May 18, 2018






Gavin Newsom talks poverty, high-speed rail and immigration during Fresno visit

Fresno Bee

Gavin Newsom – the California gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Gov. of California and self-proclaimed long-time downtown Fresno supporter – visited Bitwise Industries Thursday afternoon. He spoke with a class of Fresno State students about entrepreneurship and the emergence of technology in Fresno.


He was censured by supervisors, now this DA's election challengers come from his office

Sierra Star

Criticized for being outspoken and abrasive, Madera County District Attorney David Linn is unapologetic about his management style and isn't backing down from the fight to win re-election. Linn, who overwhelmingly defeated an embattled incumbent four years ago, is facing some tough competition from two prosecutors.

See also:

     Ex-official says, ‘return civility to the office of D.A.’ Madera Tribune


Housing shortage, homelessness are top issues in Stanislaus County race

Modesto Bee

In the race for what's sometimes called the "Modesto seat" on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, the discussion is more about urban problems such as homelessness and the cost of housing.


Here's what Merced County is doing wrong, candidates say

Merced Sun Star

This week candidates for the Westside's portion of the Merced County Board of Supervisors gave their thoughts on what leaders in the area are doing wrong. 




Where are the mavericks in race for California governor?

Sacramento Bee

The better question of sacrifice to pose to the candidates is not what pain they’ve felt, but what pain they would inflict on their most ardent partisan followers.


Where candidates for governor stand on California's biggest issues

San Francisco Chronicle

Where the candidates for governor in the June 5 primary stand on California’s biggest issues: Health, Housing, Environment, Infastructure, and Education, 


Lots of candidates, lots of uncertainty


As Californians open their June 5 voting packets this month, they may be a little shocked by the sheer number of candidates for the state’s highest offices – 32 for U.S. senator and 27 for governor


EDITORIAL: Experience needed for insurance job

Sacramento Bee

We know California considers itself at war, at least rhetorically, with the Trump administration. But not every elected statewide official needs to be in the bunker. That’s one reason we’re endorsing Steve Poizner for California insurance commissioner.


EDITORIAL: Pick Cohen for tax board that should be shut down

Mercury News

Since members were last elected to the state Board of Equalization four years ago, the agency has been gutted after findings of widespread nepotism, misallocation of tax revenues and questionable spending.


Groping allegation against Cristina Garcia not substantiated by Assembly

Sacramento Bee

An Assembly investigation did not corroborate allegations that Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia drunkenly groped a former legislative staff member.

See also:

●     This California congressman is avoiding a #MeToo backlash so far. Here’s why  Los Angeles Times

●     #MeToo California lawmaker cleared of groping allegation San Francisco Chronicle

●     Assembly Investigation Clears#MeToo Lawmaker Cristina Garcia Of Groping Male Staffer But Says She Used Vulgar Language Capital Public Radio News


Why a mailer on Dreamers from a 'nonpartisan' Latino group is worrying Democrats

Sacramento Bee

The pitch to voters in swing congressional districts is aimed at reminding Latino voters which vulnerable Republican and Democratic congressmen are supporting Dreamers. What the mailers don't say is that they come from a group with close ties to the conservative Koch brothers. 


Democratic dread: Party tries to keep California's odd election rules from denying them the US House


California Democrats know exactly the trouble they’re in: They have too much of a good thing. Competitive congressional districts across Southern California are packed with qualified, enthusiastic and well-financed candidates touting progressive policies and promising stiff resistance to President Trump’s agenda.




Pelosi says California delegation will pick sides in primary fights

Los Angeles Times

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation are going to put their thumbs on the scale in some key House primary races to make sure strong Democratic candidates are among the top two facing voters in the fall. 


How California’s primary could stop Democrats from retaking the U.S. House

Los Angeles Times

Under the state’s top-two primary, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes advance to the general election in November, regardless of party. Democrats fear that the high numbers of hopefuls on the primary ballot could split the vote and leave the party without candidates in high-stakes congressional races in November.

See also:

●     Skelton: California's top-two primary could be rendered useless thanks to a hyper-polarized electorate Los Angeles Times


Republicans need a realistic plan for government reform


The Trump rescission plan fits a pattern of bold initial promises followed by less-than-impressive results. When the administration began in early 2017, officials said they would transform government by running it more like a business and cut costs. 




