May 15, 2020



North SJ Valley:

Mariposa County Gets OK to Move to Phase 2.5

Sierra News

Mariposa County officials received word late Wednesday from the California Department of Public Health that the county’s “Roadmap to Reopen” has been approved and the county can now immediately move to Phase 2.5. 

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.

Confused about stay-home orders? Here is what’s happened in Stanislaus County.

Modesto Bee

Some residents in Stanislaus County have asked for clarification of coronavirus stay-at-home orders that are still in effect. First, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place announced in March remains in effect in Stanislaus and other counties.

Could Atwater be a ‘sanctuary city’ for business amid COVID-19? Council to consider idea

Modesto Bee

City Council on Monday discussed how Atwater could be a sanctuary city for small businesses to operate amid state-mandated closures during the coronavirus pandemic.

Opinion: Strengthening Modesto and Stanislaus connections despite COVID-19

Modesto Bee

The worldwide COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is the catalyst causing an oil crisis — or rather a reverse crisis, with too much oil. Production is now coming off the market, some permanently perhaps. This could upend long-term global economic growth, as oil is the highly efficient lubricant upon which globalization is built.

Central SJ Valley:

Newsom slashes more than $60M from Fresno-area investments under revised budget

Fresno Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom chopped Fresno-area investments from $65 million to $3.2 million in his revised 2020-2021 budget. In total, Newsom shrank the state’s budget from about $222 billion to $203 billion to make up for a projected $54.3 billion budget deficit brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fresno and other counties urging Newsom to back down on reopening requirements

Fresno Bee

Central Valley counties, including Fresno, plan to request that California officials ease requirements so the region can move to the next phase of recovery and reopening from the coronavirus pandemic. 

See also:

●     Fresno councilman unveils proposal to end shelter-in-place, open businesses amid COVID-19Fresno Bee

●     Newsom Reopening Metrics Unreachable? Fresno County Says at Least One Is. GVWire

●     Bredefeld To Put Forward Vote On Shelter-in-place Orders Business Journal

Fresno residents show support for councilman, after scuffle on apartment doorstep

Fresno Bee

Members of the Fresno community expressed their support for Councilmember Miguel Arias on Thursday, two days after a confrontation with a group at his home ended with him receiving a citation. 

See also:

●     EDITORIAL: Free speech or political stunt? Video ambush of Fresno council member violates decency Fresno Bee

Sheriff Says She’s Not Enforcing COVID-19 Orders. Puts Fresno in National Spotlight Again.


Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims is being cheered on social media after she told a local radio host on Tuesday she is not enforcing COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

Fresno adds new relief for small farms and businesses, also renters hurt by coronavirus

Fresno Bee

The Fresno City Council approved $4 million on Thursday in relief programs for businesses, renters and small farms affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fresno County libraries are reopening partially. Here are the services available

Fresno Bee

Fresno County public libraries will partially reopen Monday and provide limited services. The libraries won’t be open to the public, but patrons can begin placing holds by phone, checking out material and obtaining printouts through mobile printing options.

See also:

●     Fresno County libraries to reopen with limited services abc30

City fiscal condition sound

Madera Tribune

The City of Madera delivered good financial news at the regular meeting of the City Council on May 6. City Finance Director Roger Sanchez said the good news was that the city’s fiscal condition was sound, but that was largely due to multiple positions remaining unfilled within the city and the fact that the COVID-19 lockdown had hit California only in the last weeks of the third quarter of the city’s fiscal year.

See also:

●     No New Cases Since Monday; County Prepping for Phase 2.5 Madera Tribune

Tulare County employee tests positive for COVID-19, HHSA Dinuba office closed for cleaning

Visalia Times Delta

A Tulare County employee tested positive for COVID-19 forcing a Dinuba health and human services office to close for cleaning. On Thursday, Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency’s Human Services Branch confirmed that an employee at its Dinuba District Office, 1066 N. Alta Ave., tested positive for the deadly virus.

South SJ Valley:

Kern County Supervisors to consider hiring freeze at Tuesday’s meeting

Bakersfield Californian

The Kern County Administrative Office is recommending the Board of Supervisors institute a hiring freeze through June 2021 to offset revenue losses due to the novel coronavirus.

See Also:

●     Supervisors to consider hiring freezes, other actions to offset revenue losses due to COVID-19KGET

Interim McFarland City Manager Larry Pennell submits letter of resignation

Bakersfield Californian

McFarland Interim City Manager Larry Pennell has submitted his letter of resignation, saying health issues will prevent him from continuing his duties as the administrator of city business.


Here’s what Gavin Newsom’s new California budget means for you, from health care to schools

Fresno Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new budget proposal makes heavy use of reserves and federal funding to close a projected $54.3 billion deficit, but the $203.3 billion plan also includes cuts to education, health care and other services.

