October 18, 2017




Top Level:


Al Galvez will run against District 2 incumbant Supervisor David Rogers

Sierra Star

Al Galvez, current Madera Unified School District Board of Trustees president, and Central Valley executive with PG&E, announced Tuesday he will run for the Madera County Board of Supervisors District 2 seat currently held by David Rogers.


City hires lawyer for Bredefeld after complaint about speech

Fresno Bee

The city of Fresno has hired a private practice lawyer at city expense to advise Councilman Garry Bredefeld after the city clerk, who is African-American, complained to the council president and city administration about his remarks from the dais ripping NFL athletes who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

Downtown Fresno Property Owners Await Fulton Street Reopening

Valley Public Radio

For 53 years downtown Fresno’s main street was a car-free zone. But after a year and a half of construction, the six-block long Fulton Mall has been removed, and replaced by Fulton Street. Backers hope the project will kick off a wave of investment and revitalization in the area. But critics abound, with some saying it won’t work, and others saying it will displace existing businesses and residents, and will set off a wave of gentrification.


Conservative activists in Fresno try to get a referendum on the ballot to block California’s ‘sanctuary state’ law

Los Angeles Times

Marco Gutierrez, the founder of Latinos for Trump, gained overnight notoriety during the 2016 presidential campaign when he warned against the spread of his culture. 


State Politics:


CA GOP governor candidate John Cox backs tiny legislative districts

Modesto Bee

A state legislature made up of 12,000 members? That’s the idea being pitched by Republican businessman John Cox, who brought his campaign for governor – and his unconventional “Neighborhood Legislature” proposal – to Fresno on Tuesday.


Jerry Brown consistently signs more bills than GOP governors 

Sacramento Bee

Late Sunday night, Gov. Jerry Brown put another end-of-session bill signing period in the books, the 15th in his record-setting tenure as California governor. Bottom line: The Democrat axed 12 percent of the bills that made it to his desk this year, slightly less than the 15 percent he vetoed in 2016.

See also:

·       Which California lawmaker got the most bills signed this year?  Sacramento Bee

Women in California Capitol speak out against harassment

San Francisco Chronicle

Women lawmakers, lobbyists and staffers in California’s Capitol are encouraging each other to share stories of sexual harassment in the workplace in an effort to show its pervasiveness and to ensure more men stand up against it.

See also:

·       Female lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists speak out on ‘pervasive’ harassment in California’s Capitol  Los Angeles Times

·       Women Denounce Harassment in California’s Capital  New York Times

·       California Today: A Rallying Cry Against Harassment in Sacramento  New York Times

·       California Assembly leader on harassment in the Capitol: ‘Clearly we need to do more’  LA Times

·       Scott Lay: The capital needs to address this first and foremost THE NOONER

Federal Politics:


Rep. David Valadao has raised a lot more than Democratic Central Valley challenger Emilio Huerta

LA Times

Democrats again have their eye on the Central Valley seat held by Rep. David Valadao, but so far the only Democrat challenger, Emilio Huerta, hasn’t raised very much money.


California’s GOP members got a big boost from group that held fundraiser with Vice President Pence

Los Angeles Times

California Republican House members have received more than $1 million from a committee that recently benefited from a fundraiser with Vice President Pence. 


Half a dozen GOP House incumbents were out-raised by Democratic challengers in California

Los Angeles Times

Half of California’s 14 Republican House members were out-raised by upstart Democratic challengers, the latest campaign finance filings show.


Feinstein / De Leon (Steyer?) Race

·       Walters: De León’s challenge to Feinstein will be expensive, divisive  CALmatters

·       Sen. Dianne Feinstein had $4 million in the bank just before she announced another run  LA Times

·       Feinstein supporters launch super PAC to support her in reelection battle with fellow Democrat LA Times

·       De Leon interview- A Bulwark Against Trump in California  Thinking CAP on SoundCloud

·       Super PAC forms to back Kevin De León over Sen. Dianne Feinstein in Senate race LA Times

·       Tom Steyer agonizing over a U.S. Senate run Sacramento Bee

Senators announce bipartisan deal to stabilize Obamacare markets

Los Angeles Times

The Senate moved closer Tuesday to a rare bipartisan deal to fix parts of the Affordable Care Act as a pair of leading senators announced an agreement designed to stabilize health insurance markets.

