POLICY & POLITICS
Merced is a City on the Rise and it is the honor of a lifetime to serve as your mayor at this exciting time. We have reached the midpoint of the calendar year, and I would like to update residents on the progress of the initiatives your mayor, council members and city staff have been working on since my State of the City address earlier this year.
It’s time for the annual State of the City Luncheon, put on by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Karen Goh and City Manager Alan Tandy are scheduled to discuss municipal projects and the city’s plans for the future.
I can’t believe my eyes. Congress is finally doing something about the immigration problem. Kudos to Jeff Denham for stepping up to the plate and pushing the issue.
Since President Donald Trump took office, California has tried to place itself as the center of the resistance to his administration. But now that counties have fully reported their primary election results, experts doubt there was much of a "Trump bump" in June.
Even when they had supermajorities, Democratic leaders were unable to use their ostensible powers to enact new taxes or place constitutional amendments before voters.
● Democrats in power always overplay their hand Los Angeles Times
It took Alastair Mactaggart two years and more than $3 million of his own money to get a ground-breaking data privacy law passed in California. Now he expects to spend much of the next two years making sure the legislation survives until it takes effect in 2020.
In the central San Joaquin Valley, 32-year-old Stanford grad Elizabeth Heng is standing up for conservative values against an entrenched Democratic incumbent.
How Pres. Trump is doing—by the numbers.
Every Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by top California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, promised to lead the fight against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Tuesday morning on the steps of the Supreme Court.
● Winners and losers from Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination Washington Post
● Republicans Launch Effort to Win Kavanaugh Confirmation Wall Street Journal
● The two most consequential facts about Brett Kavanaugh Washington Post
● Supreme Court Fight: Seven Senators to Watch Wall Street Journal
● 4 big questions about Brett Kavanaugh Washington Post
● Brett Kavanaugh and the Midterm Effect Roll Call
● Republicans Vow to Confirm Kavanaugh by Fall Despite Possible Delays Weekly Standard
● Kavanaugh faces a tougher path to confirmation than Gorsuch. Here’s why. Washington Post
● What's next for Brett Kavanaugh in Supreme Court confirmation process San Diego Union-Tribune
● EDITORIAL: A Senate Deadline for Kavanaugh Wall Street Journal
President Trump has issued an executive order that gives federal agencies far more latitude over hiring administrative law judges. These judges handle a wide variety of disputes that include everything from Medicare claims to civil service employment issues.
President Trump’s transformation of the Republican Party is taking full root — with the president in recent days shunning traditional alliances and values that have long been core tenets of the GOP.
Los Angeles Times
President Trump has turned up the attacks as he heads to Wednesday’s summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, raising fears that he is determined to provoke a crisis over funding of the military alliance created after World War II.
We’re doing something new: analyzing every factual claim from President Trump’s campaign rally in Montana on Thursday. According to The Fact Checker’s database, the president had made 3,251 false or misleading claims at the end of May.
● Milbank: Believe it or not, Trump just told the truth Washington Post
In 2014, Shaughnessy Naughton was a chemist who was ready to transmute herself into something new: a politician. She was going for a Pennsylvania congressional seat, because, she says, “I was really frustrated with the anti-science rhetoric I was hearing out of so many politicians.”
Americans believe 39 percent of news in newspapers, on TV or on the radio is misinformation — but their views of social media are even worse. They believe 65 percent of news on social media is made up or can’t be verified as accurate.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is working on a streaming news service that could launch later this year, Buzzfeed News reported Wednesday.
The social networking giant faces a fine of a half a million pounds in Britain for failing to protect people’s online data connected to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to a report published by the country’s privacy watchdog on Wednesday.
● Facebook is slapped with first fine for Cambridge Analytica scandal Washington Post
As rhetorical temperatures spiked, our politics became more focused on cult of personality rather than policy. It all became so very personal and petty.
MADDY INSTITUTE PUBLIC POLICY PROGRAMMING
Sunday, July 15, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: “Climate Change: Adapting to a Slow Moving Emergency” – Guest: Carole D'Elia, Little Hoover Commission. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.
