June 19, 2017





A Fresno Republican and a Democratic labor leader report that there’s a middle way

Fresno Bee (blog)

Labor leader Dave Regan, a Democrat, and former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican, say it’s time for Californians to unite and forge solutions for the state’s pressing problems.


Can a divided America survive?

The Fresno Bee
The two Americas watch different news. They read very different books, listen to different music and watch different television shows. Increasingly, they now live lives according to two widely different traditions.


Don’t shoot! Just talk. How to debate politics politely in your living room.

The Fresno Bee

Our president, congressional leaders and others are calling us to come together. But how?


Walters: State’s ‘balanced and progressive’ budget carries big risks for taxpayers 


Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders are patting themselves on the back for what Brown describes as a “balanced and progressive budget” for the 2017-18 fiscal year that begins July 1.


Political Road Map: It’s easy to slip all kinds of things into California’s budget, and it’s been that way for decades

Los Angeles Times

Like so many parts of California’s political tapestry, the threads of a state budget are stitched tightly together by the courts.


With budget done, California lawmakers turn to other issues

Washington Times

Assembly Republicans have signaled they’re willing to work with majority Democrats, but it’s not clear if the chasm between the parties can be bridged.


Commentary: No limit to parties’ money laundering

Porterville Recorder

Just in case anyone wonders what the real issue was in the very close race between Eric Bauman and Kimberly Ellis over who would become the next chairperson of the California Democratic Party, it was money


Thumbs up, thumbs down

Fresno Bee

Thumbs down to Congressmen Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield; Devin Nunes, R-Tulare; David Valadao, R-Hanford; Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, and Tom McClintock, R-Roseville, for their amnesia in voting for the so-called Financial CHOICE Act.


Nunes: No collusion between Trump and Russians


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said Saturday there “was never any collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians,” casting himself as a victim of media bias and calling on Washington to “stop chasing Russian ghosts around the closet.”


Opponents of Devin Nunes are following his every move

Fresno Bee

There are five loosely aligned group in Fresno and Visalia opposing Nunes, said Nancy Gilmore of Clovis, who has been sending out news releases for the groups.


Constituents Seeking “Missing” Rep. Devin Nunes Find Him … in Orange County

OC Weekly

It’s been a familiar question raised by indivisible members in the Orange County congressional districts of Reps. Ed Royce, Mimi Walters and Dana Rohrabacher: “Where is my Member of Congress?


New Dem super PAC aims to win California House seats

The Hill

Former congresswoman Ellen Tauscher is launching a California-specific super PAC aimed at winning seven competitive California congressional districts in the midterm election next year.


Federal Policy Changes Would Threaten Older Californians, With Harm Magnified as Population Ages

California Budget & Policy Center

People of traditional retirement age are the fastest-growing age group in California. The number of state residents age 65 or older is projected to rise by two-thirds in the coming years, from nearly 5.5 million in 2016 to almost 9.1 million in 2030.


California Secretary of State Calls on NSA to Share Critical Information About Russian Threats to US Election Systems

Sierra Sun Times

Padilla, a graduate of MIT, also serves as co-chair of the Elections Committee for the National Association of Secretaries of State and as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Election Infrastructure Cybersecurity Working Group.


James C. MacMillan: Bee’s reporting contributed to hysteria around Coulter’s Modesto visit

Modesto Bee

Re “$68,461 Coulter ‘bill’ given to GOP leader” (Page 3A, June 14): While I agree that The Bee had a duty to report on Ann Coulter’s recent speaking event in Modesto, I found the coverage to be very biased.


Stockton named All-America City for fourth time

Stockton Record

Stockton was one of 15 cities from around the United States, and the only city in California, to win the recognition this year from the National Civic League. It has been honored four times as an All-America City.




Finally, good news about Firebaugh’s long-stalled college plans

Fresno Bee

After failing to make the cut in initial discussions about California community college projects, the building in Firebaugh was added to the list last week and survived Thursday night’s budget battle in the Legislature.