See also:

●     Newsom reveals proposed revisions to CA budget amid pandemic abc30

●     As revenues plummet, billions cut from California budget Visalia Times Delta

●     Billions in cuts proposed as California revenue plunges Bakersfield Californian

●     Gavin Newsom’s $203.3 billion California budget cuts school funding, spends reserves Sacramento Bee

●     Schools, Homelessness, Health Care See Less Money In California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Revised Budget Capital Public Radio

●     Coronavirus forces sharp cuts to schools, healthcare in California, Newsom says Los Angeles Times

●     News Analysis: California’s $54-billion deficit fueled by coronavirus will test a decade of preparations Los Angeles Times

●     Newsletter: Budget cuts — and butter churns Los Angeles Times

●     How Gov. Newsom plans to close California’s huge budget gap San Francisco Chronicle

●     Newsom moves to slash school, health spending — but asks feds for a rescue CalMatters

●     California Chief Justice Statement on May Budget Revise California Courts Newsroom

●     Gov. Newsom slashes California budget to combat deficit caused by COVID-19 UPI

●     Newsom trims California budget — but pins trigger cuts on Trump and Congress Politico

●     Opinion: As COVID-19 crushes California budgets, tax-hungry leaders must learn from the pastSacramento Bee

●     Schools, health face deep cuts in California’s $203 billion budget Fox&Hound

●     A Push for Taxes to Fill the Budget Hole? Fox&Hound

●     Commentary: Woes: Budget and political Fox & Hounds

●     Here’s what Gavin Newsom wanted to fund before coronavirus rocked California’s economySacramento Bee

See which California counties have partially reopened from coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Fresno Bee

Nearly two months after Gov. Gavin Newsom gave a statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of coronavirus on March 19, some counties have been given approval to reopen some of their nonessential businesses.

See also:

●     Governor OKs ‘Phase 2.5’ Re-openings for 16 Counties Sierra News

●     18 Counties In California Set To Further Relax Coronavirus Restrictions VPR

●     Fact check: Is Gavin Newsom right that 70 % of California’s economy is reopening? Sacramento Bee

●     L.A. mayor orders masks to be worn outdoors; county sets no end date for stay-at-home rules but eases more restrictions Los Angeles Times

‘New-agey types’ and pro-Trump activists. Anti-vaccine crusade finds new allies amid coronavirus

Fresno Bee

Anti-vaccine advocates who once flooded the state Capitol to protest a law that school children be innoculated against disease are back again.

Shutting down California was tough. Now comes the hard part.


Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide coronavirus lockdown came swiftly and smoothly, but the reopening is far messier by comparison.

California hospital leaders again appeal to Newsom for coronavirus financial relief

Sacramento Bee

Hospital leaders have again called upon Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators to provide state financial relief as part of the 2020-21 California budget, saying billions of dollars are needed to help defray costs incurred as institutions prepared for and met a surge in cases connected to the coronavirus.

Cannabis Global Announces Fully-Executed LOI, Expands Into $10B California Cannabis Delivery Services Market

PR Newswire

Cannabis Global, Inc., is excited to announce the signing of a Letter of Intent (the “LOI”) with Whisper Weed Delivery of Los Angeles (“Whisper Weed”), a leading California cannabis delivery services provider, wherein Cannabis Global will provide management services in exchange for fees equivalent to 51% of the profits derived from Whisper Weed’s cannabis delivery services throughout the entire greater Los Angeles regional marketplace.

WALTERS: A new skirmish in ‘tort wars’


No session of the California Legislature would be complete without at least one skirmish in the decades-long conflict known to Capitol insiders as “tort wars” — and this year is no different even though the COVID-19 pandemic dominates political consciousness.

Opinion: California Isn’t Colorado


Recently California joined with Colorado in asking the federal government for more COVID-related financial support for states but the two states have very different needs for the money.


Ousted director testifies that Trump has no plan and unrealistic timetable for a coronavirus vaccine

Los Angeles Times

The Trump administration’s timetable for developing a coronavirus treatment is likely too optimistic and has no plan in place for mass production and distribution of such a vaccine, a federal whistle-blower told Congress Thursday.

See also:

●     Ousted Scientist Says His Pandemic Warnings Were Dismissed As ‘Commotion’ VPR

●     HHS Vaccine Expert Details Complaint in House Testimony Wall Street Journal

●     Dr. Rick Bright Raised Alarm About Coronavirus Response Because ‘american Lives Were At Stake,’ His Lawyer Says Newsweek

●      A Vaccine Against COVID-19 Would Be the Latest Success in a Long Scientific History Time

●     Andy Card and Rahm Emanuel on what Trump is doing right — and wrong PBS

●     U.S. Still Lacks Sufficient Number of Coronavirus Tests, Ousted HHS Whistleblower Rick Bright Testifies National Review

●     Large majority of Americans say country lags in testing availability: POLL abc

Opinion: Reviving the US CDC

The Lancet

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen in the USA with 1·3 million cases and an estimated death toll of 80 684 as of May 12. States that were initially the hardest hit, such as New York and New Jersey, have decelerated the rate of infections and deaths after the implementation of 2 months of lockdown.

Coronavirus divide: Battle over reopenings across the U.S. is increasingly partisan and bitter

Los Angeles Times

As the U.S. death toll in the coronavirus outbreak surpasses 85,000, Republican lawmakers are pushing Democratic governors to quickly ease restrictions.

See also:

●      Debate Over Reopening House Of Representatives Tests A Partisan Flashpoint NPR

●      House to vote Friday on more virus aid, despite GOP skeptics KBAK

●     Wondering what’s safe as states start to reopen? Here’s what some public health experts say.Washington Post

●     Disease modelers are wary of reopening the country. Here’s how they arrive at their verdict.Washington Post

●     CDC offers brief checklists to guide businesses, schools and others on reopening Washington Post

●     C.D.C. Issues Reopening Checklists for Schools and Businesses New York Times

●     With Go-Slow Approach, Republicans Risk Political Blowback on Pandemic Aid New York Times

●     OPINION: Yes, Wearing a Mask is Partisan Now TomPepinsky

●     A noose, an ax and Trump-inspired insults: Anti-lockdown protesters ratchet up violent rhetoricWashington Post

Trump says he’ll replenish stockpile for future pandemics

Fresno Bee

President Donald Trump says he intends to prepare for future pandemics by replenishing the national stockpile and bringing manufacturing of critical supplies and equipment back to the U.S. His comments came the same day a whistleblower told Congress the Trump administration had failed to properly prepare for the current pandemic.