Sunday, July 15, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report - Valley Views Edition: “Adapting to Climate Change: Implications for the Valley” – Guests: John Capitman, Executive Director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute and Seyed Sedradin, Executive Director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.
Sunday, July 15, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy: “Climate Change Legislation” – Guest: Alvar Escriva-Bou, Public Policy Institute of California. Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans.
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New York Times
Mr. Trump’s suggestion that it is “impossible” for American farmers to sell their products to the European Union is wrong. In fact, the 28 countries of the European Union are the United States’ fifth-largest export market for agricultural goods.
Pew Charitable Trusts
The House version of the food-stamp-to-work program Congress is considering this week would require recipients to enroll in job training programs if they can’t find work — but in many states, those programs won’t be fully available for at least another decade.
The Novo Dia Group, an Austin-based company that processes some 40 percent of SNAP transactions at farmers markets nationwide, said it will end its service by July 31, leaving about 1,700 of the more than 7,000 markets that offer SNAP with no way to serve low-income customers.
Rosa Brothers Milk Company, the Tulare-based creamery that brought us root beer-flavored milk, is about to debut a new flavor: horchata.
After attending a Board of Supervisors meeting that lasted most of the day, a Stockton attorney who works with local cannabis organizations praised officials for their attention to detail as San Joaquin County moves toward taxation and regulation of the burgeoning medical and recreational marijuana industry.
Nicholas Hughes used to sell a cannabis treat fit for a king: The Elvis, a chocolate cookie infused with 1,000 milligrams of mind-altering THC – 100 times what is now the per-serving dosage limit in California.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE / FIRE / PUBLIC SAFETY
As the California Legislature considers a bill that would tighten restrictions for deadly use of force by law enforcement, the state Department of Justice reported Monday an increase in the number of casualties in 2017 during confrontations between police and suspects.
Demolition has started on the charred remains of a Jamestown-area strip club that was raided in March for alleged drug and sex crimes. Heavy equipment Monday started tearing into Rosalinda's Gentlemen's Club and the motel on the same property, the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office reported.
Hate crimes increased across California for the third straight year in 2017, an uptick experts have blamed on President Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric toward minorities and the resurgence of hate groups in the state.
Los Angeles Times
California voters will decide whether to increase penalties for some crimes while expanding the collection of DNA from those convicted of nonviolent offenses under an initiative that earned a place Monday on the 2020 ballot.
New York Times
In less than a decade, California has gone from being a standard-bearer for the ills of prison overcrowding to a national exemplar of reform, letting tens of thousands of people out of prison and reducing penalties for many crimes.
A capital murder case was delayed and hundreds of litigants, judges and many staff were sent home mid-morning on Monday after a water well pump failed at the Tulare County Civic Center.
Family and friends watched with pride and cheered Tuesday as 48 new graduates of the San Joaquin Delta College Peace Officer Academy were introduced to a crowd of nearly 900 packed inside Atherton Auditorium.
About 30 participants at Tuesday evening's Bakersfield Safe Streets Partnership meeting got a close-up look at the Bakersfield Police Department's new body-cam pilot program, which began July 1.
A former deputy chief for the Fresno Police Department was sworn in Monday as chief of the Delano Police Department. Robert Nevarez was sworn in during a ceremony held at the City of Delano Senior Center.
Several hundred people are estimated to be serving time in California prisons for murder even though they did not personally kill anyone.
The number of unclaimed remains in Kern County has risen this past year.
A wildfire prompted evacuations and threatened structures in North Fork Tuesday evening. The Madera County Sheriff's Office is helping with evacuations. Deputies are going door to door and alerting residents by phone, said spokeswoman Kayla Serratto.
● California Wildfires: Klamathon Fire 45 percent contained, strong winds coming San Francisco Chronicle
● San Jose grass fire nears homes, forces evacuations Mercury News
Pacific Gas & Electric wants its customers to pay for the costs of the October 2017 wildfires that tore through northern California, destroying more than 8,000 buildings and killing 44 people.
The reason behind this year’s ominous early trend is something many Californians thought was behind them: the 2012-2017 drought. The relentless drought, the most severe at any time since California became a state in 1850, ended with drenching rains in the winter of 2016-2017.
