June 29, 2017




Dan Walters Reflects on 57 Years of Covering California Politics

When journalist Dan Walters got a job in Sacramento forty-two years ago, Jerry Brown had just embarked on his first governorship. Walters would go on to spend 33 years reporting on California politics at the Sacramento Bee.

California Republicans don’t want to be caught again without a statewide candidate — but the party is fractured

Los Angeles Times

The GOP may be in dire straits in California, but a flurry of recent moves suggests the party of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon is not willing to abandon the 2018 gubernatorial race, as it did four years ago.


GOP Field For California Governor Grows, And Chance Of All-Democrat Runoff

Fox & Hounds

Last week Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) announced his candidacy for Governor of California. Allen, a firebrand conservative, will no doubt be popular with grassroots conservative activists around the state. The irony is that Allen’s candidacy may end up being a reason why California voters may be choosing between two Democrats on their general election ballots.


GOP health bill is a disaster for kids | Valley Children’s Hospital CEO

Fresno Bee

Much of the debate on the Senate Republican health care bill and the similar House bill focuses on the Medicaid expansion for adults. But this proposal would be a disaster for America’s children.


California officials sound alarm, envisioning $114 billion hit To Medi-Cal under U.S. Senate bill

Sacramento Bee

California risks losing $114.6 billion in federal funds within a decade for its Medicaid program under the U.S. Senate health care bill, a decline that would require the state to completely dismantle and rebuild the public insurance program that now serves one-third of the state, health leaders said Wednesday.

Senate health bill would leave Medi-Cal with $115-billion shortfall through 2027, analysis finds 

Los Angeles Times

The Senate healthcare bill released last week would leave California short $115 billion for its Medi-Cal program between 2020 and 2027, according to a state analysis released Wednesday.


Senate health care bill would affect 4 million Californians, cost state $30 billion a year


The health care bill under consideration in the U.S. Senate could lead to serious reductions in Medi-Cal coverage, including reducing or ending coverage for more than 3.8 million people enrolled in the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. That is the conclusion of a new analysis of the Senate bill by California’s Department of Health Care Services and Department of Finance released Wednesday.

1 in 5 Californians uninsured under GOP bill, study says 

San Francisco Chronicle

The uninsured population in California would rise from 9 to 21 percent in the next five years if the Senate health care bill were to take effect, according to a new analysis by the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. About 4.3 million more Californians would go without insurance under the GOP plan, the study found. The total number of uninsured would rise from 3.1 million to 7.4 million by 2022.


GOP health bill would slash Planned Parenthood budget in California

SF Chronicle

Planned Parenthood of California, which operates more of the organization’s health centers than any other state in the nation, would lose 73 percent of its operating budget under the health care bills that Republicans are pushing to replace the Affordable Care Act, its leaders said this week.


Poll: Only 12% of Americans support the Senate health care plan

USA Today

Just 12% of Americans support the Senate Republican health care plan, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds, amid a roiling debate over whether the GOP will deliver on its signature promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.


Democrats & Republicans Agree on Health Care Principles, Avoid Real Debate

National Review

Politicians left and right argue over small-bore issues while avoiding the core questions that truly divide Americans.


Activists say California Republican Congressman Tom McClintock's staff told them they were breaking the law by calling

Fresno Bee

Alisa Holleron and her group of political activists were calling Rep. Tom McClintock’s offices every day for months when they started receiving what she describes as a “chilling” greeting from his staff a few weeks ago.  “They started saying that we were impeding … the functioning of a federal office and that we were in violation of a federal law,” said Holleron. “I felt like it was threatening. I felt like they were telling me I was breaking a law and if you break a law you can get in trouble.”


‘Sorry your son’s real sick but … tough’

Fresno Bee

Are we becoming a nation where we only take care of ourselves?


Lawmakers torn over whether to reveal true funders behind campaign ads 


Who pays for all those political ads that bombard voters every election season? An effort to make the answer clearer to the public is squeezing California Democrats between two liberal constituencies.


From now on, USA, it’s California first

Sacramento Bee

Joe Mathews: Dear America,

I suppose I should wish you happy birthday. But I’m just not feeling it.

You and I, the United States and California, used to be close – “indivisible” was your word and “inseparable” was mine. Sure, we had differences – I’ve always been a little out there – but California was proudly part of America, and you tolerated our excesses for our mutual glory.


