July 26, 2017





Former California GOP Senate leader Dave Cogdill dies

Hanford Sentinel

Former California state Sen. Dave Cogdill, whose support for temporary tax increases during the state’s 2009 budget crisis ended his legislative career, has died. The Central Valley Republican died at his home in Manteca on Sunday morning after battling pancreatic cancer, his family said. He was 66.


Downtown Fresno still a construction zone, but the future is open with possibility

Fresno Bee

Have you been downtown recently? Between the new bridge, built to accommodate High Speed Rail, the transformation of the Fulton Mall into Fulton Street and Bus Rapid Transit, the whole place is one giant construction project.


LOIS HENRY: People are dying in the Kern River, responders are scrambling and, still, Kern supervisors ponder options


Another hot weekend, another drowning in the Kern River. So far this year, that makes 11, with three missing. And still the Kern County Board of Supervisors has done nothing. Oh, yes, Supes are “considering” options — possibly some signs by popular spots on the river or charging folks who have to be rescued.


Newsom campaigns for governor in Modesto

Modesto Bee

Lt. Gov.  Gavin Newsom brought his campaign for Gov. to Modesto on Tuesday (video)




Gov. Jerry Brown signs climate change legislation to extend California’s cap-and-trade program

Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Tuesday to extend California’s cap-and-trade program, solidifying the state’s battle against global warming as President Trump withdraws from the fight in Washington.

See also:

·       ‘Stop lying to the people’ on climate change, Schwarzenegger tells Republicans  Sacramento Bee

·       Arnold Schwarzenegger teams with Jerry Brown on climate change bill  Sacramento Bee

·       Gov. Jerry Brown signs law to extend cap and trade, securing the future of California’s key climate program  Los Angeles Times

·       Gov. Jerry Brown signs climate change legislation to extend California’s cap-and-trade program Los Angeles Times

·       What California’s big vote on climate change policies means for you (Detailed Analysis)  Los Angeles Times

·       Cap and trade (Video Summary)  Los Angeles Times

·       How California Plans to Go Far Beyond Any Other State on Climate  New York Times

·       Q&A with Jonathan Pershing: Can the U.S. still be a climate leader?  Hewlett Foundation


California’s Obamacare exchanges in limbo: Covered California might not wrap up negotiations with insurers and announce 2018 premiums for its 1.4 million customers until mid-August

LA Daily News

California’s Obamacare exchange scrubbed its annual rate announcement this week, the latest sign of how the ongoing political drama over the Affordable Care Act is roiling insurance markets nationwide.

See also:

·       California prepares to fight GOP attempts to undermine Obamacare San Jose Mercury News

·       Kevin McCarthy’s False claim on Obamacare sign-ups Politifact

·       The Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage and Labor Market Outcomes  NBER Working Paper No. 23607


On politics, says Schwarzenegger, ‘I mostly argue with myself’

Los Angeles Times

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made a political career out of not toeing the party line of his fellow Republicans, said it’s largely a function of having grown up in a country with very different views on social and economic policy than those in the United States.


California Today: A Republican Candidate for Governor Talks About Corruption

New York Times

Kevin Faulconer, San Diego’s mayor, was viewed as the best Republican shot for California governor. So his announcement that he wouldn’t run left supporters deflated.


The California Republican Party is at a Crossroads 

Fox & Hounds

The California Republican Party (CRP) is in worse shape than the national party, because they believe leaders like Rocky Chavez are the future of the party who said this after voting for the crony-filled Cap-and-Trade gas tax: “You’re right, we’re a very small component of the world on this (only 1% of global greenhouse emissions come from California), but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be leaders on something that’s threatening the world.”


California’s secretary of state sticks to his refusal to give data to President Trump’s voter fraud panel

Los Angeles Times

After lawsuit fails that would’ve blocked Trump voter fraud commission from asking states for data, @AlexPadilla4CA says nothing’s changed.



Senate Dems Plan To Drop Nominations Blockade If Health Bill Fails – Politico

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill on July 25. Republicans are showing signs of optimism that they’ll be able to take up the health care bill.


A Tattered Band-aid: Senate Gop’s $200-billion Obamacare Cushion Would Run Out In Two Years
Los Angeles Times

A new study says the $200 billion offered by the GOP to holdout senators on repeal would cover two years of lost coverage.


Do FEC reports suggest a wave election?

Brookings Institution

If early FEC reports are any indication, the 2018 midterms could shape up to be a Democratic wave.



