July 20, 2018

20Jul

POLICY & POLITICS

 

Valley:

 

You’ve Heard of Berkeley. Is UC Merced the Future of the University of California?

New York Times

At Merced, the newest addition to the 10-campus University of California system, about 53 percent of the undergraduates are Latino, most closely mirroring the demographics of the nation’s most diverse state.

 

Devin Nunes's political group apparently spent $15,000 on Celtics tickets

Boston.com

Devin Nunes's office says the tickets were perfectly legal and "properly reported" — even if the Republican House member's NBA fandom might be controversial in his home state.

See also:

     Nunes used political dollars for $15K in Celtics tickets, winery tours and Vegas trips McClatchy DC

 

Cox outraises Valadao despite huge cash surge from McCarthy-Trump fundraisers

Fresno Bee

Fresno businessman TJ Cox outraised Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, in the second quarter of 2018 by more than $200,000, as both received significant financial help from their parties and political action groups.

 

Brand’s Yellowstone vacation with two prominent businessmen raises geyser of questions

Fresno Bee

For someone with a long tenure in city government and who wears thick eyeglasses, you’d think Lee Brand would have a better grasp of optics. Not a good look, Mayor.

 

Downtown LA has cleaner air than Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, report says (& Yosemite’s not much better…)

Sacramento Bee

A recent study found that average pollution at 33 national parks, including Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountains, was “statistically indistinguishable” from the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

 

State:

 

EDITORIAL: Loony idea of carving California into 3 states tossed off ballot

San Francisco Chronicle

The nutty notion that chopping up California would make life better is off the ballot, at least for now. The idea of three states instead of one needs more legal prep work, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously.

See also:

     How state Supreme Court blew it when taking 'Three Californias' off ballot San Diego Union-Tribune

     Fitzgerald: A three-state solution with Stockton as the capital Stockton Record

 

Gavin Newsom calls John Cox ‘extreme’ for opposing all abortions

San Francisco Chronicle

Democrat Gavin Newsom called Republican rival John Cox one of the “most extreme” gubernatorial candidates in decades on the issue of abortion rights as Newsom accepted the endorsement of two pro-choice groups Thursday.

 

California's political watchdog panel balks at lifting donor limits for legislative leaders

Los Angeles Times

California’s political watchdog panel deadlocked Thursday over allowing legislative leaders to accept much larger campaign contributions, after several open-government groups said the proposal raises “important concerns” about increasing the influence of special interests.

See also:

     How Leadership PACs Became Politicians’ Preferred Ticket to Luxury Living Issue One

 

Walters: Inventor's tax fight with California flares up again

CALmatters

The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016 famously left the court tied 4-4 on a landmark California case about the ability of public employee unions to collect dues from non-members.

 

Whalen: Dianne Feinstein will prevail because her opponent will drive Republicans her way

Washington Times

In all, about 330 party activists voted on the endorsement. Translation: In a state with 8.4 million registered Democrats (44.4 percent of the electorate), about 220 conspired against Senator Feinstein.

 

Five Counties Weigh In on the Voters Choice Act

Public CEO

Five California Counties participated in the Voters Choice Act for the June 5 election, establishing a whole new way of voting. So, how did it go? Each of the Registrars in those counties responded to that question for us. Here are their answers.

 

EDITORIAL: Putting postage on absentee ballots a smart way to spur voting in California

San Diego Union-Tribune

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher’s (D-San Diego) latest triumph came Wednesday when Gov. Jerry Brown signed her bill requiring that counties provide free postage for vote-by-mail ballots starting next year.

 

Federal:

 

White House withdraws 9th Circuit nominee amid criticism over his college writings

Los Angeles Times

Senate Republican leaders on Thursday abruptly scrapped a vote on the nomination of Ryan Bounds for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, a reminder of how a single GOP senator’s objection can derail a judicial confirmation when all Democrats unite against it.

See also:

     Judge nomination to SF federal court withdrawn over inflammatory writings San Francisco Chronicle

 

Democrats rip Trump's CFPB nominee, calling her role in controversial administration policies 'a moral stain'

Los Angeles Times

Senate Democrats on Thursday aggressively ripped into President Trump’s nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying her involvement as a White House aide in controversial administration policies disqualified her from watching out for average Americans.

