and openly gay or lesbian orientation – on their employees.


America’s Ignorance — Historical Literacy Lacking

National Review

The problem is that ignorance, being the absence of knowledge, is a vacuum, and nature abhors a vacuum. “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge,” Daniel Boorstin, once noted.





Trump travel ban ensnares man who put his life on the line for Americans

Fresno Bee

On Thursday, two days after we celebrated the birth of our country and our freedom, President Donald Trump’s ill-considered refugee ban went into full effect. One of the people affected is Laith Hammoudi, an Iraqi native who worked as a journalist and translator for McClatchy reporters covering the war. A resettlement agency is working to help Hammoudi emigrate to the United States. Because he has no relatives here, his case is complicated.

Trump’s voter fraud panel is as legitimate as his ‘birther’ crusade

Fresno Bee

There’s bipartisan blowback against giving detailed voter information to President Donald Trump’s new voter fraud commission – and for many very good reasons.

So far, 45 states and counting have rejected at least part of the data request, or are refusing to comply altogether with this Orwellian overreach.


Jerry Brown should pay close attention to business end of going ‘green’

Fresno Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement that he will host the world’s climate leaders in San Francisco was well-timed. Ensuring he will remain relevant as his days in office come to an end, the event will take place in September 2018, at the height of the campaign to replace him.  But for all the acclaim that Brown receives internationally for his leadership in the fight against climate change, the governor has work to do in Sacramento to cement his environmentalist legacy.


Thumbs up, thumbs down

Fresno Bee

Thumbs up to the new Miss California Jillian Smith, competing as Miss Yosemite Valley. One of seven granddaughters who have competed in Miss America qualifying events, she is the first to go to the national pageant. That’s a lot of sequins and crystals. A senior at Cal Poly, she is a broadcast journalism major.


Democratic legislators take bold stands, except when they don’t

Sacramento Bee

California’s Legislature, it’s said, is about as liberal as can be.

With supermajorities of Democrats in both houses, legislators definitely go out of their way to defy President Donald Trump, especially on immigration issues. On business issues, however, lawmakers are far less adventuresome.


Editorial: Labor remains biggest obstacle to state campaign reform

East Bay Times

It turns out, perhaps not surprisingly, that organized labor presents the biggest obstacle to meaningful campaign disclosure reform in California.

For years now, transparency advocates have pushed for change to the state’s Political Reform Act that would lift the veil on laundered campaign contributions.






Hanford legalizes marijuana cultivation, dispensaries a no-go.

Fresno Bee

The Hanford City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to allow the commercial cultivation of marijuana, becoming the first major population hub in the central San Joaquin Valley to embrace cannabis after California voters approved its legalization in November.


It’s the cream of the local crop at Fresno Food Expo


While companies from around the globe descend on New York to set national trends, the San Joaquin Valley has its own gathering of what’s up and coming in local foods. For the seventh year, this two-day event serves as the nation’s largest and only regional food show. More than 150 valley food growers, producers, brewers and winemakers — including our own Kern Ridge Growers — are expected at the expo on July 26 and 27, which also draws nearly 1,000 local, regional, national and international buyers.


Thousands of cows die in California heat wave; disposing them becomes a problem

Los Angeles Times

A heat wave has caused an increase in cattle deaths in recent weeks, prompting officials to take emergency actions.  In the San Joaquin Valley, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on Thursday extended a local state of emergency originally declared June 30 because of increased livestock deaths that resulted from a heat wave, the Porterville Recorder reported.



Fiery rhetoric from California to the feds over $18 million debt

Fresno Bee / Los Angeles Times / AP

California’s emergency services director fired off a sharply worded letter to the U.S. Forest Service this week that said the agency had stiffed local governments $18 million for fighting wildfires on federal lands last year and raised the prospect the state may stop protecting national forests during blazes.


Alamo Fire grows to 24,000 acres, at 10 percent containment

The Fresno Bee

It’s the largest fire currently burning in California. The Whittier Fire in Santa Barbara County is the third-largest as of Sunday morning.  See also, Fire Burns 5,600 Acres; State Of Local Emergency Declared For Butte County  capradio.org


Hundreds of illegal fireworks reports on the Fourth

The Fresno Bee

The Fresno Police Department logged 255 phone calls from residents who reported illegal fireworks going off in their neighborhood.

Officials say the blaze is 25 percent contained.


