July 12, 2017




Supervisors brush aside ‘ridiculous’ corruption claim, kill PACE program

The Bakersfield Californian

Kern County supervisors voted Tuesday to terminate the Property Assessed Clean Energy program in unincorporated Kern County. The vote didn’t come without challenge.


AG’s First Test on Ballot Title & Summary

Fox and Hounds Daily

California Attorney General Xavier Beccera faced his first test in approving the title and summary of a controversial and highly watched ballot initiative when the gas tax repeal measure came before him. Becerra has now released the title and summary on that measure. How did he fare?

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Sam Altman says he wants to recruit candidates to run for office in California 

Los Angeles Times

A wealthy young Silicon Valley venture capitalist hopes to recruit statewide and congressional candidates and launch an affordable-housing ballot measure in 2018 because he says California’s leaders are failing to address flaws in the state’s governance that are killing opportunities for future generations.


Mathews: Could the Russians Disrupt the Redistricting Commission?

Fox and Hounds Daily

Is California’s redistricting commission ready for Russian disruption?

I’m not kidding.


Inside Russia’s propaganda machine

PBS NewsHour

How Russia spreads fake news to influence elections.  “If you can convince them, you don’t have to kill them.”


PolitiFact’s guide to fake news websites and what they peddle


Since December, PolitiFact has been partnering with Facebook to root out fabricated reports shared by social media users. As of April 19, we’ve written more than 80 fact-checks about fake news stories. We’ve noted some trends along the way, chief among them that it can be really difficult for readers — from casual skimmers to seasoned newshounds — to spot fake news outlets when they pop up.


More professionalism, less populism: How voting makes us stupid, and what to do about it

Brookings Institution

For several generations, political reform and rhetoric have been entirely one-directional: always more direct democracy, never less. The general belief holds that more public involvement will produce more representative and thus more effective and legitimate governance. But does increasing popular involvement in politics remedy the ills of our government culture; is it the chicken soup of political reforms?




California should butt out of cities’ dealings with telecom companies using public facilities

The Mercury News

A state bill that would give huge telecom companies a financial break and unprecedented rights to use public property at almost no cost is sailing through the Legislature this summer.

Here’s why to support Jerry Brown’s cap and trade deal

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a re-envisioned cap-and-trade proposal, one aimed at winning support from Republicans, Democrats, industry and environmentalists. As in any compromise, no one gets everything they covet.




Record Almond Crop Forecasted For California

Capital Public Radio News

California almond growers stand ready to reap a record crop according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast. More than a million acres of almond orchards stretch from Red Bluff to Bakersfield, bearing an estimated 2.25 billion pounds of nuts. That’s more than a 5 percent increase from last year.



LOIS HENRY: Bakersfield and Kern County fire departments overwhelmed by illegal fireworks, need state intervention

The Bakersfield Californian

Despite aggressive, innovative enforcement measures, illegal fireworks were just as bad as ever this year, according to Bakersfield Fire Chief Doug Greener and anyone with ears.


Bail Reform Bill Gets Tweaks, Clears Key Hurdle


A measure to overhaul how California treats criminal defendants awaiting trial cleared a key hurdle in the state Capitol Tuesday — and underwent some changes. Lawmakers pushing to upend the current money bail system have made several tweaks to Senate Bill 10 in recent days, all aimed at addressing concerns raised by prosecutors and judges. And they said Tuesday that they are open to making more.

See also:

Ending bail worries California judges

Sacramento Bee

Though it failed on the Assembly floor last month, an effort to overhaul California’s bail system is still moving this session after an identical measure passed the state Senate. To succeed the second time around, supporters will have to address concerns recently raised by judges, who are among the groups that will be most directly affected by the changes proposed in Senate Bill 10.


Study: GPS tracking rules send California juveniles into jail cycle

The Mercury News

Counties’ overly stringent and varied GPS tracking policies are cycling California juvenile offenders back behind bars for minor infractions, according to a new report.

Rules for juveniles who wear GPS monitors were “unrealistically onerous,” and “undermine the rehabilitative purpose of the juvenile justice system,” said researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the East Bay Law Center in a report slated for release Wednesday.


Here’s what the Merced courts are doing for military vets with PTSD who get arrested

Merced Sun Star

Merced County Superior Court will begin offering hearings designed specifically for veterans who suffer from service-related stress or substance abuse problems, officials announced Tuesday.


