November 3, 2017


Top Policy/Political Stories

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Local/Regional Politics:


California Is Proof That Obamacare Isn’t Dead


At the Clinica Sierra Vista offices in Fresno, the heart of California’s Central Valley, Melissa Reyna and her colleagues have spent the past several weeks prepping for open enrollment, the time of year when people who buy private insurance on the state’s health insurance marketplace can pick a plan for the following year’s coverage. This year’s period, which kicked off Wednesday, comes after several tumultuous months for the Affordable Care Act that included multiple attempts by Congress to repeal and replace the law and numerous policy changes from the Trump administration, one of which left many states scrambling to determine insurance prices just days before the plans go on sale.


Republican Ashley Swearengin says she won’t run for governor or U.S. Senate in 2018

Los Angeles Times

Ashley Swearengin, the former mayor of Fresno who was once considered one of the most electable Republicans statewide, said Thursday she had no plans to run for governor or the U.S. Senate next year. “There was never any real consideration from me…The things I care about, the work I am doing in the Central Valley, is probably best pursued in the work I am doing right now.”


Governor’s Office marks Manufacturing Awareness and Appreciation Month with recognition of San Joaquin Valley events

Fresno State News

Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, ended a month-long set of manufacturing events in the San Joaquin Valley and was recognized by the Office of Governor Jerry Brown as Manufacturing Awareness and Appreciation Month.


Supervisors approve DACA letter to Congress

Visalia Times-Delta

Supervisors approved sending a letter of support for the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals policy, calling for change that would lead to citizenship. The letter will be sent to Devin Nunes (R-Visalia), David Valadao (R-Hanford) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and California Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats.


City gets funding for bike, street projects

Bakersfield Californian

The City of Bakersfield has received some new funding to make bike- and pedestrian-related improvements. The city was awarded nearly $200,000 by the Kern Council of Governments to help pay for the Build-a-Bike program, downtown bike parking spots, a bike path between the Kern River bike path and 21st Street, rehabilitation of the Kern River bike path from Manor Street to Alfred Harrell Highway and improvements on portions of Brundage Lane.


Citizens’ right to protest or city’s duty to recoup taxpayer money? 24th Street hearing is Friday

Bakersfield Californian

A multi-year legal battle over the 24th Street widening project continues in court on Friday


Fresno County Athletic Hall of Fame will finally have a home

Fresno Bee

The Fresno County Athletic Hall of Fame will finally be a place you can visit. Walt Byrd Jr., the hall of fame board president, and Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro announced Thursday night that construction on the organization’s new home will begin this summer.


State Politics:


Paying the price at the pumps

Hanford Sentinel

Around lunchtime Thursday, cars began to pull into Buford Star Mart gas station and drivers began fueling up their cars. The only thing different about the normal, everyday scene was customers were paying 12 more cents to the gallon at the pump. “A lot of us sometimes barely have enough money to put gas in our vehicles, and they’re just making it even more difficult,” said customer Andrew Nollan. “That 12 cents adds up every gallon.”


What are California taxpayers spending to settle sexual harassment claims? Good luck finding out

Sacramento Bee

Leonard Johnson III came to the California Highway Patrol in December 2011 as a data processing manager, scoring 95 percent in his sexual harassment prevention training. What happened over the next three months eventually cost the state more than $600,000, and abruptly ended the CHP career of a female office assistant.


Republican tax bill proposes cap on mortgage deduction

Sacramento Bee

The tax overhaul House Republicans unveiled Thursday keeps the mortgage interest deduction, as promised. But it adds a cap for new home buyers, who would only be able to deduct the interest for the first $500,000 of their mortgage. That would hit hard in California, where the average home price now hovers around half a million dollars, more than any other state.

See also:

·       Mortgage deduction cap would hit some California home buyers McClatchy DC

·       GOP House tax bill would deliver blow to California homeownersLos Angeles Times


Gubernatorial candidate John Cox calls for repeal of California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

Los Angeles Times

GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox on Thursday called for reducing regulations and repealing and replacing a longtime state environmental law to decrease income inequality in California. “The inequality gap in this country is all about the crushing regulations, not least of which in California is CEQA,” or the California Environmental Quality Act, Cox said at the California Economic Summit in San Diego. The law “has basically crushed the ability of people to start their own business,” he said.


