November 16, 2017


Top Policy/Political Stories

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 Local/Regional Politics:

Mental patients say they swayed Coalinga’s city’s election

Fresno Bee

A tightly contested ballot measure seeking to impose a 1-cent sales tax on Coalinga residents apparently failed by just 33 votes, and patients at Coalinga State Hospital are taking credit for helping to defeat it.

Contentious debate over public access to the San Joaquin River raged at Fresno City Hall


Passionate arguments came from those who support allowing access to the River West area through an exclusive neighborhood on the Bluffs, through River View Drive and those who want access moved further west to Palm and Nees. The chairman of the San Joaquin River Conservancy Board, Fresno County Supervisor Andreas Borgeas clearly supported the Palm and Nees access point, as did fellow Conservancy Board Member and Fresno City Council member Steve Brandau. They both pushed the access point at Palm and Nees favored by a group of prominent Bluff residents and Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.

Selma city manager arrested on suspicion of embezzlement

Hanford Sentinel

Selma’s City Manager Dave Elias was arrested today on suspicion of embezzlement, according to the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. Elias, 56, of Fowler, has been charged with 13 counts of misappropriating public monies by a public officer. He was arrested by the DA’s Office Bureau of Investigations for allegedly using public funds for personal use.

Tulare hospital closure causes ‘ghost town’ for businesses

Visalia Times-Delta

When Tulare Regional Medical Center closed its doors two weeks ago, it didn’t just leave 500 employees jobless and patients without care, it left the streets empty and nearby businesses missing the foot traffic. So slow, those who work in the neighboring businesses called it “spooky”, a “ghost town” and “sad.”

Assemblyman Mathis loses support of local Republican party

Fresno Bee

The Tulare County Republican Central Committee is demanding the resignation of Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, who has been under fire since a blogger in Sacramento alleged he sexually assaulted a staff member during a night of heavy drinking.

We Still Don’t Know Why So Many Fresno Babies Are Born Premature—But Researchers Aim To Find Out

Valley Public Radio

A few weeks ago, we reported that the premature birth rate in the San Joaquin Valley is rising, and that it’s especially high in Fresno County. The numbers are concerning because premature babies are born with a higher risk of health complications like breathing difficulties, heart problems and chronic disease. Decades of work have proven preterm births are tough to prevent, but a new research initiative appears to be up for the challenge. This story begins, though, in a Fresno living room, where a mother and son enjoy some quiet time together.

Interview: Bakersfield City Council Member Andrae Gonzales On Pot, Downtown & Parks

Valley Public Radio

It’s been an eventful first year on the Bakersfield City Council for Andrae Gonzales, who represents downtown, Westchester and other Ward 2 neighborhoods. The24th Street widening project is moving forward despite a lengthy legal battle, plans for a high-speed rail station near Golden State and “F” Street are moving closer to reality, and the city has embraced a new planning process for the future of downtown.

FAX Route Restructuring Public Workshops Summary

Fresno Area Express

With development of the FAX Route Restructuring project in full swing, we wanted to provide stakeholders and interested parties with an update on the latest developments.

Podcast: All Politics Is State and Local

Roll Call

Positions on the Republican tax legislation break down not just on a partisan level but regional ones. That’s because several members of the House, including vulnerable Republicans, represent high-tax states like New York and New Jersey where their constituents currently deduct state and local taxes from their federal returns.

Water shortage still exist in East Porterville

New York Times

After one of the wettest winters in state history, and with more rain expected on Wednesday, the drought may seem like a distant memory to many Californians. But in parts of the San Joaquin Valley, where the water shortage was felt most acutely, the recovery has been slow going.

State Politics:

California’s lawmakers should have a surplus next year. Will they spend it or save it?

Sacramento Bee

The LAO’s outlook shows the state would finish its 2018-19 budget year with more than $19 billion in reserves – assuming lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown don’t make any more spending commitments. About $11 billion is obligated for the state’s rainy day fund.