CJR Editor addresses Congress

Columbia Journalism Review

Tues. at 3 pm, CJR Editor and Publisher Kyle Pope addressed the House Judiciary Committee in a bipartisan forum on press freedoms. These are his prepared remarks

Fitzgerald: Miracle Mile head forced out for alleged embezzlement


The Miracle Mile Improvement District chief abruptly resigned under pressure Monday, saying she admitted abusing the district’s credit card, the latest setback for the midtown shopping district. Mimi Nguyen, 31, reportedly said she bought herself about $40,000 worth of personal items with district money over the past three years, said Mike Hakeem, the attorney for the Improvement District.




California Democrats cook up one of their worst legislative turkeys ever

Fresno Bee

California is a place where Democratic Party lawmakers friendly to unions often turn into contortionists to ram through bills that hamstring local government and leave taxpayers footing higher bills or receiving reduced services.


CARB can’t let VW off the hook for its diesel emissions scandal

San Jose Mercury News

The California Air Resources Board still has work to do before approving Volkswagen’s plan for spending the $800 million settlement of its diesel emissions scandal.


GOP health care reform is a farce, badly acted at that

San Jose Mercury News

Americans are divided on what to do about health care, but they should be united in this conclusion: Senate Republicans’ manic approach to reforming a sector that represents one-sixth of the U.S. economy and determines life or death for millions of people is utterly craven and irresponsible.

Detwiler Fire serves as a reminder: If you wait, it could be too late

Sierra Star

Cal Fire requires the “defensible space” around all structures to increase the protection of the home while providing a safe zone for firefighters. For whatever reason, and there are plenty of them, there are still many Mountain Area property owners who have yet to do the necessary work to make their home as safe as possible for themselves, their neighbors, and firefighters.



Trump policies having impact on CA farm labor

San Jose Mercury News

Labor shortages in the fields of Contra Costa County…Growers already were facing smaller profit margins following the elimination of tariffs on produce imported from Mexico. The real trouble began when the federal government began cracking down on illegal immigration in the 1990s. Tens of thousands of Mexicans who once came to California to work now are being deported or can’t leave home


One million acres of almonds


The final forecast for California’s record-breaking almond crop this year wasn’t as big as expected.  It was bigger. More than 2.2 billion pounds of the crunchy nuts will be harvested this year, federal officials say, slightly exceeding an earlier forecast this spring. The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture also confirms that for the first time, almond orchards are spread across 1 million acres in California, an area larger than the size of Rhode Island. And that doesn’t count another 300,000 acres of almond orchards that have been planted but are not yet bearing fruit.


California farmer tries new strategy in fight with federal government over $2.8 million plowing fine

Sacramento Bee

Northern California farmer John Duarte, facing millions of dollars in fines for plowing a Sacramento Valley wheat field, previously sought help from President Donald Trump’s attorney general and EPA chief to get the government off his back.


Straus Family Creamery powered by cow gas

San Francisco Chronicle

With barely a sound, the red and white International Harvester feed truck unloaded a mix of silage, barley and rice to a dozen pregnant cows, releasing a sour, grassy aroma into the foggy morning at Straus Family Creamery in Marshall. The all-electric feed truck is entirely powered by methane gas that was released by the farm’s 280 cows, or rather, their poop.


SF supes OK new cannabis office and tell it to get right to work

San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave final approval Tuesday to a new Office of Cannabis and created two big assignments for its yet-to-be-hired director.





Family shaken by live-streamed crash that left one daughter dead, the other in jail

Merced Sun Star

A Stockton motorist lost control of her car while she was livestreaming on Instagram, killing her younger sister.

See also:

·       Survivor of fatal livestreaming crash blames social media  Stockton Record

BPD Launches Investigation Into Mistaken Identity Arrest Of Teen

Valley Public Radio
Late last year the California Department of Justice launched a “patterns and practices” investigation into the Bakersfield Police Department, after a series of incidents and officer involved shootings that drew national attention.


Website tracks gun deaths and injuries by city and state

Fresno Bee

Want to know how many people have been killed by guns so far this year nationally? In your state? In your city? Last year? The year before that? The number of people wounded? How many shooting victims were children? How many mass shootings there were? Police-related shootings? How many times guns were used in self-defense? How many shootings were unintentional?


Confidence in Trump is leading to fewer sales of rifles and shotguns in California

Fresno Bee

Sales of rifles and shotguns have dropped sharply in California since the election of Donald Trump, who has expressed his intent to defend Second Amendment rights and was endorsed by the National Rifle Association.  The political climate often drives gun sales. Whenever state or federal leaders discuss gun control, gun sales tend to rise.


