May 30, 2019



North SJ Valley:

Atwater attorney charged $715,000 in a year. Here’s why he’s leaving the city

Merced Sun-Star

Atwater’s city attorney will part ways with the town next month, officials confirmed on Tuesday. Doug White of Churchwell White has been the city attorney in Atwater for more than a year after being hired in March 2018.

Stockton council to tackle homelessness, city budget proposal in back-to-back meetings

Stockton Record

City Council members will be working double duty Thursday, holding a joint meeting with the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors at 6 p.m. followed by a 7:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall.

SJ kicks off Complete Count 2020 census effort

Stockton Record

County officials held the San Joaquin County Complete Count Committee’s 2020 Census Kick-off event Wednesday at the Stribley Community Center in Stockton.

See also:

Tom McClintock accuses Mueller of ‘pettifoggery,’ says he should testify before Congress

Sacramento Bee

When it comes to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, one California Republican agrees with leading House Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff on one point.

Central SJ Valley:

Police Chief Jerry Dyer hopes to unify Fresno as next mayor — but protestors say he’s unfit

Fresno Bee

As Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer expressed his hope to unite the city as “one Fresno” during a news conference announcing his mayoral bid Wednesday, protestors outside Manchester Center banged on the windows, chanting “No Mayor Dyer.”

See also:

Buttigieg’s Fresno town hall is sold out. But here’s how to see the presidential candidate

Fresno Bee

Presidential hopeful Peter Buttigieg’s televised town hall next week at Fresno State is sold out, but there’s still a way people can meet him. A meet and greet with Buttigieg will be held June 3 in downtown Fresno at the Tuolumne Hall just prior to the town hall.

Members of Congress from Fresno and Oakland visit Valley farm operations


The two members of Congress, both Democrats got an up-close look at Valley farming operations, they also had some criticism for President Trump’s farm, trade and immigration policies.

South SJ Valley:

New housing for homeless has to go somewhere, shelter director Gill implores

Bakersfield Californian

The good news is that the Mission at Kern County has the funding for 40 additional beds that will help address Bakersfield’s escalating homeless problem. The bad news is that no one seems to want the expansion encroaching on their businesses.

California Assembly votes to tighten rules on contractors

Bakersfield Californian

California residents working for companies like Lyft and Uber would get the rights of employees entitled to a minimum wage and workers compensation under a law the state Assembly passed on Wednesday.

See also:


Flavored tobacco products to remain legal in California as lawmaker withdraws bill

Sacramento Bee

A California lawmaker has withdrawn a bill to ban the sale of flavored tobacco and vape products in the state, saying that “hostile amendments” defeated the bill’s purpose.


Mueller declares his Russia report did not exonerate Trump

Fresno Bee

Special counsel Robert Mueller said Wednesday that charging President Donald Trump with a crime was “not an option” because of federal rules, but he used his first public remarks on the Russia investigation to emphasize that he did not exonerate the president.

See also:

What counts as a high crime or misdemeanor for impeachment? Justin Amash got it right


U.S. Rep. Justin Amash broke with fellow Republicans when he said President Donald Trump might deserve impeachment by the House.

Elections 2020:

President Trump knows he’s his own best communications director. Will voters agree?

Fresno Bee

As you may have noticed, President Donald Trump seeks to manage the messaging from and the reporting on his White House by flooding the zone with news, usually of his own making and from his own mouth or cellphone. It worked in 2016.

Sen. Sanders says his ideas not viewed as so radical anymore

Bakersfield Californian

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday many of the campaign themes his critics dismissed as too radical when he ran for president in 2016 are now viewed as much more mainstream, including “Medicare for all.”

California, Now a Democratic Primary Player, Draws a Wave of Contenders


Party’s largest gathering so far of 2020 presidential candidates is coming to San Francisco convention.

Beto O’Rourke Details Proposed Immigration Overhaul


Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman puts border policy high on his agenda.

Democratic Candidates Step Up Courtship of Teachers


Joe Biden and several fellow 2020 contenders are trying to win the support of teachers and their unions, in the process papering over some intraparty debates on education issues


Fresno Grizzlies lose big-name sponsorship because of Ocasio-Cortez video debacle

Fresno Bee

Sun-Maid, the popular raisin company with deep roots in the central San Joaquin Valley, has terminated its partnership with the Fresno Grizzlies.

