July 19, 2017





Evacuations underway in Mariposa because of Detwiler Fire

The Fresno Bee
Evacuations were being extended to the Mormon Bar area, south of the fairgrounds by mid-afternoon. Former congressman George Radanovich, whose winery is south of Mariposa, was among those evacuating.


See also:

·       Governor Brown Declares State of Emergency in Mariposa County Due to Detwiler Fire  Office of Governor of the State of California

·       Gov declares state of emergency in Mariposa fire

·       Merced Sun Star

·       Detwiler Fire grows to 15,500 acres near Mariposa, with 300 structures threatened  Sierra Star

·       Massive wildfire in Mariposa County threatens power supply to Yosemite National Park as 4,000 people forced from their homes  Los Angeles Times

·       California blaze destroys 8 structures near Yosemite AP

·       Heavy Smoke From Wildfires Causing Health Concerns Across Valley Capital Public Radio

·       Here’s what you can do – and not do – to help Mariposa fire victims  Sierra Star

Madera County supervisors sued for violating Brown Act

The Madera Tribune

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California launched a lawsuit Monday against the Madera County Board of Supervisors for violating the state’s public meetings law, the Ralph M. Brown Act.


Democratic political groups target Valadao, six other Republicans


Congressman David Valadao, R-Hanford, is one of seven California Republicans being targeted by state and federal Democratic groups with grassroots organizing and media buys.




Alleged affair between California Assembly Republican leaders fuels political attack

Sacramento Bee

Incensed that Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes supported a Democratic plan to renew a key climate change policy, California conservative activists are calling for his resignation and raising allegations of an affair with his predecessor.


Gubernatorial hopeful Antonio Villaraigosa makes stop in Stockton


Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is now a member of the shortlist of gubernatorial candidates and governors who have visited Stockton. And he was welcomed enthusiastically by business leaders and community members at two stops during his visit to Stockton on Tuesday.


Is California ready for the big one?

Sacramento Bee

With the summer recess tantalizingly upon them, California legislators have a limited window of opportunity to clear a short list of bills out of committee today. Although final votes don’t need to be cast until after the Legislature reconvenes Aug. 21, several bills risk death if they’re unable to leave their policy committees this week.


Walters: Jerry Brown wins on cap-and-trade, but is it just symbolism?


Is it as vitally important as Brown, et al, depict, or is it just a symbolic act proving anew that California is different?




Nancy Pelosi: Democrats are willing to work with Republicans on healthcare fixes

Los Angeles Times

House Democrats are willing to come to the table on healthcare if Republicans abandon their attempt to do it alone, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (D-Wis.) on Tuesday.


Rep. Anna Eshoo asks Trump’s election commission to withdraw voter information request

Los Angeles Times

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Menlo Park) is asking the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to withdraw its request for voter information from all 50 states.


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.

That decision allows internet and cell companies to market personal information harvested from their customers without getting permission.



Deborah Nankivell: What is Broken and How Would I Fix It?


A new contract for behavior in the civic sector is long overdue. Generations of Americans know little to nothing about the risks taken by our founders and the influences that led to one of the greatest documents in history—The Constitution of the United States. An informed and engaged public was a crucial element to moving the nation toward the ideals that were inspired by the great thinkers of the Enlightenment.



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

Fresno Bee

If Education Secretary Betsy DeVos believes the Obama administration’s rules restricting for-profit colleges are muddled, she should come up with her own.


All the ways to get thrown out of the California State Fair

Sacramento Bee

Police booted dozens from California State Fair, including teens who say they were unfairly targeted and racially profiled.


Now that cap and trade is approved, here’s what Jerry Brown and legislators must do

Sacramento Bee

Now that all the huzzahs are dispensed with, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators need to turn to the work at hand. There’s plenty ahead.




Senator Berryhill Votes to Protect Rural California, Small Businesses and Farmers By Voting For AB-398

Sierra Sun Times

Senator Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, issued the following statement Monday in support for AB-398, a bill to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program for a decade while reducing taxes, fees and regulations by more than $16 billion dollars.