See also:

·       Trump calls for short-term Obamacare fix and reaches out to Republican leaders  Los Angeles Times


·       Trump said to want bipartisan Senate Obamacare deal  POLITICO

·       Alexander, Murray strike bipartisan Obamacare deal providing subsidies, state flexibility POLITICO

·       There’s (gasp) bipartisanship on healthcare in Washington Los Angeles Times

·       There’s a Bipartisan Deal to Fix Obamacare. Will Trump and the GOP Take It?  NBC News

·       Senators announce bipartisan healthcare deal; Trump appears to endorse plan  Los Angeles Times

·       Trump tweets opposition to CSR in Alexander, Murray Obamacare deal  businessinsider.com

·       Trump backs away from Senate deal on stabilizing Obamacare Reuters

·       Trump Signals Opposition to Bipartisan Health-Care Deal WSJ

·       Trump calls for Congress to fix ‘ObamaCare mess,’ end ‘bailouts’ for insurers TheHill

·       Schumer: Trump doesn’t understand ObamaCare payments deal  TheHill

·       New health deal falls flat with GOP  TheHill

·       Sabotage Watch: Tracking Efforts to Undermine the ACA  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

·       Fixing Obamacare: It can be done  Capitol Weekly

Trump, in Heritage speech on taxes, vows to return to Reagan-era economic boom


President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the Republican tax plan would lift the U.S. economy to heights not seen since the administration of Ronald Reagan, delivering a speech filled with economic optimism to a receptive audience of donors to the Heritage Foundation, which has played a critical role in policy and staff matters for the Trump administration.

See also:

·       How the GOP tax plan could hurt charities  Marketplace

After Trump tweets threat to free press, FCC’s GOP commissioners remain silent

Brookings Institution

Nothing is supposed to surprise us in Washington these days. So, I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised when President Trump tweeted that the broadcast licenses of NBC “must be challenged, and if appropriate, revoked” because he doesn’t like the network’s reporting.


Poll: 46 percent think media make up stories about Trump


But voters diverge from the president on whether the federal government should be able to punish news organizations that he believes make up stories about him.


Resistance to Trump fuels new generation of California liberals


For a quarter century, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) has built a career as an effective liberal legislator, the author of a federal assault weapons ban and a warrior for civil and gay rights who collaborated with Republicans on energy and health-care bills.




Fitzgerald: The Lodi terror case resurfaces

Stockton Record

The terrorism trial of Hamid Hayat, the Lodi Muslim sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2006, smelled funny. Did federal officials thwart a terrorist? Or imprison an innocent guy?


A Republican Crackup?

The Weekly Standard

On October 3, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, spoke to a group of Republican donors at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington. Unbeknownst to Ayers, his remarks were recorded, and the audio was subsequently obtained by Politico.


CA120: California’s 2016 Hillary vote

Capitol Weekly

Throughout the 2016 election cycle, Capitol Weekly conducted several polls of California voters. Two surveys — one during the primary election and the other during the general — targeted voters immediately after they mailed in their ballots.




Suffering in the Valley doesn’t faze Trump as he takes another stab at Obamacare

Fresno Bee

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




There’s So Much Pain in Agriculture That Traders Are Leaving


The success of modern farmers has become the misery of traders at the world’s biggest agriculture merchants.


Council’s 4-2 vote in favor not enough for cannabis dispensary

Stockton Record

City code limits Stockton to four dispensaries.


JUSTIN SALTERS: Let’s ‘stand up’ against counterproductive policy

Bakersfield Californian

Last week the Bakersfield City Council made a mistake. Councilmembers rejected a source of new revenue while simultaneously discussing tax increases to meet a looming multimillion dollar deficit. I’m talking about the council’s ban on all commercial cannabis activity, including its potential tax revenue, during the same meeting it learned it will face a $16 million shortfall by the 2022-23 fiscal year.


Raids on marijuana grow houses often find Chinese ‘farmers’ inside

Sacramento Bee

It’s hardly unusual for police in the Sacramento region to find an illegal marijuana grow house in an otherwise quiet suburb. But in several recent police raids, the occupants of these grow houses have turned out to be Chinese nationals, raising questions about about who is recruiting them and financing their operations.






