October 16, 2017



Local/Regional Politics:

Will Fulton Street revitalize downtown Fresno? Let’s talk about it

Fresno Bee

The three men standing on Fulton Street near the Dancing Waters fountain on a recent afternoon definitely weren’t from Fresno.

See also:

Lonely at the top in Modesto, Turlock? More like, no one at the top for both cities

Modesto Bee

In the early days of spring, Stanislaus County’s two largest cities – Modesto and Turlock – both learned they would need someone else to lead them.

Three vie to represent west, south Modesto on City Council

Modesto Bee

The district encompasses downtown and south and west Modesto, is heavily Latino and is home to many low-income residents. District residents’ top priorities include public safety and jobs that support families. But it also is a low-voter turnout district. Madrigal needed just 804 votes to win in 2013 to serve a city with more than 200,000 residents

Visalia mayor Gubler runs for State Assembly

Porterville Recorder

Warren Gubler, a local attorney, businessman and City of Visalia Mayor, announced his candidacy for California State Assembly in the 2018 election. Gubler, a Republican, cites ineffective representation in Sacramento since Devon Mathis’ 2014 election as the primary reason for seeking the Assembly District 26 seat.

Kern County and City of Bakersfield wrestling with divergent paths on commercial pot

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County and the City of Bakersfield have struggled for years to deal with the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries in metropolitan Bakersfield.

Kern County is not growing nearly as fast as experts predicted

Bakersfield Californian

They only missed it by 28 years. In 2012, projections released by the California Department of Finance suggested Kern County could overtake Fresno County in total population by 2025 — about seven years from now — and that the valley’s southernmost county might contain nearly 300,000 more residents than Fresno County by 2050.

City of Fresno Seeks Qualified Assistant Director of Transportation

City Of Fresno

The City of Fresno, California is located in the fertile San Joaquin Valley. The Assistant Director of Transportation assists in the planning, direction, organization and review of the assigned operations. A background that includes a Bachelor’s Degree (Master’s preferred) in Business Administration or Public Administration from an accredited college or university or degree and five years of progressively responsible experience in managing a large transportation department (or an equivalent operation) may be considered qualifying for this position. The hiring range for this position is up to $154,488 annually. Filing Deadline: November 3, 2017.

State Politics:

 Kevin de Leon is challenging Dianne Feinstein

Fresno Bee

State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León formally unveiled his daring challenge to Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Sunday, setting up a generational confrontation over the direction of the Democratic Party between one of California’s political stalwarts and the little-known Los Angeles lawmaker.

See also:

Walters: Pettifoggery thrives in one-party legislative domination | The Fresno …

Fresno Bee (blog)

Critics, particularly Republicans, often complain that Democrats who control the state Legislature yearn to minutely control or heavily tax any human behavior they don’t like.

GOP alliances rip over gas tax repeal: Anti-taxers vs. business establishment

Bakersfield Californian

Business groups are threatening to wage a pricey campaign to stop California’s Republican officials from trying to repeal a new state gas tax — warning them not to “create new political adversaries.” But the politicians aren’t flinching.

Brown Signs Nonbinary Gender Bill, Vetoes Presidential Tax Return Bill

Capital Public Radio News

Just minutes before a midnight deadline, California Gov. Jerry Brown cleared his desk Sunday night by acting on the final few dozen of the nearly 1,000 bills sent his way this year by state lawmakers.

See also:


California legislators who resign face a longer wait before they can lobby

Los Angeles Times

State lawmakers who resign will have to wait longer before they can lobby the Legislature under a measure signed Saturday by Gov. Jerry Brown.Currently, legislators must wait one year after they resign from office before they can lobby their former colleagues.

California Secretary of State – CalAccess – Lobbying Activity

The Nooner

When Henry Perea left the Legislature early for the Western States Petroleum Association, he didn’t need to register as a lobbyist. Western States spent $2 million last session when Perea joined them.  Perea had $623,540 on hand as of June 30, ostensibly for a run for Insurance Commissioner that he is not running for. He gave $226,800 to USC Price School of Public Policy before that report, but still has a lot of cash on hand to wield influence. He did reimburse several contributions to special interests. As a lobbyist, he can’t personally contribute to candidates for the Legislature, but the committee can.

