May 13, 2020



North SJ Valley:

Merced County reports fourth COVID-19-related death. Plan for reopening submitted to state

Merced Sun-Star

Although a state requirement for counties to reopen faster is no COVID-19 related deaths for two weeks, Public Health officials say the new death won’t affect the plan since it was submitted prior to the fatality.

Stanislaus County will look the other way if businesses defy Newsom’s stay-home order

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County will not spend resources to enforce the governor’s coronavirus stay-at-home order, effectively sending a message that many non-essential businesses can open at their own risk. The Board of Supervisors’ unanimous decision Tuesday was not a blanket approval for business owners to resume operations. 

See also:

●     Stanislaus County rescinds stay at home order Turlock Journal

●     Coronavirus update: Stanislaus deaths at 22; county balks at some state rules Modesto Bee

●     EDITORIAL: Savvy Stanislaus supervisors placate political base while sidestepping responsibilityModesto Bee

Some SJ supervisors frustrated over pace of reopening

Stockton Record

Some members of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday expressed frustration over the speed of reopening the local economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Central SJ Valley:

Fresno City Councilmember cited after confrontation with anti-shelter group at his home

Fresno Bee

Group included Ben Bergquam, who organized last week’s Freedom Rally protesting the city’s shelter in place order.

See also:

●     Coronavirus updates: More deaths in the region; Tension between Fresno officials, protestersFresno Bee

●     Miguel Arias cited for three counts of assault after confrontation with protesters abc30

●     California City Council President Cited For Assault After Shoving Conservatives Protesting Coronavirus Restrictions Newsweek

Fresno Waffle Shop owner will do takeout only after facing ‘aggressive behavior,’ fines

Fresno Bee

The Waffle Shop has closed its dining room and is returning to takeout only following protests and an incident that led to one man being handcuffed by police in Fresno. The Waffle Shop on Figarden Drive defied city and state orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic and opened to dine-inThursday. It was fined $1,000, which was paid for immediately by customers.

New Relief Program Targets Downtown Fresno Businesses

Business Journal

COVID-19 has presented a number of challenges to the progress made in revitalizing Downtown Fresno. Most of the downtown businesses have closed their doors to comply with the City of Fresno’s emergency shelter in place order.

Kings County working to reopen ASAP

Hanford Sentinel

Working to reopen the county as soon as possible, the Kings County Board of Supervisors is set to hold a special meeting Friday where it hopes to review an attestation to the state.

South SJ Valley:

Seven counties receive coveted regional variance, as Kern sees promising signs in governor’s remarks

Bakersfield Californian

Newsom appeared open to a special arrangement between the state and Kern that could allow aspects of Kern county to reopen even if it fails to meet certain requirements.

CSUB’s first female president recognized as CSSA President of the Year


California State University, Bakersfield’s first female president was recognized by the Cal State Student Association for her work these past two years at CSUB. President Lynnette Zelezny was named President of the Year by the Cal State Student Association during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.


Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 pandemic orders are holding up in court

Fresno Bee

State and federal courts have thus far reinforced California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pandemic emergency authority, according to a review of the cases by The Sacramento Bee. Newsom has faced multiple legal challenges since he enacted a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19.

See also:

●     Churches, Gunshops And Irate Brides: All The Shutdown Lawsuits Against Newsom, ExplainedCapital Public Radio

California Senate proposal tackles rents, economic recovery

Bakersfield Californian

Californians unable to pay their rent because of the coronavirus crisis could have their payments covered by the state Legislature, Senate leaders announced Tuesday, part of a massive $25 billion aid package that looks to the future to pay for relief needed today.

See also:

●     Renters’ assistance part of massive $25B California relief package proposal Stockton Record

●     California tenants could get 10 years to pay back rent under this Democratic plan Sacramento Bee

●     California considers unprecedented $25-billion economy recovery fund, rental relief Los Angeles Times

●     Rent relief: Tenants would get decade to repay under legislators’ coronavirus plan San Francisco Chronicle

Newsom sets new rules for reopening California restaurants, malls and offices amid coronavirus

Los Angeles Times

California restaurants and shopping malls can soon reopen in counties that meet state standards for testing and success at reducing cases of the coronavirus, but all businesses will have to abide by state guidelines for physical distancing and cleaning regimens, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

See also:

●     New signs that coronavirus restrictions are here for the long haul in California Los Angeles Times

●     Placer, Nevada join list of California counties approved for many business reopenings Sacramento Bee

●     Mariposa County submits request to re-open faster than state abc30

●     El Dorado and Butte counties get California’s first approvals to reopen some businessesSacramento Bee

●     Updated: See how prepared California is to reopen in 6 charts Sacramento Bee

●     Which California counties are reopening? Los Angeles Times

●     California cracks down on rogue bars CalMatters

●     Governor Newsom Announces Offices May Reopen As California Progresses Further Into Phase 2 Reopening; State Guidelines and Any More Restrictive Local Requirements Still Apply AALRR

California missed its best chance against coronavirus in early weeks, study says. Here’s why

Sacramento Bee

The CA Department of Public Health was hindered by faulty data from the federal government and a lack of resources to investigate as travelers flew into the state from China and Iran, a new CDC study shows.