What’s Cooking Fresno? Food Business & Entrepreneurship Program application process is now OPEN!

Better Blackstone Association

In 2018, Fresno Metro Ministry/Better Blackstone, along with many partners, will be launching the What’s Cooking Fresno? Local Food Business Management & Entrepreneurship Incubator Program to prepare aspiring chefs, food business entrepreneurs, and food management professionals for local business and employment success.


So States Ban Bump Stocks. Now How Do They Enforce the Law?


Even though proposed bump-stock bans have stalled in more than a dozen states, gun control advocates who want to rid the country of the accessory are celebrating their existing statehouse victories. They agree with gun owners and police, however, that enforcing the bans will be a challenge.


The Miraculous Image Rehabilitation of Former Republican Presidents

National Review

If George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were once considered by the media to have been among the “worst” presidents in history, now they were not so bad in comparison to the unprecedented awfulness of Trump.




Farm Bill Goes Down in House

Roll Call

In a major blow to Republican leaders and after a week full of drama and last-minute vote wrangling, the House failed to pass a farm bill Friday, with several Freedom Caucus members voting no in protest to a lack of immediate action on immigration.

See also:

    ​​ House Rejects Farm Bill as Some Conservatives Withhold Support​​ The Wall Street Journal

    ​​  The Farm Bill Should Benefit Consumers and Taxpayers, Not Just Agribusiness​​ National Review

    ​​  Exporting Jobs Instead of Food Wall Street Journal


California cannot afford to wait on banking for cannabis businesses

Sacramento Bee

Cannabis a $10 billion industry operating mostly in cash. A majority of businesses are not paying taxes - not because they don't want to, but because they aren't able to open a bank account and local jurisdictions are failing to issue licenses.






Fresno women are bruised, beaten – and killed – by partners at a 'mind-boggling' rate

Fresno Bee

Thousands of women are emotionally bruised and physically battered — and in some cases killed — in domestic violence attacks in Fresno every year. Women are verbally intimidated, demeaned, isolated, punched, shoved, kicked, strangled, stabbed, raped and shot by husbands, boyfriends, ex-partners and lovers.


EDITORIAL: It's time to test a backlog of rape-kit evidence

San Francisco Chronicle

California’s police departments have thousands of untested rape kits on their shelves, prime evidence that could produce arrests in sex-assault cases. But the numbers aren’t known nor does the law require that the kits be examined for DNA traces that can yield results.

See also:

●     AP Exclusive: California judge in rape case has no regrets Washington Post


Public Safety:


Kale, Not Jail: Urban Farming Nonprofit Helps Ex-Cons Re-enter Society

New York Times

Even by the standards of the Bay Area, where sourcing local, organic chicken feed is seen as something of a political act, the spectacle of 30,000 fruit and nut trees being tended by formerly incarcerated orchardists is novel.




Trump lags behind his predecessors on economic growth


Trump’s claim that his stewardship of the economy puts his predecessors to shame can be checked by public information that is readily available to all.


What’s Cooking Fresno? Food Business & Entrepreneurship Program application process is now OPEN!

Better Blackstone Association

In 2018, Fresno Metro Ministry/Better Blackstone, along with many partners, will be launching the What’s Cooking Fresno? Local Food Business Management & Entrepreneurship Incubator Program to prepare aspiring chefs, food business entrepreneurs, and food management professionals for local business and employment success.






The art of engagement: classroom management now matters more in teacher training


California school districts, responding to pressure from parent groups, advocates and the state, are eschewing punitive discipline, such as suspensions and expulsions, and asking teachers to focus much more on the social and emotional needs of their students. 


California lacks system to track students through high school, college and workplace


“California is behind almost every state in the nation,” said Paige Kowalski, executive vice president of policy and advocacy for the Data Quality Campaign, a Washington D.C.-based research and advocacy group that supports greater access to education information and publishes reports on state data systems. “We got over 40 states that are reporting on an annual basis their postsecondary enrollment data by high school. California does not do this.”


Innovations for improving access to and quality of education for urban refugees


More than 65 million people around the globe have been forced from their homes. Among them are more than 21 million refugees who crossed national borders in search of safety. Of them, 60 percent live in urban areas, outside of formal camps. Yet, most of the humanitarian sector’s models were developed for camp-based settings.


