June 30, 2017



Trump commission on voting fraud asks states for voter data

Fresno Bee

President Donald Trump’s commission investigating alleged voter fraud in the 2016 elections has asked states for a list of the names, party affiliations, addresses and voting histories of all voters, if state law allows it to be public.  See also:  Trump’s voter fraud commission wants to know the voting history, party ID and address of every voter in America SFGate.com,California official bristles at Trump voter fraud panel’s records request

San Francisco Chronicle


California’s top elections officer to Trump’s voting fraud panel: No

Los Angeles Time
President Trump’s voter fraud commission will not be getting the names and addresses of California’s registered voters. The panel’s request was denied on Thursday by Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who said it would only “legitimize” false claims of massive election cheating last fall.


Brennan Center to States: Examine Legal Obligations Before Providing Voters’ Personal Information to White House

NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice

While every state makes some information from its voter rolls publicly available, obtaining that information typically involves a specific request process and payment, creating a paper trail and ensuring that voters’ personal data is not widely accessible. Additionally, a large number of states impose restrictions on the use or disclosure of information from the voter files, and even impose penalties for improper usage. But Kobach’s request upends state procedures and would make an unprecedented amount of information about individual voters publicly available in one location. The request has already been harshly criticized by state election officials and civil rights organizations, some of whom have raised concerns that the information could also be used to keep eligible voters from the polls.

Supporters file lawsuit to stop Josh Newman recall

Sacramento Bee

The campaign opposing the recall of California Sen. Josh Newman unveiled a lawsuit Thursday calling on a judge to stop the effort from moving forward.


Those emails asking for campaign contributions should slow down soon

Sacramento Bee

As tonight’s mid-year deadline for political fundraising looms over candidates for both federal and California offices, donors have probably received a lot of emails like this: “[Insert name here],


Tired of exporting campaign cash, these politicos are putting California first

Los Angeles Times

California feeds the world with its bounty, fuels the economy with its innovation, fires the imagination with its creativity. There is one export, though, that is far less celebrated: the unceasing torrent of outbound campaign cash.


Lawmakers torn over whether to reveal true funders behind campaign ads


Who pays for all those political ads that bombard voters every election season?


Covering politics in a “post-truth” America

Brookings Institution

Fake news surpassed mainstream news on Facebook for the first time just before the 2016 election.


Do we still believe in free speech?

Miami Herald

Today’s conflicts are the most complicated yet and show no sign of easing. But as more than one scholar has pointed out, free speech is the starting place for all our other rights. We shouldn’t lose sight of what’s at stake: Without the free flow of ideas, the American experiment cannot succeed.


California Assembly Speaker Urges Dialysis Company to Stop Retaliating Against Workers Who Support Union, Improving Patient Care, Reports SEIU-UHW

PR Newswire

California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and five other state legislators recently urged dialysis corporation DaVita to stop retaliating against employees who support forming a union in their workplace and a bill to improve patient care, after nearly two dozen workers were fired or disciplined for their advocacy efforts since October 2016.



This is what Sacramento needs from its new police chief

Sacramento Bee

Daniel Hahn is the police chief Sacramento appears to be getting, but time will tell if he’s the police chief that Sacramento needs. Only a reformer will do, and the path before him is daunting to say the least.




Large study links key pesticide to weakened honeybee hives

The Sacramento Bee

A common and much-criticized pesticide dramatically weakens already vulnerable honeybee hives, according to a new massive field study in three European countries.


Monsato Plans to Fight California’s Carcinogenic Ingredient Labeling of Crop Pesticide

Daily Meal

The main ingredient of the pesticide Roundup will be added to a list of chemicals that California believes are linked to cancer, and products that contain the compound will have to carry a warning label by next year.


Scientists bet on parasitic wasps to beat shot hole borer


Scientists at the University of California, Riverside have identified a small, parasitic wasp from Taiwan that could help suppress Southern California’s growing polyphagous shot hole borer infestation. In the past few years, the pest is estimated to have killed as many as 40,000 trees in the region.


