July 18, 2017




Wonderful Company Announces Community Grants for Sanger & Del Rey

Over the past two years the Wonderful Company has funded 24 local organizations in Central Valley communities  through its Wonderful Community Grants.. If you work for a local nonprofit, faith-based organization or government agency, you are invited to attend our grant information session in Sanger to find out more and see you how you can become a WCG grantee.  Information Session: Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 10:00-11:00am, Sanger Youth Center, 818 L Street, Sanger, Ca, 93657.  Important Dates: Application Available: Monday, August 1, 2017 and Application Due: Wednesday, August 31, 2017


Packed council agenda also includes water rate hike, outside watering rules and East Hills Mall


Be prepared for a long City Council meeting Wednesday, City Manager Alan Tandy said in his Friday memo.


Will city follow county’s lead in nixing PACE?


When Kern County supervisors voted last week to terminate the Property Assessed Clean Energy program in unincorporated Kern County, their action raised another critical question: Will the Bakersfield City Council follow the county’s lead by killing PACE loans in the city? Or will the council leave the program in place?

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Berryhill supports cap-and-trade extension, and hears about it on Twitter

Modesto Bee

State Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, joined in Monday’s vote to renew California’s cap-and-trade system — and got praise and jeers on Twitter for his position.


California Senate approves cap-and-trade extension

Los Angeles Times

State senators advanced legislation to extend California’s cap-and-trade program in a narrow vote Monday. All Democrats voted yes, and they were joined by one Republican, Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto).  The measure, Assembly Bill 398, now goes to the Assembly for another vote before it can reach Gov. Jerry Brown‘s desk.


California climate change bill clears state Senate

Sacramento Bee

Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León called AB 398, which passed 28-12, a “legislative unicorn” that brought together an unusual coalition of business organizations and environmental groups, among others rarely aligned at the Capitol.  The Senate leader described the measure as the most affordable method to reach the state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.


See also:

Sacramento Bee

FPPC attorney recommends lawmakers face contribution limits in recall fight

Los Angeles Times

The top attorney for the state’s campaign watchdog agency recommended Monday that it deny a request to boost the limit for contributions to a highly charged recall election.

Video: California’s Voter Turnout Challenge

Public Policy Institute of California

California has a voter turnout problem with two distinct elements. Registration is falling compared to other states, and turnout among those who are registered in midterm elections is down.




The Latest: McConnell says he’ll push for clean repeal bill

Associated Press

The Republican leader made the announcement in a statement that came a few hours after two Republican senators dealt a fatal blow to the replacement bill unveiled last Thursday. Sens. Jerry Moran and Mike Lee joined two other senators in opposing the legislation, meaning McConnell lacked the votes to move ahead.


Two GOP senators oppose healthcare bill, killing it for now

Fresno Bee
Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran said Monday evening they would not vote to advance the GOP healthcare bill, essentially killing the legislation in its current form.

See also:


How Republicans Can Fix America’s Health Care

The Atlantic
It’s generally reckoned that half the people who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act did so via Medicaid expansion. The Republican ACA alternative would undo that expansion. Unlike the many regulatory changes Republicans had in mind, such a stripping away of an existing benefit is easy to understand—and a natural target for political payback. No surprise then that the senators flinched.




Betsy DeVos fails to protect students against for-profit colleges. It will cost you.

Sacramento Bee

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ effort to scrap Obama administration regulations on for-profit colleges will cost students and taxpayers huge sums and damage lives.

We hope a suit by Democratic state attorneys general including California Attorney General Xavier Becerra succeeds in blocking DeVos’ shortsighted effort.


The GOP is bungling Obamacare repeal, and Democrats could be the winners

Merced Sun Star

The Republican Party in Congress could be on the verge of losing the 2018 midterm elections 16 months before they happen.

Since 2010, the GOP has been vowing and planning and stunting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that transformative legislative Frankenstein that Democrats crammed through Congress in 2010 without a single Republican vote.


California needs to keep its ballots spin-free

Los Angeles Times

Words matter. And when those words appear on the ballot, where space is limited and the competition for voter attention is high, they matter a lot.


