October 4, 2017




Local/Regional Politics:


U.S. Supreme Court nixes Fresno’s appeal in police shooting

The Fresno Bee

The U.S Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the city of Fresno’s petition to overturn the more than $1 million it has been ordered to pay in the federal civil rights case of Stephen Willis, who was killed by police eight years ago – a shooting his parents called an execution.


Central Valley Congressman Jeff Denham Champions Funding Increase for Area Teaching Health Centers and Residency Programs

Sierra Sun Times

On Monday night a bill championed by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) to increase physician residency slots and expand teaching health center graduate programs was introduced in the U.S. House ofRepresentatives, with support from House Leadership, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and Republican Conference Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5).The Community Health and Medical Professionals Improve Our Nation (CHAMPION) Act of 2017 includes several provisions offered by Rep. Denham, which will more than double funding for residencies to $126.5 million and expand the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program.


Teen with replica gun prompts lockdown at Turlock High

The Modesto Bee

Turlock High School was on lockdown Tuesday afternoon for a report of a group of teens, one of who had a gun. The gun turned out to be a BB gun but the orange tip had been removed to make it appear real.


Clovis student who exposed “slave” messages receives threats

The Fresno Bee

The 16-year-old Clovis Unified student who tweeted out images of racially-demeaning messages from Clovis students fears for her safety after her family received threats.


State Politics:


Gubernatorial Candidates Chiang, Newsom Spar Over Vegas Shooting Comments


The shooting in Las Vegas immediately led to calls from Democratic officials in California for their federal counterparts to tighten the nation’s gun laws, using the state’s laws as a model – and some sparring between two candidates for governor.


3 Democrats stand out in special Assembly election

89.3 KPCC

Three Democrats stood out from a crowd of 13 candidates as they seek spots in a run-off for an open seat in the California Assembly.

See also:


California Game Changers: Nine Big Ideas to Fix a Golden State — And a Nation

Capital & Main

Baristas, Uber drivers and Amazon warehouse associates all work hard for their wages, but can only dream of the health care, sick pay and retirement benefits enjoyed by “traditional” employees. Meanwhile, students at some state universities pay stratospheric tuitions that top those at Harvard and Yale. And in immigration courts children as young as 3, without the benefit of counsel, face seasoned government prosecutors bent on deporting them. These dystopian scenes are not pulled from some hard-scrabble red state but from the richest and most liberal state in the world’s wealthiest country — California.



California is the Golden State because it gets work done


An old quote has it that “living well is the best revenge.” In California, we’re putting a twist on that. Governing well is the best resistance.


White supremacists deserve free speech, California lawmakers told

Sacramento Bee

California is home to the largest skinhead population and the most developed white supremacist gangs in the country, the Anti-Defamation League told state senators during a hearing at the Capitol on Tuesday.


In California, the Possibility of an Historic Election Could Spike Turnout Among Latino and Asian-American Voters
Pacific Standard

2018 might be the year the state’s voters—and political leadership—reflect just how much its population has changed.


Voter registration in OC high schools: nowhere to go but up

Capitol Weekly

Orange County set a participation record in the last presidential election, with more than 80% of registered voters casting ballots, the highest percentage in 40 years. High schools in the OC, however, are not setting any records on a key test of engaging young adults in the political process.


Federal Politics:


Donald Trump could still hurt California health care market

The Sacramento Bee

President Trump has said that Obamacare would prove to be a disaster in 2017 and that Democrats would eventually work with him to draft a replacement. He made these comments in March.


GOP Leaders Consider Changing State and Local Tax Deduction Instead of Ending It


Republican leaders are considering putting limits on the $1.3 trillion state and local tax deduction — instead of eliminating it — in order to secure votes from members in the hardest-hit states.

See also:

A “view” from the courtroom: A big windup on partisan gerrymandering


There is some extra wattage here this morning for arguments in one of the marquee cases of the new term, Gill v. Whitford, about the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering.