Valley Communities Worry USDA Changes Could Hurt Rural Infrastructure


When new presidential administrations come into office, they often make changes to agencies and appoint people who share their political outlook. The same is true under the leadership of President Donald Trump.




Why California Highway Patrol chief is headed for a much smaller department

Sacramento Bee

California Highway Commissioner Joe Farrow will step down from one of the most high profile jobs in law enforcement to become police chief of UC Davis, university officials announced Tuesday.


What does Scott Peterson sound like these days? You’ll find out next month

Modesto Bee

Scott Peterson, convicted in Modesto’s most notorious double-murderer, breaks his long silence with interviews from death row in a six-episode documentary premiering Aug. 15 on TV’s A&E Network.


Sen. Kamala Harris is optimistic criminal justice reform can pass Congress

Los Angeles Times

Sen. Kamala Harris said Tuesday there’s enough common ground on criminal justice reform that she’s optimistic Congress can come together to pass a new plan.

Alleged white nationalist to face charges in statehouse brawl that left seven stabbed last year 

Los Angeles Times

A man described as a white nationalist is fighting extradition to California on assault charges in connection with a brawl between extreme-right groups and counter-protesters that ended with seven people stabbed near the state Capitol last year, officials said.






New state education policy could help expand bilingual education

Oroville Mercury Register

The California Department of Education last week announced the adoption of the state’s first new language policy in nearly 20 years, and that policy could help expand bilingual education for students locally.


Higher Ed:


Even the playing field for college students

Sacramento Bee

Earlier this summer, students across California accomplished their dream of a college degree. But for every person who graduates, there are thousands who don’t.


Cal State trustees expected to discuss budget priorities, student enrollment

Los Angeles Times

California State University trustees on Tuesday will discuss how to spend $3.4 billion in taxpayer funds earmarked for the system — more than what Gov. Jerry Brown initially proposed but still not enough to reverse a controversial tuition increase and tackle certain priorities such as building upgrades and maintenance needs.


Cal State trustees grapple with boosting graduation rates and enrollment

Los Angeles Times

About 31,000 fully qualified students were turned away from California State University for the fall term because their desired school was at capacity, administrators told trustees during a meeting Tuesday as they discussed budget challenges and new directives to increase enrollment at the largest public university system in the nation.


Professor reinstated after GOP student assault accusation

San Francisco Chronicle

A California professor facing termination over a run-in with pro-Donald Trump student demonstrators has been reinstated after an arbitration decision announced Tuesday, though the school maintains the teacher acted improperly.

USC president tries to quell outrage over drug allegations against former medical school dean 

Los Angeles Times

Acknowledging widespread concern on campus, USC President C.L. Max Nikias said Tuesday the university would “examine and address” a report in The Times that its former medical school dean abused drugs and associated with criminals and drug users.


Now for the hard part: translating vision for community colleges into student success


The stakes for the California community colleges — and California — are exceptionally high. The system serves 60 percent of all undergraduates in California — nearly three times the number enrolled in the University of California and California State University combined. One in 5 of the community college students in the U.S. attend one of the system’s 114 campuses, so what happens there has national implications as well.


College Graduates Have Higher Net Worth


Median household net worth in California is almost four times higher for adults with at least a bachelor’s degree ($356,000) than for high school graduates ($95,000).






What the approved cap-and-trade package could mean to Central Valley residents

Modesto Bee

Legislation approved Monday by the state lawmakers will extend the cap-and-trade program to combat global warming, despite concerns it could raise gasoline prices.


Republican lawmakers give California climate law a boost

Sacramento Bee

When California lawmakers backed a landmark law that seeks to combat global warming, the key support came from a surprising group of legislators: Republicans.


California lawmakers buck party on cap and trade

Sacramento Bee

Here’s a breakdown of Assembly votes.


