October 25, 2017




Local/Regional Politics:


New gas tax will pay for Highway 99 repairs, other Valley road work

Fresno Bee

There’s a new gasoline tax that drivers will see at fuel pumps starting Nov. 1, and state and local transportation officials already have big plans for catching up on much-needed road repairs in Fresno County and around the state. A stretch of Highway 99 from downtown Fresno to a mile north of the San Joaquin River in Madera County is in line for $5.2 million to repair and resurface the freeway – one of the most visible components of work to be funded by SB 1, a bill that adds 12 cents per gallon to the price of a gallon of gasoline.


Fresno Offers Amazon Something Unique for Its Headquarters: Nothing

The California Report | KQED News

Tech giant Amazon is looking for a home for its second headquarters. The company got 238 proposals from across North America, and some cities are going to great lengths to get its attention: New York temporarily turned the Empire State Building orange, to match the Amazon logo. Tucson shipped the company a 21-foot cactus. The city of Stonecrest, Georgia, offered to rename itself “Amazon.”


Bullard student pelted with full juice boxes for being gay

Fresno Bee

Logann Pruneda, a student at Bullard High, says she was pelted with full juice boxes at school on Monday for being gay. It was her 16th birthday. The Fresno Unified sophomore said that after a fire drill outside the school, she was hit with three boxes of apple juice from behind, leaving an abrasion and bruise on her neck. She was also hit in the back and ribs. She heard a male call her “a faggot, a queer, a lesbo” during the attack, but did not see who did it, and did not recognize the voice.


Deputies: Goshen man stabbed because he is black

Visalia Times-Delta

Goshen residents are standing up to racism after they say a black man was beaten and stabbed because of his race. One resident called it “shocking.” Another described the taunting of a group of men yelling slurs at the 60-year-old man who tried to get away Sunday afternoon.

See also:

Valley Fever Advocates And Legislators Vow To ‘Press Harder’ After Governor Rejects Critical Bill

Valley Public Radio

Even as valley fever cases are sharply increasing in Central California, Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have created programs to inform the public about the little-known respiratory disease.AB 1279, authored by Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, initially promised $2 million in funding for valley fever awareness. It also would have addressed deficiencies in disease reporting guidelines uncovered by the Center for Health Journalism Collaborative, a consortium of media outlets across California and Arizona organized by the University of Southern California’s Center for Health Journalism.


As panel questions Trump associates, Nunes and other GOP leaders announce new probes

Fresno Bee

House Republicans on Tuesday launched new probes into the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s emails, prompting accusations from Democrats who said the moves were meant as a “massive diversion” from investigations into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The announcements of the investigations by three GOP committees came as two witnesses close to President Donald Trump faced tough questions before the House intelligence panel behind closed doors as part its Russia probe. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and his former campaign digital and data director, Brad Parscale, were both interviewed by the House panel behind closed doors Tuesday. Cohen’s interview started in the morning and lasted around six hours, while Parscale’s lasted most of the afternoon.

See also:


US partisan split widening over Russia probe: court documents


The split was the latest sign of partisan feuding that current and former U.S. officials say is undercutting a House Intelligence Committee probe into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Republicans on the committee earlier this month subpoenaed an unidentified bank for the last two years of records of the accounts of Fusion GPS, the political research firm that hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to pull together the dossier on Trump.

State Politics:


Harassment, then helplessness, in state capitals

The Hill

After being groped in public by a powerful committee chairman, one young state legislator in an Eastern state, serving her first term in office, decided to take the political risk of reporting the assault. She learned she would need to report the incident to the ethics committee overseeing her state’s legislature. Then she learned the chairman of the ethics committee was the man who assaulted her.

See also:

California Republicans walking ‘tough tightrope’ on Trump headed into 2018

Sacramento Bee

When Republican Rep. Ed Royce signed onto a bipartisan bill in Congress to ban bump stocks following the Oct. 1 shooting massacre in Las Vegas, it bothered Ryan Hoskins, a 27-year-old Yorba Linda resident and events director for Cal State Fullerton College Republicans. Hoskins, a constituent of Royce, saw it as counterproductive to advancing the Republican agenda in Washington, and a snub to President Donald Trump, who declined to discuss stronger gun control measures in the wake of the Vegas shooting.

See also:


Democratic governor hopefuls take on single-payer care, Prop. 13 changes

San Francisco Chronicle

The election is more than a year off, but the leading Democratic candidates for governor are already staking out differences on how to reform health care and are cautiously approaching an issue that has long been untouchable in California politics — Proposition 13.