Head of Senate Fellows program on ‘indefinite leave’ following Mendoza allegations

Sacramento Bee

The news comes less than a week after The Bee reported allegations that Sen. Tony Mendoza invited a young woman in the California Senate Fellows Program, who was working in his office, over to his house on at least two occasions to review her résumé and others for an open position and suggested she stay in his hotel room prior to an early morning fundraiser, according to people she told about the Artesia Democrat’s alleged behavior.

Leaving Europe, Brown says he’s talked enough, wants to ‘get something done’


The camera and lights switched on and Ole Torp, the Charlie Rose of Norway, leaned in, silver hair flashing, and posed his first question to Gov. Jerry Brown. “Is the world going to hell?” “Yes,” Brown answered swiftly. The interview, taped last week in Oslo, was declared a fabulous success, one the television audience would quite enjoy.

Walters: Brown preaches carbon reduction, but does he do it?


Jerry Brown, like most of humankind, is a mixture of positive and negative tendencies, and sometimes they run together.

Jerry Brown’s green buildings not worth cost, LAO says

Sacramento Bee

One of Gov. Jerry Brown’s green-building directives drives up the cost of state construction projects while delivering an uncertain environmental benefit, according to a new study by the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The study assessed Brown’s 2012 executive order directing that all state departments design new buildings in such a way that they entirely offset their energy use

State Fiscal Effects of California’s Minimum Wage

Legislative Analyst’s Office

California’s New Minimum Wage. A law passed in 2016 (SB 3 [Leno]) will increase California’s statewide minimum wage over a period of several years, reaching $15 per hour for most workers as soon as January 1, 2022. (In a 2016 blog series, we presented some data on the workers who will be affected by this policy.)

See also:

·       California enacted new laws in 2017 that affect California employers’ day-to-day operations and policies in 2018 and beyond.  HR California | CalChamber

Video: Gavin Newsom’s Priorities

Public Policy Institute of California

Gavin Newsom, California’s lieutenant governor and a candidate for governor in 2018, was asked in a San Francisco forum last week to name the three issues that will make the biggest difference in California’s future. Newsom, who is also a former mayor of San Francisco, predicted that both California and the nation will be grappling with these issues over the next ten years:

California Pregnancy Center Law To Face First Amendment Fight in Supreme Court

Sponsors of the California Reproductive Fact Act say they’re not surprised the law has faced a half-dozen court battles since it passed in 2015. And they’re pretty sure it can stand up to another one.

Walters: Poll finds California voters don’t like gas tax hike


California’s top politicians and interest groups celebrated a few months ago when the Legislature passed a package of taxes and fees to pay for long-neglected improvements to the state’s transportation systems. The heart of the $5-plus billion per year revenue package is a 12-cent-a-gallon hike in gasoline taxes that took effect this month, just as other factors, including a spike in global oil prices, hit pump prices that were already among the nation’s highest.

California at bottom in nationwide ranking of accountability systems; state board president disagrees


Another prominent education research and advocacy organization that disapproves of California’s approach to school accountability has ranked California’s new system at the bottom nationwide in a report released Tuesday. The low score by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute reflects a core disagreement over how best to identify and work with schools needing help. California education leaders are unapologetic about the route they’ve chosen, and they say the Fordham analysis contains a key error.

Feds threatens more “sanctuary” localities with the loss of crime-fighting funds


The Trump Administration continues to go after jurisdictions it says are running afoul of regulations to receive funding because of their sanctuary policies. First it was  Stockton and San Bernardino, but this week the Department of Justice sentmore than two dozen letters to cities counties and states across the country it believes are out of compliance for receiving federal dollars because of their status as sanctuaries,a term used to describe areas that prohibit law enforcers from reporting the immigration status of certain people to immigration authorities. Eleven are in California including the cities of Berkeley, Los Angeles and Santa Ana and the counties of Contra Costa, Monterey and San Francisco.

Federal Politics:

How California’s GOP House members plan to vote on the tax bill

Los Angeles Times

California’s 14 House Republicans are under intense pressure: Failure or success of the GOP tax bill in Thursday’s scheduled vote may depend on them. The bill tightens the mortgage interest and the state and local tax deductions, both of which are used widely in California and other high tax states. So far, eight of the California Republicans are solid yes votes. Only Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) has said he will oppose the bill, while four are still undecided and one is leaning toward voting yes.