Gov. Brown signs Assemblyman Garcia’s re-entry services bill for inmates


A Coachella Valley lawmaker’s bill to establish a mentorship and job training program for jail inmates in seven California counties is now law.  Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 683 on Monday. The bill by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, authorizes the implementation of inmate reentry pilot programs in Riverside, Alameda, Imperial, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara and San Joaquin counties to provide job training and technical education to newly released or soon-to-be released county jail inmates.


Can California get justice for rape victims on the cheap?

Sacramento Bee (blog)

Guess what these could soon have in common: Alzheimer’s disease, cancer research, fallen firefighters, arts in schools, sea otters and rape victims.  If legislators approve, testing rape kits could join the 20 causes that Californians can support by checking a donation box on their state tax returns.


New state law aims to limit where California judges place violent sex offenders out on conditional release

Los Angeles Times

A state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this week would make it harder for violent sex offenders released under a court’s conditions to live in counties where they have no work or family ties. Assembly Bill 255 will require judges to consider additional factors, such as residential, family or employment connections, when weighing where to release offenders who fall under the Sexually Violent Predator Program.


Lawmakers ‘lack the courage’ to stop police shootings, civil rights groups say 

Sacramento Bee

Frustrated by what they say has been an overly cautious response to a pressing problem, representatives from the National Action Network, the local chapter of the NAACP and other community groups lambasted state lawmakers that “lack the courage” to increase oversight of law enforcement agencies.


Legislation making it harder to punish police officers accused of lying isn’t happening this year

LA Times

The legislation would have required police departments that wanted to discipline officers for lying to have unequivocal proof that an officer had lied. Currently, departments must show that it’s more likely than not that an officer has lied before punishing them.


State lawmakers advance bill that would make ‘stealthing’ sexual assault but question whether it’s enforceable

Los Angeles Times

The state Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would define “stealthing” as a form of rape, though lawmakers said it was unclear whether or how it would be enforced.


Fires around north state being tamed by firefighters from Butte County to Winters

The Sacramento Bee

Cal Fire released figures Tuesday that show the devastation in Butte County as a result of the Wall Fire: 41 single-family homes destroyed, 46 smaller structures destroyed and two commercial structures destroyed.




Clovis’ CART tech school wins permanent state charter

The Fresno Bee

Clovis’ celebrated Center for Advanced Research and Technology, which provides career technical education for high school students in Fresno and Clovis, will no longer have to seek state approval every five years to continue operating.


Stan State tops national list of best-value colleges

Modesto Bee

One of the nation’s top colleges is right here in Turlock under one measure by Money magazine.  California State University, Stanislaus, ranked No. 1 among public schools when the cost of attending is weighed against average earnings for young alumni, among other factors. The list, announced Monday, is similar to other recent honors for this seemingly low-profile college.


Teacher Tenure Debate Returns To California Legislature

Capital Public Radio News

The teacher tenure debate is back in the California Legislature.

A bill up for debate Wednesday in the Senate Education committee would let school districts choose whether to allow teachers to reach permanent status after two years – or add a third year of probation.

See also:


What makes a teacher ‘ineffective’? California’s education officials and advocacy groups can’t agree

Los Angeles Times

For all the noise, infighting and litigation over teacher evaluations and tenure, California currently has no definition for what a good teacher — or a bad one — looks like.

As one way to measure equity, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states report on whether disadvantaged students have a higher proportion of ineffective, out-of-field and inexperienced teachers than do their peers. But to report on that metric, the state needs to define, concretely, what an “ineffective” teacher looks like.


New funds available to train bilingual teachers in California


In the midst of a statewide teacher shortage, the new California state budget includes $5 million to address a shortfall of bilingual teachers, a shortage a new study concludes will continue following the passage of Proposition 58 and the expected growth of bilingual programs.


What Might Federal “Back-Door” Vouchers Mean for California, and What Are State Policymakers’ Options?

California Budget & Policy Center

In two recent blog posts we explained the problems that traditional K-12 private school vouchers raise and how voucher-like programs implemented by many states could potentially serve as a model for the Trump Administration. These “back-door” vouchers, just like traditional vouchers, undermine K-12 public education by diverting public dollars to support private schools.


California aims to collect data on LGBTQ+ students with proposed bill

KCRA Sacramento

Efforts to widen data collection on California’s LGBTQ+ community advanced at the state Capitol Tuesday, with Assembly Bill 677 moving to its next Senate committee. Senators on the Governmental Organization Committee voted 5 to 2 to advance AB 677, which requires state departmentswith a focus in employment or education to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity when collecting other demographic information.


