July 28, 2017


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Community Voices: Sen. Dave Cogdill: He dared to agree

Bakersfield Californian

In today’s hyper-charged political environment, former state Sen. Republican leader Dave Cogdill was an anomaly: A leader of a political party who dared talk with, and work with, the “other side.”




Peele: Public records reform gutted in Sacramento, what else is new?

The Mercury News

Call California the state of recalcitrance. Let’s face it. Efforts to improve access laws here end up going nowhere.


Watchdog panel’s support for lifting some donation limits is likely boost to state senator facing recall  Los Angeles Times


How many women hold public office in California? Not enough, new report says

Sacramento Bee

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff is the only woman leading one of California’s 10 largest cities. That’s one of the facts in a new report from California Women Lead, that examines the representation of women currently serving in elected office. The report found that women continue to be underrepresented in public posts despite making up half of the statewide population.

See also:

·       Women gaining political power in California cities as they’ve lost it elsewhere  Los Angeles Times


Affirmative action divided California Democrats. What changed in the governor’s race?

Sacramento Bee

Three years after an affirmative action bill split California Democrats, Latino and African-American lawmakers have compelled the leading candidates for governor to go on the record with their thoughts on the issue.


Essential California: The cannabis industry’s favorite to be California’s next governor

Los Angeles Times

The fundraising dinner for Gavin Newsom in Salinas was in most ways a typical night for a political candidate. Local business leaders paid up to $5,000 for a chance to talk with the man aiming to be California’s next governor over cauliflower bisque, strip steak and Meyer lemon pudding cake.


Adam Schiff, President Trump and the serendipity of slander

Los Angeles Times

The road to elected office can be long and winding and is not always paved with the best of intentions.



Senate Republicans reject last-ditch ‘skinny repeal’ of Obamacare

Fresno Bee

Senators early Friday narrowly rejected a dramatically slimmed-down Obamacarerepeal bill, even after being promised by GOP leaders that the measure would never actually become law.


See also:

·       California Senator Kamala D. Harris Statement on Failure of Affordable Care Act Repeal   Sierra Sun Times

·       McCain, two other GOP senators join Democrats to defeat last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare  Los Angeles Time

·       ‘Obamacare’ repeal reeling after Senate defeat PBS NewsHour

·       Inside the most dramatic 90 minutes in recent Senate history PBS NewsHour

·       Senate Blocks GOP Health Bill, Jeopardizing Obamacare Repeal  Bloomberg

·       Three Republicans Just Derailed the Senate Health Care Bill  Time

·       John McCain’s No Vote Sinks Republicans’ ‘Skinny Repeal’ Plan  The Atlantic

·       McCain Votes No, Dealing Potential Death Blow To Republican Health Care Efforts  NPR


House passes spending bill with $1.6 billion to begin border wall

The House approved a $788 billion national security bill that includes $1.6 billion towards a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.


Gutting the CBO Is the Wrong Way to Get Revenge

National Review

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has come under heavy criticism in recent weeks from many Republicans. They complain of inaccuracies in CBO’s analyses of legislation, most recently in the agency’s scores of the various proposed Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replace bills. Condemnation of the agency has grown so loud that all eight former CBO directors, from both sides of the aisle, felt it necessary to pen an unprecedented letter to congressional leaders condemning the attacks.




California Today: Military Communities Respond to Trump’s Transgender Ban

New York Times

President Trump’s move to ban transgender people from the armed forces reverberated across California’s military communities on Wednesday.




Getting people out of jail. How’s that for a worthy bipartisan cause?

Sacramento Bee

His face pale and marred by a ghastly scar above his eye, Sen. John McCain returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday and sputtered what many Americans have been thinking for years.


Can’t let bureaucracy ground important fire-fighting tool

San Jose Mercury News

With about 50 wildfires burning in the U.S., the U.S. Forest Service should be making every effort to deploy the most effective firefighting resources available.




Coalinga made millions from pot, so why could some city employees lose their jobs?

Fresno Bee

The first town in the central San Joaquin Valley to embrace the marijuana industry may be in trouble. Coalinga, nestled between the hills on the southern edge of Fresno County, made waves across the state last year when it decided to allow marijuana companies to grow, transport and sell the still-controversial plant.


Audit faults ‘Buy American’ compliance at California schools

Sacramento Bee

California, home to the nation’s largest agricultural economy, does little to ensure its schools follow federal rules requiring the serving of food produced in the United States, according to an audit released Thursday.


California farms produce a lot of food – but what and how much might surprise you

The Mercury News

California’s 77,500 farms produce more than 400 commodities, and two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts. About one-quarter of what California produces is exported around the world.


Methane gas from cow poop fuels Marin County farm truck

East Bay Times

West Marin dairyman Albert Straus said this month he has come full circle in his effort to use agriculture against climate change with the addition of an all-electric feed truck to his farm fleet.