California’s GOP has become a circular firing squad


Each week, the San Bernardino County elections office publishes updated voter registration data not only for the county but also for all of its local entities, one being the City of Rancho Cucamonga.

Federal Politics:

Shift to the right: With immigration and healthcare moves, Trump abruptly ends his bipartisan moment

Los Angeles Times

Say goodbye to the bipartisan moment. A month ago, President Trump startled people in both parties by striking a spending deal with Democratic leaders and a tentative agreement to resolve the fate of the young immigrants in the country illegally known as Dreamers. Some saw in those moves a shift by the president to a less ideological ground; on the right, some of his supporters warned of betrayal.

See also:

What Trump’s decision to end a federal healthcare subsidy means for Californians

Los Angeles Times

In an aggressive move to dismantle Obamacare, President Trump announced Thursday that the government was ending payments to health insurers that help fund the law.

See also

Trump issues order expanding access to loosely regulated health plans


President Donald Trump today signed an executive order aimed at allowing trade associations and other groups to offer their own health plans — a move seen as expanding cheaper insurance options while also threatening to destabilize the Obamacare markets.

See also:

Poll: Majority think GOP tax plan will benefit the wealthy


A majority of Americans say that Republican plans for changing the tax code will favor the wealthy. According to a new CBS News Nation Tracker poll, 58 percent of Americans think the current proposals would favor the wealthy, 19 percent think reform would treat everyone equally, and 18 percent think the GOP plan would favor the middle class.

See also:

California’s ‘independent’ voters will get help in picking a 2020 presidential ballot under a new state law

Los Angeles Times

Following reports of unaffiliated “independent” California voters who didn’t realize they needed a different ballot to participate in last year’s Democratic presidential primary, a new state law will mandate more outreach to make sure those voters know the rules.


In California, a direct — if expensive — resistance to President Trump’s Washington

Washington Post

Holding a pride-of-place spot on State Sen. Kevin de León’s office wall is a painting by a San Francisco artist. The picture renders in water color a roaring bear, the state symbol, its hind legs set in a bed of California poppies.

Plans for gun control bills dim as GOP leaders want ATF action

Las Vegas Review-Journal

A flurry of gun control legislation has been filed in Congress following the Strip shooting, but prospects for legislative action have dimmed as GOP leaders look to the Trump administration for an administrative remedy.

The Principles of PolitiFact, PunditFact and the Truth-O-Meter


PolitiFact is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. PolitiFact is run by editors and reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, an independent newspaper in Florida, as is PunditFact, a site devoted to fact-checking pundits. The Tampa Bay Times is owned by the not-for-profit Poynter Institute. The PolitiFact state sites are run by news organizations that have partnered with the Times. The state sites and PunditFact follow the same principles as the national site.

Joe Mathews: California needs transparency like Germany

The Desert Sun

California could use a concert hall like Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. The signature structure of 21st century Germany features performance space for the philharmonic, a dramatically curved escalator, and a dozen different public spaces for people to gather and enjoy city views.


Oil industry and ex-legislators find a new way to peddle influence

Fresno Bee

The oil industry saw the reality that Gov. Jerry Brown was determined to push through legislation to extend cap-and-trade until 2030. The industry, having hired former legislators, worked to mold it.

Thumbs up, thumbs down

Fresno Bee

Valley folks shine in a crisis; Kim Ruiz Beck is Top Dog; Temple Beth Israel grieves loss of beloved Jewish summer camp for destroyed in NorCal wildfire.

Politicians jockey + Trump denies climate change + wine country burns

Sacramento Bee

Good Sunday morning, and welcome to Take Two, our weekly sampler of California opinion, drawn from The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s daily opinion-politics newsletter, The Take. Please go to sacbee.com/site-services/newsletters/ to sign up.