Cox Pins Gubernatorial Campaign On “Neighborhood Legislature” Initiative –

Capital Public Radio

John Cox says the only way to get money out of California politics is to multiply the number of state lawmakers by 100. He’s dead serious.


Worst question to ask a California Republican: Where do you differ from Trump?

San Francisco Chronicle

Here’s one question that California’s Republican candidates for governor don’t want to hear, let alone answer: How are you different from President Trump? That’s because answering it is a no-win proposition for Republicans marooned west of the Sierra Nevada. So they do what politicians do best: They parse.


John Chiang launches website blasting Gavin Newsom in California governor’s race

Los Angeles Times

State Treasurer and candidate for governor John Chiang has launched a website attacking the record of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the front-runner in the race. Chiang’s political consultant, Parke Skelton, on Thursday tweeted out a link, which the campaign says will “give California voters the facts about Gavin Newsom’s record, as Mayor and as Lieutenant Governor.” Chiang also tweeted a link to the site, then appeared to delete the tweet.  After he was criticized by the Newsom campaign for deleting his tweet, Chiang sent out a new tweet highlighting the website.

See also:

·       Gavin Newsom dismisses fellow Democrat John Chiang’s attack in governor’s race  Los Angeles Times


Fox: Villaraigosa, Business Support and Prop 13

Fox and Hounds Daily

Former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, in a recent gubernatorial debate, made it clear that he thinks changes should be considered to Proposition 13. Advocating for a change in law that would raise taxes on commercial property could put in jeopardy business support for his candidacy that seemed to be growing


Explore the relationship between votes, money and influence with this tool


We’ve calculated how often legislators vote with 20 powerful interest groups in Sacramento. We’ve also included how much money they give those legislators.


Federal Politics:


California’s high taxes, costly housing mean trouble under GOP tax plan

San Francisco Chronicle

People who live in high-tax states with high housing prices would fare worst under the tax bill released by House Republicans Thursday. Analysts are still poring over the details and crunching the numbers, but in general, “the bill is a large cut for businesses and a smaller tax cut for individuals,” said Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The impact on individuals “will be very idiosyncratic. It depends on where you live, the makeup of your family, how you make your money,” Gleckman said.

See also:

·       House tax plan would hurt many California homeowners, but state GOP members look for the bright side  Los Angeles Times

·       Trump Tax Bill Hammers New York and California New Yorker

·       Pelosi calls out California Republican members as ‘lemmings’ for supporting tax bill Los Angeles Times

For more articles on the GOP tax plan, see: “Public Finance” below


New liberal challenger to Sen. Dianne Feinstein launches bid on ‘The Young Turks’

Los Angeles Times

A new Democratic candidate used a popular liberal news show Thursday to launch a bid to oust Dianne Feinstein, saying it’s time for California’s longtime senator to go.


Female lawmakers allege harassment by colleagues in House


For years, Republican Rep. Mary Bono endured the increasingly suggestive comments from a fellow lawmaker in the House. But when the congressman approached her on the House floor and told her he’d been thinking about her in the shower, she’d had enough. She confronted the man, who she said still serves in Congress, telling him his comments were demeaning and wrong.


Trump nominates U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California

Los Angeles Times

President Trump on Wednesday nominated McGregor W. Scott to be the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California. Scott is currently a partner in the Sacramento office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where his focus is white collar criminal defense and corporate investigations. If confirmed by the Senate, it would be Scott’s second stint in the position, which he previously held from 2003 to 2009.




Caller ID scam targets CalPERS retirees

Sacramento Bee

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is warning its members to look out for a scam that tells them they owe money to the pension fund. A caller reportedly is telling retirees that they have to send money through prepaid credit cards in order to receive their pensions.