California cut schools and raised taxes in its last recession. What will Newsom do now?

Sacramento Bee

Heading into a new recession, California has one big thing going for it that it lacked the last time a sudden downturn sent the state’s economy reeling: A stockpile of money built up in reserves and various accounts that can be put to use in a crisis.

Lawmakers told half-billion dollar Blue Flame mask deal thwarted by suspicious bankers


Amid a global shortage of face masks that could help stem the spread of the coronavirus, California officials received an intriguing call on March 23. The caller said he had access to 100 million coveted N95 masks that were sitting at the Port of Long Beach. He’d sell them to the state of California for $4.76 each — a bargain compared to other vendors asking between $6 and $12 at the time.

State Rules Can Complicate Rainy Day Fund Withdrawals

Rainy day funds represent the first line of defense for states facing serious budget gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and steep declines in revenue associated with the economic downturn.

Governor Issues Executive Order Impacting Collective Bargaining, Administrative Hearings, Post Basic Academy Instruction, and Various Statutory Timelines

On May 8, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-63-20(“the Order”), which impacts school districts, county offices of education and community colleges (“School Employers”) by suspending various statutes and regulations affecting collective bargaining, administrative hearings, Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) requirements, and which also extends a number of statutory timelines.


GOP senators give Democrats’ $3T relief bill a cold shoulder

Fresno Bee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a more than $3 trillion coronavirus aid package, a sweeping effort with $1 trillion for states and cities, “hazard pay” for essential workers and a new round of cash payments to individuals.

See also:

●     Pelosi unveils $3T virus bill, warns inaction costs more Fresno Bee

●     House Democrats outline their next coronavirus relief bill, but GOP says it’s too soon to act Los Angeles Times

●     McConnell, Senate GOP declare House Democrats’ $3T coronavirus bill ‘dead on arrival’ The Hill

●     House Democrats introduce coronavirus rescue bill that would direct more than $3 trillion to states, individuals, health systems Washington Post

●     House Democrats Release $3 Trillion Bill to Respond to Coronavirus Wall Street Journal

Supreme Court appears likely to reject Trump immunity claim

Fresno Bee

The Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared likely to reject President Donald Trump’s claim that he is immune from criminal investigation while in office. But the court seemed less clear about exactly how to handle subpoenas from Congress and the Manhattan district attorney for Trump’s tax, bank and financial records.

See also:

●     Supreme Court appears divided over Trump’s tax and bank records Los Angeles Times

●     Opinion: Does the rule of law apply to Trump? The Supreme Court has to decide Los Angeles Times

Fauci Warns States Not To ‘Jump Over’ Guidelines To Reopening


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned Tuesday of states and localities skipping over federal guidelines while trying to lift restrictions and restart their economies amid the coronavirus pandemic.

See also:

●     Fauci fatigue sets in among some Republicans Politico

●     Fauci warns coronavirus not ‘under control,’ says rapid reopening risks new outbreaks Los Angeles Times

●     Fauci warns against lifting restrictions too fast Roll Call

●     Fauci puts it bluntly: Coronavirus deaths are undercounted Washington Post

●     Read the CDC Guidance on How to Reopen U.S. Economy That Was ‘Shelved’ By White House Officials Time

●     AP Exclusive: CDC guidance more restrictive than White House AP

●     Rand Paul: Pandemic Response Marred by ‘Wrong Prediction after Wrong Prediction’ National Review

●     Trump vs. the skeptics: Reopening fight highlights polar opposite outcomes Politico

Americans’ expectations for safe public gatherings slip to July at the earliest, Post-U. Md. poll finds

Washington Post

As the coronavirus spreads across the country, Americans are curbing their expectations about when it will be safe for gatherings of 10 or more people, with about 2 in 3 adults now saying it will not be until July or later before those events can happen, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

Trump’s Approval Rating Has Declined Most With Independents, Older Americans And Black Voters, Poll Finds


President Donald Trump’s approval rating during the coronavirus pandemic has decreased among Independents, older Americans and black voters, according to a new poll.

