July 13, 2017



CA cap-and-trade bill vote delayed until next week

Sacramento Bee

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon have delayed a planned Thursday vote on cap and trade until Monday, the pair announced. For more on Cap & Trade, please see “Energy/Environment” section.


Harris Should Make the Central Valley a Priority – For State and National Reasons

Fox and Hounds Daily

U.S. Senator and potential presidential candidate Kamala Harris got some attention for a recent trip to the Central Valley, where she talked with industrial farmers. It was billed as a first step to develop relationship in the Valley.


The Democrats’ newest fundraising star: Kamala Harris

San Francisco Chronicle

If you’re a progressive, getting an email fundraising pitch from MoveOn.org is like seeing the fog roll in through the Golden Gate. It seemingly happens every day at the same time.


Jeff Sessions has a message for Nevada: Don’t be California

Los Angeles Times

Nevada will be a political battleground in the mid-term elections, and U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions stepped into the middle of the fray Wednesday with a not-so-subtle message: Don’t let the state become like California.


Victor Davis Hanson: Will California for thrive again?

Investors Daily

Some 62% of state roads have been rated poor or mediocre. There were more predictions of huge cost overruns and yearly losses on high-speed rail — before the first mile of track has been laid. One-third of Bay Area residents were polled as hoping to leave the area soon.


The right wing’s war on journalism

Sacramento Bee

The old journalistic axiom, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out,” has seldom seemed more apropos.


Many Republicans unmoved by Trump Jr. revelations

San Francisco Chronicle

Orange County Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher called the emails and subsequent meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and an attorney with ties to the Russian government “still a nothingburger” and “the same old fake news.”


Walters: California’s voter turnout gap grows, and could hurt Democrats 


The last three California election cycles demonstrated that at the political margins, voter turnout can have a major impact.



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

Fresno Bee

Democrats’ leftward slant will be tested on major bills affecting the powerful telecommunications industry, privacy rights and consumer protection.


A cap and trade deal worth supporting

Merced Sun Star

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 will be tough. Gov. Jerry Brown, legislators and others who fashioned the extension of cap and trade sought to limit economic disruption.


Reasons to support Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade extension

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.


Here’s what’s in California’s cap-and-trade deal

Sacramento Bee

The deal Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders in the Legislature made to extend the state’s cap-and-trade system to battle climate change has many elements, including some to win Republican votes.


Democrats are hypocrites with budget process

East Bay Times

Process matters.  That’s why state legislators’ devious use of the budget process to slip through major policy changes is so despicable.





Farmworkers, advocates ask California to ban insecticide

Sacramento Bee

Obama-era EPA experts had recommended that the agency ban the use of chlorpyrifos, an insecticide used on corn, apples, almonds, broccoli and other crops, citing health consequences for farm workers and children.  In March, Scott Pruitt, the EPA chief, rejected a 10-year-old request by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pesticide Action Network North America to ban chlorpyrifos in agriculture. The pesticide already is banned for most residential uses. 


Nonprofit Helps California’s Asian-American Farmers Grow Their Businesses


Growing up, Youa Yang did not envision himself taking over his family’s business. His parents were Hmong refugees from Laos who arrived in Fresno, Calif., in the late 1980s and settled down to become farmers. He went to college for economics and mathematics and found himself knee-deep in the finance industry immediately after graduating.

Peach Party takes over Old Town Clovis


With stone fruit harvest in full swing, the Central Valley is getting ready to celebrate with a peach party.



Dyer identifies four elements in surge of 2017 murders

Fresno Bee

Fresno has now recorded nearly as many murders so far this year as it recorded in all of last year or in 2015, police Chief Jerry Dyer said Wednesday. He outlined strategies the department hopes will halt the surge of violence.


Skelton: Our current bail system is indefensible, but the bill that aims to fix it needs work

Los Angeles Times

If you’re rich and get arrested, you’ll probably waltz out of jail after writing a big check. If you’re broke, it’s likely you’ll be locked up. Is that fair? Emblematic of the American Way, at least as we like to think of it? Of course not.


Rules for collecting racial profiling data in California are delayed 

Los Angeles Times

Police departments in Los Angeles and other large cities across California won’t have to collect data in an effort to combat racial profiling until next July, delaying by six months the timeline called for under state law.


Committee passes bill on job applicants’ criminal records

Sacramento Business Journal

After passing in the Assembly and clearing two committees in the Senate, AB 1008 now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

See also:

·       So you need a job but you’re a felon? L.A. County may be on your side  Los Angeles Times


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. .