 

Trump just politicized the entire field of federal administrative law

Los Angeles Times

In what looks like a political power play, President Trump has decided that administrative law judges — officials within federal agencies who resolve complaints about regulations, compliance or benefits — will no longer be chosen on the basis of merit.

 

A census citizenship question looked suspect from the start. Now a judge agrees.

Washington Post

The Trump Administration’s decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census from the start has looked suspiciously like an underhanded way to depress Democratic representation in Washington. Now a federal judge is saying so too.

 

Who’s Winning the Midterm Money Race
Wall Street Journal

More than half a century ago, former California Treasurer Jesse Unruh said, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” While better-funded candidates aren’t guaranteed victory, money still signals strength.

See also:

       Flashback: What Role Do 501(c)(4)s Play in Campaign Finance? PBS

 

Other:

 

Tips on identifying ‘fake news’
Fresno State Institute for Media and Public Trust

Have you ever forwarded a news item to friends on Facebook only to later learn from them that the item was phony or “fake news?” It’s embarrassing, but you can avoid sharing phony stories by taking a few simple precautions when assessing news content.

 

Microsoft reveals first known midterm campaign hacking attempts

Politico

Microsoft detected and helped block hacking attempts against three congressional candidates this year, a company executive said Thursday, marking the first known example of cyber interference in the midterm elections.

See also:

     The Future of Political Hacking National Review

 

What Stays on Facebook and What Goes? The Social Network Cannot Answer

New York Times
Presented with straightforward queries about real-world harm caused by misinformation on their service, Facebook’s executives express their pain and proclaim their unwavering commitment to political neutrality.

See also:

     America’s embattled tech titans like Google may have just found a friend: President Trump AEI

     Should Big Tech pay you for your data? How would that even work? AEI

 

Keep politics out of the boardroom

AEI
Corporate governance, in contrast to U.S. government, historically has been conducted by people spending their own money, subject to the will of shareholders with a common ownership interest in the company.

 

The Democrats’ Odd Bargaining Tactics
National Review

If liberals want to convince voters to hand them control of Congress this fall, they have a funny way of going about it.

 

MADDY INSTITUTE PUBLIC POLICY PROGRAMMING  

 

Sunday, July 22, at 10 a.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report“Fighting Fire with Fire: Rethinking forest management” – Guest: Pedro Nava, Chair of California Little Hoover Commission. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

 

Sunday, July 22, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report  - Valley Views Edition“How Prepared is California for Natural Disaster, Generally and Forest Fires, in Particular?” – Guests: Christina Curry, Cal OES Deputy Director of Planning, Preparedness and Prevention and Pedro Nava, Chair of California Little Hoover Commission. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

 

Sunday, July 22, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy: “State Auditor's Report on Medication of Foster Kids”  Guest: Margarita Fernandez, PIO State Auditor's Office. Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans.

 

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AGRICULTURE/FOOD

 

Food and Drug Administration to crackdown on non-dairy products calling themselves 'milk'

ABC30

The Food and Drug Administration plans to crackdown on non-dairy products calling themselves "milk." The decision was announced Thursday by the commissioner of the agency.

 

California’s soil is getting too salty for crops to grow

California Sun

California officials and scientists have been sounding the alarm about salt levels in the valley floor that have risen so high some crops cannot survive.

 

California Almond Growers Struggle Amid U.S.-China Tariff Battle

Capital Public Radio

California almond growers are celebrating the upcoming harvest this fall, which is expected to be record-breaking. But in retaliation for tariff’s issued by the Trump administration, China imposed a 50 percent tariff on U.S. almonds — all of which come from California.

 

How are dispensaries dealing with new packaging laws? Not well.

Visalia Times-Delta

Two years ago, those in California's marijuana industry rejoiced with the passage of Proposition 64. The future was green. But as new legislation rolls out, entrepreneurs are struggling to navigate the ever-changing world of weed.

See also:

     Profits are a rarity: California’s new regulated marijuana market six months in Marijuana Business Daily

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE / FIRE / PUBLIC SAFETY

 

Crime:

 

Police: Theft rates can be lowered through prevention

Hanford Sentinel

While crime in Lemoore was low last year, the number of reported robberies doubled. Lemoore had an increase in robberies from 10 in 2016 to 21 in 2017.

 

Campus sex harassment: Trump administration guidelines challenged

San Francisco Chronicle

Groups representing accusers in cases of sexual harassment and assault filed a nationwide lawsuit in January after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued new guidelines last fall calling for colleges to set a higher standard of proof in those cases and strengthen rights of the alleged harassers, most of them men.

