June 26, 2017




Two powerhouse GOP women — Shannon Grove and Connie Conway — aim to snag state Senate seat

The Bakersfield Californian

The outspoken Christian and conservative, a U.S. Army veteran and Bakersfield staffing company owner, triggered controversy in 2015 when she appeared to imply that the Californiadrought was the result of the state’s support of abortion. Grove denied that.


Fresno’s marijuana ban nothing more than political grandstanding

The Fresno Bee

Last November, California voters overwhelmingly (57.1 percent) to legalize marijuana use for adults 21 and over and grow up to six plants in private residences. The winning margin in Fresno may have been smaller (51.4 percent), but Proposition 64 passed nonetheless.


Republican Plans to End Medicaid as We Know It Would Threaten Medi-Cal Coverage and Benefits for Millions of Californians

California Budget & Policy Center

Medi-Cal, our state’s Medicaid program, is the cornerstone of California’s health care system. Funded with both state and federal dollars, Medi-Cal provides health care services to more than 13 million low-income Californians who live in all 58 counties. Of the 10 counties with the highest shares of residents enrolled in Medi-Cal, six are in the San Joaquin Valley: Tulare (54.8%), Merced (50.9%), Fresno (49.9%), Kern (45.9%), Stanislaus (45.1%), and Madera (45.1%).


Medicaid Scare Tactics Are Irresponsible

Hoover Institution – Economics21

If we want to make headway on improving public policy discourse, a good place to start might be with how we’re debating Medicaid policy, in particular how it might be affected by pending legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including legislation presented on Thursday by Senate Republicans.


(For more articles proposed changes to the ACA, please see “Health” section)


How to have a calm conversation with an angry person

The Fresno Bee

Political polarization and an increase in tribalism has led to anger and frustration. Some people have reacted to their strong emotions with violence. Whether it is a shooting in Fresno or Washington, D.C., we are all anxious about the rising tide of incivility and intolerance.


10 things to know about Sikhs

The Fresno Bee

How sad it is that Sikhs, who have been in the United States since the 19th century, still have to tell their story. And how smart it is for Sikh leaders to mount this extensive effort to get the word out about their values and positive contributions to communities across our land.


Can the arts save California’s civic life?

Sacramento Bee

On every public policy challenge other than climate change regulations, the state seems stuck. We can’t transform our education system, our health care, our transportation or our housing markets to meet our expanding needs. Silicon Valley, once billed as a savior, is more interested in grabbing our data than making society better. The majority of Californians don’t bother to vote, much less engage in civic life.


This former Jeff Denham challenger won’t run again, but he’s launching a committee to elect Democrats

Los Angeles Times

Two-time congressional challenger Michael Eggman says he won’t try for a third campaign against Republican Rep. Jeff Denham (Turlock), but he’s hoping to help Democrats running against the him.


LA’s new Democratic congressman has been in the majority his whole career. Now he’s going to Washington

Los Angeles Times

In his six years in the state Assembly, Jimmy Gomez wrote legislation that expanded California’s landmark family leave law, served as Democratic whip and chaired the powerful appropriations committee.


Donald Trump & GOP – Prevailing in House Races

National Review
What if, rather than being punished for Trump’s unpopularity, local candidates are rewarded for their moderation?


Borenstein: Tauscher has a plan to unseat seven congressional Republicans

East Bay Times

Meanwhile, Tauscher has launched the “California 7 Project” to unseat seven Republican House members who won last year in ticket-splitting congressional districts that also backed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.



Thumbs up, thumbs down: Carr is NFL king; Fresno‘Jeopardy’ champ; smack super lice

Fresno Bee

Derek Carr gets $125m from Raiders, Fresno’s Peter Guekguezian gets $46,800 on “Jeopardy!” and The Bee’s Barbara Anderson tells how to smack down super lice.


