POLICY & POLITICS
North SJ Valley:
To all the area college and high school graduates. Job. Well. Done. Now, for your next task. To the college graduates, please look hard for work in Stanislaus County or the Central Valley. We need your talents to return or remain here.
Central SJ Valley:
Visalia Times Delta
The Source LGBT+ Center has grown its annual Pride Visalia event to 4,000 guests and 70 community partners. They’ve done it in just three years. But, it’s not as easy as it looks.
Dyer may not be a politician (yet), but he possesses the requisite skills and savvy. The soon-to-be-retiring chief is a powerful presence in front of large groups and a thoughtful one in private conversation.
South SJ Valley:
A small-town California city manager has vanished, and police are scrambling to solve the mystery. Now, Bakersfield police say he is considered missing under suspicious circumstances and are seeking clues into his disappearance.
The Kern County District Attorney’s Office has cleared multiple county officials of bribery allegations and numerous other violations relating to the cannabis industry.
It is our duty as Americans to demand that our leaders be honest brokers – as interested in keeping the global peace as they are in ambitiously seeking advantage through war. It is our duty to demand that this nation’s blood and treasure not be spent thoughtlessly.
The California Legislature faces key decisions this week, including trying to reign in police use of force, prevent rent spikes, and alter labor laws affecting workers in the gig economy. Friday is the deadline for the Assembly and Senate to pass or reject bills.
The state Republican Party is asking the Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis’ office, arguing she improperly used charitable donations to buy office furniture and paint.
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California acknowledged taking a photo with a dead combatant during his time as a Marine as he defended a Navy SEAL charged with multiple war crimes, including killing a teenage fighter.
Welcome to death watch. The legislative kind.
When President Donald Trump pardoned former California Assemblyman Pat Nolan this month, he closed the book on one of the state’s most embarrassing political scandals, albeit one that wrought systemic change in the Capitol.
The Cunningham household recently added a family member, a system of interconnected smart speakers that goes by the name “Alexa.”
Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien
Former Governor Jerry Brown sits down for a one on one with Soledad O’Brien. Gov. Brown gets honest with Soledad about some of the biggest threats facing California, the future of high-speed rail, and his new life making olive oil at his off the grid ranch in Colusa.
President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that the U.S. will not be a part of the Iran nuclear deal. He said the U.S. and its allies couldn’t stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon “under the decaying and rotten structure of the current deal.”
- Trump pushes off war talk on Iran, says ‘regime change’ is not U.S. goal Los Angeles Times
The House gave final approval last week to a bill that would settle the thorny issue of who has the power to postpone town elections in the event of bad weather. The legislation was introduced after snowstorms caused problems for town meetings and elections.
Democratic leaders in Congress have argued that impeaching President Donald Trump is a political mistake as the 2020 election nears. Most of the candidates running to succeed him seem to agree, for now.
Los Angeles Times
The White House on Sunday brushed aside congressional Democrats’ concerns about Atty. Gen. William Barr being handed extraordinary powers to declassify sensitive intelligence as part of a probe into the origins of the investigation into Russian efforts to sway the 2016 election.
Abortion advocates try to intimidate the chief justice into upholding Roe.
Business leaders and communities around the country are expressing alarm that the bitter partisan impasse in Washington is paralyzing efforts to revamp the nation’s deteriorating and outdated infrastructure.
The event dubbed as a “grassroots fundraiser and friendraiser” will be held in downtown San Francisco from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 1 — the night before Sanders is scheduled to speak at the California Democratic Party Convention.
- Sanders 2020 looks like Sanders 2016, challenges and all Sacramento Bee
- Fact-Checking Bernie Sanders on the Campaign Trail New York Times
Why is the only candidate making climate change the center of his campaign, who has rolled out ambitious policies and has a track record of achievements, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, stuck in the polling basement?
Los Angeles Times
One by one, the Democratic presidential candidates campaigning in Iowa show their fealty to ethanol, the corn-based fuel that supports about 42,000 jobs and buoys the state’s crucial agriculture economy.
San Francisco Chronicle
Here’s one sign Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential rivals don’t think she has the California primary locked up: Thirteen of them will be attending the state Democratic Party convention starting Friday in San Francisco, trying to claim a stake in her home turf — the party’s largest electoral prize.