California’s teachers pension fund will consider divesting from gun retailers following mass shootings

Los Angeles Times

California’s teachers pension fund will consider canceling its investments in national retail companies selling guns and ammunition banned in the state after Treasurer John Chiang argued for action following last month’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. “Neither taxpayer funds, nor the pension contributions of any of the teachers we represent, including the three California teachers slain in Las Vegas, should be invested in the purveyors of banned military-style assault weapons,” Chiang said during an investment committee meeting of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, on Wednesday.


Opinion: How to stop Google and Facebook from becoming even more powerful

The Guardian

On Tuesday, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana told the general counsels of Facebook and Google: “Your power sometimes scares me.” The problem, Kennedy said, is that the corporations know too much about us, and too little about themselves. On the other hand, Kennedy said: “You don’t have the ability to know who every one of [your] advertisers is, do you?”


Robert Mercer leaving his hedge fund, selling stake in Breitbart

Business Insider

Hedge-fund billionaire and major conservative donor Robert Mercer is stepping down from his position as co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, he said Thursday. In a letter to employees obtained by Business Insider, Mercer said he had become an object of press scrutiny in the past year, referencing his activity as a major conservative donor. The hedge-fund founder had previously stayed mum about his political beliefs.




Trump’s plan to raise park fees hits us especially hard

Modesto Bee

The huge entrance fee increases proposed by the Trump administration are uncalled for. If this proposal moves forward, it must include some kind of allowance for Californians who want to take a day trip to Yosemite.


House Republicans unveil the wrong tax overhaul

Los Angeles Times

Top House Republicans unveiled their long-awaited tax cut proposal Thursday, and it’s hard to argue with their stated goals: faster economic growth, more investment by U.S. businesses, and a simplified tax code with lower rates but also fewer breaks and loopholes. One fundamental flaw, however,…


Californians say #MeToo, but enable sexual harassment. Here’s how we could say #Enough

Sacramento Bee

Raul Bocanegra is the latest but hardly the only California legislator to have been outed for harassment. Too often, they’re enabled.





Should county allow festival concert venue on I-5 despite farmers’ objections?

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County Supervisors will hear an ambitious pitch from the developers of the proposed Cal Centre music festival venue Tuesday. Daniel Rudnick and his father Phil are hoping supervisors will allow them to develop a 255-acre site at the corner of 7th Standard Road and Interstate 5, converting that open farmland into a venue that could host as many as 65,000 guests for music festivals in the spirit of Coachella or Stagecoach.


Winemakers increasingly acknowledge impacts of climate change, but the topic is sensitive

Sacramento Bee

Droughts. Soaking winters. Heat waves. Wildfires. The last several years have whipsawed West Coast winemakers such as David Graves, who produces that oh-so-delicate of varietals, pinot noir.


Northern California grape growers begin to face smoke taint damages

San Francisco Chronicle

The Bucklin family’s relationship with Constellation Brands stretches back more than three decades. That’s how long Constellation — a global wine corporation expected to generate $7.33 billion in revenue this year, and owner of California wine brands like Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood — has bought grapes from Old Hill Ranch, the Bucklins’ 35-acre Sonoma Valley vineyard. But after this year’s wildfires, for the first time ever, Constellation rejected the Old Hill fruit.


Sacramento council members question expansion of pot sales after audit cites non-compliance issues

Sacramento Bee

Some Sacramento City Council members say they will not allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational pot until they take care of problems identified in a recent audit.


Why We Still Kill Cougars

Sacramento Bee

Victoria Vaughn doesn’t have a killer’s heart. The 59-year-old artist and former substitute teacher, whose eyes well with tears when she gets upset, loves animals. It’s why she started raising alpacas for wool for her weaving projects in the first place. She certainly never thought she’d want to kill one of California’s most charismatic mammals. That changed last year when a mountain lion started coming around at night, savaging her alpacas.







Report: Crime Rates Stable After State’s Passage of Sentencing Reforms


To deal with federal court orders demanding a reduction in prison populations, California officials – and state voters, via initiative – passed a series of sentencing reformsover the past seven years that have reduced overcrowding from 181 percent of capacity to 137.5 percent capacity. That’s a reduction of 33,000 inmates.