Republicans are playing politics with the gas tax again. No wonder they have no power in California

Los Angeles Times

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) has hitched his political star to the campaign to repeal the “gas tax” — a package of vehicle fees and fuel taxes that the Legislature passed earlier this year to raise $52 billion over 10 years for transportation projects. The little-known legislator from Orange County launched a citizen’s initiative to repeal the fuel taxes and fees in May. In June, he announced his candidacy for governor in 2018.


Editorial: Answers needed as SFO near-miss closer than thought

San Jose Mercury News

It’s stunning how close an errant Air Canada flight came to descending smack into fully fueled planes on the ground at San Francisco International Airport in what would have been one of the worst aviation disasters ever.




These farmers say they may not pay for Delta tunnels pushed by Gov. Brown

Sacramento Bee

The governor’s proposed Delta tunnels ran into a roomful of skeptics Monday – an influential group of San Joaquin Valley farmers who remain unconvinced the controversial project will deliver the water they need at a price they’re prepared to swallow.






He blew the whistle when an inmate died. Then he was fired, and his lawsuit tossed out

Sacramento Bee

Two years after state corrections officials fired a psychologist for exposing the death of a mentally ill inmate at Mule Creek State Prison, a federal judge has tossed out the whistleblower lawsuit he filed over his dismissal.


Rapper Common plans free Sacramento concert to promote criminal justice reform

Sacramento Bee

Rapper, actor and activist Common will perform a free concert on Capitol Mall next month to raise awareness about criminal justice reform and push for the passage of three bills in the California Legislature that would give more rights to juvenile offenders and revamp the state’s bail system.

California probes unusual string of assaults on prison staff 


Authorities are investigating what they call an unusual string of assaults that injured nine employees at a single Southern California state prison, sending five to the hospital for treatment within days of each other.




‘Please Stay Out’: Wildfire scorches 11200 acres in Central Valley, triggering evacuations

Los Angeles Times

A wildfire burning in the Central Valley spread across thousands of acres Monday, forcing residents to flee their homes as fire crews wrestled with erratic flames and steep, rugged terrain.






California teacher tenure bill shelved after similar bill emerges

Visalia Delta-Times

Assembly Bill 1220 would have increased the time educators have to earn tenure from two years to three, with an optional fourth and fifth year for additional mentoring and professional development.


EDUCATION ROUNDUP: California teachers summit launches next week


More than 700 teachers are registered to participate in the third annual California Better Together Teachers Summit at Cal State Bakersfield next week.


State board, advocacy groups fundamentally disagree over plan for complying with federal education law


After much talk and testimony at a nine-hour meeting, the State Board of Education made modest changes last week to its draft of the state plan for complying with the Every Student Succeeds Act. Board members are confident the plan will soon be ready to pass along to the federal government for approval.


Higher Ed:


Opinion: Community colleges and partners can overcome math barrier and diversify tech workforce

The Mercury News

As Silicon Valley seeks to grow and diversify its tech workforce, one obvious solution is overlooked: The 15 community colleges in our region.

Tuition hike remains in Cal State University budget 

Los Angeles Daily News

Cal State University’s first tuition hike in more than half-decade will remain part of the 23-campus system’s final budget.


Drop algebra requirement for non-STEM majors, California community colleges chief says

Los Angeles Times

The chancellor of the California Community Colleges system says intermediate algebra should no longer be required to earn an associate degree — unless students are in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math.


Need for social mobility drives revival of California’s community college workforce training

California Forward

Many U.S. educators, policymakers, and researchers are looking west to see what the California Community Colleges are doing to prepare for the future. The system is the largest provider of workforce training and higher education not just in California, but in the United States, serving more than 2.1 million students across 113 colleges in 72 districts






Heat and wildfires making poor Valley air quality even worse


The Valley is already home to some of the worst air quality in the country, but the blue skies have been replaced by smoke and haze due to two wildfires burning in the area.


Depoliticizing Climate Change


Back in 2012, Romsdahl’s team surveyed more than 200 local governments across ten predominantly Republican states in the Great Plains and found that more than half were running initiatives that reduce humans’ contribution to global warming, ranging from investing in city-operated “green” vehicles to the installation of efficient streetlights. But policies were rarely framed as climate change programs. Instead, in an effort to attract more universal support, policies that mitigated climate change were branded as economic development, sustainability, resource management, or public health initiatives.