Job training in prison has gone way beyond stamping license plates 

Sacramento Bee

Within the razor wire fences of Folsom State Prison, Andreawanna Clemmons stared at a computer, filling her screen and mind with architectural designs. “I’m working on a homeless shelter,” said Clemmons, 25, who is serving time for her role in a deadly shooting in Sacramento in 2012. Beside her, inmate Terese Sheridan, 36, also incarcerated for a gun crime, was designing a hotel.


Controversial California judge charged with illegally doubling sentence

East Bay Times

A Contra Costa judge with a history of ethics violations was charged with judicial misconduct that could warrant his removal from the bench, records obtained Tuesday show.


Public Safety:


Kern County Sheriff accepting online CCW applications

Bakersfield Californian

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is now accepting CCW license applications online. To apply, go to www.kernsheriff.org and click on “CCW License” near the bottom of the page.


4 guns stolen from unmarked sheriff’s office vehicle

Fresno Bee

Four guns, among other items, were stolen from an unmarked Kern County Sheriff’s Office vehicle.




Fire destroys three Clovis storefronts and threatens nearby apartment building

Fresno Bee

A three-alarm fire swept through a small shopping center in Clovis Tuesday evening, destroying three storefronts – two of them operating at the time – and threatening a nearby apartment complex.


Death Toll From California Fires Now At 42 


The death toll from Northern California’s destructive wildfires is at 42 after Sonoma County found the remains of another person.

See also:

·       Northern California fire victims may want to rebuild. But can they find someone to do it?  Sacramento Bee

·       PG&E wildfire probes, liability fears, may haunt utility   San Jose Mercury News

·       A closer look at 22 wineries damaged by Wine Country fires  San Jose Mercury News

·       Southern Marin wildfires force evacuations on hillside  San Jose Mercury News

·       Wildfires crippled wine country’s healthcare system, creating a crisis and a warning for future  Los Angeles Times

·       Lawyers already rounding up clients for Wine Country fires  San Francisco Chronicle

GERALD HASLAM: Amid the ashes, a strengthened sense of community

Bakersfield Californian

Jan awakened the household last Friday morning with a terse, “Get up! Time to evacuate!” Her voice told me this was no joke. As our household assembled downstairs – daughter Alex and her family of five, plus Jan and me and our two dogs — the phone rang and it was an updated advisory.


New fires in Sausalito, Santa Cruz and Dublin force evacuations

Los Angeles Times

Officials were contending with new fires in Northern California on Tuesday as progress continued on the blazes that have ravaged wine country.

See also:

·       Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains: Blaze grows to 271 acres, evacuations remain  San Jose Mercury News

Canyon 2 fire 100% contained, but authorities still searching for inmate firefighter who walked away

Los Angeles Times

The wildfire that scorched thousands of acres in northeast Orange County was declared fully contained Tuesday morning, but authorities were still searching for a prisoner who walked away from an inmate firefighting crew that helped battle the blaze.


For families of dozens missing in California wildfires, ‘it’s emotional limbo’

Los Angeles Times

Gina Russell never used to answer calls from unknown numbers. That changed last week when wildfires roared through Santa Rosa, where her son was staying.





NAFTA talks bog down over U.S. demands as latest round concludes

Los Angeles Times

No one spoke about walking away from the North American Free Trade Agreement, but such sharp differences have surfaced among negotiators that the U.S., Canada and Mexico agreed to a kind of timeout and are extending talks well into next year.


What John Taylor Would Bring to the Federal Reserve


David Riley, head of credit strategy at Bluebay Asset Management, and Ed Perks, chief investment officer at Franklin Templeton Multi-Asset Solutions, examine what John Taylor would offer as Federal Reserve Chairman. They speak on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas.”


Fed’s Williams Says Economy Is Stronger Than It Looks


As the Federal Reserve considers how quickly to raise its benchmark interest rate, officials are struggling to reconcile the strength of job growth with the weakness of inflation.