With Obamagate, Trump returns to a favorite distraction tactic


Donald Trump launched his political career turbocharging the conspiratorial birther movement. Now Trump is trying to keep his presidency afloat with another theory about his predecessor: Obamagate.

See Also:

●     Trump’s vicious claim that Joe Scarborough might have murdered an aide Washington Post

●     As coronavirus roils the nation, Trump reverts to tactic of accusing foes of felonies Washington Post

As some restaurants reopen, model shows how coronavirus can spread farther than 6 feet


Formerly closed or takeout-only restaurants may have more to consider than just masks and gloves to keep customers safe, as states begin to lift coronavirus lockdowns. 

Commentary: US federal research spending is at a 60-year low. Should we be concerned?


The most tweetable takeaways from a new Goldman Sachs report on US science investment tend to focus on the Trump administration. Like this one: “The Trump administration has repeatedly tried to cut funding from federal research and public health agencies.”

Coronavirus Trackers:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

See also:

●     California Department of Public Health

●     Coronavirus (COVID-19) CDC

●     Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic – WHO

●     John Hopkins University & Medicine John Hopkins University

●     Tracking coronavirus in California Los Angeles Times

●     Coronavirus Tracker San Francisco Chronicle

●      Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count New York Times

●     How many coronavirus cases have been reported in each U.S. state? Politico

●     Coronavirus Daily NPR

●     Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as the pandemic spreads Financial Times

●     Coronavirus in California by the numbers CalMatters

Elections 2020:

Republican has early lead for open California US House seat

Fresno Bee

A former Navy combat pilot grabbed an early lead Tuesday in the fight for an open U.S. House seat north of Los Angeles, giving California Republicans a rare chance to reclaim a congressional district in the overwhelmingly Democratic state. 

See also:

●     Republican Mike Garcia leads in race to fill Democrat Katie Hill’s seat Los Angeles Times

●     Race to replace Katie Hill in Congress appears headed to a runoff Los Angeles Times

●     GOP winning back congressional seat in LA County, early results show San Francisco Chronicle

Republican Melendez wins California State Senate race

Fresno Bee

Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez won a special election Tuesday to fill a Southern California state Senate seat. 

Poll: Biden favorability dips, leads Trump by 3 points nationally

The Hill

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads President Trump by 3 points in a new national survey that found Biden’s favorability rating decline amid an uptick in media coverage of Tara Reade’s allegation of assault.

See also:

●     Why Kamala Harris Isn’t Clamoring to Be Biden’s Running Mate New York Times

●     Basement-bound Biden campaign worries some Democrats Fresno Bee

●     Rep. Jayapal ‘concerned’ whether Biden can motivate young progressives San Francisco Chronicle

Calif Special Election Provides Early Snapshot Of Socially Distanced Campaigning


The first competitive congressional race of the coronavirus era takes place Tuesday in Southern California, where Republican Mike Garcia and Democrat Christy Smith are vying to fill the vacancy left by former Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned last yearbecause of a personal scandal.

Asian American voter numbers are growing, but they often don’t get the info they need

Sacramento Bee

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing group of the nation’s eligible voters, a study shows. Six out of 10 Asians in the U.S. will be able to vote in November’s presidential election. Of those voters, 35 percent live in California.

Trump Is Courting Black Voters. His Failures on the Virus Are a Problem.

New York Times

Since he took office, President Trump and his advisers have made a show of trying to chip away at the overwhelming support that Democrats enjoyed from black voters in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Kushner, Law Aside, Doesn’t Rule Out Delaying 2020 Election

New York Times

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, refused on Tuesday to rule out postponing the presidential election in November, a comment that fed directly into Democratic concerns that President Trump might use the coronavirus crisis to delay or delegitimize the contest and one that contradicted Mr. Trump himself.

See Also:

●     Jared Kushner clarifies after saying he’s ‘not sure’ he can commit to date for presidential electionWashington Post

Borenstein: Gov. Newsom bungles all-mail balloting during pandemic

Mercury News

Gov. Gavin Newsom took the right first step last week by ordering that all California registered voters receive ballots at home that they can return by mail for the November election. It’s a no-brainer that will help minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus in the upcoming presidential election.

OPINION: ‘Faithless Electors’ at the Supreme Court

Wall Street Journal

In December 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign called for members of the Electoral College to be briefed on Russia-related intelligence before voting to ratify Donald Trump’s November election victory. This was unprecedented and amounted to an effort to nullify the judgment of 137 million voters.

See Also:

●     OPINION: ‘Faithless’ Electors Are Faithful to the Constitution Wall Street Journal


Tension between emergency powers and individual rights & liberties


The government’s broad powers to protect the public during declared emergencies are well- established, but this power is not unfettered. Emergency powers exist against a backdrop of individual rights and liberties, many of which, such as First Amendment rights to assemble and worship and 14th Amendment rights to be free from discrimination, are sacrosanct and should be abridged only after careful and cautious consideration — even in emergencies, like the coronavirus pandemic.

