May 21, 2019



North SJ Valley:

All but one charge dropped after former Stockton Mayor Silva accepts plea deal

Stockton Record

Former Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva pleaded no contest to a single conflict-of-interest charge Monday morning after the prosecution agreed to drop all of the other counts of financial malfeasance he was facing.

Bob Elliott says he’s seeking congressional seat held by Josh Harder

Stockton Record

Bob Elliott announced on Monday that he has decided to run for the 10th U.S. Congressional District seat in the 2020 election instead of seeking to replace Cathleen Galgiani in the California state Senate.

Central SJ Valley:

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand won’t seek re-election, but field of candidates keeps growing

Fresno Bee

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand will not seek re-election in 2020. Brand, elected in 2016, made the announcement on Monday. Brand said making the announcement lifted a “two-ton weight” off his back and energized him.

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South SJ Valley:

Tulare County supervisors to support water over high-speed rail

Visalia Times Delta

Tulare County Supervisors will vote to approve a letter of support for proposed legislation that will bring up to $3.5 billion for water infrastructure improvements.

Trump issues disaster declaration for 17 California counties hit by winter storms

Visalia Times Delta

President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for California after large parts of the state were damaged by storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides earlier this year.

Plan to outfit Bakersfield patrol cars with ‘In God We Trust’ decals will be brought to council

Bakersfield Californian

Delano is officially the first city in Kern County, and possibly in the state, to have the national motto “In God We Trust” placed on its patrol cars, but Bakersfield could soon be next.


Gavin Newsom is using the Obamacare playbook to count Californians in the 2020 census

Fresno Bee

With millions of dollars in funding at stake, California is trying some unusual strategies to encourage hard-to-count populations to participate in the census and exploring ways to link them with public outreach efforts, including ones aimed at uninsured Californians.

See also:

Bye bye Big Top? California lawmakers vote to ban the use of circus performing animals

Fresno Bee

The Big Top’s days in the Golden State could soon be numbered; California lawmakers voted Monday to outlaw the use of circus performing animals.

Labor unions are paying to help California’s lieutenant governor decorate her office

Sacramento Bee

Taxpayers aren’t paying for the lieutenant governor’s new office furniture.

Labor unions are.

Parents opposed to comprehensive sex education pull children out of schools, stage rallies across Southern California

OC Register

Hundreds of parents opposed to California’s comprehensive sex education curriculum staged so-called “SeXXX Ed” rallies outside county education department offices.


Dual hearings on Capitol Hill focus on Trump’s Iran policy

Fresno Bee

As questions mount over President Donald Trump’s tough talk on Iran, top national security officials are heading to Capitol Hill to brief Congress. But skeptical Democrats have asked for a second opinion.

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19 million people don’t have internet access. Will Congress spend billions to fix that?

Sacramento Bee

More than half a million South Carolinians don’t have access to a reliable internet connection — forcing students to drive to parking lots of fast food restaurants to do their homework, making it tough for rural hospitals to treat patients in remote areas and rendering some business opportunities impossible.

House Intelligence Committee Releases Transcripts Of Michael Cohen’s Testimony


New documents out tonight provide new details about what Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney, told Congress behind closed doors this March.

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Trump tells McGahn to defy Congress’ subpoena

Merced Sun-Star

The White House on Monday cited a legal opinion from the Justice Department, which argues that McGahn would have immunity from testifying before Congress about his work as a close Trump adviser.

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Trump tears into California for high-speed rails, wildfires


President Donald Trump on Friday tore into the state of California, calling it the “disastrous results of overregulation” in a speech that lasted almost an hour and included a slew of tangents on trade, the economy and the 2020 election.

Republicans may never forgive Justin Amash. The nation should thank him.

Washington Post

Justin Amash finally said out loud what many other Republicans know but will only whisper: “President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.” Amash’s party may never forgive him. His nation ought to thank him.

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Will the Supreme Court save the GOP from itself on abortion?

Roll Call

Social conservatives cheering the rash of state laws limiting legal abortion might want to be careful what they wish for.