Family time matters to this generation of fathers. Let’s update family policy.

Sacramento Bee

From California to Congress, families are waiting for programs that reflect the real world, in which more than 70 percent of mothers have jobs, the number of stay-at-home dads has doubled and 82 percent of Americans under 30 want paid paternity leave.


Goodwill has a stellar reputation. It’s falling short in the death of Abraham Garza.

Sacramento Bee

Goodwill Industries is fighting fines imposed over a worker’s death. That’s its right. But why is it sullying the reputation of a worker who witnessed the death?

Dam safety records should be public

San Francisco Chronicle

Since the tallest dam in the United States threatened California with catastrophe last winter, state officials have responded with policies to stanch the flow not just of water but of information


It’s one thing to back labor. But Treasurer Chiang’s CalPERS proposal goes too far.

Sacramento Bee

No state government is more union-friendly than California, and that extends to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest pension fund.




Fruit fly eradicated from LA County

Porterville Recorder

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Food and Agriculture(CDFA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner’s office have eradicated a Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) infestation


Chinese beef buyers race to get hands on American steak


China and the United States last week settled the conditions for American beef exports after the two sides agreed in May to resume the trade.


California Counties Submit Comments Regarding Proposed Cannabis Regulations

Sierra Sun Times

Last week, RCRC, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), and the Urban Counties of California (UCC) submitted comments on the proposed cannabis regulations from the State licensing agencies.




Criminal justice leaders seek to end lifetime registry for low-risk sex offenders in California

LA Times

Now, with more than 105,000 people on California’s registry, some criminal justice leaders, including Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, are looking to overhaul the system.


Trump restored gun access for some accused criminals. California wants to take it away

Sacramento Bee

The move infuriated gun rights groups and legislative Republicans, who lambasted their colleagues Thursday during floor debate over Assembly Bill 103, a public safety budget measure that contains the firearm regulation.


Expanded California Assault Weapon Ban Leaves Thousands Of Gun Owners In Limbo

CBS San Francisco Bay Area

“The California legislature specifically passed a law to say that California’s Department of Justice does not have to go through the rigmarole of public comment and red tape every time they want to develop regulations about registering assault weapons.


Are Americans 25x more likely to be shot & killed than others in developed countries?

PolitiFact California

Gun control is a top priority for California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

So, it’s no surprise Newsom, a Democrat and 2018 candidate for governor, promoted the cause on National Gun Violence Awareness Day.  He claimed in a statement on Twitter on June 2, 2017:  “Americans are 25x more likely to be shot & killed than others in developed countries.


Guns kill nearly 1,300 US children each year


From 2012 to 2014, on average, 1,297 children died annually from a gun-related injury in the US, according to the study, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.



In Small Farming Town, Making a Case for Restorative Justice | The California Report


Accountability is a key part of restorative justice, a process where the offender apologizes to the victim through mediation. Yazmin not only had to admit she took the backpack, but she also had to repeat out loud the other girl’s version of the story. That’s a key part of the process, to make sure the victim is heard.




Is California’s investment in needy students paying off? Few signs …


California’s new system for funding public education has pumped tens of billions of extra dollars into struggling schools.


Bill to lengthen probation for teachers clears first hurdle

LA Daily News

Legislation to add a year to the two-year probationary period for California teachers passed the Assembly Education Committee.

Teacher shortage restricts training of new instructors 

Cabinet Report

With districts forced to rely on higher numbers of non-fully credentialed teachers to staff classrooms, educator preparation programs are finding fewer placements for student teachers who require the mentorship of fully credentialed instructors.


California State University could ax remedial placement test

89.3 KPCC

For decades, California high school seniors have had to take special English and math exams to help determine if they need to enroll in remedial education courses once they begin their studies at a California State University (CSU) campus.