See also:

·       Quiet Californians will make the difference for GOP tax bill in the House The Washington Post

·       Five Reasons That GOP Plans to Reduce or Eliminate the State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction Are a Bad Deal for Californians  California Budget & Policy Center

·       This California Republican has been begging his colleagues to change the tax bill. He’s still undecided  Los Angeles Times

·       Majority of California House Republicans support tax bill, but passage could hinge on the undecideds  Los Angeles Times

·       Vulnerable Republicans in Political Catch-22 on Tax Overhaul Roll Call

For more info on federal “tax reform,” See: Topics: Public Finance, below

Trump’s environmental rollbacks hit California hard, despite Sacramento’s resistance

Los Angeles Times

When 50,000 acre-feet of water went gushing out of the Sacramento River last month, it fast became a test of California’s ability to protect its environmental policies from an increasingly hostile Trump administration. 


Northern California gunman’s wife found dead

Fresno Bee

The Latest on deadly shootings in Northern California (all times local): 9:15 p.m. Dozens of people from a tiny Northern California community came out despite rain and cold to honor the victims of a gunman who killed five people and injured several more.

See also

·       Wife of Tehama County shooter found dead under the floor of their homeFresno Bee

·       Calif. gunman killed his wife before rampaging through community, trying to storm elementary school Washington Post

·       Gunman’s rampage exposes dark ‘underbelly’ of small Northern California community Los Angeles Times

·       Police knew ‘madman’ had illegal guns before killing spree Greenfield Recorder

Huffman is an ungodly rare thing in Congress: a nonbeliever

San Francisco Chronicle

Rep. Jared Huffman recently did something radical for a member of Congress: The San Rafael Democrat revealed publicly that he doesn’t believe in God. To put that in context, coming out as a nonbeliever is more rare than coming out as a nonheterosexual — there are seven LGBTQ members in the reality-challenged zone known as “Congress.”

In diverse Bay Area, racial disparities continue, study says

San Jose Mercury News

Its booming tech industry, modern politics and growing economy have established California as a progressive powerhouse with vast opportunities for its residents. But people of color and indigenous communities are consistently left out of this picture, according to a new report released Wednesday by several civil rights organizations, which analyzed racial disparities across the state. While many of California’s 58 counties are by all means prosperous, “antiquated systems and policies” perpetuate deeply-rooted racial disparities that leave disadvantaged communities struggling to keep up, the report said. It revealed a particularly stark contrast in the Bay Area, where several counties flourishing economically and socially are also harboring significant disparities.

Census: 142932 more people left California than moved here in 2016


This “domestic net outmigration” was the second-largest outflow in the nation behind New York and just ahead of Illinois and New Jersey. And it was up 11 percent (13,699 net departures) vs. 2015. California’s net out migration has been ongoing for two-decades-plus. Yet the state’s population continues to grow: By this count, up 108,301 in 2016 — or 0.3 percent — to 38.8 million.


Sunday, November 19, at 5:00 p.m. on ABC 30 – Maddy Report: Voting in California: No Longer Coming to a Neighborhood By You– Guests: Mindy Romero with University of California – Davis, Dan Walters with CalMatters and John Myers with Los Angeles Times. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, November 19, at 10:00 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ)– Maddy Report ​ – Valley Views Edition​: “State and Valley Participation: We Can All Do Better” – Guests: Registrar of Voters, Kristine Lee (Kings Co.), Brandi Orth (Fresno Co.), Barbara Levey, (Merced Co.) and Justin White, (Chief Assistant to the Madera Co Clerk). Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, November 19, at 7:30 a.m. on UniMas 61 (KTTF) – Informe Maddy Opportunities for New Businesses in the Valley. Guests: Dora Westerlund, CEO of The Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation; Yeru Olivares, CFO of The Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation; Yolanda Garcia, Owner of YO’MAMMAS! and Robert Zapata with the Opportunity Fund. Host: Maddy Institute Program Coordinator, Maria Jeans.