OPINION: After Coronavirus, Government Will Have to Shrink

Wall Street Journal

In the response to the coronavirus pandemic, leftists see a model for the future. “Not only will America need a massive dose of big government to get out of this crisis,” one wrote, “but we will need big, and wise, government more than ever in its aftermath.”

Why Do Conspiracy Theories Flourish During a Crisis?

Psychology Today

Conspiracy theories tend to flourish amidst a societal crisis and are fueled by online interaction. No surprise then that 2020, as people shutter up at home trying to ride out COVID-19, is turning out to be the year of the conspiracy theory.


Coronavirus cases confirmed at Dinuba fruit-packing plant, Lemoore cheese-making factory

Fresno Bee

Two more central San Joaquin Valley food-processing facilities have reported positive cases of the coronavirus.

See also:

●     Svenhard’s employee tests COVID positive Visalia Times Delta

You’ll soon be able to eat inside some Calif restaurants. Here’s how it will look

Fresno Bee

Restaurants in El Dorado and Butte counties got the go-ahead from the state Tuesday to begin reopening for dine-in service. To get there, though, they’ll have to make some modifications.

See also:

●     State recommends masks for servers, disposable menus Visalia Times Delta

●     California diners may be screened for virus before seated Bakersfield Californian

●     California dining will barely resemble pre-pandemic experience under state guidelines Politico

Do groceries seem more expensive? April saw biggest jump in prices in nearly 50 years

Fresno Bee

Anyone who went grocery shopping last month likely felt a little more sticker shock than usual, and for good reason. Grocery prices jumped in April, the highest single-month increase the country has seen since 1974, according to the U.S. Consumer Price Index.

Local ranchers see demand in beef 


The clouds fill the skies over Fresno County, as the cattle at Dot Seven Ranch soak up the peace and calm in the country. “Demand for our business is really high. I think there has been a movement through COVID that want to get to know those who raise their food,” said Brooke Helsel, The Beef Boutique owner.

See Also:

●     People want beef. Ranchers have cows. Here’s what’s going wrong Los Angeles Times

Blue Diamond completes Turlock expansion

Turlock Journal

Less than 15 months after breaking ground on the project, Blue Diamond Growers recently announced the expansion of its Turlock manufacturing plant is complete.

COVID-19 Deepens Food Insecurity In The San Joaquin Valley

COVID-19, and the stay-at-home directives enacted to minimize its spread, have led to a shocking decline in employment. For many, the loss of wages means an increased reliance on food distribution centers. The Central California Food Bank works with churches, community centers and schools to distribute food in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Kern and Tulare counties.

Supervisors OK First Reading of New Industrial Hemp Ordinance

Sierra News

In a rare 3-2 split vote on Tuesday, the Madera County Board of Supervisors approved the first reading of a new ordinance regulating the growth of industrial hemp in the county.

OPINION: In Lockdown, Pot and Booze Are Bad News

Wall Street Journal

When my patients ask how to manage depression and avoid anxiety in isolation, I tell them to abstain from alcohol and marijuana. Responsible use of these substances is possible during normal times, and it’s tempting to reach for a drink or a joint to take the edge off. But lockdown is a recipe for overindulgence and dependence.



Repeat offenders repeatedly released under $0 bail, including Christmas Tree Lane criminal


Zero dollar bail is literally giving accused criminals a get out of jail free card. Action News has tracked several of the suspects who have become frequent visitors to the jail without necessarily staying very long.

DA’s Office: Looting charges important tool keeping crime under control during pandemic

Bakersfield Californian

Following at least 123 looting-related arrests by local law enforcement agencies since the state of emergency was declared, the Kern County District Attorney’s Office has used the charge as a tool to combat the “problems” of the statewide zero-bail mandate, according to Joseph Kinzel, the DA office’s spokesman.

Public Safety:

Counterfeit masks reaching frontline health workers in US

Associated Press

On a day when COVID-19 cases soared, healthcare supplies were scarce and an anguished doctor warned he was being sent to war without bullets, a cargo plane landed at the Los Angeles International Airport, supposedly loaded with the ammo doctors and nurses were begging for: some of the first N95 medical masks to reach the U.S. in almost six weeks.


Firefighters warn of freeway fire risks after battling dozens of grass fires


Fresno firefighters say dry conditions and wind have helped fuel dozens of grass fires in the past few days, and they say motorists may not realize their cars may also be adding to the risk.

