June 22, 2017





Mayor Brand Touts Economy in First “State of the City” Address


Fresno Mayor Lee Brand delivered his 2017 “State of the City” address on Wednesday in downtown Fresno.  He spoke about public safety, new community services, and an improving economy.  Mayor Brand announced a “10 Years to Prosperity” plan that he says will ultimately bring 10,000 new jobs to Fresno by the year 2027.


Brand Sees Fresno As The West Coast’s E-Commerce Hub

Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand focused on job creation as he delivered his first state of the city speech today at the Fresno Convention Center.


Bitter or sweet, trailer bills let California lawmakers slip new policies into budget

CALmatters: Dan Walters

“Trailer bills,” said Sen. Richard Roth—referring to pieces of legislation tied to the budget but sometimes bearing little connection to it—“are a box of chocolates. And you never know what you’re going to get.”


Run as a Republican, Then Leave the State

Fox and Hounds Daily

I’m not a big fan of demanding certain pledges of political candidates, like the no-tax pledges that are so common. But I’d like to suggest that the California Republican Party push major statewide candidates to take a pledge – that they won’t quickly leave the state after they lose.


Coastal panel spawned by 1930s oil scandal is now a player in California governor’s race

Los Angeles Times

Now that both Chiang and Newsom are running for governor, they are drawing rare attention to the little-known but powerful State Lands Commission.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein turns 84. Is she getting ready to run?

Sacramento Bee

As the oldest serving senator in Congress notches another birthday, questions continue to swirl about her political future. Feinstein has not yet publicly announced if she will seek another six-year term next year. She was first elected in 1992.  At least among expected California voters, age may be a factor in a re-election bid. In a poll released in April, 52 percent of voters said she should stay out of the race. A mention of her age increased the naysayers to 62 percent. The poll was conducted months after Feinstein’s office disclosed that she had a pacemaker installed “out of an abundance of caution.” She’s also become a target of the more liberal branch of her own Democratic party.


CA120: The redistricting commission, lines and political pressure

Capitol Weekly
Out of the 153 legislative and congressional incumbents holding office in 2011, 64 were harmed by the new maps by either being drawn out of their seats, having their electoral base moved to another district, or having another incumbent drawn into their seat.

(See similar article in Capitol Weekly)


Want to keep hackers out of ballot box? Use paper ballots and have …

Modesto Bee

Paper ballots and careful post-election audits are the key to making sure no one “hacks” our elections.


CalPERS can send a message to Trump

Fresno Bee

The Fresno Bee’s editorial on my request of the California Public Employee’s Retirement System questions a proposal that simply doesn’t exist (“Taxpayers can’t afford John Chiang’s CalPERS proposal.”).  I am asking CalPERS on Wednesday to ask their contractors to remain neutral so that workers themselves can determine whether they want to form a union. Instead, the editorial likened the proposal to “a demand of labor fidelity” that would “require that health care insurance companies that do business with CalPERS not deal with hospitals that are nonunion shops.”

How far left can California’s legislative Democrats go before Republicans benefit at the ballot box?

Los Angeles Times

“We’re focused on arresting dangerous criminals, prosecuting them and imprisoning them – not engaging in criminal dumping and letting them avoid prosecution, only to come back to our neighborhoods and prey on our residents.”


Why California Republicans love Karen Handel


With four local GOP-held congressional districts considered in play in 2018, it’s arguably the epicenter of the Democratic Party’s effort to win a House majority. But Republicans are glad to point out how similar the local political landscape looks to Georgia’s affluent, suburban 6th District.


Why This Atheist Former Punk Rocker Backs Donald Trump

USC | The California Report | KQED News

This story is part of “At Risk in the Trump Era,” a four-month investigation by USC Annenberg advanced radio students, exploring how vulnerable communities across Southern California react to the first months of Donald Trump’s presidency. The series profiles individuals burdened by new worries — looking for work, signing up for school, or even deciding whether to publicly express their sexual orientation or religious affiliation.  Adam Vondersaar welcomes Trump’s presidency and sees it as a way to highlight his beliefs in libertarianism and what he calls “maximum chaos.”


Dignity through humility

AEI | Society and Culture Blog » AEIdeas
Treating people with dignity means believing others are good & decent & smart & able—even when you disagree with them.