Celebrating the Linchpin of the Criminal Justice System: Probation Services Week

Merced Sun-Star
The Merced County Probation Department plays a vital role in our criminal justice system. Here’s how…


Proposition 57’s Impact on Prisons

PPIC & Public CEO

Proposition 57 will significantly reduce the number of prison inmates—and, in combination with other statewide criminal justice reforms over the past six years, it will enable the system to keep its inmate population below the court-ordered cap of 137.5% of design capacity.



Detwiler Fire morning update: 78,900 acres, 65% contained

Fresno Bee

The acreage was unchanged from Cal Fire’s Monday night update on the Mariposa County blaze, but containment increased by 5 percent.


Valley Edition Special: Mariposa County Residents Return Home After Detwiler Fire


Residents around Mariposa are picking up the pieces left behind in the wake of the Detwiler Fire. For many, that means returning to homes damaged or completely destroyed by the fast moving blaze.






Road to PAGA Ballot Initiative Paved by CA Supreme Court Ruling

Fox & Hounds

As if businesses were not troubled enough by substantial penalties tied to minor labor law infractions when private attorneys take on lawsuits under the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), a California Supreme Court ruling has opened the door for more business burdens when confronting PAGA lawsuits.




Democrats unveil “Better Deal” Agenda geared toward economy, jobs

SF Chronicle

Adopting a bolder populist message to take to voters in next year’s midterm elections, Democrats on Monday rolled out what they called a “Better Deal” economic agenda that attempts to unify the party around the concerns of working-class men and women. Story.


State Employment Growth Rankings—California Remains in 3rd Place Behind Florida and Texas

Cal. Business Roundtable – California enter for Jobs & the Economy

Between June 2016 and June 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows the total number of employed in California increased by 198,000 (seasonally adjusted), or 10.6% of the total net employment gains in this period for the US. California remained in 3rd place behind Florida (which has a civilian working age population only 55% as large as California’s) at 400,700 and Texas (68% as large) at 220,800.  Measured by percentage change in employment over the year, California dropped to 37th highest. Adjusted for working age population, California dropped to 36th


Labor Force Participation Rate Remains at Lowest Level Since 1976  

Cal. Business Roundtable – California Center for Jobs & the Economy

California’s participation rate (seasonally adjusted) in June was unchanged at 62.0%, while the US rate edged up 0.1 point to 62.8%. The seasonally adjusted California participation rate in June remained at its lowest level since 1976


Job Gains by Wage Level

Cal. Business Roundtable – California Center for Jobs & the Economy

In the recent May Budget Revision, the Governor again pointed to the increasing share of lower wage jobs as one of the prime causes of slowing state revenues growth


The Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage and Labor Market Outcomes

NBER Working Paper No. 23607

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes several provisions designed to expand insurance coverage that also alter the tie between employment and health insurance. This paper explores variation across geographic areas in the potential impact of the ACA to estimate its effect on health insurance coverage and labor market outcomes. While labor market outcomes in the aggregate were not significantly affected, our results indicate that labor force participation reductions in areas with higher potential exchange enrollment were offset by increases in labor force participation in areas with higher potential Medicaid enrollment.


Occupational Licensing Reforms

U.S. Dept. of Labor

Speaking to the American Legislative Exchange Council. U.S. Labor Dept. Secretary Acosta called on state legislators to engage in principled reforms that help the American workforce, including occupational licensing. “By removing barriers, you have the opportunity to create millions of jobs without spending a single dime,” he said.


See also:

·       Maddy Report : “Occupational Licensing:  Is it Worth the Cost?”

·       Little Hoover Commission Report: “Jobs for Californians: Strategies to Ease Occupational Licensing Barriers

California’s gender pay gap: How two proposed laws aim to close it


California boasts some of the toughest “fair pay” laws in the country—yet the average full-time working woman has been earning only 86 cents for every dollar earned by a man. A recent study concluded that gap won’t close before the year 2043.

Underemployment adds to growing income inequality problem


Income inequality in the United States has increased significantly in the last four decades. From 1977 to 2007 three-fourths of the income growth in the U.S. economy went to the top 10 percent of households. One factor contributing to this trend is the increase in involuntary part-time workers.


The curse of not following Econ 101: flawed, deficient and misguided thinking about the minimum wage

Disregarding the fundamental principles of economics is a dangerous approach to public policy.