PG&E bankruptcy judge weighs concerns about fire victims’ lawyer

San Francisco Chronicle

A 2017 wildfire survivor sought to persuade PG&E Corp.’s bankruptcy judge on Tuesday to make a key attorney in the case provide a better disclosure about his ties to Wall Street financiers.



Fresno County offering grants up $5,000 to small businesses amid coronavirus pandemic

Fresno Bee

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors directed about $5 million toward a loan program for businesses looking for help as they deal with the financial impacts of being closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

See also:

●     Fresno Co. Board of Supervisors unveils small business grant program abc30

●     Bank Of America Makes $160 Million In PPP Loans In Central Valley Business Journal

·       Minority-Owned Small Businesses Were Supposed To Get Priority. They May Not Have VPR

·       SBDC continues webinar series with look at loan forgiveness, retention credits Bakersfield Californian

Mariposa County continuing process of re-opening businesses


Supervisors approved what’s called an “attestation,” ensuring the county has met a long list of requirements to move through stage 2 of re-opening faster than the state.

Elon Musk becomes champion of defying virus stay-home orders

Fresno Bee

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has emerged as a champion of defying stay-home orders intended to stop the coronavirus from spreading, picking up support — as well as critics — on social media. 

See also:

●     Tesla CEO Elon Musk restarts Fremont, Calif. factory Visalia Times Delta

●     SpaceX seeks $656,000 from California as Musk battles to keep Tesla factory open Los Angeles Times

●     Coronavirus: Tesla fuels re-opening debate as employees come back to work Mercury News

●     EDITORIAL: Elon Musk’s dangerous coronavirus denialism San Francisco Chronicle

As More California Businesses Go Cashless During Pandemic, Lawmaker Continues Push To Ban The Practice

Capital Public Radio

A growing number of California businesses are going cashless during the coronavirus outbreak. But a bill in the Legislature — introduced back in February — would require businesses to accept payments in cash.

State Economic Development Officials Collaborate to Counter the Pandemic’s Impact

In response to the unprecedented shutdown of the nation’s economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, top state economic development officials have pivoted from competing with one another for businesses to a more collaborative approach.

Stocks Fall About 2% as Powell Says Outlook ‘Highly Uncertain’

Wall Street Journal

U.S. stocks fell Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the government may need to spend more to support the economy’s recovery from the coronavirus-induced contraction.

Americans Are Driving Less & Snacking More

Capital Public Radio

The latest inflation data offers a snapshot of Americans’ new pandemic spending habits. Prices are down for most goods and services but up sharply for groceries.

Commentary: Costly car loans may stall the COVID-19 economic recovery 


As the COVID-19 recession deepens, many households are struggling to keep up with basic costs of living. Housing, food, and health care are just a few costs pressuring those who may have lost jobs, fallen ill, or were already carrying a lot of debt. Lower-income, indebted households are especially vulnerable.


You can go back to the office if you can’t telework, Calif Gov. Gavin Newsom says

Fresno Bee

California office employees can now return to work if they need to, as long as their employers adhere to a strict set of modifications.

Tulare County freezes hiring due to coronavirus crisis

Visalia Times Delta

Tulare County instituted a hiring freeze this week to help “cushion the blow” of a projected $25 million budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Demand for unemployment comp grows in state, nation

Turlock Journal

The first week of May saw more than 4.1 million people collecting unemployment insurance with the state paying out a total of $8.9 billion in benefits.

See also:

●     Some California workers can make more in jobless benefits than lost wages. So why work?Sacramento Bee

States cut Medicaid as millions of jobless workers look to safety net


States facing sudden drops in tax revenue amid the pandemic are announcing deep cuts to their Medicaid programs just as millions of newly jobless Americans are surging onto the rolls.

They Lost Their Jobs. Now They May Have to Leave the U.S.

New York Times

Like millions of American workers, an Indian software engineer, a British market researcher and an Iranian architect lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike Americans, they are not entitled to unemployment benefits, despite paying taxes, because they are on foreign work visas.

Executive Order Extends Labor Code Related Administrative Deadlines 60 Days

On May 7, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-63-20, which allows reprieve for a number of labor-related administrative functions performed by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), the Division of Workers’ Compensation, and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).  

California Creates a Rebuttable Presumption that Certain Workers Who Report COVID-19 Illness Are Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits


On May 6, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20, immediately creating a monumental change in how claims of industrially contracted COVID-19 suffered by the state’s “essential workforce” will be addressed. 

Congress could save 10,000+ cannabis jobs with access to stimulus funds


A new national survey conducted by Leafly and the National Cannabis Roundtable has found that tens of thousands of jobs could be saved if Congress were to allow federal COVID-19 stimulus funds to flow through to state-legal companies.