 

Public Safety:

 

President of Kern Law Enforcement Association recalled weeks after sheriff's election

Bakersfield Californian

The president of the Kern Law Enforcement Association, which represents more than 500 deputy sheriffs and District Attorney investigators, has been recalled following the race in which Donny Youngblood was re-elected as Kern County Sheriff. 

 

Fire:

 

New evacuation ordered as Ferguson Fire continues to spread

ABC30

Firefighters are dealing with more challenges as the fast-moving Ferguson Fire continues to engulf more land in Mariposa County.

See also:

     Ferguson Fire now just a few miles outside of Yosemite National Park ABC30

     Yosemite is open while the Ferguson fire rages, but should you go? Los Angeles Times

     Thunderstorms could cause problems in fight against fire near Yosemite San Francisco Chronicle

     Two firefighters injured as Ferguson fire grows to 21,000 acres Los Angeles Times

 

EDITORIAL: The ‘new normal’ on wildfires isn’t reason enough to give utilities a free pass

Sacramento Bee

A special committee of legislators is looking at ways to prevent or limit damage from wildfires – but also at revising the law on liability for wildfire damage. The Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown should be very wary of any significant changes that shift the burden to homeowners and taxpayers.

 

ECONOMY / JOBS

 

Economy:

 

Valley Ventures Accelerator Fueling Innovation; Accepting Fall Applications

Fresno State News

The Valley Ventures Accelerator at Fresno State is accepting applications through Aug. 1 for its third cohort to provide guidance on sales, marketing, distribution and venture capital for emerging companies in the water, agriculture and energy technology fields.

Valley Economic Index Reaches Highest Level In 6 Months

Fresno State News

The San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index rose in June, remaining above growth neutral for the 22nd consecutive month and pointing to healthy growth in the next three to six months.

Valley Republic earnings climb 41%

Bakersfield Californian

Valley Republic Bank's Bakersfield-based holding company on Thursday reported second-quarter earnings 41 percent greater than the same period a year earlier, as net loans grew 12 percent over the same period.

 

Trump says he's 'not thrilled' by Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, a rare insertion into independent monetary policy

Los Angeles Times

President Trump said he’s “not thrilled” by recent interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, a historically rare insertion by the White House into monetary policy set by the nation’s independent central bank.

See also:

     Trump criticizes Federal Reserve, breaking long-standing practice Washington Post

     Trump escalates his war with the Fed CNN

     Trump’s Fed Outburst: All Downside, No Upside Wall Street Journal

FCC accuses Sinclair of trying to mislead regulators over Tribune merger

The Hill

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has accused Sinclair Broadcast Group of trying to deceive regulators as the media giant sought approval of its $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media.

 

America’s Factory Towns, Once Solidly Blue, Are Now a GOP Haven

Wall Street Journal

A generation ago, Democrats represented much of the country’s manufacturing base. Now, it’s in GOP hands, a swing remaking both parties.

 

Jobs:

 

Employers needed in Kings County for subsidized workers

Central Valley Business Times

Public and non-profit agencies in Kings County that need more workers but don’t have the money might be able to get help from a subsidized workforce of individuals who have been affected by recent natural disasters.

 

How Trump’s tariffs on Mexico are taking jobs from U.S. workers

Washington Post

Trade restrictions aimed at preventing U.S. jobs from heading to Mexico and elsewhere have instead hampered a Mexican company’s multimillion-dollar effort to create jobs in the United States.

 

Without Better Training, U.S. Will Fall Short on Workers, Economists Say

Wall Street Journal

There is a growing gap between the rising number of job openings and the number of workers equipped to fill them, and this could limit growth in the long run, according to a paper from President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers released Tuesday.

 

EDUCATION

 

K-12:

 

Merced city schools modernizing security and classrooms

ABC30

Merced City School campuses are getting upgrades thanks to a 60 million dollar bond. Measure M funding is helping pay for a multi-million dollar modernization project across several campuses.

 

After successful test, Bakersfield City School District to use BPD for two school resource officers

Bakersfield Californian

The Bakersfield City School District will bring on two officers in the Bakersfield Police Department to act as school resource officers for the upcoming school year. The agreement with the city of Bakersfield is a continuation of a pilot program initiated last February.

