July 7, 2017




City of Fresno Seeks Qualified Director of Parks, After School, Recreation and Community Services

The Parks, After School, Recreation and Community Services (PARCS) Department is comprised of four main divisions: Administration, Recreation, Community Services, and Planned Maintenance. PARCS has a staff of 74 employees and a FY 2018 proposed budget of $22,165,800. The salary range for the Director of Parks, After School, Recreation and Community Services is dependent upon qualifications, up to $183,900. Filing Deadline: July 21, 2017.


New 19-member Madera County Grand Jury swon in by Judge Dale J. Blea

Sierra Star

Madera County citizens have been selected for the 2017-18 Grand Jury to serve as the governmental watchdog for residents of the county.


Mathews: Rendon Is Trying to Be a Grown Up And For That Trumpist Leftists Must Punish Him

Fox & Hounds

Who does Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon think he is? I mean, where does he get the idea that he can be some sort of grown-up? Doesn’t he know he’s in California politics?


Republican business executive and Marine veteran challenges Rep. Ami Bera in Northern California race

Los Angeles Times

Business executive and Marine Corps veteran Andrew Grant is challenging Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) for a Northern California congressional seat coveted by both parties.


Cybercriminals could find treasure trove in voter data

San Francisco Chronicle

When Kris Kobach of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent out a letter last week asking all 50 states to provide the federal government with detailed information on every voter in the nation in hopes of combatting election fraud, experts say he may have unwittingly opened a new gate for the bad actors of the cyberworld.


A primer on gerrymandering and political polarization

Brookings Institution

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it will hear a Wisconsin case on political gerrymandering, the practice of drawing legislative boundaries that favors one political party (the one in charge of drawing the lines) in elections. The case will focus not on questions of racial bias, which was at issue in a May Supreme Court ruling on two North Carolina congressional districts, but on partisanship and unequal representation. The most recent Supreme Court ruling in a political redistricting case occurred in 2004, in Vieth v. Jubelirer.



Illegal fireworks are out of control in Fresno

Fresno Bee

Even amid the lingering smoke, it is clear that the use of illegal fireworks is out of control in Fresno and surrounding communities.


Where are our congressmen on wildfires fight?

Fresno Bee

The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act quickly gained 61 co-sponsors. It would treat wildfires like natural disasters, and stop depleting the U.S. Forest Service budget.


Trump’s meeting with Putin is crucial. So is strengthening ties with our allies.

Sacramento Bee

“America First” can’t mean “America Alone.” To keep America safe and prosperous, President Trump needs to strengthen ties with our allies in Europe and Asia, not belittle them. Most urgently, it will take a global coalition to defuse the North Korea nuclear threat.


Editorial: Loophole allows $600000 contract to balloon to $10 million

East Bay Times

Two state agencies tasked with overseeing state procurement contracts have failed to provide adequate oversight, a new State Auditor’s Office report has found.


Editorial: Labor remains biggest obstacle to state campaign reform

East Bay Times

It turns out, perhaps not surprisingly, that organized labor presents the biggest obstacle to meaningful campaign disclosure reform in California.  For years now, transparency advocates have pushed for change to the state’s Political Reform Act that would lift the veil on laundered campaign contributions.






Sen. Kamala Harris Talks Water With California Farmers

The California Report | KQED News

Sen. Kamala Harris took time out during the congressional recess this month for a listening tour through California. On Wednesday, she visited the Central Valley, where the freshman senator toured a citrus-packing facility on the outskirts of Fresno.


California’s almond crop zooms past 2 billion pounds this year

Fresno Bee
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Almond Objective Measurement Report shows that the forecast of 2.05 billion pounds is up 2.5 percent from May’s forecast and calls for a 7.9 percent increase from last year’s crop.


Advocates Concerned About Chemical Drifts That Sickened Central Coast Farmworkers

The California Report | KQED News

Advocates for farmworkers on both coasts and labor experts are expressing concern about the two dozen agricultural employees who were hospitalized last month in Salinas and Watsonville in a span of one week after fungicides and insecticides apparently drifted on to the fields where they were working.