Lawsuit: Washington cyberstalking law violates free speech

San Francisco Chronicle

A retired Air Force major is asking a federal court to declare Washington state’s cyberstalking law unconstitutional, saying he’s been threatened with prosecution — and up to a year in jail — for repeatedly making online posts that criticize a community activist.


Scenes of ‘zombie apocalypse’ left in the path of California wildefires

Los Angeles Times

The pool, the dining hall and a single cabin are all that remain of the 290-acre Boy Scout facility at Rancho Alegre, which the Whittier fire swept across Saturday.



Contaminated water not an issue for students

Hanford Sentinel

Clean drinking water for students is a high priority in any school district, and Reef-Sunset Unified School District Superintendent David East is happy his district’s issues are finally being addressed in a way where he doesn’t have to constantly worry about students’ health.


VIDEO: California schools group wraps up successful collaboration to improve LCFF plans


The future of California education was forever changed when it was decided to move more decision making from state offices in Sacramento to the local schools districts across the state. The reasoning was practical and sound. In the local districts, the people are more familiar with their own unique needs and therefore better suited to make the decisions that affect students and classrooms.


Do girls have access to team sports? Many California schools aren’t telling, despite law


Lacrosse came to Avonna Usher, a 16-year-old junior at Granite Bay High School northeast of Sacramento, the way sports come to many young athletes — at school. The pure pleasure of hurling a 40-yard pass has driven her to attack her learning disability, improve her grades and win a verbal commitment to play lacrosse for the University of Oregon Ducks.


California must take steps to grow the bilingual teacher workforce


Imagine a classroom with confident and curious learners speaking, reading and writing in two languages. Where children are learning complex science or social science concepts taught in one language, with intentional second language development building on that learning. Where English dominant students build proficiency in Mandarin while building their English skills, and Mandarin dominant students maintain their home language while building English proficiency. Imagine a classroom where students are on a path able to speak, read and write fluently in two or more languages, and are joyfully learning and thriving.


What exactly is an ‘ineffective teacher?’ California’s definition doesn’t include measures of performance

Los Angeles Times

Even after years of debate and litigation over teacher evaluations and tenure, California had no official definition of what constituted a bad educator — until now.


What you should be paying attention to at this week’s California State Board of Education meeting

Los Angeles Times

California’s schools might not be in session, but the people who oversee them will make some important decisions this week. The California State Board of Education is meeting Wednesday and Thursday to debate how the state plans to satisfy the Every Student Succeeds Act, the 2015 federal law that replaced No Child Left Behind.


California’s education plan thwarts efforts to train workers

San Francisco Chronicle

Earlier this year, the Public Policy Institute of California issued a warning about a looming collision between California’s demographic and economic trends. Baby Boomers are retiring in droves. By 2030, the vast majority will not be working.




California cap-and-trade bill offers tax break to power companies

Sacramento Bee

Until this week, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has resisted proposals to extend an existing sales and use tax break for manufacturers.  Brown’s finance department, warning of lost revenue, came out this spring against a pair of bills to continue the exemption as well as broaden it to include power providers and farm businesses. 

See also:

·       Jerry Brown defends CA climate change plan  Sacramento Bee

·       Dan Walters: Jerry Brown wants to be global climate change leader, but has a problem in California  CALmatters

·       Debate rages over California cap and trade deal  San Jose Mercury News

·       Not Just Enviros, Biz Also Split on Cap-n-Trade Bills; GOP Might Hold the Key  Fox and Hounds Daily

·       Gov. Brown has unveiled a new cap-and-trade proposal for California. Here’s why there’s tension behind the plan  Los Angeles Times

·       Extending cap-and-trade is right thing to do  Capitol Weekly


Defying Trump, Gov. Brown to showcase US climate-change efforts

San Francisco Chronicle

Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday a climate-change initiative that will track and showcase how much states, cities and businesses in the United States are doing to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to show the world that Americans are still on board with the goals outlined in the landmark Paris Agreement.  A new deal to extend California’s landmark climate program known as cap and trade was met with both praise and condemnation Tuesday as environmentalists, business groups and lawmakers worked furiously to untangle — and wrangle over — the complex proposal that could be up for a vote within days.


