June 13, 2017




UC Berkeley poll finds Gavin Newsom in the lead for California governor race


Former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, who currently serves as California’s lieutenant governor, is in the lead in the 2018 state gubernatorial race, according to a recent UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll.


Political Road Map: Here’s how that gas tax increase could give California Republicans a lifeline in 2018

LA Times

Sometime this summer, as temperatures begin to sizzle, California Republicans could do something that — if things worked out just right— could thaw out their long, cold winter of political isolation.


Rep. Valadao in 2017

Hanford Sentinel

This year, Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, has introduced four bills to the House, including the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017.


Law would help Democrats win California recall election

The Sacramento Bee

Democrats are pushing a late-blooming bill to significantly improve state Sen. Josh Newman’s odds of surviving an effort by the state GOP and others to recall him from office.


Democrats seek a change in California recall elections, and it could …

Los Angeles Times

State Senate Democrats introduced legislation Monday to change the rules governing recall elections to remove a lawmaker from office, potentially helping one of their own survive an effort now underway in Southern California.


California lawmakers scrutinized on complying with voter-approved transparency law

California Forward

When California voters overwhelmingly backed a 2016 ballot measure to boost transparency in lawmaking, the intent was clear: to prevent last-minute bill changes done in the dark. Under the new rules, how well the Legislature is complying is getting some serious scrutiny. The timing of some votes by the California Assembly generated some heat from advocates of Proposition 54, which altered the state’s constitution in order to give the public a better view of legislation before their representatives vote on them.

Ninth Circuit largely upholds ruling blocking Trump’s travel ban

The Fresno Bee

President Donald Trump’s travel ban will remain on hold following a ruling Monday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court said Trump did not prove that the people he sought to bar from entering the U.S. were “detrimental” to national interests. The executive order would have blocked people from the Muslim-majority countries Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Somalia from coming to the country, as well as suspended the U.S. refugee resettlement program.


Duke professor dispels myth about Trump and working-class voters

The Modesto Bee

What the two researchers found was that it wasn’t a new coalition of working-class people who put Trump in office. It was the usual Republican stalwarts, college-educated people who are in the upper half of the national income levels. Carnes and Lupu described their findings in a blog post that ran on The Washington Post website on June 5.

What it will take for women to win


Women are more politically mobilized than ever before — but that’s not enough to get them into office. A POLITICO investigation reveals what’s really stopping women from breaking through.


Thousands of Angelenos have voted four times in four months. Soon, they’ll be asked to vote again

Los Angeles Times

Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation, which advocates for voters’ rights, suggested one way to limit the “cascading effect” of special elections spurred by politicians looking to advance: Enact a law that would …


Increasing Voter Turnout for 2018 and Beyond

New York Times

Even in 2018, pro-turnout factors will be undercut by numerous structural barriers – long-term obstacles intended to preserve the dominance of rich, white, older people by suppressing the votes of poorer, younger minorities.


Duck, Donald

Sierra Star

With former FBI Director James Comey’s sworn words of damning testimony inexorably about to unfold, rumbling and roiling like vengeful, redemptive storm clouds on the near horizon, an inevitable beginning to the end may be drawing near. It’s none too soon.




Gig economy includes the working poor. Gov. Brown can help them.

Fresno Bee

We know that many people tune out when they hear bureaucratic terms they don’t understand. One is “earned income tax credit.”

Please bear with us because the earned income tax credit can help hardworking people struggling to make ends meet.


Wonder weed won’t cure all our financial ills

Modesto Bee

To hear many local officials talk about it, you’d think those narrow, serrated leaves were made of gold.

Mounting unfunded pension costs? Wonder weed will pay the bills.

Mental health costs rising? Sell more wonder weed.


Our View: Learn from ocean cities and flag river dangers

Bakersfield Californian

Strong rip currents and rough surf kept lifeguards and emergency crews busy on northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast this past April during the annual spring break surge of tourism.

Officials in one Florida county flew single red flags at two popular beaches, signaling dangerous conditions, then, as things worsened, switched to double red flags, closing the beaches. Sheriff’s deputies and code enforcement officials started issuing $100 citations to people who got in the water anyway.


Editorial: What part of ’72 hours’ notice’ doesn’t the California Assembly understand?

The Mercury News

Last November, California voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment prohibiting the Legislature from voting on bills before their language has been made public for at least 72 hours.


Legislators’ plan to gut a tax board seems solid. But here’s a cautionary note.