Latest California innovation: A Republican case for cap and trade 


Minutes after a bipartisan coalition of California lawmakers voted to extend the state’s landmark climate change policy for another decade, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown stood in front of a bank of television cameras and compared the plan to one championed 30 years ago by GOP icon Ronald Reagan.


Watch: Republican Assemblyman Devon Mathis explains his vote to extend California’s climate program

Los Angeles Times

California lawmakers voted Monday evening to extend the state’s premiere program on climate change, a victory for Gov. Jerry Brown that included unprecedented Republican support for fighting global warming.


Cap-n-Trade—and Costs—Up

Fox and Hounds Daily

A punch from the left, a punch from the right but still standing, battered but victorious, the cap-and-trade extension.  It was an odd fight. Republicans citing environmental groups’ positions to oppose the measure; Democrats hauling up the flag of big business in support.


The future of California’s signature tool to fight climate change is secure — but the political battles are just beginning

Los Angeles Times

How peculiar are the politics of climate change in California? Just look at this week’s vote on cap and trade, which saw a Republican former grape farmer from Modesto and a Democratic former math teacher from Bell Gardens aligned against a mild-mannered Santa Cruz liberal and a provocative anti-tax crusader from Huntington Beach.


Will you end up paying more for gas under California’s cap-and-trade extension?

Sacramento Bee

An effort to extend California’s signature program for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change cleared the California Legislature on Monday, sending the deal to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. How will it affect consumers?

So Far, 2017 Is 2nd-Hottest Year on Record 


At the halfway point of the year, 2017 remains the second-hottest year to date—a surprise given the demise of the El Niño that helped boost temperatures to record levels last year.


Newly passed pollution bill is ‘downpayment’ to environmental justice 


As the quieter ‘companion bill’ to Monday’s cap-and-trade extension legislation, Assembly Bill 617 sought to placate environmental justice advocates who have increasingly complained that the state’s globally ambitious climate policy overlooks a local problem: poor California communities living in the shadow of polluters.


L.A.’s newest congressman gets assigned to powerful House oversight committee

Los Angeles Times

New U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) will serve on the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee.

Why California suddenly has 20 million more mosquitoes 

Los Angeles Times

Trucks drive up and down streets of a town releasing millions of scientifically engineered mosquitoes during the dog days of summer? No, this isn’t the plot of a science fiction movie. It’s what Google’s sister company “Verily Life Sciences” is up to in Fresno this July.




GM, Army engineers sound off on potential benefits of hydrogen-fueled electric fleet in truck demo

Los Angeles Times

General Motors has developed a hydrogen fuel-cell powered electric truck, in cooperation with U.S. Army engineers, that can move quickly and stealthily over sand and rocks, acting as a zero-emissions power generator capable of creating water as a by-product.


Is renewable energy unreliable?


It’s no secret the Trump administration believes in fossil fuel “dominance.” Key to that belief is the idea that renewable energy is unreliable — that if coal-fired electricity keeps shrinking, the lights could one day go out. President Trump has suggested this, as have the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. The DOE has been studying the question at the command of Secretary Rick Perry, and a draft of that study was leaked. Scott Tong from our Sustainability Desk joined host Adriene Hill to discuss it. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.




California surgical death list strikes nerve

The Fresno Bee
“Hospital patients don’t care (about the report). Nobody pays attention to this data other than journalists,” said one surgeon with an above-average death rate.

Electronic Health Records Are Stressing Doctors Out 


Dr. Lloyd Minor is frustrated. As dean of Stanford University Medical School, he says he can handle the constant cascade of large-scale challenges that come with his job. But what flummoxes him — drives him crazy, in fact — is something that occurs on a much smaller scale every time he examines someone in his clinical practice.


One child, a $21-million medical bill: How a tiny number of patients poses a huge challenge for Medi-Cal

Los Angeles Times

Somewhere in California, one child’s medical expenses in 2014 totaled $21 million — a bill covered entirely by Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid.


Covered California Delays Premium Rates Release, Citing ACA Concerns 

Capital Public Radio

As the fate of the Affordable Care Act teeters in Congress, the Covered California exchange is holding off on releasing premium rates for participating health plans, officials announced Tuesday. The rates were supposed to be made public in July, but the continued debate on federal health care has pushed that announcement to Aug. 1.