A new bill would allow some former criminals to become foster parents

89.3 KPCC

A bill that would make it easier for some people with criminal histories to become foster parents is making its way through the California legislature.  Senate Bill 213 is part of a broader effort to reduce the use of group homes for foster kids and place more with relatives. The bill passed the senate and heads to the Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday.


Los Angeles is the hate-crime leader in California. 17 counties didn’t report any

Sacramento Bee

When it comes to hate, as goes Los Angeles, so goes California?  Hate crime reports in the city of 4 million represented nearly a quarter of all reported hate crimes in the state last year, according to the state Department of Justice’s latest tally. About one-third of the 11 percent increase in California hate crimes from 2015 to 2016 came in the city.


Grand jury says fire dispatch should consolidate: ‘Our citizens deserve better’

Stockton Record

Saying that egos and politics are getting in the way of public safety, the San Joaquin County civil grand jury this week called for the consolidation of two separate emergency fire dispatch centers.

Most local fire agencies support having just one dispatch center, the grand jury said.


LOIS HENRY: Acquittal of man accused of hurting his son reveals questions about the science behind “shaken baby …

The Bakersfield Californian

Jesus Flores’ story is one that should send a shiver down all our spines.  It’s also a tale that opens a door on issues most of us would probably rather leave closed. But we’ll get to that in a second. On May 21, 2015, Flores, then 19, and his girlfriend, Sara Guzman, then 18, panicked when their 2-month-old son, Mason, suddenly went limp and stopped breathing. Mason was rushed to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, then taken to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera. The diagnosis was a subdural hematoma, bleeding on the brain.

Judge approves $142-million class-action settlement in Wells Fargo sham accounts scandal 

Los Angeles Times

Wells Fargo & Co. has received preliminary approval for its proposed $142-million class-action settlement to compensate possibly millions of customers who had unauthorized accounts opened in their name.




Walters: California faces higher education crisis, but politicians dither

Fresno Bee (blog) / CALmatters

“In 2030, if current trends persist, 38 percent of jobs will require at least a bachelor’s degree,” PPIC said. “But population and education trends suggest that only 33 percent of working-age adults in California will have bachelor’s degrees by 2030 – a shortfall of 1.1 million college graduates.”


California lawmakers chip away at state’s college affordability crisis

The Bakersfield Californian

California’s economy is one of the world’s largest, and according to a new report, the state needs 1 million more workers with bachelor’s degrees by 2030 to keep up with economic demand.  The Public Policy Institute of California researchers found that more college graduates would mean a greater percentage of California workers earning higher salaries, more tax revenue for the state and waning desire for safety net assistance. But the state will never get there unless students can afford those increasingly expensive degrees.  See also,  Cal State Apply -One application for all CSU campuses  Compare all 23 schools by size, location, activities and other criteria to find the campus that’s the perfect fit for you.


UC Increases Number of Out-Of-State Freshmen Offered Admission For Fall

Capital Public Radio News

The University of California increased the number of out-of-state freshmen it offered admission to this fall, while offering slightly fewer freshman spots to California residents.

Some state lawmakers have criticized UC leaders for not prioritizing California residents enough.


How much do for-profit colleges rely on federal funds?

Brookings Institution

All of the biggest for-profit colleges get at least 70% of their revenue from the federal govt.


The Great California Classroom Robbery

Fox and Hounds Daily

Despite historic revenue gains, California’s public schools are in financial trouble. While California’s public schools often suffer financial distress during recessions, their current plight is alarmingly taking place during an economic recovery and after a large tax increase. The principal cause is exploding spending on pension and retiree health care obligations.


Author strips key parts of bill requiring more transparency in school spending


The author of legislation that would have required school districts to detail how much state funding they give to each school has stripped that language from the bill.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, agreed to change Assembly Bill 1321 amid increased resistance from groups representing districts and a potential veto by Gov. Jerry Brown.


For teachers, deeper learning is about letting go

Hewlett Foundation

Welcome to a deeper learning classroom. The students were moving at their own pace, collaborating with each other, and working through problems.




Jerry Brown, a global climate leader, fights to reach deal at home

The Mercury News

As Gov. Jerry Brown pushes an international climate-change agenda, he faces a crucial test at home: ensuring that California’s signature program to tackle global warming survives into the next decade.  See also, Jerry Brown Wants To Bring The World To San Francisco — Even If His House Is Not In Order    Whalen – Forbes


Trump administration may let California keep emissions standards

San Francisco Chronicle

The Trump administration may be quietly conceding defeat to California on car tailpipe emissions, the biggest battleground in the state’s showdown with President Trump over climate change.