UC Board of Regents adds experts in sports management, media, arms control, finance

Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown’s newest appointees to the University of California Board of Regents offer media pizazz, policy expertise and political skills at a time when the university system is facing major challenges.


UC regents, with four new members, plan to debate budget, admissions 

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles civic leader George Kieffer says he is “revved up” about taking the helm of the UC Board of Regents this week, and he’s already set his top priority: improve relations with state lawmakers.


Stadiums or Schools? An analysis of public expenditures

National Center for Education Statistics

A comprehensive study about how states have simultaneously cut public spending on colleges and universities while increasing public spending on sports stadiums.




Deal updates cap-and-trade program, makes tax, fee changes

The Bakersfield Californian / AP

Legislation to renew California’s cap-and-trade program through 2030 and boost local monitoring of air quality are expected to be up for hearings and a vote this week.

The cap-and-trade bill, AB398, needs support from two-thirds of lawmakers to pass. Cap-and-trade puts an overall limit on greenhouse gas emissions and requires companies to buy or trade allowances in order to emit pollutants. A companion bill, AB617, aims to reduce air pollutants that harm public health.


A primer on two new CA environmental proposals


Two new California environment proposals were announced late Monday: AB 398, which would extend the cap-and-trade program to 2031, and AB 617, which would make oil plants in polluted locations switch out their equipment with more green technology by 2023.

See also:


How A Small Group Of Fresnans Got The State To Change Course And Send $70 Million Their Way

Valley Public Radio

It’s not usually easy to get the state of California to quickly adjust how it spends money in places like the Central Valley, especially after the Governor Jerry Brown himself comes to town for a major bill signing.  But that’s exactly what a group of activists in Southwest Fresno were able to do, convincing the state to make their part of town eligible for $70 million in cap-and-trade funding.




Modesto man thanks the ACA for flimsy health plan and sky-high insurance rates

Modesto Bee

Bruce Pardini of Modesto refers to his health insurance plan as “this plastic card in my pocket”, which costs almost $1,000 a month. It has a $6,500 annual deductible and other costly terms such as a $75 copay for physician visits.  Pardini is among the middle class voices that are disenchanted with the promises of the Affordable Care Act. With a household income of $73,000 a year, Pardini and his wife are not eligible for tax credits to lower their premiums.  What he can afford, in this period of sky-high insurance costs, is a Bronze plan with a $13,600 out-of-pocket maximum for the household and 60 percent coverage for health care bills.


California wants to save your family’s clinic from a Republican health care bill

Sacramento Bee

But the midtown Sacramento clinic and more than 1,200 other health centers across California, many in isolated, rural communities, are at risk of closing or undergoing drastic changes if Congress enacts pending legislation to replace Obamacare, advocates say. The measure envisions huge cuts to Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California), the health program for the poor, that pays many of the centers’ bills.


CA community clinics could get $20 million to stay open

Sacramento Bee

All three of Leticia Aguilar’s children got their shots at the Sacramento Native American Health Center. After her mother had a stroke, Aguilar took her there for every follow-up appointment. Aguilar and her husband got sober there. Now they take classes there that link them to their culture. For Aguilar, it is irreplaceable as a health center and a community center.

Why tying counties’ hands on contracts will cost taxpayers

Sacramento Bee

A bill in the Legislature would put a stranglehold on California counties’ ability to provide cost-effective services to residents who need them most.


Senate GOP bill would devastate children’s health care


Providing quality health care to our nation’s children should be sacrosanct. But for many members of Congress, it’s not. The Senate Republican health care bill has made that clear.


Disrupting the Health Care Industry: Choice Through Competition

Hoover Institution

The most important driver of revolutions in price and quality comes from new companies entering a market. But numerous rules and regulations have made health care into a uniquely uncompetitive market. A revolution in health care will require eliminating the restrictions that prevent new entrants to the market.


This Chart Shows Just How Much the Senate Health Care Bill Helps the Rich

Time Inc. / Money

A new study, released Tuesday, shows the Senate bill  dramatically favors the wealthiest Americans, at the expense of the least well off. The study, conducted by the Tax Policy Center — a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute and the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center — used economic models to estimate the effect of the Senate health bill’s impact on Americans in all different income groups.