Uncertainty lingers in California despite failed GOP health repeal 

San Francisco Chronicle

State officials, health insurers and consumer advocates are breathing a tentative, temporary sigh of relief after the GOP campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapsed Tuesday due to lack of Republican support.


The Single-Payer Siren

Hoover Institution

The United States is facing another crisis in organizing its health care system. It is clear that the private exchanges concocted under the Obama administration are failingat a record rate for the simple reason that they violate all known sound principles of insurance. The planners who put these programs together unwisely thought that universal coverage would overcome the standard insurance problems of adverse selection and moral hazard.



Foreigners buy record number of U.S. homes despite fears of immigration crackdown

Los Angeles Times

Foreign home buyers scooped up a record number of residential properties in the United States in the last year, despite a rising dollar and political uncertainty, according to a survey released Tuesday.


California Today: They’re Lawyers, and at Risk of Deportation

New York Times

The lawyer advertising his services on a Spanish radio station claimed he could fix even the most complicated immigration problems. So Luis Angel Reyes Savalza’s parents called him, their frustration evident in their voices as they asked him: Why can’t you do that?

Engineers Begin Preparatory Work for Border Wall Construction 

New York Times

The drilling and soil testing are taking place in El Paso; Santa Teresa, N.M.; Calexico, Calif.; San Diego; and the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. Mr. Lapan said the testing has been completed in El Paso and Calexico. The agency has identified the San Diego area and the Rio Grande Valley as priority regions for new border walls.



As its losses and debt grow, can Frontier remain a player in the phone business?

Los Angeles Times

Before Frontier Communications took over Verizon’s California landlines last year, the company insisted that it knew how to make money from aging phone networks that bigger telecom companies didn’t know what to do with.


Business interest and the public interest

Cal Forward
Last year, a Harvard Business School report from Michael Porter concluded that our broken political system is the #1 drag on US economic competitiveness. This paralysis is at the root of countless other issues — and these times require the courage to take meaningful action.




Land Use:


Record number of California hotel rooms open in first half of 2017

Orange County Register

The number of new hotels that opened in California increased 53 percent in the first half of 2017 and there were 15 percent more hotels in development and 6 percent more under construction vs. the same period in 2016, according to an Atlas Hospitality Group study.




Gov. Jerry Brown says the state’s housing crisis is his next priority, but reaching a deal won’t be easy

Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders announced Monday that the state’s housing crisis will be at the top of their agenda when lawmakers return in August from a monthlong break.


Bay Area real estate: Region has tightest housing supply in state — and highest prices

San Jose Mercury News

Bay Area single-family home prices rose 7.9 percent in June from a year earlier, outpacing the 7.0 percent statewide price increase — and Bay Area home prices remain far more expensive than statewide home prices, according to a new California Association of Realtors report.

Housing inventories are low in California and prices keep rising 

Inland Daily Bulletin

Sales of existing homes in California hit their highest pace in nearly four years in June — despite extremely tight inventories — and prices continued to rise. That’s the upshot of a report released Monday by the California Association of Realtors.


Generation X homeowners still hurting from housing crash, study says 


Generation X housebuyers are lagging behind those in other generations in gaining home equity and younger millennials are gaining on them, according to a new report by the real estate website Zillow released Monday.




June revenue numbers

CA Dept of Finance
June revenues came in $275 million below month’s projections; FY 2016-17 ended $65 million below forecast.




Frontier Airlines resumes flights between Fresno to Denver

Fresno Bee

The Denver-based airline announced it’s returning to Fresno as part of a nationwide expansion that includes 21 new cities. Flight service on the low-fare carrier between Fresno and Denver will return sometime in the spring, according to a press release on the company’s website.


See also:

·       Blockbuster expansion: Frontier to add 21 cities, 85 routes  USA Today



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.