California lawmakers delay climate change vote amid push for affordable housing

Los Angeles Times

While conversations over climate change have dominated recent debate at the Capitol, California lawmakers are accelerating bills to address the state’s housing affordability crisis, and may vote on a series of measures before they break for summer recess next Friday.  Beyond the triumphant rhetoric, there is ambivalence about the proposal, largely from progressive lawmakers and environmental advocates. Meanwhile, more conservative legislators and industry groups have stopped short of embracing the plan, throwing the swift passage Brown hoped for in doubt.  California’s cap-and-trade program is working. Since it was launched in 2013, the system has helped drive down greenhouse gas emissions, while the state’s economy has flourished. The billions of dollars the program generates have funded “climate credit” payments to electric utility customers, low-carbon transit projects, and home weatherization improvements in low-income communities.


California needs to step up park maintenance with a 2018 bond measure

San Francisco Chronicle

Once considered a “best in the nation” system, California’s parks and open spaces have suffered in recent years from a lack of adequate funding to meet the backlog of unseen or aging infrastructure at many of the state’s most beautiful places. Additionally, parklands are on the front line of climate change, affected by severe storms and sea-level rise, drought and fire — increasing the backlog. Deferring maintenance is akin to taking on more debt — it costs more to fix things as their condition worsens. Gov. Jerry Brown used this same analogy with regard to the Legislature’s transportation measure: “If the roof on your house is leaking, you better fix it, because it gets worse all the time.” We agree — the time to fix our parks is now.  Much has been made in news reports that the environmental community is not of one mind on the cap-and-trade bills produced by the governor’s negotiations. They are not alone. The business community is split as well.




Survey of state health insurance marketplaces for 2018


Based on the latest data, most of the 12 million people who got health insurance through Obamacare’s individual marketplaces will have the same number of companies to choose among next year as they did in 2017.


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.


Despite doomsday rhetoric, Obamacare markets are stabilizing


“Obamacare is dead,” President Donald Trump frequently declares.  But reports of its demise appear to be premature. For the first time ever this year, insurers selling plans in Obamacare’s markets appear to be on a path toward profitability. And despite the drumbeat of headlines about fleeing insurers, only about 25,000 Obamacare customers live in communities facing the prospect of having no insurer next year.


HHS Secretary Price on Senate health bill: ‘I think we will get it done’


The Senate is expected to release its revised health care bill on Thursday. Senate GOP leaders want a vote next week, but the legislation is dividing Republicans.


Clovis parents say GOP health care bill could hurt son

Fresno Bee

James has a rare form of dwarfism that is identified by three multisyllable medical words. The genetic disorder – brachtelephalangic chondodysplasia punctata – affected the growth of cartilage in his airways.


How the BCRA would impact enrollee costs, according to your age

Brookings Institution

The GOP health care bill would increase total costs for lower-income enrollees of all ages.


Ingredients for Health Care Reform


What might alternative approaches to providing health care look like? There are many options, but here are some possible ingredients for providing coverage to more Americans.

Medi-Cal patients sue state, claiming widespread discrimination

Los Angeles Times

A group of Medi-Cal beneficiaries filed a lawsuit against the state Wednesday, alleging that low payments to doctors are creating an unequal healthcare system in California.


Why two California lawmakers aren’t giving up on universal health care

Sacramento Bee

Toni Atkins grew up without health insurance in a “crossroads out in the middle of nowhere.”  The family lived in rural Virginia, where her father worked as a miner and her mother was a seamstress. Her mom broke an arm at one point, reducing the family to one income while medical bills stacked up.


Single payer health care still on wish-list in California

The Sacramento Be

Two senators introduced a bill in the Legislature to wipe out the state insurance market and create a single-payer system, in which government negotiates prices with providers. At least in theory, the system would have worked like Medicare, but applied to the entire state population. People would receive care regardless of income level or immigration status. Californians would pay into the system through taxes, likely bas


Why Some Patients Aren’t Getting Palliative Care

Pew Charitable Trust | Stateline

Palliative care services remains scattershot in U.S. healthcare, but access is gradually improving.



Bill to restrict federal immigration agents from entering businesses moves forward

Sacramento Business Journal

The bill would restrict federal immigration officials from entering non-public areas of businesses or receiving employee records without a warrant or subpoena.


CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra: DACA program should stay

San Jose Mercury News

Amid a Republican-led push to end the Obama-era DACA program, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Thursday reaffirmed his support o f the controversial program that has granted nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants reprieve from deportation.


