July 20, 2017






Breaking: Detwiler Fire grows to 70,000 acres, is 10% contained

The Fresno Bee

Firefighters continued their battle overnight to try and tame a raging inferno about two miles east of Lake McClure in Mariposa County, which grew to 15,500 acres and 5% containment early Tuesday.

See also:

Kings County CAO Larry Spikes to retire

Hanford Sentinel

After 36 years with the county, Kings County Administrative Officer Larry Spikes has told the Board of Supervisors July 6 that he would retire by year’s end. Spikes has been CAO with the county for 24 years.




Summer recess – and a trip or two – ahead for California Legislature

Sacramento Bee

They’ve got cap and trade settled and a whole slew of demanding bills either killed or pressed out onto either chamber floor. Now, lawmakers have a month long break before the Legislature reconvenes from summer recess on Aug. 21.


Gubernatorial hopeful Antonio Villaraigosa makes stop in Stockton

Stockton Record

Antonio Villaraigosa, invited by the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to be the keynote speaker…


What’s Delaine Eastin thinking? The long-shot candidate for governor explains

LA Times

Accusing Sacramento’s political power barons of neglecting California schoolkids, former state schools chief Delaine Eastin jumped into the 2018 governor’s race in the fall vowing to shove the issue of education to the forefront of the campaign.


Republican David Hadley drops out of California governor’s race two weeks after entering

Los Angeles Times

Former GOP state lawmaker David Hadley announced Wednesday he is dropping out of the gubernatorial race two weeks after he jumped in.


GOP candidates for governor don’t scare Democrats

Sacramento Bee

Not that the current crop of Republicans who hope to be California’s next governor are a bunch of duds, but there’s an argument to made for leaving this crop on the vine for further ripening.  The four hopefuls are all green, first-time statewide candidates.


Morain: Assembly Republican leader gets hit for voting with Democrats

Sacramento Bee

Mayes dared a mighty thing on Monday by crossing the party lines and voting with Democrats to extend the cap-and-trade program. In the view of partisans, Mayes had committed a terrible sin, though he’s convinced he was right. Californians believe the climate is changing and want politicians to work together. Under cap and trade, industry can use the markets to achieve greenhouse gas reductions. That’s a conservative concept, he noted.


Payback for climate deal: Conservative activist accuses Assembly GOP leader Chad Mayes of affair

The Mercury News

Two days after Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes supported California Democrats in renewing a key climate change policy, he’s facing calls to step down and accusations of having an extramarital affair with his predecessor.


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.




CBO: 32 million more would be uninsured under proposed health law repeal

Fresno Bee

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Republican bill erasing but not replacing much of President Barack Obama’s health care law would mean an additional 32 million uninsured people by 2026.   The report from Congress’ nonpartisan budget analyst says the measure would cause average premiums for people buying their own health insurance to double by 2026.

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Senate Democrats Open To Bipartisan Health Talks — After Repeal Fails


Even the five Democratic senators facing re-election battles next year in states President Donald Trump turned bright red are showing no interest in making deals before Republicans abandon their attempt to push through repeal with a bare majority.


Skelton: Gov. Brown’s climate change deal was a lesson in compromise that should be studied in the White House

LA Times

Brown’s hardball messages, his willingness to compromise and personal dealings with lawmakers were persuasive enough for him to win arguably his biggest legislative victory as governor.  It was a model of how to finesse controversial bills through a Legislature. And it stood in stark contrast to the bumbling we’ve been watching in the White House and Congress, most notably the failed, humiliating efforts on healthcare.


Gov. Jerry Brown Shows President Trump The Upside Of Experience

Los Angeles Times

The Republican failure to repeal and replace Obamacare repudiated the core argument of President Trump’s campaign: that old-fashioned politics was passé.


California’s Top Elections Official Continues To Balk At Request From Trump’s Voter Panel

Capital Public Radio News

President Trump said on Wednesday that states such as California that won’t agree to share data with his commission on voter fraud must be worried about what the results will show.