California Adds Monsanto Weed Killer To List Of Cancer-Causing Chemicals


Effective on Friday, California will add a weed-killer made by Monsanto to its list of chemicals “known to the state to cause cancer.”  Glyphosate, a chemical found in the widely used herbicide Roundup, now officially joins hundreds of other chemicals determined by the state to be linked with cancer. Monsanto disputes the designation, and is pursuing an appeal in a court case over the issue.


States join fight over EPA chief’s decision not to ban pesticide that can harm children’s brains

Los Angeles Times

Several states are seeking to join a legal challenge to a Trump administration decision to keep a widely used pesticide on the market despite studies showing it can harm children’s brains


Feds forecast a record almond crop

The Business Journal

California is looking at another record production year for almonds, according to the latest forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


A bumper crop of grass means potential for catastrophic fires is high

89.3 KPCC

For a snapshot of how fire season might be different this year in the Sierra Nevada, drive Highway 178 along the swollen Kern River. Last winter’s historic rain and snowfall have produced a bumper crop of grass, creating the potential for large wildfires this season when combined with the millions of trees that died during the drought.


Why some pot businesses hide their cash — and others truck it straight to a federal vault

Los Angeles Times

Slip a fresh $20 bill under the bulletproof teller window of Donnie Anderson’s Medex marijuana dispensary on Century Boulevard — perhaps for a gram of cannabis or some THC-infused toffees — and the legal tender is transformed into something else: drug money.


Proposed pot rules available for review

Trinity Journal

A Draft Program Environmental Impact Report on the potential environmental effects of the proposed CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Program is available for review. The draft report was prepared by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act.



Illegal fireworks cause fires in Fresno

Fresno Bee
Fires sparked by illegal fireworks Tuesday night forced Fresno Fire Department crews to suspend responses to medical emergencies, as Fresno, Clovis and Fresno County reported a 65 percent increase in fire responses this year compared to 2016.


We must take back our city from gangs | Fresno Mayor Lee Brand

Fresno Bee
As the mayor of Fresno, I’ve dealt with some very difficult situations in my first six months in office, but none were as difficult or heart-wrenching as witnessing the pain in the eyes and voices of Kayla Foster’s father and grandmother.


Crime Stopper reward goes up for Fresno gang tips

The Fresno Bee

A Fresno gang member is behind bars after Police Chief Jerry Dyer announced that tipsters who call Crime Stoppers can get a bigger cash reward.


Legislators Save $9.5 Million For Local Gang Prevention Programs

Los Angeles Sentinel

Assemblymember Reginald Jones Sawyer joined other California legislators last week in passing a state budget that allowed for $90 million for gang prevention programs.


Los Angeles is the hate-crime leader in California. 17 counties didn’t report any

Sacramento Bee

When it comes to hate, as goes Los Angeles, so goes California?

Hate crime reports in the city of 4 million represented nearly a quarter of all reported hate crimes in the state last year, according to the state Department of Justice’s latest tally. About one-third of the 11 percent increase in California hate crimes from 2015 to 2016 came in the city.


Why police are putting carbon monoxide detectors in their patrol vehicles

Modesto Bee (blog)

A Newport Beach Police Department officer alleges he crashed his Ford Explorer patrol vehicle into a tree as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.  An officer in Austin, Texas, was hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning after becoming ill while driving the Explorer during a recent shift.


Sheriff’s Office introduces newest K9 recruit

Stockton Record

Thanks to their donation of $10,000, the agency’s K9 unit now stands at a full strength.


California Ruling Makes It Harder for Three-Strikes Prisoners to Get Reduced Sentences


Judges have broad authority in refusing to lighten the sentences of “three-strikes” inmates, despite recent ballot measures aimed at reducing the California’s prison population, the state’s highest court ruled Monday.


Madera County closes fire station over failing infrastructure

Sierra Star

One of Madera County’s fire stations has been temporarily closed due to safety concerns over the building’s failing infrastructure, officials said in a release on Wednesday.