See also:


Exclusive: Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin


A number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Donald Trump’s victory last November, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the situation.


Russian-linked Facebook ads aimed at Wisconsin, Michigan: report


A series of Russian-linked Facebook ads were specifically aimed at Michigan and Wisconsin during the lead-up to last year’s presidential election, CNN reported on Tuesday.


Mayor Eric Garcetti to host reelection fundraiser for Sen. Dianne Feinstein

LA Times

Mayor Eric Garcetti is hosting a fundraiser for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and says the senior senator’s stature is needed in Washington more than ever before.



Update on Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Associated Press News

The Latest on the mass shooting in Las Vegas

See also:

Why American Democracy Has Descended Into Collective Hysteria

The Nation

We are a great power in decline—but neither party has a clue what to do about it.


Yahoo: 3 billion accounts breached in 2013. Yes, 3 billion

The Fresno Bee

Yahoo has tripled down on what was already the largest data breach in history, saying it affected all 3 billion accounts on its service, not the 1 billion it revealed late last year.




Amid fake-news revelations, tech titans deserve far more than public shaming

Fresno Bee

Not only did fake news influence voters, but the proliferation of it was a highly coordinated affair, with Russian operatives buying targeted political ads.


Gun control the answer? My research told me otherwise

Bakersfield Californian

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.


California Democrats are all for free speech – just not conservative Ben Shapiro’s

Sacramento Bee

By not listening politely for 10 minutes, Senate Democrats gave conservative writer and speaker Ben Shapiro far more than 120 seconds of fame.


Sacramento has done plenty for CalPERS. So when will CalPERS start being a good neighbor to us?

Sacramento Bee

CalPERS promised to build hundreds of housing units in Sacramento, but five years past the due date, they’re yet to be built.


Voters deserve to know who’s bankrolling shadowy political campaigns

LA Times

A typical political ad for a ballot measure in California might include something like this: “Paid for by Yes on Proposition 99 — Good Jobs and Safe Streets, with major funding by People for Good Jobs and Safe Streets.”

Getting affordable housing in L.A. shouldn’t be like winning the lottery

LA Times

For the poorest residents of Los Angeles, many of whom are teetering on the edge of homelessness, the chance of getting a government-subsidized, affordable apartment is almost as slim as winning the lottery.


While Trump targets immigrants and refugees, Americans keep killing Americans

LA Times

Violent crime in the U.S. has been in steady decline for the last quarter-century, but it’s only by a perverse comparison with an even bloodier past that nearly 16,000 annual homicides — 11,000 of them committed with firearms — can be considered an improvement. Matched against other developed nations, we are by far the most violent and have by far the most firearms




United Farm Workers union settles an employee lawsuit

LA Times

The United Farm Workers union has settled a long-running lawsuit with its former field organizers, agreeing to pay $1.3 million in back wages, penalties and attorney fees.


“No One-Size Fits All” as State Leaders Discuss Cannabis in California


Banking, taxes and marijuana were the topics of discussion as municipal and industry leaders gathered September 15 to talk about local impacts of the cannabis industry during the League of California Cities’ Annual Conference in Sacramento.


California marijuana grow houses account for 75 percent of US indoor plants seized

Sacramento Bee

California’s illegally grown marijuana, once largely produced in national forests and other outdoor locations, is increasingly found indoors, federal statistics show.


Tribes urged to consider boosting revenue via cannabis industry

The Cannifornian

Tribal leaders from California and Washington state last week discussed the potential opening of legal marijuana businesses on tribal lands.




For stories on Las Vegas mass shooting, See: “Top Stories – Other,” above


U.S. Supreme Court nixes Fresno’s appeal in police shooting

The Fresno Bee

The U.S Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the city of Fresno’s petition to overturn the more than $1 million it has been ordered to pay in the federal civil rights case of Stephen Willis, who was killed by police eight years ago – a shooting his parents called an execution. 