See also:

Nancy Pelosi says Facebook ‘lying to the public’ by not pulling altered video

San Francisco Chronicle

The House speaker slammed Facebook, saying the company’s refusal to take down a video hit piece against her raised questions about how concerned the company was about Russian disinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign.

See also:

Is Propaganda Keeping Americans From Thinking for Themselves?

Zocalo Public Square

UCLA Anderson marketing scholar and psychologist Hal Hershfield, Texas A&M historian of rhetoric Jennifer Mercieca, and UC Santa Cruz social psychologist Anthony Pratkanis visit Zócalo to examine what propaganda is doing to our brains and our society.

America’s tech giants are fighting to change California’s new privacy law


The world’s fifth largest economy, the state of California, will soon enforce strict new electronic privacy laws that give consumers vastly increased authority over the collection and use of their personal information.

The GOP’s Duty: Explain the Cost of ‘Free’


Republicans can’t outbid Santa Claus, but they can make the case for liberty and aspiration.


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: Alvar Escriva-Bou, investigador del PPIC. Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans.


Turning poop into power: California dairies appeal for more state climate change money

Fresno Bee

So far, California has steered at least $260 million in those grants to methane digester projects. The California Air Resources Board projects they’ll remove millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, and Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking lawmakers to put another $35 million into the dairy grants.

Looking forward to Fresno State corn? Here’s when it’s coming and why Dutch Bros is involved

Fresno Bee

Corn sales will start at 7 a.m., Friday, June 7 at the Fresno State Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market, 5368 N. Chestnut Ave.

Stanislaus County to conduct pilot project cultivating hemp

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County is taking a step toward allowing regulated industrial hemp production on farm land with a one-year pilot project. Staff members were directed last week to quickly develop a limited trial so some farmers gain experience in cultivation techniques.

The county wants to learn about odors, testing and other possible concerns.

Thirsty Silicon Valley water agency might buy a Central Valley farm. Why agriculture is worried.

Merced Sun-Star

Once again, a big thirsty metropolis is looking at buying Central Valley farmland with an eye toward boosting its water supplies. And once again, neighboring farmers are nervous about it.

California Wine Producers Could Lose Ground In China Market With Another Tariff Hike

Capital Public Radio

China will impose a 91 percent tariff on U.S. wines starting June 1. Ninety percent of those imports come from California.

Michelin’s new California list: 151 affordable restaurants honored

Mercury News

Statewide Bib Gourmands range from Frank Fat’s in Sacramento to Solare in San Diego

Farmersville will be home to three marijuana dispensaries

Visalia Times Delta

It won’t be long until Farmersville is home to three marijuana dispensaries and the city is hoping to profit from the popular industry.

Safe Or Scary? The Shifting Reputation Of Glyphosate, AKA Roundup : The Salt


John Draper and I are sitting in the cab of a tractor on the research farm he manages for the University of Maryland, alongside the Chesapeake Bay. Behind us, there’s a sprayer.



Update: Ceres police arrest teargassed suspect after standoff

Modesto Bee

The standoff has concluded and the suspect is in custody. Lockdowns have been lifted.

Original story:

Stockton police seeking help from state, feds after spike in violence

Stockton Record

A disturbing spike in bloodshed has prompted Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones to seek assistance from local, state and federal agencies to further combat the city’s recent rash of gun violence.

Public Safety:

Union Pacific and Fresno Police join forces for rail safety

Fresno Bee

Union Pacific and the Fresno Police Department join forces to concentrate efforts in educating motorists in railroad crossing safety, Wednesday morning, May 29, 2019.

California Senate OKs Rule On Police Use-Of-Force Training

Capital Public Radio

The California Senate approved legislation Tuesday requiring officers across the nation’s most populous state to be trained in ways to avoid using deadly force, one of two measures intended to deter shootings by police.

See also:

Tech giant brings software to a gun fight

Washington Post

Business-software giant Salesforce instituted a new policy barring retail customers from using its technology to sell semiautomatic weapons and some other firearms.

EDITORIAL: The Supreme Court protects (some) criticism of the police

Los Angeles Times

Police may make an arrest if they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. But what if an arrest for which there is probable cause is really designed to punish a citizen for exercising his right to free speech under the 1st Amendment?


Fire station could close a third of the time as Turlock looks to balance its budget

Modesto Bee

Turlock could start feeling the pain of the deficit spending approved by the previous City Council, which includes the potential of closing one the city’s four fire stations about a third of the time as well as slower response times from police.