Higher Ed:


A USC doctor was accused of bad behavior with young women for years. The university let him continue treating students

Los Angeles Times

For nearly 30 years, the University of Southern California's student health clinic had one full-time gynecologist: Dr. George Tyndall. Tall and garrulous, he treated tens of thousands of female students, many of them teenagers seeing a gynecologist for the first time.

See also: 

●     'Just the Grossest Thing': Women Recall Interactions With USC Doctor New York Times




Apprenticeships and Community Colleges: Do They Have a Future Together?


Community colleges face cultural, organizational, and financial challenges in delivering and expanding apprenticeships, including developing relationships with employers, registering programs with the US Department of Labor, and facing potential competition from emerging entities called apprenticeship service providers.






Department of Pesticide Regulation receives poor grades on report

Porterville Recorder

The state agency responsible for regulating the pesticide industry received poor grades from an environmental issues coalition.


Will Trump's pick to run EPA in California show up for work?

Los Angeles Times

The White House may have finally found someone to take on the stress of overseeing President Trump's fossil fuel-friendly environmental agenda in the heart of hostile territory: California and nearby states.


As salinity grows and toxic dust spreads, patience wears thin at Salton Sea

Los Angeles Times

Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia watched with ill-disguised frustration as a hearing aimed at expediting state projects to restore habitat and control dust storms at the shrinking Salton Sea instead dissolved into discussion of why the efforts were falling further behind schedule.




EDITORIAL: Rocky Chavez did Dems a favor and now look. This is why we can't have bipartisanship

Sacramento Bee

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown needed GOP votes to extend cap and trade, California’s landmark attempt to mitigate climate change. Republicans were under partisan pressure to deny him, but a few – Tom Berryhill in the Senate and Catharine Baker, Chad Mayes, Devon Mathis, Rocky Chavez in the Assembly – went along. Then came the payback. 


The Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program presents a crucial opportunity to fund U.S. infrastructure


Now that congressional action on a major federal infrastructure bill is going nowhere fast, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan program, with $40 billion in existing spending authority, is a here-and-now opportunity to address key U.S. infrastructure needs.





Covered California premiums projected to rise 11 percent in 2019

San Francisco Chronicle

The elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to buy health insurance, which takes effect in 2019, is expected to lead to a 12 percent drop in enrollment and an 11 percent rise in insurance premiums for Californians buying health plans on the individual market, according to estimates in a proposed annual budget released by Covered California, the state health insurance marketplace, on Thursday.


California birth rate falls again to record low

Sacramento Bee

California’s birth rate fell to its lowest level in at least 100 years during 2017, even dipping below rates seen in the Great Depression, according to new figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

See also:

●      California birth rate plunges to lowest level in a century San Francisco Chronicle


For Every Woman Who Dies In Childbirth In The U.S., 70 More Come Close


For every American woman who dies from childbirth, 70 nearly die. That adds up to more than 50,000 women who suffer "severe maternal morbidity" from childbirth each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

See also:

●        U.S. Black Mothers Die At Alarming Rates NPR

●      Focus On Infants During Childbirth Leaves U.S. Moms In Danger NPR

●      Advice From Mothers Who Almost Died NPR

●      Many Nurses Lack Knowledge Of Health Risks To Mothers After Childbirth NPR

●      A Larger Role for Midwives Could Improve Deficient U.S. Care for Mothers and Babies ProPublica


California's Deadly STD Epidemic Sets Record

Washington Post

Diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases hit a record high in California last year — with sometimes deadly consequences, according to preliminary state data released this week.

See also:

      ​​  Grand jury faults response to San Diego's hepatitis outbreak Sacramento Bee

      ​​ AHF Blasts California Senate for Nixing $10M for STD Control as Rates Explode in State



Human Services:


LA County Unlawfully Terminated Thousands Of Medi-Cal Recipients, Court Rules

Washington Post

Los Angeles County unlawfully dropped an estimated 22,000 people from California’s Medicaid program, including low-income seniors and disabled residents who couldn’t get vital medications and medical care after their coverage was terminated, according to a court ruling late last week.


Trump Administration to Tie Health Facilities’ Funding to Abortion Restrictions

New York Times

Clinics that provide abortions or refer patients to places that do would lose federal funding under a new Trump administration rule that takes direct aim at Planned Parenthood, according to three administration officials.