California’s Bully Federalism: Travel Ban Seeks To Impose Its Policies On Other States.


Federalism—the idea that it matters which level (federal, state, local) and which branch (legislative, executive, judicial) of government should act on a matter–is a funny thing.  Philosophically conservatives love it since they hate big federal bureaucracies.  Liberals like it less since they adore federal mandates.


Local initiative right still under legislative assault

Fox & Hounds

Earlier this year I wrote of an assault on local democracy in the guise of an Assembly measure intending to force citizens to run a gauntlet of local planners and environmental analysis prior to gathering signatures for local ballot measures.


Advancing a new wave of urban competitiveness: The role of mayors in the rise of innovation districts

Brookings Institution

Over the past year, the United States Conference of Mayors and the Brookings Institution, along with the Project for Public Spaces have worked together to capture a new model of growth that is emerging in cities and the particular roles that mayors can play.




Universal health care bill was half-baked, and Trumpcare is a disaster. Why the rush?

Fresno Bee

Health care should not be trifled with. Whatever the solution, whether in Washington or Sacramento, legislation should not be done in a rush.


Reduce glut of occupational licensing laws


Occupational licensing laws increase costs to consumers, restrict employment opportunities and make it difficult for people to work in other states. While little has been done to curb even the excesses of licensing laws in California, momentum appears to be building across the country to undo licensing schemes which do little to benefit the public.





There’s no green light for terrible Delta tunnels

Sacramento Bee

The blaring headlines this week said the biological opinions issued by the federal government gave what could be a final green light to the California WaterFix.

Wrong. There is no green light for this $15 billion boondoggle.


California says a popular herbicide causes cancer

Popular Science

Given its widespread, increasing use, it’s not surprising that the chemical has received a ton of scrutiny. But based on all available evidence the EPA, the United Nations, and the European Food Safety Authority were able to come to a different conclusion than IARC—for few reasons.


‘Amsterdam on steroids’: Las Vegas dispensaries brace for Saturday start of recreational sales

Las Vegas Sun News
A May report published by Gov. Brian Sandoval’s task force on marijuana estimates that up to 63 percent of recreational buyers will be tourists.


With six months to go, California hustles to get recreational marijuana framework in place

San Diego Union-Tribune

Eight months ago, California voters approved Proposition 64, making the recreational use of marijuana by those 21 and older legal. In barely more than six months, state officials have to make sure Prop 64 becomes a reality by putting a legal and regulatory framework in place.


A new state law allows pot sales at county fairs, but will yours go green?

Fresno Bee

A minor clause in a recently passed California State Senate bill could lead to a dramatic increase in funnel cake sales at county fairs across the state.  On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB-94, which combined the medical and recreational marijuana laws into one set of rules. The massive bill includes a section that allows for cannabis sales on state-owned fairgrounds – either at county fairs or during private events – provided certain conditions are met. These include securing proper permits and, in the case of county fairs, having a designated enclosed space for pot. No recreational marijuana sales are legal until Jan. 1.  But will the counties that make up the conservative central San Joaquin Valley – an area tough on pot and often opposed to the will of policymakers in Sacramento – allow this?


Is it OK for marijuana businesses to advertise on their merchandise?

Sacramento Bee

Call it the “Joe Camel” effect on marijuana. A California Senate bill would ban state-licensed businesses from offering T-shirts, hats and other merchandise that advertise marijuana products




Fresno police open satellite office to deter Tower District crime

The Fresno Bee

The department’s Tower Satellite Office on Wishon Avenue north of Olive Avenueopened Wednesday. It marks a return of the department to the neighborhood six years after budget constraints forced police to close its former Central District station at Broadway and Elizabeth avenues. In the intervening years, business owners and residents have lamented the loss of a permanent police presence in the area.  (See also: Fresno Police Open Tower District Satellite Office KMJ)

Madera County closes fire station over failing infrastructure

Sierra Star

One of Madera County’s fire stations has been temporarily closed due to safety concerns over the building’s failing infrastructure, officials said in a release on Wednesday.


Ben Fire in Mariposa County burns 400 acres, is 10% contained

Sierra Star

In an updated release issued late Wednesday night, the Ben Fire near Mariposa, west of Ahwahnee has burned 400 acres and is 10% contained, Cal Fire spokeswoman Jaime Williams said.


California to stop suspending licenses for traffic fines

Fresno Bee

Californians will no longer face losing their driver’s licenses because of unpaid traffic fines starting next month.