Sacramento Bee

Californians should welcome the proposal by Controller Betty Yee, Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators to eviscerate the Board of Equalization. If only there were time to vet the proposal.


We Californians have a right to privacy. But what does it mean in the digital age?

Sacramento Bee

The right to be left alone is gone, so long as we remain connected. It has happened over the years, bit by bit.

Give it up, Kimberly Ellis. You won’t be leading California Democrats.

Sacramento Bee

Kimberly Ellis refuses to concede the race for Democratic chair to Eric Bauman. For the sake of the resistance, it’s time.


Follow the law, Gov. Brown

San Francisco Chronicle

The regents board for the University of California has “full powers of organization and governance” over California’s most prized public university system.  Yet the board, which consists of 26 members, has recently been in the spotlight for its lack of transparency and a string of controversial decisions.





They came to America looking for work. But once they got here, they couldn’t leave

Fresno Bee

In one of the first farm labor trafficking cases in California, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp’s office has charged Efren Alvarez with six felony counts of human trafficking and extortion by using fear involving three workers from Mexico. Prosecutors say that although Alvarez arranged to provide workers to farms, he was not a farm labor contractor.


Desired for labor, rejected as neighbors: Farmworkers on the Central Coast face hostile communities

The SLO Tribune
The “urban farm homes” nestled along a cul-de-sac off an old farm road in Nipomo had lofted floor plans with more than 2,500 square feet of living space — “perfect … for multi-generational living,” the advertisements boasted.  Strawberry grower Greg France and his wife, Donna, had other ideas for the planned seven-home development. They would use it to host more than 100 workers coming up from Mexico to pick strawberries on their farms under an agricultural guest worker program.


Woodlake talks about allowing marijuana cultivation

The Fresno Bee

The lure of big bucks from legal marijuana tax revenues is enticing yet another central San Joaquin Valley town.  Woodlake, a city of around 7,500 people in northeastern Tulare County, is talking about whether to allow cannabis cultivation and recreational marijuana dispensaries within its small borders. It’s not the first local city to consider pot, but Woodlake’s approach bucks the precedent set by its ultra-conservative neighbors. A community struggling to survive on a $2 million annual budget could double its bank account in mere months, but critics say doing so could hurt those most in need of its protection.


California Leopold Conservation Award seeks nominees

The Turlock Journal

The Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are accepting applications for the $10,000 California Leopold Conservation Award. The award honors California farmers, ranchers, foresters and other …


As competition grows, California prunes seek high-end niche …

Capital Press

With Argentina and Chile selling smaller prunes at lower prices, the California Dried Plum Board is marketing prunes from the Golden State to high-end …


Davis firm’s pest control products cleared for use on California cannabis crops

Sacramento Bee

The company said the ingredients for products developed and owned by the company, known as MBI, are on the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s newest posting of “Legal Pest Management Practices for Cannabis Growers in California.”.     


California proposal would allow pot shops to sell both medical and recreational weed

Los Angeles Times

They are aimed at merging regulations of medical cannabis, which the Legislature approved in 2015, and recreational marijuana, approved by voters in November.




Some say California’s bail system is broken. Here’s how two legislators plan to help fix it

Los Angeles Times

California’s bail system is ripe for reform, some say. Police officers and prosecutors point to dangerous or repeat offenders who pay their way out of jail time, bail agents to the high number of people who jump bail and criminal justice advocates to …


Another Kern County sheriff’s official under investigation in connection with disgraced former deputies

The Bakersfield Californian

Kern County sheriff’s Lt. Bill Starr is on paid administrative leave in connection with an internal investigation into the conduct of former Deputies Logan August and Derrick Penney, who have pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge.


Kern County man pleads guilty to marijuana grow in Sequoia Forest

Porterville Recorder

Russell Lee Riggs, of Weldon, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana grown in the Sequoia National Forest, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.


CAL FIRE Suspends Burn Permits In Some Areas


Burn permits are being suspended starting Monday in some areas of the foothills and mountains with the expected return of hot weather by the end of this week. A wet winter has created an abundant grass crop, creating opportunities for increased wildfire dangers with higher temperatures looming. As a result, CAL FIRE has suspended burn permits for outdoor residential burning of branch and leaf debris in Calaveras, Tuolumne and the eastern parts of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

Why America still executes people

The Economist
America is one of only a few countries in the Western world that still puts criminals to death. Even there, executions are on the wane: just 20 were carried out in 2016, down from a peak of 98 in 1999. Popular support is declining, too.



Valley organizations offering educational activities to kids to prevent summer learning loss


It is the start of summer vacation and plenty of places in Fresno are providing parents academic amusement for the kids.