California Gov. Jerry Brown signs another law to protect immigrants

Los Angeles Times

One day after President Trump and a group of like-minded Californians blasted the state’s immigration laws, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed another one: a law that prevents lawyers from revealing the immigration status of crime victims and witnesses in open court unless a judge rules the information relevant to the case.

See also:

●     Brown signs bill protecting undocumented immigrants in California courts San Francisco Chronicle


California Republicans close to forcing vote on DACA bills in House

San Francisco Chronicle

A rebellion led by a pair of California Republicans seeking to force a House vote on DACA legislation is closing in on success, despite GOP leadership’s efforts to kill it.

See also:

●     The Daily 202: Immigration is tearing Republicans apart Washington Post


Orange County, Inland Empire leaders talk immigration with Trump in White House


Mayors and council members, sheriffs and county supervisors – from small towns and big ones – went to the White House Wednesday to thank President Trump for his tough stance on immigration and to ask for additional support in fighting California’s sanctuary policies.

See also:

●     In Trump era, LAPD strengthens bonds with immigrants here illegally Los Angeles Times

●     During Roundtable, Trump Calls Some Unauthorized Immigrants 'Animals' NPR




Land Use:


Fresno annexes additional land west of highway 99


The city of Fresno continues to grow west. The city council today approved annexing a new housing tract west of Highway 99.


Hotel Fresno declared historic by state


A decision made in Palo Alto could spur the refurbishing of the Hotel Fresno downtown. The State Historical Resources Commission (SHRC) deemed the Hotel Fresno worthy of being on the National Register of Historic Places.




Modesto's rental housing inspection proposal: Will it help tenants or hurt landlords?

Modesto Bee

Modesto is facing resistance from property owners and managers as it considers whether it should inspect apartments and other rental housing to ensure they meet basic health and safety standards, including having working plumbing and being free of vermin.


Report: Despite strong demand, low-income housing in Kern still on decline

The Bakersfield Californian

Kern County has seen an 85 percent reduction in low-income housing production just since 2016, according to a new report from the California Housing Partnership Corporation.


California housing plans jump 30%, but that's not enough

The Mercury News

California developers filed 30 percent more building permits already this year, but that’s not making much progress.


Want to buy a home in California? Here's how much you need to earn — by county

Sacramento Bee

You’ll need to earn at least $333,270 a year to qualify to buy a median-priced home in San Francisco — but not all of California is that costly: An income of $35,400 is enough in Lassen County.

See also:

●     Southern California house prices up 7.3 percent in April, Realtors report OCRegister

●     What a $500,000 home looks like around California–and how it shapes where we move CALmatters


Initiative to expand Prop 13 homeowner tax benefits eligible for November ballot

The Mercury News

Just as a ballot initiative that would dramatically expand Proposition 13 tax benefits for longtime homeowners was deemed eligible for the November ballot on Thursday, its proponents said they were negotiating with the Legislature on a compromise to avoid a bruising and costly initiative battle.


In the second Gilded Age, the mansions get bigger, and the homeless get closer

USA Today

The Capital of America’s second gilded age is Los Angeles, where homes worth tens of millions of dollars look out over a city in which the middle class struggles to afford shelter and the number of homeless increases daily.




CalPERS slashed pensions for 200 workers. Their boss is suing to keep his

Sacramento Bee

The first retiree to sue CalPERS after it decided to reduce pensions among a group of Southern California public employees is a former executive who’s facing criminal charges alleging that he embezzled government funds. 

See also:

●     BRIEF-CalPERS Unveils Two New Strategic Business Models For Its Private Equity Program Reuters

●     CalPERS to build $13 bln in-house private equity fundsReuters


Baby boomers would get a huge property tax break under this November initiative

Sacramento Bee

Older California residents who buy pricier homes could save thousands of dollars in property taxes under an initiative that has qualified for the statewide November ballot. 


Taxing California: Highest in the nation and unstable, too

The Mercury News

California’s major revenue sources have shifted over time. Until 1995, the biggest was property taxes. Today, it’s personal income taxes. And California ranks fairly high in overall taxation: 10th highest both per capita and as a percentage of personal income, based on the latest available data from the U.S. Census.


Fiscal Restraint Is Jerry Brown’s Thing. Will It Follow Him Into Retirement?

New York Times

It’s a problem most governments can only dream of: too much money. But California — riding the wave of a booming economy — is swimming in a surplus: $8.98 billion as of last week.