Support the Maddy Daily HERE. Thank you!

Topics in More Detail…


One lesson from Tehama shooting: School lockdowns save lives

Sacramento Bee

While much remains murky about the rampage in Rancho Tehama Reserve, it is clear that the immediate decision to lock down the elementary school saved many lives.

Tehama shooting is deadly evidence that California needs to reform its bail system

Los Angeles Times

The gunman who went on a deadly shooting rampage in Tehama County on Monday apparently had been out on bail after being charged with stabbing a neighbor — an aspect of the grisly crime that underscores a huge but little discussed problem with money bail systems like California’s.

A tax bill no responsible California lawmaker should support

Los Angeles Times

Any tax reform bill will have winners and losers. What’s maddening about the one the House is expected to vote on Thursday, though, is that so many of the losers are concentrated in California. Golden State lawmakers from both parties ought to fight that kind of tilted tax policy. The GOP authors of HR 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, argue that it would cut taxes for Americans up and down the economic ladder. And the nationwide estimates by Congress’ nonpartisan number crunchers suggest that they’re right. By 2027, the bill’s final year, all but one income group — those earning $20,000 to $30,000 a year — would see a tax cut, on average.

On gas tax initiative, attorney general tries to deceive voters

San Jose Mercury News

To score political points, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra has stooped to new lows of electoral obfuscation.

Republicans’ faith-based tax cuts

San Francisco Chronicle

In the theology that posits tax cuts as the answer to most of the nation’s ills, economic growth functions as a sort of holy ghost mysteriously conferring fiscal responsibility.

Sessions’ Clinton investigation would end DOJ

San Francisco Chronicle

When he was running for office, Donald Trump made no secret of the fact that he wanted to see his opponent, Hillary Clinton, imprisoned.

Cheers and jeers: Stroke, stroke, stroke

Stockton Record

It’s hard not to smile when thinking about a two-time Olympic athlete coming to Stockton. Your smile will grow even broader if that athlete brings along a returning author. And you’ll smile so much your face will hurt if the group includes a local student, too. All have plans to increase…


Lawsuit challenges California warning that links Roundup weed killer to cancer

Associated Press

A coalition of a dozen national and Midwestern agricultural groups sued Wednesday to try to overturn a California decision that could result in labels warning that the popular weed killer Roundup can cause cancer.

Corcoran bans commercial cannabis industry in town

Hanford Sentinel

This week, the Corcoran City Council considered dueling ordnances to either allow or ban commercial cannabis facilities in the city after public hearings saw substantial community opposition. Council, in a 5-0 decision Tuesday, voted to “ban it,” says City Manager Kindon Meik. “The Council carried out their due diligence and listened to the community.”


California’s problems with money bail were created by the courts, bond agents say

Sacramento Bee

Will the California chief justice’s call to end the use of money bail tip the scales for advocates when the Legislature returns next year? A high-profile push to scrap California’s bail system, which critics contend has created an unequal system of justice based on wealth, fell short in the Assembly last session amid concerns about cost and the effect on public safety. But Gov. Jerry Brown announced he would continue to work on the issue with legislative proponents and Chief JusticeTani Cantil-Sakauye.

California’s effort to prevent racial profiling by police is ready to go

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Police Department, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and other large law enforcement agencies across California will soon begin collecting racial and other demographic data when they stop drivers and pedestrians. The new program will begin in July, as outlined by Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s final regulations released Wednesday.



After years of luring, Bakersfield finally Bass Pro Shop to build store in town

Bakersfield Californian

One decade after Bass Pro Shops announced its intention to build a store in Bakersfield — a plan that has been marked with uncertainty amid economic downturn — the outdoor retail giant announced Wednesday that it would build its fifth California location in Kern County. The Missouri-based outdoor retailer, which specializes in hunting, fishing and camping gear, will open a 100,000-square-foot store to anchor an 800,000-square-foot mixed-retail center at the northeast corner of Hosking Avenue and Highway 99 known as the Bakersfield Gateway.