- Did Kamala Harris flip-flop on independent probes of police shootings? PolitiFact California
You might think a political party racked by scandal, facing three lawsuits and riven with infighting would be in a bad spot politically.
Los Angeles Times
Hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed a conference Wednesday, a distorted video of the California Democrat’s conversation began spreading across the internet.
Zócalo Public Square
America No Longer Wants Steady and Boring Chief Executives, So It’s Time to Let the Golden State Choose.
Dozens attended the 56th Annual VFW Memorial Day Service, held at Fresno Memorial Gardens on Monday near Fresno. Once dubbed Decoration Day, Memorial Day commemorates U.S. service members who died on active duty, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- California has more veterans than any other state. Memorials aim to ensure all are honored Fresno Bee
- Kids ‘don’t really understand military service.’ How this local family honors tradition Fresno Bee
- Modesto remembers the dead and the living who served on Memorial Day Modesto Bee
- Poppies of pride and honor Porterville Recorder
- 175 military banners added to Porterville streets Porterville Recorder
- No balloons, but lots of remembrance at Memorial Day ceremony at Union Cemetery Bakersfield Californian
- California’s War Dead: Military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2001-Present Los Angeles Times
- ‘We must not forget’: Stockton Memorial Day ceremony honors those who gave their lives for freedom Stockton Record
The New York Times gives prominent placement on its home page to list all of President Trump’s juvenile nicknames for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including the racist Native American slur directed at Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). This serves no purpose other than to highlight his name-calling and reinforce his abusive conduct.
- How to deal with obstructive public information officers? Challenge them. Columbia Journalism Review
The Fresno Bee is committed to producing the highest quality local news and opinion journalism for the region it serves. Every day, editors and reporters make dozens of decisions about coverage and content that together impact the news you consume.
Los Angeles Times
The freedom of the press to publish information of public importance — even if it has been classified as secret by the government — is a vital check on official wrongdoing and deception. However grudgingly, presidential administrations of both parties have accepted that reality by declining to prosecute media organizations under the Espionage Act.
MADDY INSTITUTE PUBLIC POLICY PROGRAMMING
Sunday, June 2, at 9 a.m. on ABC30 – Maddy Report: “California Politics with Dan Walters: Brown’s Legacy and Newsom’s Agenda”” – Guest: Dan Walters with CALmatters. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.
Sunday, June 2, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “End of an Era: What’s next?” – Guest: Former California’s Legislative Analyst, Mac Taylor. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.
Sunday, June 2, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – El Informe Maddy: “Agua en el Valle de San Joaquin: Un reporte de PPIC” – Guest: MAlvar Escriva-Bou, investigador del PPIC. Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans.
Last week the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced an increased allocation to 70 percent for south-of-Delta Central Valley Project agricultural water service contractors.
Across Kern County, medical marijuana users are flocking to dispensaries in anticipation of a ban set by the Kern County Board of Supervisors.
Yes, that’s right. There’s a new garlic festival in town — and it’s coming for Gilroy’s crown.
The combination of wind and hail has also wiped out some tomato and cotton stalk crops on the western side of Fresno County, said Ryan Jacobsen, the CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau.
Today nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are held by foreign investors. That number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities
The Trump administration is under fire for granting millions in trade-related farm aid to a company owned by two Brazilian brothers under investigation for violating U.S. anti-corruption laws.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE / FIRE / PUBLIC SAFETY
The use of “spit masks” has come under fire last week after a viral video surfaced showing Sacramento Police placing the mesh bag over the head of a 12-year-old boy who allegedly spit on an officer while being detained last month.
It’s been a deadly Memorial Day weekend across California. As of Monday, California Highway Patrol officers say nearly 20 people were killed in car collisions on state roads since Friday.
A priest with the Diocese of Fresno who’s facing sexual abuse allegations released a public statement for the first time this week. Monsignor Craig Harrison has been on leave from his Bakersfield parish since early April, following allegations of sexual abuse.
- Harrison accuses Fresno diocese of abandoning him amid sexual misconduct allegations Bakersfield Californian
- Here’s some penance: The state wants to hear church confessions about abuse, let it Sacramento Bee
The changes softened language to give officers more leeway to determine when deadly force is necessary. The bill adds clauses letting officers use deadly force if they “reasonably” believe a suspect poses a lethal or serious threat.
