July 11, 2017



Merced deputies’ pay third worst in Valley, but CEO, supervisors pay is near the top

Merced Sun-Star

Merced’s deputies rank third from the bottom in base pay with only Kern and Kings counties making less. Merced’s supervisors, on the other hand, take home more money than other boards that oversee larger populations, such as Stanislaus and Tulare counties.  Similarly, Merced County’s CEO, Jim Brown, is the second-highest paid county administrator in the Valley, with only San Joaquin County’s administrator making more.


Gov. Brown and lawmakers unveil proposal to extend California climate program

LA Times
After weeks of back-and-forth between environmentalists and business interests, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders introduced a proposal Monday to reauthorize California’s cap and trade program, the centerpiece of the state’s efforts to battle climate change.


More than a month after election, Jimmy Gomez gets sworn into Congress on Tuesday

89.3 KPCC

State Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, California’s newest member of Congress, gets sworn in Tuesday afternoon to represent the 34th Congressional District, but the long transition has not been without controversy.


Republicans aren’t scrambling to run for statewide office

San Francisco Chronicle

California’s June 5 primary is less than a year away, and Republicans hopefuls for statewide office are nowhere to be found.

Are these Republicans kidding themselves by running for California governor?

Sacramento Bee

Republican Meg Whitman spent nearly $180 million trying to become governor of California. Picking over the wreckage of her 13-point loss to Jerry Brown, the former eBay chief executive compared the experience to a car careening into a wall.


Passing along card fees a terrible idea

Modesto Bee

The Modesto City Council should reject the nickel-and-dime-you-to-death plan hatched by staff to “recover” bank fees. It’s a bad idea certain to enrage more than a few Modesto residents – the ones who have to pay it.

Eventually, just about everyone could be hit with some kind of fee.


Our View: Build a relationship with new US senator Kamala Harris

The Bakersfield Californian

Central Valley Republicans loved to hate then-U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who unfailingly sided with environmentalists on all matters pertaining to water and, all too often, agriculture in general.

They’d be well advised to try and muster up some love for her successor, fellow Democrat Kamala Harris. The former California attorney general, six months into her new job, has demonstrated a willingness to at least listen to Valley farmers’ water infrastructure concerns.

Community Voices: Ex-gang members escape to freedom regularly

The Bakersfield Californian

The local gang-driven problems that Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin is trying to solve have gone on forever and will go on forever.  Wherever young males of any ethnicity, and all ethnicities, lack a stable and present father, trouble looms. There is no end and no solution to the antisocial problems that predictably and unavoidably arise. No solution has ever been found, and likely will never be.


What do you want in the next governor of California? Question of the …

LA Daily News

The 2018 gubernatorial primary is less than a year away, the field of candidates is taking shape, and contenders’ strategists are trying to figure out what California voters are looking for in a new governor. So let’s tell them.

U.S. should use tech to turn tables on North Korea

The Mercury News

The American people expect the White House to meet the North Korean crisis forcefully yet prudently – and successfully. After so much trouble with cyber conflict coming from North Korea, the United States should turn the tables for a win. Not just for the United States but for the world.




Nevada’s recreational marijuana supply is drying up. A lesson there for California?

Fresno Bee

Nevada is running out of weed – the legal kind.  About a week after the state legalized the use of recreational pot, the state’s 47 licensed marijuana stores are nearly depleted. The unexpected shortage was caused by a bottleneck in granting distribution licenses and legal challenges.


Pairing Wine And Weed: Is It A California Dream Or Nightmare?


In the epicurean world, Northern California is famous for two intoxicants — wine and weed. With recreational marijuana about to be legal in the Golden State, some cannabis entrepreneurs are looking to the wine industry as a model.


Moby: Sacramento shouldn’t be trying to get you to eat more beef

Los Angeles Times

When President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate agreement last month, Gov. Jerry Brown promised that California would continue to lead the fight against global warming: “I want to do everything we can to keep America on track, keep the world on track, and lead in all the ways California has.”  Unfortunately, legislation under consideration in California threatens to undermine that commitment. The bill, AB 243, seeks to double the funding for California’s beef “checkoff program.” That’s shorthand for a mandatory fee collected by a state council or commission from ranchers and farmers and used to promote the beef industry at the state and national levels. Essentially, AB 243 means that the government will funnel more of the industry’s profits into trying to persuade the public to eat lots of burgers and steak


FDA chief to impose tougher doctor-training rules on opioid manufacturers

Washington Post

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, stepping up the agency’s efforts against the nation’s opioid epidemic, announced plans Monday to require manufacturers of painkillers to provide more extensive education for physicians and other health-care professionals who prescribe the drugs.