California Supreme Court: Medical board can examine prescription records

Los Angeles Times

California’s medical board may obtain patient prescription records without a warrant or subpoena, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously Monday.




Madera County supervisors approved ICE cooperation behind closed doors

Fresno Bee

The Madera County Board of Supervisors may have secretly ordered the head of its local jail to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in violation of state open government laws, a lawsuit filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union says yes.

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Trump administration allowing more low-skill foreign workers into country 


Immigration officials are raising the ceiling of visas available under a program that brings in low-skilled, seasonal workers from abroad, they announced Monday, but employers will need to show their businesses would be harmed if their positions aren’t filled.


Community Voices: Salas’ vote can help end a cycle of repression

The Bakersfield Californian

California State Assemblyman Rudy Salas faces a crucial upcoming vote in the California State Assembly, SB 54 the California Values Act.






Land Use:


How California is leading the way in affordable housing on tribal lands

89.3 KPCC

For decades, constructing any sort of large-scale affordable housing development on Native American land was nearly impossible. Then California changed the rules—and now, the whole country may follow.




California housing bill delayed until August | 89.3 KPCC

89.3 KPCC

Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement with state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon Monday afternoon saying the housing package would not be finalized until the Legislature returned from its summer recess, which ends Aug. 21.

Legislature delays vote on housing-bills package


California lawmakers have delayed until late August voting on a package of bills aimed at spurring a boom in affordable housing.


Why affordable housing is part of the cap-and-trade conversation

89.3 KPCC

With rents rising and vacancy rates low, California is facing a deep housing crisis.

CA to begin anti-discrimination testing of Airbnb hosts 


State regulators plan soon to test hosts on Airbnb to prevent discriminatory practices, picking audit targets using information provided by the online home sharing platform.


Lawmakers won’t vote on housing legislation today — leaving one day to act before summer recess

Los Angeles Times

California lawmakers will not vote on a package of bills Monday designed to address the state’s housing crisis, according to the leader of the state Senate.


Gov. Jerry Brown, California legislative leaders commit to push an affordable housing plan next month

Los Angeles Times

With time running out before lawmakers break for summer recess, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders announced Monday that they were postponing a vote on a package of bills to address the state’s housing affordability crisis until August.


Student Debt Is a Major Reason Millennials Aren’t Buying Homes


College tuition hikes and the resulting increase in student debt burdens in recent years have caused a significant drop in homeownership among young Americans, according to new research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  The study is the first to quantify the impact of the recent and significant rise in college-related borrowing—student debt has doubled since 2009 to more than $1.4 trillion—on the decline in homeownership among Americans ages 28 to 30. The news has negative implications for local economies where debt loads have swelled and workers’ paychecks aren’t big enough to counter the impact. Homebuying typically leads to additional spending—on furniture, and gardening equipment, and repairs—so the drop is likely affecting the economy in other ways.




By The Numbers: California’s July Financial Health Report



Rising public pensions costs could hinder Bakersfield’s ability to keep up with growing public needs


Another year went by without the City of Bakersfield having to cut services due to ballooning pension costs but the way things are trending, those years may be coming to an end.


Before CalPERS can save the world, public workers want it to save their pensions

Sacramento Bee

Police Lt. Jim Auck makes a regular 400-mile trip to Sacramento delivering a message to the state’s biggest public pension fund. He says his department can’t hire more cops in part because investment misses at CalPERS require cities like his to chip in more taxpayer money for public employee pensions.




Should Highway 99 ramps in downtown Modesto change? Supervisors consider options

Modesto Bee

While a new expressway is coming to west Modesto, that does not mean everything has to change.  The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors is expected Tuesday to give its support to rebuilding the Highway 99 southbound off-ramp at Kansas Avenue as part of the expressway project, which will serve as a new, roughly 4-mile route for Highway 132 from Dakota Avenue in west Modesto to Needham Street near downtown.