Moving CA Fwd through the California Economic Summit


Recap of this year’s Summit and a look ahead to next year


Bill would raise minimum salary for H-1B holders

San Francisco Chronicle

A bill focused on “H-1B dependent” companies passed the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning — another step toward the Trump administration’s promises to curtail a foreign worker program it says is rife with loopholes and threatens American jobs.

State workers should lose jobs over nepotism findings, board says

Sacramento Bee

Three state workers, including the daughter of a Sacramento-area assemblyman, could lose their jobs because a personnel audit found that they were hired under questionable circumstances at an agency riddled by nepotism.

Digitalization and the American workforce

Brookings Institute

In recent decades, the diffusion of digital technology into nearly every business and workplace, also known as “digitalization,” has been remaking the U.S. economy and the world of work. The “digitalization of everything” has at once increased the potential of individuals, firms, and society while also contributing to a series of troublesome impacts and inequalities, such as worker pay disparities across many demographics, and the divergence of metropolitan economic outcomes.

Why wages aren’t growing in America

Brookings Institute

The majority of Americans share in economic growth through the wages they receive for their labor, rather than through investment income. Unfortunately, many of these workers have fared poorly in recent decades. Since the early 1970s, the hourly inflation-adjusted wages received by the typical worker have barely risen, growing only 0.2 percent per year. In other words, though the economy has been growing, the primary way most people benefit from that growth has almost completely stalled.



The 2018-19 Budget: Proposition 98 Outlook

Legislative Analyst’s Office

Substantial Funding Available for Schools and Community Colleges in Coming Budget Cycle. Each year, the state calculates a “minimum guarantee” for school and community college funding based upon a set of formulas established by Proposition 98 (1988). Under our near‑term outlook, we estimate that the 2017‑18 guarantee is up $651 million (0.9 percent) from the level assumed in the June budget plan and the 2018‑19 guarantee is up $2.6 billion (3.4 percent) over the revised 2017‑18 level. After accounting for growth in the minimum guarantee and backing out prior‑year one‑time spending, among other adjustments, we estimate the Legislature would have $5.3 billion in uncommitted Proposition 98 funds to allocate in 2018‑19.

California Becomes First State to Adopt LGBT-Inclusive Textbooks

KQED | California Report

When California second-graders learn about families, they learn they come in different shapes: Some are formed through adoption; some include only one parent; others, only grandparents. And from now on, textbooks will also teach them that some families have two moms, or two dads. California is set to become the first state to use LGBT-inclusive textbooks in elementary schools. The State Board of Education approved 10 LGBT-inclusive history textbooks for kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms last week.

Investing Early: Taking Stock of Outcomes and Economic Returns from Early Childhood Programs


The past two decades have been characterized by a growing body of research from diverse disciplines — child development, psychology, neuroscience, and economics, among others — demonstrating the importance of establishing a strong foundation in the early years of life. The research evidence has served to document the range of early childhood services that can successfully put children and families on the path toward lifelong health and well-being, especially those at greatest risk of poor outcomes.

Higher Ed:

UC President Janet Napolitano’s aides interfered in audit of her office, investigation finds

Los Angeles Times

Top aides to University of California President Janet Napolitano interfered with a state audit of her office’s finances, suppressing campus criticism of its services and operations, according to findings of an investigation ordered by the UC Board of Regents.

UC regents seek ways to expand financial support and speed graduation

Los Angeles Times

University of California regents are looking at ways to make UC educations more affordable, including handing out grants for summer school and giving students multiyear financial aid commitments. A recent survey found that the 10-campus UC system awards the most generous freshman financial aid of top public universities nationwide, averaging $19,000 to $22,000 annually. UC campuses also enroll a higher share of low-income students than their peers. About 4 in 10 UC students receive federal Pell grants.

House G.O.P. Tax Writers Take Aim at College Tuition Benefits

New York Times

Not only did Mr. Vautour have the rare distinction of handing each of his children their diplomas, but he was also able to pay for their nearly 18 years of schooling by collecting trash, scrubbing toilets and mopping floors while the campus slept.