California attorney general backs study of police shootings

Los Angeles Times

Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra is backing new legislation that would lead to an analysis of police shootings across California.  The measure, Assembly Bill 284 from Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), authorizes Becerra’s office to examine the circumstances, policies, training and oversight involved in police shootings that resulted in deaths or serious injuries. The attorney general would look at shootings between 2015 and 2016 and issue a report by July 2019.


California bill would require cops to release body cam video

SFGate / AP

A longstanding national debate about police transparency and privacy has been reignited in California with legislation that would require law enforcement agencies to release body camera video and recordings of fatal police shootings and other significant incidents.


California Assembly deadlocks over bill to allow shorter sentences in some gun crimes 

Los Angeles Times

With some Democrats joining a Republican bloc in opposition, the vote was 32-32, but Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) received permission to take the measure up on another day if she can muster the votes.


Despite backlog of rape kits, California lawmakers aren’t requiring they be tested or tallied

The Mercury News

Victims’ rights groups estimate that hundreds of thousands of rape kits remain untested at police departments and crime lab storage facilities nationwide – thus far a partial inventory of California by the End the Backlog Initiative has identified some 9,000 untested kits. But the precise number remains a mystery because most states, including California, don’t inventory rape kits, and rape survivors sometimes struggle to get information about their own cases.




New schools app brings statistics to parents’ fingertips

Visalia Times-Delta

To provide even more information at the touch of a finger, California Department of Education created a smartphone application with data on the states more than 10,000 public schools.


How much does school bullying cost California?

Sacramento Bee

While school bullying has been widely condemned for harming students’ emotional health, a new study calculates the financial cost to school districts — $276 million annually in California.  The study published last month in School Psychology Quarterly is the first to count the direct losses caused by bullying-related student absences.

State board faces deadline, tough decisions on new federal law for improving schools 


With only two meetings left before a mid-September deadline, the State Board of Education is feeling the heat to make progress on the state plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.


As California bilingual education grows, teacher training is key

89.3 KPCC

Zyanya Cazares, a sixth grade teacher who is starting a new assignment this fall teaching in a bilingual education program in Los Angeles, grew up speaking Spanish. But she was recently reminded that the casual, conversational Spanish she spoke at home is not the same as the formal form of the language she’s now being asked to teach.


Poll: Most Republicans say colleges have negative impact on US


The Pew Research Center poll finds 58 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents think colleges and universities hurt the country.  Just 36 percent of Republicans think they have a positive effect.




California climate change bill extends cap-and-trade through 2030

The Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have released legislation to extend the state’s climate-change-fighting system for another decade, setting off a scramble for votes amid concerns that the compromise will not do enough to address the problem.  See also, Here’s What’s in the Deal to Extend California’s Cap-and-Trade System KQED, Jerry Brown, lawmakers announce California climate deal  The Mercury NewsGov. Brown and lawmakers unveil proposal to extend California climate program  LA Times, Bill seeks to extend California’s cap-and-trade system to 2030 SFGate and Lawmakers announce plan to extend California cap and trade Washington Post


Halt to California fire prevention fee part of new climate change plan

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have released legislation to extend the state’s climate-change-fighting system for another decade, setting off a scramble for votes amid concerns that the compromise will not do enough to address the problem.  See also,  Separating fact from hype as California begins a new fire season  Los Angeles Times ‘Hell or high water’: Oroville residents struggle with another disaster  Los Angeles Times and Floods, then fires. California residents again face evacuations due to the elements. Washington Post


Excessive Climate Policies Could Damage California Economy

Fox and Hounds Daily

The topic of climate change, or anthropogenic global warming (AGW), has somehow been linked – directly or indirectly – with nearly every policy area debated at the State Capitol. While I am not a scientist, I recognize there are many differing views on what the climate-related scientific research actually means. I have been and continue to be willing to have conversations on the implications concerning policy prescriptions to address this purported global warming.


Opinion: 100 percent renewable energy in California by 2050 needs nuclear in the mix

The Mercury News

Many on the political left believe we can replace fossil fuels with 100 percent renewable energy. This belief has been bolstered by Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson, whose Solutions Project provides a roadmap for moving to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.


Why so much stuff placed in California recycling bins ends up in the landfill

The Mercury News

Don’t assume just because you tossed that empty container into the blue bin that it actually got reborn into a carpet, a T-shirt or another container.