As California wildfires rage, Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators have formed a bipartisan committee to study the problem. Aren’t we past the “study” phase? It’s time to make preventing and fighting wildfires a top priority.
ECONOMY / JOBS
A report issued in April by the Fresno-Madera Area Agency on Aging forecasts that the number of people aged 60 and older is going to keep growing. As more people get old, there are ramifications for social safety net programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
The retail apocalypse is entering its ninth year. Amazon and Walmart’s growth, the rise of fast fashion retailers, reserved spending habits after the Great Recession, and dying malls crushed countless retailers.
A $500 monthly check for low-income residents, cash stipends for men most likely to commit violent crimes and $1,000 college scholarships for public high school graduates. These are the bold initiatives 27-year-old Mayor Michael Tubbs is launching in Stockton, California, one of the state's most financially strapped and crime-ridden cities.
The Trump administration pushed ahead with plans to impose tariffs on additional $200 billion in Chinese products by releasing a list of targets, marking a sharp escalation in a trade war between the world's two largest economies.
● US raises ante, may slap China with $200B more in tariffs Stockton Record
● U.S. proposes tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports Los Angeles Times
● U.S. Unveils Additional Tariffs on $200 Billion More in Chinese Imports Wall Street Journal
● The future of the U.S.-China trade war Brookings
● How Trump’s Trade War Went From 18 Products to 10,000 New York Times
● Trump seeks to reassure anxious farmers being hurt by his trade war with China The Washington Post
In January, a team of Citigroup Inc. analysts left the comforts of their New York high-rise for a pilgrimage to California. The relationships they’re building in the capital are about to pay dividends.
Judging by U.S. policymakers’ seeming indifference to the emerging market economies in setting economic policy, one might be forgiven for thinking that those economies constitute a small part of the global economy. Yet, according to the International Monetary Fund, the emerging market economies now account for over half of the world economy.
● ‘Extreme Poverty’ Is Extremely Rare in the U.S., Says New Research National Review
A Valley-based juice shop is expanding and looking for new employees. Re-Invent Juicery is opening a store at Fig Garden Village next to CVS. The shop uses local and all-natural ingredients to make their cold press juices.
Los Angeles Times
Several state attorneys general, including California’s, are launching an investigation of contracts at fast-food chains that prevent their workers from switching franchises, targeting a practice some economists say drags down wages for millions of Americans.
Los Angeles Times
The proportion of American workers who quit their jobs in May reached the highest level in 17 years, a sign that more people are confident they can find a new job, probably at higher pay.
● Report: Scores of Americans Leaving Jobs for Better Opportunities National Review
● The Facts on Employment National Review
Los Angeles Times
Of all the addictions that undermine stability in communities and society at large, surely one of the worst and most persistent is the addiction of corporate managements to pleasing their shareholders.
Eighteen months into Donald Trump’s presidency, the evidence shows new tariffs are costing jobs and economic research continues to demonstrate immigrants do not harm the job prospects of U.S. workers.
A group of education professors and dozens of student advocacy groups are urging California education officials to switch to a method that most states use to rate student progress on standardized tests. They say it will more accurately measure and compare schools’ performance than what they see as the flawed system the state uses now.
The difference in gender representation shows 75 percent female teachers for a student body that is evenly split by gender. Might teacher gender be contributing to the growing gap favoring females in college graduation?
People seem to have a lot of concerns about personalized learning, and not enough opportunities to voice them. I say that because, every time I think we’ve exhausted this thread, someone else chimes in with something new.
Last month, new research from Miami University’s Andrew Saultz found additional evidence that teachers are not usually dismissed for poor performance, but rather for not going through the mechanics of being a good employee.
On June 11, College of the Sequoias announced that the administration presented Chief Jack Amoroso for ratification to the COS Board of Trustees.
The remains of thousands of Native Americans, along with possessions buried with them, now sit in drawers and boxes at University of California museums. Federal and state laws require their return to tribes able to prove a connection to them.
Californians dutifully load up their recycling bins and feel good about themselves. They’re helping the environment and being good citizens. But their glow might turn to gloom if they realized that much of the stuff is headed to a landfill.