See also:

Valley Fever Advocates And Legislators Vow To ‘Press Harder’ After Governor Rejects Critical Bill

Valley Public Radio

Even as valley fever cases are sharply increasing in Central California, Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have created programs to inform the public about the little-known respiratory disease.AB 1279, authored by Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, initially promised $2 million in funding for valley fever awareness. It also would have addressed deficiencies in disease reporting guidelines uncovered by the Center for Health Journalism Collaborative, a consortium of media outlets across California and Arizona organized by the University of Southern California’s Center for Health Journalism.


California cops injured in Las Vegas mass shooting heroism denied workers’ comp due to state law

San Jose Mercury News

As bullets rained down on a Las Vegas concert crowd this month, killing dozens, many of the 200-plus Southern California police officers attending the festival shifted instantly into law-enforcement mode. They sprang to action – shepherding people to safety, performing CPR and helping local authorities secure the area – sometimes getting gunshot wounds or injuries in the process. But as those wounded officers have begun filing for public-employee benefits to cover the long-term medical care some might need to recover from the trauma, local cities and counties are asking themselves whether they’re required or even allowed to pay to treat off-duty police who chose independently to intervene in an out-of-state emergency. And due to some muddy language in California’s labor code, it’s unclear whether the municipalities will have to pony up.

Federal Politics:


Nearly a year after Trump’s election, both sides think they’re losing

Los Angeles Times

Nearly a year after the election of a president who promised Americans would win so much they would grow “tired of winning,” a funny thing has happened in American politics — both sides think they’re losing. That lose-lose mood, which is on display daily on Capitol Hill, is strongly reinforced by a study of public opinion released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. More than 6 in 10 Americans say they believe their side is losing more than it’s winning on the issues that matter most; only about 1 in 4 think their side is mostly winning.


Poll: Voters see Trump as reckless, not honest


Reckless. Thin-skinned. Not honest. Not compassionate. Not stable. Those aren’t just the extraordinary, harsh judgments of President Donald Trump by two retiring, Republican senators on Tuesday — they are also shared by majorities of voters in a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. Voters’ negative views of Trump’s character aren’t new. They date back to last year’s presidential campaign. And Trump’s overall approval rating in the new survey — 42 percent approve, 53 percent disapprove — is roughly unchanged over the past few months.


Evaluating the Trump administration’s regulatory reform program

Brookings Institution

In his first week in office, President Trump issued Executive Order 13771, which aims to “manage the costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations.” It requires that “for every new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.”


Fewer than a third of Americans back Trump tax plan: Reuters/Ipsos poll


Fewer than a third of Americans support Donald Trump’s tax-cut plan, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday, as the U.S. president went to Capitol Hill looking for Republican backing for his proposal to slash tax rates for individuals and companies. As the 2018 midterm congressional election campaigns grow nearer, the poll found that more than two-thirds of registered voters said reducing the U.S. federal budget deficit is more important than cutting taxes for the wealthy or for corporations.

See also:

Alexander-Murray a ‘Nonstarter’ Say House Conservatives

Roll Call

House conservatives appear united in opposition to the health care stabilization proposal crafted by Sens.Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray. House conservatives appear united in opposition to the health care stabilization proposal crafted by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray. Brat, Freedom Caucus members Jim Jordan and Scott Perry, Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker and Rep. Matt Gaetz all spoke to their opposition to the bipartisan accord.


About that Dossier

National Review

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said. Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research. After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.




Attorney General sends reminder to gun dealers, no bump stocks

Visalia Times-Delta

Firearms Policy Coalition is firing back at California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Becerra recently issued a reminder stating bump stocks are illegal and anyone in the “state who possesses, manufactures, imports into the state, offers for sale, or who gives or lends one of the devices has committed a crime.”


As GOP Passes Buck on Bump Stocks, ATF Pushes Back

Roll Call

Efforts to ban bump stocks have come to a screeching halt, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives once again indicating it does not have the authority to reclassify and regulate the devices.The ATF wrote letters in 2010 and 2013 explaining how current laws — the Gun Control Act (1968) and National Firearms Act (1934) — do not provide an avenue for the bureau to regulate the gun attachments, which enable shooters to fire semiautomatic weapons at nearly the rate of automatic ones. The ATF wrote letters in 2010 and 2013 explaining how current laws — the Gun Control Act (1968) and National Firearms Act (1934) — do not provide an avenue for the bureau to regulate the gun attachments, which enable shooters to fire semiautomatic weapons at nearly the rate of automatic ones.


Gun Shows and Firearm Deaths and Injuries | Annals of Internal Medicine

American College of Physicians

Gun shows are an important source of firearms, but no adequately powered studies have examined whether they are associated with increases in firearm injuries. Gun shows account for 4% to 9% of annual firearm sales and 3% of gun owners’ most recent gun acquisitions. However, many of these transfers do not involve a background check and firearms from gun shows are disproportionately implicated in crimes. Little is known about how gun shows contribute to firearm injuries in the United States.