Latina poet to speak at CSUB’s California Writers Series

Bakersfield Californian

Accomplished Latina poet and educator Vickie Vértiz will appear at Cal State Bakersfield Thursday as part of the California Writer Series. “With the persistent crackdown on undocumented immigrants, whom the state economy nevertheless depends on, and with the recent release of ‘The Majority Report: Supporting the Success of Latino Students in California,’ which details persistent inequalities of access to educational opportunity, I am particularly pleased that Walter Presents is welcoming Vickie Vertiz as our fall reader in the California Writers Series,” CSUB English professor Marit J. MacArthur said in a news release. “Her poetry speaks eloquently from and to the complex Latinx experience in the U.S. today. I think her work will be appreciated here at CSUB.”



‘Not about polar bears, but people.’ Latino lawmakers shift focus on climate change

Sacramento Bee

State Sen. Ricardo Lara’s environmental awakening came when he left home and realized he didn’t have to shut his windows to avoid the dirty air. Lara said he learned that not everyone played in rail yards, or had trucks idling in their neighborhoods because of the heavy congestion. When he asked his parents why they lived so close to the freeway, they told him it was out of convenience.

New Bay Area rule aims to cut cancer risks from polluted air

East Bay Times

A pioneering rule approved by pollution regulators Wednesday aims to lessen the cancer risk from breathing air around Bay Area oil refineries, power plants, crematoria, sewer plants and many other businesses.

Today: Why Is SoCal’s Smog Worse? The Reason Is Hazy

Los Angeles Times

Despite efforts to improve air quality in the nation’s worst-polluted region, the ozone level in Southern California has been higher than federal health standards allow for 145 days this year.


Documents show undisclosed EPA health concerns on fracking chemicals


We’re about a decade into an oil and gas revolution known shorthand as fracking. It relies on shooting high-pressure water mixed with chemicals down into layers of rock to crack the stone and release oil and gas. Pretty much since the fracking boom began, people who live near these wells have worried about chemicals getting into their water and making them sick.



California health regulators level $5 million fine against Anthem Blue Cross

Sacramento Bee

The California Department of Managed Health Care announced Wednesday that it had leveled a $5 million fine against Anthem Blue Cross, saying the insurer demonstrated a systemic pattern and practice of failing to identify, process and resolve grievances for enrollees in its managed-care plans.

See also:

·       California fines Anthem $5 million for failing to address consumer grievancesLos Angeles Times

In landmark ruling, court orders paint companies to pay to clean lead paint out of California homes

Los Angeles Times

In a ruling that could set a precedent for lawsuits over the effects of climate change, a panel of appeals judges on Tuesday found three paint manufacturers responsible for the health hazards of lead paint in California homes and upheld an order that they pay to abate the dangers. The companies — ConAgra, NL Industries and Sherwin-Williams — had been ordered by a trial court in 2014 to pay a combined $1.15 billion for a lead paint abatement program in 10 counties and cities covering homes built before 1978, when lead paint in homes was outlawed.

Covered California Insurance Plans Could Be More Affordable This Year. Here’s Why:

Valley Public Radio

For years, one of the most powerful and consistent Republican criticism of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is that the monthly premiums are going up so fast that they are quickly becoming unaffordable and that the whole law was on the verge of collapse. President Donald Trump, in part, rode a wave of anti-Obamacare sentiment all the way to the White House. While Republican plans for full legislative repeal have stalled, that has not stopped the President from taking executive action to undermine it.

See also:

·       1.7 million fewer Californians would have insurance if health mandate is repealed, UC Berkeley Labor Center estimates  San Francisco Chronicle

California Firm Running Physician Practices Is Closing Down as Scrutiny Ramps Up

Washington Post

SynerMed, a company that manages physician practices serving hundreds of thousands of Medicaid and Medicare patients across California, is planning to shut down amid scrutiny from state regulators and health insurers. The company’s chief executive, James Mason, notified employees in an internal email Nov. 6, obtained by Kaiser Health News, that audits by health plans found “several system and control failures within medical management and other departments.”