California Regulators Block Proposed Assault Weapon Rules

NBC Los Angeles

California regulators announced Tuesday that they have temporarily blocked proposed new rules on assault weapons. The state’s Office of Administrative Law released a two-paragraph notice, without explanation, rejecting the proposed regulations submitted by the state Department of Justice in May.



Angry board members, parents attack special education information presented at Tehachapi Unified School District meeting.

The Bakersfield Californian

A Tehachapi Unified School District official outlined Tuesday night what the district is doing to address state findings that some of its special education services are out of compliance — and was promptly questioned by school board members and the public.


Could We Get an Effective Single Payer System for Education First?

Fox & Hounds

A suggestion for my friends on the left: before you install a single-payer health care system for California, have you considered enacting an effective single-payer system for education first?


Betsy DeVos’ actions don’t match her words on civil rights enforcement, Senate Democrats claim

Los Angeles Times

Betsy DeVos’ actions betray her rhetoric on enforcing civil rights law, 34 Senate Democrats wrote in a sharply worded letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education on Tuesday.

National arts scores are in, and the western U.S. lags behind 


Only a third of 8th-graders in the western U.S. took an art class last year and only 17 percent played in the school band, the lowest figures of any region in the country, according to a recently released national arts assessment.


Transitional kindergarten boosts school readiness in math, reading 


California students who attended transitional kindergarten were more engaged in the learning process and better prepared for math and reading when they entered kindergarten than children who did not, according to a new study by the American Institutes for Research.


Democrats block Republican legislator’s proposal for forensic audit of UC Office of President

Los Angeles Times

Two months after a state audit found mismanagement at the University of California, Democratic state lawmakers on Wednesday blocked a Republican legislator’s proposal to have auditors go back in and look deeper at spending, this time with an eye for possible criminal activity.




California Supreme Court upholds cap-and-trade system

San Francisco Chronicle

California’s cap-and-trade law, which requires companies to buy permits to emit climate-changing greenhouse gases into the air, survived a legal challenge Wednesday when the stateSupreme Court

turned down an appeal by business groups. (See also: Californians pay to fight climate change – and court says they’ll keep paying  Sacramento Bee)


State politics hold up California’s new congressman

The Hill

Three weeks later, where’s California’s new congressman? Since Jimmy Gomez won a special election to fill a vacant seat in Congress, the California Democrat has yet to show up in Washington, D.C., to claim his prize. That means constituents in his Los Angeles-area district still don’t have an official representative more than five months after his predecessor resigned.  Gomez, a current Democratic state assemblyman, told The Times after the election he would try to delay his Assembly resignation to vote on extending the state’s cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas. He’s since said he could not be sworn in with other new members of Congress this week because of a family conflict.  (See also: Where’s Jimmy Gomez? California’s new congressman hasn’t shown up in DC  SJ Mercury News and Jimmy Gomez scheduled to be sworn in more than a month after he was elected to Congress Los Angeles Times)


Garcetti and Schwarzenegger urge cities and states to lead fight against climate change in Trump era

Los Angeles Times

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday called on cities and states to lead the nation’s fight against global warming as the federal government begins to reverse its climate change policies.


The Schwarzenegger-Garcetti Climate Change Road Show

Fox & Hounds

Yesterday may have been the initial stop of a Schwarzenegger-Garcetti road show promoting support by subnational governments for the Paris Climate Change Accord. At least, that idea of taking the presentation national was suggested after the former California governor and current Los Angeles mayor sat for a discussion on how to confront the climate change issue since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris accord.


Solar-Panel Waste: Environmental Threat from Clean Energy

National Review

A new study by Environmental Progress (EP) warns that toxic waste from used solar panels now poses a global environmental threat.


Air Pollution Is Still Killing People in the United States

A study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found a strong correlation between mortality and exposure to the pollutants ozone and particular matter, both of which contribute to smog. The higher the concentration of the pollutants in the air the higher the chance of an early death, according to the research.


Trump gains local support in possible shrinking of California’s Sequoia monument


President’s Trump’s push to abolish or shrink some of the country’s national monuments won support this week in a small section of the southern Sierra Nevada, where the Giant Sequoia National Monument is one of several California sites in the crosshairs.  The Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to send a letter to the Trump administration urging it to reduce the 328,000-acre Giant Sequoia monument to 90,000 acres.




