May 31, 2019



North SJ Valley:

Students See ‘Government Is Made Of Real People’

Sierra News

Our very own State Assemblyman Frank Bigelow took a day off from his job at the State Capitol in Sacramento recently to visit Minarets High School’s class of 2019 seniors and give them advice as they advance following graduation.

Stockton tackles proposed $759M spending plan

Stockton Record

With the deadline to pass a new spending plan one month away, the City Council began two days of meetings Thursday evening focusing on the proposed 2019-20 budget.

Madera County Uses a Team Approach to Narrate Their Own Story

Public CEO

Many hands make light work, as the adage goes. In Madera County, a decision to create a Public Information Team from current staff rather than hire a single public information officer has led to better customer service and storytelling in this rural, Central Valley County.

Central SJ Valley:

This candidate was behind the scenes. Now he’s stepping out and running for Fresno mayor

Fresno Bee

Elliott Balch, a leader in the Measure P effort and the chief operations officer of the Central Valley Community Foundation, is jumping into the Fresno mayor’s race. Balch, 38, filed his paperwork with the Fresno City Clerk Wednesday afternoon.

Q&A with Police Chief Jerry Dyer: His run for mayor, his past and his vision for Fresno

Fresno Bee

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer on Wednesday announced he will run for mayor in the 2020 election, and it created quite the buzz in Fresno.

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South SJ Valley:

Fact Check: Vulnerable California congressman has ‘shady’ business dealings, ad says

Fresno Bee

Republicans have made California Rep. TJ Cox one of their first targets in a series of ad buys nationwide, which declares the Fresno Democrat is “shady” due to some business dealings and failures to disclose certain ties.

McCall says goodbye to Council

Porterville Recorder

Ireland McCall, the student representative for Lindsay High School (LHS), gave her final report to the Lindsay City Council Tuesday night at the regularly scheduled meeting. McCall will graduate from LHS next Friday.


McCarthy: American leadership in space begins in California

Fresno Bee

December 13, 2018 marked a momentous day in American space history. For the first time in nearly a decade, Americans traveled to space aboard a spacecraft built in America, but this time they lifted off from the California desert.

California governor backs bill expanding racing board powers


Gov. Gavin Newsom is supporting a state Senate bill that would give the California Horse Racing Board authority to quickly suspend a meet license to protect the health and safety of horses or riders.

Californians dodge another tax increase as lawmaker pulls bill opposed by tire dealers

Merced Sun-Star

A proposal to raise the California tire change fee, which critics called a tax that would hit lower-income residents hardest, has been pulled at the request of its sponsor. Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, requested that Assembly Bill 755 be shelved on Wednesday.

Assembly rules change spurs censorship

Visalia Times Delta

Legislators from both parties introduce bills that reflect their priorities. These bills may respond to issues that have occurred in a district, be constituent ideas, bill proposals from advocacy groups, or author-sponsored legislation.

California’s Democratic Party’s sex harassment turmoil leads to a raucous election

San Francisco Chronicle

California Democrats will replace their disgraced former chair this weekend, but if the campaign for the post is any indication, the election will do little to end more than a year of internal turmoil.

As the California Democratic Party regroups after scandal, Newsom distances himself

Los Angeles Times

The California Democratic Party’s money and political muscle proved pivotal to the success of former Gov. Jerry Brown, helping bankroll his 2010 campaign victory against Republican billionaire Meg Whitman and a ballot measure that eliminated the GOP’s leverage over the state budget.

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Women are about to achieve a milestone in the state Senate


Once the votes are counted in a quiet, under-the-radar legislative special election in Los Angeles County on June 4, it’s likely that women will have shattered a record for representation in the state Senate, long characterized as an “old boys club.”   


Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains cautious on impeachment talk

Fresno Bee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still isn’t ready to impeach President Donald Trump. Even after special counsel Robert Mueller essentially called on Congress to pick up where his investigation left off, Pelosi isn’t budging.

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President Trump argues he is above the law. A thousand prosecutors say he’s wrong

Los Angeles Times

As of Wednesday, more than 1,000 former federal prosecutors had signed a statement explaining that, in their professional judgment and based on the facts described in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, President Trump would have been criminally charged with obstruction of justice if he were not the president.