Education Secretary Betsy DeVos sued for delaying rules protecting student loan borrowers

The Fresno Bee

Eighteen states –including California–on Thursday sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, alleging she unlawfully delayed new federal regulations designed to protect student loan borrowers from being ripped off by for-profit colleges and other schools.  See also, 18 States Sue Betsy DeVos And Education Dept. Over Delay Of Borrower Defense Rule NPR | VPR,California joins 17 other states in suing Trump administration over for-profit colleges EdSource


San Diego school board approves legal action over AP exams

Fresno Bee

San Diego’s school board has voted unanimously to take legal action after the Advanced Placement tests of more than 500 of the city’s high school students were declared invalid because their seats were too close together.


Madera Community College Center wins $200K grant

The Madera Tribune

Madera Community College Center, a center of Reedley College, has won a $200,000 National Science Foundation – Advanced Technology Education grant.  It will be awarded over three years through June 30, 2020.


University of California offers in-state admission to 70,000


The University of California said Thursday it has offered admission to nearly 70,000 California undergraduates for the fall, a slight dip from last year’s historic high, after receiving a record number of applications.  See also, UC on track to enroll 2,500 more Californians this fall, but admission offers decline from last year’s near-historic gains Los Angeles Times,University of California opening more seats for in-state students  KPCC,  UC admits more students from outside California but officials expect more state residents will enroll  EdSource, UC Davis admits 60 percent of international students but 36 percent of in-state applicants  Sacramento Bee


California lawmakers chip away at state’s college affordability crisis


California’s economy is one of the world’s largest, and according to a new report, the state needs 1 million more workers with bachelor’s degrees by 2030 to keep up with economic demand.


Cunningham proposes bill to keep pot off school grounds 

New Times

Central Coast Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) introduced a second marijuana-related bill, one that he hopes will clarify the language of the voter-approved recreational cannabis law known as Proposition 64.




Gov. Brown unveils plan for global climate summit, further undercutting Trump’s agenda

Los Angeles Times

In a rebuke to President Trump’s disengagement from worldwide climate change efforts, Gov. Jerry Brown told an international audience Thursday the president “doesn’t speak for the rest of us” and unveiled plans for a global environmental summit in San Francisco next year. See also, Jerry Brown Announces a Climate Summit Meeting in California New York Times


Cap-and-Trade Deal Could Woo GOP Support, Anger Environmentalists

The California Report | KQED

In recent months, Gov. Jerry Brown has made clear that an extension of the state’s cap-and-trade program will need GOP support.


Electric car goals prompt push for more rebates in CA

Sacramento Bee

Amid the cows and corn dogs, visitors to the California State Fair this month will also have the chance to try out an electric car. See also, What would get you to buy an electric car? California is working on it Sacramento BeeOur leisurely lifestyle may be contributing to emissions OCRegister, Sacramento, Calif., to Serve as ‘Green City’ with Massive Electric Vehicle Carsharing ProgramFutureStructure Ports Go Electric in Drive to Decarbonize and Cut Pollution Inside Climate News, Germany’s Innogy enters Californian electric car charging marketReuters, Launch of new Tesla Model 3 eagerly awaited in Sonoma County Press Democrat


Time is running out to stop Trump from opening California marine sanctuaries to oil drilling

Los Angeles Times

Time is short if you care about preserving some of California’s greatest natural wonders and recreational opportunities. Six national monuments in our state are at risk, along with parts of all four of the national marine sanctuaries off the California coast — Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, the Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank.  See also, Trump moves to open more public land to drilling in California San Francisco Chronicle


Tree Mortality in the Giant Sequoia National Forest

YouTube, See also, There’s no support to shrink Giant Sequoia National Monument

San Francisco Chronicle



Council votes to allow medical cannabis businesses

Hanford Sentinel

The Hanford City Council voted 5-0 Wednesday night in favor of a new ordinance to allow commercial medical marijuana businesses to come to south Hanford, but some residents think the council is moving too fast with its decision.


Three Key Questions About The Tax Cuts In The GOP Health Bills

NPR Health News

There’s a lot of talk on Capitol Hill about the tax cuts included in the Republican health plans, but unless you are a frequent user of tanning beds or have personal wealth that puts you in the top 1 percent, you might not feel much effect.