 

California won't judge schools on whether student test scores improve over time—not yet, anyway

CALmatters

At issue is whether the state will measure students’ performance over time, revealing which schools help students learn more from one year to the next. That would mean, for example, reporting how this year’s fifth graders compare to last year’s fourth graders at a given school.

 

Higher Ed:

 

You’ve Heard of Berkeley. Is Merced the Future of the University of California?

New York Times

At Merced, the newest addition to the 10-campus University of California system, about 53 percent of the undergraduates are Latino, most closely mirroring the demographics of the nation’s most diverse state.

 

UC regents lower tuition for first time in nearly two decades

Los Angeles Times

University of California regents on Thursday approved the first cut in tuition in nearly two decades and decided again to take on the dicey issue of how many nonresident students should be enrolled as they wrapped up a two-day meeting in San Francisco.

See also:

     Annual cost of attending UC could drop for first time in 20 years San Francisco Chronicle

 

Good Budget News for Higher Education

Public Policy Institute of California

The California State Legislature and Governor Brown recently reached a $200 billion budget deal that includes just over a billion dollars in new funding for the state’s public higher education systems.

 

More student borrowers may be eligible to cancel federal student loans than have applied for relief

EdSource

The large number of California students who attended for-profit colleges at the time of their closure suggests many more may be eligible for student loan debt relief than have applied under the federal government's current policy, an EdSource analysis shows.

 

Bakersfield College to offer new process technology degree in 2019

Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield College will be offering a new degree, with new courses, in process technology. The degree will prepare students for jobs such as chemical system, water and gas system and petroleum pump operators.

 

SJ Delta College Board of Trustees president stepping down

Stockton Record

Delta College Board of Trustees President Richard Vasquez is leaving the college’s governing board after serving as a trustee since 2014

 

ENVIRONMENT/ ENERGY

 

Environment:

 

Fed environmental leader visits Fresno for forum, tour

Fresno Bee

Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, visited Fresno on Thursday to talk about environmental concerns in the metro area’s growing industry.

 

California sues over Trump halt to truck pollution rule
AP News

California and 14 other states sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday over its decision to suspend an Obama-era rule aimed at limiting pollution from trucks. (Note: Diesel trucks are a major source of the Valley’s air pollution.)

 

Trump aims to end automatic protections for some species

Stockton Record

The Trump administration on Thursday proposed ending automatic protections for threatened animals and plants and limiting habitat safeguards meant to shield recovering species from harm.

See also:

     Threatened species could lose habitat protections under Department of the Interior proposal Los Angeles Times

     Endangered Species Act stripped of key provisions in Trump administration proposal Washington Post

 

Downtown LA has cleaner air than Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, report says (and Yosemite’s not much better…)

Sacramento Bee

A recent study found that average pollution at 33 national parks, including Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountains, was “statistically indistinguishable” from the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

 

Five years after a massive fire near Yosemite, political 'miracle' erodes as Trump demands more logging

Los Angeles Times

In the aftermath of the Rim fire in 2013, state officials and the U.S. Forest Service buried decades of discord to forge an ambitious restoration and reforestation plan. But now, there is growing concern that the grand partnership is crumbling.

 

Climate change has come to your neighborhood, and the sizzle may never subside

Los Angeles Times

A colleague once observed, many years ago, that California has two seasons. Green and brown. We are in the latter.

 

US Prosecutors: Water Company Illegally Dumped Toxic Waste

U.S. News

The California company that sells Crystal Geyser bottled water has been charged with illegally disposing of arsenic-tainted wastewater, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

 

What Do States Spend on Natural Disasters?

Pew Charitable Trusts

Government spending on natural disasters is on the rise. Congress and the Trump administration are considering ways to control rising costs, but they are doing so without comprehensive data on the contributions made by state governments.

 

Meet the Community Scientists Shaping the New Environmental Resistance

The Nation

The fight for data democracy in Trump’s America is revolutionizing the way communities and scientists build inclusive and wide-reaching coalitions.

 

Energy:

 

New oil and gas regulations coming to Arvin

KGET

Tuesday night, Arvin City Council passed much stricter regulations on any new oil and gas operations that come to the city from here on out. Many calling it, 'a decision for the city's next generations.'

Berry Petroleum launches $300 million IPO

Bakersfield Californian

Berry Petroleum Corp. continues its rise from ashes with news this week that the Bakersfield-based oil producer has launched an initial public offering that could bolster its finances following the bankruptcy of its former Texas parent company.