Trump’s latest attempt to gut Obamacare takes direct aim at 650,000 of our neighbors

Sacramento Bee

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called Trump’s action “completely reckless,” and sued in federal court on Friday to block it.

Trump’s one-two punch on the Obamacare exchanges will injure consumers — and taxpayers

Los Angeles Times

After delivering yet another malicious blow to the Affordable Care Act, President Trump took to Twitter (of course) on Friday to tell Democrats that they “should call me to fix” the law he’s sabotaging.

A pending Supreme Court case threatens to silence workers’ voices

Sacramento Bee

Right-to-work advocates and their rich benefactors see Janus v. AFSCME as a way to weaken one of the few obstacles to their political ascendancy.

Coming soon — a weaponized drone terrorist attack near you, unless we act

San Jose Mercury News

FBI Director Christopher Wray calls the threat of terrorist drone strikes in the United States imminent


Fire, destruction and loss

Stockton Record

The seemingly unending stream of tragedies has fallen close to home. Words fail to describe the devastation caused by the fires in Wine Country, in Napa and Sonoma. The stories of destruction, chaos and loss are overwhelming. The stories of assistance, too. And in our rush to analyze the “why” of this tragedy we hear about the perfect storm which allowed this…

Our View: Trust is dubious in the Delta tunnels project

Stockton Record

Trust. That is the essence of the $17 billion Delta tunnels project. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted 28-6 Tuesday to move forward with the project, known as the California WaterFix, which would re-engineer the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to send water south to cities and farms. Three out of five representatives from the city of…


With OK From EPA, Use Of Controversial Weedkiller Dicamba Is Expected To Double : The Salt


The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it will let farmers keep spraying the weedkilling chemical dicamba on Monsanto’s new dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. The decision is a victory for the biotech giant and the farmers who want to use the company’s newest weedkilling technology.

At Napa vineyards untouched by wildfires, the grapes must still be picked

Los Angeles Times

Mario Maldonado didn’t wear a mask. The 22-year-old field laborer thought it would slow him down. Besides, he doesn’t like to cover his face when he tends to the vineyards on most nights.



Events, convictions announced in connection with Domestic Violence Awareness Month | News


In 2016, a total of 1,523 victims of domestic violence, including 89 minors, showed up seeking help at the Alliance Against Violence and Sexual Assault in Bakersfield.

 Public Safety:

California expands its ban on the open carry of rifles

Los Angeles Times

Two months after militia members openly carried semiautomatic rifles during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that will ban the open carrying of rifles in some areas of the state where they were previously allowed.

Plans for gun control bills dim as GOP leaders want ATF action

Las Vegas Review-Journal

A flurry of gun control legislation has been filed in Congress following the Strip shooting, but prospects for legislative action have dimmed as GOP leaders look to the Trump administration for an administrative remedy.


Death toll from Northern California fires jumps to at least 34; 5700 structures destroyed

Los Angeles Times

The grim toll from the Northern California wildfires continued to rise Friday as officials said that an estimated 5,700 structures were destroyed and that at least 34 people died.

See also:

US, states struggle to pay spiraling cost of fighting fires


The long and brutal 2017 wildfire season is stressing the state and federal agencies that have to pay for the army of ground crews and machinery required to fight them.



8 scary trends for Orange County’s economy and job market


Orange County’s economy has clear strengths: low unemployment (4.2 percent in August), rising per capita income and job growth in several stand-out industries, from tourism to medical device manufacturing.


What jobs will and won’t be needed in California’s future

Orange County Register

The job market in Southern California could look very different by 2021 and beyond. Here’s where the jobs will and  won’t be.

Gov. Jerry Brown kills proposal for disclosure of salary information by gender 

Los Angeles Times

The measure, AB 1209 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) sought to shed light on gender pay disparities to better understand the persistent pay gap women face.

California government workers will soon be added to equal pay laws

Los Angeles Times

California’s equal pay laws must apply to public sector workers, after Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a measure extending pay equity protections to state employees.