In a conservative corner of California, a push to preserve Obamacare

89.3 KPCC / KQED

Modoc County, in the northeast corner of California, is roughly the size of Connecticut. It’s so sparsely populated that the entire county has just one stoplight. The nearest Walmart is more than an hour’s drive, across the Oregon border. Same with hospitals that deliver babies.


Republicans like Medicaid? Who knew?

CNN Money

More than six in 10 have a very or somewhat favorable view of the program, according to Kaiser Family Foundation’s June tracking poll.


States Move To Tighten Medicaid Enrollment, Even Without A New Health Law


No corner of the health care system would be harder hit than Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor, if Republican leaders in Congress round up the votes to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act.


Half The Time, Nursing Homes Scrutinized On Safety By Medicare Are Still Treacherous

California Healthline

In 2012, Parkview Healthcare Center’s history of safety violations led California regulators to issue an ultimatum reserved for the most dangerous nursing homes.

Medicare patients who were under ‘observation’ are stung by hospital bills

Modesto Bee

Jane Hardin of Modesto said her 91-year-old mother was in the hospital with severe shoulder pain last month and then was placed in a nursing home for medical rehab.

A big surprise came when her mother received a letter from her Medicare health plan saying the hospital bills were not covered. Hardin learned her mother was on “observation” status in the hospital and was classified as an outpatient, even though nurses and doctors attended to her in a hospital bed and ran tests, and she stayed overnight in a hospital room.


Advocates Concerned About Chemical Drifts That Sickened Central Coast Farmworkers

The California Report | KQED News

Advocates for farmworkers on both coasts and labor experts are expressing concern about the two dozen agricultural employees who were hospitalized last month in Salinas and Watsonville in a span of one week after fungicides and insecticides apparently drifted on to the fields where they were working.


Why have U.S. teen smoking rates fallen by more than two-thirds since 1999?

Sacramento Bee

When Maya Terrell saw the anti-smoking television commercial, she knew she would never try a cigarette.


Limiting drug firms’ gifts to doctors impedes education

Capitol Weekly

The California Assembly is currently considering a bill, Senate Bill 790, which would put in place severe restrictions around gifts or other financial benefits that pharmaceutical companies can give to medical professionals as part of marketing activities.


Alabama’s Food Stamp Work Requirements — Able Bodied Adults without Dependents 85 Percent Drop

National Review
It turns out that work requirements . . . work.




California counters Sessions’ claims on sanctuary cities


Attorney General Jeff Sessionslashed out at so-called sanctuary cities Thursday and said some of the 10 state and local governments whose immigration policies his office is reviewing — a group that includes the state of California — appear to be defying federal law.


California is closer to becoming a ‘sanctuary state’


California is now one step closer to becoming a “sanctuary state.” The Assembly Judiciary Committee approved Senate Bill 54 on Wednesday along party lines, with eight Democrats voting in favor and three Republicans opposed.  See also, ​​​​2 youths’ views on ‘sanctuary state’  San Francisco Chronicle


Cities dubbed immigrant ‘sanctuaries’ hit back on Trump funding threat


The Department of Justice is reviewing letters from 10 local jurisdictions that said they are in compliance with U.S. immigration law, to determine whether to cut federal funding, officials said Thursday, heating up a dispute between so-called sanctuary cities and President Donald Trump’s administration.  See also, California counters Sessions’ claims on sanctuary cities SFGate


On immigration: When national Democrats zig, California Democrats zag

Orange County Register

No issue defined the 2016 presidential election more than immigration. Without his beating the drum on a concern that was all but ignored by the political establishment, yet resonated deeply with voters in the heartland, it’s hard to imagine New York billionaire Donald Trump pulling off his improbable upset victories in either the primary or general election.



Employers want you – even if you have limited skills

Sacramento Bee

Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln recently announced its intent to hire hundreds of workers, but the openings were not prompted by expanded operations.


Fox: The Minimum Wage Disruption

Fox & Hounds

Recently, I read an announcement posted in a place of business that told customers the establishment was raising membership dues because of the minimum wage increase.