Stanford grads get advice from justice Cuéllar: Bridge divides

The Mercury News

In his commencement address, California Supreme Court justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar encouraged students to bridge divides “between people who disagree or even want to fight, between ideas difficult to reconcile, or simply between ourselves and …




LOIS HENRY: Oil and gas permit lawsuit could have big impact

The Bakersfield Californian

The trial over Kern County’s 2-year-old oil and gas permitting ordinance began last week without much fanfare. But the stakes are huge for all sides.


The Energy 202: California scores its first big environmental victory of the Trump era

Washington Post

When that federal air pollution law was drafted, smog so choked Los Angeles that California asked Congress and its one-time senator, then President Richard Nixon, to carve out room for the state to set even more stringent air-pollution rules.


California grid operator agrees to study clean alternatives to Oxnard gas plant

Los Angeles Times

In a five-page filing with state regulators, the California Independent System Operator asked for a deadline of Aug. 16 to complete the project.




Hospital officials say state investigation latest in ‘frivolous’ complaints

Fresno Bee

Tulare Regional Medical Center reacted Friday to a state investigation that found the hospital had inadequate staffing of its operating room at night that contributed to the deaths of two surgery patients last year.


Denham’s vote on healthcare bill betrayed thousands of his constituents

Modesto Bee

After the vote, Rep. Denham’s explanation focused on the need to for the state of California to invest new tobacco tax dollars in Medi-Cal.


Obamacare in 2018: Many will pay the price of Washington’s uncertainty

CNN Money

Newsflash: Obamacare will be around in 2018. But its health will vary widely by state — and even by county.


SJ receives $6M in mental health, substance abuse funding

Stockton Record

San Joaquin County was awarded a $6 million grant from the California Board of State and Community Corrections that will go toward increasing the availability of mental health and substance abuse services, including opening a treatment center.


Why California’s Climate Change Fight Is Also About Public Health

Time Inc.

Thanks to its sprawling cities, heavy reliance on cars and an enormous agriculture industry, California has long been among the most polluted states in the nation. Today, eight out of ten Californians live in a county with toxic air that contributes to a range of health problems such as asthma, heart disease and even lung cancer.


The rich stopped smoking. The poor haven’t

The Sacramento Bee

After decades of lawsuits, public campaigns and painful struggles, Americans have finally done what once seemed impossible: Most of the country has quit smoking, saving millions of lives and leading to massive reductions in cancer.  That is, unless those Americans are poor, uneducated or live in a rural area.

Assisted death battle drags on in California

Sacramento Bee

More than a year after California became the fifth state to allow assisted death, the controversial policy is still embroiled in court. Just last week, supporters celebrated the first anniversary of the law, which authorizes physicians to prescribe lethal medication to patients with less than six months left to live. The advocacy group Compassion & Choices announced that it has already helped at least 500 Californians obtain a prescription, though we won’t know until July exactly how many people statewide took advantage of the law in its first year.  But opponents, who have raised concerns about the devaluing of life and potential abuses against vulnerable Californians, are still seeking a way to overturn the policy. Though they previously failed to put a referendum on the ballot, a lawsuit filed last June shortly before the assisted death law took effect, alleging that it violates the civil rights of terminally ill patients, is ongoing in Riverside County.


California to raise income limits to allow more children to qualify for subsidized child care


The budget approved Thursday by the state Legislature responds to a long-sought demand from child care advocates that California raise the income eligibility limit so more low-income families qualify for subsidized child care.


A safe space to shoot up: Worth a try in the US?


A bill pending in the California state legislature, AB 186, would authorize San Francisco county and seven others – Alameda, Fresno, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Mendocino, San Francisco, San Joaquin and Santa Cruz – to test these so-called “safe injection …




California lawmakers attempt to increase oversight and restrictions on the detention of immigrants

Los Angeles Times

California took another major step this week to protect immigrants, preventing detention centers from adding more beds and pledging to spend $1 million to make sure people have proper access to food, medical care and lawyers.