Planning for California wildfires

Sierra Star

California wildfires in September/October 2017 burned more than 245,000 acres and destroyed and damaged more than 8,700 homes, businesses and properties. “To this date, it is recorded as the most devastating ever in the state. The attention turns now to the residents who lost or suffered damage to their property,” said Jerry Davies, Chair of the California Fire Safe Council.


Wildfires at Your Doorstep

This year has seen an explosion of wildfires that have set records for death and destruction from California to Kansas. As the smoke continues to clear from the deadly flames that swept across parts of California’s wine country, history and the reality on the ground suggest the threat will grow only worse, not only for California, the most fire-prone state, but throughout the West.


Storm to cause flooding, mudslide risk in fire-damaged Northern California


A double-barreled storm will affect a large part of California through the weekend with areas of drenching rain and mountain snow. The two rounds will bring needed moisture to some abnormally dry areas, including areas hit hard by wildfires in recent weeks. However, too much rain may fall and cause problems in terms of travel delays and isolated minor flooding.


After Wildfires, What Happens to Fire Retardant-Soaked Crops?

KQED Science

The full extent of the damage from the northern California wildfires that killed 43 people and destroyed 8,400 homes is still being tallied. The devastation left an obvious scar, but not all the damage is visible. Among the assessments still to be made is what impact millions of gallons of fire retardant—essentially a potent fertilizer—may have on carefully tended plants and soils.


How will the Northern California wildfires affect the property taxes of those who lost their home?

Los Angeles Times

sProposition 13, the landmark 1978 ballot measure, has kept homeowners’ property tax bills lower than they would be otherwise by basing tax rates on when people bought their houses, rather than their current market value.







What priorities will Jerome Powell bring to the Federal Reserve?

PBS NewsHour

President Trump announced Jerome Powell as his nominee to be the new chair of the Federal Reserve, replacing Janet Yellen in early 2018. With a background in law and finance, Powell would be the first Fed chair in almost forty years without formal economics training. Economics correspondent Paul Solman offers a profile of Powell and Judy Woodruff speaks with Krishna Guha of Evercore.

See also:

·       Trump dumps Yellen, picks Powell in biggest economic movePOLITICO


Day One: 2017 Summit aims to elevate Californians into the middle class

California Economy Reporting

The 2017 California Economic Summit opened today in San Diego with a focus on creating a stronger, more equitable economy for all of California. A new initiative,Elevate California, was introduced to address crucial issues facing many Californians including poverty, income growth and the high cost of living. More than 500 civic, business and community members gathered for the Summit, co-presented by CA Fwdand the California Stewardship Network, to address problems and the opportunities facing the state.

See Also:

·       California needs a digital equity strategy to close its opportunity gap CAFWD





Job growth rebounds after September hurricanes


Job creation shot up in October, the government reported Friday, as the economy rebounded from hurricanes in the South. The Labor Department reported 261,000 new jobs in October, a sharp turnaround from September, when Hurricanes Harvey and Irma prompted a monthly gain of just 18,000 jobs. The numbers, while short of Wall Street expectations, are good news for a White House eager to generate positive press amid this week’s indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and New York City’s worst terrorist attack since Sept. 11, 2001.






California teachers feel more power and influence than peers in other states, survey finds


California teachers, more than peers in other states,  feel empowered to voice their opinions and say they have influence over decisions and policies in their schools. In increasing numbers, they say they are satisfied with the instructional materials they are using and the school based, peer-led training they are receiving.


Audit: School districts reap millions by OK’ing far-flung charters


Several small, cash-strapped California school districts are using a loophole in state law to boost their revenue by overseeing a raft of far-flung charter schools, according to a recent report published by the state auditor. The result, the report says: dismal academic results for thousands of students and a lot of extra money for the districts, one of which increased its revenue more than 10-fold.


Higher Ed:


Fresno Pacific will allow ethnic sashes for all

Fresno Bee

After canceling a tradition of allowing minority students to wear ethnic sashes at graduation, Fresno Pacific University has reversed course and is opening the policy up to any student who wants to wear a special stole. While in the past, the university covered most of the cost of the sashes, students will now be responsible for buying them.