See also:

●     Trump and the GOP Are Ignoring Economic Catastrophe The Nation

●     Trump announces augmentation of National Strategic Stockpile CBS

●      ‘Trump was right’: President claims pandemic has proved his economic theories Politico

FBI questioned Feinstein over stock sales amid coronavirus pandemic, but ‘no follow up’

Sacramento Bee

Sen. Dianne Feinstein was questioned by federal law enforcement in April concerning some stock trades made by her husband in January, as senators were receiving warnings about the impact of the novel coronavirus.

See also:

●     Feinstein questioned about husband’s stock trades amid outbreak San Francisco Chronicle

Why progressives are angry with Nancy Pelosi

San Francisco Chronicle

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t just facing Republican opposition for her new $3 trillion coronavirus relief package.

See also:

●     Opinion: Pelosi’s Presidential Platform Wall Street Journal

●     White House: No plans for a President Pelosi if Trump, Pence are incapacitated by coronavirusPolitico

House Rules Committee approves remote voting during pandemic

The Hill

The House Rules Committee on Thursday advanced a measure to enact a set of changes that will allow lawmakers to vote and hold meetings remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. The full House is slated to adopt the rules changes on Friday, when lawmakers are also planning to vote on Democrats’ $3 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Senate Approves Measure to Renew Some Lapsed Domestic Spying Powers

Wall Street Journal

The Senate voted to renew a set of domestic surveillance powers that lapsed two months ago, approving a package that goes further in extending some legal protections to targets of court-approved surveillance than a version passed by the House.

Progressive Democrats Frustrated After Setbacks in Congress, Primaries

Wall Street Journal

Progressive Democrats’ disappointment with House coronavirus legislation this week caps a frustrating start to 2020 for the left flank of the party, which has seen its favored presidential candidates exit the race, down-ballot hopefuls meet mixed results and some priorities stall in Congress.

Appeals Court Revives Maryland, D.C. Emoluments Lawsuit Against Trump

Wall Street Journal

A divided federal appeals court Thursday revived a lawsuit by Maryland and the District of Columbia alleging President Trump is illegally profiting from his office. The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, with all active judges participating, ruled 9 to 6 that Mr. Trump hadn’t met the high legal requirements for obtaining dismissal of the case while it was still in its infancy at the trial-court level.

Postal Service to review package delivery fees as Trump influence grows

Washington Post

Weeks before a Republican donor and top White House ally becomes postmaster general, the U.S. Postal Service has begun a review of its package delivery contracts and lost its second-highest executive, which will leave its board of governors without any officials who predate President Trump.

A Drug Company Wagers the U.S. Won’t Dare Charge It With Crimes

New York Times

In the coming days, the Justice Department will make an important decision: whether to file criminal charges against one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies for allegedly colluding with rivals to inflate the prices of widely used drugs.

Trump administration weighs suspending program for foreign students, prompting backlash from business, tech

At the direction of the White House, the Department of Homeland Security has sent recommendations for further restricting legal immigration during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to one former and two current administration officials.

FALSE: “Why did the US (NIH) in 2017 give $3.7m to the Wuhan Lab in China? Such grants were prohibited in 2014. Did Pres. Obama grant an exception?”


A virology lab in Wuhan, China, continues to draw scrutiny for work it did on bat viruses as part of American-funded research. To be clear, there is no sign that the coronavirus that has swept around the globe was bioengineered, but suspicions run high, including from President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

OPINION: “Obamagate” Is Niche Programming for Trump Superfans

New Yorker

Donald Trump will not shut up about Barack Obama—not now, not ever. On Thursday morning, amid the gravest economic crisis in a century and a deadly pandemic that will have killed more than a hundred thousand Americans by the end of this month, Trumpyet again accused his predecessor of culpability in “the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA.”

See Also:

●     Changing Subject Amid a Pandemic, Trump Turns to an Old Ploy: Blame Obama New York Times

What Does the Post-Pandemic Presidency Look Like?

National Review

On the menu today: a long look at the myriad challenges facing the person to take the oath of office to be president on January 20, 2021. Imagine that through some entirely unforeseeable sequence of events, the person who takes the oath of office to serve as President of the United States on January 20, 2021, is not Donald Trump or Joe Biden but . . . you.

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

●     COVID-19 TESTING SITES Fresno County

●     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:

Martinez Responds to Gov’s Executive Order on Upcoming Election

Madera Tribune

Rebecca Martinez, Madera County clerk-recorder and registrar of voters, responded to Governor Gavin Newsome’s executive order regarding the November 3 General Election. “The Governor’s action today requires that all registered voters be issued a vote by mail ballot for the upcoming general election,” Martinez saaid.

Democrats love to criticize Biden’s campaign. Do they have a point?

Fresno Bee

Join McClatchy’s Alex Roarty, Adam Wollner, and David Catanese as they discuss the reasons why many Democratic strategists have been eager to give (unsolicited) advice to the Biden campaign.

See also: 

●      How Obama Can Win the 2020 Election – for Joe Biden U.S. News

Joe Biden takes potential running mates on public tryouts

Los Angeles Times

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee appears to be publicly auditioning them as he virtually campaigns and raises money.

Conservative poll finds 23% of Republicans think GOP shouldn’t nominate Trump

The Hill

Republican voters widely expect President Trump to be their party’s nominee in the November presidential race, but nearly one in four said that they think the GOP should find “someone other than Trump” ahead of the election, according to a new survey. 