In fact, about a quarter of material placed in those containers around the state won’t be recycled at all.


After Decades of Pollution, State Details Cleanup From L.A.’s Exide Battery Plant 


Officials call it the biggest industrial waste cleanup project in California, and one of the largest in the country. But they said their funding — $176.6 million allocated by state legislators last year — is only sufficient to clean up about a quarter of the estimated 10,000 properties that have been contaminated in a 1.7 mile-radius around the plant.


Massive Valley blackout again puts spotlight on L.A.’s failing infrastructure 

Los Angeles Times

On Monday, officials said the explosion was probably related to excessive energy demands due to the heat wave and was a stark reminder of the challenge Los Angeles faces in modernizing its aging electrical system.


State can make lives better, save money and fight disease by passing Gray’s AB447

Modesto Bee (blog)

As someone with two family members with type 1diabetes, I know about the serious challenges they face in managing the disease.  Diabetes is a chronic condition, so diligent monitoring and management of blood-sugar levels is the key to avoiding complications, a critical part of thriving for those affected.


Nurses’ RoseAnn DeMoro zeroes in 

Capitol Weekly

Amid an increasingly partisan and uncertain political climate, RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, isn’t afraid to call out politicians on both sides of the aisle.


Obamacare marketplaces just had their most profitable first quarter ever

Washington Post

Insurers in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces earned an average of nearly $300 per member in the first quarter of 2017, more than double what they earned in a similar period in the marketplaces’ previous three years, according to new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

How Republicans can save their health care legacy

Brookings Institution

Exaggerating the flaws of the Obamacare marketplaces has put Republicans in a “political pickle”

Quinn: The Single Payer Health Care Fraud 

Fox and Hounds

Thankfully, the Assembly Speaker has put the brakes on the version of single payer health care that passed the California Senate, but the controversy over single payer is far a from over. The fact is that “single payer health care” is a fraud; it does not exist in a single industrialized nation. Perhaps a few facts are in order.



Bill Would Reform How Immigration Consultants Operate

NBC Southern California

Amid complaints of bad legal advice and scamming, activists are pushing forward new legislation that would provide more oversight to immigration consultants.  California State Assembly member Anna Caballero has authored a bill that would repeal the law that created immigration consultants, replacing it with a requirement that consultants be supervised by a lawyer or authorized by the federal government.


US deportations of Europeans could exceed last fiscal year

Merced Sun-Star/ AP

Europeans often hid in plain sight as Latin Americans, Asians and others living illegally in America were sent packing. But now they’re starting to realize they are not immune to President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, and they’re worried.




California Leads U.S. Economy, Away From Trump


To justify his executive orders nullifying policies protecting people from climate change, hazardous working conditions and persecution because of their religion or citizenship status, President Donald Trump during a Feb. 16 press conference said: “To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country.” He later told the Conservative Political Action Conference that regulations are “crushing our economy.”  Then there’s California…

Morain: In the name of helping workers, this bill would strip them of basic privacy

Sacramento Bee

Ever solicitous of worker privacy, Democratic legislators approved a bill last month declaring that the “home addresses, home telephone numbers, personal cellular telephone numbers, and birth dates” of public employees are not public records, definitely not open to public inspection. In this legislative session, some Democratic legislators are citing the California constitutional amendment protecting people’s right to privacy as they push bills seeking to limit the reach of internet giants into individuals’ personal information without their consent.

Report shows seniors tapping into payday loans 

Los Angeles Daily News

A growing number of cash-strapped California seniors are turning to high-interest payday loans, according to a report from the California Department of Business Oversight.



World’s 10 least affordable housing markets include San Jose (least affordable in the US) and San Francisco 

San Jose Mercury News

Way to go, San Jose! You’re the least affordable city in the USA and the fifth least affordable city in the world. In fact, you are even less affordable than San Francisco, which is only the ninth least affordable city on Earth. All this is according to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, an annual ranking of more than 400 cities around the world.

Why penalize cities doing well on affordable housing?

Sacramento Bee

The city of Roseville is one of the state’s top producers of affordable housing for a variety of income levels. Our success is based upon transparency and strong public involvement, which has allowed us to steadily grow while reflecting community values.  Senate Bill 35, which goes before the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on Wednesday, would completely eviscerate local control over housing, silence residents’ voices in the development process and undermine important environmental laws.


Reaching deeper into taxpayer’s wallets no solution for high cost of housing


The lack of affordable housing is an ever-increasing problem for us here in California. Unfortunately, this problem will only be made worse by Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and others in Sacramento who have chosen to reach further into hardworking taxpayer’s wallets instead of addressing the real cause of the high cost of housing.