Republicans stole our right to internet privacy. Let’s take it back.

Fresno Bee

AT&T, Comcast and other internet service providers can continue to track every search you make and website you visit and sell that information to the highest bidder, under legislation recently signed by President Donald Trump. That legislation, which reversed an Obama regulation, ought to alarm any American who ventures online, no matter their political persuasion.


Politicians do what they can to hold power. That doesn’t make it right.

Sacramento Bee

From Sacramento to D.C., politicians do what it takes to maintain their control. So we offer this pox on both parties.



Cultivating Change Foundation holds summit to bridge agriculture and the LGBTQ community


California is home to more than 400 commodities, that is according to the California Department of Food & Agriculture. The AG industry provides jobs to hundreds of thousands of people, from all backgrounds and sexual orientations. This week …


California puts hold on hunting for dwindling sage grouse

Los Angeles Times

California wildlife officials are banning hunting of sage grouse for a season because of dwindling populations of the spikey-feathered native bird.


Lawsuit seeks reassessment of predator control program

Washington Post

Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit demanding federal wildlife officials reassess their practice of killing coyotes, bobcats, fox and other animals in Northern California. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife damage management program is aimed at protecting livestock and property. But the federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Eureka, California says an analysis of its environmental impact is more than 20 years old.


Fruit and veg farmers facing migrant labor shortages


UK summer fruit and salad growers are having difficulty recruiting pickers, with more than half saying they don’t know if they will have enough migrant workers to harvest their crops.




Appeals court strikes down California’s 30-day impound law

Merced Sun-Star

Law enforcement must provide a valid reason to hold people’s vehicles and cannot automatically impound them for a set period, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.


Rape kit testing lags, so lawmakers want California taxpayers to donate

Sacramento Bee

Hundreds of thousands of rape kits are sitting untested at crime labs and law enforcements agencies across the country. That figure – at least 175,000 have been documented by advocates, while the federal Department of Justice put its estimate at 400,000 several years ago – is often quick to spark political outrage.


Why Legal Pot Could Dramatically Cut State’s Police Vehicle Searches


Colorado and Washington saw vehicle searches by police officers fall dramatically after legalizing marijuana – a trend that could have implications in California, where voters legalized recreational pot last November.


California Democrats hate the gun, not the gunman

Orange County Register

Now that Democrats have supermajorities in the California state Legislature, they’ve rolled into Sacramento with a zest for lowering the state’s prison population and have interpreted St. Augustine’s words of wisdom to mean, “Hate the gun, not the gunman.”


Move California traffic tickets into civil courts

Orange County Register

When your car’s tail light fades from red to black, and a cop pulls you over and writes you a ticket, it’s certainly something that, for safety’s sake, you ought to get fixed — but is it really a criminal offense?


Center for Medical Progress: Criminal Charges in California Have Been Dismisses

National Review

San Francisco Superior Court tossed out 14 of the 15 criminal charges that had been brought by the state of California against two journalists from the Center for Medical Progress after they released a series of undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s possible involvement in illegal fetal-tissue trafficking.




Is California’s Investment in Needy Students Paying Off? Few Signs Indicate Achievement Gap Is Closing


California’s new system for funding public education has pumped tens of billions of extra dollars into struggling schools, but there’s little evidence yet that the investment is helping the most disadvantaged students.


Reed Hastings backs school board candidates, but opposes elected school boards


Despite contributing millions to pro-charter forces backing school board candidates in Los Angeles and elsewhere, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says he doesn’t believe in elected school boards




California invested heavily in solar power. Now there’s so much that other states are sometimes paid to take it

Los Angeles Times

Perhaps the most glaring example: The California Legislature has mandated that one-half of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030; today it’s about one-fourth.

Plan To Regionalize Western Power Grid Stalls Post-Trump 

Capital Public Radio

California energy regulators say the state could benefit from sharing more electricity with its neighbors during heat waves such as this week’s, but a proposal to do so has stalled after the election of President Trump.


Precedent-setting cap on oil refinery emissions delayed

East Bay Times

Bay Area air regulators on Wednesday postponed adopting the nation’s first limits on greenhouses gases from oil refineries because of complaints that the public wasn’t given enough time to review 11th-hour changes.


