POLICY & POLITICS
North SJ Valley:
Congressman Kevin McCarthy introduced legislation H.R. 2695 on Tuesday, May 14, to rename the Success Dam after local businessman and longtime Tule River Water Master, Richard L. Schafer.
Central SJ Valley:
After nine days of testimony, a week of pre-trial discussions and more than five months of public questioning regarding a misdemeanor child abuse allegation against Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, the case was handed to the jury on Wednesday afternoon.
- Closing arguments, jury to decide the fate of Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula abc30
- Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula’s Child Abuse Trial Wraps Up. Now Jury Will Decide If He’s Guilty VPR
- Lawmaker on trial on child cruelty charge denies hitting daughter Los Angeles Times
Councilmember Miguel Arias is pushing new regulations at City Hall to tackle the issue. The proposal, up for a vote by the City Council on Thursday, would create an inspection program for motels.
South SJ Valley:
In a statement to The Bee on Tuesday, a representative for Cox’s campaign alleged the complaint was filed by a “disgruntled, partisan staffer” from former Rep. David Valadao’s campaign, the Republican incumbent who Cox beat in the 2018 election.
- Devin Nunes, TJ Cox delay financial reports amid accusations they didn’t disclose businesses Fresno Bee
The California City City Council accepted the resignation of City Manager Robert Stockwell during closed session of a meeting Tuesday. Stockwell had been placed on paid leave in late April following undisclosed issues that were brought up during a performance evaluation.
This month the appropriations committees quietly killed the last of the fake news bills, a pile of marijuana measures, a proposal to create a “pro-choice” license plate and another to allow cities to keep bars open until 4 a.m.
Good government is open, clear government. For all state and local governments in California, SB 598 encourages the adoption of a digital reporting standard.
Governor Gavin Newsom, who took office this year and has vowed to continue with the conservative financial policies that have helped chart a turnaround for the state, may not have gone far enough to protect the government from the shock of the next recession.
San Francisco Chronicle
What the officers lacked, apparently, was an appreciation of California’s shield law, which allows journalists to withhold their sources and unpublished information and protects them from search warrants.
The anti-SLAPP law was designed by the Legislature to provide for early dismissal of strategic lawsuits against public participation (known colloquially as “SLAPP” suits), which are filed primarily to discourage the free exercise of speech and petition rights.
It is – or should be – obvious that a government official should not have a personal financial stake in his or her decisions. That history should make us suspicious of any attempt to punch loopholes in Section 1090, as Assembly Bill 626 would do.
President Donald Trump’s latest financial disclosure report is expected to provide a rare glimpse into whether his presidency has helped or hurt his hotels, golf resorts and other parts of his business empire.
Los Angeles Times
The Senate confirmed Los Angeles litigator Kenneth Kiyul Lee to a California seat on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday over the objections of Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
Los Angeles Times
The White House hardened its opposition to House Democrats’ investigations on Wednesday, telling lawmakers that they had no authority to examine how President Trump has wielded his executive power.
Los Angeles Times
A newly tested North Korean short-range ballistic missile appears to be a copy of an advanced Russian design that could greatly improve Pyongyang’s ability to evade U.S. missile defense systems, according to U.S. officials.
Eyewitness News has confirmed that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is running for president. The mayor and his wife will appear on “Good Morning America” Thursday morning.
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces Candidacy for President Wall Street Journal
- Mayor Bill de Blasio Enters 2020 Race for President New York Times
- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio adds his name to the Democratic presidential field Washington Post
- Who’s Running for President in the 2020 Election? Wall Street Journal
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris announced Wednesday she would take executive action to ban the importation of AR-15-style weapons into the U.S. if she’s elected president.
- Kamala Harris says she’ll take executive action on assault weapons as president Fresno Bee
- ‘It’s infuriating’: Kamala Harris team galled by Biden veep talk Politico
- Kamala Harris Says She’s ‘Open’ to Expanding Supreme Court Bloomberg
California congressman and Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Eric Swalwell crossed a line with some people Wednesday after he posted an image of a “thin blue line” flag associated with the “Blue Lives Matter” movement.
Los Angeles Times
The drive to come up with boldly stated economic policies reflects a lurch of the Democratic Party to the left since President Trump’s election. The shift involves political risk, potentially reviving a debate over “big government” that Democrats backed away.
- Democratic President Would Face a Senate Reality Check Wall Street Journal
San Francisco Chronicle
The star of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s campaign rally the other night in San Francisco was obviously the mayor who has vaulted into the national conversation about who will be the Democratic nominee.
Los Angeles Times
The White House said late Wednesday it is not endorsing the pledge. In a statement, the White House said it will “continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online” while also protecting free speech.