Ouch! If it becomes law, Senate’s healthcare overhaul is going to hurt

Modesto Bee

The bill unveiled by Senate GOP leaders would eventually make deeper cuts to the Medicaid program for the poor. Millions of Americans will lose their health insurance so that the richest Americans can get a huge tax cut they don’t need.


Universal health care for California? In Fantasyland, maybe.

The Sacramento Bee

Sen. Ricardo Lara deserves credit for delving into the complex reality of health care.  But for now, his prescription, a California-only universal health care system, looks less like a salve for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act than a political rallying cry – and a fiscal fantasy.


Marin bill SB106 shows how housing crisis was created

San Francisco Chronicle

For anyone who has contemplated California’s devastating housing shortage and wondered how the state got in this mess, here’s one short answer: Senate Bill 106.

California must embrace sentencing reform

San Francisco Chronicle

We’ve also learned, from policy experts and criminal justice reformers, that sentencing enhancements may sound good, and they make the public feel safer, but they don’t actually work.




USDA recall warns of bones in frozen chicken bites, including some intended for toddlers

Sacramento Bee

More than 54,000 pounds of frozen chicken bite products made by California-based Overhill Farms, Inc., are being recalled after bones were found inside of them.


2 LSU researchers get nearly $1M to study honeybee stress

Sacramento Bee

Two Louisiana State University researchers are getting nearly $1 million for a two-year study of how mite treatment and stress affect honeybee health. Kristen Healy and Daniel Swale are working with U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers in Baton Rouge and the nation’s largest beekeeper, the LSU AgCenter said in a news release Thursday.


California Heat Wave Hits Dairy Cows Hard

CBS Sacramento

Dairy is California’s largest agricultural industry, generating more than $6 billion a year in revenue. Just losing a small percentage of annual output could end up costing millions.


California farmers unite to uphold Paris Agreement goals

San Francisco Chronicle

Last week, the Community Alliance With Family Farmers (CAFF) and the Farmers Guild, its network of local farming groups, posted the California Farmers Climate Pledge in response to President Trump’s June 1 announcement that he was pulling the country out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, an international accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Labor Shortage Leaves $13 Million in Crops to Rot in Fields

Santa Barbara Independent

Last year marked the fifth consecutive year Santa Barbara County’s agriculture industry has struggled with labor shortages, which have ranged from 15 to 26 percent. Farmers, therefore, must leave crops to rot in the fields.


China takes delivery of first shipments of American beef in 14 years


The imports were brought in by Cofco Meat Holdings Ltd (1610.HK) from U.S. meat processor Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N), China National Radio (CNR) reported on Friday, citing Beijing Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.




Fresno PD dozens of officers short of what politicians promised

The Fresno Bee

Difficulty recruiting new officers to the Fresno Police Department – combined with attrition from retirements and defections to other law enforcement agencies for better pay, more attractive locations and less stress – means that the force is dozens of officers short of its intended and funded levels. It’s a situation that has raised questions about the validity of promises to make residents safer by adding more officers.


Death row inmate Stankewitz denied new trial in Fresno

The Fresno Bee

A judge on Friday denied a motion for a new trial in the Fresno County Superior Court for Douglas Ray Stankewitz, California’s longest-serving death row inmate. Stankewitz, 59, was convicted nearly 40 years ago for the 1978 kidnapping of a 22-year-old woman outside a Modesto Kmart and her shooting death in Fresno.


Why California gun owners may be breaking the law on July 1

Sacramento Bee

They also hope the federal government will become friendlier toward gun owners under the Trump Administration. “We think that we will be successful in the long run,” said Sam Paredes, executor director of Gun Owners of California.


California governor stops parole for Charles Manson follower

San Francisco Chronicle

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday night blocked parole for Charles Manson follower and convicted killer Bruce Davis. Brown’s rejection issued late Friday night is the fifth time Davis has been recommended for parole by a state panel only to see it blocked by a governor, and continues Brown’s unflinching pattern of refusing to allow anyone from Manson’s “family” to be freed.




