June 27, 2017





Democrats gripe about secrecy in Washington but practice it in Sacramento


Knowledge, it’s been said, is power. And that explains, in a nutshell, why those in public office fundamentally dislike, and often resist, revealing information to the voting and taxpaying public.


Connie Conway Files Papers

Capitol Morning Report
Check out what office former Asm. Connie Conway is considering…


California’s bail system needs reforming. Don’t let the bail industry win.

Sacramento Bee

Assembly Bill 42, authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, would have made sweeping changes to California’s immoral bail system, changing a status quo that treats the wealthy like equals, and the rest of us like cattle.


Study: California’s low voter turnout driven by demographics

Central Valley Business Times  ‎

California’s low voter turnout has two elements: a decline in the voter registration rate relative to other states and a decline in turnout in midterm elections, according to a new study by the nonpartisan think tank Public Policy Institute of California.  See also: California’s Missing Voters: Who Is Not Voting and Why

Public Policy Institute of California


Will California’s young voters show up for the midterm elections?

89.3 KPCC

California’s young voters don’t show up for midterm elections the way they do for the presidential contests and their voting behavior largely accounts for California’s declining turnout in off-year balloting, according to a new study released Monday.


Only a few California counties may use the new state law for sending every voter a ballot in the mail

Los Angeles Times

A broad effort to close thousands of California neighborhood polling places in favor of absentee ballots and multi-purpose “vote centers” has yet to find traction beyond a handful of counties.


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.


Analysis indicates partisan gerrymandering has benefited GOP


The 2016 presidential contest was awash with charges that the fix was in: Republican Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged against him, while Democrats have accused the Russians of stacking the odds in Trump’s favor.  Less attention was paid to manipulation that occurred not during the presidential race, but before it — in the drawing of lines for hundreds of U.S. and state legislative seats. The result, according to an Associated Press analysis: Republicans had a real advantage.


California Democrats form PACs to take back congressional majority

Sacramento Bee

From his hundred-year-old farmhouse and apiary in Turlock, former Democratic congressional candidate Michael Eggman has been abuzz with election plans.


Who were Donald Trump’s voters? Now we know


The Five Types of Trump Voters,” by the impressive young research fellow at the CATO Institute Dr. Emily Ekins dispels the notion of Trump voters as a monolithic bloc. “Far from there being only one type of Trump voter, there were five unique clusters of them,” she says.


What the arts can do for California that politics cannot

SF Gate

While the arts can mirror the state’s larger dysfunction, they also may be the part of California best positioned to lead us out of this dark time.




If there’s a smart path to single payer healthcare in California, we haven’t found it yet

Los Angeles Times

California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon did the state a favor late Friday afternoon when he slammed the brakes on a fast-moving Senate bill to create a single-payer healthcare system in California. As should be obvious from the flailing Republican efforts in Washington, it’s easy to talk about drastic changes in the way healthcare is financed, but hard to make those changes work without hurting many of the people you’re trying to help.


Justice Anthony Kennedy must not retire. Here are three reasons why:

Sacramento Bee

Justice Anthony Kennedy cast votes that show why he needs to hang on. Neil M. Gorsuch’s votes illustrate how far to the right a Trump court would veer.


California nonprofits would lose out in budget deal

Sacramento Bee

A California budget provision would harm nonprofits by stripping them of an important funding source. Gov. Jerry Brown should veto it.




Morro Bay farm grows the unexpected: coffee beans, dragon fruit and limes that look like caviar

The Tribune

Jim Shanley used to grow avocados on his hilly, 113-acre farm in Morro Bay. Now, finger limes, dragon fruit, passion fruit — even coffee plants — are taking root. And, together, they’re far more profitable for the longtime farmer.

Weed killer ingredient going on California list as cancerous 


Regulators in California took a pivotal step on Monday toward becoming the first state to require the popular weed killer Roundup to come with a label warning that it’s known to cause cancer.


Is it legal to fly or road-trip with weed?


The California Department of Food and Agriculture, which monitors 16 inspection stations near state borders, only checks for invasive plant species and animals, spokesman Steve Lyle said.




California’s new gun laws: high-capacity magazine ban starts July 1

The Fresno Bee

Sweeping new gun laws passed last year by California voters and legislators require those with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition to get rid of them by July 1.


The Supreme Court does public safety a favor by rejecting a California gun-law challenge

Los Angeles Times

It didn’t come as much of a surprise, but it was good news nonetheless that the Supreme Court on Monday finally rejected hearing an appeal in a California case in which gun-rights advocates argued that the 2nd Amendment means that people have a constitutional right to carry a firearm pretty much anywhere.


Court fees punish the poor for being poor. California, stop criminalizing poverty

Sacramento Bee

Poverty is not a crime, yet in California the justice system punishes the poor just for being poor. Court-ordered fines and fees that are imposed without consideration of ability to pay trap poor people in a vicious cycle of police stops, incarceration, incarceration, judicial debt and license suspension.




