TOP POLITICAL STORIES
How did 30 become the new 15?
Fitzgerald: Why a recall makes no sense
The recall of two Council people isn’t really a recall. It’s a shibboleth for perry malcontents. Some of these critics think they should be running the show, which is a knee-slapper. Others seem to get their kicks from disrupting City Hall.
Whatever our party or politics, a lot of us in California don’t believe we’re truly represented at the state Capitol. Every so often, that discontent produces a sweeping idea to change the Legislature. Now, there’s a proposed constitutional amendment to replace the existing 40 state Senate districts of about 930,000 people each with eight “geographically and culturally distinct” districts – ranging from 923,000 to 5.2 million voters – that each elect five senators.
First, Democrats hoping to protect one of their own passed a law changing the rules for a recall. Now they are pressuring the state’s campaign watchdog to reverse a longstanding stance on contribution limits to once again benefit Sen. Josh Newman, who Republicans are seeking to punish for casting a vote to raise state gas taxes.
For months, California’s Republican leaders had, with fingers crossed, hoped that the state’s top GOP officeholder, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, would change his mind.
Los Angeles Times See also, Essential Politics: The race to be California governor just got more crowded Los Angeles Times
New York Times
California has swung between Republican and Democratic governors for decades.
With Gov. Jerry Brown set to depart in 18 months, Republican leaders now hope voters are ready to give their side another go.
Was it something we said?
The day after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders told CNN he would delay the release of his universal health-care plan until the Affordable Care Act debate has ended in Congress, the sponsors of a similar California proposal are keeping the heat on a legislative leader who moved to block it from advancing this year. See also: Sen. Kamala Harris greets supporters at healthcare protest in Torrance Los Angeles Times, Seniors tell Harris how GOP health plan will hurt them San Francisco Gate
The Madera Tribune
One of Madera County’s representatives in Congress, Rep. Tom McClintock, has lately been the target of harassment from Democrat activists trying to tie up his office phone lines so callers from the outside can’t get in.
When a commission created by President Donald Trump to investigate voter fraud asked all 50 states last week to share the name, party affiliation, last four digits of social security number, voting history and other personal information for each of the country’s 200 million registered voters, the outcry was swift, widespread and bipartisan.
Los Angeles Times
California is seeing an increase in hate crimes.
There were 931 incidents in 2016, an 11.2% spike over 2015, the state Department of Justice reported Monday.
San Francisco Chronicle
Who pays for all those political ads that bombard voters every election season? An effort to make the answer clearer to the public is squeezing California Democrats between two liberal constituencies.
San Francisco Chronicle
Andy de Leon thought he was the only one. Deported to Mexico in 2010, the Vietnam-era Army cook struggled to find a way to live in Tijuana — landing in the border city after serving time for a drug conviction. At age 65 he lost his home in Madera, his car and his family. It’s been years since he’s seen his 10 grandchildren.
Wildfires need to be funded like the natural disasters they are, and Congress should allow the U.S. Forest Service to do its job by preventing wildfires, not merely reacting once they rage out of control. Legislation embraced by Republicans and Democrats wisely seeks to do just that.
State election officials, Republicans and Democrats, are rebelling against a request for detailed voter data. Cybersecurity experts say putting the sensitive information in one place could be a gold mine for hackers.
Two federal agencies’ decision last week to green-light construction of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta twin-tunnels plan is an unwelcome setback for opponents of the project. But it’s not the huge milestone that proponents claim.
Fox and Hounds Daily
A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that reliance on processed rather than fresh foods is having a devastating impact globally on children, showing dramatically increasing body-mass index (BMI) levels in 195 countries, including the United States. The study describes the harmful side effects of obesity, such as heart disease, kidney disease and premature death, and discusses the larger health and economic costs if the obesity rates are not brought under control.
For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. will ship beef product to China, increasing market demand.
Assemblyman Rudy Salas has secured $4 million in the state budget for the Friant-Kern Canal Pump-Back Facility Project, according to his office.
California citrus growers will soon get help from the State to stop a devastating plant disease threatening residential and commercial citrus trees.
After months of anticipation, this week is decision time for the Hanford City Council on whether to allow commercial medical marijuana businesses to locate in the city’s heavy industrial zone.
California’s county fairs — those wholesome showcases of agricultural bounty — could become places to score some pot. Gov. Jerry Brown last week signed a bill that details how to carry out the November 2016 ballot measure that legalizes recreational marijuana as of January 2018. Tucked deep in the text is an option for county fairs to allow sampling and sales for people 21 and older in designated spots.