FCC ends decades-old rule designed to keep TV and radio under local control

Los Angeles Times

Federal regulators have voted to eliminate a long-standing rule covering radio and television stations in a move that could ultimately reshape America’s media landscape. The regulation, which was first adopted almost 80 years ago, requires broadcasters to have a physical studio in or near the areas where they have a license to transmit TV or radio signals. Known as the “main studio rule,” the regulation ensured that residents of a community could have a say in their local broadcast station’s operations.


More to the story on poll Donald Trump tweeted about media trust


From the earliest days on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump regularly touted polls that underscored his popularity with the public. Nine months into his term, the pattern continues. “It is finally sinking through,” Trump tweeted Oct. 22. “46% of people believe major national news orgs fabricate stories about me. Fake news, even worse! Lost cred.” Trump was citing a Politico/Morning Consult poll. It asked, “Do you believe the nation’s major news organizations fabricate news stories about President Trump and his administration, or not?”


Silicon Valley fails to be innovative in politics – Opinion

The Reflector-Online

Since its inception in the mid-20th century, Silicon Valley has consistently set the bar for innovation and entrepreneurship for the entire world. The companies created there and the products they have designed are instantly recognizable and have become integral parts of our daily lives.


Facebook explains News Feed test as publishers freak out


Facebook is telling publishers to relax about a test it’s conducting that separates content into two news feeds. The test, being done in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala and Cambodia, puts news and other promoted content in a different feed from posts by Facebook users’ friends. It set off speculation that Facebook will soon start charging publishers and businesses to reach audiences on the world’s largest social network.




Editorial: Stockton-S.F. airport name won’t fly

San Francisco Chronicle


Can L.A. mimic the success of Uber and Lyft by building an on-demand minibus system?

Los Angeles Times

Having set itself an ambitious goal to triple the number of commuters who regularly use public transit at a time when subway and bus ridership is actually moving in the other direction, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority may finally be taking to heart Silicon Valley’s…


Mere weeks after Las Vegas, the GOP is quietly pushing a gun-lover’s pipe dream

Los Angeles Times

For a few days after the Las Vegas sniper attack, it seemed as if Congress might actually move to ban the device known as the “bump stock,” which the gunman used to convert his semiautomatic rifles into, essentially, machine guns that could fire 90 shots in 10 seconds into a crowded music festival. That moment — like so many before it — seems to have passed. So what gun policy measure are lawmakers discussing in Congress these days? An absurd yet dangerous proposal that would drastically undercut states’ abilities to set reasonable rules about who gets to carry a weapon.


Editorial: Steve Bannon electrifies Republicans, but should they take his advice?

San Jose Mercury News

Steve Bannon gave a hell of a speech Friday. It was all about winning, how winning begets winning, how there is a way for the California Republican Party to yet prevail in this oh-so-blue state. It was about the scourge of Bay Area liberalism and, by name, of Silicon Valley. The crowd at the GOP convention was pumped, and no wonder. The speech, apparently off the cuff, was stirring.




Wine Organization Forecasts Historically Bad Year Due To Weather Events


World wine production is having a historically bad year. Europe, home to the world’s leading wine producers, is making wine at significantly lower levels than usual – and that’s because of “extreme weather events” such as frost and drought that have damaged vineyards, according to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). The intergovernmental wine organization says this year’s output is projected to be the lowest in more than 50 years, according to the BBC and Reuters.


Trump officials quash litigation rule for farms


The Trump administration is rescinding an Obama-era rule that would have made it easier for independent farmers to bring lawsuits against big food companies they raise chicken and other livestock for. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyard Administration last week withdrew an interim final rule a day before it was set to take effect. The rule aimed to make it easier for farmers to bring companies like Tyson Foods, Pilgrim Pride and Perdue to court over what they say are unfair, deceptive and retaliatory practices.


City’s ‘idiotic’ cannabis ban expensive, ineffective, councilman says

Bakersfield Californian

New information provided by the City of Bakersfield sheds light on the city’s expenses and revenues when it comes to shutting down cannabis dispensaries. At City Councilman Willie Rivera’s request, city staff provided a summary of the city’s legal costs associated with efforts to shut down marijuana dispensaries, whether the city currently gets revenue from dispensaries and related issues.


Pot ban: County’s vote to reject commercial marijuana ‘just the beginning’

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County banned commercial cannabis Tuesday. Four of the five county supervisors said they did not want to be party to the permitting and regulation of an industry that wields such a destructive impact on the communities they represent. “The vast majority of the pot shops in the greater Bakersfield area are in Oildale,” said Supervisor Mike Maggard.


Poll: Legal Marijuana Support At Record High In U.S.