This shipping-container farm could someday solve the food desert problem

Washington Post

Food deserts lack access to fresh affordable food in low income communities. Here is one solution.

Dental lobby prevails again: Grieving parents shelve Caleb’s Law rather than dilute it 


It has become a familiar routine for the Sears family: Gather the medical experts, trek to Sacramento, and tell another panel of lawmakers how their 6-year-old son died from the anesthesia a dentist gave him to pull a tooth.


Lice at summer camp


So you survived the school year lice-free? Consumer Reports says don’t let your guard down over the summer. Camp and other summer-time activities can spread lice. Consumer says when it comes to getting rid of lice – skip the chemical products.




How Trump is turning immigrants into citizens at a fast pace

Sacramento Bee

Just after President Donald J. Trump took office in January, the Mexican consulate in Sacramento held an immigration forum to help legal residents navigate their paths to U.S. citizenship.

House panel unveils $1.6B plan for building US-Mexico wall 


The move by the House Appropriations Committee again puts the Trump administration and its allies on Capitol Hill on a collision course with Democrats who oppose the wall and succeeded in blocking a request by Trump to deliver the money when passing an omnibus spending measure earlier this spring.




124-room Hyatt Place hotel to break ground in NE Fresno along 41

Business Journal

The developers of what will become northeast Fresno’s newest hotel, Hyatt Place Fresno, will host a groundbreaking for the 124-room facility July 17.  It will be located at 7345 N. Fresno St., on an undeveloped strip of land off of Highway 41 and Alluvial Avenue just west of the Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center. It is near one of the hottest locations in Fresno for new development along the Friant Road corridor, not far from the new Dave & Buster’s location.


Housing woes, labor shortages might “disrupt” Bay Area economy, forecast says

The Mercury News

The Bay Area job market faces disruption from a lack of skilled labor and skyrocketing home prices that could throttle the region’s booming economy, according to Beacon Economics forecasts released Tuesday.


One Year After San Diego Minimum Wage Hike, City Enforcement Uncertain


The City of San Diego’s new minimum wage law went into effect last June, and the city funded an enforcement office to hear complaints and investigate violations. But until a few weeks ago, the city had been directing wage complaints to state labor regulators, who said the law can not be properly enforced without local help.

The Center on Policy Initiatives released a study on San Diego wage theft on Tuesday, estimating that employers in San Diego and Imperial counties fail to pay the minimum wage 40,000 times per year. The state received nearly 3,000 San Diego claims last year.




When will the Legislature take housing crisis seriously?

Fresno Bee

The gap between wages and the cost of housing continues to grow across California. A worker making minimum wage needs to log more than 90 hours a week to rent a modest one-bedroom home.


Property value increase is double expectations, welcome news for county finances

The Bakersfield Californian

Kern County Assessor-Recorder Jon Lifquist had some good news for county government Tuesday. Property values have rebounded by $5.9 billion for the 2017-18 fiscal year. That’s substantially more than was expected as 2017 began.


What Inclusive Urban Development Can Look Like

Harvard Business Review

What we need is a new form of urbanism: an urbanism-for-allIt’s tempting to see affordable housing and inclusionary zoning as the solution to improving accessibility among low- and moderate-income communities. They are certainly important components, but they are not enough.




MOSTLY TRUE: California’s taxes are ‘among the highest in the nation’


In the video announcing his run for California governor, Republican Travis Allen said he wants to reduce the state’s crime rate and its high taxes.

We recently fact-checked Allen’s claims on crime in the video. The Orange County state assemblyman earned a Mostly False for his statement that “crime is on the rise” in all the state’s major metros. We found he cherry-picked data from an uptick in crime in 2015 and ignored the state’s decades-long decline in crime which continued in early 2016.


Yet Another Wealthy California Town Is Short on Cash


The San Francisco suburb of Moraga seems as far as one could get from the financial pressures that have battered big cities like Detroit or Chicago. But on June 28, the 17,000-resident town authorized a declaration of fiscal emergency, a step California cities can take before bankruptcy. It gives officials the power to expedite a referendum on new fees to boost its revenue, which has been restrained by a lackluster retail base and property-tax limits the state enacted almost 40 years ago.




Fresno freeway lanes affected by high-speed rail

The Fresno Bee

Drivers on Highway 180 through downtown Fresno are still getting used to a new traffic pattern that debuted recently between Fulton Street and Highway 99.


