July 5, 2017




Who’s to blame for America’s lousy character?

Fresno Bee

How did 30 become the new 15?


Fitzgerald:  Why a recall makes no sense

Stockton Record

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.


Is it time to increase California’s Legislature?

Sacramento Bee

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.


California Democrats out to reverse another election rule to help one of their own

Sacramento Bee

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.


Walters: Faulconer’s ‘no’ to California governor race could hurt GOP in congressional contests 


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.


Former Republican assemblyman joins race to be California’s next governor 

Los Angeles Times  See also, Essential Politics: The race to be California governor just got more crowded Los Angeles Times


California Today: Bringing Tax Anger to Governor’s Race

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.


Call From California: President Trump, Where Are You?


Was it something we said?


As Bernie Sanders delays national single-payer debate, California nurses keep the heat on the Legislature

Mercury News

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


Our representatives under attack

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.


Why California denied the Trump administration’s request for voter data

Sacramento Bee

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.


California politics updates: Hate crimes on the rise, Caltrans promises a big boost in highway repairs

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.


State Democrats squabble over revealing who pays for political ads

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.


How California may help vets banished from US

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.




Facing worsening wildfires, Congress seeks bipartisan answer. Where’s Tom McClintock?

Sacramento Bee

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.


Donald Trump’s voter fraud panel wants your personal information. It’s ridiculous.

Sacramento Bee

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.


Editorial: Must stop the twin-tunnels water boondoggle

Mercury News

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.





Expand CA Ag Production, Contribute to Better Nutrition

Fox and Hounds Daily

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.


New beef exports to China could be boon for Valley ranchers


For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. will ship beef product to China, increasing market demand.


Assemblyman Salas secures millions for canal project


Assemblyman Rudy Salas has secured $4 million in the state budget for the Friant-Kern Canal Pump-Back Facility Project, according to his office.


Governor Brown Authorizes State Funds to Help Stop Deadly Citrus Disease

Valley Voice

California citrus growers will soon get help from the State to stop a devastating plant disease threatening residential and commercial citrus trees.


Council to vote on medical marijuana

Hanford Sentinel

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.


Could cannabis be coming to your county fair? It depends on the local management 

Sacramento Bee

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.


Pot growers brace for proposed limits on chemicals in crop sprays

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.




Hate Crimes In California Increased By 11 Percent In 2016


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


Henry: Facts about the Bakersfield Crude Terminal court ruling are good enough, no need for activist groups to “pimp” them up


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.”


California Supreme Court makes it harder for three-strike prisoners to get sentence reductions

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.


Too many prisons make bad people worse. There is a better way

The Economist

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.


Why Democratic legislators are taking aim at private ambulance service

Sacramento Bee

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.




2017-18 California state budget a win for education

Visalia Times-Delta

The 2017-18 California State Budget signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on June 27, gives students throughout the state a boost. 


Gornick named chancellor emeritus by WHCCD board of trustees

Hanford Sentinel

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.


California Gov. Jerry Brown Orders Creation of Online Community College

Government Technology

Brown says that establishing an online college would make higher education more affordable and accessible to Californians.




It’s dry and hot but the wildland fire forecast has a bright spot

Fresno Bee

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.


Governor pushes for cap-and-trade deal as deadline looms

Sacramento Bee

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.


LOIS HENRY: Facts about the Bakersfield Crude Terminal court ruling are good enough, no need for activist groups to …

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.


Kern County cracksdown on greenhouse emissions

23ABC News

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.


California’s Near-Record Snowpack Is Melting Into Raging Rivers


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.


Trump administration cuts could stymie climate change research 

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.


Climate change expected to fuel larger forest fires — if it hasn’t already 

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.

Mapping The Potential Economic Effects Of Climate Change 


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.


California’s response to rising seas


Water rise has been somewhat steady the past 100 yrs. It’s now accelerating 30-40x faster than in the last century.


How clean is your local beach? Here’s the list

Mercury News

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.


Californians are recycling bottles less and less. Here’s what’s going on 

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.




Report: GOP health care bill threatens the most vulnerable residents in Stanislaus County

Modesto Bee

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.


USC partners with Kern Medical Center to open Central Valley’s first dedicated epilepsy neurology center


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.


Republicans call Obamacare a ‘failure.’ These 7 charts show they couldn’t be more wrong

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.


California Taps Health Care Money to Pay for Homeless Services

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.

Single-payer healthcare backers fan out at California Capitol to protest shelving of bill

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

Mercury News


Who Should Pay to Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

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.


Health insurance expansion linked to fewer sudden cardiac arrests


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.


To Curb Suicides, VA Opens Services To Those With Less Than Honorable Discharges 


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.




Discharged. Deported. Why California may cover vets’ legal bid to return

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.


​​​​Debate Rages Over California’s ‘Sanctuary State’ Law


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.





Land-use Cowards

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.




June 2017 State Tax Collections

Legislative Analysis Office

Prelim. FY 16-17 income taxes below projections. Higher-than-projected FY 17-18 collections possible.


The stock market is booming. Why are California tax collections down?

89.3 KPCC

The stock market and the economy are booming, but high-income earners in California paid less tax in June than analysts expected.


A better way to cut government spending: End tax breaks on 529 college savings plans

Brookings Institution

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.




Survey shows dim view of SJ transportation system

Stockton Record

Transportation officials in San Joaquin County recently completed what may be the most comprehensive public survey of county transportation system.

Ditching the gas tax: Switching to a vehicle miles traveled tax to save the Highway Trust Fund

Brookings Institution
Charging drivers for the miles they drive could raise more revenue for road repairs than a gas tax.


Market for electric buses speeding right along


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.


The US cities with the best public transportation

Business Insider

Two nonprofit research institutes, the Center for Neighborhood Technologyand TransitCenter Center for Neighborhood Technology, designed an objective “transit score”


Why Sacramento leaders believe curbside vehicle chargers will be a game-changer 

Sacramento Bee

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.


It’s short, but a new bike trail is coming to the American River

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.




Kettleman hopes bottled water continues

Hanford Sentinel

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.


Bakersfield’s cost to filter out chemical pegged at more than $50 million


How much is a “substantial” water rate increase? Bakersfield city officials expect to answer the question by the City Council’s July 19 meeting.


California drought: Plans advance to enlarge major Bay Area reservoir

Mercury News

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.


Toilet to tap? Some in drought-prone California say it’s time

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, founder of the Poverello House homeless shelter, has died

Fresno Bee

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.


Mathews: California First, America Whatever

Fox and Hounds Daily

Dear America,

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