California voters strongly back expanded K-12 science and computer education, poll shows


Californians overwhelmingly support expanding science and computer education starting in elementary school, according to a Berkeley IGS/EdSource poll. The online survey of 1,200 registered voters in California found that 87 percent favored schools putting “greater emphasis on integrating science as part of the entire public school curriculum.”

Higher Ed:

CA free community college bill signed by Jerry Brown

Fresno Bee

California community colleges will provide a year of free tuition after Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation that aims to boost declining enrollment and address a shortage of college-educated workers in the state.

See also:

CSUB’s new building unites students and faculty under one roof 


Horace Mitchell, the president of Cal State Bakersfield, described CSUB’s newest addition as something he wanted to cross off his bucket list before retirement, which will be at the end of this school year.

After scathing audit, UC will have to be more transparent in reporting costs

LA Times

Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a law that will require the University of California to be more transparent in how it reports costs and how it deals with the state auditor, a measure that was introduced in the wake of a scathing audit of the UC president’s office this spring.

See also:

Federal Trade Commission teams with state AGs to combat student debt relief scams

Washington Post

The Federal Trade Commission said Friday that it has formed a task force with 12 state attorneys general to crack down on student debt relief scams.



 California’s new normal? Ever more-intense heat, fires, droughts and floods

Sacramento Bee

As portrayed in novels, the California of the future is barely habitable. Brutal storms alternate with crushing droughts. Mudslides and wildfires create waves of climate change refugees.

Smoke from Wine Country fire extends to San Diego in satellite photo

Sacramento Bee

A NASA satellite passing over California on Friday captured an arresting image: Smoke trailing from the Wine Country fire in Santa Rosa and Napa more than 550 miles south into the Pacific Ocean off San Diego.

California forests are too dense and dying — they need better care

San Francisco Chronicle

California’s forests are on fire, with tragic consequences for communities around the state. While the firestorm in the Wine Country has made international headlines, many small mountain communities also were aflame or on high alert.


Could Cyberattacks Knock Out Lights in the US? Not So Easily | California News

US News

Hackers likely linked to the North Korean government targeted a U.S. electricity company late last month, according to a security firm that says it detected and stopped the attacks.

Will California repeat big energy mistake?


The only time California ceded control of its power supply to out-of-state interests, it produced utter disaster: an electricity crunch that saw blackouts and brownouts proliferate in 2000 and 2001, while the fortunes and reputations of every politician involved nosedived.


For stories on Pres. Trumps actions to cancel health insurance subsidies and allow health insurance to be sold across state lines,See: “Top Stories – Federal Politics,” above 

Valley fever lab testing surging, an indicator of another epidemic year

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County Public Health has seen a 22 percent increase so far this year in the number of serological lab tests performed for valley fever, an indication that cases could top last year’s figures, which were the worst recorded since the 2011 epidemic.

Gov. Brown declares state of emergency amid deadly hepatitis A outbreak

San Jose Mercury News

California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an emergency proclamation Friday that will allow the state to increase its supply of vaccines amid a hepatitis A outbreak that has killed more than a dozen people.

California’s opioid epidemic needs tougher response


When Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 715 last week, he closed the book on even token legislative efforts to confront California’s epidemic of opioid abuse.

California becomes the first state to require broad disclosure of chemicals in cleaning products

LA Times

Any hazardous chemicals found in household cleaning products will have to be clearly disclosed on labels and online under a California law that will be phased in over the next three years.

Breaking Down the Data on Obesity


Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. The forces at work to expand our waistlines include marketing efforts of grocery chains and their placement of high-calorie products in store aisles, our friends junk-food preferences, and nutritional messages from our parents.


Walters: What next for California’s sanctuary defiance?

The Bakersfield Californian

So California has declared itself to be a sanctuary for those who have entered the nation illegally.

See also:

As ‘Dreamers’ program is phased out under Trump, Congress is split on protecting them

Los Angeles Times

The Trump administration began unraveling the Obama-era program shielding people brought to the United States illegally as children from deportation, though a split Congress has made no progress on writing similar protections into law as President Trump asked.