The Richest People in America


Lots of Californians on the list…



Elevate CA: Employee ownership represents a fairer economic development strategy


Companies using employee ownership plans generate 2.5 percent more jobs per year


California judicial employees gain union rights with new law

Sacramento Bee

About 500 state judicial employees who had been banned from collective bargaining can vote to join a union under a new law Gov. Jerry Brown signed last weekend





VUSD: No more bumpin’ and grindin’ at school dances

Visalia Times-Delta

Over the weekend, Visalia high school students enjoyed the first dance of the school year — Moonlight Harvest Dance.


What Ref Rodriguez’s latest legal problems mean for the charter school movement

Los Angeles Times

When prosecutors filed campaign finance charges against L.A. school board member Ref Rodriguez last month, many charter-school supporters rallied to his defense in hopes of saving not just his seat but their pro-charter school agenda.


Why education reform keeps failing students

PBS NewsHour

Finally, a conversation about education reform and some of its shortfalls.


Higher Ed:

New law paves way for community college tuition waiver

Visalia times-delta

A full-time College of the Sequoias student enrolled in 12 units per semester can expect to pay just over $1,100 in tuition fees per year.

See also:

·       Possible free first year of community college amid flurry of education-related bills signed by governor  EdSource

New perks for class of 2021: free tuition first year, no remedial classes

Bakersfield Californian

When first-year college students head to class next fall, it’s possible they’ll be required to take no remedial courses and pay no tuition their first year, the result of two pieces of legislation signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown.


To help those who need to stay close to home, CSU looks to favor local students in admission


Thousands of potential CSU students have to attend college close to home because of family responsibilities, jobs or financial constraints. So getting rejected by a nearby campus or a major at that local school can have devastating consequences.


Public Higher Education is California’s Engine of Social Mobility


Janet Napolitano is president of the University of California system of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories and a statewide division of agriculture and natural resources. What follows are her thoughts on what the UC System is doing to ensuring millions of Californians can have a path to the middle class.






Will Northern California Soon Have Southern California’s Climate?

The Atlantic

The deadliest and most destructive spate of fires in California’s modern history continues to burn. The string of massive fires in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys have little precedent: They have killed 40 people, destroyed more than 5,700 structures, and incinerated more than 200,000 acres of land.


Battling rising seas, Louisiana ‘gets on with it’—minus California-style climate talk 


Both states have delta systems with the capacity to carry water inland, and lots of it—the Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California. Both New Orleans and Sacramento are secured behind levees, as befits two flood-prone cities. But California may have time to ponder its threat. Louisiana does not.


Rising Seas: What you need to know about the danger lapping at California’s shores


As glaciers melt and oceans warm, experts say the Pacific waters surrounding California are now  rising 30 to 40 times faster than in the last century. The surge—driven by global climate change—will gobble up beachfront and overwhelm coastal cities. A recent U.S. Geological Survey report estimated that up to two-thirds of Southern California beaches could vanish within this century.




A move from natural gas to electricity for homes


Not long ago natural gas – the fuel that probably gave you your hot shower this morning – was being hailed as the clean “bridge” fuel, because it polluted less than other alternatives. For some purposes it still is, such as when it replaces diesel fuel in buses. But in our homes, some now believe natural gas should be phased out in favor of electric appliances, for climate reasons.



For information on possible bi-partisan bill on health care reform, See: Top Stories: Federal Politics.


VA employees demand agency to fill thousands of vacancies


A few dozen workers held a rally Tuesday outside the Fresno veteran’s affairs hospital — claiming care for veterans has suffered because there are not enough workers to cover the thousands of positions needed across the country. “This has always been an issue. It’s just taken till now to bring it to public light,” said Fresno Union President Jacob Dunn.


Wildfires crippled wine country’s healthcare system, creating a crisis and a warning for future

Los Angeles Times

Dr. Scott Witt kept close behind the ambulance carrying the newborns. On his motorcycle, he drove over and ducked under downed power lines. He swerved around embers blowing onto the highway.


Medical vest a life-saver for cardiac patients

East Bay Times

“It was out the blue. I thought it was nothing,” says Alamgir, 56, describing his ensuing symptoms of difficulty breathing and lifting, sweating and dizziness that got him to the ER two days later, where four blockages in his arteries were discovered and a stent in his left ventricle was inserted. His get-out-of-the-hospital ticket was his agreeing to wear a defibrillator vest beneath his clothing that would shock his heart back to function if he suffered a cardiac event.