(For stories on current Senate Health Proposal, see “Top Political Stories” section)


Death threats directed at Assembly leader over universal health care bill

Sacramento Bee

Anger over Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s decision to shelve universal health care legislation in California has boiled into aggressive protests and even violent rhetoric against the Democratic leader. Rendon said Wednesday that he and his family have experienced “distressing” death threats since announcing late last Friday that the “woefully incomplete” Senate Bill 562 would not move forward this year. (See also, In blocking a bad single-payer healthcare bill, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon was not ‘cowardly’ – quite the opposite. George Skelton – Los Angeles Times, Single-payer healthcare advocates protest at Capitol with a message for California’s Assembly speaker: ‘Shame on you!’ Los Angeles Times, CA lawmaker death threats for blocking universal health care The Sacramento Bee) and California’s single-payer fight: grisly imagery, death threats San Jose Mercury News)



​​​​We’re hosting a conversation about immigration in California and we want you to be part of it

LA Daily News

Immigration remains among the hottest of the nation’s most heated debates. The temperature is unlikely to drop any time soon. Potential designs for President Trump’s controversial proposed southern border wall are due to be made public July 22. And Trump has promised to push for additional funding for the wall in the fall, likely portending another escalation of rhetoric on all sides.

California’s attorney general joins the fight against President Trump’s ‘sanctuary city’ order 

Los Angeles Times

Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra led a group of ten states Wednesday in filing an court brief supporting San Francisco and other California communities that challenged President Trump’s executive order to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary jurisdictions.”


California voters could decide in 2020 whether to remove mandatory punishment for falsifying U.S. citizenship records

Los Angeles Times

A proposed California law would let state voters decide in November 2020 whether to remove the mandatory punishment for a person who falsifies citizenship documents.


Calif. Legislation to Repeal Anti-Immigrant Provisions in Prop. 187 Passes Senate Committee – AB 222

California Newswire

The Calif. Senate Public Safety Committee voted 5-2 to repeal anti-immigrant sections of the California Penal Code, enacted in 1994 as part of Proposition 187 to fight the perceived ills of illegal immigration and unfairly punish undocumented immigrants in California.


Trump’s Example Should Kill the Natural-Born-Citizen Clause

Fox and Hounds Daily

Joe Mathews: Here’s one bad thing that the Trump presidency should end: the U.S. constitution’s requirement that only a natural born citizen can be president of the United States. Trump’s example demolishes all the arguments for the clause.


Grandparents and cousins aren’t considered ‘close’ family under Trump’s new visa criteria 


Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationships.



Walters: Union-backed bills undermine collective bargaining

The Mercury News

The California Nurses Association made its political bones, so to speak, in 1999 when it persuaded the Legislature and a newly inaugurated, union-allied Democratic governor, Gray Davis, to impose strict nurse-to-patient ratios on hospitals.


Reduce glut of occupational licensing laws

Orange County Register

Occupational licensing laws increase costs to consumers, restrict employment opportunities and make it difficult for people to work in other states. While little has been done to curb even the excesses of licensing laws in California, momentum appears to be building across the country to undo licensing schemes which do little to benefit the public.


Parental leave mandate hurts small business

San Diego Union-Tribune

One of the things keeping state legislators busy in Sacramento right now is a shortsighted attempt to impose on California small businesses a new, one-size-fits-all mandated leave program that threatens their ability to stay in business. SB 63 would impose a new unmanageable mandate on small business. The bill would dictate another leave program over and above the existing pregnancy disability leave for new parents.


California gives gig workers a break—just a little one, but it’s a start 


Angelo Henry describes himself as “unemployed,” but that isn’t entirely right. Under California labor law, he’s a self-starting freelancer. An entrepreneur.




How should Stanislaus County spend $2.5 million it just got to fight homelessness?

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus and Merced counties each will receive $2.5 million to tackle homelessness in their communities.

The money is included in California’s new $183 billion budget, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed Tuesday. Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow credited Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, with securing the money.


California lawmakers have tried for 50 years to fix the state’s housing …

Los Angeles Times

After an hour of debate, Herb Perez had had enough.

Perez, a councilman in the Bay Area suburb of Foster City, was tired of planning for the construction of new homes to comply with a 50-year-old state law designed to help all Californians live affordably.


Affordable housing crisis grips California

Capitol Weekly

California lawmakers are in midst of trying to solve a housing crisis that has spread throughout the state. The crisis, which began largely in the  San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, is quickly becoming a top priority: An array of housing-related bills — 130 and counting — have been proposed in the Legislature since January.