EITC: $2 Billion for the Taking


Every year, low-income Californians leave an estimated $2 billion on the table. The pot of unclaimed money is known as the earned income tax credit.


Dreams on tap: Two couples roll the dice on craft beer craze

The Business Journal

Landon and Janie Wilcox of Exeter don’t know Dustin and Traci Franklin of Friant, but the two couples happen to have similar dreams.


Visalia to host second crowd funding dinner, SOUP

The Business Journal

Following the success of its introduction in March, the Visalia Chamber of Commerce will host the second SOUP crowd-funding event on October 20th.




State science union leader wins CalPERS seat

Sacramento Bee

David Miller’s fourth bid for a seat on the board that manages California’s largest public pension fund paid off. The state scientist and public employee union leader defeated former private equity fund manager Michael Flaherman in an election for a seat on the CalPERS Board of Administration, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System announced Tuesday on Twitter.

United Farm Workers union settles an employee lawsuit 

Los Angeles Times

The United Farm Workers union has settled a long-running lawsuit with its former field organizers, agreeing to pay $1.3 million in back wages, penalties and attorney fees.





Fresno Unified teachers overwhelmingly authorize a strike against their district 

Fresno Bee

At least 2,000 teachers with the Fresno Unified School District voted overwhelmingly Tuesday evening to authorize their union to call a strike if protracted contract negotiations don’t yield an agreement that meets their satisfaction.

See also:

The grades are in, and Wasuma Elementary takes the lead in Eastern Madera County

Sierra Star

Results from the latest annual state tests on English and mathematics have been released, and out of the 11 schools in Eastern Madera County that were tested, Wasuma Elementary was the sole school to exceed the state average in both subjects.


Lodi Unified school board discusses staffing concerns, test scores

Lodi News-Sentinel

Cathy Nichols-Washer, superintendent of Lodi Unified School District, began Tuesday night’s meeting by announcing that Giving Opportunities to Kids, also known as GOT Kids, has officially released its first batch of T-shirts, available at gotkids.lodiusd.org. With the $10 purchase of every shirt, another shirt will be donated to a child in need, she said.


U.S. Teachers’ Support of Their State Standards and Assessments: Findings from the American Teacher Panel


Amid questions about the future of state standards and assessments, this report provides a critical perspective for district and state policymakers to consider: U.S. teachers’ perceptions of and support for current standards and assessment. Our nationally representative data suggest that nearly all U.S. mathematics and English language arts teachers support use of state standards in instruction. However, the majority of teachers do not support use of current state tests to measure mastery of standards. This report explores key factors that may be related to teachers’ support — or lack of support — for their current standards and assessments. Among the concerns voiced by majorities of teachers are the difficulty of current state standards and tests and their appropriateness for students with special learning needs. These findings are drawn from a February 2016 survey of the American Teacher Panel, a nationally representative sample of K–12 teachers across the United States. The findings presented in this report have implications for how states and districts can support implementation of state standards and assessments to ensure that U.S. students have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.


Let Teachers Go Where They’re Needed


Market-based reforms can help solve the U.S.’s teacher shortages.


Higher Ed:


Remedial education gets big changes at California colleges

Sacramento Bee

This fall, nearly 40 percent of incoming freshmen at California State University were placed in developmental math or English courses. In the state’s sprawling community college system, three-quarters of any given incoming group is deemed unprepared for college-level work when they arrive.


California Game Changers: Making College Free Again

Capital and Main

When Bernie Sanders, and then Hillary Clinton, made debt-free higher education a byword of the 2016 presidential race, University of California graduates like retired Los Angeles anesthesiologist Steve Auer unexpectedly found themselves the poster children for a time when free college tuition was the norm in California, rather than the radical proposition it seems today.




What Recent Hurricanes Mean for Flood Insurance in California

Public Policy Institute of California

Three exceptional hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria— caused staggering damages from floods, winds, and storm surge in recent weeks. It’s likely they will make the record books as the most costly natural disasters in US history.