What 74 former Biden staffers think about Tara Reade’s allegations


Over his decades-long career in the Senate, former Vice President Joe Biden was known as a demanding but fair and family-oriented boss, devoted to his home life in Delaware and committed to gender equality in his office. He was not on a list of “creepy” male senators that female staffers told each other to avoid in the elevators on Capitol Hill.

What Women Want

U.S. News

After Massive Women’s Marches, A Powerful Movement To Expose Sexual Harassment And An Explosion Of Women Considering A Run For Elected Office, America Is Almost Certain To Elect A Man To The Presidency In November.

SCOTUS hears arguments on whether ‘faithless electors’ in the Electoral College can switch allegiances


The Electoral College received more than two hours of attention on Wednesday before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is likely more than most Americans give it every four years. “What is the purpose of having electors?” Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh asked, in one of the more metaphysical moments of arguments in cases from Colorado and Washington state.

Snapchat preps young users to vote in November


Snapchat is working to get younger users to register to vote ahead of the 2020 general election. The company was able to successfully register 450,000 people through its app during the 2018 midterms. Now, new data shows that 50% of those registered actually went out and casted ballots.

Opinion: Youth Climate Activists Once Opposed Joe Biden. Now, They Say They’ll Vote for Him.


It was just five months ago that Sunrise Movement—the progressive climate group behind the “Green New Deal”—gave an “F” rating to Joe Biden’s climate plan, saying it lacked ambition and has “lots of room for improvement!” As with much of the progressive left, climate activists face a much more acute question now that Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.


County backs off plan to block casino openings, recognizes sovereign rights

San Diego Union-Tribune

County officials on Thursday backed off of their opposition to tribal nations’ plans to reopen casinos that have been closed for two months and now say they will work with them to safely resume operations during the coronavirus outbreak.

Sweden Stayed Open. A Deadly Month Shows the Risks.

New York Times

Sweden’s outbreak has been far deadlier than those of its neighbors, but it’s still better off than many countries that enforced strict lockdowns.

Did That Drone Just Tell Us to Stay 6 Feet Apart?


The plan for a pandemic drone didn’t last long in Westport, Connecticut. Within days in late April, the police department of the coastal town outside New York City reversed course on using drone-mounted cameras to scan crowds for fevers and coughs.

Opinion: Government, citizens have key roles in making sure a free press will have a future

Fresno Bee

At a time when uncertainty is at all-time high, the need for reliable, authoritative information is even higher. Rapidly spreading misinformation is pervasive, driven by thirst for any information, conflated with truth, and amplified through social media.

Commentary: Contact-tracing apps are political


In the rush to contain COVID-19, the world has plunged head-first into contact-tracing apps. In the hopes that with sufficiently surgical digital precision we might not only stop the spread of the disease, but also soon return to work, applications to enable digital contact tracing of the disease are being rolled out around the world.


FoodMaxx employee tests positive for COVID-19, store does deep cleaning

Fresno Bee

An employee at the FoodMaxx store on West Shaw Avenue in Fresno has tested positive for COVID-19, causing the company to temporarily shut down the store on Wednesday for a deep cleaning. 

See also:

●     Fresno Foodmaxx worker tests positive for COVID-19 abc30

How Fresno restaurants are preparing to start serving customers again


Some changes include providing disposable menus, replacing shared items like condiments with single-use alternatives, and requiring customers to use a mask when they’re not eating.

See also:

●     When restaurant dining rooms reopen in Stanislaus County, what will they look like? Modesto Bee

●     Some California Restaurants Are Re-Opening — But There Are A Lot Of New Rules Capital Public Radio

More than 3,000 meals distributed to farmworkers

Madera Tribune

More than 3,000 prepared meals were distributed to farmworker families suffering during the COVID-19 crisis at the Fairgrounds in Madera on May 7.

USDA Secretary Says Despite Plant Closures, He Does Not Anticipate Food Shortages

Visit almost any grocery store and you’ll see how that food chain has been disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic. Even if food is in stores, millions of newly unemployed people may have trouble paying.

See also:

·       Daughter-in-chief: Ivanka Trump pushes food distribution program USAToday



Sentenced for Three Strikes, Then Freed. Now Comes a Pushback.

New York Times

There are an estimated 6,000 people sentenced under Three Strikes who have been freed or had their sentences reduced since 2012, when Californians first voted to soften the law. In November, the state’s residents will be asked to vote on whether to go in the other direction and toughen some of the measures that have made many inmates eligible to be considered for an early parole.

Public Safety:

Fresno correctional officer tests positive for coronavirus. Were others affected?

Fresno Bee

A correctional officer at the Fresno County Jail has tested positive for the coronavirus, the sheriff’s office announced Thursday. The sheriff’s office and the health department will investigate if other officers and inmates were affected.

Annual Ceremony Honors Fallen Law Enforcement Officers

Sierra News

On Tuesday, law enforcement agencies from around Madera County gathered to remember fallen officers in Madera County as well as to honor the memories of all of the law enforcement members who died in the line of duty in 2019 in California.

Senate Passes Surveillance Bill With New Protections, But Political Fate Uncertain

Capital Public Radio

The legislation restores some lapsed investigative authorities and adds what advocates call new safeguards against abuse. But it must go back to the House and thence to President Trump.

Appeals panel says California can enforce ammo background check

San Francisco Chronicle

A federal appeals court allowed California to enforce its voter-approved requirement of background checks for purchasers of ammunition on Thursday and said the state was likely to win reversal of a judge’s ruling that the law violated the constitutional right to bear arms.