There is no support to shrink the Giant Sequoia National Monument

SF Chronicle

I am grateful for The Chronicle’s coverage of political threats to California’s iconic Giant Sequoia National Monument, but I’d like to dispel a couple of misconceptions.


Here’s how Jimmy Gomez’s new job makes the state’s climate change fight more difficult

Los Angeles Times

A breakneck effort to extend the life of cap and trade, California’s signature program to combat climate change, just got more difficult — thanks to one assemblyman starting his new job.


Record number of weather disasters

Business Insider

New data out Friday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that there have been nine extreme weather events – each racking up more than $1 billion in losses – during the first half of 2017.  An average year between 1980 and 2016 had just 5.5 major events, after adjusting for inflation. That means we’ve already racked up more than a year’s worth of weather disasters in 2017 – the second-fastest pace in history.




Community weighs in on Senate health care bill

Hanford Sentinel

Health care is a hot-button issue, and Kings County residents have no shortage of opinions regarding what repealing and replacing Obamacare would do to the community.


Fact-checking claims by Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein on GOP health bill


Politicians on both sides of the aisle have panned the Senate Republican health care plan for its deep cuts to Medicaid and for imposing higher costs on older residents. Critics have also said the bill would loosen protections for individuals suffering from pre-existing conditions.


Study: ObamaCare market ‘stabilizing,’ not collapsing

The Hill

The study from the Kaiser Family Foundation contrasts with Republican arguments that ObamaCare markets are in a “death spiral” and “collapsing.”  “Early results from 2017 suggest the individual market is stabilizing and insurers in this market are regaining profitability,” the study finds. “Insurer financial results show no sign of a market collapse.”


Lawsuit challenges a California home care union


In August of last year, Marie DaRe, a retired Garden Grove nurse who cares for her neurologically-impaired brother, joined a union that represents homecare workers for the elderly and disabled. But a month later, after watching television programs that highlighted organized labor’s political spending, DaRe, 68, changed her mind. Now she says, the United Domestic Workers, which handles collective bargaining for 97,000 California caregivers, won’t let her opt out. And the state, which pays homecare workers through Medi-Cal, still deducts $29.50 in monthly fees from her paycheck.




In this corner: CA v. Trump on Immigration


California has approved a plan to spend $1 million to review immigration detention centers and local holding centers that house undocumented immigrants for the federal government and prohibits local jurisdictions from expanding their holding contracts or starting new agreements with federal immigration agencies.


Rent increases, evictions up in immigrant communities under Trump, housing lawyers say 

Sacramento Bee

Even before Donald Trump’s presidency, landlords across California were capitalizing on the state’s tight housing market by jacking up rent, delaying costly health and safety repairs and evicting tenants to move in higher-income renters, housing attorneys say. But since Trump took office, they say, tenant harassment, intimidation and discrimination have gotten worse – especially in immigrant communities throughout California, from Los Angeles and the Central Valley to the Bay Area and Sacramento.




Sacramento could see more technology companies, report says

The Sacramento Bee

recent report from professional services firm JLL said that Sacramento could become an attractive option for technology companies due to its high concentration of computer programmers and lower cost of living.


Raising the minimum wage is the perfect way to kill the summer job


Psychologists, educators and economists all talk about the benefits of summer jobs in the context of acquiring “life skills.”


Fast food CEO says minimum wage increase boost business


Phelps worried increasing wages for his employees would cut into profits and that if he raised prices to compensate, fewer people would come eat and sales would drop. But something else happened entirely. Sales at his California stores immediately shot up.


Are apprenticeships finally ready to take off in America?


Imagine if worker education issues, such as apprenticeships and job retraining, received anywhere near the attention of “pro-growth” policies such as tax cuts or energy deregulation. Not only might there a better policy framework in place, but also more cultural acceptance of practical skills education vs. “college for all.”


Skills-oriented apprenticeship can trump bachelor’s-or-bust


Earlier this month, President Trump signed an executive order to double the amount of funding for apprenticeship programs, up to nearly $200 million. The goal is, in Trump’s words, “training people to have great jobs and high paying jobs.” in survey after survey, college students make it clear that they are seeking higher wages and better career prospects in return for their investment.