See also:

In California, vulnerable Republicans are backing away from hardline immigration stances

Los Angeles Times

For years, Orange County Republicans such as Reps. Ed Royce and Mimi Walters have drawn from a familiar GOP playbook on immigration.


Land Use:

Get ready to see a plan for billions of dollars in parks and water improvements on California’s 2018 ballot

Los Angeles Times

Voters will decide in June 2018 whether to borrow $4 billion to fund improvements to the California’s parks and water systems after Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 5 on Sunday.


Forecast: California home prices will continue to rise in 2018

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Home prices in California will continue to increase next year, but at a slower pace, said a forecast released Thursday by the California Association of Realtors.

Infernos could worsen Bay Area’s brutal housing market

San Jose Mercury News

The deadly wildfires that roared through Sonoma and Napa counties this week, destroying thousands of homes, might also scorch the Bay Area’s already brutal housing market for months or years to come, experts warned Friday.

Southern California housing takes nation’s largest bite of local paychecks


The price of living in paradise is getting awfully high. Fresh federal spending data shows 30 percent of Southern California incomes are going toward housing costs — the highest burden among major U.S. markets — as the number of local renters jumped by one-third as rents soared by nearly two-thirds in the past decade.

California Fires Leave Many Homeless Where Housing Was Already Scarce

New York Times

Nathalie and Michael Internicola had about 15 minutes to grab what they could as the flames roared toward their house, and it wasn’t much: Some clothes, passports, their phones. They are grateful to be alive, they said, but as for what comes next and how and where they might rebuild their lives, they don’t have a clue.


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

Cities face seven years of growing CalPERS costs 


Cities jolted by a new CalPERS rate increase laid out in their annual pension reports this fall are finding few options for cost relief. Basically, they can pay more now to avoid higher costs later or curb the growth of employees and their pay.

Over a decade, FEMA rejects $1.2 billion in appeals from disaster victims 


As U.S. communities ravaged by this year’s series of intense hurricanes and wildfires clear debris and begin to rebuild, many are counting on the federal government to help cover their costs. They could be in for a frustrating surprise.

David Crane: CA Can’t Blame Trump For This Problem


One of the consequences of Donald Trump as president is that he distracts attention from California’s own failures to govern successfully. Nowhere is that distraction more costly than in public education.


GOP alliances rip over gas tax repeal: Anti-taxers vs. business establishment

Bakersfield Californian

Business groups are threatening to wage a pricey campaign to stop California’s Republican officials from trying to repeal a new state gas tax — warning them not to “create new political adversaries.” But the politicians aren’t flinching.

California Republicans battle business lobby in gas-tax repeal bid

San Francisco Chronicle

Business groups are threatening to wage a pricey campaign to stop California’s Republican officials from trying to repeal a new state gas tax — warning them not to “create new political adversaries.” But the politicians aren’t flinching.

California taxi companies will need fewer permits in bid to compete with Uber and Lyft

Los Angeles Times

In an effort to help the beleaguered taxi industry compete with ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a bill limiting the permits taxis will need to operate.


Builders sue over water fee on new homes

Fresno Bee

Buyers of newly built homes in Fresno could be on the hook for a fee of more than $4,000 to ensure they have enough water coming to their residences. But a trio of major home builders is challenging the city’s fees in court, contending they’re too high, are unfair and amount to a tax that violates state law.

Brown should compromise and settle for just one delta tunnel

Los Angeles Times

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein recalls Gov. Jerry Brown pitching her to support his costly twin-tunnels water plan. He showed her the environmental analysis and she was shocked.



Local Chinese temple moved to Kern County Museum

Bakersfield Californian

The Kern County Museum will host a re-dedication celebration for the Let Sing Gong Temple from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The Chinese temple, which was for decades located at 18th and R streets in downtown Bakersfield, has been moved to the Joss House in the museum’s Pioneer Village.


Fitzgerald: A downtown outpost turns one

Stockton Record

“Hipster” can mean eye-rolling trendy, the man-bun crowd (though it looks good on you). Or, in the favorable sense, young, progressive, lover of things underground, arts, craft beer, indie music …