Newsom’s new California budget slashes funds for retrofitting homes in wildfire zones

Sacramento Bee

The Camp Fire destroyed most of the town of Paradise in 2018 but largely spared one group of homes — the newer structures built to California’s ultra-strict building code.

Climate Change And COVID-19 Pose Double Threat This Wildfire Season in California

Capital Public Radio

The number of wildfires in the state is up roughly 60% so far this year, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom — and now Californians have to prepare for not just another possibly dangerous fire season, but also the pandemic.



Here are 6 things the Legislature can do to help California recover from economic devastation


The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the California economy, especially public-facing businesses. Entertainment – including motion pictures, television, live shows and theme parks – restaurants, accommodations and retail sectors have been laid waste, evaporating thousands of jobs. 

See also:

●      Commentary: Here’s a cure for California’s growing fiscal disaster CalMatters

●     EDITORIAL: Want to actually help the economy? Bail out child care providers Los Angeles Times

Trump expresses anger that his China trade deal is off to a rocky start, but he lacks obvious remedies

Washington Post

President Trump may be irritated with China’s failure to buy more American products as required under the trade dealhe celebrated at a White House ceremony in January. But he doesn’t seem prepared to do much about it.

Coronavirus Drives 75% of Small Businesses to Seek Federal Aid

Wall Street Journal

Three out of four U.S. small businesses have sought federal aid to cope with fallout from the new coronavirus, according to a Census Bureau survey released Thursday, in another indication of the widespread damage caused by the pandemic.

US retail sales plunged a record 16% in April as virus hit

Associated Press

U.S. retail sales tumbled by a record 16.4% from March to April as business shutdowns caused by the coronavirus kept shoppers away, threatened the viability of stores across the country and further weighed down a sinking economy.

See Also:

●     Live updates: Retail sales plunge 16.4 % as coronavirus pandemic continues to stifle U.S. economy Washington Post

Premier Valley Bank Extends Relief Measures For Consumers

Business Journal

Premier Valley Bank in Fresno announced it is extending COVID-19 relief measures for consumers through May 31. These measures include waiving monthly maintenance fees associated with consumer checking and savings accounts, waiving late fees on consumer loans, not assessing early redemption fees on CDs and waiving fees on foreign and other banks’ ATMs.

Pandemic Hits Spending Hard; 79% Dive In Clothing Sales Leads A Record Plunge

In a historic collapse, retail spending in the United States nosedived again last month, dropping a record 16.4% as people avoided restaurants, bars, stores and malls during the coronavirus pandemic.

Large workplaces are vulnerable to coronavirus super-spread as economy reopens, experts warn

Los Angeles Times

Even as the economy begins to reopen, the coronavirus will remain a threat for some time to come, experts say. And of particular concern are large workplaces. Having people clustered together at work could set the stage for large numbers of people falling ill, as happened when 52 workers became infected at a Safeway distribution center in the San Joaquin Valley.

See also:

·       Hiltzik: We shut down the economy but for what? Los Angeles Times


California state workers face 10% pay cut, possible furloughs, union leader says

Fresno Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to reduce state worker pay by 10 % as part of a cost-saving plan for state government, according to SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker.

See also:

●     ‘A lot of sacrifices:’ California state workers brace for pay cut in Gavin Newsom’s budget Fresno Bee

Business owners say employees are reluctant to come back to work


New state unemployment numbers show nearly 22% of Californians are now out of work. That’s almost one in four people across the state. While some are just starting to receive their benefits, some business owners preparing to reopen are finding it hard to get their employees back to work.

Two Target employees test positive for COVID-19

Visalia Times Delta

Two Visalia Target employees tested positive for COVID-19, according to Target officials. The company confirmed in an email to the Times-Delta that employees at the Mooney Boulevard location tested positive and have been placed on paid sick leave.

Layoffs: 3 million more workers file jobless claims

Visalia Times Delta

The nation’s weekly procession of COVID-19-related layoffs seems relentless. About 3 million Americans filed initial unemployment benefit claims last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, spotlighting another wave of job cuts and adding to the unprecedented economic damage wrought by the pandemic.

See also:

●     36.5 Million Have Filed For Unemployment In 8 Weeks VPR

●     California faces ‘jaw dropping’ unemployment, requiring more federal loans, Newsom says  Los Angeles Times

●     1 in 5 who had jobs in February lost them the next month, study finds Los Angeles Times

●     Why unemployment fueled by pandemic is hitting women harder than men CBS

Focusing on Finances: Tips for those still employed


Times are tough for many people, and it can be overwhelming to make the right financial decisions with the current state of our economy. Today’s Focusing on Finances is centered on those who still have their jobs, and how they can possibly emerge from this economic crisis in better shape than they went into it.

See also:

·       ‘It’s a Race to the Bottom.’ The Coronavirus is Cutting Into Gig Worker Incomes as the Newly Jobless Flood Apps Time

A majority of Americans going to work fear exposing their household to the coronavirus

Washington Post

Even as most Americans spent the past two months hiding indoors, Damion Campbell has been rushing into retail and grocery stores in Columbia, S.C., each day. The 45-year-old owns an information technology company, and his clients rely on him to keep their cash registers operating.

See also:

·       America’s essential workers are under-protected in the face of covid-19 Economist



Madera Unified creates new custom tool to help students

Madera Tribune

Madera Unified has developed a new custom tool called Milestones. The tool has been used to support teachers and support staff with ensuring every single student within the school district has their basic needs met during school closures.

Preparing for students’ return, Modesto school board hears of summer facility projects

Modesto Bee

What learning will look like when Modesto City Schools starts its next academic year in August remains very much up in the air. One thing for sure, though, is how a good number of campuses will look when kids return: better.