California Department of Education skewers Tehachapi Unified School District’s special education department in review

Bakersfield Californian

Tehachapi Unified School District’s special education department is failing, according to a California Department of Education review prompted by scores of parental complaints.

The 200-page Critical Incident Review, released this month, lays bare the issues plaguing TUSD’s most vulnerable students. It finds 348 instances of noncompliance over a five-year period.


MCSD Thanks Stakeholders for Input

Merced Sun-Star

The Merced City School District Board of Education meeting that was held at Rivera Middle School on June 13 was filled with encouraging moments regarding our Local Control Accountability Plan.


MUSD, Lodi Unified reach contract agreements

Stockton Record

Teachers in both Manteca and Lodi Unified are getting new contracts, both districts say.


California’s digital divide closing but new “under-connected” class emerges 

San Jose Mercury

California faces a growing class of “under-connected” households that rely only on smartphones for online access, a trend that may worsen the state’s economic inequality, according to a report released Monday by UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.


Supreme Court rules on church playgrounds; are vouchers for religious schools next? 


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and other supporters of school choice are hailing a U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday as one more step toward tearing down states’ opposition to tuition vouchers for private and religious schools.


Legislature should not get in the way of important educational opportunities for California medical professionals


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




Dr. Arambula should lead way to healthy Valley air

Fresno Bee

This month, California missed a vital opportunity to significantly improve the quality of life for residents in some of our state’s most vulnerable and underserved communities. By not passing Assembly Bill 378, which would have required new emissions standards for criteria and toxic-air pollutants at facilities covered under cap and trade, leadership made a statement that California isn’t prepared to make the necessary steps and votes, to lead the nation on environmental justice.


Electricity from natural gas still needed to cool California

San Francisco Chronicle

California’s transition to renewable energy is important to fighting climate change, curbing pollution and helping to develop green jobs.


Federal agencies greenlight proposed delta tunnel project

Los Angeles Times

Federal fishery agencies Monday pushed forward a controversial water project that would change the way Northern California supplies are sent to the Southland.




West Nile Virus Found In Fresno County Mosquitos


Mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Fresno County.  Fresno County residents are urged to continue to take precautions to eliminate mosquito sources and prevent mosquito bites, after two Culex mosquito pools collected from the County have tested positive for WNV.


Surprise medical bills prohibited by new California law – if you follow the rules

Merced Sun-Star

A new California law protects consumers from receiving bills charging out-of-insurance network rates if they visit an in-network facility.


What the Senate healthcare bill could mean for Californians

LA Times

The Affordable Care Act has had a huge impact on California, where roughly 4 million people have gained insurance and the percentage of uninsured residents has dropped more than half.  This is a breakdown of some of the ways the Senate bill could affect healthcare coverage in California if it becomes law.


Californians Contemplate ‘Unthinkable Choices’ if GOP Health Plan Becomes Law 


People in the state’s health industry, from advocates to clinic directors, were left reeling by the new CBO report, which estimated the Senate Republican health plan would create an additional 22 million uninsured Americans by 2026.


California should fear Republican health plan | The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee

I’ve got a slogan for the Republican health plan: “Make America Sick Again.”

Put that on your baseball caps, you 14 California Congressional representatives – Calvert, Cook, Denham, Hunter, Issa, Knight, LaMalfa, McCarthy, McClintock, Nunes, Rohrabacher, Royce, Valadao, and Walters – who voted for the House plan.


From Birth To Death, Medicaid Affects The Lives Of Millions


Medicaid is the government health care program for the poor.  That’s the shorthand explanation. But Medicaid is so much more than that — which is why it’s become the focal point of the battle in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Why universal health care died in California 

Sacramento Bee

California’s universal health care bill never stood a chance this year. The authors of Senate Bill 562, Democrats Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins, didn’t include a way to pay for the far-reaching legislation, which was estimated to cost $400 billion to start.


California Assembly leader Anthony Rendon’s decision to shelve single-payer healthcare angers progressive activists

Los Angeles Times

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s abrupt decision Friday to sideline a bill that would have established a single-payer healthcare in California roused a swift and fiery backlas from the measure’s supporters, who accused the Democrat from Paramount of unilaterally blunting the effort for sweeping overhaul of the state’s healthcare system.


Nurses union uses the image of a California bear stabbed in the back after single-payer bill is blocked

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.


California activist Tom Steyer adds health care to his brand


California billionaire activist Tom Steyer made his name as an environmental activist, worked with Democratic groups to register a million new voters and redefined green politics with high-profile campaigns on climate change and clean energy.  Now as he weighs a run for public office, he’s adding health care — specifically drug prices — to his brand.


This charity keeps raising money to help young sex-trafficking victims. But where are the victims?