Japan to hike tariffs on frozen beef imports from U.S., others

New York Daily Times

Japan’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Friday the country will raise tariffs on frozen beef imports from the United States and other countries from August to protect domestic producers.






Sex trafficking ring targeted Central Valley girls

Fresno Bee

Two men, including one from Fresno, were arrested in connection with a sex trafficking ring that exploited a dozen Central Valley girls and young women for more than a year, according to a 54-count state Attorney General’s Office complaint filed Wednesday in Tulare County Superior Court.


Councilman wants to let Fresno employees carry guns at work

The Fresno Bee

Should Fresno city employees who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon be able to pack heat on the job? Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld thinks so, and will ask his council colleagues next week to pass a resolution to allow it.

See also:

·       Should Fresno City Employees Be Allowed To Carry Guns At Work?  Valley Public Radio

Atwater prison death being investigated as suicide

Modesto Bee
The death of an inmate found Thursday in his Atwater cell is being investigated as a suicide, according to U.S. Penitentiary Atwater officials.


Are you safe from crime at the California State Fair? Here’s why we don’t know

Sacramento Bee (blog)

At the California State Fair, when cops reporter Nashelly Chavez stopped by Cal Expo police headquarters to check arrest logs, she was advised to file a Public Records Act request. She had to do the same for basic information on the number of employees and crime statistics.

“If you were to go to San Francisco State’s Police Department or the Sacramento Police Department, you can find this out” immediately, said Chavez, an S.F. State alumna. At Cal Expo, “I had to PRA it. They just said they were going to take my request and forward it to their lawyer.”


Why you should care about who will sit on California’s Supreme Court

San Francisco Chronicle

Gov. Jerry Brown is preparing to make one of the most consequential appointments of his final term in office, a justice who could shift the ideological balance of the state Supreme Court. Californians will need to undertake some preparation, too, and get reacquainted with an institution that impacts the lives of most of the state’s residents. The composition of the state’s highest court will be in voters’ hands in November 2018, when the new appointee and two colleagues will be on the ballot.


County jail study and the mentally ill

County jail study showed mentally ill offenders are booked 2x as often and stay 3x longer




Cal Fire: Hunter Fire contained, well within Detwiler Fire lines

Sierra Star
A Cal Fire public information officer said Thursday evening that a spot fire sparked around 11:30 a.m., which grew to between 100-150 acres in a few hours, is being treated as part of the overall Detwiler Fire in Mariposa County and is not an immediate threat.


Despite Thursday afternoon spot fire, firefighters continue to slow growth of the Detwiler Fire

Sierra Star

The Detwiler Fire continued its trend of a slow rate of growth Thursday as firefighters work towards bringing it under complete containment.






CA Economic Summit to honor employers and educators working together


California has a workforce challenge—middle skills jobs are going unfilled because workers aren’t trained. This challenge has helped create more cooperation between education entities and employers.


Glass floors and slow growth: A recipe for deepening inequality and hampering social mobility

Brookings Institution
On average, less able kids from affluence end up with greater earnings than more able kids from poorer families



Enroll in construction job training classes

The Associated Builders and Contractors Training Academy is accepting students into its construction skills training program.


The Inland Empire: Second only to San Francisco in California job growth?

PolitiFact California

Newsom’s comments follow Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent claim on NBC’s Meet the Press that California’s Central Valley and Inland Empire “are experiencing tremendous job growth.” We examined that claim and rated it Mostly True.


America and the Foxconn Dream

“Wisconsin is paying as much as $1 million per job, which will carry an average salary of $54,000.”


Does Increased Access to Health Insurance Impact Claims for Workers’ Compensation?

Upjohn Institute

We study over 20 million emergency room (ER) discharges in Massachusetts and three comparison states to estimate the impact of Massachusetts health care reform on claims for Workers’ Compensation (WC). Prior evidence on the relationship between health insurance and WC claiming behavior is mixed. We find that the reform caused a significant decrease in the number of per-capita ER discharges billed to WC. This result is driven by larger decreases in WC discharges for conditions for which there is greater scope to change the payer or the location of care. Conversely, we estimate smaller impacts for weekend versus weekday admissions and for wounds compared to musculoskeletal injuries. Our findings are consistent with the reform lowering WC medical costs for employers/insurers, primarily by inducing injured workers to seek care at less costly sites. The results suggest much smaller impacts on the propensity to bill WC for a given injury.




Announcing Contest: Partnerships for Industry and Education


The California Economic Summit is sponsoring a contest to identify and honor innovative partnerships between employers and secondary and post-secondary institutions in California.  The top three winners of the Partnerships for Industry and Education (PIE) Contest will be announced before the Summit convenes in San Diego on November 2-3.