California Game Changers: Can We Ban Fracking?

Capital and Main

If you were to parachute into Kern County about 40 miles west of Bakersfield, you might doubt California’s status as a national leader on climate. Pumpjacks spread out in every direction across a hellscape scraped bare of anything green. Scattered at irregular intervals, spires of latticed steel reach up more than a hundred feet, secured with guy-wires: evidence of hydraulic fracturing, a practice sufficiently infamous that its household nickname, fracking, invokes images of tap water so toxic you can light it on fire.





Tulare hospital board seeks applicants for two vacancies


The search for two Tulare Regional Medical Center board of directors will continue on Wednesday with candidate interviews for the District 5 seat.


Experts to gather for town hall on opioid epidemic

The Business Journal

Local experts on the prescription drug abuse problem will be holding a town hall forum organized by Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno).


Donald Trump could still hurt California health care market

The Sacramento Bee

President Trump has said that Obamacare would prove to be a disaster in 2017 and that Democrats would eventually work with him to draft a replacement. He made these comments in March.


The Health Reform That Hasn’t Been Tried


ObamaCare subsidizes bloated insurance policies. Republicans should try a whole new approach.


San Diego Hepatitis A Outbreak Continues To Grow 


Twenty new cases are being reported this week, bringing the number of people infected to 481, according to San Diego County Health and Human Services. Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said there are 47 other cases awaiting confirmation. Matt Hoffman KPBS — 10/4/17

See also:



Congress struggles to come up with a fix for ‘Dreamers’

LA Times

It has been four weeks since President Trump gave Congress a six-month deadline to figure out a solution for immigrants in the U.S. illegally who had been protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. An estimated one-fourth of the program’s 800,000 recipients live in California. A hearing Tuesday illustrated just how far lawmakers are from a deal, with members of the president’s own party asking for guidance on a fix.


Lawyer’s weapon against farm worker complaints: deportation 

Capitol Weekly

As an attorney representing California Central Valley farmers and labor contractors who rely heavily on undocumented workers, Anthony Raimondo has become widely known for performing a sort of magic trick. He can sometimes make legal complaints against his clients – and the people who file them – disappear.



Walters: Why California’s housing legislation won’t solve the housing crisis

Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown last week signed a package of bills aimed at relieving an acute shortage of housing that has sent costs into the stratosphere and given California the nation’s highest level of functional poverty.

California Lawmakers Consider Next Year’s Housing Priorities 

Capital Public Radio

Days after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of bills to address California’s high housing costs, lawmakers are already discussing more changes to bring down home prices—particularly for the middle-class.


California Lawmakers Take Steps Forward on Housing


On Friday, September 15, the California legislative session ended with the passage of 17 individual pieces of legislation aimed at alleviating the state’s ongoing housing crisis. While three particular bills have received the most attention—SB2, SB3, and SB35—several other bills headed for the Governor’s desk are also likely to have an important impact on the landscape of the state’s housing policy.




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


CalPERS pension costs may double for CA governments

Sacramento Bee

California governments likely will make do with fewer teachers, parks employees and other public workers while they struggle to absorb fast-rising pension costs in the next few years, a former state lawmaker argues in a study released this week through Stanford University.


David Miller wins CalPERS seat with union help

The Sacramento Bee

California’s two major public pension systems are underfunded and are asking local governments to pay more. Critics want to reduce benefits, while others say policymakers should allow time for recent changes to take hold.


CalPERS Candidates Say Votes No Longer Secret


Instead of signing the envelope that contains the mail-in ballot, CalPERS is requiring voters in an election for two board seats to sign the ballot — a change prohibited by state election law protecting voter secrecy, two candidates say.

Republican leaders are backing away from a proposal to fully repeal an expensive tax break used by more than 40 million tax filers to deduct state and local taxes amid pushback from fellow lawmakers whose residents rely on the popular provision.



Sequoia Field Airport project delayed


The project to bring safety upgrades to Sequoia Field Airport in north Tulare County hit a snag after an application error.