Fox: Would You Believe? GOP Bill Would Raise Tax Revenue—Democrats Say No

Fox & Hounds

Here’s a shocker—Republicans, taxpayer groups and business associations pushed a bill that would raise tax revenue but it was rejected by the Democrats in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on the advice of unions, interest groups and others who always pine for more tax money.




Gubler says Mathis is 'ignorant' and 'incompetent' over high-speed rail

Visalia Times-Delta

The board tasked with overseeing California’s ambitious high-speed rail project approved a new business plan this week and pledged to keep pushing forward even as the plan faces stark financial challenges.


LA transit officials consider Metro-owned sites in Valley, Venice to aid homeless

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County transportation officials have identified five properties, including parking lots in the San Fernando Valley and a former bus yard in Venice Beach, that could be used to provide services or temporary housing for Los Angeles County's growing homeless population.


EDITORIAL: Vote yes, with some caveats, on California Prop. 69


Whatever one believes about the wisdom of recently enacted gas tax and vehicle-registration fee increases, most will likely agree that those revenues should be used to improve California’s transportation infrastructure. Proposition 69 offers Californians an opportunity to ensure that the additional taxes and fees from Senate Bill 1 actually go toward transportation.


Uber drivers make about as much money as minimum wage workers


The question of how much Uber drivers make per hour is always ripe for discussion. 




Atwater drinking water contaminated with trichloropropane


The City of Atwater is warning residents about a contaminant in their drinking water that could lead to cancer. Public Works officials sent a notice inside of residents' utility bills last week.


Wasco plant prepares to ramp up oilfield wastewater treatment work

The Bakersfield Californian

A potential solution drew Edison-area oilfield operator Michael Unsell and dozens of others Thursday to a Wasco facility that expects to begin recycling 210,000 gallons of produced water per day by July, and process perhaps twice that volume by the end of this year


Groundwater comes from surface water

Madera Tribune

When we pump groundwater for any reason, whether it be for municipal use or irrigation, the groundwater supply will decrease. That is a given. And not only does that water disappear, the soil around it compacts, and subsides. We have seen that happen in our Valley.


Could the Arizona desert offer California and the west a guide to solving its groundwater problem?

Water Education Foundation

As California embarks on its unprecedented mission to harness groundwater pumping, the Arizona desert may provide one guide that local managers can look to as they seek to arrest years of overdraft.


For water, they'd take your rights

Stockton Record

A Southern California congressman has slipped a rider into a federal spending bill that would exempt the Delta tunnels from lawsuits — pause to hear water attorneys howling like coyotes — including suits already brought by the city of Stockton and county of San Joaquin.


Why a bill before Congress is such a big threat to the Delta

Sacramento Bee

If you care about the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or protecting California water rights, you should be very alarmed by something that just happened 3,000 miles away in the halls of Congress.


This zombie dam project underscores California's dilemma over water

Los Angeles Times

Despite what you may have gleaned from television and the movies, zombies aren't always constituted of flesh and blood. Sometimes they come in concrete and rock. Exhibit A is a $3-billion dam proposal on the San Joaquin River known as Temperance Flat.





Valley Cultural Calendar

Valley Cultural Coalition

Great things are happening in the Valley. Here's a list of VCC member offerings to keep you busy and entertained!


Final preparations for Grizzly Fest


Just hours before the kick off to Grizzly Fest, lighting technicians were at work on stage testing out the equipment on Thursday night. The story was the same earlier in the day as crews performed sound checks.


72nd Chowchilla-Madera County Fair kicks off


The Chowchilla-Madera County Fair gets underway Thursday afternoon. This is the 72nd year for the event.

See also:

     Chowchilla to celebrate 72nd Spring Festival Madera Tribune


Kern County named wind capital of the world

The Bakersfield Californian

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Kern has more wind turbines — 4,581 — than any other county in the nation.


Volunteer cuddlers provide comfort for babies at Valley Children's Hospital


There are a number of volunteer opportunities at Valley Children's Hospital, but one of the most coveted is to be a Cuddler in the NICU.


Yosemite National Park: Snow is cleared and Tioga Road opens Monday

The Mercury News

Tioga Road, the fabled route through Yosemite National Park’s scenic high country and the highest-elevation road in California’s state highway system, will re-open to vehicles Monday.