Audit faults ‘Buy American’ compliance at California schools

Sacramento Bee

California, home to the nation’s largest agricultural economy, does little to ensure its schools follow federal rules requiring the serving of food produced in the United States, according to an audit released Thursday.


First Orange County school to become charter under parent-trigger law moves forward

Orange County Register

An Anaheim school district that fought and lost a court battle against converting one of its campuses into an independent public charter school will now allow parents to move forward and take over.


Record high vaccination rates of 7th-graders reported in first year of stricter requirements


Vaccination rates for California 7th-graders reached their highest recorded levels, the California Department of Public Health reported, in another sign that a stricter vaccination law is having an effect in its first year. The increase in 7th-grade immunizations follows previously released record-high levels of kindergarten vaccination rates.


Higher Ed:


Federal Policy Shift on Private For-Profit Schools

Public Policy Institute of California

The US Department of Education is moving toward changing two regulations designed to protect students at private for-profit institutions. The regulations were revised or instituted by the Obama administration in response to allegations of fraud and predatory practices, as well as low graduation rates and high levels of student debt. Secretary Betsy DeVos says they are burdensomefor institutions.

See also:

·       Trump administration hasn’t approved any student loan debt relief claims  San Jose Mercury News


Political turf wars slow push to educate more Californians

The Mercury News

Community colleges want to offer more bachelor’s degrees but the CSUs have mounted serious opposition.


California colleges creating stronger workforce earn “Stars” for their progress


The California Community Colleges announced the launch of Strong Workforce Stars, a program that recognizes successful career education programs. More than 100 programs at 65 community colleges were noted for having students earn a substantial increase in earnings and attain a living wage in a job closely matched with the student’s field of study.






‘Trying to breathe’— as CA toasts environmental win, pollution still plagues 


Growing up with 12 people packed into a two-bedroom apartment in Wilmington, Magali Sanchez-Hall rarely left the bubble of her south Los Angeles neighborhood. She assumed everyone lived with chronic coughs, unexplained skin rashes and asthma. Her extended family and friends were all hit with cancers.




Volkswagen gets green light for charging stations under settlement plan

Los Angeles Times

California regulators approved on Thursday the first phase of Volkswagen’s plan to install electric vehicle charging stations around the state.

See also:

·       This big carmaker will spend millions to push electric vehicles in Sacramento  Sacramento Bee

·       California Approves Sacramento-Area Electric Car Share Program  capradio.org




Health care plans: Costs and Coverage

Evaluation of any health plan begins with understanding who is covered; what kind of coverage they have; and how much the coverage will cost the federal government, states, and individuals.


Republicans try to bait Democrats on single-payer vote


A single-payer health care system may be the holy grail for many progressives, but a Republican plan to put Senate Democrats on the record voting for it couldn’t get support even from Bernie Sanders.


How a heat wave becomes life-threatening

Sacramento Bee

With scorching temperatures and threatening brush fires, there’s renewed conversation on heat and health in California. But there isn’t enough attention on the health consequences for families who face a power shutoff.


Scientists genetically modify human embryos for first time, reports say 

San Diego Union-Tribune

A team of researchers that includes a scientist from the Salk Institute in La Jolla has created the first genetically modified human embryos, the MIT Technology Review reported this week.



Guest worker visas a complex cure for vineyard labor shortage

San Francisco Chronicle

Rural Mexico supplies as much as 90 percent of California farm labor, and has for decades, ever since the bracero program — H2A’s brutal antecedent, in effect from 1942 to 1964 — cemented U.S. agriculture’s dependence on this labor source. Whether they come under a guest worker program or come on their own, the fact endures: Workers from Mexican states such as Michoacan, Oaxaca and Jalisco power American farms.


Living under Trump’s immigration crackdown proves expensive for undocumented families

Sacramento Bee

Since Donald Trump became president, the family has been saving for something he said he hopes never comes to pass: detention and possible deportation for immigrating to the country illegally.




Land Use:


Fitzgerald: Don’t forget the waterfront

Stockton Record

Planners recently concluded the listening phase of Stockton’s General Plan 2040, the blueprint for city growth. They did a good job of listening to citizens.

What they heard is: Forget sprawl. Fix downtown, nourish existing neighborhoods, reduce crime.


Business owner appeals Redwood City school plan

San Jose Mercury News

A Redwood City business owner is appealing a plan by a charter school to build a permanent facility in an area surrounded by industrial businesses.




Democrats and Republicans See Different Solutions to California Housing Crisis


Before the recent legislative recess, California Democratic leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown announced their intention to tackle one of the state’s biggest crises: housing affordability. It’s the rare instance where virtually everyone in the Capitol at least is in agreement about the scope of the problem, even though there’s far less agreement on solutions.


Planned homeless center will offer a lot, including place for pets. But where, when?

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County’s effort to get homeless people off the streets could take the form of an access center with temporary housing and services to help them rebuild their lives.