See also:

●      California superintendent discusses fall semester Visalia Times Delta

●      How School Will Change When Kids Return to Classrooms U.S. News

‘A major milestone’: SUSD to hold more than 50 virtual ceremonies to honor 2020 grads

Stockton Record

Starting next week, Stockton Unified School District will hold more than 50 individual virtual celebrations to honor its 2020 graduates.

California schools to lose billions of dollars in Newsom’s budget. It could have been worse

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing a $5 billion cut in funding to California’s K-12 schools, a grim projection that could have been worse without a pot of money he wants to use from the economic stimulus package Congress allocated in March.

See also:

●      Back-to-school could be delayed by California budget cuts Bakersfield Californian

●     California schools fret about $15B education shortfall, especially if federal aid falls short Politico

COVID-19 Highlights the Need for Statewide Student Data


The pandemic makes it clearer than ever that California would benefit from a data system that links information across educational institutions. Without it, California policymakers will continue to lack important information—including insights into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our students and educational institutions.

Commentary: Reopen schools when it’s safe for students, not for the convenience of adults


School trustees and educators serve our public schools because they care for children and are committed to their learning and growth. We’re eager to welcome students back to campus when we can do so in a safe and supportive environment – and not a moment sooner.

See also:

·       OPINION: We’ve wasted enough time. We must figure out how to reopen schools this fall.Washington Post

Higher Ed:

Fresno-area community colleges likely to stay online as schools face large budge cuts

Fresno Bee

Fresno City College, keeping in step with colleges across the state, is moving forward with plans to conduct most fall semester classes online.

BC outlines plans for small-scale campus reopening this summer

Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield College’s summer session is set to begin Monday, and campus officials have put forth several public health guidelines to ensure safety among students and faculty who must meet in person.

See also:

●     Local colleges play the waiting game as 2020-21 uncertainty continues Bakersfield Californian

California community colleges sue U.S. for denying COVID-19 funds to undocumented students, others

Los Angeles Times

The nation’s largest community college system is suing the federal government for denying coronavirus relief funds to more than a half-million California students, including DACA recipients and many of those from low-income families.

Cal State Chancellor Says Virtual Classes Can Still Lead To ‘Lifetime Of Opportunity’


School hasn’t ended yet in most places around the country. But educators are already grappling with what the next academic year will look like, as the future spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. remains unclear.

See also:

·       No dorms or events. Why the ‘American college experience’ is gone for CSU students this fallSacramento Bee

●     EDITORIAL: CSU to offer more virtual learning — at the same actual price San Francisco Chronicle

●     Fresno State task force to discuss fate of this year’s football season abc30

●     Fresno State Launches ‘welcome Home Initiative’ Business Journal

UC, CSU to lose 10% of state funding in new California budget proposal

Modesto Bee

California’s public colleges and universities stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in planned funding in the state budget proposal Gov. Gavin Newsom released Thursday.

CSU increased mandatory student fees without justification, state auditor finds


The Cal State University system increased mandatory student fees by an average of 52% over the past decade without adequate justification and sometimes in violation of its own policies, a state audit released Thursday found. Some campuses are using the fees for faculty salaries, a practice that auditors suggested the Legislature ban, CalMatters’ Felicia Mello, Kimberly Morales and Stephanie Zappelli report.

See Also:

●     Cal Poly students pay highest fees in CSU system. New audit slams recent increases Fresno Bee

Colleges push viral testing, other ideas for reopening in fall. But some worry about deepening the health crisis.

Washington Post

One afternoon this week, Celeste Torres, a sociology student at the University of California at San Diego, stopped by a self-serve testing station to perform a five-minute ritual that could hold the key to reopening college campuses nationwide amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Leading College Republicans and Dems Draft Open Letter Urging American Universities to Combat Chinese Influence

National Review

Leading college Republicans and Democrats have teamed up to establish a non-profit to combat Chinese government influence on American campuses. In its first official act, the Athenai Institute released a letter on Wednesday calling for the closure of Confucius institutes at U.S. colleges and universities, as well as for “full and public disclosure of all ties, both financial and academic, between centers of higher learning and all Chinese state agencies and proxies.”

Online graduations still bring stars to the virtual lectern

Fresno Bee

This year’s college graduates won’t get to take their triumphant walk across the stage. They won’t get to toss their caps amid a sea of classmates. Instead, they have to settle for online ceremonies while their diplomas are mailed home.



Contagious and deadly rabbit disease found in California for first time, officials say

Fresno Bee

A highly contagious disease that can be lethal to domestic and wild rabbits was detected in California for the first time earlier this month, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said. 

Surf’s up and so are new beach rules to prevent virus spread

Fresno Bee

Along the California coast and in states known for silky sands, warm waters and ample sun, the surf is up along with a new set of rules posted in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. 

6.4 earthquake in Nevada high desert felt in Central California

Modesto Bee

A 6.4 earthquake in Nevada’s high desert early Friday rattled parts of the Central San Joaquin Valley. The quake was recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey just after 4 a.m. about 34 miles west of Tonopah. A series of aftershocks followed.

See Also:

●     6.5-magnitude earthquake in western Nevada felt in Bakersfield, surrounding region KGET

State Parks, Climate Resilience Programs Could See Budget Cuts Under New Proposal

Capital Public Radio

The proposed budget update has cuts and reductions across environmental sectors including climate resilience programs to state parks. The largest proposed environmental investment is allotted to Cal Fire.