Marijuana Needs Middlemen to Reach the Mainstream Market

Zócalo Public Square

California’s marijuana industry will soon begin its transition from an illicit ecosystem fraught with guns, cash, and cartels into a regulated economic juggernaut.




NRA recruitment video seemingly calls for violence, upsets gun owners

Fresno Bee

“They use their media to assassinate real news,” the woman’s voice says scornfully. “They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again.”


Madera police seek FBI help in reviewing officer-involved shootings

Fresno Bee

Madera Police Department has asked for the FBI to conduct an “independent review” of the city’s two officer-involved shootings earlier this month.


Federal judge blocks California law that bans magazines holding more than 10 bullets

Sacramento Bee

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a voter-approved California law that would have forced gun owners to get rid of high-capacity ammunition magazines by this Saturday. See also: Federal judge blocks new California gun control law requiring disposal of large-capacity magazines Los Angeles TimesJudge Blocks Calif. High-Capacity Ammo Magazine Ban KMJ

Ben Fire grows to 630 acres in Mariposa County, but containment is improving

Sierra Star
A wildfire in Mariposa County, directly west of Ahwahnee, has grown to 630 acres but is 30% contained, Cal Fire spokeswoman Jaime Williams said in a Thursday release


California seen as facing potentially severe fire season

Merced Sun-Star

With nearly 30,000 acres charred already, California could be in for a severe wildfire season, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Thursday as firefighters worked to contain blazes around the state.


Fact Check: No Evidence Undocumented Commit More Crimes

NBC Bay Area

President Donald Trump highlighted the issue of illegal immigration at the White House Wednesday as he met with families that have lost loved ones to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants…But according to national statistics, the rate of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. tripled between the 1990s and 2013, while violent crime declined 48 percent and property crime fell 41 percent over that period.


Research: When a Retail Store Closes, Crime Increases Around It

Harvard Business Review

From Boston to Los Angeles, “mixed use” development, combining residential and commercial properties, is on the rise. The benefits that have been cited for colocating housing and retail establishments include reduced travel distances, more-pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, and stronger local character. Recent research suggests another important potential benefit: Retail establishments may play an imp




Just a high school diploma? Not when you overcome what many of these graduates faced

Fresno Bee

Fresno county high school commencement speeches.


Dozens of Fresno County migrant students enjoying a two week space camp at Fresno State


Forty-five migrant students from six different school districts in Fresno County are getting a glimpse of what it’s like to work as an astronaut. The 10 day Space Camp at Fresno State is helping students advance their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills.

Hanford native aims to inspire

Hanford Sentinel

Hanford native Aaron Brieno read a 2014 Sentinel article titled “County makes least-educated cities report,” and was shocked to read that the Hanford-Corcoran area was ranked fifth in a list of the top 10 least educated cities in America, according to Delaware-based financial news company 24/7 Wall St.


Learning the art of Origami

Sierra Star

For 40 or so young attendees, it was all about geometric designs last Wednesday during the Oakhurst Library’s Summer Reading Program.


Black students shushed at school library while whites were ignored, lawsuit says

Modesto Bee

Librarians shushed some black students while giving a pass to white students, says a civil rights lawsuit against Modesto Junior College and the Yosemite Community College District.


Education: UC adds sexual misconduct policies

The Business Journals

The University of California system announced new policies for responding to sexual misconduct by faculty and staff members, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported.


Cunningham legislation to keep marijuana out of schools earns approval from key committee 

Paso Robles Daily News

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) announced this week his legislation to keep schools drug-free was approved by the Senate Health Committee. The committee endorsed AB 1090 which prohibits possession of marijuana while on a school campus at any time. Recreational marijuana was recently legalized through Proposition 64, and Cunningham’s bill will help ensure marijuana is kept away from children as the drug comes onto the market.


​California Could Introduce an Online-Only State Community College


California has 114 community colleges across the state, but Gov. Jerry Brown wants one more, and he wants it completely online. Inside Higher Ed reports that the purpose of the college would be to reach unemployed and underemployed adults who California Community College officials say the system isn’t reaching at its brick-and-mortar institutions.