San Francisco Chronicle
The laid-back days when marijuana growers could spray crops with chemicals without fear of consequences are just about over as California prepares to deploy a strict new testing regimen, but the proposed regulations have sparked debate over claims they’ll force many pot merchants out of business.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE/PUBLIC SAFETY
A report from the state Attorney General’s Office Monday found a more than 10 percent increase in incidents reported by local law enforcement agencies in 2016 compared to last year. That follows a similar increase from 2015 to 2016. See also: California hate crimes increase again Sacramento Bee
Perhaps I’m old-fashioned but I think credibility matters. When you blow facts out of proportion and conflate them with other, marginally connected facts, your credibility goes POOF. I wish activist groups would get that. Instead, the Center for Biological Diversity last week issued a press release headlined: “California Court Overturns Approval of Bakersfield Oil Train Terminal.”
Los Angeles Times
Judges have broad authority in refusing to lighten the sentences of “three-strike” inmates, despite recent ballot measures aimed at reducing the state’s prison population, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.
Norway has the lowest reoffending rate in Scandinavia: two years after release, only 20% of prisoners have been reconvicted. By contrast, a study of 29 American states found a recidivism rate nearly twice as high. This is despite the fact that Norway reserves prison for hard cases, who would normally be more likely to reoffend. Its incarceration rate, at 74 per 100,000 people, is about a tenth of America’s.
In the view of California’s public-sector unions, the only good job is a government job. Now they’re targeting private ambulance companies in the name of protecting workers.
The 2017-18 California State Budget signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on June 27, gives students throughout the state a boost.
In recognition of his 23 years of service to the West Hills Community College District, Dr. Frank Gornick has been named Chancellor Emeritus by the WHCCD Board of Trustees.
Brown says that establishing an online college would make higher education more affordable and accessible to Californians.
The wildland fire season has been keeping fire crews busy in the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra foothills, where the potential for large fires has been rated above normal through October.
Gov. Jerry Brown is working with lawmakers, business groups and environmentalists to reach a deal on extending cap and trade, California’s landmark program aimed at slowing global warming.
The Bakersfield Californian
Perhaps I’m old-fashioned but I think credibility matters.
When you blow facts out of proportion and conflate them with other, marginally connected facts, your credibility goes POOF.
Caltrans today announced that 125 local projects received $34.5 million in funding from the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. These projects continue California’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the sustainability of public transportation systems around the state.
NPR | VPR
Two years ago, near the end of California’s devastating drought, Tom Moore stood on the banks of the depleted Kern River in Southern California and looked out at the slow-moving waters dejectedly.
LA Daily News
Researchers working on climate-oriented science at UC Irvine are cutting or scaling back their programs in anticipation of budget cuts that reflect the Trump administration’s skeptical views about global warming.
San Diego Union-Tribune
Global warming will likely heighten the risk of large, more difficult to control wildfires scorching the western United States. It’s the main conclusion of a body of science that, over the years, has increasingly drawn connections in the West between the prevalence of major blazes and the rising frequency of earlier springtime conditions followed by hotter and drier summers.
Climate scientists agree that this century is getting much warmer and that such warming will likely bring economic pain to the U.S., but economists aren’t sure how much. Now, a team of scientists and economists, writing in the upcoming issue of the journal Science, says it can at least tell which parts of the country are likely to suffer the most.
Water rise has been somewhat steady the past 100 yrs. It’s now accelerating 30-40x faster than in the last century.
Statewide, California’s overall water quality during summer is excellent, with 96 percent of the 416 monitored beaches monitored getting an A or B grades, according to Heal the Bay’s recently released Beach Report Card.
Los Angeles Times
In a state that prides itself as a global leader in protecting the environment, recycling rates for beverage containers have dropped to their lowest point in almost a decade amid the continued closure of centers that pay for bottles and cans and the fallout from changes to California’s recycling program.
Low-income seniors and disabled people who rely on Medi-Cal have been mostly ignored in the discussion over Republican attempts to replace the Affordable Care Act, a new report says.
By next month, local epilepsy patients won’t have to travel so far for complex procedures. That’s because Kern Medical Center has partnered with the University of Southern California’s Neurorestoration Center to bring an epilepsy program and center to Bakersfield.
Los Angeles Times
Timothy McBride of Washington University in St. Louis has done the heavy lifting of pulling together the relevant charts and graphs, and posting them online in a series of 12 tweets compiled on Storify. We’ve culled some of the most important, and present them here.
KQED | California Report
The Whole Person Care program represents a breakthrough in using health care money for housing services, which the federal government had long been wary of doing. The five-year pilot program allows local governments to pay for support services, but not actual rental costs, through a matching grant from Medicaid.