Census question on citizenship began as GOP plan to hurt Democrats, documents show

Los Angeles Times

Newly revealed documents appeared to confirm Thursday what many critics had long suspected — that the Trump administration’s drive to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census began as a plan to bolster Republicans and to undercut Democrats in state legislatures and Congress.

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A New Age of Conflict Between Washington and the States

The Atlantic

Kamala Harris wants to use federal oversight as a check on local anti-abortion laws—the latest example in a bipartisan pattern.

Elections 2020:

California Dems in crisis as presidential hopefuls descend

Bakersfield Californian

When 14 Democrats running for president descend on San Francisco this weekend to woo activists in the state that brands itself as the nation’s most liberal, they’ll be walking straight into a party in crisis as it attempts to move past a #MeToo firestorm involving its former chairman.

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The flaw in trying to paint Biden as another Hillary Clinton

San Francisco Chronicle

Is Joe Biden Hillary Clinton — or George W. Bush? The first, most obvious and literal answer is, he’s neither. He’s Joe Biden, one of the most known and familiar personalities in American politics.

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A 2020 Ballot Initiative Aims To Change The Rules When It Comes To Property Taxes


It has its share of big backers but opponents say it will burden businesses and county assessors

Many reasons why Sanders is wrong choice for California Democrats


A large and diverse field of presidential candidates will greet Democrats gathering for their convention in San Francisco this weekend.

Kamala Harris Is More Interested In Telling You What She Believes Than Who She Is


For months, polls have found that Democratic primary voters value a candidate’s ability to beat Trump regardless of whether they share that candidate’s ideology.


Second high-profile sponsor cuts ties with Grizzlies over Ocasio-Cortez video fiasco

Fresno Bee

Heineken International, which owns Dos Equis and Tecate beer, late on Thursday confirmed it has pulled its sponsorships for those brands from the Fresno Grizzlies over an inflammatory video shown during a doubleheader on Memorial Day.

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Privacy and other values that go by that name

There are many different interests and values that are thrown together under the label of “privacy.” It is important that the terms of this discussion be clear — especially as legislation trying to protect these values may advance none of them.

What’s more important than California Democratic Party leader? How about president?

Riverside Press Enterprise

In theory, state political conventions are supposed to be about local control, not national issues. So it’s natural to wonder what might get more attention than questions about state party leadership during this weekend’s California Democratic Party State Convention. Try this: No fewer than 14 Democrats who hope to be elected president in 2020 are scheduled to address the three-day gathering that starts Friday, May 31 in San Francisco.


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.


U.S. Trade War With China Is Hitting Central Valley Almond Growers Hard


As the U.S. trade war with China continues, farmers in California’s Central Valley are feeling the pinch.

Charity promised to help feed the hungry. State suit said it misled donors

Sacramento Bee

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra this week sued the charity Aid for Starving Children for deceptive solicitations that earned its administrators $6.2 million between 2011 and 2018.

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

Capital Public Radio

The world’s most widely used weed killer was once seen as one of the safest pesticides. Now it is blamed for causing cancer. Yet the scientific evidence remains disputed.

More cannabis shops in ‘weed desert’ cities? California lawmakers just sank that idea

Los Angeles Times

Facing strong opposition from California cities, a state lawmaker on Thursday shelved a bill that would have required municipalities to lift bans on cannabis stores if their voters supported Proposition 64, which legalized the state’s pot market.

Monsanto wants Roundup cancer lawsuits moved out of California

San Francisco Chronicle

After three verdicts by Bay Area juries awarding big damages to cancer victims who used its herbicides, the agrochemical giant Monsanto wants a judge to move the next round of federal cases out of California, citing its plaintiff-friendly laws and “highly prejudicial coverage” in news media.

California legislator scraps bill to hike number of cannabis retail licenses

Marijuana Business Daily

California Assemblyman Phil Ting has shelved a measure to increase the number of marijuana retail licenses in the state, having lacked the two-thirds vote he needed to pass the bill.