Wall Street Journal
San Francisco has become the first city to forbid local agencies from using facial-recognition software, asserting that the technology’s “propensity . . . to endanger civil rights and civil liberties substantially outweighs its purported benefits.”
As ransomware attacks crippled businesses and law enforcement agencies, two U.S. data recovery firms claimed to offer an ethical way out. Instead, they typically paid the ransom and charged victims extra.
The White House on Wednesday escalated its war against Silicon Valley when it announced an unprecedented campaign asking Internet users to share if they had been censored on Facebook, Google and Twitter.
Los Angeles Times
A surveillance program that allows the U.S. government to comb through hundreds of millions of Americans’ telephone records in search of connections to terrorism could soon be a thing of the past.
MADDY INSTITUTE PUBLIC POLICY PROGRAMMING
Sunday, May 19, at 5 p.m. on ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Impact of the ACA on ER Visits: Can More Be Less?” – Guest: Shannon McConville – PPIC. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.
Sunday, May 19, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “The Senior Boom: Preparing for the Baby Boom Aftershock” – Guests: Laurel Beck and Shannon McConville with PPIC. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.
Sunday, May 19, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy: “Public Employee Retiree Healthcare” – Guests: Joe Hayes, Investigator PPIC and Liam Dillon with Los Angeles Times. Host: Ana Melendez.
Capital Public Radio
The legalization of recreational cannabis was supposed to be a cash cow for California. But the state expects to bring in less money from taxes than previously anticipated — a lot less.
Another battle over local control of cannabis is about to roil California. Only this time, it’s marijuana’s mellow cousin, hemp, that’s at the heart of disputes that engulf cities, counties and the state — and farmers who hope to grow the potentially lucrative crop
Starting June 1, changes in a state law that dates back to 1974 will allow California recipients of Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, to also get CalFresh food benefits.
If you ever need to taste 126 cheeses over the course of one day, you might want to grab a Diet Coke to cleanse the palate, according to Mary Dedrick, owner of Dedrick’s Cheese in Placerville.
Los Angeles Times
California’s budding cannabis industry isn’t exactly blossoming. It’s having trouble sprouting. So a San Francisco legislator has some unique ideas.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE / FIRE / PUBLIC SAFETY
A plan to release more than 100 inmates in downtown Bakersfield on Thursday was scuttled after public opposition forced the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to walk back the mass drop-off.
Today, both county juvenile halls and the state’s youth lockups are a sea of empty beds, the result of plummeting crime rates and a shift in how the state treats young offenders.
Two single-engine planes crashed in midair in Sutter County about noon Wednesday, killing both pilots, the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office said.
State fire officials announced Wednesday a six-month investigation has determined what many already thought: PG&E power lines in the high hills of Butte County ignited the devastating blaze that destroyed nearly 19,000 buildings and killed 85 people.
- Gavin Newsom blasts PG&E in court filing: ‘Mismanagement, misconduct and failed efforts’ Fresno Bee
- Camp Fire started by PG&E owned power transmission lines abc30
- Officials: PG&E equipment sparked deadly California wildfire Bakersfield Californian
- Camp Fire caused by PG&E transmission lines, Cal Fire investigators say Visalia Times-Delta
- What Questions Do You Have About PG&E? Capital Public Radio
- PG&E power lines caused California’s deadliest fire, investigators conclude Los Angeles Times
- Paradise goes on as PG&E gets official blame for fire: ‘It doesn’t make me feel better at all.’ San Francisco Chronicle
- ‘Incredulous’: Newsom pushes PG&E to move faster in bankruptcy case San Francisco Chronicle
- PG&E caused Camp Fire, Cal Fire says San Francisco Chronicle
- ‘Let’s not do it again’: PG&E braces for Camp Fire fallout San Francisco Chronicle
- What to Know About Pacific Gas & Electric’s Role in the Camp Fire New York Times
Tulare-based Chiaramonte Construction says they’ve faced challenges no one could have predicted since setting up shop in Petaluma, including a backup of building permits with local governments, and a very wet winter that pushed construction back.
Several brush fires burned several acres on both sides of the Fresno riverbed over the weekend, according to CalFire authorities. Four fire engines and multiple crews responded to the most recent fire, which they battled for several hours.
The demise of the arrangement providing fire protection to Oakdale and surrounding rural areas for the past five years seems like bad news. But that unraveling could prove to be a blessing in disguise for people who live there.
ECONOMY / JOBS
U.S. retail sales declined last month as Americans cut back their spending on clothes, appliances, and home and garden supplies.
Every year, low-income Californians fail to claim $2 billion from the federal and state governments that could otherwise help them afford life’s basic needs.