California working to intervene earlier — before a brain illness crisis

San Francisco Chronicle

What goes through your mind as you walk by someone living in a doorway or an alley? Is it sorrow? Fear? Or does the sight not always register, because homelessness seems a problem that’s too big to fix? Last month, a new report on California’s homeless crisis put the number of people living without permanent shelter at 135,000 across our state.

Note to GOP: To improve women’s economic opportunities, don’t cut family planning – expand it

Brookings Institute

The Trump administration is rolling back provisions that make family planning services affordable and accessible. This is a mistake.

Humans Services:

Reducing Child Poverty in California: A Look at Housing Costs, Wages, and the Safety Net

Public Policy Institute of California

Nearly a quarter of young children in California live in poverty—a fact that has profound educational, health, and economic repercussions now and in the long term. High housing costs and low wages are key barriers to reducing the prevalence of child poverty. Lawmakers have taken action to address these issues: the minimum wage is slated to increase to $15 an hour by 2022, and recently enacted laws aim to ease the state’s housing crisis.


Bill would raise minimum salary for H-1B holders

San Francisco Chronicle

A bill focused on “H-1B dependent” companies passed the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning — another step toward the Trump administration’s promises to curtail a foreign worker program it says is rife with loopholes and threatens American jobs.

Justice Department targets more ‘sanctuary cities’


The Department of Justice sent letters to 29 so-called sanctuary cities on Wednesday, demanding officials show they are cooperating with immigration enforcement laws by Dec. 8. The targets include Washington, D.C., several municipalities in California – including Riverside and San Francisco counties, and the cities of Santa Ana and Los Angeles –  major state capitals like Denver, and entire states.

See also:

·         U.S. threatens localities with sanctuary policies, despite previous court rulings

·       In Reversal, Immigration Agency Will Consider Delayed DACA


Land Use:

Skelton: Realtors are worried about Trump’s tax plan. California homeowners should be too

Los Angeles Times

If President Trump and congressional Republicans have their way, homeownership in California will become less attractive. And that really worries Realtors and builders. And, of course, it also should greatly disturb home buyers.


Walters: Poll finds California voters don’t like gas tax hike


California’s top politicians and interest groups celebrated a few months ago when the Legislature passed a package of taxes and fees to pay for long-neglected improvements to the state’s transportation systems.

State Fiscal Effects of California’s Minimum Wage

Legislative Analyst’s Office

California’s New Minimum Wage. A law passed in 2016 (SB 3 [Leno]) will increase California’s statewide minimum wage over a period of several years, reaching $15 per hour for most workers as soon as January 1, 2022. (In a 2016 blog series, we presented some data on the workers who will be affected by this policy.) As shown in the figure below, this policy will affect the state’s General Fund in multiple ways. The magnitudes—and in some cases, the direction—of these effects are uncertain, but we expect them to grow as the minimum wage increases over time.

Articles on Federal Tax Reform efforts:

·       The GOP’s ‘Vote and Hope’ Caucus Roll Call

·       ‘Pass-Through’ Changes Dog Senate GOP Tax Overhaul Roll Call

·       GOP tax plan aims to trim college tuition benefits  San Francisco Chronicle

·       Analysis: New Senate Tax Bill Solves Some Issues, Raises Others Roll Call

·       Corporations will love the GOP tax plan. Should everyone else? Brookings Institute

·       Oklahoma Rep. Mullin says average family of 4 would save $1,182 in taxes PolitiFact

·       The Senate tax bill has a health care throwback Marketplace


Initial Choices: High-Speed Rail To Pick Its Early Operator

Valley Public Radio

The Board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority is expected to vote on an awarding a contract, likely to a European company, to be the line’s early train operator. The contract is a small fraction of the total cost of the rail line but represents a significant step toward making the bullet train a reality.

See also:

·       High-speed rail authority says environmental reviews won’t be completed until 2020 Los Angeles Times

·       Jim Patterson requests audit: High-Speed Rail $1.7 billion


Water shortage still exist in East Porterville

New York Times

After one of the wettest winters in state history, and with more rain expected on Wednesday, the drought may seem like a distant memory to many Californians. But in parts of the San Joaquin Valley, where the water shortage was felt most acutely, the recovery has been slow going.