The unofficial first day of summer feels and looks a lot more like winter, but this will eventually be a busy summer here on the lake and as the season starts, the Fresno County sheriff’s boating unit is getting ready to save lives.
In 2016, fewer than 6% of California adolescents reported trying cigarettes, down from 10% in 2015, 13% in 2009, 15% in 2007, and 19% in 2003.
The Donnell Fire raged through the Stanislaus National Forest for almost five months before it was put out in December 2018, burning through 36,450 acres of land, destroying 54 structures and injuring nine people, according to the US Forest Service.
ECONOMY / JOBS
Some California lawmakers are pushing for people to be paid their full wages when out on family leave. The state Assembly voted 50-3 Thursday to give workers 100% of their wages instead of the 60 or 70 % the program currently provides.
Los Angeles Times
We’ll say this for President Trump: When he misunderstands something, he misunderstands it more than anyone else in creation. Take the business of tariffs.
Let’s talk about “fungibility” – the economic concept that one unit of a commodity may be interchangeable with another.
The U.S. isn’t ready to make a trade deal with China, President Donald Trump said while on a state visit to Japan.
Although the U.S. economy is currently on the verge of its longest recovery on record, it has experienced seven recessions in the last 50 years. Jay Shambaugh and Heather Boushey explain the fiscal preparations policymakers can make to mitigate the damage when the next recession hits.
New estimates and forecasts on the state of global poverty point to a depressing new dynamic that has resulted from the ongoing conflicts in Yemen and Venezuela as well as an economic slowdown in several African countries.
The New York Times
Four in 10 American adults wouldn’t be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense with cash, savings or a credit-card charge that could be quickly paid off, a new Federal Reserve survey finds.
The cost of living may be low and the culture family-friendly, but with the labor market at historically tight levels, employers across the county often must go to great lengths to attract and retain the help they need.
Across the U.S. today, there are plenty of jobs. Unemployment for Latinos is at 4.2% — the lowest in recorded history. And their poverty rate has gone down somewhat, to 18.3%.
Search the salaries of California’s 500,000-plus state workers and view up to 12 years of their pay history with The Bee’s state worker salary database.
Harsh federal laws clash with state legalization.
Equal Rights Amendment measures gain traction in Congress and beyond after #MeToo
Kamala Harris wants to insert bureaucrats into salary decisions.
The head of a union representing US Citizenship and Immigration Services employees on Sunday slammed Ken Cuccinelli, an immigration hardliner who President Donald Trump is expected to tap to lead the agency, saying his potential appointment “spells the end of legal immigration as it currently exists.”
These are prosperous times in America. The country is plump with jobs. Out of every 100 people who want to work, more than 96 of them have jobs. This is what economists consider full employment.
Los Angeles Times
Over the last two years, the world has heard much about sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. But there was barely a peep about what low-wage workers were being forced to endure.
Last week, the Chawanakee Unified Board of Education took another step in their expansion into southeastern Madera County’s newest community, Tesoro Viejo.
Stamford High School Principal Raymond Manka began thinking about it more as an addiction problem, and less of a behavior issue, after seeing the two players from another school vaping near their bus.
- Study finds e-cig flavors can damage cardiovascular cells CNN
- Industry aims to extinguish bills that would make California first state to ban flavored tobacco CALmatters
When Chuck McCully took the reigns of Fresno Unified for the first time in the early 1990s, the district’s future was under question as it faced a multitude of issues. But McCully saw hope.
Gaby Sanchez, a sixth-grader at St. Stanislaus Catholic School in west Modesto, received a School Safety Patroller of the Year award from AAA Northern California.
Budgeting for education has become crisis-driven and highly political when it should be quite the opposite—thoughtful, practical, sustainable, with balanced consideration of the needs of students, teachers, schools, and the state.
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 after NPR member station KQED reported on the practice.
Fresno State News
Hmong American students at Fresno State enter the University with higher-than-average GPAs and do well comparable to other students once on campus, but they face unique challenges that become a barrier to graduation, a new University report shows.
As a first-generation low-income student from Stockton, Princess Vongchanh wasn’t going to allow her ZIP code to define who she is.