Community Voices: Not taxed enough? SB 2 can help with that

The Bakersfield Californian

Californians don’t like tax increases. Repeated attempts to dismantle Proposition 13 have met with widespread opposition, and a proposed tripling of vehicle registration fees in 2003 was the catalyst leading to the recall of then Gov. Gray Davis. Currently, there is an ongoing attempt to recall Orange County state Sen. Josh Newman for his support of Gov. Jerry Brown’s $5.4 billion transportation Bill.


Would a new carpool lane bring more cars to Highway 50 downtown? New lawsuit says yes.

Sacramento Bee

An environmental group has sued Caltrans over the state’s plans to build carpool lanes on Highway 50 in downtown Sacramento, saying the state has failed to analyze the health impacts on local residents from potential increased vehicle emissions.

Caltrans begins modifying roads for self-driving cars 

San Jose Mercury News

In yet another sign of the rapid advance of self-driving technology, California has already started adapting roads for autonomous vehicles, a new report says.


It looks like the state of California is bailing out Tesla

Business Insider

he California state Assembly passed a $3-billion subsidy program for electric vehicles, dwarfing the existing program. The bill is now in the state Senate. If passed, it will head to Governor Jerry Brown, who has not yet indicated if he’d sign what is ostensibly an effort to put EV sales into high gear, but below the surface appears to be a Tesla bailout.

Matthews: L.A.’s Revelatory Light Rail for Nerds 

Zocalo Public Square

I’m a regular rider of “The Brain Train,” officially known as the Gold Line on the L.A. Metro system’s. The Gold Line is light rail running from the eastern San Gabriel Valley into downtown L.A. and then back out again to East L.A. Along the way, it connects enough smart institutions—from innovative community colleges, to a leading cancer center, to the world’s greatest scientific university—to explode stereotypes about public transportation and Southern California itself.


Airport Parking Takes Hit From Uber, Lyft

Pew Charitable Trusts | Stateline

Ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft already have struck a financial blow to their competitors in the taxi industry. Now many officials fear they may take a big bite out of airport parking revenue.




Farmers of Westlands Water District say they may decide not to pay for Delta tunnels

Fresno Bee

The Governor’s proposed Delta tunnels ran into a roomful of skeptics Monday – an influential group of San Joaquin Valley farmers who remain unconvinced the controversial project will deliver the water they need at a price they’re prepared to swallow.


Congressman McNerney Introduces Alternative to Delta Tunnels


Michael Brodsky doesn’t want to see the twin tunnels built in the Delta.  He says Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion project that would send water to Southern California would ruin his community.


Kern River water pressure blamed for sinkhole; repair date uncertain

Bakersfield city officials were confident Monday that Kern River water pushing through a storm drain collection system is what caused a sinkhole to open up on Truxtun Avenue at the Westside Parkway onramp Sunday afternoon.


Kings River now open in Fresno County | The Fresno Bee

Fresno Bee

The Kings River in Fresno County has reopened, Fresno County officials announced Monday, from Pine Flat Dam to the boundaries with Tulare and Kings counties.


UC researcher sees wild rainfall fluctuations ahead for California

San Jose Mercury News

In the middle of a heat wave it’s easy to yearn for rain, and at least one researcher says the rain will come — lots of it.UC Riverside climate researcher Robert Allen says California should get ready for more rain.




Laura’s Law helps save people with severe mental illness. Why doesn’t Fresno County have it?

Fresno Bee (blog)

Laura Wilcox was a 19-year-old college sophomore on winter break working as a temporary receptionist at the Nevada County Department of Behavioral Health Services on Jan. 10, 2001, when a severely mentally ill man named Scott Thorpe shot and killed her. He killed two other people that day.  The only good thing to come out of that terrible day was Laura’s Law, authored by former Assemblywoman Helen Thomson, D-Davis, with whom I served on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.


California bill to ‘protect’ privacy doesn’t solve privacy problem

Sacramento Bee
Instead, it will curb innovation and reduce competition, hurting consumers whose interests it purports to protect.


California takes on Trump again – on internet privacy rules

Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers want to go their own way after the Trump administration decided to relax privacy regulations for internet service providers, such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.