Fresno-area high school seniors can ‘graduate twice’ as schools work around coronavirus

Fresno Bee

Fresno Unified high school seniors will get a chance to “graduate twice – virtually and in person,” Superintendent Bob Nelson said this week in an online forum.

SUSD trustees unanimously approve guidelines for superintendent search

Stockton Record

Stockton Unified School District trustees at a special meeting Tuesday unanimously approved guidelines for recruiting and hiring a superintendent/interim superintendent.

New State Child Care Website Comes Up Short

Capital Public Radio

Gov. Gavin Newsom promised that the state’s new child care website would give essential workers all the information they need to choose a provider for their kids. It isn’t quite working out that way.

Interrupted academic year, cuts in funding for California schools will severely impact our children


There’s no way to sugarcoat it: The unprecedented interruption of the current academic year will create learning loss for hundreds of thousands of children across California. For some – including the poorest and most vulnerable – that loss will be severe.

Student anxiety, depression increasing during school closures, survey finds


School closures were intended to keep students safe during the pandemic, but for many, it’s ushered in a different set of dangers: anxiety, depression and other serious mental health conditions.

Mathews: I Deserve An ‘a’ For Flunking My Kids’ Distance Learning


I’m proudly doing my duty as a California parent. I’m flunking distance learning. Distance learning is the term for our new COVID 19-era educational regime, which forces teachers and students to conduct classes and handle schoolwork at a distance, using the Internet.

WALTERS: Bill would close an intolerable loophole for schools


Early in his second governorship, Jerry Brown championed a major overhaul of school finance that, he pledged, would close the stubborn “achievement gap” that separated poor and English-learner students from children of more privileged circumstances.

Higher Ed:

Fresno State campus life won’t return to normal this fall, most classes remain online

Fresno Bee

Fresno State students can expect to take their fall semester courses online. Chancellor Timothy White announced Tuesday the 23 California State University campuses would not reopen in the fall, and classes will be held virtually.

See also:

●     CSU campuses, including Fresno State, suspending in-person classes through fall semester abc30

●     CSU Classes Moving Online in Fall, Chancellor Says Clovis RoundUp

●     Chancellor Announces Csu Campuses Will Be Virtual In The Fall Business Journal

●     Chancellor: COVID-19 means CSU campuses will have fall classes almost entirely online Modesto Bee

●     CSUs to hold most fall classes online Visalia Times Delta

●     CSU chancellor: Fall 2020 courses likely to be delivered virtually Bakersfield Californian

●     Coronavirus updates: CSU campuses go online-only for fall; Newsom shares more guidelinesSacramento Bee

●     CSU plans to cancel most in-person classes and go online this fall, chancellor says Los Angeles Times

●     First in nation, California State University to close campuses for in-person instruction this fallEdSource

●     Fearing a Second Wave, Cal State Will Keep Classes Online in the Fall New York Times

Decision looms for sports after CSUs opt for virtual fall, university presidents say

Fresno Bee

California State University chancellor Timothy White said on Tuesday that its campuses would not reopen in the fall and that classes would continue to be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with limited exceptions.

CSUB’s first female president recognized as CSSA President of the Year


California State University, Bakersfield’s first female president was recognized by the Cal State Student Association for her work these past two years at CSUB. President Lynnette Zelezny was named President of the Year by the Cal State Student Association during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.

CARES Act impacting accessibility for emergency financial aid for students


Changes made to the CARES Act by the U.S. Department of Education are affecting which students can access emergency financial aid. It’s also sparked a lawsuit by California Community Colleges.

California community colleges sue Betsy DeVos over coronavirus aid

San Francisco Chronicle

California’s community colleges chancellor and five college districts across the state sued U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Monday, claiming she is illegally excluding countless students from participating in billions of dollars of federal coronavirus relief aid.

Opportunities for Career Credentials in Secondary CTE


Obtaining career credentials in a secondary setting can serve as a strong indication of skills to a student’s future employers and educational institutions. Some state career and technical education policies provide opportunities to improve secondary student college and career readiness through earning credentials, which can serve as an on-ramp to future skill obtainment and careers.

Getting Colleges Out of the Law Enforcement Business

RealClear Policy

Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued new regulations for Title IX, which governs how colleges investigate and punish sexual misconduct. DeVos reversed troubling Obama-era guidance which had stripped the accused of the right to an attorney, the right to have a representative question the accuser, and the right to even be informed of the evidence in question.

The ‘Public’ in Public College Could Be Endangered

New York Times

Public colleges and universities are in trouble. Campuses may not reopen this fall, potentially gutting tuition and dormitory revenues. Endowments have been hit by the falling stock market, and alumni donations may dry up. Institutions without a financial cushion will struggle to survive.