13 red states threaten to sue over a California initiative to fight climate change

Los Angeles Times

You can say one thing for California’s initiatives aimed at stemming fossile-fuel-driven climate change: They have the ability to drive conservative politicians from, gas and coal states batty.


Lawsuit seeks reassessment of predator control program

Washington Post

Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit demanding federal wildlife officials reassess their practice of killing coyotes, bobcats, fox and other animals in Northern California.


The fantasy of quick and easy renewable energy

Brookings Institution

The article is a rebuttal to an attention-grabbing paper, written by Mark Jacobson of Stanford University and several co-authors, which claims that all U.S. energy end uses (including electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) can be supplied using only wind, solar, and water power by 2050-2055 at lower cost than using fossil fuels.


Is 100% renewable energy realistic? Here’s what we know.


The world has agreed to a set of shared targets on climate change. Those targets require deep (80 to 100 percent) decarbonization, relatively quickly.  What’s the best way to get fully decarbonized? In my previous post, I summarized a raging debate on that subject. Let’s quickly review.


Los Angeles County Creates a Roadmap to a Sustainable Waste Management Future

California State Association of Counties

Los Angeles County developed the Roadmap because it was becoming crystal clear that the practice of dumping waste in landfills is not sustainable – especially in a County the size of 10 million people. A regional approach was needed.

Future Energy: China leads world in solar power production

BBC News

Ten years ago, Geof Moser had just graduated with a master’s degree in solar energy from Arizona State University – but he didn’t feel much opportunity lay at his feet in his home country.  So he headed for China.




Single-payer healthcare for California is, in fact, very doable

Los Angeles Times

The California Senate recently voted to pass a bill that would establish a single-payer healthcare system for the entire state. The proposal, called the Healthy California Act, will now be taken up by the state Assembly.

(Other articles: Here Sacramento Bee and Here: Sacramento Bee)


Emergency room visits by Medi-Cal patients soaring, state data shows

The Mercury News

Three years into Obamacare, new figures show, ER visits by the state’s Medi-Cal patients rose 44 percent from early 2014 to late 2016.


Tens of thousands died due to an opioid addiction last year. With an Obamacare repeal, some fear the number will rise

LA Times

Underscoring the urgency of the crisis, a report from the federal government released Tuesday showed that opioid-related visits to hospital emergency departments nearly doubled between 2005 and 2014.


Kids need more exercise, less homework

Sacramento Bee

When’s the best time to exercise to help slow or stave off osteoporosis, the bone-thinning that occurs in many older people?  When we’re kids.


Here’s What You Need to Save for Health Care in Retirement


Young or old, it’s crucial to plan for steep medical expenses ahead. What you need to know.


The CEO of Children’s National Health System on Leadership, Innovation, and Delivering Specialized Care

Harvard Business Review

Dr. Kurt Newman became a pediatric surgeon because he was attracted to the innovative culture and the extraordinary variety of problems doctors encounter at children’s hospitals, as well as the dramatic recoveries children can make. He went on to become the president and CEO of Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC and recently published a memoir, Healing Children: A Surgeon’s Stories from the Frontiers of Pediatric Medicine. I spoke to him about the advantages and challenges of specialized children’s hospitals.




He’s out to make sanctuary cities pay – and he only needs 62 signatures to get started

Sacramento Bee

Joseph Turner has figured out a way to take out the two things he seems to hate above all else – sanctuary cities and taxes – in one fell swoop, no looking back.  And though he’s selling his idea as a tax relief effort for the low-income residents of the various cities he’s getting ready to target, he is happy to tell you that it’s really all about punishing them for protecting their undocumented immigrants.




Brand Sees Fresno As The West Coast’s E-Commerce Hub

Valley Public Radio

The plan is to create 10,000 new jobs in the city in the next 10 years with similar operations, and another 10,000 spillover jobs in other sectors.  To do that Brand says he wants to focus city economic development efforts on ensuring Fresno has 1,000 acres of “shovel ready” industrial land to accommodate future e-commerce centers.

State of California business records go digital in effort to simplify …

Los Angeles Times

California’s website for business records and requests just got a lot simpler. As of Wednesday, businesses no longer have to submit physical LLC Statements of …


No Heat Safety Rules Yet For Indoor Workplaces


California requires employers in several outdoor industries to take extra precautions on hot days to protect their workers, but the state has yet to establish heat safety rules for indoor workplaces.