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‘My Kevin’ Emerges as Bridge Between Trump and GOP

Wall Street Journal

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bond with president makes him critical to success of tax plan.

Federal judge declines to block congressional subpoena seeking years of Trump’s financial records from his accounting firm

Washington Post

U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of Washington refused to halt the records request to Mazars USA from the House Oversight and Reform Committee but stayed his order seven days to allow President Trump’s lawyers time to appeal.

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Elections 2020:

Kamala Harris, other 2020 Democrats promise new gun controls. How far can they go?

Merced Sun-Star

California Sen. Kamala Harris and other Democrats running for president have promised aggressive action to stem the nation’s epidemic of gun violence if they win the White House in 2020.

Elizabeth Warren is on a roll, but still facing big obstacles in 2020 presidential bid

Los Angeles Times

The polls may be middling, the fundraising so-so, but Elizabeth Warren has one key asset in her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination — a campaign plan more clearly defined than that of just about any other candidate.

Kamala Harris would toughen penalties on employers who underpay women

Los Angeles Times

Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris released a plan Monday to overhaul U.S. discrimination laws to ensure women and men are paid equally for the same work.

‘How are you going to pay for it?’ — 2020 candidates wrestle with their costly plans

Los Angeles Times

The competition among 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls to be bold in confronting vexing social and economic challenges has created a mountain of policy promises. The rising price tag has implications the contenders prefer to sidestep.

Americans may vote in 2020 using old, unsecured machines

Roll Call

The first primary in the 2020 presidential race is a little more than 250 days away, but lawmakers and experts worry that elections will be held on voting machines that are woefully outdated and that any tampering by adversaries could lead to disputed results.

What’s in a name? When you’re running for president, a lot

Los Angeles Times

One of the starker divisions in the sprawling Democratic field is how candidates present themselves — a friendly first name, a no-nonsense last name, or both first and last — in their logos, on their campaign websites and in other promotional materials.


US sanctions on Huawei bite, but who gets hurt?

Fresno Bee

The U.S. move escalates trade-war tensions with Beijing, but also risks making China more self-sufficient over time. Here’s a look at what’s behind the dispute and what it means.

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Did Democrats Just Create a Problem with Soccer Moms and Dads?

Wall Street Journal

A Friday House vote could be the sleeper issue of 2020.


Sunday, May 26, at 10 a.m. on ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Motor Voter: Fine Tuning the Registration Engine” – Guests: Secretary of State Alex Padilla; Laurel Rosenhall, CALmatters; and John Myers, Los Angeles Times. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, May 26, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition:  “Madera County Pilots New Voting Process: What Were the Results?” – Guests: Rebecca Martinez, Clerk/Recorder/Registrar of Voters for Madera County. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, May 26, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy: “State Auditor Report on Charter Schools” – Guest: Margarita Fernandez, PIO State Auditor’s Office.  Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans.


Storms devastate crops in the Valley, growers brace for next round of wild weather


As strong wind, rain and hail pummeled the Central Valley, crops were left to Mother Nature’s mercy. There are more than 400 different crops grown in Fresno County, with 2017’s crop report showing it is a $7 billion industry.

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Merced beekeeper creates CBD-infused ‘happy honey’ products for sick father


It’s not often you find a millennial beekeeper, but Jessica Gonzalez, founded “Happy Organics,” as a way to honor her father, Salvador. She created a hemp-derived CBD product line that includes raw honey, chocolate, and muscle balms for the mind and body.

California’s Dairy Industry Faces Water Quality Challenges


Contaminated groundwater is an ongoing problem in the San Joaquin Valley. Solutions to nitrate pollution are especially difficult and expensive for the state’s dairies.

U.S. Farmers, Wanting a Trade Deal, Brace for Aid Package Some Fear Will Fall Short

Wall Street Journal

The failure of Beijing and Washington to settle differences further clouds the outlook for farmers already hit by floods and bad weather.