Commentary: Evidence against the free-college agenda: An analysis of prices, financial aid, and affordability at public universities


Tuition prices at public universities have increased far less than what prominent free-college advocates claim, thanks to generous financial aid policies. Among low- and middle-income students, average net tuition prices increased less than $600 between the 1995–96 and 2015–16 academic years.



Refinery’s new owner plans to employ about 100 making clean-burning diesel

Bakersfield Californian

The Torrance company that recently bought the former Big West refinery on Rosedale Highway said Tuesday it expects to reopen the plant by early 2022 with about 100 employees producing some 10,000 barrels per day of plant-based “renewable diesel,” a fuel virtually indistinguishable from petroleum-derived diesel.

California Fish and Wildlife Department spent a half-million dollars on boat it barely uses

Sacramento Bee

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife spent a half-million dollars on a boat it has barely used due to design flaws, according to a California State Auditor’s report. A program manager wrote up specifications for the boat even though he didn’t have much experience in that area, and he didn’t consult experts, according to the report. The manager, who isn’t identified, has retired, the report says.


Local oil producer CRC issues most dire warning yet

Bakersfield Californian

Local oil and gas producer California Resources Corp. this week sounded its most urgent alarm yet that the company might not survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Refinery’s new owner plans to employ about 100 making clean-burning diesel

Bakersfield Californian

The Torrance company that recently bought the former Big West refinery on Rosedale Highway said Tuesday it expects to reopen the plant by early 2022 with about 100 employees producing some 10,000 barrels per day of plant-based “renewable diesel,” a fuel virtually indistinguishable from petroleum-derived diesel.



Another COVID-19 death reported in Fresno County as confirmed cases keep climbing

Fresno Bee

The number of coronavirus infections in Fresno County increased by 39 new cases as of late Tuesday, bringing the total number of infected patients to 984, according to county’s dashboard.

See also:

●     Merced County reports fourth COVID-19-related death. Plan for reopening submitted to stateFresno Bee

●     Coronavirus cases, deaths continue to climb in Tulare County as two more people die Fresno Bee

●     Tulare County continues to see large COVID-19 case increases abc30

●     COVID-19 Update: 984 Total Cases in Fresno County, Clovis 53 Clovis RoundUp

●     Stanislaus County announces 22nd death from coronavirus; cases stand at 517 Modesto Bee

●     3 more deaths reported in Turlock nursing home outbreak KCRA3

●     COVID-19 death reported at second Bakersfield skilled nursing facility Bakersfield Californian

●     Coronavirus update: 2 new deaths, 30 new cases of COVID-19 Bakersfield Californian

●     Kern Public Health: 2 additional deaths, 1,326 total COVID-19 cases and 806 recoveriesBakersfieldNow

●     14 dead in Northern California nursing home outbreak San Francisco Chronicle

‘Fear of the unknown’: Use of anti-anxiety meds on the rise during coronavirus pandemic

Fresno Bee

According to recent research, the pandemic is causing strong negative emotions for most Americans and prescriptions for anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and insomnia medications have increased.

Coronavirus: Tracking Central California COVID-19 cases


We’re tracking the cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus in Central California.

See Also:

●     Commentary: Contact tracing for COVID-19 shows potential of ‘data for good’ CalMatters

Fear, Isolation, Depression: The Mental Health Fallout of a Worldwide Pandemic

At Provident Behavioral Health in St. Louis, people who called the helpline at the beginning of the pandemic were fearful, even panicked. “Nearly everyone expressed fear. Fear of catching the virus, fear of the future, fear of the unknown and fear of not knowing how to cope with their feelings,” said Jessica Vance, who manages the Disaster Distress Helpline at Provident.

Human Services:

What to Know About California’s Testing Expansion

New York Times

It’s Friday. The weather has been beautiful. Beaches and parks beckon. But on Thursday, in the wake of the state’s deadliest day yet, Gov. Gavin Newsom urged Californians not to give into the temptation to gather, even outdoors.

See Also:

●     As Deaths Mount, Coronavirus Testing Remains Wildly Inconsistent In Long-term Care Business Journal

●     Gov. Newsom: Coronavirus testing way up, but state’s nursing homes still lagging CalMatters

Despite Early Warnings, U.S. Took Months To Expand Swab Production For COVID-19 Test


The Trump administration says it will now spend billions of dollars to help states make COVID-19 testing more widely available, a move meant to address months-long complaints about test shortages.

Valley Children’s to Restart Elective Procedures

Clovis RoundUp

As California begins stages to revive an economy devastated by the effects of COVID-19, Valley Children’s Hospital has begun gradually phasing in scheduling appointments and non-emergency surgeries.