Award-winning female welding student persists through sparks and stereotypes

California Economic Summit

When Dulce Benavides took her first welding class at San Bernardino Valley College, she was afraid because she was the only female in the class. But her father, a welder himself, had prepared her with the basics and, more importantly, gave her words to remember that she carries with her every day. In Spanish, he told her, “No, I don’t know how to do it, but if you show me, I will learn.”


California gives $3 million to help 600 laid-off American Apparel workers

89.3 KPCC

More help is on the way for former American Apparel workers who lost their job when the company was sold earlier this year, but only some of them will benefit.


California exports cool off a bit in May 

Sacramento Bee

California businesses shipped merchandise valued at $13.49 billion in May, up a modest 1 percent from $13.35 billion in the same month last year.


Senate Health Bill Could Cause Loss of Nearly 1.5 Million Jobs By 2026


If it becomes law, the draft Better Care Reconcilliation Act (BCRA) proposed by the U.S. Senate could cause an estimated 1.45 million jobs to disappear by 2026 and trigger an economic downturn in all but one state, according to a report published today by Leighton Ku and colleagues at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health and The Commonwealth Fund.


How Cities Can Create Innovative Districts

Brookings Institution

Over the past year, the United States Conference of Mayors and the Brookings Institution, along with the Project for Public Spaces have worked together to capture a new model of growth that is emerging in cities and the particular roles that mayors can play.



When will the Legislature take housing crisis seriously?

Sacramento Bee

The gap between wages and the cost of housing continues to grow across California. A worker making minimum wage needs to log more than 90 hours a week to rent a modest one-bedroom home.


California Senate OKs real estate fee to fund more housing

Capital Public Radio

The California state Senate approved a new fee Thursday on some real estate transaction documents to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable housing. The legislation would impose a $75 fee on documents such as deeds and notices, with a cap of $225 per transaction.


California Supreme Court limits building permit lawsuits


California property owners give up their right to pursue lawsuits challenging restrictions in building permits once they construct the project, the state’s high court said Thursday in a victory for California’s Coastal Commission, cities and counties.


Low-income housing funding bill clears key hurdle in California Senate

Los Angeles Times

A bill that could provide roughly $250 million a year in new funding for low-income housing development passed the state Senate on Thursday, a key hurdle that keeps on track a potential larger housing package pending in the Legislature.  See also, American Canyon embraces alternative for affordable housing  Napa Valley Register

California’s hotel building boom shows no signs of slowing 

San Diego Tribune

Developers’ love affair with new hotels is not likely to flame out soon, considering the more than 18,000 rooms under construction up and down the state so far this year, with tens of thousands more in various stages of planning.


A Hidden Population: Youth Homelessness Is on the Rise

Pew Charitable Stateline

Across the U.S., the number of young people living alone on the streets appears to be growing. Many communities are stepping up their efforts to help, intervening early with services specifically targeted toward the needs of young people.




It’s not charity. It’s a commitment to equalizing opportunity

California Economic Summit

Why did Governor Jerry Brown recently sign a state budget that substantially increases California’s anti-poverty spending? The 2017-18 budget expands the California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), increases funding for preschool and child care, and provides additional support for after-school programs. The very good news: These investments should yield a non-trivial decrease in our state’s sky-high poverty rate.


Walters: Sale of $31 million Lake Tahoe estate should disturb California politicians 


The Wall Street Journal often features stories about multimillion-dollar homes and estates as they change ownership. By joining other wealthy residents of Incline Village on the Nevada side of the lake, the Laceys will be able to shield at least some of their obviously high income, particularly investment earnings, from California taxes.  Just a few days before the article appeared, the Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank, issued a bulletin about the fat contract that quarterback Derek Carr signed with the Las Vegas-bound Oakland Raiders. The contract is “back-loaded,” meaning most of the money will be paid after the team relocates, and the foundation calculated that Carr would save $3.2 million a year by plying his trade in Nevada.