COS and high schools race to submit financial aid applications

Hanford Sentinel

Financial aid applications for the 2018-19 school year opened in October and College of the Sequoias’ Financial Aid Department will provide Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and California Dream Act Application assistance at dozens of local high schools and all three COS campuses before the March 2, 2018, Cal Grant deadline.


Colleges and universities struggling to meet the growing demand for student mental health services


One study finds a 30 percent increase of students requesting services in a five-year period for things like anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide prevention.


What went wrong can go right with fixing remedial education at CSU


The effort at the California State University to streamline developmental and general education is a perfect example of why large change projects in education often fail.


Is Higher Education a Melting Pot?

Brookings Institute

The results were not really what I was expecting—nor were they very encouraging.






‘It can become unlivable.’ How Jerry Brown is planning for raging fires and extreme heat

Fresno Bee

As massive fires that would kill more than 40 people ravaged his state last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown met with state emergency officials, jabbing at culprits of the latest disaster. “That’s the way it is with a warming climate, dry weather and reducing moisture,” Brown warned. “These kinds of catastrophes have happened, they’ll continue to happen, and we have to be prepared to do everything we can to mitigate.”

See also:

·       California plans for climate change: fires, heat and flooding  Sacramento Bee

·       Winemakers increasingly acknowledge impacts of climate change, but the topic is sensitive  Sacramento Bee


Oil industry spent millions on lobbying as California lawmakers debated cap-and-trade extension

Los Angeles Times

Corporations, unions and other interests spent $86.2 million on lobbying state government during the last quarter, with the oil industry leading the way as the Legislature approved an extension of California’s cap-and-trade program. So far this year, $256 million has been spent lobbying state government, according to financial disclosure statements filed this week.


LA, Long Beach port officials adopt new clean air plan

Press Telegram

A long-range plan designed to reduce air pollution around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that could cost up to $14 billion is now official policy. Harbor commissioners for Los Angeles and Long Beach voted Thursday to adopt the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update.


EPA’s Pruitt and staff to attend chemical industry meeting at luxury resort next week

Washington Post

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has traveled across the country to meet with industry groups regulated by the EPA, is scheduled to address the board during a session on Nov. 9. The administrator plans to bring eight EPA staffers to the event. The contingent includes his chief of staff, a senior adviser on state and regional affairs, a press aide, a public engagement official, a security detail of three and an advance person.




Community Choice Aggregators to Remain Unaffected by California Legislature


Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs will remain unaffected following the California legislative session closure on Friday, September 15. The 2017 legislative session’s most disadvantageous bills for CCAs, AB 726 and AB 813, will not be advancing during this legislative session.


Green Energy Industry Says Lower Tax Credit Reneges on Promise

Roll Call

Renewable energy advocates are raising alarms that the House Republican tax plan released Thursday would sharply reduce a tax credit that has driven the rapid deployment of wind and solar power over the past two years. The tax bill includes a provision that would remove an inflation adjustment from the renewable energy production tax credit, likely dropping it from 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour for tax year 2016 to 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour.




California Is Proof That Obamacare Isn’t Dead


At the Clinica Sierra Vista offices in Fresno, the heart of California’s Central Valley, Melissa Reyna and her colleagues have spent the past several weeks prepping for open enrollment, the time of year when people who buy private insurance on the state’s health insurance marketplace can pick a plan for the following year’s coverage. This year’s period, which kicked off Wednesday, comes after several tumultuous months for the Affordable Care Act that included multiple attempts by Congress to repeal and replace the law and numerous policy changes from the Trump administration, one of which left many states scrambling to determine insurance prices just days before the plans go on sale.

See also

·       Surcharge could hit Covered California customers  San Diego Union-Tribune

·       Facing a big health insurance premium hike? Blame the kids  Los Angeles Times

·       Covered California’s Outreach Budget Is Huge, Despite Federal Cuts


Medicare fairs a godsend for some seniors

Stockton Record

When King first became a Medicare beneficiary at age 65, she made the tough decision to forgo her heart medication because of the high cost. But on Thursday, after consulting with student pharmacists from the Medicare class at University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, King is looking forward to Jan. 1 when the new Medicare Part D drug plans kick in.