U.S. asks judge to let it take action against sanctuary locales 

San Francisco Chronicle

A federal judge showed little inclination Wednesday to accept the government’s assurances that President Trump isn’t about to strip San Francisco, Santa Clara County and other sanctuary cities and counties of their federal funding for refusing to cooperate with immigration officers.


Without trust between immigrants and police, crimes won’t be reported, victims tell California lawmakers 

Los Angeles Times

Tri-Valley University appeared legitimate. The Bay Area school had a website, a roster of professors and a single building with classrooms in Pleasanton. When Vishal Dasa, a native of India, enrolled in 2009, he had hopes of completing a master’s degree in healthcare management. Instead, he said he ended up painting walls, cleaning utensils and building heavy office equipment, hours of unpaid labor that he said were assigned to him by the university president, Susan Su, under the threat of deportation.


Stop Texas-style immigrant crackdowns. Make California a sanctuary state.

Sacramento Bee

In the seven decades I’ve been fighting for social justice and human rights, I’ve never seen a year as scary as 2017.  The Trump administration is pushing a xenophobic agenda to deport millions of people and racially profile millions more. White supremacists are marching in public, committing heinous acts, and trying to influence public policy.  With bigots and extremists sinking to new lows across the country, all of us who believe in equality and inclusion need to reach higher than ever before.

Sacramento teen grows up to become Mexico’s consul general in the Trump era

Sacramento Bee

Liliana Ferrer recalls growing up as the only Mexican student at Del Campo High School while her father, Carlos Ferrer, served as Mexico’s consul general in Sacramento. About a month ago, Ferrer followed in her father’s footsteps as consul general during a critical time in Mexico-U.S. relations.




Valley Economic Index expands for June, inflation gauge ticks up

Fresno State News

The San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index climbed to a solid 58.7 from 58.1 in May, moving into a range that points to strong growth in the next three to six months.


Ruiz Foods $79 Million Expansion in South Carolina

Fresno Bus Journal

The company will be adding a new production line to the manufacturing facility, with plans for two more lines within the next seven years. This will result in employment additional of more than 700 people, adding to the 3,500 working in the company’s operations in Dinuba, Texas, and South Carolina.


Regulators green light Central Valley Community Bank acquisition

The Business Journal

Central Valley Community Bancorp, parent company of Fresno’s Central Valley Community Bank, has received regulatory approval to acquire Folsom Lake Bank.


Elevate CA: California can lead the nation in rebuilding upward mobility


California Forward and the California Economic Summit have launched a public conversation on how we can improve upward mobility in California. The ideas and perspectives expressed by a diversity of California leaders will feed into policy discussions at the annual Summit meeting in San Diego on November 2-3.  The discussion–called Elevate CA–is designed to inform a policy strategy to help the 18 million Californians who live in or near poverty achieve the California dream as part of the 2018 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity.


So you need a job but you’re a felon? L.A. County may be on your side

Los Angeles Times

When Lily Gonzalez was released from Valley State Prison in Chowchilla in 2012, all she wanted to do was put incarceration behind her. She hoped to go back to work, continue her education at Cal State Northridge and reconnect with her 11-year-old daughter.


Gymboree is closing 350 stores, including 24 in California

Los Angeles Times

Children’s apparel retailer Gymboree Corp. said it would close about 350 of its Gymboree, Janie and Jack and Crazy 8 stores nationwide — including 24 in California — as it restructures its business after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June.



Is a deal on affordable housing brewing in the Legislature?

Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers are hoping to reach a deal to address the state’s widening housing crisis next week, and negotiations could be tied to the cap-and-trade extension sought by Gov. Jerry Brown, Democratic leaders of both houses hinted Wednesday.

Lemoore light industrial park finds niche

Hanford Sentinel

Bakersfield-based property owner Eric Beard was looking for a place in Lemoore to set up his young business, Beard Motorsports, a few years ago. But a search of the area turned up nothing suitable. “That was when I got the idea to buy property in the industrial park and build something myself.”

Delays stall return of art to Fresno’s restored Fulton Street

Fresno Bee

When demolition work began in early 2016 on the Fulton Mall in downtown Fresno, one of the chief concerns of critics was what would happen with the mall’s hallmark sculptures, fountains and other works of art in the conversion of the six-block stretch to a traffic-bearing Fulton Street.


How proximity to public transit affects home values

Construction Dive

New or planned public transit projects drive up nearby property values and rents, according to Realtor.com. In some U.S. cities, single-family homes near transit stops can cost 2% to 32% more than their counterparts, while condos can cost 2% to 18% more.