Los Angeles Times
Supporters of a stalled single-payer healthcare bill returned to the Capitol in Sacramento on Monday to express their anger that Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) shelved the measure more than a week ago. See also, As Bernie Sanders delays national single-payer debate, California nurses keep the heat on the Legislature
Hoover Institution – Economics21
Among the most vexing of our national health care policy challenges is the question of who should pay (and how) for the medical care of those with pre-existing health conditions. Advocates propose a broad array of answers to this question, explanations of which rapidly grow complicated. The purpose of this column is to simplify as much as to explain – to provide a cursory thumbnail guide to the basic value judgments underlying these complex proposals.
The incidence of sudden cardiac arrest, a sudden and usually deadly loss of heart function, declined significantly among previously uninsured adults who acquired health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
This summer the Veterans Health Administration is beginning to roll out a program targeting the number of veterans who commit suicide. An estimated 20 veterans a day commit suicide.
The Mercury News
Andy de Leon thought he was the only one.
Deported to Mexico, the Vietnam-era Army cook struggled to find a way to live in Tijuana —landing in the sprawling border city after serving time for a drug conviction. At age 65 he lost his home in Madera, his car and his family. It’s been years since he’s seen his 10 grandchildren.
The inmates are up before dawn, waiting in glass-and-steel holding cells and dressed in yellow-green jumpsuits and plastic slippers. The jumpsuits are a signal that here inside the Orange County Jail, they’re no longer county inmates but Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees awaiting transfer. Known by deputies and ICE as the Supermax of the West, the jail houses felons with violent criminal records who are also undocumented immigrants.
JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
Fox and Hounds Daily
Amid the myriad and many examples of how government intervention upsets local housing markets comes one of the most shameful in the form of Assembly Bill 121 by Marc Levine, a Democrat from San Rafael. Marin County wants to be exempt from the state requirement that all cities and counties must plan for their fair share of housing so Assembly Member Levine volunteered to imbed a provision in this year’s budget act that frees the exclusive county north of San Francisco from the housing mandate.
Legislative Analysis Office
Prelim. FY 16-17 income taxes below projections. Higher-than-projected FY 17-18 collections possible.
The stock market and the economy are booming, but high-income earners in California paid less tax in June than analysts expected.
Tax expenditures on the rich are high, with half the benefits of the ten biggest tax breaks going to families in the top quintile. The biggest ticket items are the Mortgage Interest Deduction and breaks on employer-sponsored health insurance. But there are also tax breaks available on 529 college savings plans. As we show in our new paper, “A tax break for ‘Dream Hoarders’: What to do about 529 college savings plans,” almost all of the benefits of the deductions go to families at the top of the income distribution.
Transportation officials in San Joaquin County recently completed what may be the most comprehensive public survey of county transportation system.
Charging drivers for the miles they drive could raise more revenue for road repairs than a gas tax.
More than 70,000 transit buses run across the U.S. and most of them run on gas. But the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority, the second largest agency of its kind in the country, said it’s going to replace more than 2,000 of its buses with electric ones to help the state reduce greenhouse gases. Well, they’re going to need to get those buses from somewhere. Some of them are bound to come from a brand new factory in Walnut, California — just outside of Los Angeles. The company that makes these electric buses is Proterra. It has a good problem: it can’t build buses fast enough to keep up with demand.
No garage? No problem. That’s what city officials want Sacramento residents thinking as they consider buying an electric car without regard for their overnight parking situation. The city’s first curbside electric vehicle chargers are set to go up at Southside Park next summer, allowing anyone to pull into a parking space and plug in.
Sacramento Bee (blog)
Piece by small piece, a new trail is being built along the American River. The Sacramento City Council is set to approve a contract later this month to construct a paved trail running three-quarters of a mile from Sutter’s Landing Park in midtown.
As residents of this hardscrabble Kings County town just off Interstate 5 continue their long wait for clean tap water, they hope to keep benefiting from a state program providing bottled water in the interim.
How much is a “substantial” water rate increase? Bakersfield city officials expect to answer the question by the City Council’s July 19 meeting.
Working to expand water supplies for California’s next drought, a coalition of 12 Bay Area water agencies took a significant step Monday toward an $800 million expansion of one of the largest reservoirs in the Bay Area — Los Vaqueros Reservoir in the rolling hills near the Alameda-Contra Costa county line.
The Mercury News
As drought and water shortages become California’s new normal, more and more of the water that washes down drains and flushes down toilets is being cleaned and recycled for outdoor irrigation.
Mike McGarvin, the founder of the Poverello House homeless shelter in downtown Fresno who was known by many affectionately as “Papa Mike,” died Saturday at the age of 73.
Fox and Hounds Daily
I suppose I should wish you happy birthday. But I’m just not feeling it. You and I, the United States and California, used to be pretty darn close—“indivisible” was your word and “inseparable” was mine. Sure, we had our differences—I’ve always been a little out there—but