Contractor must fix concrete on new Fresno bridge

Fresno Bee

Fresno drivers have waited for months for the opening of the new Tuolumne Street bridge over railroad tracks in downtown Fresno, but problems with the concrete bridge surface will keep them waiting a little longer. 


Californians will soon pay more at the pump, in part to fix more than 200 bridges at risk of erosion

Los Angeles Times

Scouting for evidence of erosion, the primary danger facing California’s highway bridges, is a life’s work for Kevin Flora.


More relief for California drivers with traffic tickets?


A provision in Gov. Jerry Brown’s new budget, which took effect last Saturday, prohibits the suspension of someone’s driver’s license because of unpaid traffic tickets.


Caltrans allocates $34.5 million to help fund 125 local projects


Caltrans says the projects, which are a part of the California Climate Investments Program continue the state’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve the sustainability of public transportation systems.


Metro Celebrates First Anniversary of Bike Share Program

Pasadena Now

As Metro and the City of Pasadena prepare for the launch of the county transport agency’s Bike Share Program in Pasadena on Friday, July 14, Metro said it has logged a total of 182,482 trips for the program since it started in downtown Los Angeles last year, covering over 452,000 miles which it said is the same as biking from Los Angeles to San Francisco 1,303 times.




California delegation opposes ‘California Water Fix’

Martinez News-Gazette

What once was called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan now is known as the California WaterFix and Eco Restore. No matter the name, the project involves building two tunnels, each four stories tall and 30 miles long, to carry water from the Sacramento River to State Water Project intake stations and on to the Central Valley.


DWR Officials Look Into Unauthorized Explosion At Oroville Spillway, Halt Blasting

Capital Public Radio

Blasting at the Oroville Spillway work site is halted for the time being as managers figure out what was behind a recent unauthorized explosion.


Do tribes have special groundwater rights? Water agencies appeal to Supreme Court in landmark case

Desert Sun

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on whether Indian tribes hold special rights to the groundwater beneath their reservations, and the court will now have a chance to settle the question in a case that could redraw the lines in water disputes across the country.


The drought is over, so now what is the plan for local water agencies?

Fontana Herald News

As the worst drought in California’s recorded history fades from memory, and mandatory water conservation cutbacks become a thing of the past, California water agencies are left to grapple with the question: What do they do now?


Friedman Unveils Bill to Protect Mojave Desert from Cadiz Water Mining Project


California Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) today introduced Assembly Bill 1000, the California Desert Protection Act, in response to growing threats by the Trump Administration and the Cadiz water extraction project to the California desert.




Literary Tourism

Fresno and California’s Central Valley

Fresno and the neighboring cities in California’s Central Valley are often known for their place on lists such as “Least Educated Cities,” or “Least Literate Cities.” The Central Valley is looked down upon by the literary mega-cities that bookend it – San Francisco and Los Angeles. However, this shaming ignores both the rich legacy of poetryand the burgeoning arts community here. Ask any Fresnan about the literary history here and they will tell that it’s the birthplace of William Saroyan. Bringing Fresno and the valley into the modern literary conversation is a strong emphasis on poetry and new literacy programs that are encouraging readers and writers of all ages to get back into books.


10 things to do for Valley wine/beer lovers

Fresno Bee

The central San Joaquin Valley has been a strong wine region for years, but a growing craft beer scene has added a new dimension to imbibing. Most of the wineries and breweries host weekly events, but the bars serving their products also have begun to add diverse events such as paint or craft nights.


Bill Extending Last Call To 4AM In California Advances In Assembly

CBS SF Bay Area

A bill by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco that would allow local communities across California to extend alcohol sales hours past 2 a.m. is one step closer to becoming law.


California Cities Fight Cell Antenna Bill

Future Structure

Lawmakers in 179 California cities including San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco are fighting a bill to streamline permitting for wireless antennas on public buildings, streetlamps and traffic signal poles that they say would limit local control over where they go.

Fitzgerald: Old sister ships meet again


Two sunken ships — one raised and restored, another still on the bottom — rendezvoused in the Delta on Thursday as the historic peace ship Golden Rule visited the spot off Tyler Island where The Phoenix of Hiroshima lies.