Pants On Fire for Trump’s claim about ‘serious voter fraud’ in California

PolitiFact California

Trump’s voter fraud panel met today. Our fact check on Trump’s claim about ‘serious voter fraud’ in California

Walters: Democrats hurt by gerrymandered congressional districts, but not in California

Fresno Bee (blog)

Belatedly – and only after they had lost control of Congress to Republicans – the national Democratic Party grasped the impact of how state legislatures redraw congressional districts after each decennial census.


Democratic challengers nipping at heels of California GOP Congress members in fundraising

San Jose Mercury News

Democratic challengers to Republican members of Congress are reporting strong fundraising totals in a bevy of California races that could tip the balance of the House of Representatives.



California must make cap-and-trade work. Or it’s just another tax.

Fresno Bee

The legislation sent a message across the country and world. No state has done more than California to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. Now that all the huzzahs are dispensed with, however, they all need to turn to the work at hand. There’s plenty of it ahead.

Our View: Know about alternatives to PACE financing

Bakersfield Californian

File the U.S. Department of Energy’s PACE program under the heading Good Ideas With a Fatal Flaw. The government-administered financing program, designed to help homeowners pay for home energy upgrades, has a lot of satisfied customers in Kern County and across the country. But it also has had a few remorseful ones — enough for both the Kern County and City of Bakersfield governments to have seriously weighed the program’s benefits and drawbacks. Other jurisdictions around the country have done the same, and some have suspended it.


Don’t overlook disabled voters

Sacramento Bee
California election officials need to do more outreach to disabled voters, says Disability Rights California


Legislators should vote to help sustain Caltrain

San Francisco Chronicle

Anyone who doubts the value of supporting a venerable commuter train system between San Jose and San Francisco should spend a little time on Highway 101. Actually, anyone who manages to spend just a little time on Highway 101, where traffic quagmires are routine, should consider himself or herself lucky.





Wake up and smell the coffee milk. Modesto dairy offers cold-brew with a twist

Modesto Bee

A Modesto dairy has joined the cold-brewed coffee craze with a milky twist. Nutcher Milk Co. has been bottling and selling its product in a variety of flavors since 2015. This summer the company launched its latest with an eye on the booming coffee market.


More marijuana growers than Starbucks stores? That could be Sacramento’s future 

Sacramento Bee

Someday soon, more businesses could grow marijuana in the city of Sacramento than there are Starbucks and McDonald’s restaurants combined. More than 100 businesses are seeking special permits from the city to run indoor marijuana growing operations.


California is working to avoid a shortage of legalized marijuana, state pot czar says

Los Angeles Times

With Nevada suffering a shortage of legalized marijuana, California’s state pot czar said Wednesday that efforts are being made in her state to make sure sufficient licenses go to farmers, testers and distributors to supply retailers.


California doesn’t have an official state fruit, but it does have four official state nuts

Los Angeles Times

The quest to learn more about the why the almond, pecan, walnut and pistachio were each officially declared California’s state nut led down an interesting path.




Public welcome at event focused on violence prevention

Stockton Record
The public will have a chance Thursday morning to learn about the Stockton community’s efforts to reduce violent…

Marijuana dispensaries are not magnets for crime, study says. Here’s why.

The Cannifornian

Conventional wisdom says marijuana dispensaries make neighborhoods less safe, but a new study from UC Irvine suggests the conventional wisdom is wrong and that crime increases after cities move to close pot shops.






Multiracial adolescents show no test score gap with whites

Brookings institution

What the test scores of multi-racial students can tell us about race gaps in academic achievement brook.gs/2tjwGfj


The importance of the first five years: Katharine Stevens’ testimony on Capitol Hill


Less than 2% of state expenditures on the care and education of children is directed to their foundational years. bit.ly/2ubjCYv


Mobile classroom brings education to the hardest-to-reach students 


Five Keys, a San Francisco-based charter organization, now has a mobile classroom to help with its mission of helping students earn their high school diplomas or pass the general education development (GED) exam, after they’ve dropped out of traditional high schools.


Higher Ed:


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

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

Now for the hard part: translating new 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.


Community college board approves new goals for increasing graduation rates


California’s governing body overseeing the state’s 114 community colleges voted unanimously today to approve a new set of goals and commitments aimed at significantly increasing the transfer and degree-completion rates of community college students.