Los Angeles Times
Stocks reversed an early slide on Wall Street and finished broadly higher Wednesday, giving the market its second straight gain in a week of bumpy trading.
The federal treasury does get paid when tariffs are levied. But Chinese exporters don’t make the payment. The importers do — usually U.S. companies.
- Apple’s China tariff trade-off: raise iPhone prices or watch profit margins drop Los Angeles Times
- The China challenge and critical next steps for the United States Brookings
- Pat Toomey & China Trade: Senator Calls Trump’s Aid to Farmers ‘Very Bad Policy’ National Review
Unlike in 38 other states, charging a triple-digit interest rate on many consumer loans is legal in California. In the state’s rapidly growing market for “subprime” consumer credit, terms like Benson’s are increasingly common.
By partnering with a private-sector company to build a new rehabilitation hospital, UC Davis Health is subverting labor contracts with its employees and partnering with a company that has a record of suppressing the wages of health care workers, two unions allege.
The NLRB released the advisory memo on Tuesday, nearly a month after it was originally issued. It concludes that Uber drivers are independent contractors and not employees — a classification that means they have no right to form a union or bargain collectively.
A week after Visalia school board members pushed their superintendent out, trustees voted unanimously to appoint Tamara Ravalin acting superintendent.
The Kern High School District’s annual PEAAK Awards were the hottest ticket in town Wednesday, giving some of Hollywood’s most prestigious award shows a run for their money.
Public Policy Institute of California
In the April 2019 PPIC Statewide Survey, 78% of Californians and 88% of public school parents said that attending preschool is important to a student’s academic success in kindergarten through grade 12.
In his May budget revision, Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing to tighten the language banning discrimination in charter school enrollment, particularly to protect students with disabilities and students with poor grades who want to attend charter schools.
Legislative Analyst’s Office
The May Revision contains more than 100 proposed changes to education programs. The changes range from large new policy proposals, to major modifications of January proposals, to small adjustments relating to revised student attendance estimates.
John C. Harris, CEO of Harris Farms, and journalist Janis “Jan” Yanehiro, will be awarded honorary doctorates at the college’s 108th commencement this Saturday, according to a press release.
UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland announced Monday she will be stepping down from her position on August 15. After eight years as chancellor at the university, 71-year-old Leland says she is ready to follow other pursuits.
- EDITORIAL: Dorothy Leland, UC Merced’s strong leader, set a high standard for the next chancellor Merced Sun-Star
Advocates at Fresno State are asking for more resources to hire additional mental health counselors in order to reduce long wait times and high staff-to-student ratios that they say pose a danger to students in crisis.
There’s a new photo-op for Fresno State graduates! The university has decided for the first time to allow students to take pictures at Bulldog Stadium.
Cal State Bakersfield’s upcoming commencement will feature the highest number of graduates ever and the first class of doctoral graduates.
It’s clear that some non-profits, also called community benefit organizations, can really change a place through advocacy and education. However, keeping those organizations going is often dependent on gifts, grants, and fundraising.
On Sunday, UC Merced student Anna Ocegueda will become the first person from her family to graduate from a four-year university. Ocegueda, 22, wanted to pay tribute to her parents with a photo she recently posted on Twitter. She didn’t expect the tweet to go viral.
Colleges created remedial education classes to ensure students were sufficiently prepared for more advanced material. But increasingly, there’s a sense that remedial courses are hurting the prospects of the students they are intended to help.
San Francisco Chronicle
All nine national parks in California, including Yosemite and Joshua Tree, are dealing with “significant air pollution problems,” according to a recent report released by the National Parks Conservation Association.
Another gray whale has washed up dead in the Bay Area, marking the 10th dead whale found in the area since March 10.
California Resources Corp., one of Kern’s largest oil producers, reported a $67-million loss in the first quarter, up from a $2-million loss during the same period a year before.
A “near-total abortion ban” passed by the Alabama Senate on Tuesday is part of a movement in some parts of the country to create restrictive new laws on abortion. Here’s an update on major abortion legislation passed or considered recently by states.
- ‘This is horrifying.’ California lawmakers, celebrities weigh in on Alabama abortion ban Fresno Bee
- Supreme Court is not eager to overturn Roe vs. Wade — at least not soon Los Angeles Times
- States with the worst anti-abortion laws also have the worst infant mortality rates Los Angeles Times
- Governor signs Alabama abortion ban, which has galvanized support on both sides, setting up a lengthy fight Washington Post
- EDITORIAL: Some court decisions deserve to be overruled. Roe vs. Wade isn’t one of them Los Angeles Times
- EDITORIAL: Alabama’s attack on Roe vs. Wade will backfire San Francisco Chronicle
Following our early report on the link between air pollution and dementia, three economists at Arizona State University—Kelly Bishop, Nicolai Kuminoff, and Jonathan Ketcham—decided to pursue a large-scale investigation of the issue.