California budget deal includes deportation defense funds for undocumented immigrants

The Mercury News

Katy Murphy is based in Sacramento and covers state government for The Mercury News and East Bay Times, a beat she took on in January 2017.


Mass deportations to solve ‘immigrant problem’? What happened last time?

Sacramento Bee

There were discussions in the California and Texas legislatures about the “Mexican problem. … The Mexican government offered farm land to repatriates and their families, hoping they’d provide skilled labor to help Mexico dig out of its own depression.


California Today: Talking to California’s Top Judge

New York Times

Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the chief justice of California, made headlines this year after she criticized immigration agents for “stalking” courthouses and using them as “bait” to catch unauthorized immigrants.


Immigrants to America are better educated than ever before

The Economist

Far from being low-skilled, half of all legal migrants have college degrees




Valley unemployment rates continue year-over-year declines

The Fresno Bee
Unemployment rates across the Valley fell between April and May, and were also lower than they were a year earlier.


Unemployment rates in Fresno, San Joaquin Valley decline in May 2017

The Fresno Bee
Unemployment rates across the Valley fell between April and May, and were also lower than they were a year earlier. In Fresno County, the unemployment figures from the state Employment Development Department show that May was the 68th consecutive month of year-over-year improvement in the unemployment rate.


As California nears full employment, some economists are downbeat

Sacramento Bee

California’s unemployment rate fell to a record-tying low of 4.7 percent in May, but experts still maintained that the state’s economy is slowing down.


Legislative Halftime: NFIB Announces Updated Small Business Priorities

Fox and Hounds Daily

Following the annual legislative house of origin deadline, NFIB California reflected on our victories and challenges ahead with our “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” bill list.


Let’s Reinvent Apprenticeship in America

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
While workforce development initiatives are pretty normal for any new administration, this plan is different.


Some basics on President Trump and apprenticeships

AEI | Education Blog

The vast majority of Americans don’t get jobs via apprenticeships, so the public, and even many employers, don’t know much about them.


How summer festivals boost town economies and foster community pride


Tourists and partiers are pouring into Las Vegas this weekend for the annual music festival known as EDC. Last year, EDC drew an estimated 400,000 people in attendance and generated millions for Las Vegas’ economy. But big cities like Vegas aren’t the only places cashing in on summer festivals. From big events like EDC to small ones like the Washboard Music Festival in Logan, Ohio, or the Northwest Garlic Festival in Ocean Park, Washington, festivals are opportunities to bring communities together and drum up revenue for local businesses.




Plans for a low income senior citizens housing project got a green light at Fresno City Hall

The Fresno City Council cleared the way approving re-zoning plans for the project that will turn a vacant field into the site of a 40 unit senior citizens housing complex. It was proposed by Self Help Enterprises.


Think rent is high in California? Here’s why it probably will get higher

Sacramento Bee

“I’d love to get something done before the end of the year,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in an interview.“  It may be tricky.




Kern County has stitched together tight budget, will it hold?

The Bakersfield Californian

It feels like Kern County’s preliminary budget for next year is stitched together with a jumble of mismatched thread and yarn. But it’s together, said Assistant County Administrative Officer Nancy Lawson.


Grand jury: Madera County’s credit cards inadequately monitored, open to misuse

Sierra Star

Although partially impeded in its investigation, the Madera County Grand Jury has reported the use of Visa credit cards by some department heads is inadequately monitored, and the county credit cards program (CAL-Card) is susceptible to misuse.


This California budget gimmick stinks

Los Angeles Times

The state budget and how it has morphed into a tool for easily passing laws unrelated to the budget. The unintended consequences of reform.


The Budget’s Done. What Now?

Fox and Hounds Daily

The budget passed—no surprise—so what will the legislature focus on during the remaining session this year? First, a few factors to consider about 2018 that may frame what happens in the remainder of the 2017 legislative session.