Taxpayers could pay to attract teachers. But is California really running out of them?

Sacramento Bee

Almost every year since 1990-91, the California Department of Education has reported a lack of special education, math and science teachers, the analyst’s office said.


The price of special education: As autism rates surge, so does the cost to educate them

The Bakersfield Californian

By contrast, the base grants that the state gives to educate general education students range from about $7,000 to $8,600 depending on grade level, and about 20 percent more for disadvantaged ones, according to the California Department of Education.


Is California’s big investment in needy students paying off? Few signs yet that achievement gap is closing

The Mercury News

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.


Struggling California school districts still lack basic tools for student success

LA Daily News

Researchers studying California’s new school funding system wish they could track the huge sums of money the state has sent to struggling students, and analyze what districts spent it on. They can’t because the financial data needed to do so isn’t available.  Given that limitation, they’ve tried to figure out whether the 4-year-old Local Control Funding Formula helped expand needy students’ access to key courses and services known to boost their academic achievement.


A School That Provides The One Constant In Homeless Children’s Lives

NPR Education

The educational challenges associated with homelessness are broad and extend to every corner of a child’s life.


In California push to help students with dyslexia, LA schools take a first step


Pressure on school districts in California to do more to help students with dyslexia increased with the passage of a 2015 law, Assembly Bill 1369, authored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley.


California State Senators Tom Berryhill and Anthony Cannella Send a Letter to Governor Brown Concerning No San …

Sierra Sun Times

As members representing communities in the San Joaquin Valley and members of the Senate Rules Committee, we would like to express our deep disappointment that the appointments to the University of California Board of Regents do not include a representative of the San Joaquin Valley.


How California’s community colleges are changing

Mercury News

As the jobs that keep California’s economy running change at a rapid clip, the workers who fill them are expected to keep pace. That puts enormous pressure on all schools in the state, but especially on the state’s community colleges — which help prepare more than 2.1 million students across 113 campuses to enter or move up in the workforce.




It was hot this week. But were California officials ‘crying wolf’ with alerts that drove up electricity prices?

Los Angeles Times

As record-setting temperatures surged into the triple digits in parts of California this week, the manager of the state’s electrical grid put out an urgent plea: Turn down the AC and conserve power to avoid rotating outages.


California’s climate debate heats up behind closed doors as Gov. Brown pushes to extend cap and trade

Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown has intensified his efforts to reach a deal on California’s climate policies even as the debate remains behind closed doors.




California Assembly stalls universal health care bill

The Sacramento Bee

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon put the brakes on a sweeping plan to overhaul the health care market in California Friday, calling the bill “woefully incomplete.”


When ethics rules get in the way of patient care

Sacramento Bee

For California physicians and physician’s assistants, professional education does not stop at graduation from medical school or a PA program. The most effective and engaged medical professionals will learn throughout their careers from the experiences of their peers, clinicians and other medical experts.


California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon shelves single-payer healthcare bill, calling it ‘woefully incomplete’

Los Angeles Times

A high profile effort to establish a single-payer healthcare system in California sputtered Friday when Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) decided to shelve the proposal. Rendon announced late Friday afternoon that the bill, Senate Bill 562 by state Sens.


Blaming ‘Threat’ of GOP Health Bill, California Hits Pause on Single Payer

State of Health | KQED News

Single-payer health care, a longtime goal of progressive Democrats and the nurses’ union, is dead for now. No further legislative action will be taken in 2017.


State’s Planned Parenthood Branches Vow to Fight Senate Health Bill


Planned Parenthood affiliates in California are vowing to fight the Senate GOP’s proposal to eliminate federal support for the health care organization. The group will do everything from calling members of Congress to “seeking legal avenues that protect… access to affordable, quality health care for our patients,” said Julianne Hines, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley.