Sacramento Bee

A year after closing its home for young sex-trafficking victims and repeatedly vowing it would reopen, a controversial Rocklin nonprofit has announced it will not seek a new license to serve minor girls at its Northern California “Courage House.”.


Medical records will no longer appear in Google search results

Washington Post

Google just went under the knife with its removal policies. On Thursday, the search engine added private medical records to its small list of things that it won’t include in its search results, according to Bloomberg.




Immigration Crackdown Expected To Increase Crops Left Unharvested In California Fields


Farmers in California often struggle to find enough workers to harvest fields bursting with crops. Now the situation is growing dire as crackdowns on immigrants are leaving tons of food to rot in fields.


​​​​U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear California Immigrant Detention Case Again

The California Report | KQED News

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ordered a rehearing of a case that set limits on how long the federal government can detain immigrants facing deportation.  “The fact that they ordered re-argument implies that the eight justices that did hear the argument were split 4-4,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell University.


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


Andy de Leon thought he was the only one.  Deported to Mexico, the Vietnam-era Army cook struggled to find a way to live in Tijuana—landing in the sprawling border city after serving time for a drug conviction. At age 65 he lost his home in Madera, his car and his family. It’s been years since he’s seen his 10 grandchildren.




A ‘very credible’ new study on Seattle’s $15 minimum wage has bad news for liberals

The Fresno Bee

When Seattle officials voted three years ago to incrementally boost the city’s minimum wage up to $15 an hour, they’d hoped to improve the lives of low-income workers. Yet according to a major new study that could force economists to reassess past research on the issue, the hike has had the opposite effect.


Has Seattle’s minimum wage hike backfired? Not so fast.

New Republic

On Monday, researchers at the University of Washington released a much-anticipated study that looked at the effects of the first stages of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage increase, which has been phasing in since 2015. The paper found that Seattle’s second wage bump to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by 9 percent. These findings sharply diverge from what has been previously reported—only last week, a study by researchers at Berkeley found that Seattle’s minimum wage increase had only a negligible impact on jobs.


CalEITC Particularly Benefits Children of Color and Women

California Budget & Policy Center

As state policymakers consider ways to strengthen the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), a refundable state credit for workers with low incomes, a new California Budget & Policy Center analysis examines the demographic characteristics of individuals statewide who are likely eligible to benefit from the CalEITC. We find that children of color and women particularly stand out as groups that can benefit from the credit.

If you weren’t raised in the Internet age, you may need to worry about workplace age discrimination 

Los Angeles Times

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act turns 50 this year — about the age when many American workers begin to encounter the kinds of biases the law was intended to prevent.




A Hart Park water park? It’s an idea with a local backer

The Bakersfield Californian

People have tried to build water amusement parks in Bakersfield many times over the years. And they’re trying again. But this time there’s a twist: the location.


AMP – Tiny Homes Seem Perfect for Millennials, Except For One Big Problem


Tiny homes seem like a perfect answer to most of millennials’ problems. They are affordable. They are minimalistic. The are trendy. Except there’s one problem: Tiny homes are not considered homes when it comes to bank loans, making it hard for potential owners to find financing.



Fresno approves $1.13 billion budget

The Business Journal
The Fresno City Council has approved a $1.13 billion budget for fiscal 2018 that is slated to put 21 new police officers on city streets and give each of the seven City Council members $100,000 to put toward city park improvements

‘I simply don’t want to be a part of it’ — treasurer-tax collector abruptly retires

Modesto Bee

Treasurer-Tax Collector Gordon Ford is retiring Aug. 1, more than a year before his term expires because he believes the Stanislaus County Employees’ Retirement Association is taking on too many risky investments. Ford is required to serve on the StanCERA board. He has voiced concerns with the the retirement system’s decisions in the past and had not planned to seek re-election when his current four-year term ends January 2019. He said the pension board’s May 23 decision to take on more risk was the tipping point for him.


Vacant no more: Bruce Freeman to fill City Council’s Ward 5 seat Wednesday; Council to vote on budget

The Bakersfield Californian

The budget includes three more police officers to patrol downtown and southeast Bakersfield and one more solid waste employee.


California lawmakers advance pension borrowing plan

Sacramento Bee / AP

California lawmakers have approved a plan to borrow $6 billion from a state savings account to pay down the massive debt in the state’s largest public employee retirement program.


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. Now a pension reform group is watching a second appellate court decision that, citing the Marin ruling, allows pension cuts. The Supreme Court has asked parties in the state firefighters union suit against CalPERS to submit briefs by June 30.




If you think Fresno is full of bad drivers, this study says you’re right

Merced Sun-Star

If you drive in Fresno, chances are you’ve seen someone run a red light, drive above the speed limit or cut off of a motorist on the highway, so it may come as little surprise that the city’s drivers are among the worst in the country.