Public Safety:

Clovis police chief announces retirement. ‘It has been an honor and privilege’

Fresno Bee

Clovis Police Chief Matt Basgall announced his retirement Thursday afternoon, effective Aug. 2. He has served the City of Clovis for 29 years. The next Clovis police chief will be appointed by Clovis’ city manager, with confirmation from the Clovis City Council.

Fresno County firefighters and law enforcement work together in active shooter situations

Fresno Bee

Fresno County firefighters are teaming up with sheriff deputies to enter active shooter situations to help render faster medical aid to potential victims.

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Trump vows ‘dramatic’ action at border as DHS goes after human smugglers


President Donald Trump vows “dramatic” action at the U.S.-Mexico border, as administration officials say they will start treating human smugglers like drug traffickers.


If you’re a PG&E customer, get ready for power blackouts this year to prevent wildfires

Fresno Bee

State regulators Thursday approved PG&E Corp.’s plan to impose blackouts this summer across vast stretches of its territory to prevent major wildfires — and told customers they can’t count on reliable electric service as the fire season gets underway.

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Placer County implementing 211 system for wildfire evacuations, community information

Sacramento Bee

Placer County is joining most of California’s other counties in offering residents a 211 online and telephone information system, the county’s board of supervisors announced Tuesday in a news release.

California Leaders Won’t Change Utilities’ Liability For Now

Capital Public Radio

Democratic leaders will not be changing the liability standard that imperils major utilities in wildfire prone areas, but will would make it easier for utilities to recover their wildfire costs if regulators determine they acted responsibly.

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Controlled burns help forest health and human health

San Francisco Chronicle

California’s efforts to prevent dangerous wildfires through controlled burning have long stumbled on the issue of smoke, with residents, doctors and pollution regulators worried that such burns create too much unhealthy air.



Trump promise of new Mexican tariffs brings protests

Fresno Bee

In a surprise announcement that could derail a major trade deal, President Donald Trump has announced that he is placing a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports, to pressure the country to do more to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross the U.S. border.

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Trump weighs plan to choke off asylum for Central Americans


The draft proposal would deny asylum to thousands of migrants waiting just south of the border.

The City That’s Giving People Money

The Atlantic

Randomly selected Stockton residents are receiving $500 a month. The experiment might prove that guaranteed income works.

Trump administration makes major push on Congress to pass new NAFTA


The Trump administration has taken a step toward ratification of the new North American trade agreement, sending a draft statement to Congress that puts the legislative body on notice the pact could be coming soon.

Cannabis Banking Bill May Falter (Again) Despite State Support


As states legalize marijuana, more businesses and policymakers confront a banking problem.

Preparing for California’s Next Recession

Public Policy Institute of California

This report begins with the assumption that California will face a recession in the none-too-distant future. When that recession comes, the state will most likely experience a fall in revenue over multiple years.

Stocks rally for late gain but are on track for year’s first monthly loss

Los Angeles Times

Major U.S. stock indexes capped a day of listless trading with modest gains Thursday, snapping the market’s two-day losing streak.

U.S. Economy Remained Robust in First Quarter


Revised data show slightly weaker growth with some signs of slowing business spending.


Fly breeder? Nutria killer? These five unusual California state jobs might surprise you

Sacramento Bee

State service takes many forms across California’s 150 departments. Here we look at five unusual or surprising jobs performed by a few of the state’s roughly 230,000 workers.



Central Unified teachers reach agreement with district

Fresno Bee

After 14 months of negotiating, Central Unified teachers have reached a tentative agreement with the district, ending a possible strike vote.

Top school administrator leaves Visalia Unified

Visalia Times Delta

Another familiar face is leaving the top brass at Visalia Unified School District. In the second major administration change in the last three weeks, Assistant Superintendent Melanie Stringer has decided to leave the district.

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It’s that robes and tassels time of year for seniors in Modesto, surrounding areas

Modesto Bee

It’s graduation season in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Modesto Junior College and California State University, Stanislaus, students walked the stage earlier; this week, local high schools are celebrating.