Newhall Ranch isn’t just 21,000-plus houses. It’s a shot at sustainability.

Sacramento Bee

The state has never seen a community quite like Newhall Ranch, proposed by California developer FivePoint. It will be a carbon-neutral development in the Santa Clarita Valley that tackles such critical challenges as climate change, water conservation, and the dire housing shortage that is severely threatening our economic competitiveness.


A Bay Area developer wants to build 4,400 homes where they may be sorely needed. Here’s why it won’t happen

Los Angeles Times

Just beyond San Francisco’s city limits lies 640 acres of land that could help solve some of California’s biggest problems.




“Tax Land Wealth” Theory Ignores Ability to Pay

Fox and Hounds Daily

A recent Los Angeles Times op-ed by three professors at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs suggests the way to raise revenue to deal with homelessness is to tax land because “housing scarcity delivers unearned wealth to people who own housing.” This tired argument of taxing land wealth ignores two important principles: ability to pay and the question of whose asset is it—the homeowner or the state?


California’s tax board members aren’t happy about how new disclosure rules are being applied

Los Angeles Times

Members of California’s Board of Equalization objected Thursday to a broad interpretation of a new state law requiring that they disclose their private meetings with taxpayers who are engaged in appeals.

Why Everyone Needs to Care About the Fed’s Shrinking Balance Sheet

Bloomberg Podcast
The Federal Reserve said this week that it’s about to try something that’s never been done on this scale in the annals of central banking: reduce its $4.5 trillion stockpile of assets. The ramifications could be felt everywhere from mortgage rates, to the cost of vacationing in Thailand, even to President Donald Trump’s attitude toward the Fed. Bloomberg reporter Chris Condon joins Scott to explain what’s happening and try to come up with a better name than “balance sheet normalization” for the whole process.




California Supreme Court ruling bolsters bullet train foes

Fresno Bee
U.S. law does not allow state-owned rail projects to completely bypass California’s strict environmental regulations, the state Supreme Court said Thursday in a decision that ensures further legal complications for the planned $64 billion bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

See also:

·       California Supreme Court ruling could end bullet train suits  San Jose Mercury News

·       California bullet train faces more legal hurdles from state Supreme Court ruling  Los Angeles Times.




Dial Easy: Conserving Water – Now and for the Future

Hanford Sentinel

Following five consecutive years of drought, California experienced record wet conditions last winter. However, state-wide government offices and agencies are aware of and continually preparing for the next swing in atmospheric conditions that will usher in another dry period.


Nunes and Valadao joke about Westlands’ water grab. We’re not laughing.

Sacramento Bee

Rep. Devin Nunes’ tweet was supposed to be funny, we guess.

The occasion was the passage of H.R. 23, carried by fellow San Joaquin Valley Republican, Rep. David Valadao of Hanford, although its authorship is clearly at issue.

The bill is the House Republicans’ latest attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act at the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s expense, and at the behest of the Westlands Water District, the sprawling irrigation district where some of the state’s wealthiest farmers tend their crops.


There’s light at the end of the Delta tunnels, so what’s next for California water policy?

Los Angeles Times

Deciding how to give people water to drink and grow food — and to do so without damaging the state’s economy or the environment — shouldn’t have been this hard. For the last dozen years and more, California has been entangled in heated debate over updating the state’s water system. But now we’re closing in on a resolution to that question. That, in turn, opens the way to considering future water policy in a very different political landscape.


California orders closer look at 93 dams after near-disaster at Oroville

Sacramento Bee

California officials have ordered owners of 93 dams to reinspect their flood-control spillways following the Oroville Dam crisis,saying the spillways need a closer look following a preliminary review.


A new gold rush is on, sparked by California’s post-drought snowmelt

Los Angeles Times

he state’s historic drought has ended. Riverbeds, once dry, are torrents, and California’s Gold Country is living up to its reputation.


Water quality in county’s rivers and creeks improves, but long-term prognosis unknown

San Diego Union-Tribune

The health of many rivers and streams throughout San Diego County — which flow down canyons and wind through often contaminated urban landscapes — has improved after suffering during several years of drought conditions, according to a report released this week by the nonprofit environmental group San Diego Coastkeeper.




Fresno Food Expo | Award winners announced

Fresno Bee

In advance of its massive trade show and public event Thursday, Fresno Food Expo announced the winners of its new-product awards.


Fresno home to the country’s newest professional soccer team

The Business Journal

Fresno will officially be home to the newest professional soccer team in the country: Fresno Football Club.


California fairs shutter thrill ride after Fireball accident leaves 1 dead and 7 injured in Ohio

Los Angeles Times

Fair and amusement park operators throughout California ordered the immediate closure of a popular thrill ride after a similar attraction in Ohio broke apart suddenly, leaving one person dead and seven others injured.