Hospitals Turn To Online Matchmakers To Swap Supplies

Business Journal

Facing shortages of protective equipment, two New England hospital systems tried the latest twist in internet matchmaking: online swap meets.

Layoffs hit Adventist Health Tulare

Visalia Times Delta

Tulare’s hospital is undergoing major changes, again, this time from the top down. Adventist Health has laid off more than 1,000 people across California due to the financial impacts suffered during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including more than 200 positions in Tulare, Kings, and Fresno counties. 

As Senior Facilities Scramble To Prevent Disease, Social Isolation Poses A Different Threat

Capital Public Radio

California’s senior homes have largely banned visitors, so caretakers are trying to virtually connect residents with the outside world. But staff and technology are limited, and many family members say the isolation is taking a toll.

IRS says employers can allow mid-year changes to employee health plans

San Francisco Chronicle

The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday gave employers permission to let employees make mid-year changes to their group health insurance coverage and to their flexible spending accounts for health care and dependent care for 2020.


Commentary: Now Is Not the Time to Increase Immigrant Labor

National Review

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the April employment figures last Friday, they showed the worst downturn in employment since the Great Depression. The end-line numbers of 14.7 percent unemployment and 23.1 million out of work have received a lot of attention.


California tenants could get 10 years to pay back rent under this Democratic plan

Sacramento Bee

California Democrats want to give tenants who’ve lost their jobs or had wages cut during the coronavirus outbreak a decade to repay late rent. The proposal is part of a broader strategy a handful of Senate Democrats announced Tuesday as a way to keep California afloat in the recession caused by COVID-19.

See Also:

●     Lawmakers propose sweeping relief to homeowners, renters CalMatters

Overcrowded Housing and COVID-19 Risk among Essential Workers


Some Californians face substantial risk of illness within their own households under the state’s shelter-in-place order. Physical distancing and self-isolation can be virtually impossible in crowded homes, threatening the health of entire households.


Tulare County freezes hiring due to coronavirus crisis

Visalia Times Delta

Tulare County instituted a hiring freeze this week to help “cushion the blow” of a projected $25 million budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Market Decline Worsens the Outlook for Public Plans

Public Plans Data

If markets remain at their current levels through June, state and local pension plans will end FY 2020 with negative investment returns and reduced asset values. As a result, their aggregate funded ratio will slip below 70 percent, and they will face higher actuarial costs going forward.

See Also:

●      OPINION: A Bipartisan Plan to Support State Budgets Wall Street Journal

Opinion: With our government failing us, crowdsourcing is America’s social safety net now

Los Angeles Times

‘Government is not the solution to our problem,’ Reagan said in his first inaugural address. ‘Government is the problem.’ He was wrong, then and now.

Commentary: If you were born in 1960, you pay extra for COVID-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on Americans nearing retirement: Their 401(k) balances have been reduced and, so long as shutdowns of businesses are in place, it’s harder for workers to delay retirement. This would seem to make Social Security more important than ever. 


Electric Car Sales Plummet, May Hurt California’s Climate Goals

Capital Public Radio

California has an ambitious climate goal: 5 million electric vehicles on roads by 2030. But that may be difficult to reach because fewer people are buying cars due to the pandemic.


Judge temporarily blocks Trump administration’s California water plan


A federal court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to pump more water to the agricultural Central Valley, which critics said would threaten endangered species and salmon runs.

See also:

●     Fresno judge temporarily blocks Trump’s California water plan Visalia Times Delta

●     Judge blocks Trump’s Delta water plan Stockton Record

●     Trump is fuming about California water. A federal judge just gave him another reason to ventSacramento Bee

●     Judge temporarily blocks Trump’s California water plan Los Angeles Times

Commentary: We simply cannot continue destroying California’s river systems


The State Water Contractors’ commentary on California water policy discusses compacts, cooperation and agreements. What it does not talk about is Northern California’s disappearing water supply and the fatal damage it is doing to our ecosystem.


Air Guard jets to salute COVID-19 emergency workers with state flyover starting in Fresno

Fresno Bee

F-15 jets from Fresno’s California Air National Guard fighter wing will salute the state’s emergency workers and first responders with a flyover Wednesday morning. The fighters will take off from the Fresno base Wednesday at 10 a.m. 

See also:

●     Fighter jet flyover salute will go through Stanislaus County but not involve it Modesto Bee

Drive-in movies back in Stanislaus County due to coronavirus. Here’s where they’ll be

Modesto Bee

The drive-in movie is back in Stanislaus County and beyond. One of the unexpected outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the resurgence of drive-in events as a way to social distance while still having an outing with family.