Why Entitlements Keep Growing, and Growing, and . . .


Donald Trump’s gleeful deal with the Democrats—ratcheting up the debt ceiling, as well as the ire of the Republican establishment—puts John Cogan’s mind on 1972. Starting in February of that year, the Democratic presidential candidates engaged in a bidding war over Social Security to gain their party’s nomination. Sen. George McGovern kicked off the political auction with a call for a 20% increase in monthly payments. Sen. Edmund Muskie followed suit, as did Rep. Wilbur Mills, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, never one to be outdone, offered a succulent 25%.


Doctors Medical Center, Kaiser are safest hospitals in Stanislaus County, report says

Modesto Bee

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that issues quality and safety grades for hospitals, released its fall 2017 report on more than 2,600 hospitals in the nation. Doctors Medical Center of Modesto and Kaiser Modesto Medical Center received the top grades for patient safety. For Doctors, it was the seventh time in a row the hospital has earned an “A” grade from Leapfrog, going back to fall 2014.


The Lifetime Costs of Bad Health

The National Bureau of Economic Research

People in bad health work less, earn less, face higher medical expenses, die earlier, and accumulate much less wealth compared to those in good health.




Tax ID Used by Immigrants Targeted in GOP Tax Bill

Roll Call

A provision in the GOP tax overhaul bill unveiled Thursday would require all taxpayers claiming the federal child tax credit to use a valid Social Security number, rather than the tax identification number used by undocumented immigrants with children who are U.S. citizens. Under the measure, all taxpayers would be required to provide a work-eligible Social Security number to claim the refundable portion of the child tax credit or the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Similar legislation was introduced in January by Republican Policy Committee Chairman Luke Messer of Indiana, with the aim of preventing undocumented immigrants from claiming the $1,000 tax credit with their Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN).




Land Use:


Fitzgerald: How the multiplex has worked for downtown

Stockton Record

Rambling past downtown’s movie theater, I wondered whether the city’s grand experiment using a multiplex to spur downtown revival paid off.




Rent-control policy `likely fueled the gentrification of San Francisco,’ study finds

San Jose Mercury News

When San Francisco residents voted in 1994 to expand the city’s rent-control policies, they granted protections to legions of renters living in duplexes and other small, “mom and pop” apartment buildings constructed before 1980 — 30 percent of the city’s rental housing stock. The landmark vote has saved tenants in those units thousands of dollars per year. But it brought on a crippling side effect, according to a provocative new Stanford paper: Many landlords stopped renting out those coveted apartments.


Tax Change on Mortgages Could Shake Up the Housing Market

The Republican tax plan unveiled on Thursday takes aim at the most sacred of cows: the provision that subsidizes homeownership by allowing the deduction of interest on mortgage debt. For most of America, the impact would be minimal. The proposed bill reduces the maximum deduction from $1 million to $500,000, or more than double the median home price in the United States of roughly $200,000. Less than 3 percent of home mortgages are more than $500,000, according to data from CoreLogic.




For stories on “tax reform” will impact California,  See: “Top Stories – Federal Politics,” above


Key points of the GOP’s proposed tax plan

Los Angeles Times

House Republicans released a sweeping tax overhaul that would limit or end many deductions used to minimize how much Americans owe — particularly in high-cost areas like California. The rollout launches a legislative process that will test GOP unity in the coming weeks as the party struggles to deliver one of President’sTrump’s top priorities.