George Will: Millennials & Poverty — Success Sequence Must Be Followed

National Review

Following the success sequence — getting an education, a job, and a spouse before begetting children — acts as insurance against poverty.




Skelton: AT&T and Verizon want free rein to put new wireless transmitters in your neighborhood. Here’s why that’s a bad idea

Los Angeles Times

There’s a classic brawl raging in the California Legislature between a bankrolling private interest and several toothless local governments over wireless expansion.  It’s a fight being waged essentially under the radar. This subject isn’t sexy like a gas-tax increase, universal healthcare or a so-called “sanctuary state” for immigrants here illegally. So it hasn’t gotten much public attention.  That’s when special interests tend to win.


Price of rent is going up across the nation and in Fresno


The price of renting an apartment is up across the country including here in Fresno.  According to online service Apartment List, prices went up five and a half percent from last year. Right now the average cost of a one bedroom in Fresno is $800. For a two bedroom the average cost is $1,000.


CA Senate Approves Real Estate Fees to Fund Affordable Housing


The Calif. State Senate has approved a new fee on real estate transactions, in an attempt to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable housing.  It calls for a $75 fee on documents such as deeds and notices, with a $225 cap per transaction.


Why are not enough homes are getting built? Your questions on California’s failed housing supply law

LA Times

Times readers had great questions in response to our deep dive into California’s housing supply law.  They wanted to know why costs are still rising if some cities are meeting their housing goals, the causes of the housing shortage, whether new home building only benefits affluent people and why the state is involved in local development decisions at all.


California lawmakers have tried for 50 years to fix the state’s housing crisis. Here’s why they’ve failed

Los Angeles Times

Everyone knows, Perez told the crowd at a 2015 City Council meeting, that the law is a failure. It requires cities and counties to develop plans every eight years for new home building in their communities. After more than a year of work and spending nearly $50,000, Foster City had an 87-page housing plan that proposed hundreds of new homes, mapped where they would go and detailed the many ways the city could help make the construction happen. But a crucial element was missing: Foster City was never going to approve all the building called for in the voluminous proposal, Perez said.


The tiny home movement is catching on in Palm Springs

Desert Sun

If there’s one thing the tiny home reality shows have preached is that you don’t need a big house to live large.


A public housing project where healthy living is the foundation

PBS NewsHour

In downtown Denver, a recently built public housing project is designed to foster healthy living, with access to nutritious food, access to doctors and ease of exercise.

Black homeowners struggle as US housing market recovers 


Yul Dorn and his wife raised their son and daughter in a three-bedroom home crammed with family photos, one they bought in a historically African-American neighborhood in San Francisco more than two decades ago. Today, the couple is living in a motel after they were evicted last year, having lost a foreclosure battle. A second home they inherited is also in default.


Fitzgerald: No place to go but the street – recordnet.com

Stockton Record

As of today, Stacey Franco is kicked out of her home.

The 62-year old woman, who lived in a two-bedroom cottage on East Adams Street all her life, and her disabled man-friend were foreclosed upon. And evicted. They are staying at a Motel 6.




‘We’re open and we welcome you’: Chavez Library kicks off Saturday hours

Stockton Record

Thanks to voters’ approval in November of a quarter-cent Measure M sales tax for library and recreation services,…

Enacted budget “first look”: higher education, criminal justice sections

California Budget & Policy Center

Last Friday, the California Budget & Policy Center released our “first look” at the enacted state budget package for 2017-18 (read the report). This analysis has now been updated to include four additional sections.


California: Golden No More

Investors Business Daily

California 2.0 has seen the unfortunate fall into the disastrous consequences of big-government statism, corrupt one-party politics, and failed statesmanship. Middle-class families continue to flee from the highest tax rates in the country.


The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise


It was its jut-jawed conservatism that not that long ago made the city’s local government a brief national fixation. During the recession, like nearly every other city in America, Colorado Springs’ revenue—heavily dependent on sales tax—plunged. Faced with massive shortfalls, the city’s leaders began slashing.


Myers: Political Road Map: Here’s how aging baby boomers will change the impact of Prop. 13

Los Angeles Times

America’s annual display of pyrotechnics has come and gone, but there’s an easy way to see political fireworks in California any time of the year: just strike up a discussion about the legacy of the state’s property tax revolt, Proposition 13.