Nearly $50 million in the California state budget will go to expanded …

Los Angeles Times

California state lawmakers approved $45 million in a state budget plan to expand legal services for immigrants, a response to the Trump…


California budget could expand tax credit for working poor

89.3 KPCC

A study published by the California Budget Policy Center in April found that “fewer than 1 in 5 visitors to county human services offices who were likely eligible for this new tax credit had heard of it.”


How can California possibly make a new tax department in two weeks?

Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers debated for decades about whether they wanted to kill a long-troubled agency called the Board of Equalization that collects $60 billion a year in taxes and government fees.

California’s boldest pension reform: five years in 


If you don’t give city employees a pension, what happens? San Diegans voted five years ago this month to switch all new city hires, except police, from pensions to 401(k)-style individual investment plans, becoming one of the first big cities to take the plunge.


Unions try to make it harder for local governments to make pension payments


As unfunded pension liabilities mount, California’s cities and counties are bracing for the additional contributions they’ll have to make to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System in coming years.


CalPERS gets a lift in Amazon’s deal to buy Whole Foods

Sacramento Business Journal  ‎

CalPERS also holds 1,565,467 shares of Amazon, which is 0.33 percent of the Seattle-based technology company’s outstanding shares.




What’s happening to California gasoline prices?

Central Valley Business Times

California’s lowest price spotted on June 16 is $2.459, found at an independent in Sacramento, according to the gasoline price comparison website GasBuddy.com. That is eight cents less than the lowest price spotted on week ago.


Yosemite rockslide makes drive a slog for tourists, workers

Sierra Star

A rockslide at Yosemite National Park has created a commuting headache for hundreds of park employees and thousands of tourists who are forced to drive around the roadblock, pushing a typically short drive past gushing waterfalls and towering granite cliffs into a hours long slog.


Highway 140 into Yosemite National Park remains closed indefinitely after 4,000-ton rockslide

Sierra Star

The Arch Rock Entrance into Yosemite National Park from Highway 140, or El Portal Road, remained closed Tuesday due to a 4,000-ton rockslide, with no estimated time for reopening, spokesman Scott Gediman said in a release.


Will electric buses juice California’s economy? Start-up Proterra …

Los Angeles Times

Tesla’s Elon Musk transformed electric cars into objects of desire. Can Proterra do the same for the electric city bus?




State legislators listen to Valley residents affected by contaminated water


State legislators listen to Valley residents affected by contaminated water. State Senator Ed Hernandez and Assemblyman Devon Mathis listened with concern and committed to working together.


City of Fresno working on plan to give residents San Joaquin River access


The San Joaquin River Conservancy is trying to develop 400 acres along the river as part of the expansion of the trail system from Woodward Park. It’s called the River West Trail Project.The problem seems to be how to let people access the parkway without upsetting the neighbors.




Fitzgerald: Glowing memories of Vegas Vickie

Stockton Record

She’s the brightest gal ever born in Stockton: Vegas Vickie, the landmark neon cowgirl of Las Vegas. The fabulous sign was taken down last week.


Scorching temperatures on the way to Merced. Here’s what you need to know

Merced Sun-Star

Much of the central San Joaquin Valley faces possible record-breaking numbers, Harty said, adding Merced County’s temperatures are typically a few degrees cooler than places like Fresno and Bakersfield.


US Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Recovery Plan for Threatened Central California Tiger Salamander

Sierra Sun Times

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has released a recovery plan for the Central California distinct population segment of the California tiger salamander.


Manchester Mall’s iconic carousel is being dismantled, moved

The Fresno Bee

Fresno’s Manchester Center is in the midst of a full-scale renovation…

The future of our public lands is in our hands

Sierra Star

On June 8, 1906, the Antiquities Act was passed by Congress and signed into law. This law gave U.S. presidents the authority to take direct action to protect public land for the benefit of future generations