Trump’s proposed cuts to education funding creates friction in charter school community 


​President Donald​ Trump’s and ​Education Secretary ​​Betsy ​DeVos’ endorsement of charter schools is driving a wedge between traditional allies and is threatening to undermine the bipartisan support charter schools have received.​



Jerry Brown looking for climate change deal in California

The Sacramento Bee
In a room once occupied by Republican Gov. Earl Warren, Jerry Brown toasted legislators from across the aisle at a recent climate luncheon in the stately Governor’s Mansion.

Republican lawmakers, the Democratic governor said emphatically, are an essential component of the coalition he needs to pass a bullet-proof extension of California’s cap and trade system, a complex, market-based program viewed as the linchpin of his climate change fight.


Environmentalists, fishing groups file lawsuits to block Delta tunnels plan

Mercury News

Kicking off what are expected to be years of legal battles, a coalition of environmental and fishing groups on Thursday filed the first major lawsuits over California Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion plan to build two massive, 35-mile-long tunnels under the Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.


Sacramento is no L.A. That’s why Volkswagen is bringing electric car program here 

Sacramento Bee

Sacramento motorists probably know this already: For all its sprawl and lengthy commutes, the city is far more manageable then Los Angeles. Which is why Sacramento, and not Los Angeles, is about to be showered with a fleet of electric cars supplied by Volkswagen. See also: Volkswagen submits revised plan for installing charging stations as part of emission-cheating settlement  Los Angeles Times

Investigation: State Lawmakers Run Up Taxpayer-Funded Gas Cards After Record Tax Hike

CBS Los Angeles

On the same day the California Legislature passed the largest gas-tax increase in state history, CBS2’s David Goldstein found 11 charges for more than $400 in gasoline on state-issued credit cards assigned to both the Senate and the Assembly.


Why are Californian solar firms paying to give away power?

BBC News

The state has been forced into the arrangement to “avoid overloading its own power lines”, according to the Los Angeles Times. The situation doesn’t necessarily mean we are “throwing money away”, says economist Severin Borenstein, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.




There is no known limit to how long humans can live, researchers say

Fresno Bee

Back in October, a controversial study made waves by suggesting that, for the most part, human beings had a natural limit on their lifespans that ended at 115 years. Now, the same academic journal that published the study has released five different studies arguing the exact opposite.


As Senate delays health care vote, fight heats up in California GOP districts

The Mercury News

On the surface, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision this week to delay a vote on the Senate’s health care bill might seem frustrating to the House Republicans who backed a measure to rip up the Affordable Care Act.


Less coverage, more uninsured: Here’s what the latest Republican healthcare plan could mean for women

LA Times

Women’s health advocates have assailed the plans put forward by congressional Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act, saying they would cause disproportionate harm to half the adult population.


Why Planned Parenthood in California persists

Sacramento Bee

Before she built California into a national force on family planning – before the teen pregnancy epidemics and the anti-choice ballot measures, before the bomb threats against clinics that would have closed had it not been for her determination and grit – before all that, Katherine Kneer was 19-year-old Kathy Souza, a junior college freshman with a positive pregnancy test.

Nursing Homes Worry Proposed Medicaid Cuts Will Force Cuts, Closures


The Senate vote on the health care bill has been pushed back, but it still has a lot of people in the nursing home industry worried. About two-thirds of nursing home residents are paid for by Medicaid. And the Congressional Budget Office found that the Senate health care bill would cut Medicaid by more than $770 billion over the next decade.


In California city with few health care options, this firehouse answers the call

PBS NewsHour Podcasts

Listen to In a city with few health care options, this firehouse answers the call with innovative way to cover the uninsured.


California’s Single-Payer Bill Halted by Assembly Speaker

New Yorker

As part of what some are calling a “soft secession” from Republican-ruled Washington, California progressives are weighing various forms of resistance to Trump administration initiatives (notably in immigration enforcement), along with alternative policies the state might pursue on its own. The most striking in this latter category, considering how close Congress is right now to enacting a highly reactionary health-care bill, is a drive to create a state-based single-payer system.