See also:

●     New state park? Climate catalyst fund? On hold in Newsom’s coronavirus-afflicted budgetCalMatters

●     When will national parks reopen? Grand Canyon and others have phased plans Los Angeles Times

●     Importance of parks and outdoor access for all amplified with COVID-19 pandemic CalMatters


Boiling Point: Giant batteries are changing everything for clean energy

Los Angeles Times

Various dignitaries had gathered to commission this massive solar farm, which produces electricity for Southern California Edison. It’s now being expanded to serve additional utility customers in Los Angeles County, San Francisco and the San Joaquin Valley.



Fresno and surrounding five counties hit 3,000 coronavirus cases

Fresno Bee

Fresno County added 60 new coronavirus cases and Kings County reported 10 new cases in updates late Thursday, bringing the central San Joaquin Valley to a milestone: 3,000 cases of COVID-19 total in the six-county region.

See also:

●     Merced County reports 9 new coronavirus cases. Hilmar added to list of affected areas Fresno Bee

●     For the first time in a week, Tulare County reports no new coronavirus deaths Fresno Bee

●     COVID-19 Update: Fresno County at 1,074 Cases Clovis RoundUp

●     No New Cases Since Monday; County Prepping for Phase 2.5 Sierra News

●     Tulare County sees jump in COVID-19 recoveries Visalia Times Delta

●     Four new deaths from COVID-19, second nursing home outbreak announced Thursday Bakersfield Californian

●     Coronavirus deaths at Turlock nursing home reach 16; positive tests at 150 Modesto Bee

●     Where are coronavirus cases surging in California — and why? Mercury News

●     Pastor on ventilator at Fresno hospital survived. He wouldn’t wish COVID-19 on ‘worst enemy’Fresno Bee

●     After 13-day induced coma, Turlock man recovers from COVID-19. Here’s how it happened Fresno Bee

●     Latinx Population In Fresno County Has The Highest Number of COVID-19 Cases VPR

●     Some kids with coronavirus suffer second illness. Fresno-area hospital sees its first case Fresno Bee

●     Coronavirus updates: Fresno County hot spots; Rare, linked disease seen at Valley Children’s?Fresno Bee

●     CDC issues advisory about severe coronavirus-related illness in children The Hill

Remdesivir Distribution Causes Confusion, Leaves Some Hospitals Empty-Handed


States are beginning to receive cases of an experimental COVID-19 drug that the Food and Drug Administration authorized for emergency use on May 1. But the distribution process so far has puzzled some hospitals and states about why they’ve been left empty-handed.

With School Buildings Closed, Children’s Mental Health Is Suffering

Nightmares. Tantrums. Regressions. Grief. Violent outbursts. Exaggerated fear of strangers. Even suicidal thoughts. In response to a call on social media, parents across the country shared with NPR that the mental health of their young children appears to be suffering as the weeks of lockdown drag on.

What The 1918 Flu Can Teach Us About Handling Today’s Pandemic

Just over a century ago, a virulent flu outbreak was wreaking havoc on the world. We know it now as the 1918 influenza pandemic, and its tremors were felt far and wide. By the end of its spread, tens of millions were dead.

Nearly a third of California counties have contained coronavirus enough to allow more reopenings

Los Angeles Times

Nearly a third of California’s 58 counties have certified to the state that they have contained the spread of COVID-19, which allows them to reopen restaurants to dine-in service, as well as shopping malls and other businesses, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

Health official warns of potential COVID-19 vaccine problems

Roll Call

Trump administration whistleblower Rick Bright, who served until recently as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, told lawmakers Thursday that tragic consequences could occur if science is ignored in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

See Also:

●     Coronavirus vaccine: Macaque monkey trial offers hope BBC

Poll: Number of Americans practicing social distancing drops significantly

The Hill

More Americans are leaving their homes than in recent weeks, becoming less likely to practice social distancing regardless of stay-at-home orders, according to a new Gallup poll released Friday.

Human Services:

California hospital leaders again appeal to Newsom for coronavirus financial relief

Fresno Bee

Hospital leaders have again called upon Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators to provide state financial relief as part of the 2020-21 California budget, saying billions of dollars are needed to help defray costs incurred as institutions prepared for and met a surge in cases connected to the coronavirus.

See also:

●     Kaweah Delta faces ‘devastating’ budget cuts Visalia Times Delta

Promising new treatment for coronavirus has long history of helping


Doctors treating COVID-19 patients at hospitals around the Valley have a new tool at their disposal and it’s got a promising history. The big new hope for fighting the coronavirus is an old friend used as early as the 19th century to fight measles, tetanus, and whooping cough.

Tulare County health agency’s Dinuba office shut down after employee tests positive for COVID-19


The Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency is shutting down one of its branches after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

See also:

●     Tulare County employee tests positive for COVID-19 Visalia Times Delta

Gov. Newsom: Coronavirus Testing Way Up, But State’s Nursing Homes Still Lagging

Capital Public Radio

Some experts contend the state should prioritize coronavirus testing of vulnerable nursing home residents and staff before mass testing the general public.

See also:

●     How Do You Stay Connected With Nursing Home Residents During COVID-19? Try Visiting Through A Window VPR

●     OPINION: Statistics alone won’t save minorities from COVID-19. Bringing tests to at-risk communities will Roll Call

●     FDA Cautions About Accuracy Of Widely Used Abbott Coronavirus Test NPR

America’s Health-Care System Has Never Looked Sicker — or Harder to Cure

New York Intelligencer

The coronavirus crisis looks like it was designed in a lab — to lay bare the insanity of the American health-care system. Employer-provided insurance has always been a bizarre and retrograde practice that’s earned our people a reputation for barbarism among foreign anthropologists.