Schools of learning 

Sierra Star

This Saturday some in this community will take time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opening of The Children’s Museum. The Museum has a loftier title, “The Children’s Museum of the Sierra,” however the rest of us simply call it “The Children’s Museum.”


Ensuring access to summer learning for all students


As a parent of a 13-year-old, I know that the summer months can represent fun time off from the structure of the school year, and opportunities to expand horizons and learn new things through outings, vacations and summer camps.


Community group seeks redress from Modesto over school board elections

The Modesto Bee

Modesto City Schools is facing objections over how it divided its district boundaries into seven trustee areas as it moves away from electing trustees by districtwide vote.


Gov. Brown agrees not to hold back money from California schools next year


And after-school and summer program providers will see their first funding increase in more than a decade, under the terms of the 2017-18 state budget that legislative leaders and the Brown administration negotiated last week. The Legislature must pass …


Teachers take on Republicans in gas tax recall fight

Sacramento Bee

The 325,000-member California Teachers Association contributed $250,000 to the campaign committee formed to oppose the recall of Newman, according to campaign finance records filed Monday with the Secretary of State’s office. Those behind the recall …


State Admits Posting Faulty School Test Data, Promises Revisions


The agency responsible for overseeing and analyzing public education data in California removedbad” Advanced Placement test results from its website last month, acknowledging it had published the wrong scores from 2016.


DeVos Group Supports Virtual School Despite Evidence

The Atlantic

This vision was clear throughout the American Federation for Children summit: that schools need to be reinvented with an emphasis on technology. And throughout the gathering, exclusively online schools were a key part of that vision—even though some supporters acknowledge existing virtual schools have not produced strong academic outcomes to date.

Alum Rock construction contractor responds to critical audit

The Mercury News

SAN JOSE – Responding to a state audit criticizing how the Alum Rock Union School District and its contractor, Del Terra Real Estate, handle construction payments and management, the company’s president defended his operations and responsiveness to …


‘For the Common Good’

Inside Higher Ed

Many histories have been written of American higher education, but Charles Dorn has taken a new approach in For the Common Good: A New History of Higher Education in America (Cornell University Press).


Cal State to End Placement Exams

Inside Higher Ed

Now the California State University System is planning to do the same in an effort to increase graduation rates, despite lingering concerns from some officials and faculty members that removing the tests may hurt students in the long run.


California law spurs reforms after heartbreaking student suicide cluster

The Mercury News

The California Department of Education released a model youth suicide prevention policy last month that calls for schools to create strategies to encourage students to talk about depression and stress.




California’s Clean Energy Commitments Grow Stronger

The American Prospect

Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement only confirms that Washington is in retreat from the world stage.


A Central Valley power plant may close as the state pushes new building at customers’ expense

LA Times

The giant La Paloma power plant has run hard since it opened in 2003, with owners boasting that its home near Bakersfield is ideal for sending electricity up toward San Francisco or down to Los Angeles area homes and businesses.


Dairy biogas renewable energy projects in Tulare County

Visalia Times-Delta

Tulare County has approximately 380,000 dairy cows who lead the nation in dairy production. Combined, the cows produce a $1.7 billion commodity — milk.


Signs of past California ‘mega-quakes’ show danger of the Big One on San Andreas fault

Los Angeles Times

Through it runs an essential aqueduct that feeds Southern California water from the Colorado River as well as vital transportation links. It’s also the path for crucial power transmission lines. California earthquake experts worry that a major rupture could have wide-ranging implications for the region and beyond…


Efforts To Retool California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program Stalled At State Capitol 

Capital Public Radio

The program has struggled with deficits, and last year hundreds of recycling centers closed around the state. Part of the proposal that failed a Senate floor vote would’ve ended an exemption for wine and liquor bottles. It would’ve also shifted running the recycling program over to distributors.

State regulators accept a proposal for studying clean alternatives to an Oxnard natural gas plant 

Los Angeles Times

State regulators have accepted a proposal for a study of clean-energy alternatives to a proposed natural gas power plant in Ventura County — the second decision within a week to reassess building new fossil fuel facilities.


Highway 41 wildfire grows to 600 acres, forces complete closure at Highway 145

Sierra Star

A wildfire in the area of Highway 41 and Road 209 in O’Neals grew to more than 1,450 acres by Monday morning, and forced temporary closure of Highway 41 at Highway 145.


Cities Need State Help to Meet Paris Climate Goal

Pew Trusts

Just minutes after President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris pact to fight climate change, mayors began announcing their plans to stay committed to it.