A quick look at revenue sources, demographics

Community College Daily

State funding comprises 31.3 percent of community college revenues, according to a new community college fact sheetfrom the American Association of Community Colleges. That’s a slight bump up from 29.8 percent reported in AACC’s 2016 fact sheet.  Federal funding represents slightly less of revenues at 13.5 percent, compared to 14.1 percent reported last year.






Detwiler Fire causes air quality alert to be issued

Fresno Bee

A health alert issued for the central San Joaquin Valley will remain in place until the Detwiler Fire is contained, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District said Wednesday.


California’s cap-and-trade program is costly, controversial. But how does it work?

Sacramento Bee

Californians pay more for gasoline – and food, cement and other goods – to finance the state’s fight against climate change. They’ll continue doing so at least through 2030,thanks to a landmark bill extends California’s cap-and-trade program for another decade. Gov. Jerry Brown was able to push the bill through the Legislature late Monday.


California’s cap-and-trade program is costly, controversial. But how does it work?

Sacramento Bee
First launched in late 2012, Cap and Trade is a market-based mechanism designed to discourage industrial companies from spewing greenhouse gases, while allowing them a fair amount of flexibility in how they comply with the state’s climate change regulations. It’s also very complicated, and has critics on both the left and the right.


Eight Republicans backed Jerry Brown’s climate change bill — here’s what that means for their political futures

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.


Business tax breaks help boost California cap-and-trade plan

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders managed to extend California’s cap-and-trade law thanks in part to tax breaks that benefit businesses and agriculture, which helped bring support from Republicans and moderate Democrats.


California gas tax, cap-and-trade votes could hurt Democrats

The Sacramento Bee

As the victories mount, however, so do questions about whether the termed-out governor is putting Democrats representing marginal districts in a difficult spot come next year’s elections.


California’s economy will suffer plenty from climate change. But at least it’s not Florida

Sacramento Bee

Higher crime rates and electric bills. Crops and laborers wilting in the sun. A new study says California’s economy is going to lose billions of dollars a year to climate change.

But hey, it will be a picnic compared to states like Florida and Texas.


What California’s big vote on climate change policies means for you

Los Angeles Times

The only system of its kind in the country, it’s designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from facilities such as oil refineries, food processors and power plants. The program faced expiration by 2020, but lawmakers voted Monday to extend it until 2030.




Bakersfield City Council ends PACE loan program

The Bakersfield Californian

The supporters came out strong. So did the opponents. But in the end, a clearly conflicted Bakersfield City Council voted to end the controversial Property Assessed Clean Energy program, commonly known as PACE.

As state clears gas field to reopen, governor calls for it to close 


Two state agencies cleared the Aliso Canyon gas storage field to resume operations on Wednesday, while the same afternoon Governor Jerry Brown called for it to eventually close. It’s an odd juxtaposition of different state entities acting simultaneously on the controversial gas storage field, where a well ruptured in late 2015 and drove thousands of people from their homes.   KPCC




‘I’m falling, I’m falling.’ State blames elderly dementia patient’s death on Valley Convalescent Hospital care, fines facility $100,000


An 80-year-old dementia patient fell from his bed and died at Valley Convalescent Hospital in February, something a state public health investigation determined this month came as a direct result of poor care at that facility.


Kaiser and state officials reach settlement agreement over deficiencies in mental health care 

Santa Rosa Press

Kaiser Permanente and the California Department of Managed Health Care announced this week a settlement agreement aimed at resolving “deficiencies” in the HMO’s oversight and access to its mental health services, DMHC officials said.


Entitlements Spin out of Control, Economic Death Spiral

National Review

Few noticed the latest double-barreled dose of bad budgetary news. But anyone who cares about the long-term economic health of the country should be paying careful attention.




Another View: SB 54 isn’t what some think it is

The Bakersfield Californian

In his July 18 Community Voices article, “Salas’ vote can help end a cycle of repression,” Randy Villegas gave the people of Kern County another dishonest portrayal of Senate Bill 54.  He started with, “Senate Bill 54 would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.”



Another minimum wage increase on track in California 

Sacramento Bee

Barring a surprise sag in the state’s employment picture, California’s hourly minimum wage will increase as scheduled on Jan. 1.