The 64% of Americans who say cannabis should be legal in a new Gallup poll released on Wednesday represents the highest level of support in the organization’s 48 years of polling on the topic.


Nevada Pulls In Nearly $5M In Taxes From Pot Sales In August


The Nevada Department of Taxation says the state hauled in nearly $5 million in total tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales in August. That’s up from the $3.7 million in taxes in July, the state’s first month of recreational weed sales. According to figures released Monday, $3.35 million were generated by the 10 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana, while $1.51 million generated by the 15 percent wholesale tax at the cultivation level on all marijuana (up from $974,060 in July).






Fresno judge, prosecutors feud over criminal’s sentence

Fresno Bee

When Damon Rogers got caught with a gun this year that he shouldn’t have because of his rape convictions two decades ago, he quickly accepted responsibility in Fresno County Superior Court. Given Rodgers’ speedy no-contest plea, Judge Wayne Ellison said a life sentence for the 41-year-old man would be unfair. Ellison suggested he was leaning toward a six-year prison sentence.  But that suggestion touched off an unusual spat between Ellison and the Fresno County District Attorney’s office, which quickly blasted the judge in a news release. The clash spilled into court Tuesday with the judge accusing prosecutors of getting their facts wrong, and the District Attorney’s Office firing back that its account was “absolutely” accurate.


His murder case from ’95 is finally solved, but law still can’t reach suspect

Fresno Bee

A detective in Tulare County has solved a 22-year-old homicide – but the murderer will never be brought to justice in a court of law. On July 10, 1995, Edward Perez, of Earlimart, tried to break up a fight between two neighbors. For trying to be a peacemaker, the 32-year-old was shot to death in his front yard, the sheriff’s department said this week in announcing how it solved the case.


Contracts for law enforcement approved for lakes’ areas

Visalia Times-Delta

In an effort to make Three Rivers safer during the busiest time of the year, supervisors are bringing a boost to law enforcement in the area. The Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved a $37,000 contract for Tulare County Sheriff’s Department to patrol Lake Kaweah recreation area during the busy summer season.


New Laws Require More Storing, Reporting of Rape Kits – But Not More Testing


Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of three bills relating to rape kits – the physical evidence gathered from individuals in lengthy examinations after reports of sexual – was hailed by women’s rights groups as a major step forward in bringing justice to rape victims. But will the laws actually lead law enforcement agencies to routinely test nearly every rape kit, as advocates want? That’s very much in doubt, given the long history of police chiefs’ and sheriffs’ resistance to the idea.


Legal marijuana creates an industry for new breathalyzers


Starting in January, anyone over the age of 21 will be able to buy recreational marijuana in California. That’s already the case in states like Oregon and Washington. And while buyers will be able to choose from a cornucopia of cannabis products, law enforcement still won’t have a fast, reliable test for intoxication. Standard breathalyzers can’t detect marijuana, and blood and urine tests aren’t sensitive enough to show whether someone consumed marijuana five minutes ago or last week. Companies hoping to get in on the marijuana market are racing to develop a testing device for police and employers.


Riverside County adopts “Lean” approach to transforming probation department


Streamlining creates more time for engaging clients and hopefully preventing a return to jail


Public Safety:


California chief justice recommends elimination of money bail

Fresno Bee

California’s chief justice on Tuesday called for an end to the use of money bail, urging the state to instead release defendants based on whether they pose a threat to public safety. Her comments followed the publication of a report on bail compiled by a working group of California judges. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye assembled the group last year to study complaints that the practice unfairly penalizes the poor.

See also:

Private Prisons Boost Lobbying as Federal Detention Needs Grow

Roll Call

One of the country’s largest private prison companies is spending record amounts on lobbying amid efforts by the Trump administration to detain more undocumented immigrants, federal records show. The GEO Group, which has contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Prisons and the Marshals Service, has spent nearly $1.3 million on lobbying from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, according to new lobbying records filed with Congress. That tops $1 million spent last year. The firm spent at least $400,000 on seven lobbying firms in the third quarter alone, the disclosures show.




Wildfires prompt congressional push for better disaster prevention in California

Sacramento Bee

California Sens. Dianne Feinstein an Kamala Harris continue to press for a bill to help the state better prepare for wildfires. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would provide emergency funding for wildfires, much the same way the federal government handles other natural disasters like tornadoes and floods, without draining resources for forestry management and other long-term fire suppression work that seeks to help prevent the rapid spread of future fires.


California Wildfire Victims May Be Eligible For Food Stamps

Capital Public Radio News

The California Department of Social Services says wildfire victims may be eligible to get one month of food stamps through California’s Disaster CalFresh program. Individuals or families negatively impacted by the wildfires who resided or worked in any of the seven impacted counties before the disaster may be eligible for the assistance. A family of four with a monthly income up to $2,755 a month is eligible to get up to $640 in food assistance.