California Stem Cell Report

Capitol Weekly

The agency’s directors allotted $44 million of the amount for two clinical trials and potentially two more trials, which are the last stages before approval of treatments for use by the general public. Prior to today’s action, the agency — known officially as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine or CIRM — was helping to finance 27 active clinical trials.


Clinica Sierra Vista named nonprofit of the year for 32nd Assembly District

Bakersfield Californian

Clinica Sierra Vista, a large chain of clinics for low-income residents, was named Nonprofit of the Year for the 32nd Assembly District this week by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield. “Nonprofits like Clinica Sierra Vista fill a vital healthcare need in our community,” Salas said in a news release. “For a generation, Clinica Sierra Vista has demonstrated a commitment to delivering quality rural health care and providing hundreds of health-related jobs throughout the region.”




California joins other states asking the Trump administration for information on how it’s enforcing immigration law

Los Angeles Times

A group of nine state attorneys general, including California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday seeking records that would clarify how the Trump administration is enforcing federal immigration law.


​​​​Two California Democrats join with House Republicans to vote for ‘Kate’s Law’

Los Angeles Times

There would be tougher penalties for people repeatedly caught crossing the border illegally, and millions of dollars less in federal funds for so-called sanctuary jurisdictions such as Los Angeles under two House immigration bills approved Thursday.


Immigration bills approved by House would increase penalties under ‘Kate’s Law’ and punish sanctuary cities

Los Angeles Times

There would be tougher penalties for people repeatedly caught in the country illegally and millions of dollars less in federal funds for so-called sanctuary cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco under House immigration bills approved Thursday.


House passes Kate’s Law, as part of illegal immigrant crackdown

Fox News

One bill passed by the House would deny federal grants to sanctuary cities and another, Kate’s Law, would increase the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States.  Kate’s Law, which would increase the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States and caught, passed with a vote of 257 to 157, with one Republican voting no and 24 Democrats voting yes.


House Votes to End Some Federal Funds for `Sanctuary’ Cities


The U.S. House voted to cut off some federal funding for state and local governments that have “sanctuary” policies preventing their personnel from cooperating with federal immigration officers.


Immigration Entitlement: Universal Right to Enter United States Means End of Law

National Review

The real debate about immigration isn’t about the terms of Trump’s travel order. It’s an effort to treat entry to the U.S. as a right.



How State Apprenticeships Could Ease Staffing Woes

Pew Charitable Trust | Stateline

It’s not unusual for firefighters and police officers to start their careers as apprentices. Some state agencies are also embracing the training strategy.


California gives gig workers a break


This week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new budget that will expand the state’s earned income tax credit—one of the state’s premier anti-poverty programs—to the self-employed. The credit is directed primarily at poor families with children, and gig workers like Henry now stand to benefit too, though in his case it will mean only an extra $60 for the year.


Walters: California Legislature’s union-backed bills undermine collective bargaining 


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.


The Effects of Travel and Tourism on California’s Economy: A Labor Market–Focused Analysis


In California, travel/tourism employs a diverse workforce and contributes meaningfully to the state’s economy. This report evaluates the role of travel/tourism on the state’s economy.

Hospitality industry pushes Trump for bigger role in national parks


The hospitality industry is betting that President Trump’s desire to cut the National Park Service’s (NPS) budget, combined with the GOP’s long-standing goal of moving federal functions to the private sector, presents an opportunity to make inroads in campgrounds, fee collection and other services at parks.



Stockton’s failure to build enough homes


Stockton need to build 16,540 homes to provide enough for its population. But the city has built only 1,673 — 10% of homes needed.


California lawmakers have tried for 50 years to fix the state’s housing crisis. Here’s why they’ve failed

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.




CA Tobacco Tax Set to Increase


Beginning this Saturday, the California tobacco tax on products other than cigarettes will more than double.  See also: New tax rate coming on some tobacco products The Business Journal


California legislators propose interactive, transparent budget website

The Signal

California is dead last in terms of the transparency of its government spending. This is according to a 2016 report by the California Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, who ranked each state according to how easy it is to find information about state money online.