Essential Politics: Two very different healthcare battles

Los Angeles Times

Soon this morning, the Supreme Court will issue its final rulings of the term. We’ll be covering them via Essential Washington, so keep an eye on that national news feed throughout the day.  Immigration matters and a religious freedom question are among the outstanding cases.


The Health Care Issue in California and Beyond

Fox and Hounds Daily

Good move, Mr. Speaker. The single payer health care measure incorporated in Senate Bill 562 was “woefully incomplete” as Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon declared.


Single Payer Government Takeover of Health Care Would Devastate Small Business

NFIB Opinion

Each year, our NFIB small business owners rank their top 75 concerns in our “Problems and Priorities” survey, which provides critical insight as to which policy issues are having the greatest impact on our job creators.  The rising cost of health care has consistently ranked as the No.1 issue to our members for the last several years, and a government takeover of our health care industry would only exacerbate this growing concern.


Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017: Impact on County Governments

Magnetmail via CSAC

On June 22, the U.S. Senate released a draft health care reform bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. This is the Senate version of the House-passed American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628). The legislation substantially alters the federal-state-local partnership for Medicaid and would shift significant health care costs to counties.


Yes, California can (stick it to Trump on healthcare)

Los Angeles Times

Our study – which was also commissioned by the California Nurses Assn. – concludes not only that the proposal is financially sound, but that it will produce greater equity in the healthcare sector for families and businesses of all sizes.


Republican Health Care Plans Don’t ‘Steal’ From the Poor

National Review

Safety nets are compassionate and prudent. But it is dangerous and wrong to get confused about who owns what. I own the money I earn. America’s less fortunate citizens don’t own Medicaid. It’s a privilege, not a right — a privilege that is subject to the same budgetary and fiscal concerns inherent in any other government program, including national defense


Child Health Professionals Warn Parents About Heat Dangers


Children’s health professionals are warning parents to be aware of the dangers of the heat now that summer has began


How a “no guns” registry could help prevent firearm-related suicides

Brookings Institution

Firearm suicides represent a staggering proportion—roughly two-thirds—of all firearm deaths.  In 2010, there were 19,392 firearm suicides, far outpacing the 11,078 firearm homicides and 1,202 accidental annual firearm deaths.




​​​​Hitting the wall: On immigration, campaign promises clash with policy realities

Brookings Institution

This paper examines the specific elements of the president’s immigration agenda and DHS’s path toward implementation. Taking into account the policy, personnel, financial, and logistical realities facing the department, the authors demonstrate just how difficult—if not impossible—it will be for the president to keep his promises related to immigration.


California Politics Podcast: There’s a powerful new ally of those who support a sanctuary state

Los Angeles Times

Supporters of an ambitious California effort to limit law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities begin the week with a prominent new ally.


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

The Bakersfield Californian

The California Assembly this month approved AB 386, which would direct the state to pay legal fees for certain deported veterans trying to return to the U.S.




Rosa Brothers, Lanna Coffee launch cold brew coffee milk

The Fresno Bee

You already love their chocolate milk and premium ice cream, and now Rosa Brothers Milk Company is teaming with one of Fresno’s most sought-after coffee roasters to create a new milk flavor: Cold Brew Coffee Milk. On Friday, Rosa Brothers Milk Company and Lanna Coffee Co. launched their new product to rave reviews. During a public tasting, the new coffee-fueled milk got praise for its smooth coffee flavor and caffeine kick.


Restaurant row to grow

Tracy Press News

Habit Burger, Mod Pizza and a third business will go into an 8,000-square-foot building at the eastern end of the Naglee Road parking lot already shared by Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread.  A unanimous vote of the Tracy City Council during Tuesday’s regular meeting amended the zoning of the city-owned 1.46-acre parcel from freeway commercial to general commercial and approved preliminary and final development plans for the building.