High-Speed Rail Delay More than Triples Planned Cost to San Jose

San Jose Inside

A bullet train linking California’s Central Valley to Silicon Valley was supposed to be running by 2022. But the deadline for the multi-billion dollar high-speed rail has now been pushed to 2025, which puts San Jose and other cities in the train’s path on the hook for more planning and up-front spending.


Without billions more, California will never have any complete and operating High Speed rail


The Central Valley portion of California’s high speed rail project now has internal projected costs of $8 billion, based on a quarterly report — known as the funding contribution plan — that was issued in June but not made public until this month. Work on the track, originally scheduled to be finished this year, is about seven years behind schedule.


Governor Brown Signs Bill: No More Tickets for Crossing on Countdown

Streetsblog California

Now that the legislation session is over, Governor Brown has a huge pile of bills he must either sign or veto. Among the many bills he signed yesterday is the crosswalk countdown bill from Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). A.B. 390 makes it clear that pedestrians are allowed to enter a crosswalk while a countdown signal is flashing.


A Guide for Drivers and Bicyclists to Properly Share the Road

Bike Law

In a well-meaning effort to reduce such collisions, a number of states have adopted a “Share the Road” campaign. Since 1997, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (the ‘MUTCD”) has approved the use of the Share the Road sign in conjunction with the bicycle symbol. The MUTCD is the road signage “bible” used by road authorities across the country. The intention is all good but I hate that slogan.


Sacramento will add ‘parking-protected bike lanes’ on downtown streets

The Sacramento Bee

The city of Sacramento this week will try out an unconventional way to make downtown streets safer for cyclists. It’s called “parking-protected bike lanes,” and basically it separates two transportation styles that frankly often don’t play well together.


America’s commuting choices: 5 major takeaways from 2016 census data /

Brookings Institution



A New Water Year Brings Uncertainty to California

Sierra Sun Times

After five years of drought, the 2017 water year brought unexpectedly heavy precipitation, ranking second only to 1983 as California’s wettest year for statewide runoff. The dramatic swing in water conditions highlights the need to develop better long-range weather forecasting to cope with the state’s highly variable annual precipitation.


California’s reservoirs are full, but will this winter be wet or dry?

The Mercury News

Like every autumn, October is bringing cooler weather, changing leaves and pumpkins to fields across California. But unlike the past five years, when a historic drought gripped the state, there’s something new across the landscape: full reservoirs.


Rebuilding The Lake Oroville Spillways

Capital Public Radio News

In February, a huge hole opened in the Lake Oroville main spillway. The cause of the hole is still undetermined. The ensuing closure of the main gates and use of the emergency spillway for the first time ever caused damage to the hillside, erosion toward the spillway structure and thousands of people to evacuate.


Wildlife protectors on Butte Creek have a new battle cry: Save the dam

Sacramento Bee

In the annals of wild fish tales, hydroelectric projects are always cast as villains. They create dams that block fish from reaching spawning grounds.

The dams form reservoirs, warming the water to fish-killing temperatures. And hydro managers release water into streams when it profits their bottom line, not when it benefits fish and other wildlife.



Want to win the lottery? Some places pay out more than others 

Sacramento Bee

When it comes to California Lottery numbers, “1021295” could be in a winning league of its own. It isn’t a combination of lucky Powerball, Mega Millions or Fantasy 5 digits. That’s the ID for the business that’s sold the most big-dollar winning lottery tickets since 2009, according to several years of prize data provided to The Sacramento Bee.


New policies and security measures at the Big Fresno Fair  


Final preparations are in place as the Big Fresno Fair appears ready for Wednesday’s opening day and in light of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas organizers want everyone to know security will once again be a top priority.


One Man’s Quest To Feed A Hungry, Isolated California County


Across the United States, more than one out of every 10 people is “food insecure,” which means they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. In Trinity County, a sparsely populated area in northwestern California, that number is closer to one in five.