California Is Massively Expanding One of the Most Effective Tools to Make Work Pay Better

The Nation

One of the biggest failures of our modern economy is that tens of millions of people work full-time—or more than full-time—yet live with constant financial worries… That’s why…California is so encouraging with a budget that will substantially expand one of the state’s most effective tools to make work pay better: the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC.




Court rejects Malibu measure aimed at limiting development

Bakersfield Californian

Under the terms of Measure R, the City Council had to prepare a specific plan for every proposed commercial or mixed-use development in excess of 20,000 square feet and submit it to voters.


Amid California’s housing crisis, last-minute bill would let Marin County limit home building

Los Angeles Times

One of California’s wealthiest counties may continue to get a pass under the state’s affordable housing laws. Lawmakers are considering a measure that would allow parts of Marin County to limit growth more tightly than other regions of California.


Issa, other Republicans seek change to HUD homeless policy 

San Diego Union-Tribune

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and 22 other Republican Congressmen are seeking a change to a federal policy they say penalizes homeless programs that refuse to stop drug-testing their clients.




CalPERS class-action lawsuit moves forward

The Sacramento Bee

The lawsuit challenges a sharp increase in fees that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System levied on people who bought insurance for long-term health care through the pension fund. It argues that the rate hike was different in scale and purpose than any previous fee increase on those policy holders.

California State Budget Process Not Over Yet 

Capital Public Radio

So you thought California lawmakers and Governor Jerry Brown wrapped up their work on the state budget last week? Think again. Another dozen or so pieces of the budget package could come up for votes Thursday in the Senate and Assembly.


Bitter or sweet, trailer bills let California lawmakers slip new policies into budget 


California senators were deep in heated debate about a small but politically explosive attachment to the state budget last week when a Riverside Democrat could be heard to suddenly channel Forrest Gump. “Trailer bills,” said Sen. Richard Roth—referring to pieces of legislation tied to the budget but sometimes bearing little connection to it—“are a box of chocolates. And you never know what you’re going to get.”


Southern California firefighters pull in a quarter-million dollars in overtime, and then some

Orange County Register

Except for a Vallejo firefighter who got a $2 million payout for wrongful termination, the list of California’s highest-earning public employees for 2016 is dominated by medical personnel – surgeons, physicians, psychiatrists, hospital directors – and a few investment officers from CalPERS, the world’s largest public employee retirement system.


Making Cities Smarter


Western City looks at technology this month with articles that examine data loss prevention and cybersecurity, one city’s transition to a paperless office in its procurement division, how teens are helping seniors use computers and mobile devices — and more.


Kansas’ tax cuts are a spectacular failure. Meanwhile, in California …

Los Angeles Times  ‎

The Republican-held Legislature had to override a veto by the governor to pass the emergency tax increase, now crucial to prevent deep budget cuts for schools and other essential public services.




California’s Global Warming High-Speed Train

Fox and Hounds Daily

The California High-Speed Rail Authority promises to “achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in construction” and is committed to operate the system on “100% renewable energy” by contracting for “400 to 600 megawatts of renewable power”.




Melting snowpack doubling some valley river flows


The San Joaquin River flowing Wednesday afternoon, at what the California Department of Water Resources calls its max flow rate: 8,000 cubic feet per second.


To help the Delta, we need to fix the Sierra

Sacramento Bee

California is hell-bent on draining the Sierra by taking water from one region to meet the environmental needs of another. Though essential to the survival of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, the Sierra Nevada watershed is rarely recognized for its natural resources and significance.


‘Nothing secret about the new dam safety legislation,’ state says

Sacramento Bee

There was nothing secret about the new dam safety legislation. Far from slipping the bill into the public domain as suggested, the language was posted on March 8, shared with Republican and Democratic staff in the Senate and the Assembly on March 10, and raised in budget subcommittee hearings on March 16 and 22.


Study: Drought, price slide took toll on NE California ag economy

Capital Press

The crushing drought and a price slide for several key commodities paused a nearly decade-long boom for agriculture in northeastern California, a university study shows. Agricultural production in a 13-county region from Sacramento to the Oregon border …




Adviser quits in vote tampering scandal at California school


Students at a Southern California high school got a lesson in political corruption after it was revealed that a faculty adviser rigged the election for class president and two other races.