California Business Funding


Get your Small Business Funded by the California Government. Grants, Loans and Financial Assistance May Be Available californiabizfunding.org


Shifting the debate on paid family leave from ‘whether’ to ‘how’


How do we design paid parental leave policies to work for both employees and businesses?



Fresno slum housing rehabbed after city takes over

Fresno Bee
The city’s new war against housing blight scored its first victory when one of the worst apartment complexes in Fresno, taken over from a slumlord, was repaired from top to bottom and put on the market for sale.




Runner: Tax board reform will hurt California taxpayers

Sacramento Bee
The governor and legislative leaders achieved their goal of dismantling the nation’s only elected tax board. They claimed it was necessary to improve service for taxpayers while streamlining state government.


Who Pays More in Taxes? U.S. vs. Europe, Developed Countries


As the Republicans in Washington prepare to dig into the coming round of budget negotiations, their top priorities will include an systemic overhaul for U.S. taxes, which President Trump has characterized as “just about the highest in the world.”  But how much do Americans really pay compared with other nations? It may be less than you think.




Major Turlock intersection to close for more than a month

The Modesto Bee

North Golden State Boulevard and Fulkerth Road/West Hawkeye Avenue will close the week of July 31, according to a press release from the city.


California truckers would get fewer breaks under new law

The Mercury News

Truckers rolling down California’s highways are entitled to take more breaks than drivers in most of America. But that would change if a congressional attempt to override the state’s work rules succeeds — which union officials and truck drivers say would make the state’s highways more dangerous.


Coastal California Highway Section Reopens After Landslide

U.S. News & World Report

A section of coastal highway in California has reopened after crews were able to clear debris left by a landslide. The landslide on Highway 1 south of Big Sur and Pfeiffer Canyon was cleared on Tuesday, reopening 35 miles (56 kilometers) of roadway between another massive landslide in Mud Creek and a downed bridge to the north. Access remains only via Nacimiento-Fergusson Road.




What is this TCP and why is it going to raise Bakersfield city water rates?


Several Bakersfield residents have asked questions about 1,2,3 trichloropropane, or TCP, and its connection to city water rate increases. The rates were revealed at the city’s water board meeting Wednesday, but the three-phase increases will be presented to the full City Council at its 5:15 p.m. meeting July 19.


‘An invisible crisis’: Toxic stress is helping to shorten life spans in many Kern County communities


People who live in Oildale, Kern River Valley and Taft — three impoverished, majority-white communities — have the highest premature death rates across Kern County, dying four to 17 years sooner than those in other parts of Bakersfield.  Residents in those three communities have an average life expectancy of between 68 and 72 years old — roughly eight to 10 years less than the national average, according to data analyzed by the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Human Needs.  It’s on par with life expectancies in less-developed countries like Iraq, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.


City to notify more than 46000 water customers of rate increases

The Bakersfield Californian

The Bakersfield City Council unanimously voted to begin the process to increase water rates by 41 percent over the next two years in addition to tackling several ther items Wednesday.


Supervisors float two Kern River safety ideas: More signs and charging for rescues


Two more victims of the Kern River, missing for weeks, were identified Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths in the Kern River this year to 10.

New CA DWR director leads Sonoma County Water

Sacramento Bee

A longtime Sonoma County water manager and environmental advocate is in line to lead the state Department of Water Resources, Gov. Jerry Brown announced on Wednesday.  Brown appointed Grant Davis, the general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, to be the next director of the state water department.


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.


GOP push to shift state water policy away from conservation

San Francisco Chronicle

With a friend in the White House and their party in control of both chambers of Congress, House Republicans have embarked on their most ambitious effort yet to change the way water flows in California.




See the 12 highest-rated California state parks with family camping

Sacramento Bee

It’s prime camping time in California, with thousands of residents taking their families to state parks every weekend.

California has a reputation for great camping at its state parks. But some parks rise above others, at least in the collective opinion of those who visit.


These Latino Artists and Entrepreneurs Are Transforming Fresno, California

NBC News

Fresno is slowly transforming its image, and its love for the arts has been a big part of its makeover.