 

Fossil Fuel Industries Outspend Clean Energy Advocates On Climate Lobbying By 10 To 1

Huffington Post

Fossil fuel producers, airlines and electrical utilities outspent environmental groups and the renewable energy industry 10 to 1 on lobbying related to climate change legislation between 2000 and 2016, according to a new analysis released Wednesday.

 

HEALTH/HUMAN SERVICES

 

Health:

 

UC Merced Immunology Research Holds Promise For Future Treatments

Valley Public Radio

There’s new research out from scientists at UC Merced that could shed new light on the roots of autoimmune diseases, and also holds promise for future cancer treatments. The study in The Journal of Immunology looks at so-called “misbehaving” killer immune cells.

 

Stockton tour an eye-opener for health agency

Stockton Record

Linda Birnbaum, who oversees federal funding for biomedical research to discover how the environment influences health and diseases, visited Stockton earlier this week to learn about environmental and community trauma firsthand. She got an earful.

 

How to keep children, seniors, pets — and yourself — cool this summer
Los Angeles Times

When you bear the burden of living somewhere that’s constantly warm and sunny, it’s easy to forget one simple fact: You still need to shield yourself from high temperatures and strong ultraviolet rays.

 

Trump administration to explore drug imports to counter price hikes

Washington Post

The Trump administration is cracking open the door to using prescription drugs imported from overseas — ones that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration — to combat high drug prices in limited circumstances.

 

What’s Your Ideal Caffeine Fix? An Algorithm Can Tell You
Wall Street Journal

A mathematical model the Army developed to calculate the ideal dose of caffeine to keep soldiers alert could soon benefit drowsy civilians.

 

Human Services:

 

Adventist Health promises a $10 million loan to TRMC

Visalia Times-Delta

Adventist Health will provide a $10 million loan in the effort to get Tulare Regional Medical Center opened. The loan will be used to pay staff, finance projects, and order supplies.

 

Clovis Community Cancer Institute set to open Aug. 1

Clovis Roundup
Central Valley cancer patients no longer need to travel across the state to receive optimal care. The highly anticipated $68 million Community Medical Cancer Institute is set to open August 1.

 

5 Things to Know Before You Take a Home DNA Test

Fresno State

Before you swab and ship in your DNA sample, there a few caveats to keep in mind, say faculty experts in genetics and genealogy at the California State University.

California health insurance premiums to rise an average of nearly 9% in 2019

San Francisco Chronicle

The roughly 2.3 million Californians who buy their health insurance on the individual market will see their premiums rise an average of 8.7 percent in 2019, officials announced Thursday.

See also:

     Covered CA rates to increase 9 percent, on average, in San Diego County San Diego Union-Tribune

     California’s ACA Rates To Rise 8.7% Next Year AP News

 

An ObamaCare Tax Worth Keeping

Wall Street Journal

House Republicans want to pass a bill delaying ObamaCare’s 40% excise tax on high-cost employer plans—the “Cadillac tax”—by another year, to 2023. GOP hostility to this tax is a mistake. Keeping it would promote market-based health care more than killing it.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

More than 300 immigrant children were reunited with parents today. The number split from parents totals more than 2,500

Hanford Sentinel

The Trump administration said Thursday that it has reunified 364 children ages 5 and older with their families after they were separated at the border, still leaving hundreds to go before a court-imposed deadline a week away.

See also:

     Hundreds of families reunited but several hundred more to go by judge's deadline San Diego Union-Tribune

     What Were We Thinking? Weekly Standard

     Court filing condemns conditions for migrant children held at ports of entry and Border Patrol stations San Diego Union-Tribune

 

California clinic screens asylum seekers for honesty

Central Valley Business Times

As the Trump administration looks to reduce the number of asylum applicants, citing loopholes and fraudulent claims, this clinic seeks evidence that can help determine whether someone should gain asylum in the U.S.

See also:

     Immigrants Reach Citizenship Dream With This Clinic's Help GV Wire

 

As Immigration Policies Change, So Does Business At Valley Flea Markets

Valley Public Radio

President Trump’s strict immigration redirect has many immigrant communities fearful of deportation, especially after the administration announced their zero-tolerance policy. In the Valley, flea market vendors have been taking the hit.