Oakdale looks to Modesto to run fire service temporarily

Modesto Bee

The city of Modesto would run the Oakdale area’s fire service for at least three years under an agreement to be considered Wednesday afternoon.

Fighting fire with fire: Should California burn its forests to protect against catastrophe?

Sacramento Bee

California should conduct more prescribed burns to reduce major wildfire risks, experts say. Research by McClatchy and Climate Central shows other states conducting more burns.

Newsom and legislative leaders decline to embrace changes to California’s wildfire liability law

Los Angeles Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders on Wednesday declined to embrace requests from Wall Street to change California’s controversial wildfire liability law, instead throwing their support behind a proposed multibillion-dollar fund to help utilities pay for wildfire damages and legislation to more clearly define when ratepayers would pick up the bill for claims.

See also:

Insurance commissioner wants benefits extended for 2017 fire survivors

San Francisco Chronicle

State insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is seeking help from the industry he regulates for survivors of the Wine Country wildfires who are still struggling to rebuild their homes.



Pelco Inc. sold by French conglomerate. Who are the new owners?

Fresno Bee

Pelco Inc., a Fresno/Clovis-based company known for video surveillance equipment used worldwide, has been sold to a Southern California private equity firm.

Stocks close lower on Wall Street as bond-yield inversion stokes recession fears

Los Angeles Times

Another round of selling gripped Wall Street on Wednesday as nervous investors fled healthcare, technology and other high-risk stocks in favor of the safety of bonds.

The Dollar Underpins American Power. Rivals Are Building Workarounds.


Iran sanctions spur Europe and India to devise systems to trade with Tehran without using the U.S. currency.

See also:

First-quarter economic growth up 3.1%, better than Wall Street expected


The U.S. economy grew by 3.1% to start the year, slightly better than expected and providing some relief at a time when recession fears are accelerating, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.


Unemployment rate dips to 8.3% in April

Hanford Sentinel

After hitting a two-year high rate in March, Kings County’s unemployment rate dipped a bit in the month of April. The California Employment Development Department recently reported the unemployment rate in Kings County was 8.3% in April, down from 10.3% in March.

California Assembly votes to tighten rules on contractors

Bakersfield Californian

California residents working for companies like Lyft and Uber would get the rights of employees entitled to a minimum wage and workers compensation under a law the state Assembly passed on Wednesday.

See also:

California lawmakers approve UC wage bill after ‘hundreds if not thousands’ of missing paychecks

Sacramento Bee

The University of California would be required to pay its employees on a regular payday under a measure moving through the California Legislature in response to the university system’s ongoing payroll problems.

Investigation Reveals Shortcomings in State Agencies’ Sexual Harassment Trainings

Capital Public Radio

According to SPB’s Annual Report, 59 percent of the agencies it surveyed did not provide sexual harassment training to all supervisors. That’s up from 25 percent in 2016 and 32 percent in 2017.



South Valley high school students take aim at teen gambling trend


Betting On Our Future (or BOOF) is a statewide problem gambling awareness campaign supported by the California Friday Night Live Partnership and Tulare County Office of Education and funded by the state department of public health.

Ravalin goes from acting to interim superintendent

Visalia Times Delta

In a quick move, Visalia Unified School Board trustees voted unanimously to appoint Tamara Ravalin as interim superintendent — less than a month after ousting outgoing Superintendent Todd Oto.

Plans to impose a moratorium on new California charter schools stall in Sacramento

Los Angeles Times

An intensely debated effort to impose a two-year moratorium on new charter schools in California was scuttled on Wednesday at the state Capitol, with supporters of the legislation vowing to try again next year.

See also:

Obstacles deter many California child care providers from building, expanding facilities


After years of searching, a nonprofit hoping to open a new child care center for low-income infants and toddlers found a rent-free building inside a housing development for migrant workers. In some ways, it seemed like a perfect fit.

Lost days: Poverty, isolation drive students away from school in California’s rural districts


It was a wonder Kaylee Adkins ever made it to school. The daughter of two heavy drug users, she lived a transient childhood — rarely staying for long in the same apartment, let alone the same school. She hardly saw her father who was in jail or prison throughout much of her childhood.

Higher Ed:

Over 40 Wasco High seniors to graduate with associates degree this year

abc News

The Wasco Union High School District is celebrating a historic achievement as 46 seniors from Wasco High will graduate with a high school diploma and an Associates of Arts Degree from Bakersfield College.