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KHSD changes open enrollment policy, will affect athletic eligibility

Bakersfield Californian

Change is coming to the Kern High School District. The district has changed the policy for incoming freshmen that have been granted an open enrollment and have also eased restrictions on current high school students transferring.

Proposal to cap charter school growth all but dies in California Assembly

San Francisco Chronicle

A proposal to cap the number of California charter schools went into a deep freeze in the state Assembly on Thursday, a sign of the difficult fight teachers unions face as they push to stop the growth of the alternatives to traditional public schools.

What Do Kids Think About Social Media, Stress And Homework? ‘Welcome To Middle School’ – The Podcast


Students and their teacher from Wilson Middle School in Chowchilla have created their own podcast.

Lost Days: Inside one rural California district’s effort to combat chronic absenteeism


It’s Dena Kapsalis’ job to fight chronic absenteeism in Paradise Unified, a school district in Northern California’s rural Butte County. And she does whatever it takes. She’s driven her minivan along the hike-and-bike trail behind Paradise High School in search of homeless students who were known to congregate there.

Higher Ed:

From fields to classrooms: Former Salinas farmworker earns bachelor’s with honors at 58

The Salinas Californian

He plans to get his master’s in education, too. But teaching in Salinas comes first.

The soul-crushing cost of college in California, explained


It’s not your grandparents’—or even your parents’—higher-ed system. A young Californian of the Baby Boomer generation, bolstered by the post-war economic boom and the state’s investment in public higher education, could often emerge from college with little to no debt and a clear path to a living wage and homeownership.

Reforming California’s Community College System


California’s community colleges have a strong record of providing access to higher education—they enroll more students than any other college system in the country, including large shares from groups that have been historically underrepresented. But improving student outcomes has long been a challenge: fewer than half (48%) of students earn a degree or certificate or transfer to a four-year college. The community college system is implementing a broad range of reforms designed to address these high rates of incompletion. These reforms focus on improving the student experience from initial enrollment to graduation and beyond.

US Universities And Retirees Are Funding The Technology Behind China’s Surveillance State

Buzz Feed

Millions of dollars from US university endowments, foundations, and retirement plans have helped fund two billion-dollar Chinese facial recognition startups: SenseTime and Megvii. The Chinese government is using their technologies to surveil and profile its own citizens.

Opinion | Can Californians Still Find a Path to Mobility at the State’s Universities?

The New York Times

As a counter to staggering inequality, the system needs to be more open to the people who actually live in the Golden State.




Fowler Unified’s New Yellow School Buses Are Also ‘Green’


Fowler Unified School District is upgrading its bus fleet, and possibly the air its students breathe.

Sensors being deployed across Lost Hills will provide non-regulatory look at local air quality

Bakersfield Californian

Seven state-funded air-quality monitors are being set up around Lost Hills area as part of an effort to protect the health of the area’s largely immigrant community.

California enters fourth year of poor recycling record

Public CEO

Public pressure on Newsom and state lawmakers to respond to recycling headaches could build soon because of pocketbook issues. The Southern California News Group reported last week that many local governments were steadily increasing monthly trash/recycling collection rates because of the changing economics of recycling.

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.


California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker to step down

San Francisco Chronicle

Michael Picker, California’s top utility regulator, said Thursday he plans to step down later this year, opening up a crucial leadership role in the state’s efforts to quell wildfires and combat climate change.



Number of measles cases in 2019 surpass 25-year record


The number of measles cases reported in the first five months of 2019 has now surpassed every year since 1994, the CDC announced Thursday.

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Human Services:

Self-employed in California often go without health insurance. Can Newsom help?

Fresno Bee

Of the 2.84 million Californians who remained uninsured in 2017, 444,000, or 16%, were self-employed, according to the California Health Insurance Survey conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

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New medical facility in Fowler for adults and children


Adventist Health and Valley Children’s Hospital have teamed up to offer a new facility in Fowler. Wayne Ferch, the senior vice president of Adventist Health and the president of the Central California Region, said this vision for the facility started a few years ago.

California hospitals are fighting a proposal to end surprise ER bills

Los Angeles Times

Jan Emerson-Shea of the California Hospitals Assn. said her group fully supports protecting consumers against surprise ER bills. But AB 1611 “is a backdoor form of rate setting, which we oppose,” she said.