Fresno’s ERI looks to hire a dozen people in 60 days

The Business Journal
Fresno-based ERI, the nation’s leading recycler of electronic waste, is on a hiring spree — looking to bring at least a dozen new team members on board within the next 60 days.


Building a thriving arts business coalition in Fresno County

Hewlett Foundation
If you’re applying for a job at Bitwise Industries, one of Fresno’s hottest new tech companies and a key player in the city’s redeveloping downtown, don’t forget to put your artistic background on your resume.





SPECIAL ELECTION: $20 million McFarland schools bond fails to gain support


McFarland schools failed to capture enough votes to pass Measure D, a $20 million bond to construct more classrooms and upgrade facilities as enrollment surges. Voters soundly rejected Measure D, with 63% opposing the measure when final results were tallied Tuesday. The measure required two-thirds voter approval. 


Higher Ed:


New York Fed highlights underemployment among college graduates


“Boosting the share of the population with college degrees will only work if those degrees have real value-added.”






Why California’s most polluting vehicles aren’t required to get smog checks

San Jose Mercury News

It’s California’s dirty little emissions secret. As Gov. Jerry Brown and the mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach promise an emissions-free future, some diesel fumes aren’t going anywhere.


California’s marine sanctuaries may face new drilling threat

San Francisco Chronicle

The same communities that fought for decades to protect California’s coast from offshore oil drilling have renewed their battle calls as the Trump administration considers opening 3,500 square miles of state waters to energy development.


Pruitt says EPA will create ‘top-10’ list for Superfund cleanup

Washington Post

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt vowed Tuesday to cut through bureaucratic red tape that has slowed the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites and follow a task force’s recommendations to act more boldly in holding companies responsible for past contamination.



U.S. electric industry knew of climate threat decades ago: report


The U.S. electric industry knew as far back as 1968 that burning fossil fuels might cause global warming, but cast doubt on the science of climate change and ramped up coal use for decades afterward.  The California-based Energy and Policy Institute, which opposes fossil fuels, cited documents it obtained. It said its research mirrors reporting conducted by InsideClimate News about Exxon Mobil’s early understanding of climate change, which triggered an investigation by New York’s Attorney General.






Valadao introduces legislation to fund centers that train physicians in rural areas


Just two months before it was set to lose federal funding, Congressman David Valadao co-introduced legislation Tuesday to continue operating a critical program that trains physicians in rural areas.


State, county agencies report large increase in valley fever infections

Modesto Bee

Valley fever is on the rise, with state health officials recording the largest-ever number of cases in 2016.  California had 5,372 new cases of valley fever last year, more than a 70 percent increase over the previous year, the state Department of Public Health said.


Republican Plans to End Medicaid Threatens Medi-Cal Coverage and Benefits for Millions of Californians

California Budget & Policy Center

ACA repeal would jeopardize Medi-Cal coverage for millions of Californians.  See enrollment by county.


Single payer can’t happen in California. At least, not right away

Los Angeles Times

Given the dismal state of healthcare reform in Washington, liberal Californians have rallied around the idea that the state should establish a single-payer program. Although in the future such a system would be workable and desirable, the reality is that at the moment a single-payer bill cannot pass. Fighting for one in the immediate term is a waste of time.

Three global ideas that could make US healthcare better

While the U.S. holds its breath on the fate of the Affordable Care Act, it’s easy to forget that there are lots of other health care systems out there in the world. What would it be like to get a chance to try on a different health care system for a bit, like a new pair of shoes?


Fresno lab at forefront of genetic cancer detection

The Business Journal
In the fight against cancer, it’s been said the most powerful weapon is early detection.  Leading that charge is cancer diagnostics and biopharma services company NeoGenomics Laboratories, whose seven laboratories across the country are helping physicians determine the best therapy for their patients.

Human Services:


The bigotry baked into welfare cuts

San Francisco Chronicle

The budget blueprint the House of Representatives recently unveiled isn’t a carbon copy of President Donald Trump’s proposal, dubbed “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” But they would both make what’s left of the already tattered safety net for the poor a lot weaker.




Undocumented immigrant driver’s licenses near milestone in California

Modesto Bee

Nearly a million undocumented drivers could be licensed in California by the end of the year. Through June 2017, the Department of Motor Vehicles has issued approximately 905,000 driver’s licenses under Assembly Bill 60, the law requiring applicants to prove only their identity and California residency, rather than their legal presence in the state.