If you were looking forward to casting a vote this fall to split California into three states, hold that thought. An environmental group has petitioned the state’s highest court to strike Proposition 9, the division of California into three states initiative, from the Nov. 6 ballot.
A San Francisco jury heard opening arguments this week in a landmark case pitting a terminally ill Bay Area man against chemical giant Monsanto. Separately, but in the same city, a judge on Tuesday ruled that hundreds of lawsuits, which had stalled in federal court, also targeting the company, could proceed.
Scientists watched 200 hours of old cycling race video-and uncovered a valuable record of climate change.
Senate Republicans are in no hurry to tackle a bruising confirmation fight to permanently replace Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
California is ready to work with major automakers on revisions to greenhouse gas emission vehicle rules through 2025 and sees a “window” for a deal in the coming months, the state’s top clean air regulator told Reuters on Monday.
Wall Street Journal
The highest retail gas prices in years are raising concerns about one of the longest-running U.S. economic expansions on record. Drivers across the U.S. are paying as much as $2.96 a gallon on average, the most since 2014.
Among the hundreds of bills on the Legislature's agenda for August are ones that would make key changes in the lives of California health care workers. Here are five to watch.
Los Angeles Times
A handful of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies are canceling or reducing some planned price increases in the United States after California enacted a new drug pricing transparency law and amid political pressure over rising costs for medications.
● Pfizer to Roll Back Price Increases After Trump Criticism Wall Street Journal
Los Angeles Times
Aging might be perfectly natural. But as practiced by the human body, it is beginning to look more and more like a disease — and a treatable one at that.
A U.S. judge in San Francisco says evidence seems weak that Roundup weed killer causes cancer, but experts can still make that claim at trial.
Los Angeles Times
Seemingly every move the Trump administration has made when it comes to healthcare has been designed to maximize the harm to the insurance programs launched or expanded under Obamacare.
Fresno County's population has grown by about 57,000 this decade. And it's gradually getting older. The number of people age 60 or older increased by about 24 percent between 2010 and 2017.
Here’s how fast California’s elderly population is growing and where Orange County Register
Magnolia Pediatrics, a primary pediatric care facility operating under the Valley Children’s umbrella, celebrated its grand opening at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, July 6.
The Sacramento Bee
California is suffering a shortage of mental health professionals – and it's expected to get worse in the next decade.
Signe Darpinian, a licensed family counselor, brought speakers to the State Theatre in March 2017 to introduce The Body Positive movement to Modesto, which urges young people and adults to value their health and natural appearance.
UCSF School of Medicine is establishing a “branch campus” at UCSF Fresno to lead the San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (SJV PRIME), a training program designed to prepare medical students to address the unique health needs of the region’s underserved populations.
First 5 Madera County is making a $250,000 investment this year, benefiting communities like Oakhurst and North Fork. According to a First 5 news release, the investment will aim to tackle various challenges children face in their first five years of life, including their vision, dental health and education.
Trump Administration Slashes Funds for ACA Outreach
Wall Street Journal
Most of the funding for an Affordable Care Act outreach program is being cut by the Trump administration, a move announced late Tuesday that touched off an angry response from Democrats who called it another attempt to sabotage the health law.
● The Health Insurers Squawk Wall Street Journal
Congress appears to be kicking the can on a fix to the separation of immigrant families, even as the federal government admits it will not be able to reunite separated immigrant children under age 5 with their parents by a court-imposed deadline Tuesday.
● The Latest: US judge calls for shortening wait for families Merced Sun-Star
● Trump administration says detained parents must decide whether to keep families intact San Diego Union-Tribune
● First Wave of Migrant Children Reunited With Parents New York Times
● As Government Misses Reunification Deadline, It’s Told to Pick Up the Pace Wall Street Journal
● Interactive look at immigration detention uproar San Francisco Chronicle
● Americans Want an Immigration Deal Wall Street Journal
● EDITORIAL: These judges are right: Trump should work with Congress on immigration San Diego Union-Tribune
A Democratic proposal to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement would shutter the agency, probe whether its agents had flouted international law, and create a special commission to rethink how the federal government handles asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants.