Coronavirus drives health insurers back to Obamacare


Health insurers fled the Affordable Care Act in the early years of the law, fearing that losses from covering too many sick people would eat away at their profits. Now the insurers increasingly view Obamacare as a boon while job-based health coverage faces its biggest threat yet in a crashing economy.

Opinion: COVID-19 exposes need for increased scrutiny of ‘donor-advised funds’ in philanthropy

Sacramento Bee

Unemployment is rapidly approaching Great Depression levels, and Californians who were once struggling have nothing. In response, relief funds have sprung up in communities all over California. While these funds do important work, if you look at the big picture you can see a key financing tool for this relief, donor-advised funds (DAFs), are activating a relatively small amount of assets in response to this national crisis.

EDITORIAL: Protect healthcare whistleblowers so they can protect us

Los Angeles Times

The nonprofit news organization ProPublica has reported that doctors and nurses throughout the country have been fired, suspended, placed on leave or threatened for voicing their concerns. Many don’t complain, fearful of getting into trouble.


Citing coronavirus, Trump officials refuse to release migrant kids to sponsors — and deport them instead

Los Angeles Times

The 17-year-old Guatemalan boy in a California detention center for migrant children has been held for more than 400 days. He’s one of the longest-held of the roughly 1,800 minors in the U.S. immigration detention system — the largest in the world, and one now riddled with the novel coronavirus.

ICE detainees beg lawmakers to intervene after coronavirus death

San Francisco Chronicle

More than 40 immigrants held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center near San Diego are alleging that a recent detainee death of COVID-19 was caused by reckless and inhumane conditions, according to a letter begging the governor and other California lawmakers to intervene.

See also:

●      Commentary: As COVID-19 spreads in ICE detention, oversight is more critical than ever Brookings

Financial help for California’s undocumented immigrants starts Monday


California’s undocumented immigrants can begin applying Monday for disaster relief payments of up to $1,000 per household under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus emergency assistance plan. A qualifying undocumented adult can receive $500, with a maximum of $1,000 per household.

See also:

●     Undocumented Seniors, Low-Income Mothers Could Get Less Help As Coronavirus Shifts California Budget Capital Public Radio


Land Use:


Experts Weigh Scenarios For Multi-family Real Estate

Business Journal

Even good properties may turn bad as job losses and business closures translate to an unstable market for apartment owners if renters can’t or won’t make payments. April’s due date for rent came and went, with reports of more people making their rent obligations than predicted. 

Homeowners who can’t make mortgage payments get a new deferral option

Los Angeles Times

Many struggling homeowners who are delaying their mortgage payments through so-called forbearance programs will get a new repayment option, allowing them to make missed payments when the home is sold or the loan term is over, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said Wednesday.


California state workers face 10% pay cut, possible furloughs, union leader says

Fresno Bee

Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to reduce state worker pay by 10 % as part of a cost-saving plan for state government, according to SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker.

See also:

●     ‘A lot of sacrifices:’ California state workers brace for pay cut in Gavin Newsom’s budget Fresno Bee

Here’s what Gavin Newsom wanted to fund before coronavirus rocked California’s economy

Sacramento Bee

Before the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Gavin Newsom counted on a rising economy that would give California a budget surplus and room to spend on programs that would benefit low-income families, the homeless and undocumented seniors.


Clovis Transit Services Back to Normal Operations

Clovis RoundUp

The City of Clovis announced Thursday, May 14 that their Stageline and Round Up Services have returned to normal operating schedules. Back in March, the city reduced the transit service’s schedules due to the state’s stay at home orders and began operating on their holiday schedules.

Airlines, government at odds over passenger ‘contact tracing’

Roll Call

Two months after lawmakers lamented public health officials’ inability to contact air travelers arriving in the U.S. who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, the federal government and airlines are still at odds over who should take the lead on such efforts. 

Commentary: Newsom pointing finger in the wrong direction for gas prices

Fox & Hounds

California lawmakers are at it again in with more lawsuits in May 2020 against two multinational gasoline firms for allegedly manipulating California’s gas prices and costing consumers more at the pump.  


Undercurrents of the Kern River’s flow are thick with intrigue, outrage

Bakersfield Californian

Water is flowing through the heart of Bakersfield in the Kern River and local water managers are shaking their heads in disbelief and frustration.

Sinking Lands, Damaged Infrastructure: Will Better Groundwater Management End Subsidence?


Excess groundwater pumping can compact soils, causing land to sink. Because this subsidence can damage costly infrastructure, avoiding it is an important reason to manage groundwater.

Will Groundwater Sustainability Plans End the Problem of Dry Drinking Water Wells?


In the San Joaquin Valley, groundwater is the primary source of drinking water. While groundwater levels in the valley have generally been declining for decades, the problem of overdraft—which can cause shallow wells to run dry—is particularly acute during droughts as surface water supplies for irrigating crops are limited.


More takeout options in Kern County as businesses prepare for next phase

Bakersfield Californian

As we move closer to restaurants reopening for dine-in service, we’re still strong on the takeout front. A number of restaurants that had been temporarily closed are back with takeout and preparing for new safeguards to resume sit-down service.

These Visalia restaurants taking orders, delivery or drive-through

Visalia Times Delta

Many Visalia and Tulare-area restaurants are staying open to offer special delivery or takeout services during California’s stay-at-home order. Services include meal delivery, drive-through services, curbside pickup in the restaurant’s parking lot and in-store pickup and takeout.

See also:

·       Sacramento Looks At Using Sidewalks, Parking Lots For Restaurants To Expand Socially-Distant Seating Capital Public Radio