Wine Country Fires Were Fanned by ‘Unprecedented’ Winds

KQED Science

Checking the data coming in from weather stations near where wildfires exploded across the North Bay, Cliff Mass watched in astonishment from his office in Seattle. “The wind speeds were unprecedented,” recalls Mass, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington. “That’s what got my attention.” Starting on a ridge above Napa Valley on the evening of Sunday, Oct. 8 the historic fires quickly hopscotched their way west, ultimately scorching more than 200,000 acres, including nearly a third of Sonoma Valley.


The $2 billion question: Spend on fighting fires or preventing them?


This year’s fires have been particularly devastating to communities across the U.S.  According to the National Interagency Fire Center, nearly 9 million acres have burned this year, with fires currently burning in California, Arizona, Minnesota and Oregon. These fires will be some of the costliest in recent memory to fight as well. Marketplace host Adriene Hill talks with Philip Higuera, professor of fire ecology at the University of Montana, about whether those resources are being spent effectively and what we can expect in the future.






Senate votes to kill new rule allowing class-action lawsuits against banks after Pence casts deciding vote

Los Angeles Times

The Senate voted Tuesday night to kill a controversial rule that would have allowed Americans to file class-action suits against banks instead of being forced in many cases into private arbitration. The move by the Senate followed a similar action by the House in July to rescind the rule. President Trump is expected to sign the repeal legislation, providing a major victory for the financial industry.

See also:

‘America First’ is a losing strategy on trade

Brookings Institution

The Trump administration’s opening salvo in launching its “America First” trade policy was to pull out from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) —a move that many assumed effectively killed this 12-nation trade agreement comprising 40 percent of world GDP. In rejecting a multilateral agreement such as the TPP, President Donald Trump heralded the benefits of bilateralism: one-on-one deals where the United States can leverage its overwhelming market power to win fast results at the negotiation table. And yet, that expectation has not panned out. The TPP project  lives on and there are no prospects for a string of U.S.-led bilateral trade agreements to materialize any time soon.


Marriage & Class Divide: Culture Plays Larger Role than Economics

National Review

If you spend any significant amount of time reading about the long-term decline of marriage among Americans with less education and lower incomes, you’ll notice a pattern: Liberals tend to blame the decline on labor-market forces, while conservatives tend to blame it on cultural and political factors.



Merced County could bring jobs by inking deal with LA port

Merced Sun-Star

Merced County leaders will be asked today to approve a deal with the Los Angeles Harbor Department in a plan that leaders say could help revitalize the former Castle Air Base and bring thousands of jobs to the area. The board of supervisors is set to vote on the effort to make more than 8 million square feet available for industrial development. They meet at 10 a.m. in the administration building, 2222 M St. Leaders have dubbed the proposed space the Mid-California International Trade District. The agreement would partner Merced County with LA’s port, the largest port in North America, according to the agreement.

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Haagen Dazs to lay off Tulare employees through holidays

Visalia Times-Delta

It may be a rocky road for ice cream workers as the holiday season approaches. Nestle Dryers – Häagen-Dazs is “temporarily” laying off almost 817 workers in their Bakersfield and Tulare ice cream plants. The date for the layoffs, announced in a state notice, are scheduled to run Nov. 26 through Jan. 20 for the Kern County workers. In Tulare, workers will be laid off from Dec. 9 to Jan. 14, however some may get back to work earlier, officials said.





Fresno Unified prepared for possible strike by Teachers’ Union


The Fresno Unified School District says it is prepared for a possible strike by the teachers’ union. If it happens, it will be the first time a work stoppage has happened in nearly four decades for the district. The Fresno Teachers Association is bargaining for smaller class sizes, better salaries and benefits, and classroom safety. Superintendent Bob Nelson says he is hoping for the best, but he is also planning for the worst.

Three candidates vying to represent south Modesto on school board

Modesto Bee

After much debate this year, school board members agreed to put Area 7 on the Modesto City Schools ballot in November. Now, it’s time for voters in south Modesto to choose their representative on the school board. They have three choices: Matthew Harrington, Adolfo Lopez and Ryan Schambers.


Preparing an early education workforce for East Bay has innovative head start

California Economy Reporting

The California Economic Summit will honor three public-private partnerships for innovative workforce development at the Summit’s annual statewide gathering in San Diego November 2-3. As part of the Summit’s Partnerships for Industry and Education (PIE) Contest, we’re feature one of the winning efforts, a distinct approach that benefits early education in the San Francisco East Bay region.