A Higher Minimum Wage Is Not Doing The Bad Things Critics Said It Would Do

Fast Company

One common critique of higher minimum wages is that they also raise the cost of living. But last year, an initial study from the University of Washington found that retailers, despite having to pay their workers more, weren’t raising prices. Another is that higher pay will lead to fewer shifts and fewer jobs. And while those same UW researchers are analyzing the data, other researchers at UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) used an innovative model to prove that the city’s increased minimum wage has had no negative effect on job availability.


Under budget deal, most successful anti-poverty policy would be even more effective in California


It is an essential part of our country’s safety net. In fact, according to a report from Stanford’s Center on Poverty and Inequality, the EITC is the most effective anti-poverty policy after Social Security.


Parental leave expansion bill passes Assembly Labor Committee

Sacramento Business Journal  ‎

A bill that would expand employees’ rights to parental leave passed the Califonia Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on Wednesday.



Fresno’s city parks need a champion

Fresno Bee

Fresno, we are better at preserving our parks, but that’s not even close to good. According to ParkScore, which is a park ranking list of the 100 largest U.S. cities developed by The Trust for Public Land, we are now ranked No. 90.

In 2016, we were ranked No. 97. And the year before that, we were in last place, at 100.


How high can Southern California home prices go? A lot, experts say


G.U. Krueger, president of Krueger Economics, said talk about a housing bubble “is starting to raise its ugly head.” Some of that is “cocktail party talk” and some analysts are questioning whether the Southern California housing market is overvalued.


Why Can’t They Build More Homes Where the Jobs Are?

Bloomberg Business

Californian cities in particular are failing to add new inventory to make up for housing shortages.

Trash to treasure: USC architect students build tiny portable house to raise awareness about homelessness 

Los Angeles Times

Jeremy Carman was driving around Boyle Heights recently when he spotted a rolled-up garage door on the side of the road. That’s it, the 25-year-old thought. The garage door would make the perfect roof for the 8-foot-tall house that he and four other USC architecture students were building over the weekend to draw attention to the lack of permanent supportive housing for the homeless in Los Angeles — and to raise money for a solution.




California’s new budget could harm nonprofits – unless Jerry Brown steps in

Sacramento Bee

Legislation on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk threatens an important source of funding for nonprofits in California. The governor should heed a coalition of nonprofit organizations that oppose it, and use his veto pen.


$5000 for trash cans at state office? Tax board’s furniture bill skyrockets

Sacramento Bee

A state tax agency under budget sanctions by Gov. Jerry Brown is spending $1.7 million to buy furniture and other equipment for a new office in Los Angeles County, according to documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee.  Furniture alone is expected to cost $835,000 for the new Board of Equalization office.


Gutting of California tax collection agency has begun

San Francisco Chronicle

A proposal to gut California’s tax collection agency sits on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, but the state is already moving forward with parts of the overhaul, which would shift 90 percent of the agency’s responsibilities to two new state departments.


State Treasurer John Chiang visits Fullerton to talk Senate health care bill, education


The state Treasurer is backing studies that project a loss of 209,000 California jobs if the Senate GOP version of Obamacare replacement is signed into law. John Chiang, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate traveling the state, said the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, as proposed in the draft bill released Thursday, would put 9 percent of jobs in the state recovered since the recession “in harm’s way.”


What citizen taxpayers should know about the California budget


California voters are pretty good at figuring out what is going in the state capital when it hits them directly. For example, recent polling shows that citizen awareness of the $5.2 billion annual gas and car tax is very high and, incidentally, very negative.


Assembly Bill 20 would worsen California’s public pension crisis


Just passed by the state Assembly and working its way through the state Senate, AB20 would require CalPERS and CalSTRS to divest of its holdings related to the Dakota Access Pipeline.


Meaningful pension reform needed


Lately, there has been a lot of talk, but not much action, about reforming California’s troubled public pension system.


US Top Court Buries CalPERS Suit Over Lehman Collapse

New York Times

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld the dismissal of a securities fraud lawsuit by a big California pension fund against banks in the wake of the 2008 collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers, ruling the fund waited too long to sue.