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Diocese reopens priest-abuse allegations first raised in 1998

Bakersfield Californian

Decades after the allegations first came to light, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno is revisiting accusations Bakersfield priest Craig Harrison inappropriately touched a teenager while working at St. Joseph Church in Firebaugh in the 1990s.

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Tulare sergeant under investigation, DA reviewing criminal allegations

Visalia Times-Delta

Six months after the arrest of two Visalia narcotics detectives, a Tulare sergeant is under the microscope in connection with the case.

Judge: Parents of Dead West Point Cadet Can Use His Sperm

U.S. News

A judge has cleared the way for the parents of a 21-year-old West Point cadet fatally injured in a skiing accident to use his frozen sperm to produce a child.

Public Safety:

California has more troops than any state, but it’s too expensive for veterans to retire

Fresno Bee

California — home to the largest number of active-duty troops in the nation — fares poorly in the survey when it comes to affordable housing, homelessness and the proportion of of businesses in the state that are owned by veterans.

The bogus-check scam is back, in the form of a car-wrap offer

Los Angeles Times

Scammers aren’t dumb — they stick with what works. It’s always interesting, though, when a classic ruse gets dressed up in new clothes.

Gun-Related Suicides Fell In California After Medical Marijuana Became Legal, Study Shows

Marijuana Moment

The total number of suicides in California per year, including those committed with firearms, declined after the state legalized marijuana use for medical purposes, according to a new study.

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Change California’s Deadly Use Of Force Law


Police officers should avoid using deadly force whenever possible. But, right now, officers can legally use deadly force and kill someone even when they have other alternatives.


Trump threatens to cut millions from fire departments in California after deadly wildfires

Fresno Bee

Officials in California are crying foul over a Trump administration plan to slash firefighting assistance payments to the state, which could amount to millions of dollars in lost income for fire departments.

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Fires are indiscriminate. Recovery isn’t.

High Country News

The disparate timeframes of rebuilding in California’s wine country and its poorest county, shown by data.

Western States Up Controlled Burns to Fight Fires


Over 3 million acres were treated with prescribed fire in Western states in 2017, up from the roughly 2 million in 2011.



These two women’s clothing stores in Fresno and Clovis are closing, but it’s not clear when

Fresno Bee

Clothing retailer Dressbarn announced plans Monday to close all of its 650 stores. Dressbarn has a store at the Marketplace at River Park near Target, and another in Clovis at the Clovis Crossings Shopping Center at Herndon and Clovis avenues.

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Tesla opens first Central Valley service center in Fresno

Fresno Bee

Local Tesla drivers no longer have to drive hours away to find the nearest service center. The automotive company has opened its first Central Valley service station in east central Fresno, on Shields and Armstrong avenues.

California can fix the bad math of new motherhood


Turns out, the smart job moves I’ve made–combined with absurd disparities in family leave policies now being addressed through important legislation–may have sabotaged my early days as a new mom.

FCC Chairman Endorses T-Mobile Merger With Sprint


A telecom merger that has been years in the making is poised to clear a major regulatory hurdle. Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission chairman, said Monday that he endorses the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, a $26 billion deal.

To reform the credit card industry, start with credit scores


Reacting to the proposal from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to cap credit card interest rates at 15%, Aaron Klein and Lisa Servon argue policymakers should instead address the discriminatory system that allocates credit and unfairly denies opportunity to broad groups of consumers.

The markets are asleep at the wheel


One has to hope that, while markets seem to be asleep at the wheel, the same is not true of global economic policymakers. Otherwise, we run the risk that policymakers will again be caught as flat-footed as they were in 2008–09, which could delay and complicate the eventual resolution of a likely global financial market crisis.

Economists Remain Worried About Slow-Growing Middle Class


Most states saw growth in the middle class between 2016 and 2017, but the number of households in that group still had not recovered to the levels of 2000.


Black unemployment is rising again, undermining a Trump boast on economic growth

Los Angeles Times

One aspect of American life that President Trump never tires of taking credit for is economic growth — specifically, job growth. So you won’t hear him pointing out the disturbing discrepancy in the employment figures between white and black workers.