● Poll: Voters oppose abolishing ICE Politico
● Poll: Voters Oppose Abolishing ICE National Review
Electronic Frontier Foundation
A company that operates 46 shopping centers up and down California has been providing sensitive information collected by automated license plate readers (ALPRs) to a surveillance technology vendor that in turn sells location data to Immigrations & Customs Enforcement.
An old bank and seasonal Halloween store that's part of the Visalia Mall will soon transform into something new. The new 5,000 square-foot building will be under construction by the beginning of 2019.
Tree Fresno along with a group of volunteers is hoping to turn a dusty plot of land into a new lush green community space. The process involves a few steps-- first is making sure that the ground is level. Then you take the tree out of the pot. You score it, put in the ground, cover it with dirt and repeat-- 452 Times.
Driving around southwest Bakersfield on Tuesday morning, one couldn’t go more than a couple of blocks without coming across something illegal: a sign nailed to a public utility pole. Drivers may see a few less around now.
As more cities face ever-increasing rents and concerns over gentrification and displacement, tenants’ rights groups are increasingly pushing rent control as the solution. California is set to be a big battleground for the issue this fall.
An anti-poverty program which helps people get off of public assistance could be in danger. If federal funds dry up for the Fresno Bridge Program, it could be phased out.
Kern County supervisors had a choice to either allow a question on the November ballot which would ask voters in unincorporated Kern County to raise the sales tax by 1 percent, or risk a severe talent drain from the Sheriff’s Office. At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Supervisors chose to keep the possibility of a sales tax increase alive. At least for now.
Does California’s top state income-tax rate, now 13.3 percent on people earning $1 million a year or more, drive the wealthy to leave for low-tax states? Short answer: No, except on the far margin.
● California Losing Residents Via Domestic Migration Legislative Analyst’s Office
Boston College Center for Retirement Research
Investment returns for state and local pension plans varied over 2001-2016. The analysis found that asset allocation – in equities, fixed income, and alternatives – was broadly similar across plans, while asset class returns showed more variation.
● The Anticipated Demise of the Vested-Rights Doctrine Public CEO
On May 25, 2018, the Public Employment Relations Board overturned years of precedent and held that an employee engages in “protected activity” by using an employer-owned email system for any purpose related to the Educational Employment Relations Act.
Construction crews have broken ground on a multi-million dollar road project on State Route 190, east of Tipton and west of Porterville. Sixteen miles of the highway will be rehabilitated with new asphalt.
A November ballot measure to repeal California’s recent gas tax increase threatens road improvement and maintenance projects that receive funding through the tax.
San Francisco Chronicle
A coalition of states, cities and businesses determined to fight climate change announced a campaign Tuesday to buy more zero-emission vehicles for their own fleets and persuade others to do the same.
Members from CrossCity Christian Church of Fresno, through their Bike Masters outreach ministries, partnered with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office Activities League to lend a hand for free, much-needed repairs to local kids' bikes in San Joaquin.
Friday, the board’s regulators released their plan to disrupt a century of California water law and demand twice as much water flow down the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers in a purported effort to save salmon. This is a water grab, pure and simple.
Southern California's powerful water agency reaffirmed its commitment to the Delta tunnels project Tuesday, agreeing for a second time to spend nearly $11 billion on a majority stake in the twin tunnels.
● Metropolitan Water District again approves delta tunnel funding Los Angeles Times
● EDITORIAL: Recommendation will help preserve Delta’s health Mercury News
A California appeals court has rejected a long-running attempt by environmentalists to drain Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park, a linchpin of the water supply for 2.6 million Bay Area residents.
Last year, Visalia Grocery Outlet raised $12,500 in donations for Visalia Rescue Mission during the "Independence from Hunger" campaign. This year, the chain store location is upping the ante.
While the Tulare County Fair is a few months away, ticket deals will only last this month. On Tuesday, a month-long ticket promotion will give fair-goers the chance to get their tickets in advance — for nearly half the cost.
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Maddy Institute Updated List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials HERE.
The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno was established to honor the legacy of one of California’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.
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