When will Supreme Court rule on pension cuts? 


The state Supreme Court agreed last December to hear an appellate court decision in a Marin County case allowing major cuts in public pensions — but not until the appeals court rules on a slow-moving consolidation of three similar county suits.



Here’s how you might see California road signs in a whole new way

The Mercury News

Originally, California’s road signs were black with white lettering, but the state changed them after a federal rule was extended to the states.


California’s GOP United on Fighting One Tax, the Other Not So Much 


The Chairman of the Republican party in Orange County says the recent vote by the California legislature to raise the state’s gasoline tax by 12 cents a gallon has energized the party. Conan Nolan NBCLA

Road tripping? Here are rules for traveling with marijuana 

Inland Daily Bulletin

The July 4 weekend will kick off the first summer travel season since California voted to join seven other states in legalizing marijuana for all adults. What’s more, there are now 30 states where medical marijuana is allowed, with a couple more close to coming on board.




Levee breach along Kings River

The Fresno Bee

Water releases from Pine Flat Dam were ratcheted up Thursday as federal officials worked to prevent the reservoir from overtopping the dam.


After the Kings River busts its banks, now it’s the San Joaquin River that might flood

Fresno Bee

Hot weather that’s melting a heavy winter snowfall and filling reservoirs has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood advisory for portions of the central San Joaquin Valley until Sunday.


Homes evacuated after CA river swells

ABC News

Authorities say 90 homes remain under mandatory evacuation orders following levee breaches along a river in California, the result of the state’s huge springtime snowpack melting in the summer heat.


Man who led state response to Oroville Dam crisis is stepping down

Sacramento Bee

In a statement Friday, Resources Secretary John Laird said, “California is extremely fortunate to have had Bill at the helm of DWR this year, especially during the Oroville emergency.


Lake Tahoe fills quickly as snow melts in heat wave

Sacramento Bee

Spring’s snowfall in the Sierra is melting, bringing 12 billion gallons of water into Lake Tahoe this past week.

Feds to give update on California’s big water tunnels 


The federal regulators evaluating Gov. Jerry Brown’s decades-old ambitions to re-engineer the water supplies from California’s largest river are promising a status update Monday, as Brown’s $16 billion proposal to shunt part of the Sacramento through two mammoth tunnels awaits a crucial yes or no from national agencies.




California’s travel ban: How does it affect college sports?

The Mercury News

Athletic teams from Cal State and University of California won’t have to cancel already-scheduled games because of the state’s newly expanded travel ban against eight states, including Texas, with laws it considers to infringe on LGBT rights.



Sierra Star
Under a cloudless sky, a group of citizens gathered at Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park to witness the dedication of the Veteran’s Memorial on Flag Day. A fitting day to observe the sacrifice of our brave and selfless veterans as those warriors all served under that flag.


Fitz’s Stockton: Tower Bridge, Stockton angle

Stockton Record

Stretching across the Sacramento River, the Tower Bridge is second only to the Capitol as a Sacramento landmark. The company that built the bridge built, if not more beautiful, more interesting things in Stockton.


Can the arts save California?

The Desert Sun

Joe Mathews: The disappointing miracle that is LA’s new state park. So I’d like to propose that the arts could be the secret sauce of a revival in California’s civic culture.


Public library use in U.S. highest among Millennials

Pew Research Center

Millennials in America are more likely to have visited a public library in the past year than any other adult generation. A new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from fall 2016 finds that 53% of Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 at the time) say they used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months.


Keep your pet safe from these summer health hazards

CBS News

Read on to learn how to keep your pet safe from some of the most common summer health hazards.


Fresno’s Animal Overpopulation Problem Has A Solution


Around 80 percent of animals that go into area shelters don’t make it out….  “Fresno and the Central Valley is one of the highest kill rates in California.” – Stacey Houk, Executive Director at H.O.P.E. Animal Foundation.