Old cause of pension debt gets new attention 


CalPERS may soon report investment earnings for the fiscal year ending June 30 that are near or even above its long-term target of 7 percent, up from a return of 0.61 percent the previous year. But the nation’s largest public pension system will still be seriously underfunded.




Caltrans will close lanes through summer on Highway 50 bridge to redo failed pavement fix

Sacramento Bee

State highway officials say they will close lanes throughout the summer beginning Monday night on one of Sacramento’s busiest freeways to fix an earlier surfacing job that mysteriously failed.


Joe Mathews: High Desert Corridor is worth pursuing

Sacramento Bee / SFGate.com

Strong Palmdale-Victorville connections could transform Southern California’s traffic and economy, boost the West’s energy markets, and reconfigure the path of American trade with Asia and the rest of North America. It might even save the California high-speed-rail project.


Officials gamble with the public’s money, and sometimes lose big

CALmatters – Walters

Voice of San Diego, a journalistic website that covers local politics, published a remarkable article late last month about financial shenanigans in the San Diego Association of Governments, a regional planning and transportation agency.


Sacramento to start kicking cyclists off some sidewalks. But which ones?

Sacramento Bee

Sacramento city officials say they plan to launch an analysis this summer of which sidewalks in town bicyclists should be banned from using.

California’s superhighway for bikes – Business Insider

Business Insider

Drivers in Los Angeles spend an average of 90 hours a year stuck in traffic. But back in the 1890s, California imagined a different future for the city’s streets.  The state planned to build a for-profit, six-mile bike-only highway only for bikes that would stretch from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles. It was the brainchild of Pasadena resident Horace Dobbins, who began construction after city approval in 1897.




Flint and California, a painfully parallel water-quality universe

Fresno Bee (blog)

Flint, Michigan, and its 100,000 citizens exist in one universe; California’s Central Valley and its population of nearly a million cling to survival in another. Both have economic woes. Both suffer a deadly water supply made toxic with lead. Beyond that, all comparison ends.


Contaminated water challenges schools in California’s San Joaquin Valley


Reef-Sunset Unified School District Superintendent David East is worried about water. Not because of the drought – record rains this past winter ended five years of dry times. Rather, East, whose district encompasses the small towns of Avenal and Kettleman City on the San Joaquin Valley’s west side, is worried about the safety of the water that the 2,700 students in his school district are being given to drink.


Toxic Taps

A Water Deeply Series

Unsafe water systems can be found all over the state, but the largest concentration is in the San Joaquin Valley, where many serve low-income communities of color


The next crisis for California will be the affordability of water

Los Angeles Times

The price of almost everything is on the rise, but we tend to shrug off inflation in goods and services we can cut back or do without. Not water, the rising cost of which is looming as a defining economic problem in coming years.




Protecting the governor, judges, lawmakers and dignitaries all in day’s work for CHP

Fresno Bee

Have you ever been to the State Capitol and stood in front of the governor’s office? If so, you have seen a California Highway Patrol officer standing guard at the door. Frequently I am asked, “What is the role of the CHP assignments with respect to protecting the governor of the state of California?” To explain our responsibilities of protecting the governor and other dignitaries, we must first understand how the CHP acquired this responsibility.


Neighbors celebrate opening of new Fresno splash park


Fresno gets new splash park.


Newspapers seek antitrust exemption to band together in fight against Google and Facebook 

Los Angeles Times

For years, news organizations have had little recourse but to cede more distribution and advertising dollars to Facebook and Google, even agreeing to give away articles in the hopes the wider digital audience will pay off in the long run.


New California Law Requires Boating Licenses, Except For Renters


Right now, almost anyone in California can hop on a boat and drive away without any training or a license.  That will change this January when a new law goes into effect requiring boaters to pass a written test and get a California Boater Card. But the law leaves out a big group―boat renters, who often have the least boating experience.


Fitz’s Stockton: A cheesy curio resurfaces

Stockton Record

Generations of nursery schoolers who attended Jack and Jill Cooperative Nursery School between 1954 and 1997 played on a distinctive giant concrete wedge of Swiss cheese.

The Big Cheese was visible from Pacific Avenue. So even many people who saw it in passing knew of this city curio.


Net neutrality: The war is over

Brookings Institution (Podcast)

Stuart N. Brotman, a nonresident senior fellow in the Center for Technology Innovation, provides a brief history of net neutrality and addresses the future of the FCC’s telecommunications rule-making under Title II.