 

The Trump administration wants more than 400,000 people to leave the U.S. Here’s who they are and why

Los Angeles Times

Ending protection for immigrants under Temporary Protected Status isn’t new. But immigrant rights advocates say the Trump administration has been unusually aggressive in revoking TPS status, often on flimsy grounds.

 

When Racist Language Spreads, Immigrants Suffer—and the Social Fabric Frays

Zócalo Public Square

If immigrant children are exposed to racist hate speech, how will it affect their mental and physical health? If elected officials indulge in immigrant-bashing rhetoric, could they embolden white supremacists to take to the streets wielding torches and Nazi flags?

 

Pacific forum looks at three immigration programs up for debate

Stockton Record

With the topic of immigration regularly making headlines and policy changing frequently under the Trump administration, an educational forum gave an overview of three of the U.S. immigration programs up for debate.

 

Did Gavin Newsom 'separate families and deport children' in San Francisco?

PolitiFact

In July 2008, Newsom implemented a policy that referred undocumented youth arrested for felony crimes in San Francisco to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The city had previously reported to ICE only undocumented adults charged with felonies.

 

Tough immigration policy spawns crime and insecurity along the border, experts say

CNN

Trump’s aggressive policy has instead resulted in organized crime groups preying on droves of desperate asylum seekers who have been turned away by US authorities, according to people familiar with the smuggling operations.

See also:

     Did 'zero-tolerance' policy reduce illegal immigration? PolitiFact

 

LAND USE/HOUSING

 

Land Use:

 

Arts Consortium, county officials get residents involved in Mooney Grove improvement

Visalia Times-Delta

Mooney Grove Park is a historical landmark in Tulare County. In an effort to keep up the park's appearance, county officials are looking to repurpose the broken koi pond at the park.

 

Golf course near airport getting new life

ABC30

An old blighted golf course near the Fresno Yosemite International Airport is getting new life. Leaders came together Thursday for a groundbreaking on the property.

 

Housing:

 

"Save Shaw Avenue" Group Is Trying To Prevent Blight By Tackling Homelessness

Valley Public Radio

A group of neighbors in northwest Fresno released a video urging people not to give out money to people on the street. They say that not everyone with signs are homeless, and giving out money hurts more than helps them.

 

Fresno County To Relocate, Expand Emergency Housing Program

Valley Public Radio

Fresno County offers some families temporary, transitional housing, or emergency housing. The location itself is an apartment complex called, “El Puente” -- Spanish for “the bridge.” El Puente is a place for families to save up for and transition to a permanent space.

 

Homeowners confusing 'We Buy Houses' signs with nationwide company

Bakersfield Californian

The illegal “We Buy Houses” signs that are posted across town haven’t just been an irritant for residents and city government officials. They have also become a problem for a nationwide business with the same moniker.

 

Federal tax credits for renters? Sen. Kamala Harris proposes breaks for the rent-burdened

Mercury News

California Sen. Kamala Harris on Thursday unveiled a proposal to give federal tax credits to millions of low and moderate-income households nationwide who pay more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent and utilities.

 

PUBLIC FINANCES

 

California voters almost always say yes to bonds, but don't always understand the trade-offs
Los Angeles Times

Perhaps more than any state, Californians govern themselves through the ballot. Most of the attention goes to the laws they write, but voters also spend taxpayer money — a lot of it.

California Lawmakers to Revive Trump Tax Return Bill

U.S. News

Two California Democrats said Thursday they'll bring back legislation that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns before they could appear on the ballot in the largest U.S. state.

 

City budgets in an era of increased uncertainty

Brookings

Cities in the United States are likely to shoulder additional responsibilities during the Trump administration, as federal leaders seek to cut the federal budget and workforce and reduce regulatory authority in Washington.

 

US debt ‘double whammy’ unsettles emerging markets

AEI

The Federal Reserve is ramping up its “balance sheet normalization” effort at just the moment when the U.S. budget deficit has been widening due to previously unanticipated tax cuts and higher levels of federal spending.

 

EDITORIAL: Why Your Pension Is Doomed
Wall Street Journal

Pension costs are soaring across the country, and government unions blame politicians for “under-funding” benefits. The real problem, as a new study shows, is that politicians have promised over-generous benefits.

See also:

     State-run retirement plans are the wrong way to protect the poor AEI

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

Fresno Firm Finds Itself Immersed in High-Speed Rail

California High-Speed Rail Authority

The high-speed rail project has given PCE, a Fresno-based certified Microbusiness (MB), a  nancial shot in the arm. According to Dunkel, it’s added more than $3 million to the company’s bottom line.