See also:

·       Twin Tunnels: Westlands Balks  esanjoaquin.com

McNerney offers Delta tunnels alternative

Lodi News-Sentinel

Congressman Jerry McNerney is bringing a bill before Congress today to propose an alternative to the California WaterFix tunnels, also known as the Twin Tunnels, proposed in the Delta. McNerney (D-Stockton) announced the plan during a press conference on Monday at the Weber Point Events Center in Stockton.


Water Wars Loom As State Plans to Boost Streamflow for Imperiled Fish 


On the heels of of the worst drought in California history, state officials are telling water users in the San Joaquin River basin to give up a major share of their water supplies—permanently.


Oroville dam repairs would benefit from multibillion-dollar ballot measure

Sacramento Bee

With California’s drought fresh on voters’ minds, a longtime water activist is asking their approval for a veritable wish list of water and other environmental projects costing billions – from fixing Oroville Dam’s cratered spillway to improving the watershed of the Tijuana River.


Flood risk begins to ease along California rivers after six-month surge in water levels 

Los Angeles Times

For the first time in 193 days, no federally monitored rivers in California or Nevada are flooding or at risk of flooding, according to climate scientists.


California drought: Water district looking to buy land to construct largest Bay Area reservoir in 20 years

San Jose Mercury News

In a significant step toward construction of the Bay Area’s first major new reservoir in nearly two decades, Silicon Valley’s largest water provider has begun negotiations to buy more than 12,000 acres of rural ranch land — an area nearly half the size of San Francisco.


GOP push to shift state water policy away from conservation

San Francisco Chronicle
“It’s a controversial bill for certain groups, but here in the valley it’s not controversial. … This is the bill we need.”


PolitiFact California: Kevin McCarthy Ignores Key Facts In Claim On California Water Storage

Capital Public Radio News

One of the biggest backers for building new dams and reservoirs in California is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.  The Republican, who’s been described as the most powerful Californian in Washington D.C., recently spoke on the House floor in favor of a bill to speed up studies on five water storage projects in the state.


California to vote on regulating toxic chemicals in water


The substance — called 1,2,3 trichloropropane, or TCP — is prevalent in the Central Valley of California as a degreasing agent used in the production of plastic products.  The majority of residents in the San Joaquin Valley rely on groundwater as their drinking water. In 2016, 63 percent of California public water systems that detected nitrates, including TCP, were in the Valley, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.


See also:

·       California votes to regulate toxic chemical that could be in water nationwide  TODAY.com



Fulton Street Project Has Official Opening Date – October 21


On Tuesday morning, construction crews slowly lifted the old Fulton Mall clock tower into the clear Fresno sky and moved the delicate structure to a new home, just a few feet away. Moving the iconic structure, which has stood in downtown since the mall was built in 1964, signals the home stretch of turning the pedestrian mall back into a street.


Kern County launches effort to combat prostitution in massage parlors


Chris Vaughn runs a barbershop in Oildale. And he isn’t pleased about his neighbors. “I have an illegal, illicit massage parlor next to my business,” he told Kern County supervisors Tuesday. Three of his customers have been propositioned for prostitution when they tried to patronize the shop next door. Vaughn served in the Coast Guard, he said, and he’s seen things like this before.  “I used to do human trafficking (investigations) for the federal government. This is organized crime, as far as I’m concerned,” Vaughn said. Kern County supervisors are on the same page.


Fitzgerald: Touring the Best of the Delta

Stockton Record

A Delta group has released a 2017 Best of the Delta list. Ignoring 104-degree heat (OK, actually, complaining about it quite a lot), my pal Greg and I headed out to Walnut Grove.


LOIS HENRY: What is it about sticking to the facts that activist groups don’t get?


What can I say to the recent letter from the Center for Biological Diversity about my column on a recent court ruling, except “Hey! Thanks for proving my point.”


To Defend Western Civilization, Start With Science


Just before joining other leaders at the G-20 summit, President Donald Trump gave a speech in Poland where he asked: “Does the West have the will to survive?”