California’s state universities are a path to mobility and tuition needs to be free

Los Angeles Times

The perfect place to see California’s changing face and our future is at a state university graduation ceremony. It’s a multicolored demographic assortment of ambition and promise probably unequaled anywhere outside diverse California.

Newsom’s plan to aid parents enrolled in California colleges runs into resistance


Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to generously bolster state financial aid to California college students who are parents of dependent children – one of the most important pieces of his higher education plan – is facing strong opposition in the state Legislature.

EDITORIAL: California has a big budget surplus. It’s time to boost Fresno State’s enrollment numbers

Fresno Bee

Fresno State is coming off a stellar year. For starters, the university just graduated 6,200 students — a record number. Many of the graduates will find new jobs in the Valley; key fields are agriculture, business and teaching.




Two bats test positive for rabies in Tulare County. Here’s what you should know

Fresno Bee

Two bats in Tulare County have tested positive for rabies this month, prompting Tulare County health officials to issue a warning to the public on Wednesday.

See also:

Pollution is ‘significant’ problem at Yosemite – and 400 other national parks, report says

Fresno Bee

More than 96 percent of national parks assessed in a recent report are “plagued by significant air pollution problems,” and some of California’s most iconic parks are among the most troubled, according to one of the nation’s largest nonprofit conservation associations.

See also:

Fracking: Inside A BLM Report, Environmental Impacts, And The Public’s Response


Fracking has been a hot topic in the San Joaquin Valley ever since the Trump administration released an environmental review about the possibility of expanding hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in Central California.

Cities Are Making Big Climate Promises. Keeping Them Can Be Tough

Capital Public Radio

Dozens of cities have ambitious plans to get their electricity from clean or renewable sources. But those goals can clash with power providers, whose priority remains economics, not climate change.

Like those tiny plastic hotel shampoo bottles? California moves toward banning them

Los Angeles Times

Those small shampoo and conditioner bottles, popular with travelers but unpopular with anti-plastics advocates, would be banned in California hotels under a bill that cleared the state Assembly on Wednesday.

See also:


‘Molecules of freedom’: US Energy Department tries rebranding natural gas


In a press release touting exports of natural gas, the Department of Energy referred to the fossil fuel as “molecules of U.S. freedom.”

Pg&E To Manteca: Prepare For Power To Be Cut To All Of City For Up To 5 Days

Manteca Bulletin

City scrambling to put emergency plans in place before wildfire season arrives.

EDITORIAL: No, we shouldn’t pump desert groundwater near Joshua Tree to help store electricity

Los Angeles Times

As California sprints to convert to all-renewable energy sources, it is confronting a persistent problem: what to do when the sun goes down and solar farms stop generating electricity, or when the doldrums hit and wind turbines stop churning.



Teasing Kids About Their Weight May Make Them Gain More

Capital Public Radio

A long-term study finds that children who are bullied or shamed for their weight may gain more weight over time than peers who aren’t teased.

Human Services:

Nurses get soaked when sprinklers go on during picket in Modesto; hospital gets warning

Modesto Bee

Doctors Medical Center received a warning from the city of Modesto for watering on the wrong day after nurses picketing outside said the sprinklers were turned on multiple times in an effort to get them to disperse.

California may make anti-HIV drug available without prescription for 30 days

San Francisco Chronicle

Pharmacies throughout California could soon dispense an HIV-prevention drug without a doctor’s prescription — a move a San Francisco state senator says is necessary to remove barriers to people’s access to medication that could end new infections.

As anti-vaxx dispute rages, attention turns to California’s Waldorf schools

The Guardian

The private schools stress nature, creative expression and hands-on learning but the 27 in the state have very low vaccination rates.

California lawmakers vote to offer health insurance to immigrants in US illegally


The California Assembly voted Tuesday to extend the state’s Medicaid program to eligible adults who are in the country illegally.

Sniping between Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg foreshadows the abortion fights to come

The Washington Post

Justice Clarence Thomas opened a 20-page concurring opinion, in which he likened not just abortion but also birth control to eugenics, by taking shots at his Supreme Court colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


Immigration largely absent from Democrats’ 2020 policy blitz

Fresno Bee

Democratic presidential contenders are in a feverish battle to one-up each other with ever-more-ambitious plans to beat back global warming, curb gun violence, offer universal health care coverage, slash student debt and preserve abortion rights . Largely left out of the policy parade: Immigration.

Trump administration appeals judge’s halt of new border wall construction

San Francisco Chronicle

The Trump administration on Wednesday appealed a federal judge’s ruling that halted the president’s border wall and asked the judge to allow construction immediately, saying the ruling was erroneous and is allowing drugs to pour across the border.