 

More than $9 Million coming to Central Valley for transportation

Central Valley Business Times

A total of 152 local public transportation projects are getting nearly $97 million from the state’s cap-and-trade emissions tax. This includes $9,369,222 for 41 projects in the Central Valley.


The Gas Tax Is a Strange Cross for Our Democracy to Die On

Fox & Hounds

Repeal the gas tax. Or keep it. Either way, I don’t care. Nor should Californians who have any sense of math. It’s bizarre to watch the gas tax emerge as the number one issue in a state with real challenges in housing, economy, education and health care.

 

The State of Transportation in the States

U.S. News

The nation's roads and bridges are in disrepair and there's not remotely enough money available to fix them. A disparate group of transportation experts, politicians across the spectrum and economists agree: American infrastructure is in bad shape.

 

Germany Introduces First Diesel Bus With Catalyser to Avoid Bans

Bloomberg

Germany presented its first diesel bus with a technology designed to slash air pollution as it steps up efforts to avoid a ban on older public transport on city roads.

 

WATER

 

Fresno, Clovis Plan To Mix Recycled Sewer Water For Drinking

Valley Public Radio

Fresno and Clovis have sewage treatment plants equipped to recycle water to a level that meets state drinking water standards. For now, neither city is using the water for drinking because of state rules. Both cities irrigate landscaping with the water.

 

Delta tunnels get ‘real’ as backers seek $1.6B loan from Trump administration

Merced Sun-Star

But even with the uncertainty of the Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial $17 billion Delta tunnels project, backers of the project are poised to ask the Trump administration for a $1.6 billion federal loan that millions of Californians ultimately would have to repay through increases in their water bills.

 

10 Signs of California Water Progress

Water Deeply

The Golden State may face a future with more extreme weather, which will further stress water resources, but California is well on its way to dealing with this new reality, writes Sean Bothwell of California Coastkeeper Alliance.

 

After Flint debacle, EPA must strengthen oversight of Mich. drinking water programs, watchdog says

Washington Post

The Environmental Protection Agency must strengthen its oversight of state drinking water to avoid a repeat of what happened in Flint, Mich., an agency watchdog said in a report Thursday. Sluggish federal reaction meant residents were exposed to lead-tainted water.

 

“Xtra”

 

Bulldog Spirit Connects Students With Retirees

Fresno State News

Fresno State and The Vineyards, an independent and assisted living community for seniors, announced a new partnership to allow residents to be acquainted with Fresno State, its students and the goals they share.

Valley Cultural Calendar

Valley Cultural Coalition

Great things are happening in the Valley.

 

Mars looming large as it heads toward opposition

Bakersfield Californian

Saturday is the free public star party at the Park at River Walk hosted by the Kern Astronomical Society. Observing will begin a little before sunset with looking at the waxing gibbous moon.

 

Celebrating The Humble And Delicious Fresno Chile Pepper

Valley Public Radio

It's not as famous - or as spicy - as the jalapeno or the habanero, but the humble Fresno chile is starting to get its due. A new piece in the online food magazine Eater extolls the virtues of this "little pepper that could," by digging into its history.

 

'The Tenth Island' memoir by Pulitzer Prize-winner inspired by Tulare County Portuguese

Visalia Times-Delta
Diana Marcum’s literary journey started with a team of oxen in a Tulare County field. That journey took the journalist on an unexpected trip on a retreat to an isolated island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in an attempt to reset her life.

 

Amazing Eastern Sierra Road Trip

Sunset

Take an unforgettable drive past aspen-studded lakes, otherworldly landscapes, ghost towns, and more along the stunning Highway 395

Bakersfield-born ballerina Tiler Peck to star in Hulu documentary, coming Friday

Bakersfield Californian

It was in July 2017 when Bakersfield-born ballerina Tiler Peck directed and produced the three-night dance series "BalletNow" at the Los Angeles Music Center. Now, one year later, Peck, 29, is the main subject of a documentary called "Ballet Now," airing on Hulu Friday.

 

 

Test yourself with our new free game: PolitiTruth

Think you can tell the difference between True and False?

Do you really know what is fake news?

 

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Maddy Institute Updated List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials HERE.

 

The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno was established to honor the legacy of one of California’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.

                                                     

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