See also:

·       GOP tax bill would be broadest tax code rewrite in 30 years PBS NewsHour

·       GOP tax plan: 5 ways the proposed tax cuts could impact you CBS News

·       House GOP Tax Bill Keeps 39.6% Rate for High Earners, Cuts Corporate Rate to 20% Roll Call

·       Tax Cut and Jobs Act Will Cost $1.5 Trillion Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

·       Tax reform’s big changes sets up GOP for big political fights PBS NewsHour

·       GOP Tax Bill: The Fine-Tuning and Defense Begins Roll Call

·       Sen. Elizabeth Warren: GOP tax plan is giveaway to giant corporations, not middle class PBS NewsHour

·       The GOP Tax Bill Is Out—and Now We Know Why It Was Secret for So Long The Nation

·       Tax reform takes ‘fresh approach’ to help workers and spur growth, says Rep. Kevin Brady PBS NewsHour

·       Curb Our Enthusiasm WSJ

·       Homebuilders gloomy, asset managers relieved over tax planWashington Post

·       Tax Change on Mortgages Could Shake Up the Housing

·       A ‘Massive’ Middle-Class Tax Cut May Not Be in Store

·       American workers need a pay raise – the estate tax could helpBrookings Institute

·       Republican tax bill would kill deductibility of student loan interest Los Angeles Times

·       Small business lobby opposed to GOP tax bill TheHill

·       Heirs, Some Business Owners Are Winners in Tax Plan WSJ

·       GOP Tax Bill Would Allow Politics from the Pulpit Roll Call

·       Tax ID Used by Immigrants Targeted in GOP Tax Bill Roll Call

·       GOP tax bill ends electric vehicle tax credit, overhauls other energy taxes TheHill

·       Green Energy Industry Says Lower Tax Credit Reneges on Promise Roll Call

·       Tesla stock takes a hit as GOP unveils tax plan that eliminates electric car subsidy Los Angeles Times


Can CalPERS Divestment Make A Difference In Controversial Projects?

Capital Public Radio

As protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline were growing last November, San Jose Democratic Assemblyman Ash Kalra was winning his first term in office. He didn’t celebrate long.

See also:

·       California’s teachers pension fund will consider divesting from gun retailers following mass shootings Los Angeles Times





City gets funding for bike, street projects

Bakersfield Californian

The City of Bakersfield has received some new funding to make bike- and pedestrian-related improvements. The city was awarded nearly $200,000 by the Kern Council of Governments to help pay for the Build-a-Bike program, downtown bike parking spots, a bike path between the Kern River bike path and 21st Street, rehabilitation of the Kern River bike path from Manor Street to Alfred Harrell Highway and improvements on portions of Brundage Lane.


Politifact CA: Does California spend ‘nearly 5 times as much’ to build a mile of road as rest of nation?

Politifact CA

It’s not cheap to build anything in California. Land and labor is expensive and the state has some of the strictest environmental permitting rules anywhere.




Drop by data-driven drop, conservation is the new front in California’s water wars

Sacramento Bee

If you thought California’s water wars were bitter, just wait until you see our water data wars. Digital tools have expanded the ability of governments, companies and nonprofits to measure the uses of California water in detail, and thus build more water-efficient products, boost water conservation, and replace expensive and inefficient infrastructure.


State water board scraps restrictions on toxic metal

San Diego Union-Tribune

California must go back to the drawing board and reassess limits for how much hexavalent chromium — a toxic compound made famous in the film “Erin Brokovich” — can be present in drinking water. The state water board last month eliminated a rule restricting how much of the heavy metal is permitted in drinking water supplies after Sacramento Superior Court Judge Christopher Krueger ruled that state regulators didn’t consider whether the restrictions were economically feasible.


Drowning in a flood of water data | Zocalo’s Connecting California


Which communities are saving the most water, and how should that impact state policy? Just how much water is being saved from turf-removal efforts? And where does one water agency’s boundary begin another agency’s end?


Why Rising Temperatures Threaten Southern California’s Drinking Water


Rising temperatures are undermining the source of one-third of Southern California’s drinking water: the Colorado River.




This week’s top entertainment – Theater, ballet & 120 years of ministry

Fresno Bee

The holiday season kicks off with “A Christmas Carol,” one of many events taking place in the central San Joaquin Valley. Here are seven things you won’t want to miss this week.


Take me home! Dogs available for adoption

Bakersfield Californian

These four dogs at Kern County Animal Services are looking for their forever homes. Can you help?