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Legislation prompted by huge SF General bills passes California Assembly

San Francisco Chronicle

Legislation to prohibit California hospitals from sticking patients with huge emergency room bills that their insurers won’t cover has cleared a crucial hurdle in the state Capitol. Lawmakers in the Assembly voted 48-9 on Thursday to approve AB1611, which would prohibit hospitals from “balance billing” patients if their insurance won’t cover the full cost for care.

Improving Mental Health Services for Students Across California’s College Campuses

California Budget and Policy Center

Mental Health Awareness Month and the academic school year are coming to a close. But the need for mental health support and services continues year round for college students attending a California community college, California State University, or University of California school.


Private group unveils crowd-funded border wall, despite legal hurdles


A crowdfunding effort to build a private border wall in New Mexico was unveiled this week after getting push back from local officials over construction permits.

Hundreds of minors held at overcrowded U.S. border facilities are there beyond legal time limits

Many of the nearly 2,000 unaccompanied migrant children who are being held in Border Patrol facilities have been there beyond legally allowed time limits, including some who are 12 or younger, according to new government data obtained by The Washington Post.


Land Use:


Fresno mayor, housing authority poised to oppose HUD plan targeting undocumented

Fresno Bee

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and the Fresno Housing Authority appear to be poised to oppose a controversial federal proposal that could evict hundreds of undocumented immigrants from public housing.

Landlords win, renters take a hit. Just one tenant protection bill survives in California Assembly

Fresno Bee

Landlords and realtor groups earned a win in the California Capitol this week after lawmakers shelved a bill to restrict evictions and amended another to limit caps on rent.

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Hundreds pack joint meeting to speak on area’s exploding homeless crisis

Stockton Record

One after another, 31 speakers in all, they rose to share their dismay Thursday night in the jam-packed downtown meeting room. The topic: the area’s exploding homelessness crisis.

Administration Nears Plan to Return Fannie, Freddie to Private Ownership


Effort would put them on sounder footing, then release them from government control.

EDITORIAL: California’s answer to the housing shortage? Anything but housing

San Francisco Chronicle

California lawmakers appear increasingly willing to advance every response to the housing shortage that does not entail building housing.


Analysis of the Department of Developmental Services Budget


The Legislative Analyst’s Office urged that the Legislature take up the issue, noting that the “rate adjustment quirk” prevents service providers from seeking reimbursement to cover costs associated with higher minimum wages.

US Universities And Retirees Are Funding The Technology Behind China’s Surveillance State

Buzz Feed

Millions of dollars from US university endowments, foundations, and retirement plans have helped fund two billion-dollar Chinese facial recognition startups: SenseTime and Megvii. The Chinese government is using their technologies to surveil and profile its own citizens.



Tulare County closes Kings River after Pine Flat Dam water release

Fresno Bee

The lower Kings River in Tulare County was closed Thursday due to rushing water being released from Pine Flat Dam. All public access, including swimming and boating, is shut down until further notice, The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office announced.

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Merced official wants to end ‘$300 million sin subsidy’ for wealthy California gamblers

Merced Sun-Star

Assemblymember Adam Gray, D-Merced, says he has a plan to improve the health and clean the drinking water of Central San Joaquin Valley residents by ending a gambling tax deduction that mostly benefits the rich.

Will California pass a clean-water tax?

San Francisco Chronicle

Hundreds of communities, and more than 1 million Californians, facing a similar struggle for safe and affordable water are now at the center of a budget fight at the state Capitol over how to fix the problem.

Sierra snowpack is 202 percent of average for this time of year

San Francisco Gate

A nonstop parade of storms barreled across the Sierra Nevada in winter. Then, spring hit and winter weather persisted with unseasonably cold systems piling up snow all the way through Memorial Day weekend.


73rd annual Kings Fair kicks off

Hanford Sentinel

The Kings Fair kicked off last night and “ewe” are invited. The theme for the 73rd annual Kings Fair is “The Reason for Our Success is Ewe.”