The university awarded 2,312 bachelor’s degrees, a 28 percent increase from the 1,806 undergraduate degrees awarded last year, according to a news release. More than 1,600 students participated in Friday’s ceremony.
On Friday, three days before Memorial Day, attorneys general for 47 states wrote to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her to automatically forgive student loans for eligible disabled veterans.
California’s financial aid system could get its biggest overhaul in 20 years if a proposal backed by key Assembly Democrats becomes law. And that’s just one of a slew of college affordability bills in play this legislative session.
He plans to get his master’s in education, too. But teaching in Salinas comes first.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for a Tulare County area on Sunday, as a “dangerous” thunderstorm passed over the region.
A letter of intent was signed for Yosemite’s first permanent rock-climbing exhibit, to be housed in the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. Yager hopes it will open by Memorial Day 2020. Fundraising has started and design firms will be interviewed this week.
Mary Nichols, the powerful head of the California Air Resources Board, didn’t even need to explicitly threaten a ban on gas-powered cars last week to get the attention of carmakers.
New York Times
President Trump has rolled back environmental regulations, pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, brushed aside dire predictions about the effects of climate change, and turned the term “global warming” into a punch line rather than a prognosis.
Decreasing levels of air pollution in the U.S. have led to fewer deaths and illnesses, according to a new report out this week. But there are pockets of the country, namely Los Angeles, where air pollution kills thousands of people, and, frighteningly, the Trump administration is poised to reverse the progress against pollution made in recent years.
Los Angeles Times
North Dakota oil drillers are falling far short of the state’s goals to limit the burning of excess natural gas at well heads, five years after the state adopted rules to reduce the wasteful and environmentally harmful practice.
Visalia Times Delta
With a recent positive sample of West Nile Virus found in mosquitoes in southwest Visalia, Delta Vector Control District and county health officials are reminding residents to be vigilant against mosquito bites.
A stroke can happen to adults in younger age groups, even those younger than 45. It’s not that well known that strokes among younger adults have been on the rise over the past two decades.
Although far from a certainty, even with increased conservative clout on the Supreme Court, a reversal of Roe would mean abortion policy would revert to the states, and many would be eager to impose bans.
- Supreme Court could tip its hand on Roe v. Wade as soon as Tuesday by taking Indiana abortion case CNBC
Capital Public Radio
Earlier this year, Democrats in the state Capitol introduced several measures intended to limit Californians’ consumption of soda, arguing that rotting teeth and rising diabetes presented a public health crisis demanding action akin to regulations on cigarettes.
Nadine Burke Harris, who was sworn in to the position in February, made a stop at Memorial Hospital on Thursday as part of a statewide tour to learn about the challenges facing communities across California.
In California, nine out of 10 undocumented residents are uninsured, compared with about one in 10 documented residents, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Los Angeles Times
For more than 20 years, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health have partnered to fund a unique nationwide program studying environmental impacts on children’s health.
In Arizona, prison inmates are being charged for medical procedures that should be paid for by the state. And many don’t know about the charges until debt collectors come calling.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s suit alleges Johnson & Johnson, the nation’s largest drugmaker, helped ignite a public health crisis that has killed thousands of state residents.
- Litigation Won’t Solve the Opioid Crisis WSJ
- First Big Trial in Opioid Crisis Set to Kick Off in Oklahoma WSJ
Boastful on the occasion of Memorial Day, President Donald Trump and his Veterans Affairs secretary are claiming full credit for health care improvements that were underway before they took office.
A pediatric epilepsy drug containing cannabis that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration is now permitted on flights, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
Democrats want to pay for health care for every illegal immigrant.
Republicans and conservatives have repeatedly complained that Obamacare amounts to the “government takeover of the U.S. health-care system.” The only problem is it isn’t true.
But choosing to wait out their asylum cases in Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, comes with menace of its own: saturated shelters and a vicious criminal element that fueled 2,519 murders last year.
Over the weekend, however, there was a sliver of hope that they’d inch closer to communicating with the unaccompanied minors — children who trekked across Central America, fleeing poverty and violence, then crossed the southern border without their biological parents.
Wall Street Journal
In first ruling on the issue, judge writes executive branch’s plans to divert funds for wall exceeded its authority.