California Could Tighten Reporting Requirements For Migrant Deaths In Custody

Pacific Standard

A new bill is making its way through the state legislature as recent reports of migrant child deaths raise concerns about transparency.


Land Use:

Yosemite has a big plan for 2019. It includes traffic fixes — and mountain lion poop

Fresno Bee

Yosemite Conservancy, the park’s main philanthropic partner, donated $15.3 million this year to make these projects and others possible. The projects aim to restore wildlife and habitat, improve visitor experiences, and bolster education.

Bitwise 41 in Downtown Fresno taking shape

Bitwise 41 in Downtown Fresno is taking shape. Offices are getting closer and closer to completion in the building formerly known as the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Nearing completion

Porterville Recorder

Construction is nearing completion on the new complex at the corner of Henderson Avenue and Prospect Street, which will soon be the home of four popular eateries. Blaze Pizza, The Habit Burger Grill, Togo’s, and Chipotle will likely all be open for business this summer.

Why is a 1905, horse-drawn fire wagon moving in behind the Fox Theater?

Bakersfield Californian

You know the one: the cavernous, old auto-painting warehouse at G and 20th streets that has been the subject of assorted plans and speculation since it closed in the 1980s.


New report finds Valley communities severely struggling with housing affordability update your preferences

San Joaquin Valley Housing Collaborative


New housing for homeless has to go somewhere, shelter director Gill implores

Bakersfield Californian

The good news is that the Mission at Kern County has the funding for 40 additional beds that will help address Bakersfield’s escalating homeless problem. The bad news is that no one seems to want the expansion encroaching on their businesses.

California plan to prevent big rent hikes advances, but only after it’s limited to three years

Los Angeles Times

A measure to protect tenants from large annual rent increases is advanced by the Assembly, but if enacted, it would only be in place for three years.

See also:

Amid housing slowdown, Southern California prices rise slightly in April

Los Angeles Times

The sluggish Southern California housing market showed signs of perking up in April, as prices ticked up one month after they fell for the first time since 2012.


A devastating analysis of the tax cut shows it’s done virtually no economic good

Los Angeles Times

You may remember all the glowing predictions made for the December 2017 tax cuts by congressional Republicans and the Trump administration: Wages would soar for the rank-and-file, corporate investments would surge, and the cuts would pay for themselves.

House Passes Bill Making Big Changes to U.S. Retirement System


Age cap for contributing to IRAs is repealed, among other shifts; legislation would move to Senate.

See also:

IRS Audit Rate Drops Again as It Examines Fewer High-Income Households


Tax agency, shrinking after years of budget cuts, seeks funding boost from Congress.


Uber To Start Banning Passengers With Low Ratings

Capital Public Radio

“Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability,” a company official announced. Riders will get advice on how to improve their ratings before being deactivated, including being polite.

Bill bans towing vehicles — and it’s not just for people living in them

San Francisco Chronicle

Assemblyman David Chiu’s bill is being pitched as a social justice remedy aimed at easing the plight of people living in their vehicles who may not be able to afford to recoup their impounded cars.

Railroads Want to Move Faster. Shippers Are Paying a Price.


Drive for efficiency and tighter schedules has left many freight shippers struggling to meet deadlines and racking up late charges.


Popular Firebaugh park flooded from rain and snowmelt


During wet years, the San Joaquin River steadily rises as it flows through Andrew Firebaugh Historical Park. Picnic areas and ballfields are already flooded. Residents can catch fish in areas where they usually sit at tables.

An 800-acre reservoir could be coming to Stanislaus County, but what are the risks?

Modesto Bee

A federal bill promising $14 million in funding for water storage projects for the Central Valley and Northern California served to place more attention on a proposed reservoir in Stanislaus County.

Dolores Huerta heads rally supporting water tax

Visalia Times Delta

The nation’s most populous state and world’s fifth-largest economy can’t provide clean drinking water to more than a million of its residents, but a proposal in California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget is hoping to change that.

The Smart Alternative to Tunnel(s)

Sierra Club

A Sensible Water Management Portfolio


Because you can never have too many tacos. Downtown Fresno gets another taco/beer fest

Fresno Bee

Fresnans enjoy their food festivals. Especially if it include tacos. For instance, the 559 Taco and Beer Fest happening at 1 p.m. Saturday at Eaton Plaza in downtown Fresno.