K–12 Test Scores Vary Widely across Student Groups

Public Policy Institute of California

The 2017 test results for California’s public K–12 school students were essentially unchanged from 2016. But behind the overall results, there were significant differences among student groups. Economically disadvantaged students—mostly those who are eligible for free or reduced price school meals—continued to score far below students not in this category. Students with disabilities and English Learner (EL) students performed at levels significantly below those of low-income students. Gaps in achievement among these groups were essentially unchanged in 2017.


Higher Ed:


How UC Davis ranks with world’s best universities, according to survey

Sacramento Bee

A local university is being ranked among the best in the world. University of California, Davis, is tied for 52nd overall on the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities rankings – a list that includes 1,250 schools in 74 countries. The college just west of Sacramento scored 71.5 points on the report, tying it with Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and Rockefeller University in New York City.


California community college tuition still the lowest nationally; UC above average, study finds.


While California continues to have the lowest community college tuition in the county, the costs for UC rank above the average of other research universities, a new report shows. Listed at $1,430 for a full-time student, the tuition and fees for California’s community colleges are the lowest nationwide in 2017-18, as they have been for years, according to the study by the College Board. That annual price, before being adjusted for financial aid, is less than half the $3,570 national average, the survey found.


Reforming Math Pathways at California’s Community Colleges

Public Policy Institute of California

The goal of developmental education (also known as remedial or basic skills education) is to help students acquire the skills they need to be successful in college courses, but its track record is poor. In fact, it is one of the largest impediments to student success in California’s community colleges. Many students do need additional work to be ready for college, particularly in math. But every year hundreds of thousands of students are deemed underprepared for college and placed into developmental courses from which relatively few emerge. Throughout the state, community colleges are revising assessment and placement procedures to ensure that students who are ready for college are not placed in developmental education. And, given the high failure rates in traditional developmental courses, colleges are also experimenting with alternative curricular approaches.




Trump’s inaction on climate change carries a big price tag, federal report finds

Los Angeles Times

The Trump administration’s reluctance to confront climate change threatens to create a massive burden on taxpayers, as a lack of planning by federal agencies leaves the government ill-equipped to deal with the fallout from rising temperatures, according to independent congressional investigators.


EPA chemical review would exclude millions of tons of toxins

Sacramento Bee

Spurred by the chemical industry, President Donald Trump’s administration is retreating from a congressionally mandated review of some of the most dangerous chemicals in public use: millions of tons of asbestos, flame retardants and other toxins in homes, offices and industrial plants across the United States.


Exclusive: The Interior Department Scrubs Climate Change From Its Strategic Plan

The Nation

n the next five years, millions of acres of America’s public lands and waters, including some national monuments and relatively pristine coastal regions, could be auctioned off for oil and gas development, with little thought for environmental consequences. That’s according to a leaked draft, obtained by The Nation, of the Department of the Interior’s strategic vision: It states that the DOI is committed to achieving “American energy dominance” through the exploitation of “vast amounts” of untapped energy reserves on public lands. Alarmingly, the policy blueprint—a 50-page document—does not once mention climate change or climate science. That’s a clear departure from current policy: The previous plan, covering 2014–18, referred to climate change 46 times and explicitly stated that the department was committed to improving resilience in those communities most directly affected by global warming.



Valley Fever Advocates And Legislators Vow To ‘Press Harder’ After Governor Rejects Critical Bill

Valley Public Radio

Even as valley fever cases are sharply increasing in Central California, Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have created programs to inform the public about the little-known respiratory disease.AB 1279, authored by Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, initially promised $2 million in funding for valley fever awareness. It also would have addressed deficiencies in disease reporting guidelines uncovered by the Center for Health Journalism Collaborative, a consortium of media outlets across California and Arizona organized by the University of Southern California’s Center for Health Journalism.


Three weeks and counting: As Congress dithers on children’s health program, more states face crisis

Los Angeles Times

Congress has hardly slathered itself with glory in its current session, but among its most shameful failures surely is its failure to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides coverage for about 9 million low-income children and pregnant women.


Federal Judge Skeptical Of Claims That Dropping Subsidies Hurts Consumers

California Healthline

A federal judge Monday expressed skepticism that President Donald Trump’s decision to halt certain health law insurance subsidies would cause consumers immediate harm, as California and many other states claim in a lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said he would issue a ruling in the case Tuesday. Earlier this month, Trump announced that the administration would stop payments that compensate insurers for discounts given to low-income consumers to help cover their out-of-pocket expenses under policies sold on the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces. These subsidies are different from the tax credits many consumers get, depending on their income, to pay Obamacare premiums.




Federal appeals court clears way for undocumented teen to get abortion


A federal appeals court has cleared the way for a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant held in detention in Texas to receive an abortion. The full bench of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an earlier ruling from a three-judge panel of that court that gave the Trump administration more time to try to defuse the controversy by finding an adult who could take in the pregnant teen, who is currently in a federally funded shelter. The D.C. Circuit’s new ruling split the judges along partisan lines, 6-3, with the court’s Republican appointees denouncing the decision.