Hot Job Market Is Wooing Women Into Workforce Faster Than Men


Over the past three years, women in their working prime have been entering the workforce at more than double the rate of men. That recent rise comes at a time when the economy is humming along and the unemployment rate has reached historic lows.

Cannabis Is Becoming A Huge Job Creator


Discussions about job growth in the U.S. tend to focus on industries such as technology and health care. But the biggest boom may be happening in cannabis.

How Trump has already changed migrant worker programs

PBS NewsHour

President Donald Trump called last week for prioritizing immigrants coming to the United States for skills-based reasons rather than family ties, a proposal that would shift the values anchoring the nation’s immigration policy and have significant economic ramifications.



California Teachers Pay For Their Own Substitutes During Extended Sick Leave


A 40-year-old California law requiring public school teachers on extended sick leave to pay for their own substitute teachers is under scrutiny by some state lawmakers.

Celerity charter school founder who misspent $3.2 million gets 30 months in prison

Los Angeles Times

The founder of Los Angeles-based charter school network Celerity Educational Group was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for misspending $3.2 million in public funds.

Majority of California voters favor tax increase on millionaires to fund schools, poll finds


As pressure builds in California to increase funding for public schools, a new poll shows that a majority of likely voters are in favor of raising taxes on wealthy corporations and individuals to boost education funding.

States’ English Language Education Needs Grow


English language programs in public schools can be difficult to organize and hard to staff, creating a challenge for policymakers as an increasing number of English learners enter the system.

California’s School Accountability Laws Have Quietly Become Defunct

Laws allowing parents to leave low-performing schools or in some cases exert more control over them remain on the books, but changes to the state’s evaluation system have made them unusable.

Higher Ed:

Long before college admissions scandal, universities saw signs of fraud on campus

Los Angeles Times

Several universities have launched investigations to examine that question. But there are lingering questions about how such an audacious scam could go on for so long without detection at some of America’s top colleges.

EDITORIAL: A billionaire’s generous graduation gift should get us all thinking about student debt

Los Angeles Times

The grim reality is that college students around the country are awash in $1.5 trillion in loan debt. It would take more than half the combined net worth of all 607 billionaires in the United States to eradicate the mountain of U.S. student debt.

EDITORIAL: Should privilege and disadvantage play a role in SAT scores?

Los Angeles Times

In more recent years, new concerns have arisen about the SAT, and especially about the advantage it gives to affluent students who have attended academically robust schools and benefited from the help of SAT tutors.




Del Monte to pay $190K EPA settlement over Sanger plant gas leak

Business Journal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled with Del Monte Fresh Produce (West Coast” Inc.) for violating federal chemical safety and reporting requirements following an ammonia release at its storage and distribution facility in Sanger.

L.A. has a plan for combating climate change. But is it realistic?

Los Angeles Times

California has had a glimpse in recent years of what it can expect as the climate continues to change: wild swings from extreme drought to extreme rainfall and snowfall, a sharp increase in devastating wildfires and record temperatures.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Could turning it into CO2 fight climate change?

Los Angeles Times

Usually, choosing between the lesser of two evils is a dismal decision. But sometimes, it’s an opportunity.


Voters Won’t Decide the Future of Energy

Washington Post

Who decides the future of energy – the producers, or the consumers? It’s a question that’s been asked at least since the 1970s.



The Other Reasons Kids Aren’t Getting Vaccinations: Poverty And Health Care Access


Data from the CDC shows the connection between poverty and vaccination rates bears out nationally. In 2017 only 75% of uninsured children age 19 to 35 months had gotten at least one dose of MMR, the vaccine for measles.

“If you think the system works, you’re dead wrong:” a discussion on California’s mental health system


A physician, an advocate, a public health specialist, a suicide-attempt survivor and a California state lawmaker gathered in downtown Sacramento today to offer their diagnosis of the state’s mental health system.

Asbestos in Your Makeup? Legislature Rejects Proposal to Ban Toxics From Cosmetics


After major pushback from powerful players such as the California Chamber of Commerce, which put the bill on its annual list of “job killers,” Assembly Bill 495 failed to survive its first committee hearing.