Senate Bill 2 will require county recorders to collect a $75 fee – with a few exceptions – on every real estate instrument, paper, or notice required by law due and payable at the time or recording. This translates into a 930 percent increase in recording fees for affected documents.


Sacramento sees a startling surge in homeless people. Who they are might surprise you

Sacramento Bee

More than 3,665 people are living without permanent shelter in Sacramento County, according to a new count released Monday by Sacramento Steps Forward, the agency that coordinates local efforts to aid the homeless.




California State Controller Reports June 2017 Revenues $2.68 Billion Short of 2016-17 Budget Act

Sierra Sun Times

California total revenues of $16.63 billion for June fell short of projections in the governor’s revised budget released two months ago by 2.5 percent, State Controller Betty T. Yee reported Monday.


Proposition 56: An Initial Look at Cigarette Sales


In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 56—a tax increase on cigarettes and other tobacco products. As a result, the state’s excise tax rate on cigarettes increased from $0.87 per pack to $2.87 per pack on April 1, 2017. Cigarette distributors must pay this tax when they sell cigarettes to retailers and wholesalers.  See also, Early returns suggest smoking drop in response to state tax  CALmatters,  Early returns suggest smoking drop in response to California tax  The Mercury News and  Cigarette sales fall in California after tax | The Sacramento Bee  Sacramento Bee


Community Voices: County budget is optimism and bailing wire

The Bakersfield Californian

The Kern County Board of Supervisors recently received and approved a preliminary budget for the next fiscal year. This tight budget looks like it is held together with spit and bailing wire as it is propped up with an estimated $10.7 million in budget savings from this fiscal year and augmented by $8.7 in reserves.




Opponents of California’s gas tax hike will sue over the state’s …

Los Angeles Times

Proponents of an initiative to repeal gas tax increases in California plan to sue over the state-drafted title and summary for the ballot measure, which they say is misleading and negative.  The state attorney general’s office on Monday released the description — language that must appear on petitions circulated by people who want to overturn the tax.


Human predators, an uncommon danger on Pacific Crest Trail, prompt Kern closure; trail later reopened

The Bakersfield Californian

Armed bandits are not one of the common challenges that hikers prepare for when they plan an adventure on the storied Pacific Crest Trail. But one Kern County section of the trail was closed this weekend for exactly that reason. It reopened at 10 p.m. Monday.




Trump’s budget would kill a crucial piece of a global tsunami warning system, sparking alarm in California and beyond

Los Angeles Times

In 1964, a tsunami at least 20 feet tall slammed into Crescent City, Calif. The floodwaters came without a detailed warning, killing 11 people who did not get out in time.

In 2011, another tsunami hit the town, located at the northern edge of the California coast. This time, officials had hours of warning that allowed them to evacuate areas along the coast before the tsunami hit, which destroyed much of Crescent City’s harbor.

The big difference? A tsunami detection system completed in 2008 that gave U.S. officials an accurate forecast of how big the tsunami would be as it hit America’s shores and when it would arrive.


Negotiations toward a Salton Sea consensus are progressing, water agency says

The Desert Sun

The Imperial Irrigation District has been using its clout as the agency with the biggest water entitlement along the Colorado River to press for California officials to live up to their commitment that they will keep the Salton Sea from turning into an environmental disaster.


California Lawmakers Consider a Memorial for Victims of 1928 St. Francis Dam Disaster

NBC Southern California

California lawmakers are expected to approve a bill Tuesday to create a national memorial and monument to victims of the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster, a civil engineering failure that unleashed an unstoppable wall of water and killed more than 400 people.



National Parks Senior Pass price jumps from $10 to $80, increase takes effect Aug. 28

Fresno Bee

In order to meet requirements set by legislationpassed by Congress in December 2016, the price of the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80. The change will take effect Aug. 28.

How a daft state law created dozens of massage parlors in Merced, throughout the state

Merced Sun-Star (blog)

Thanks to an oafish 2008 state law that’s since been replaced, California cities are awash in massage establishments.


BLOG: For Fresno, the momentum is here — what will we do with it?

The Business Journal

As a kid, I remember my father playing mind games with me with such phrases as “when does a rock turn into a boulder,” or “when does a stream turn into a river?” I saw on the comic page of The Bee recently the question “when does a muffin turn into a cupcake?” (Fact check: all cupcakes are muffins, but not all muffins are cupcakes.)

On a serious note, “when does progress turn into momentum?”