Don’t allow triple-trailer big-rigs in California

The Fresno Bee

As a veteran police officer and current President of the Fresno Police Officers’ Association, I have seen firsthand that our motorists already face too many dangerous challenges on the highway. Whether it is navigating rush-hour traffic or dealing with distracted drivers, the last thing Fresnans need to face on the road is the introduction of bigger, more dangerous tractor-trailers. Unfortunately this is exactly what is going to happen if we don’t band together to prevent a very bad idea working its way through Congress.


Exclusive: Air Canada near-miss at SFO sparks FAA prob

Mercury News

FAA investigators are still trying to determine how close the Air Canada aircraft came to landing and potentially crashing into the four aircraft below, but the apparent pilot error already has the aviation industry buzzing.


Opponents of California’s gas tax hike will sue over the state’s ‘misleading’ ballot description

LA 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.

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Community Voices: VW must rebuild trust with disadvantaged communities

The Bakersfield Californian

Volkswagen, one of the single largest criminal polluters in U.S. history, wants California’s air quality officials to rubber stamp the first cycle of its revised $800 million plan for zero emission vehicle infrastructure, access and education. They’re essentially saying “trust us” to do right by the state’s neediest residents.




Millerton Lake to be kept filled for a week

The Fresno Bee

Melting snow from the Sierra is sending more water into the Millerton Lake reservoir than it can handle, but officials say the lake will be kept filled to capacity for at least a week to make the most use of the water.


Second phase of East Porterville project to begin soon

Porterville Recorder

The second phase of the East Porterville Water Project will take the first seven letters of the alphabet to finish, which Mike Reed said won’t be until possibly the end of 2018.


Oroville Dam spillway repairs might speed up

Sacramento Bee

The Department of Water Resources have asked federal regulators to let it demolish and replace an additional 240 feet of the spillway’s 3,000-foot concrete chute before the rains comes this fall, leaving less work for next year.

See also:


Fish or farms? Congress battles over water priorities in California

McClatchy Washington Bureau

The House this week will tackle the question, which for years has triggered a tug-of-war between growers and environmentalists. It plans to vote on a Republican-authored plan aimed at sending more of northern California’s water to the Central Valley farmers who say they badly need it.


Big Decisions Loom On “Twin Tunnels” Delta Water Project

Valley Public Radio

It could be California’s biggest water infrastructure project in two generations – a plan to build two massive, 35 mile-long tunnels deep beneath the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta. Dubbed California WaterFix, it would send water from Northern California to farms and cities in the south, bypassing the fragile delta ecosystem.


Private Domestic Well Owners Left Behind In California’s Water Quality Push

Valley Public Radio

The recent drought underscored the struggles of private well owners as wells across Tulare County went dry. But an underlying issue has existed all along: even those who have drinking water don’t necessarily know if it’s safe.




Good Samaritan works to clean up July 4th litter at Bass Lake

Sierra Star

Every year, Collier has watched as guests to the lake over the July 4th holiday – though a source of celebration and a big boon for area businesses – transform lakeshores and campgrounds into a litter-ridden mess.


Fitzgerald: City parks catch ‘yellow fever’

Stockton Record

What’s the matter with Victory Park?

Grass is yellowing at the popular midtown spot. Big limbs are snapping off. It looks like the gardener turned off the water and took a long vacation to Ensenada.


Supervisors approve updated ‘brand’ for Madera County

Sierra Star

Madera County’s image is getting an overhaul


Wine with that romantic comedy? AMC 6 gets OK to sell alcohol

The Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield AMC 6 will be allowed to sell beer and wine along with more traditional fare like popcorn and soda when it reopens after its renovation, a city board voted Tuesday.


This bill would provide faster Internet

Sacramento Bee

On Wednesday, the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee will consider a bill that is critical if California is to stay at the leading edge of technological innovation. (“Democratic legislators take bold stands, except when they don’t” Editorials, July 10)

Defying Trump, House panel is expected to propose restoring funding for earthquake early warning system 

Los Angeles Times

Members of Congress on Wednesday are expected to approve a new budget plan that would maintain funding for a West Coast earthquake early warning system that President Trump’s budget sought to slash.

Get ready to hear a lot about net neutrality if you use Amazon, Google, Netflix or hundreds of other websites 

Los Angeles Times

On Wednesday, millions of Americans unwittingly will be drawn into the heated battle over the controversial rules for online traffic that Republicans are pushing to dismantle.