Behind the Disparities in Breast Cancer Mortality


Louisiana and Mississippi have the highest racial disparities in breast cancer mortality. In both of those states, the excess death rate among black women is more than 60 percent.

Human Services:

‘Medicare for All’s’ rich benefits ‘leapfrog’ other nations

Fresno Bee

The “Medicare for All” plan advocated by leading 2020 Democrats appears more lavish than what’s offered in other advanced countries, compounding the cost but also potentially broadening its appeal. While other countries do provide coverage for all, benefits vary.

Surprise medical bills could prompt rare bipartisan action in Congress

Los Angeles Times

Even through the pain of a burst appendix just weeks before election day, Katie Porter made sure her campaign manager took her to Hoag Hospital in Irvine — and not to a closer hospital — because she knew the emergency room was in her insurance network.

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California eyes health care for immigrants in US illegally


California lawmakers consider proposals that would make the state the first in the nation to offer government-funded health care to adult immigrants living in the country illegally. But the decision on who to cover may come down to cost.

Caregivers and takers

Reveal News

An investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting uncovers widespread exploitation of workers who tend to the elderly.

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With Opioid Crisis Comes Meth, Cocaine Deaths


A recent analysis from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that opioids were involved in nearly three-fourths of all cocaine overdose deaths and an increasing number of methamphetamine deaths.


California eyes health care for immigrants in US illegally

Fresno Bee

Stories like that have prompted California lawmakers to consider proposals that would make the state the first in the nation to offer government-funded health care to adult immigrants living in the country illegally. But the decision on who to cover may come down to cost.

Who will help set Fresno immigration policy? This ex-Congressional candidate, a CEO and others

Fresno Bee

Fifteen members for Fresno’s Immigration Advisory Committee — which some consider to be long overdue — were appointed Thursday by the City Council, with prominent and familiar names on the list, including a few with conservative views.

5th child dies after arriving at US border


An investigation is underway after a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died in U.S custody. Authorities said the teen was found unresponsive Monday morning at the border patrol station in Weslaco, Texas.

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Skelton: Thanks to immigrants, California is changing for the better before our eyes

Los Angeles Times

Distracted by President Trump and his riled resisters, it’s easy to miss the big picture of foreign migration to California. It’s the old story of not seeing the forest for the trees.

Budgeting for Asylum-Seekers Challenges States and Cities


Record numbers of asylum-seekers are crossing the border and spreading out around the country while waiting for court hearings.


Land Use:

Pre-zone lays out plan for new mixture of homes, retailers in Clovis


Clovis city leaders have plans to turn the four square mile area northeast of Behymer and Willow avenues into a thriving residential community — complete with various elevations and retail services to go along with new schools.

Blackstone Avenue is getting another fast food restaurant

Fresno Bee

The former Las Cazuelas restaurant on Blackstone Avenue was torn down to make way for a Burger King in Fresno, California.

Avoid these construction zones in Visalia, Tulare

Visalia Times Delta

Construction to increase accessibility to Visalia streets and sidewalks will begin at several locations.

Peering Beneath a Source of El Capitan’s Deadly Rockfalls

New York Times

Thermal imaging reveals surprisingly little “glue” between the famous rock’s face and sheets that are peeling off it.


California cities killed a sweeping housing reform bill. Can Gavin Newsom find another option?

Fresno Bee

After California’s most sweeping housing reform proposal died in the Legislature last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom has few options as powerful as Senate Bill 50 to fulfill his campaign pledge to address the state’s affordability crisis.

See also:

California’s statewide rent-cap proposal gets two key changes

San Jose Mercury News

Will the amendments win over skeptical Democrats?

The guy who killed SB 50 wants to fix California’s housing crisis with license plates

Los Angeles Times

Sen. Anthony Portantino, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, unceremoniously shelved SB 50. Portantino announced at the beginning of the committee hearing that the bill would not move forward this year, although it could be voted on in 2020.