Conservative activists in Fresno want to overturn California’s ‘sanctuary state’ law through a 2018 ballot measure

Los Angeles Times

Marco Gutierrez, the founder of Latinos for Trump, gained overnight notoriety during the 2016 presidential campaign when he warned against the spread of his culture.


As Fires Move On, Wine Country Wonders Whether Immigrants Will, Too


The lush vineyards that dot the hillsides and valleys here largely survived the fires that leveled neighborhood after neighborhood to the east.




Land Use:


Stanislaus County decision bans roosters in rural residential areas

Modesto Bee

Stanislaus County residents like Connie Goesch are hoping for peace and quiet from an ordinance amendment approved by county supervisors Tuesday evening.


Modesto seeks input for Roosevelt Park

The Modesto Bee

Modesto is asking residents to weigh in about how it should remake about half of Roosevelt Park as part of a $5 million storm-water project.




Ban on homeless camping causes concern for Fresno residents


The city of Fresno’s ban on the homeless camping is causing concerns for Fresno County.


Wine country CA fires worsen housing affordability crisis

Sacramento Bee

The fast-moving fires that ripped through Northern California last week worsened a problem North Bay officials have struggled with for the past two years: A severe housing shortage that is pushing poor and working class residents out as prices continue to rise.


Understanding the Recently Enacted 2017 State Legislative Housing Package

California Budget & Policy Center

California’s housing affordability crisis was a primary focus of the California Legislature in 2017, culminating with Governor Brown signing into law a historic “housing package” of 15 bills, passed on the last day before the legislative session adjourned. This new set of bills represents the most significant state-level action addressing housing since the elimination of redevelopment agencies in 2011.




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


Tax code is so long that nobody’s really sure of its length

PolitiFact Missouri

The tax code has been a big topic since President Donald Trump visited Missouri in August. Trump called for tax cuts and policies that he said would grow the economy. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., continues to voice these ideas to Missourians. 




Caltrans Expanding Rail Service In San Joaquin County


Caltrans set out major expansions that will benefit commuters in San Joaquin County in its newly released Draft 2018 State Rail Plan. Among them is a $400 million investment in ACE, which provides commuter service from Stockton to Santa Clara. ACE plans to expand service into Modesto and Ceres by 2023 and Merced by 2027.


Report: Rural public transit ridership is on the rise

Smart Cities Dive

From 2007 to 2015, public transit ridership in rural and small-town America increased 7.8%, even though the population in those areas decreased by more than 500,000 people, according to an American Public Transportation Association (APTA) report.


Council votes in support of alternative 24th Street crosswalk

Bakersfield Californian

It looks like the people fighting to keep pedestrian access across 24th Street will get their way, even if it’s not exactly the way they envisioned it.


Intel, Mobileye develop system to determine fault in self-driving-car crashes 

San Francisco Chronicle

When a self-driving car crashes into a human-driven one, whose fault is it? Answering that question will be a challenge for an emerging industry that desperately needs to win the public’s trust, and clarify liability for automakers and insurers.


AAA, founded in age of horseless carriages, prepares for self-driving cars 

San Francisco Chronicle

AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah on Tuesday said it is partnering with GoMentum Station, a former Concord naval weapons base that’s turned into a closed test bed for self-driving vehicles, and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority “to study and test how autonomous vehicles can be safely implemented for public use.”


Quiet zones, pedestrian and bike paths may come with Metro’s San Fernando Road project

Los Angeles Times

Metro officials held a community meeting earlier this month about the latest updates for the proposed interim improvements tied to the grade-separation project that would improve safety along two hazardous railroad crossings along San Fernando Road.




Brown administration says it will consider one-tunnel Delta project

Sacramento Bee

Silicon Valley’s water district Wednesday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build twin tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta but said it would support a smaller, less expensive project. A top state official said the Brown administration is willing to consider such an approach.



Kern County Fair attendance sees a healthy increase again this year

Bakersfield Californian

The 2017 Kern County Fair has broken its own attendance record.

The final count on the number of fair-goers who came through the gates this year is 448,033, up 6.75 percent over last year’s 419,688 attendees.