With millions at stake, Bakersfield City Council may oppose Trump budget

The Bakersfield Californian

The Bakersfield City Council will be asked to formally oppose President Trump’s proposed budget Wednesday because it would eliminate several urban development programs that give the city millions of dollars a year.


No surprises: Trump budget hits at California

Visalia Times-Delta

This budget can be read many ways, including these: As an initial negotiating position from the author of “The Art of the Deal.” As revenge for California depriving the president of the popular vote victory he so ardently craved. As a prototypical Republican attack on federal spending, the party has long opposed in fields from health care to sanctuary cities. It may be all of those and more.


Gas Tax Poll Sends a Tremor Through the Political Landscape

Fox and Hounds Daily

A tremor ran through the 2018 California elections with the release of the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll that shows widespread disdain for the recently passed gas tax and vehicle fees–even before collection of the tax begins …


Blog: California Lawmakers Reach Deal On How To Spend Tobacco Tax Money

Capital Public Radio News

The spending plan would increase money for K-12 schools, community colleges and the CSU system. But in an unprecedented move, the Legislature will split off the UC president’s office budget from the rest of the university.


Key budget dispute: How will state spend tobacco tax revenues?

Ventura County Star

California lawmakers have reached a deal on most elements of the state budget, but they remain at odds with Gov. Jerry Brown on a few key pieces, including how to spend $1.2 billion in revenue from an increased tobacco tax.


Brown Does the Lord’s Work on Prop 56

Fox and Hounds Daily

In California, the act of trying to make an inflexible ballot initiative a little more flexible is the Lord’s work. Which brings me to the fight over Prop 56 (tobacco tax).


Lawmakers move to blow up California tax board

Sacramento Bee

A troubled California tax agency that has resisted almost 90 years of calls for its dissolution is on the brink of changes that would make it a sliver of itself.  In a sweeping overhaul announced by top Democrats, the Board of Equalization would lose its high-profile mandate as California’s tax court and shed almost 90 percent of its 4,800 employees.




Proposed California budget bill would give doctors a raise

KCRA Sacramento  ‎

But there was pressure to provide higher reimbursement rates to dentists and doctors who serve the poor. “The governor’s budget allows for a 2 percent increase in rates to those MediCal health care providers who are in managed care operations …


Sidewalk CPR training sessions set across Kern County this Wednesday

Bakersfield Now

Sidewalk CPR training sessions will take place this Wednesday   The Kern County Public Health Services Department said it held a similar event last year and trained nearly 850 people in hands-only CPR. The department’s officials said they hope to train even more people during this year’s event.


Paid Parental Leave: Let families decide which arrangements work best

National Review

The center-right American Enterprise Institute and the center-left Brookings Institution have a new report about paid parental leave. The members of their working group disagreed about much, but they were able to put forward a compromise plan. In this plan, new mothers and fathers would be able to take eight weeks off, with 70 percent of their usual compensation paid to them by the government, up to $600 per week. The program would be funded by a small payroll tax on all workers.


Tracking Reports About the Emerging Senate Bill to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Despite initial claims that the Senate would start over and develop its own legislation, Senate leaders have said, “the practical matter is that 80 percent of what the House did we’re likely to do.” This page tracks reports of how the Senate may change the House bill and analyzes whether the reported tweaks would meaningfully alter the House bill’s effects.




Should Fresno use taxpayer funds to defend immigrants against deportation?

Fresno Bee

Immigration advocates will ask the Fresno City Council to contribute $200,000 to launch a public/private legal fund to help defend undocumented immigrants against deportation.


Immigration raids catch 54 in Central California

Sacramento Bee

Federal immigration officials arrested 54 undocumented immigrants during a five-day sweep in Central California last week…


An Immigrant Family’s Long Journey to MIT

Valley News

The Bracero initiative legally brought millions of Mexican guest workers to the U.S. on short-term, primarily agricultural labor contracts to alleviate a workershortage plaguing the agricultural industry during World War II. Alejandro’s great …


Clergy seek Fresno tax money to defend undocumented immigrants

The Fresno Bee

Immigration advocates will ask the Fresno City Council to contribute $200,000 to launch a public/private legal fund to help defend undocumented immigrants against deportation.


How this new California law could help immigrants clear previous crimes, and avoid deportation

The Mercury News

A new California law allows people who are no longer in jail to challenge old convictions, a move that could offer deportation relief to immigrants as President Donald Trump’s administration targets those with prior crimes.