In the heart of the Central Valley, a young activist fights for immigrant rights

Peninsula Press – Stanford Journalism Project
On the first of May, Leticia Lopez walked alongside her mother down the dirt-dusted streets of Delano, a farmworking community in the Central Valley of California. Unable to see over the crowd marching before her, Lopez, around age six at the time, gripped the side of the stroller her mother was pushing. Vans from local television stations lined the streets.


AG Jeff Sessions cracks down on sanctuary cities

The Justice Department announced Tuesday it won’t give grant money to cities unless they allow immigration officials access to jails and alert the federal government when someone facing deportation is released from custody.

See also:

·       ICE chief lists worst sanctuary cities: Includes San Francisco  Washington Examiner



Tenants of Condemned Building Offered Services

Modesto Bee

About a dozen social service agencies were on hand Tuesday morning at 624 Ninth street in Modesto,Calif. to offer help to tenants that need to move while the apartment building is being condemned by the city.


California Lawmakers Negotiating Deal On Affordable Housing
Sacramento Bee

The go-to source for news on California policy and politics


Home prices in parts of Southern California are at record highs — and keep rising

Los Angeles Times

In many corners of Southern California, home prices have hit record highs. And they keep going up.

In Los Angeles County, the median price in June jumped 7.4% from a year earlier to $569,000, surpassing the previous record set in May. In Orange County, the median was up 6.1% from 2016 and tied a record reached the previous month at $695,000.


Housing Costs in California

New York Times

Senate Bill 35 allows developers to fast-track primarily unaffordable development. Most recently, the requirement to provide a small percentage of units to families making below 50 percent of the area median income was inexplicably stripped from the bill, erasing this small silver lining.




Grand Jury report: Kern County libraries ‘headed for extinction’

The Daily Independent

A Kern County Grand Jury committee didn’t mince words when it released a report on the state of the library system in June.  In short, the report states the Kern County Library system is headed for extinction.


Highest paid positions in state government

California State Controller’s Office: Press Releases

Which positions received the highest salaries at state government agencies, CSU, and county courts last year? 


California and Federal Dollars: A Two-Way Street

California Budget & Policy Center
California depends on federal funding to sustain a wide range of important public services and systems. In fact, more than $105 billion in the 2017-18 state budget comes from the federal government. While this is a sizeable amount, it’s important to also consider the dollars that flow the other way: from California to the federal government.




More road closures coming for high-speed rail construction

Fresno Bee

More road closures are in store for drivers as high-speed rail construction continues in Fresno and Madera counties, including a couple of rural roads that are in for extended shutdowns and detours east of Madera.


Reluctant States Raise Gas Taxes to Repair Roads

Pew Charitable Trusts | Stateline

Driven by an infrastructure crisis, even legislatures dominated by fiscal conservatives are striking deals to raise taxes on gasoline and other fees paid by drivers.


Senate committee rejects privatizing air traffic controllers


A Senate subcommittee on Tuesday rejected the Trump administration’s goal of privatizing U.S. air traffic controllers, by approving a budget for the Federal Aviation Administration.



Water Wasted to the Sea?

California Water Blog & Public CEO
If we farmed the Central Valley or managed water supplies for San Francisco, San Jose or Los Angeles, we might think that fresh water flowing from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers through the Delta to San Francisco Bay is “wasted” because it ends up in the Pacific Ocean as an unused resource. However, different perspectives emerge as we follow the downstream movement of river water through the Delta and into San Francisco Bay.


The Energy 202: House GOP wants to slick the skids for water rule repeal

Washington Post

Repealing a major clean water rule issued under President Obama has been such a priority for the Trump administration that the White House launched a landing page in January explaining why the rule needed to go just moments after Trump took his oath of office. Trump vowed to rescind the regulation, called the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule during his first 100 days as president.




Murrieta horse ride draws hundreds to the Westside

Vide en el Valle

Almost 200 horseriders participated in the 39th annual Joaquín Murrieta Horse Pilgrimage over the weekend. Riders traveled from Madera to Three Rocks to honor a man held up as a Mexican Robin Hood by some, and as a thief by others.


This Sacramento icon is becoming very cool lately. Here’s a 1935 video of the day it opened.

Sacramento Bee

It’s not as old as the I Street Bridge to the north. Nor as grandiloquent as the state Capitol. But Tower Bridge is arguably Sacramento’s singular icon. And it’s gaining steam as a focal point of civic pride.