Land Use:


West Fresno’s Darling rendering plant may move

Fresno Bee

A rendering plant that has been an aromatic nuisance to its west Fresno neighbors for decades could be on the verge of relocating and expanding on a site several miles away. The Fresno City Council will vote Thursday on a development agreement and other issues that would enable Darling Ingredients to move its rendering plant from its site of more than 60 years on Belgravia Avenue, near Church and Fruit avenues.


Governing city infrastructure: Who drives the urban project cycle?

Brookings Institution

Cities are on the rise at a scale and speed unprecedented in human history. They have become the undisputed engines of national economies and the centers of global trade and investment. They sit on the front lines of disruptive forces like population migration, demographic transformation, economic restructuring, income inequality, and climate change. And with many national and state governments mired in gridlock, cities are increasingly the vanguard of problem-solving and policy innovation.




Home prices in Southern California reach bubble-era highs

Los Angeles Times

Southern California home prices in September tied an all-time high, as the white-hot real estate market continued to surge and raise concerns over housing affordability. The median price for the six-county region soared nearly 10% from a year earlier, to $505,000, data firm CoreLogic said Tuesday. That matches a price level reached in 2007 before the housing bubble burst and the economy cratered.


U.S. new home sales race to nearly 10-year high in September


Sales of new U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly rose in September, hitting their highest level in nearly 10 years, offering hope that the housing market was regaining speed after appearing to stall recent months.The Commerce Department said on Wednesday new home sales surged 18.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 667,000 units last month amid an increase in all four regions.


Bay Area housing: Pending home sales plunge

San Jose Mercury News

Pending home sales fell markedly across California in September, with the largest regional drop-off in the Bay Area where an ongoing housing shortage and exorbitant prices appeared to dissuade some potential buyers. That’s according to a new survey by the California Association of Realtors, which examines pending sales as a bellwether for where the housing market is headed. It didn’t provide data on closed home sales.


Advancing regional solutions to address America’s housing affordability crisis

Brookings Institution

Imagine a family of four searching for a two-bedroom apartment in the Chicago region. Let’s call them the Millers. Mr. and Mrs. Miller work in the city’s well-off northwest suburbs, in two of the fastest-growing employment sectors in Illinois. Mrs. Miller is a full-time customer service representative and Mr. Miller works part-time as a cashier while the kids are at school. Together the couple earns $38,000 a year, or 50 percent of what the typical Chicago-area family earns. The Millers want an easy commute from a neighborhood with high-quality schools and hope to spend less than the recommended 30 percent of their income—roughly $950/month—on housing.


Rent control would expand under proposed ballot measure


A statewide ballot measure is now circulating that would allow cities and counties throughout California to expand their local rent control laws. The Affordable Housing Act looks to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, which bans rent control on homes and apartments built after 1995. It would allow cities and counties to determine their own rent control measures on newer units and establish vacancy control.


Why Some Cities Are Buying Trailer Parks

Pew Trusts

Here in the heart of one of Colorado’s most expensive cities, Isabel Sanchez bought a mobile home seven years ago for just $6,000. Her four-bedroom bungalow now sits on a lot she rents for $355 a month. So Boulder and a handful of other localities, desperate to hang on to homes middle- and working-class people can afford, have stepped in to buy parks, fix them up, and transfer ownership to residents or to a nonprofit on condition that rents be kept low.




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


Modesto backs off fees for utility bills

Modesto Bee

Modesto officials are backing away from a proposal to charge customers a fee for using debit and credit cards to pay their city utility bills or for parking in one of the city’s three downtown garages. The City Council approved in June charging a 2.4 percent service fee for customers who use plastic to pay for all city transactions except parking and utility bills. Staff asked for more time to look into charging fees for those transactions. The council also in June exempted charging a fee for the purchase of monthly passes and ticket books for Modesto Area Express buses and Dial-A-Ride because it believed the fee would be a burden.


Former deputy director of California tax agency says he was fired for whistleblowing

Los Angeles Times

A former deputy director of the state Board of Equalization said Tuesday he was improperly fired this month after cooperating with a state Department of Justice investigation into allegations that agency officials improperly used public resources. Mark DeSio was fired Oct. 12 as the director for external affairs of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, which recently was split off from the board in an agency shakeup. He has filed a whistleblower complaint and appeal to the state Personnel Board seeking reinstatement to his position.