The Grave Issue of Increasing Property Tax Revenue

Fox and Hounds Daily

My fellow Baby Boomers and I can help raise tax revenue for schools and local governments—all we have to do is die. That’s the message I got from this Bloomberg News headline: Boomers Nearing End of Life Seen Helping California Tax Revenue.


CalPERS loses Supreme Court case against investment banks, missing chance to claw back millions for state’s retirees

San Francisco Business Times

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has lost a U.S. Supreme Court case it had brought against host of investment banks over what it says was a $300 million loss it suffered when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.



Good news, Highway 46 travelers: State gives about $28 million for widening in Lost Hills


The California Transportation Commission will provide about $28 million to fund widening Highway 46 between Interstate 5 and Lost Hills. This east-west highway in western Kern County connects the Central Valley to the coast and is currently two lanes from I-5 to Brown Material Road.


July 4 travelers will pay lowest gas prices since 2005

Central Valley Business Times

Continued declines have brought gas prices in many parts of California to their lowest pre-Independence Day levels since 2005, according to price surveys Friday.

“These record low gas prices for this decade will benefit an all-time record number of … Independence Day travelers,” says Jeffrey Spring,” a spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California.


Orange Cove: Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Training

UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks are thrilled to provide Orange Cove with this free 4-hour workshop aimed at building community education and capacity to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in the community.



Lawsuits challenge ambitious California water tunnels

Washington Post/AP

Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious plans to build two massive tunnels, reengineering the hub of California’s water system, would destroy native fish species already on the brink of extinction, lawsuits filed Thursday said.


Did a mistake by the Army Corps of Engineers lead to the Kings River flooding?

Fresno Bee

Flooding along the lower Kings River might have been avoided if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had not miscalculated the rush of snowmelt into Pine Flat Lake during the triple-digit heat wave.


Trump administration moves to withdraw clean-water rule

ABC News

The Trump administration moved Tuesday to roll back an Obama administration policy that protected more than half the nation’s streams from pollution but drew attacks from farmers, fossil fuel companies and property-rights groups as federal overreach.


Building a Model to Help Restore Oroville Dam’s Shattered Spillway 


Anyone who contemplated the wreckage of the Oroville Dam’s main spillway back in February — either while water was pounding down the shattered concrete structure or when the flow was stopped later and the enormity of the damage was fully visible — probably had this thought cross their mind: “That is going to be tough to fix.” See also: He oversaw dam safety as problems lurked at Oroville. Should he be advising state?  Sacramento Bee.


California in July: It’s time to hit the slopes

Mercury News

Swimsuit. Sunscreen. Skis. You’re ready: Celebrate your independence by schussing the slopes during the longest snow season in California history.


California Today: Heat Wave’s Triple Threat

New York Times

The winter’s abundant snowfall in the Sierra Nevada was a godsend for California’s water needs.  The snowpack operates like a water tap for the state. In a perfect world, melted snow flows at an even pace into a network of waterways that help quench the needs of farmers and city dwellers through the dry months of summer.




Fresno State student recognized as 2017 Veteran of the Year

Fresno State News

Fresno state student Jordan Cody, a sophomore communication major and Marine Corps veteran, was honored by Assemblyman Jim Patterson as the 2017 Veteran of the Year.


Smoking at California parks and beaches could soon be illegal

The Mercury News

Public parks and state beaches would be added to the list of no-smoking zones in California under a bill from an East Bay Democrat that cleared another legislative hurdle this week.


Your Weekend


Have you made plans for the weekend yet? If not, we have a few ideas for your consideration.


Fitzgerald: Give rogue art a chance

Stockton Record

A rogue craftsperson erected a colorful totem pole in Victory Park this week. City workers promptly took it down because it was put up without a permit and of safety concerns … sigh..


$5 billion stem cell bond scrapped for 2018 ballot.

Capitol Weekly

Plans to ask California voters in 2018 to approve a $5 billion bond issue to finance the California stem cell agency have been shelved, a director of the agency said Thursday.