DMV cracks down on fraudulent handicap placards

Visalia Times-Delta

However, California’s vehicle code restricts anyone from lending their placard, knowingly permitting the use of their placard or allowing anyone else to use it while they are not present.


California may get tougher on carpool cheaters

The Mercury News

Carpool lane cheaters continue getting nailed like never before, with the number of tickets issued by the California Highway Patrol last year nearly doubling from …




Proposed water tunnels take a step closer toward construction

The Bakersfield Californian

A critical event in California’s water world was announced Monday that was either a step in the right direction or the wrong one, depending on your viewpoint.


Delta tunnels won’t jeopardize existence of salmon, smelt, fish agencies find

The Sacramento Bee

The Delta tunnels got a crucial green light Monday from two federal agencies, whose scientists said they’ve determined that the controversial project can co-exist with the endangered fish that inhabit the waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  See also:  Federal agencies give initial approval to California’s giant water tunnels

Washington Post


Key federal ruling on California tunnels months away

Sacramento Bee

After Gov. Jerry Brown won crucial early approval from federal wildlife officials for his $16 billion proposal to re-engineer California’s north-south water system, another federal agency indicated that it may be months or more away from ruling on his plan.

Trump order that could shrink California and Pacific Ocean marine sanctuaries moves forward 

San Jose Mercury News

Eleven national marine sanctuaries and monuments — from Monterey Bay to New England to the South Pacific — could lose protections under new details of a Trump Administration plan released Monday that seeks to expand offshore oil and gas drilling.


Assembly Bill Would Ease Imposing Of Stormwater Fees On Property Owners

Capital Public Radio

A bill in the California state Assembly could make it easier for local governments to charge fees to manage and collect storm water, but critics argue it’s a way to get money from property owners without a vote. Really, it all comes down to how you define the word “sewer.”


Homes along Kings River remain under evacuation from flooding, but there’s new hope

Fresno Bee

Homeowners along the Kings River forced to evacuated by rising water cannot return yet, but the river is receding and it’s possible they can go back soon.


The Kings River flooded from snowmelt that couldn’t be measured or predicted

Los Angeles Times

Wildfires burned, utility providers warned of possible blackouts because of a surge in demand, and thousands of feet up in the Sierra Nevada – far from where humans and their scientific tools could reach.


Engineers use replica to pinpoint California dam repairs

ABC News

In this Friday, June 16, 2017, photo, hydraulic engineering professor Michael Johnson looks at the water flow on a replica of the Oroville Dam spillway at Utah State University’s Water Research Laboratory, in Logan, Utah.



Fresno Grizzlies hope to hit home run with new owners, but deal not yet done

Fresno Bee

The individuals behind Fresno Sports and Events were identified by Mayor Lee Brand as a father-son team, Ray and Michael Baker of Colorado, and Jim Coufos of Southern California.


National Spelling Bee winner Ananya Vinay honored at State Capitol


The California State Assembly honored National Spelling Bee winner Ananya Vinay on the floor at the State Capitol Monday.


Personal fireworks/con: Even legal mini-pyrotechnics can be big trouble

The Bakersfield Californian

The Bakersfield City Council has worked hard to compromise between increased regulation and continued legal fireworks usage, but the expectation is that all fireworks use is 100 percent legal and responsible.


Should Sacramento have its own version of the St. Louis arch? City eyes grand monument

Sacramento Bee (blog)

Is Sacramento’s version of the famed Gateway Arch coming to the riverfront?

As the city embarks on a reinvention of Old Sacramento and the waterfront, the man leading the effort thinks the city should build an interactive monument on the river at the site of the city’s birth.


Takes on the travel ban, and why Justice Anthony Kennedy should not retire

Sacramento Bee

Justice Anthony Kennedy must not retire. Here are three reasons: No one could blame him if he were to decide to spend more of his remaining time with his family, perhaps even return to his hometown of Sacramento and teach at McGeorge Law School. And we haven’t always agreed with his decisions. But as Erwin Chemerinsky wrote in an op-ed for The Sacramento Bee Monday, he’s a true swing vote. Major cases involving religion, gerrymandering and more are on the 2018 docket. And as Monday’s decisions show, a second Trump justice would shift the court to the hard right, for a very long time.


Wonderful Community Grants – Avenal, Sanger/Del Rey, and Wasco

The Wonderful Company is pleased to announce our third year of the Wonderful Community Grants program in the communities of Avenal, Sanger/Del Rey, and Wasco!


Local organizations understand best what the communities of Avenal, Sanger/Del Rey, and Wasco need. This is why we are committed to supporting their efforts to making the places our employees call home happier, healthier and safer. Through Wonderful Community Grants, we direct as much as $450,000 annually toward work being done across the communities of Avenal, Sanger/Del Rey, and Wasco.