How the graying of America is stretching local tax dollars

Washington Post

Rising demand for services for the elderly is taking a toll on local governments, as communities nationwide seek to accommodate a growing senior citizen population while still tending to schools, roads, parks and other needs



New gas tax will pay for Highway 99 repairs, other Valley road work

Fresno Bee

There’s a new gasoline tax that drivers will see at fuel pumps starting Nov. 1, and state and local transportation officials already have big plans for catching up on much-needed road repairs in Fresno County and around the state. A stretch of Highway 99 from downtown Fresno to a mile north of the San Joaquin River in Madera County is in line for $5.2 million to repair and resurface the freeway – one of the most visible components of work to be funded by SB 1, a bill that adds 12 cents per gallon to the price of a gallon of gasoline.

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Daimler Steals Tesla’s Thunder With Heavy-Duty Electric Truck


Daimler AG is jumping the gun on Tesla Inc. by showing off a battery-powered heavy-duty truck weeks before the California electric-car maker’s own planned unveiling, in a sign of the growing rivalry between the companies. The E-Fuso Vision One prototype can carry 11 tons of cargo as far as 350 kilometers (220 miles) before recharging, the world’s largest maker of commercial vehicles said Wednesday in a statement. The truck, which would be geared to shorter intra-city trips, could go on sale within four years in Europe, Japan and the U.S.


Congress’s push to get self-driving cars on the road faster


Right now, states and cities decide if and how they want autonomous vehicles on their streets. But the U.S. Senate is considering a measure that would standardize the rules of the road and let automakers sell more vehicles with self-driving capabilities over the next three years. The House of Representatives has already passed a different version of the bill.


Opinion – High-speed rail is expensive. So is the cost of doing nothing on transportation

Los Angeles Times

To the editor: Congratulations to The Times for publishing yet another article showing just how expensive California’s high-speed rail system will be. It’s very useful to know that “experts” think the cost of a tunnel might be $5 billion (or is it $14 billion?). (“A 13.5-mile tunnel will make or break California’s bullet train,” Oct. 21)Yes, high-speed rail is expensive. So are the alternatives, including doing nothing. What is lacking is any analysis of the alternatives for moving people between affordable housing and jobs, and for improving mobility in general.


Hawaii passes law making texting while crossing the street illegal


A law in Honolulu, Hawaii, will make it illegal for pedestrians to send text messages while crossing a street or highway starting Wednesday. The Honolulu Police Department can now issue fines of up to $35 for a person’s first offense under the city’s “Distracted Walking Law” law. Bill Dorman, a Hawaii Public Radio reporter told NPR that beginning Wednesday, “a downward glance at a screen of any kind will cost you.”




California Democrats seek new federal probe of water project

Sacramento Bee

Five California Democrats in Congress asked Tuesday for a new federal review of funding for Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tunnel project. Their request follows a federal audit of Brown’s $16 billion proposal to re-engineer California’s complex north-south water system by building two giant water tunnels. The audit, released by the U.S. Interior Department’s inspector-general in September, found that the Interior Department improperly used federal taxpayer money to help fund planning for the tunnels.


Rebuilding Oroville Spillway, With the Rainy Season Just Around the Corner

The California Report – KQED News

November 1.That’s the deadline for the army of construction workers laboring to rebuild Oroville Dam’s main spillway to finish the first phase of the 18-month project — now expected to cost at least $500 million. This year’s work aims to ensure that the spillway is capable of handling large releases of water this winter, if necessary, and that the first step in reinforcing the erosion-prone slope serving as the dam’s emergency spillway is well underway.

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Let’s Talk Clovis: Civic Leader Alfred Peter Biglione (1900-1988)

Clovis Roundup

We are sharing an undated article Alfred Biglione wrote regarding the history of his family and his early life here in Clovis. Al’s parents, Antonio and Catherina, were born in the 1870s in Cunio, Italy, a town located in the northern part of the country near the border of France. His father worked for 6 cents a day and his mother 2 cents a day tending sheep.


US considers higher entry fees at 17 popular national parks

Fresno Bee

The National Park Service is considering a steep increase in entrance fees at 17 of its most popular parks, mostly in the U.S. West, to address a backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects. Visitors to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion and other national parks would be charged $70 per vehicle, up from the fee of $30 for a weekly pass. At others, the hike is nearly triple, from $25 to $70.


Outdoorsy 10 – Mountain Biking, San Joaquin River Gorge

Valley Public Radio

It’s been a while since the last Outdoorsy episode. A lot has happened. Kerry got married, put together a big series of health stories, and Ezra has some big news of his own. This is his last episode with Outdoorsy. He’s leaving Valley Public Radio for an environment reporter job with Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. He says he’ll miss this area, but he’s psyched to explore the outdoors in places like Lake Tahoe. We’ll miss Ezra a lot, but we’re excited for him. And before he goes, we had to get him into the outdoors one more time for us.