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40 displaced after onslaught of hail and rain trigger cave-in at complex

Stockton Record

While most of north Stockton was back to normal following Sunday’s thunderstorm, about 40 people remained displaced from their apartments after the heavy rain and hail caused their ceilings to collapse.

When the Lyft you drive is also your home

Los Angeles Times

Both Lyft and Uber offer short-term car rental agreements to people, including those who might have poor credit or are desperately in need of a flexible stream of income. But drivers who rent through Lyft pay a premium and earn less than other ride-share drivers.

Southern California builders, swamped with unsold homes, cut construction to 3-year low

OC Register

The volume of unsold, finished homes is up 22% in a year as construction is slashed by 18%.


Should public pensions invest in Uber and Lyft? Sure, says the man who pushed to divest in guns


Not long ago, an alliance of Uber and Lyft drivers wrote the California Teachers’ Retirement System, cautioning against investment in companies that exploit workers and destabilize the tax base, as critics say the sharing economy has done.

California gets a hollow win in tax battle


California officials have pursued Gilbert Hyatt for nearly three decades, trying to force him to pay state income taxes on royalties he began receiving in the early 1990s from his groundbreaking technology inventions.


Gasoline prices are in a slow retreat. How much lower are they this week?

Fresno Bee

Gasoline prices are slowly retreating in California, including Fresno and the central San Joaquin Valley, after a two-month surge that’s been hitting drivers at the fuel pumps.

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How to protect your car from hail damage

Stockton Record

Summer can mean some big storms that might drop some large hail that can cause thousands of dollars in damage to cars left out in a storm. If you know a big storm is headed toward you, there are ways to keep your car protected.

Uber must share data with San Francisco, appeals court rules

San Francisco Chronicle

Uber must share data about its rides and drivers with San Francisco, an appeals court ruled Monday.

Video shows ‘reckless’ drivers ignoring bike lane in Bay to Breakers traffic

San Francisco Examiner

Viral tweet prompts calls for protected bike lane on Folsom Street.

The U.S. Has a Fleet of 300 Electric Buses. China Has 421,000


The rest of the world will struggle for years to match China’s rapid embrace of electric transit.

California Regulator Threatens Trump With `Extreme’ Auto Rules


A top California environmental regulator is threatening to enact tough, new pollution rules — including an unprecedented ban on cars burning petroleum-based fuels — in response to a Trump administration plan to relax vehicle emission standards.

Scooter companies’ meteoric rise in one chart


Scooter companies like Bird and Lime benefitted from the optimism ride-hailing companies created about transportation services. But they’re now facing an increasing number of questions about their ability to sustain this growth including concerns about seasonality and vehicle costs.

EDITORIAL: Trump’s petty takeback on high-speed rail — San Francisco Chronicle  

San Francisco Chronicle

In his first State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom shocked observers when he said “there simply isn’t a path” for a long-planned bullet train that would travel all the way from San Francisco to Los Angeles.


Tule River temporarily shut to public access. Conditions are ‘unsafe and unpredictable’

Fresno Bee

The Tulare County Sheriff Office and the Sequoia National Forest have temporarily closed the Tule River. According to a news release, the closure begins on Tuesday and will stay in effect until further notice.

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Tulare County supervisors to support water over high-speed rail

Visalia Times-Delta

Tulare County Supervisors will vote to approve a letter of support for proposed legislation that will bring up to $3.5 billion for water infrastructure improvements. The money comes at a cost to California’s biggest undertaking — high-speed rail.

Springtime on hold as light rain and low temperatures persist in Southern California

Los Angeles Times

It may be a little longer before springtime weather returns to California, as scattered showers and below-average temperatures are expected to continue throughout the week.

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Why California’s Water Crisis Is So Difficult to Solve

New York Times

The issues that plagued that community had been building for decades before then, and, as my colleague Jose Del Realreports in a new story, they’ve since become even more urgent.


San Joaquin Street businesses offer eclectic taste of independence

Stockton Record

This enclave of small, family-owned businesses occupies the west side of San Joaquin Street between Market and Main streets in downtown Stockton.