San Joaquin River Parkway | Money for land but not operations

Fresno Bee

The only public restroom in Fresno near the San Joaquin River is locked shut. Both sides.



Does California need significant new investments in its transportation infrastructure?


Given our state’s deteriorating highways, roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure, not to mention billions of dollars in deferred maintenance, the answer should clearly be “yes.”


Patience! Road work is clogging local transportation grid and more is coming


Road work is making something of a mess of Bakersfield commutes these days. But officials say the work is paving the way for something good.


California AG stacks the deck on gas-tax measure

San Francisco Chronicle

Once again, California voters are getting more spin than clarity from a ballot summary of gas tax repeal that’s at the signature gathering stage. The hazy wording from Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office is rightly infuriating the conservative architect of the measure.

Navigating the Uncertain Path to Decarbonization


But study after study is clear: With the current scale and scope of decarbonization efforts, net emissions are likely to fall short of the level needed to cap the dangerous risks of climate change.


Don’t wait for hours at the DMV – head to the grocery store instead

San Jose Mercury News

Like taxes, a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles is something we all have to do – and all want to avoid. But in a stroke of forward-thinking benevolence, the state agency is now making it easier to renew vehicle registrations, without the potentially hours-long wait.


CHP: Calif. Losing Millions Due to Car Registration Evaders


The State of California claims it’s losing millions of dollars every year, due to drivers who are failing to re-register out-of-state vehicles.


Visalia to Fresno Fares & Passes


One-way tickets are just $10. They also offer multi-ride passes at discounted prices. Use the V-line from Visalia to Fresno airport.




City water rates to jump nearly 40 percent over two years to fund $55 million TCP eradication effort


“This is unprecedented for us,” City Manager Alan Tandy said. “But it is exclusively because of the (TCP) regulations.”It’s going to cost the City of Bakersfield $55 million to remove a cancer-causing agent from its water supply, and ratepayers will be footing the bill with an increase of nearly 40 percent over two years.


Corcoran levee funding picture emerges

Hanford Sentinel

Corcoran area property owners are starting to learn how much they’re being asked to pay for a levee-raising project completed earlier this year.

California water bill passes House, but Democrats vow to fight it in the Senate

Los Angeles Times

Some of California’s decisions about how to use its water would be relegated to the federal government under a bill passed by the House on Wednesday.


California’s Near-Record Snowpack Is Melting Into Raging Rivers


Two years ago, near the end of California’s devastating drought, Tom Moore stood on the banks of the depleted Kern River in Southern California and looked out at the slow-moving waters dejectedly.




Bakersfield City Council gives OK for movie theater to sell beer, wine

Bakersfield Now


What Is Net Neutrality and Why Should You Care?


Activist groups and internet companies from Google to Facebook and Netflix united to defend net neutrality Wednesday from a rollback of protections proposed by the Federal Communications Commission. But what exactly is net neutrality, and why are some of the biggest companies in the world trying to protect it?


SB 649 would vastly improve Internet service

Sacramento Bee
Senate Bill 649, by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, and me, would establish a standardized, expedited process for statewide deployment of the equipment necessary to power 5G, the most advanced wireless technology ever to come to market.


A major boost for 5G networks and public safety in California

Los Angeles Times

During a response to a public safety incident or a disaster like a flood, fire or earthquake, emergency communications are vital for response and recovery. In saving lives and protecting property, minutes and seconds are critical. Teams working together must be able to communicate instantaneously.


5 things not to miss at the California State Fair

Sacramento Bee

There’s a lot to see at this year’s California State Fair. Here are five of them:


Kool and the Gang, Gary Allan, Eddie Money part of free Madera Fair concert lineup

Sierra Star

The fair begins on Sept. 7, with music starting at 7:30 p.m. courtesy of country music artist Gary Allan. Music continues Friday at 8 p.m. with funk band Kool and the Gang, on Saturday at 8 p.m. with Eddie Money having the venue shaking to classics like Two Tickets to Paradise, and on Sunday with two bands, Banda Carnaval and Conjunto Primavera on the main stage.  Adult admission to the fair is $6, with special pricing available until Aug. 15.

Fresno State gets green light to sell beer at football games

Fresno Bee

Fresno State has been given the green light to sell beer at football, baseball and softball games following an executive order by California State University Chancellor Timothy White that repealed a previous system-wide policy.