Freeman sworn in as Ward 5 councilman; Council passes $494 million city budget

The Bakersfield Californian

The City Council meeting had seven voting members Wednesday for the first time in six months.  Bruce Freeman, retired president of Castle & Cooke’s mainland division who won the special election about three weeks ago, officially became the Ward 5 representative on the City Council in a brief ceremony before the council began its closed meeting.


It’s all good: Gov. Jerry Brown (again) signs a budget without any vetoed spending

Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown holds two unique records when it comes to state budgets. No governor has signed more of them, and none in modern times have been as hesitant to veto items they don’t like.




New bridge in downtown Fresno may open in July

Fresno Bee

Drivers in downtown Fresno expected to start using a new Tuolumne Street bridge over future high-speed rail tracks by the end of last year.  A wetter-than-normal winter, however, contributed to delays and pushed the opening beyond target dates in May and June. But the California High-Speed Rail Authority now says it won’t be long now – and this time, it looks like authority leaders mean it. They hope to cut a ribbon in mid-July to celebrate opening the bridge between Broadway and G streets.


California Transportation Commission to vote on Huron bridge

KMPH Fox 26

On Thursday, the California Transportation Commission is set to vote on a request to dedicate $18 million in State Highway funds to build a bridge along SR 269 in Huron.


California to stop suspending licenses for traffic fines

The Bakersfield Californian/AP

Californians will no longer face losing their driver’s licenses because of unpaid traffic fines starting next month.

Gov. Jerry Brown said the punishment doesn’t help the state collect unpaid fines and can send low-income people into a cycle of job losses and more poverty.


California lawmaker pushing bill to jolt electric car market with $3 billion in subsidies

Los Angeles Times

California’s electric car rebate program needs a recharge to meet the state’s clean air goals, said Democrat Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco. His bill to provide $3 billion in subsidies for electric car buyers over 12 years is wending its way through the Legislature. On Wednesday, Ting held a news conference in San Francisco to promote it.


New paper examines the promise and policy of driverless cars

Brookings Institution

The World Economic Forum predicts that driverless cars will generate an additional $67 billion in auto industry revenue while providing $3.1 trillion in societal benefits.  




Save the California coast from Trump team

San Francisco Chronicles

Weakening environmental protections is a full-time job for the Trump administration. Its emissaries are going after pollution controls, wildlife areas and water quality rules. Now the White House is setting up marine sanctuaries off the California coast and elsewhere in U.S. waters for oil drilling.


State auditor gets OK to examine South Orange County water district’s financial records 

Orange County Register

The nonpartisan State Auditor’s Office was given the green light Wednesday, June 30, by a legislative committee to go over the financial records of the South Orange County Wastewater Authority following questions raised by area city officials about how the agency is spending its money.




Assemblyman Vince Fong honors Wounded Heroes Fund

The Bakersfield Californian

Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, on Wednesday honored Wounded Heroes Fund of Kern County as the Nonprofit of the Year for the 34th Assembly District.

The organization serves veterans and their families affected by injuries sustained in conflict overseas with the support and appreciation they need for a “healthy return” to civilian life, Fong’s office said in a news release.


Vietnam Moving Wall opens Thursday in Stockton

Stockton Record

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will open the wall’s visit to Weber Point at 3 p.m. today, but a ceremony at noon Saturday is likely to be the most emotionally impactful. Surviving veterans and their spouses/partners/significant others will be recognized.

Planned Parenthood changes, new phone charge, billionaires take sides in Schools race

Sacramento Bee

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter


CMAC Empowers Valley Voices through the Power of Media

Central Valley Community Foundation

Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) has been dedicated to empowering voices in our community through media. Located in the historic Fresno Bee building in downtown Fresno, the 1,000-square-foot facility houses sophisticated, state-of-the-art production, filming, and editing equipment – and it’s all available for use by the public for a low cost annual membership.


Community Calendar – June 29 edition

Sierra Star

Fresno Co Library Event Information

Learn how you can make a cable TV show, in Fresno/Clovis, w/ @CMACTV! Today (6:30-8:30) at Betty Rodriguez Br.


Registration opens for 2017 California Economic Summit


The sixth annual statewide gathering of the state’s largest public- and private-sector network will build on the progress made in workforce preparation, housing and community development, infrastructure and working landscapes.