Questions answered on sanctuary state bill


California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon describes the bill he authored “The California Values Act,” and says to describe it as a sanctuary state measure is a misnomer.



California economy, job market face further cooling, report says

The Mercury News

California’s job market is expected to muster a weaker rate of growth than previously …


CEOs Rank 2017 Best & Worst States for Business ChiefExecutive.net

Chief Executive magazine

For the 13th year in a row, CEOs weigh in on what each of the 50 states has to offer your business. (Surprise:  California did not do well in this survey…)


California’s green swing through China: it’s about jobs, too

Press Telegram
It’s almost as though California is a sovereign nation when it comes to Pacific Rim trade and green tech these days.


The CalEITC Provides Substantial Benefits to Low-Income Working Families With Children

California Budget & Policy Center
A recent report by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) provides new details about who benefits from California’s state Earned Income Tax Credit — the CalEITC – and how much they benefit. With several proposals to expand the credit moving through the Legislature, this report can help inform the debate over how to build on the credit in coming years.




Amid housing crisis, Garcetti’s ‘linkage fee’ proposal remains in limbo 

Los Angeles Times

Following the lead of other California cities, Mayor Eric Garcetti two years ago proposed charging a fee on construction and using those funds to build affordable housing in Los Angeles.




Gas tax repeal ballot initiative campaign


“Jerry Brown and the California Democrats have over-stepped their authority”, Allen says, “they feel so empowered today in Sacramento, they have a super-majority in the Assembly, a super-majority in the Senate, they have all the constitutional offices …


One tree, three fiery deaths and a highway judged America’s most dangerous. Is Caltrans to blame?

Fresno Bee  ‎

Is a solitary eucalyptus tree standing alongside Highway 99 through Madera County an example of deadly negligence by the state of California?


Family of California autistic teen who died when left on sweltering school bus awarded $23.5M

The Mercury News

The attorneys alleged Ramirez was distracted by the text messages, and that the company, Pupil Transportation Cooperative, was permissive in dealing with relationships between its employees and what they did while on breaks.


Roadshow: How do non-disabled drivers get placards? Ask this ‘misinformed’ DMV clerk

The Mercury News

There are about 2.9 million placards used in California. Q An acquaintance had a knee replacement so that she could play tennis, which she does now.




City committee to discuss whether to change watering restrictions

The Bakersfield Californian

Water Resources Manager Art Chianello said this will be a chance for staff to provide the Bakersfield City Council members who sit on the water board updated information and to have an “open discussion” on whether to maintain or modify the city’s water …


What Did California Learn From The Drought?

Capital Public Radio News

A report from the Public Policy Institute of California says the state’s cities and suburbs responded well to the unprecedented mandate to cut water use by 25 percent during the drought.


Brown, California Democrats are approaching flood control all wrong

Sacramento Bee

Monitor, patch, watch and then monitor. This is the fundamental problem with California’s failing water infrastructure.  Nearly 200,000 evacuees downstream of Oroville Dam witnessed how this failed government approach can impact their lives.

My review of inspection reports shows a pattern of monitoring, delayed action and patchwork maintenance at Oroville Dam, including painting cracks to track their growth.

Oroville Dam: New spillway design said to pass muster

The Mercury News

Work continues June 5 on the damaged main Oroville Dam spillway. At bottom, crews are pumping concrete into smaller voids on the rock that has been exposed by the removal of the lower chute.




Think you know history of U.S. flag? Take this quiz | The Fresno Bee

Fresno Bee

Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the “Stars and Stripes” as the official American flag, is June 14.

The quiz below, from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, provides an opportunity for you to test your knowledge of the history and development of our flag, recognized by people around the world as a symbol of the United States.


Why isn’t there a dog park in Clovis? City finally taking a look

Fresno Bee

Fresno has six dog parks – two that segregate large and small dogs – dotted across the city and has years of experience for Clovis to learn from, said Levi Winebrenner, a Fresno parks supervisor.


Central CA Women’s Conference names Paralympic Snowboarder Amy Purdy as keynote speaker


Tickets are now on sale for the 30th annual Central California Women’s Conference scheduled for Tuesday, September 19th.  This year’s theme is “Embrace Your Journey” and the keynote speaker is former Dancing with the Stars contestant and Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy.


Are California craft breweries in a beer bubble?

The Mercury News

On a per capita basis – 21-year-old-plus adults – California has 2.2 breweries for every 100,000 adults in the state (23rd among the states) and its craft beer production is 3.7 gallons per adult (ranking 15th).