- Federal judge issues temporary injunction blocking part of Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border Washington Post
- Judge partially blocks Trump border wall plan Politico
President Trump plans to install Ken Cuccinelli II as the new director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, placing the conservative activist and former Virginia attorney general at the head of the agency that runs the country’s legal immigration system, administration officials said Friday.
In just a matter of months, it seems all the troubles swirling around Fresno’s Granite Park and the operators have dissipated.
You might be under the impression that the heart of the Kern County oil industry beats in the 11,000-acre field of pumpjacks just north of Bakersfield — Chevron Corp.’s Kern River Oil Field.
Los Angeles Times
On a recent spring day, bulldozers leveled the low-slung Holiday Auto Plaza in Palms, home to several repair shops. Just another unremarkable commercial building being swept away — except for the intriguing turn that its replacement might mark for L.A.’s housing crisis.
Capital & Main
Senate Bill 50, the controversial bill designed to increase home construction near California’s mass transit hubs, died last week after Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins refused to overrule the decision of Appropriations Committee Chair Anthony Portantino to table the bill.
Increasing the density of America’s cities is a crucial part of progressive city planning.
Top California Democrats drafting next year’s state budget are vowing not to raise taxes on middle and lower income Californians, setting up a conflict over fees supported by lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
- California service tax proposal would be a tax increase CALmatters
- CalChamber-backed study says service tax would disadvantage California businesses CALmatters
In the last two years, a former CalPERS board member known for his sharp criticism of the nation’s largest public pension fund.
Los Angeles Times
In practice, no state or local government has established a public bank in 100 years, despite the recent surge of interest and dissatisfaction with commercial banks after the financial crisis a decade ago.
Los Angeles Times
Maybe Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin is correct when he says the reason for delaying the long-planned Harriet Tubman $20 bill is that he’s got his hands full at the moment fighting counterfeiting. It’s possible, right? In other words, hardly possible.
Funds dealing in high-yield munis have drawn $8 billion as investors search further afield for returns.
Los Angeles Times
Two years after state lawmakers boosted the gas tax with a promise to improve California streets, some cities have raised the ire of drivers by spending millions of the new dollars on “road diet” projects that reduce the number and size of lanes for motor vehicles.
State officials and the Trump administration finally agree on something: the federal government won’t immediately re-allocate the billion dollars in high-speed rail funding it’s cancelled as the case works its way through the courts.
A truck without a cab or driver is now being tested on a public road in Sweden, mixing with other traffic as it moves goods around an industrial zone.
- Robots Take the Wheel as Autonomous Farm Machines Hit Fields Bloomberg
- Germany’s First ‘Electric’ Highway Charges Trucks as They Drive Bloomberg
The destruction of the San Clemente Dam, which had blocked the river since 1921, remains the largest dam removal project in California history. IThe river is becoming wilder, and struggling fish populations are rebounding.
A “dangerous” weekend thunderstorm that flooded city streets, dumped snow in the foothills and triggered tornado fears in the Valley should give way to clearer skies and warmer temperatures.
- Cool rainy weather to continue all weekend Hanford Sentinel
- As late-season wet weather hits Northern California, snowpack and reservoir levels soar Sacramento Bee
The Business Journal
Senate Bill 559, which would require the Department of Water Resources to grant funds to restore capacity of the Friant-Kern Canal, has passed out of the California Senate.
After bumping up water allocations for South-of-Delta agricultural service contractors from 55% to 65% in April, the Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that they are giving another bump of 5%.
The interconnected conflicts could be resolved over the next few years, marking a new chapter in state history.
Fresno now has its first 4-D movie theater – make that 4DX. Regal Edwards Fresno opened its 4DX on Friday, according to a news release from the company. The auditorium is equipped with immersive movie-going tech.
Procreations Brewing Co. is planning to open a brewery/taproom in downtown Fresno, California. It will be part of the Ale Trail, joining other beer makers like Zack’s, Tioga Sequoia, Full Circle and gastropub HoP PK.
If you want to meet some friends for brunch at My Garden Cafe, you’d better be specific — especially now. The small, locally owned Central Valley-based chain of breakfast and lunch restaurants has just opened a new location in Turlock — it’s sixth overall.