Wall Street Journal
Failing to vaccinate your child against measles because it’s against your beliefs isn’t a crime, but perhaps it should be. The risk to public health is too great. Lawmakers should limit medical exceptions more, too.
Formerly Tulare Regional Medical Center it is now called Adventist Health Tulare. Adventist operates the hospital, leasing it from the Tulare Local Healthcare District. Adventist Health helped reopen the hospital last fall after a nearly year-long closure.
- Adventist pledges more than $20 million in Tulare hospital improvements, administration costs Visalia Times-Delta
A group of Episcopalians who are walking from Fresno to the state Capitol to raise awareness about the plight of immigrants and an “unjust” immigration system made a stop in Stockton on Tuesday.
Los Angeles Times
President Trump will announce a sweeping immigration plan Thursday to boost border security and foreign workers while reducing family reunification, but the White House proposal has little chance of advancing in Congress.
- Trump To Outline Immigration Plan That Would Overhaul Who Is Allowed Into The U.S. NPR
- Trump wants a different kind of immigrant: Highly skilled workers who speak English and have job offers Washington Post
- Trump prepares to unveil broad immigration plan but shows no signs of tempering hard-line rhetoric Washington Post
- Trump to Launch Fresh Immigration Overhaul Bid Wall Street Journal
Manteca will soon be eating “mor chikin” as plans for the city’s first Chick-fil-A are finally moving forward.
Los Angeles Times
Opponents of the shelters in both communities say they’ve been forced to use CEQA to gain the attention of politicians, who residents say are ignoring concerns about crime and drug use. But many advocating for the shelters argue that the well-funded neighborhood groups are abusing the environmental law.
Homeless encampments that have popped up along the sides of levees in Sacramento and San Joaquin counties are creating damage to the flood control structures, as some residents dig into the slope to create a flat surface to put their tents up.
Just 51% of Southern California households can comfortably buy an entry-level home — and they’d need to earn at least $70,090 annually, according to a California Association of Realtors first-time buyer financing index.
With any luck, the 2017 tax overhaul will prove to be only the first step toward eventually replacing the century-old housing subsidy with a more effective program.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing new taxes and fees even as California enjoys a huge surplus, but lawmakers, including his fellow Democrats, appear to have little appetite for new taxes.
Fresno Area Express
The Fresno Council of Governments (COG) is required to complete an Unmet Transit Needs assessment for Fresno County to determine whether or not there are any unmet transit needs that are “reasonable to meet,” before any funds are expended for non-transit uses.
Amtrak San Joaquins SM will be changing schedules on May 20, 2019 to improve on-time performance, enhance statewide connectivity, and make rail travel convenient for the greatest number of travelers.
As more U.S. cities invest in cycling, they have various kinds of bike lanes to choose from. Designs abound, depending on the needs and limitations of a given street (and some lanes certainly do their jobs better than others).
Resembling the helmet of a Star Wars stormtrooper, a driverless electric truck began daily freight deliveries on a public road in Sweden on Wednesday, in what developer Einride and logistics customer DB Schenker described as a world first.
A Senate budget subcommittee rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s water tax plan on Wednesday, instead recommending finding $150 million elsewhere to finance a safe and affordable drinking water fund.
There’s a storm coming and Yosemite National Park is prepping for some winter-like conditions. The park is closing Glacier Point Road and advising visitors to prepare for winter driving conditions for the next several days.
- Rain, cooling coming to south valley, Kern mountains, Sierra snow to the north Bakersfield Californian
- Cold Front To Bring Rain To Sacramento Valley, Snow To Sierra Nevada Capital Public Radio
- Rainfall records broken as rare May storm drenches California AccuWeather
- California is already drenched. Now three ‘atmospheric rivers’ may unload two months’ worth of rain. Washington Post
When the federal government reduced how much arsenic it would allow in drinking water in 2006, the water system in Jim Maciel’s Central Valley community was suddenly considered unsafe to drink.
- TRUE: ‘More than a million Californians’ don’t have clean drinking water … It could be higher PolitiFact
Common, the first rapper to win a Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award, and his nonprofit Imagine Justice will host a free community concert for the city of Stockton.
There’s a 70 percent chance of showers in Modesto on Thursday, with thunderstorms also possible after 11 a.m., the National Weather Service says. That said, organizers of most community festivities expect them to go on as planned.
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Maddy Institute Updated List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials HERE.
The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno was established to honor the legacy of one of California’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.
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